Words by Kaye Rey
The digital transformation in the Philippines is in full swing. Everyone from upstart micro-enterprises to established corporates are finding ways to transfer or integrate more of their business operations - be it human resources, marketing, sales, business development, or other functions - to the digital world.
For the country as a whole, digital transformation is beneficial. More companies will reap the benefits of digitizing their departments and connecting with customers online. The challenge of digital transformation is with individual companies. Put simply, now that most businesses are online, the fact that you are is no longer a competitive advantage.
This notion is evident most in social media. When Facebook rolled out their pages feature, if you were one of the early companies to build a brand presence there, you likely would have increased traffic to your website, made more sales, and maybe even seized market share from a competitor. But the same is no longer true. Brand-building through Facebook is saturated. Since nearly every business has a page - and sometimes even multiple pages for different products or services - it’s nearly impossible to get noticed organically. You need to pay-to-play - just like all your competitors. The battle boils down to who has the biggest warchest.
In this kind of saturated digital environment, business leaders need to keep their ear to the ground for new channels and platforms.
Here are three trends emerging in Asia that business leaders in the Philippines need to watch out for.
Livestreaming goes live
Livestreaming is more mature in markets like the United States and China (where it is notably set to exceed box office receipts), but it is also coming to Southeast Asia. One of the most promising platforms in this space is content and livestreaming app Kumu.
Based out of Manila, Kumu is oriented toward Filipino creatives across the archipelago and the diaspora. Livestreamers sing Filipino ballads, take fans through a digital tour of Manila’s hidden secrets, and give financial advice tailored to life in the Philippines.
For fans, Kumu is an unfiltered way to engage with their favorite talents. For content creators, Kumu is a way to sustainably earn from their talents (the platform has a digital tipping feature going live this month). The value proposition is also substantial for brands. They can do everything from sponsor relevant livestreamers (e.g. a marketplace could back a fashion influencer to promote its products on their stream) to partner with Kumu to create a dedicated show (e.g. a fitness brand could co-produce a sports game show). The opportunities are really limitless, given how nascent livestreaming still is in the Philippines and in the region: Brands will be going live to an audience of viewers eager to engage with them.
Democratizing the billboard
The billboard and other out-of-home advertising placements are a staple in most urban cities in Southeast Asia. But ride-hailing platforms are now set to challenge them. Earlier this week, Go-Jek acquired Promogo, an ad-tech company.
Promogo enabled brands to advertise on both the inside and the outside of vehicles, and operators to earn a cut from the advertising costs. This kind of advertising is promising because both audiences represent a captive audience. Those in the vehicle remain there until they reach their destination, while those around the vehicle with advertising may also have no other choice but to watch: Southeast Asia has some of the worst traffic congestion in the world. That one of the largest unicorns in Southeast Asia is placing a bet on ad-tech just goes to show the promise of this form of advertising for brands: They’ll have an intimate audience with affluent passengers and drivers during their journey across the city.
Influencer marketing becomes scaleable
Previously, brands that wanted to do an influencer marketing campaign had to do it manually, contacting prospective influencers one-by-one and negotiating individual contracts from there. But now even influencer marketing is getting transformed through marketplaces and platforms, such as through Indonesia’s GetCraft.
While GetCraft provides all types of content on-demand, such as video, photos, design, and writing, its most innovative category is arguably influencer marketing. Through this vertical, brands can easily plan sponsored content. Perhaps most crucially, brands can also track the performance of these influencer marketing campaigns entirely through GetCraft. These point to a future where influencer marketing is not a one-off initiative or campaign but a regular part of a brand’s marketing activities. Brands would be smart to develop their influencer marketing strategy with an eye toward scale.
Of course, these three trends are just a few of those percolating across Asia. What’s important is that brand leaders look beyond the digital channels where everyone already is and project themselves toward where they should be in the future: That’s where your customers will be.