Marketing in Thailand as a Foreigner: Volume #5 The Best Practices, really?
Foreign marketers sometimes need to be bold enough to wear socks and sandals in a tropical country like Thailand to stand out. If you wonder why: READ HERE.
Volume#5: The Best Practices, really?
Anyone working for brands big enough is always approached with ‘THE PLATFORMS’. They will let you know all the best practices in the world that could rocket your brand’s value through sophisticated creative or media solutions. However, we tend to be carried away by the so-called best practices and forget to contemplate the human side of marketing solutions.
Think Human, rather Platform
Marketing, as everybody knows, is all about understanding humans and leveraging their subconscious weaknesses to our business advantage. Even knowing so, human minds are so weird. When we are presented with perfect scenarios that we would want to happen in our situations, too. That is what platforms’ best practices do to us. They, the platforms, present you with their perfect cases with solid marketing results (god knows how much augmentation there is in their storytelling), and you automatically think ‘Hmm, I want this for my brand, too’. It is pretty normal since you use their platforms on daily basis and want to make the best out of it.
However, that is when we lose focus that marketing has to be human-driven. The creative outputs have to be perfectly tailored to the platforms; eg, the key message needs to appear in the first 5 seconds because digital audience susceptibility has changed. Voila, you have a campaign perfectly customised to function really well on each platform. However, has it occurred to you that the outputs are structured through what platforms claim as ‘the best’, not how your prospects or consumers think as ‘the best’? Maybe consumers do not watch your ads because they are too salesy, not because they have shorter attention spans. Maybe we need to change our perception of how we come up with communication, rather than doing the same kind of communication but hoping for the best through what the platforms tell us based on their commercial agenda.
Have you noticed that the majority of extremely successful Thai digital campaigns that actually make an impact do not follow what the platforms describe as the best practices?
The Only One — 11-minute VDO
It is one of the trailblazing digital campaigns that happened 6 years ago but is still relevant today. The VDO is extremely long, and there is no hard sell and pushy key message in the VDO. Consumers heard loud and clear what the brand is trying to say that it is about creating bonding between The One and their consumers on the 10th anniversary of the card.
The campaign was just launched 8 months ago, but you could see the similarities between this recent one and the 6-year-ago VDO. The VDO is 8 minutes, and there is no apparent marketing key message or juicy-looking crispy chicken. The consumers still understand crystal clear that 5-star Chicken can connect all generations through their delicious chicken.
Platform’s Best Practices are Nice, but the Focus is all on Consumers
Similarly to what I have always mentioned in all of my articles, I am not saying that you should not follow platforms’ best practices, it is just that you have to think thoroughly. Best practices are perfect if you must be delivering the key message without creative choices, and your strategy is forcing the audience through media. However, if you want to get deep in consumer insights, following the formats that make you look like a robot is not really a good idea.
Marketing communication is to drive business growth through communication. Being in the creative safe zone and letting the platform do the rest by best practices is comfortable, I understand.
But if you are bold enough to reject being toyed with your perfectionism and be consumer-driven, your brand communication would have more impact than you think it could.
Yes, you will probably look bizarre.
Yes, you are going to be notoriously remembered for your oddity.
But one thing is, your outcomes will be unforgettable in our little country, which is the foundation of marketing. Remember, Justin Bieber once pulled socks and sandals off!
Writer: Don Gorrith, Senior Strategic Planner at Yell Advertising Bangkok
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