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AdAsia 2011: In times of media uncertainty

By Shibani Gharat , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | November 03, 2011
What will media plans look like in the days to come? In the context of online and mobile platforms gaining currency, Mainardo De Nardis and Kelly Clark spoke about the times of uncertainty, proliferation of choice, consumer engagement and response measurement.

Mainardo De Nardis, chief executive officer, OMD Worldwide, and Kelly Clark, chief executive officer, Maxus, Worldwide, spoke on the need for innovation in media plans, in the light of online and mobile platforms gaining currency. The session was moderated by Bob O'Leary, managing director and head of global marketing, consumer, Citibank.

The session was titled Media Fragmentation -- how to navigate through traffic? It began with the moderator throwing a bunch of facts at the audience regarding the increase in the magnanimity of social media in Asian markets.

O'Leary spoke of the uncertainty in navigating businesses through uncertain times, consumer uncertainty, and more specifically, media uncertainty in navigation through emerging media terrain. "Proliferation of choice is at an all-time high. Social, online and mobile media, along with traditional media such as television, cinema, radio, and outdoor, have divided the attention of the people," O'Leary said.

He believes that human behaviour has changed as well, and consumers are more accepting towards Twitter, online shopping, and watching online videos.

"Talent is the key navigator through these enormous options," responded Clark. Nardis agreed with Clark; he felt that to attract and retain the right kind of talent is important. "They should push for change and challenge the existing way of doing things," added Nardis.

He felt that with the coming in of the social media, 'the industry of measurement' now has the tools to measure consumer response.

On being quizzed by the moderator about the companies that are doing a good job in leveraging online and other media, Nardis pointed out the example of the Visa-Travel companion campaign started in Australia. The campaign was created by OMD-Australia, and provided the tools and expertise for every step of the travel planning process for tourists. The 100 per cent online campaign supplied travellers with customised factsheets, travel and money tips.

According to Nardis, the power of social media in recommending a product is much greater in the Asia-Pacific market, as compared to the European market. "We are going to see more sales-driven campaigns here," he said.

The panellists felt that it is a time to move from batch processing to serial processing. "Optimising and changing day by day is how you can become successful in social media channels. This is absolutely in contrast with the TV ads made in a batch, and then put up on the media," said Clark.

According to Nardis, there are several factors that contribute to a brand's success on the social media. "Getting closer to the community, and using the right dialogue and the right creative strategy is the key to social media," said Nardis.

Clark, on the other hand, felt that for social media campaign to do wonders, an idea should be bigger than a 30-second commercial. "It may not necessarily be expensive, but it should be successful in breaking the pattern," he added.

Speaking about how to make a team more strategy-oriented, Nardis said that the test is to learn and make a science out of it.

On being asked by an audience member on whether brands need to pay to retain positive profiles on social media and on the internet, Clark said, "Buying positive reviews is dangerous. Delivering transparent information to consumers is important."

Nardis also made a brief mention on how important it is to follow consumer patterns in terms of where they go and which sites they follow.

Nardis felt that if media fragmentation is an evil, it is a necessary evil. He said, "There is a huge audience and the power of reaching them is necessary."

Both Clark and Nardis agreed on the point of TV being an important part of the media mix. "Television is an important vehicle, but it is not interactive; we cannot have a conversation or engagement with consumers using TV," accepted O'Leary.

"The bulk of our media investments still goes to traditional media. But, it is important to know how we balance consumer journey across the media," concluded Clark.

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