Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Listen up people, listen up!!

This was the main takeaway at this morning’s cosy Carat-led breakfast event on Consumer Generated Brands – Listen to your consumers.

Patrick Stahle, Carat Asia Pacific’s regional CEO hosted the session at the Chijmes courtyard with a roomful of clients and partners and led a group of four panellists in discussing the topic.

The speakers were:

Barney Loehnis, Asia Pacific network director, Isobar

Tom Sipple, managing director, Yahoo Southeast Asia

Craig Harvey, director – media research, Synovate Asia Pacific

Walt Mayo, general manager, home and small business, Dell Asia Pacific

Loehnis, Sipple, Harvey and Mayo. Apologies for the terrible photo, I wasn't planning on taking any pictures and this was what my Nokia E61i managed with NO LIGHTING plus I was sitting in the fourth row. Not bad eh?

I just wanted to share with you a few of the more interesting soundbites that we were privy to. You will also see a few more names – these are people who asked questions to the panel.

Mayo: consumers have always been in control of brands but the difference now is that they are in much more control, things are happening much faster and more innovatively. You (the brand) are being defined every day.

Harvey: The best branding success is having consumers tell the story as opposed to you telling the story

Mayo: The question is how do you directly engage customers to help you deliver more value to them? We using online suggestion/feedback boxes. We have people tell us they want this and that operating system with their PC and we work on those suggestions.

(I’m not sure but this is most probably) Harvey: Everyone wants their brands to get involved in the conversation. They key is creating a win-win situation in which both brands and consumers get something out of it. Figure out what makes your brand relevant to them.

Sipple: Companies who listen to their consumers are the ones who will succeed.

Loehnis: The exciting things are going back to analog. A handwritten letter for example is the most exciting thing I can receive in the morning. [laughter] If people are going to be excited by a message, it has to happen through ground-swell so digital’s the best way.

Now all advertising is new advertising, because media, like TV, are getting more interactive and everything’s changing.

Kim Walker, CEO & president for Asia, M&C Saatchi: Don’t get intoxicated with the notion of engagement because unless consumers are familiar / know the brands, they can’t engage with them. The rules have to change. You can’t just talk to them, you have to listen to them.

Chris Schauman, regional partner manager, MSN Southeast, Asia Microsoft Operations: 80% of people don’t believe what brands say about themselves. Essentially the traditional marketing model is over!

Stahle: Traditional advertising is getting very very complicated. Companies today more than before have to live their values.

Steve Garton, global head of media, Synovate: How is retail going to fit in?

Mayo: I don’t know but there have been indicators of a slowdown/ceiling in the amount people spend online.

Harvey: We’re living in the age of accountability – don’t under invest in research!

Sipple: Don’t be afraid, open up and listen to what consumers are saying about you.

Mayo: Be honest, truthful about what you’re trying to provide people.

Loehnis: Be creative – figure out what you’re trying to drive and invest in measurement.


Alfred LARGANGE said...

Harvey: The best branding success is having consumers tell the story as opposed to you telling the story

Now THAT is an insight !!!

Consumers used to be the AUDIENCE, they are now also part of the MEDIA.

Did you notice small car drivers (PERODUA Kelisa, SUZUKI Swift, etc.) having Blogs and animating clubs that have nothing to do with the local distributors ?

By creating communities, they create a life for the product that go beyond what the distributor has ever imaginated.

Emma Chen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emma Chen said...


The most powerful marketing being word of mouth - word of mouth among peers, the circle of influence to be specific.

Apparently, planners often over-looked the value and opportunities in sending their Brands to premises where peers are meeting daily for meals and tea / coffee in between.

Maybe it’s got to do with some true bravery to embrace what’s common sense.

“…if I were pay so much to execute a campaign that’s so simple and just plain use of common sense, where’s the value?” Client ask.

So, we often go for the difficult one. Trying to justify value in the complications involved at Client's expense anyway. No?

Alfred LARGANGE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alfred LARGANGE said...

Well, word of mouth is not only one of the most powerful factors in shaping a brand. I foresee that it will have a strong impact on the Branding and the Advertising campaigns of products who have reached iconic status.

See my reflection on the iPhone:

OK, OK, here is my piece on the iPhone

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It was an interesting event, indeed we are very dependent on the companies for products that we think we need.

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