SDDI Conference 2017 Day two: Social's secret sauce

Following on from a jam-packed first day at the the Smart Data & Digital Innovation 2017 in Hotel ICON, which focused on the different kinds of valuable data, technology tools and infrastructure marketers should adopt in providing personalised services, speakers on day 2 featured how leaders and marketers leverage the knowledge to bring transformations in their team and unlock business potentials.

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(Read more: SDDI Conference 2017 Day one: Personalise effectively to stay relevant)

Using KFC's latest digital initiative on smart food-ordering machine Kolonel Fast Connect, and Pizza-Hut's miniplate campaign as case studies, Ravel Lai, regional IT and digital director, Jardine Restaurant Group HK, shared how the company's CMO and CTO have worked hand in hand with clear division of responsibilities. Lai added that the company outsources part of the brands' technical duties, and keeps its internal team equipped with the know-how of technologies and customer behaviours, to ensure both marketing and technology teams have enough resources and time to invest in innovative ideas, functions and features.

Tim Lehman, regional manager, Hong Kong and North Asia, Hootsuite, also explained how companies could unlock the power of scaled social by defining social ROI and its role in the overall business plan, which he identified as the company's "toughest thing to do".

One simple tip from him is: don't overthink. "Start with something simple, for example I want to drive more sales, save money, or mitigating risk; then define what matters and to who. Understand what your investments actually is, and eventually create a framework, objective, benchmarks, goals, metrics and analytic."

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts' director of eBusiness, Widhadh Waheed, and Asia Miles' head of marketing and engagement, Peony Wu, both shared how the companies transformed with the new insights from data to provide not only personalised services, but also new features. Having an open mind, the Shangri-La group is also looking into a new business model: one of its brands may provide shared spaces in the future.

As for Asia Miles, the brand started providing travelling and dining contents to different market segments, and more member-exclusive experiences. Based on the insights from the members' data, the brand has gamified members' miles collection journeys starting this week to drive engagements.

We can't go a digital discussion without talking about social. Procter & Gamble Hong Kong's senior brand manager for Hong Kong and Taiwan, Tim Hung, walked us through what consumers are expecting from brands in the social era with a simple metaphor.

As difficult as it may seem, social media is like a bar, Hung said. "Going to the bar does not change who you are, it's just one of the many touch-points. Having the right concept of social media is very important to us as a marketer."

"If the video is not going viral on Facebook, it's probably not for Facebook," he said.

Adding on to the discussion, Terry Chu, marketing director for Strawberrynet, shared how the e-commerce platform transformed their customers into brand ambassadors. While consumers tend to write more negative than positive reviews on the internet, the beauty online store makes sure it has provided enough incentive for loyal members to write product reviews, which in turn protects and enhances the brand image through word of mouth.

An in-depth panel discussion by Methy Chi, vice president, strategic marketing and innovations at CSL mobile & The Club and Matthew Chan, assistant general manager, digital strategy, New World Development, compared the social media landscape in Hong Kong and China. Both agreed that China and Hong Kong are going through different digital evolution due to their differences in digital environment, advised businesses to invest and understand the huge Chinese market, and seek partnerships with China's AT (Alibaba and Tencent) if applicable.

Marketing will provide a more detailed report on the series of keynotes and case studies we've gone through over the last two days. Stay tuned.