What winning approach should brands undertake in order to succeed in Asian markets?

A few months ago, the renowned Asian magazine, Marketing Interactive, invited me to talk about how to create brand stories that go viral.

They proposed me to arrange a Masterclass in Hong Kong and explain the benefits of viral marketing. The audience was composed of entrepreneurs, marketing directors, and CEOs.

It sounded great and I enthusiastically accepted the challenge. I wanted to help people to get advantage of storytelling and virality. But, why should they attend a 7 hours masterclass on a normal working day?

First, they should understand the importance of the topic and how it can help them to achieve their business goals.

I started to think about the problems that marketers face every day regarding digital marketing and I wrote a list of the most common concerns.

4 challenges of internet marketing for asian marketers

Saturated digital advertising market

Digital ad revenues grow year over year, but Google and Facebook concentrate all growth in digital advertising.

What would happen when Facebook or Google decide to up its price?

This concentration may increase the ads costs. Monopolies start out well, but they could end up on the oppressive side.

On the other hand, this duopoly creates a fierce competition between advertisers.

Digital ad spending worldwide

Facebook ads revenues

Google ads revenues

Consumers get annoyed by ads

People are annoyed by the huge amount of ads. Nearly 50% of Asian people use an ad blocker to block ads on the websites they visit.

They find digital ads disruptive and a waste of time, they are also not very happy when they keep getting served the same ad over and over and over.

On the other hand, many web users dislike the idea of their personal information being gathered and shared by publishers and advertisers.

Global ad blocking by device

The death of Facebook organic reach

Businesses noticed that the organic reach and the social media engagement have dropped more than 50%.

One reason is that there are many players on Facebook right now, the volume of content published continues to increase, and new topic areas get rapidly overloaded with content.

This increased competition affects the social traffic referrals.

Besides, Facebook changed its algorithm and now gives preference to personal posts, therefore brands and publishers are gaining less organic referral traffic from Facebook and less engagement with their Facebook posts.

Organic Facebook reach in APAC

Lack of transparency

There are some issues about the lack of transparency and standards when it comes to publishers and their brands.

Many companies are afraid if their ads will appear next to controversial content or in the wrong place.

Other marketer concerns are the high fraud rates and opaque trading practices in programmatic ad exchanges.

The State of Programmatic Advertising report has found that almost eight in ten advertisers indicated they have worries over levels of transparency in programmatic advertising (79%), while only a small minority (14%) strongly agreed they have a good understanding of the proportion of their budget that makes it to the consumer.

How can companies handle this complicated scenario? Opportunities for Asian Marketers

Despite this “dark” outlook, there are still many opportunities for marketers and I want to list them below:

The following chart shows how social network penetration worldwide is ever-increasing:

Number of social network users worldwide

And Asia is a hot spot. This chart shows how Asia leads the ranking of social media users worldwide.

Top 5 regions of monthly active social networking users

According to Global Web Index, social media captures over 30% of online time and the time spent on social media increases year over year.

Social media captures over 30 online time

Last but not least, the ‘Word-of-mouse’ is an effective way of spreading marketing messages. According to Tickbox.net, more than 85 percent of people open a link or attachment sent by a friend.

What winning approach should brands undertake in order to succeed in Asian markets?

Companies, no matter if they are B2C or B2B, need to find new pockets outside of the congested digital ad market and try to connect with their consumers and nowadays there is an answer:

Brands need to create shareable stories to succeed in marketing today.

People are highly connected through social media and mobile phones with internet access and, they are constantly sharing content with our peers, colleagues, and relatives.

Social media, video storytelling, and cell phones are our best allies.

Cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner suggests we are 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it has been wrapped in a story.

Why? Because stories are memorable. Nowadays, stories are more important than ever. Stories help us grab the gist of an idea quickly.

Besides, feelings and emotions drive human behavior. Consequently, how companies make people feel will have the greatest impact on their bottom line. 

This strategical approach with viral marketing can help companies grow faster, launch new products effectively, increase their social reach, look for prospects around the globe and build a brand reputation.

Viral Marketing is also easy to integrate into your marketing channels. Social media marketing, websites and email marketing are the top marketing channels for businesses.

Companies use those channels to tell a story about their products or brands and viral stories could be easily implemented and increase the effectiveness of the marketing messages.

top 6 digital marketing channels for businesses

Sounds good, right?

But the truth is that recent stats suggest only 1.2% of social video on Facebook actually goes viral*. (*Wochit report is based on the analysis of 4K videos created in Wochit platform and published by 100 publishers in Facebook between Dec 2016 and Feb 2017)

Fortunately, there is room for improvement, and this is the reason why I presented the Masterclass.

I wanted to help other companies to find new pockets outside of the traditional ways of promoting their products and brands and teach them how to implement an effective viral marketing strategy.

masterclass create brand stories that go viral

What about you?

Do you also want to craft brand messages that go viral?

If you couldn’t attend the Masterclass, you can take a look at my previous posts about Viral Marketing and get a brief idea about virality and storytelling.

6 Rules for a Message to Go Viral – The secret sauce of Viral Marketing Part 1.

How to Effectively Distribute your Viral Message – The Secret Sauce of Viral Marketing Part II

Make a True Impact with Storytelling!

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Chema Lopez

A Madrid Polytechnic University International MBA has worked as global marketing director in B2B and B2C international leading companies implementing global marketing and communication strategies to ensure business objectives and to optimize brands reputation and visibility on a global level.

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