Iris Singapore swept up the gold awards for three categories in the Marketing Excellence Awards 2020: Excellence in Advertising, Excellence in Pivot Marketing, and Excellence in Shopper Marketing. Amidst the pandemic-hit year, instead of adding new tools or tech, the agency said it simply worked with its partners, including FairPrice, to make sure they are ready for the short term whilst continuing to build for the long term.
In an interview with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Andy Cairns, managing director, Iris Singapore, talks about the agency's journey with FairPrice, and how both the brand and agency looked to build continued relationships with its customers, especially throughout the darkest days of the circuit breaker restrictions. He also shares his idea of great marketing, and the agency's positive outlook moving forward.
What are some of the expectations your consumers now have for your client's brand?
FairPrice is part of the fabric of Singaporean society. The brand’s role became even more crucial during the darkest days of circuit breaker as Singaporeans looked for stability and reassurance that FairPrice – along with other institutions such as Government - would be there to support and guide them.
How has your marketing/your client's marketing plans shifted this year?
FairPrice is leading a movement to help Singaporeans re-imagine their daily routines and rediscover the fresh possibilities of everyday living. In 2020 it has been critical for FairPrice to demonstrate that – beyond lowering the cost of living for all Singaporeans – it understands what’s important in their broader lives. Essentially, that our shared values as Singaporeans are just as important as the demonstration of value as Singapore’s leading supermarket brand.
What are some of the trends you see carrying on post-pandemic, and how are you readying your workforce to be ready with these trends?
The single biggest “trend” introduced by the pandemic is uncertainty – a theme notoriously unpopular with business and markets because it usually generates short term, reactionary thinking. We are not adding any new tools or tech to deal with that, we’re simply working with our partners – FairPrice included – to make sure we are ready for the short term whilst continuing to build for the long term. It’s not either/or – it’s both.
What do you think makes for great marketing these days?
The fundamentals of great marketing have not changed; merely the context. Great marketing should represent an effortless and genuinely reciprocal exchange between brand and consumer, much like a conversation. No one wants to be shouted at by a brand in the same way that no one wants to be shouted at by another human being. As marketers we should always be asking ourselves – “Is this an interesting conversation for our consumers? What’s in it for them? What have we got to say that they might find useful and interesting?”
How are you planning for 2021?
If 2020 was largely characterised by damage limitation, uncertainty and operational analysis, then 2021 is the year we lift our heads again and return to a focus on the fundamentals of our business: happy and productive people, doing creatively outstanding and effective work for all of our client partners.