SINGAPORE: The three-day AdAsia 05 kicked off on Monday morning at the impressive and gargantuan Suntec City Convention Centre here with Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, calling for the 1,000-strong gathering to “discuss strategies and ideas on winning in Asia”.
Praising the advertising industry for being “extremely resilient, nimble and adaptable”, Dr Lee said that the Singapore advertising sector was in a healthy state with an annual growth rate of 15 per cent last year. “However, I urge key industry players to look beyond our shores towards the region as one big market. We have the creativity, organisational structures and experience compared to the best in the world,” he pointed out.
Then came his message to a gathering comprising some of Asia’s best communicators, creative minds and media honchos: “With China and India enjoying exponential growth, we need to position ourselves to plug into the vast potential and soar with them in the next wave of Asian success.”
The thrust of Dr Lee’s message was not just about advertising, but about design. “The design industry contributes 1.5 per cent of Singapore’s GDP, and advertising should be seen as part of this. Design leadership holds the key to future success of Asia on the global plane,” he said.
Earlier, Lim Chin Beng, chairman of AdAsia 05 Organising Committee, said, “Asia is the hottest place in the world today to do business. Therefore, we have chosen the theme ‘winning in Asia’. We have to find the best strategies for branding. And Singapore is best suited to become the creative hub of Asia.”
In the first session on “Global vision Asian action: Marketing lessons from the world to Asia”, Hermawan Kartajaya, President, World Marketing Association, provided some trends into the future of marketing. According to him, the three key elements that would shape marketing and, therefore, require new branding perspectives in future are: ‘digitalisation’ (“age of consumer participation”), globalisation (“it will lead to market paradoxes for brands”) and ‘futurisation’ (“rise of the creative class leading to emergence of creative markets”).
“Consumers are evolving everywhere. So, companies too will have to evolve to become ‘meaning’ companies in future based on the values of brand identity, brand integrity and brand image. Horizontal communication will be more important in such a scenario than vertical communication. Successful companies will have to have a CCO – Chief Communications Officer – in times to come to effectively handle communication to become ‘meaning’ companies in the age of customer participation which will be the next stage after the information age,” Kartajaya explained.
Talking about ‘Media trends: Change of Die?’, Michael Lee, Chairman & World President, International Advertising Association, observed that the digital age with its impact on consumer behaviour was creating new challenges in the marketplace.
“There is a perception that the media industry is in big trouble. It is. But it would be a mistake to write it off so easily. Ad agencies have to find a way out of the emerging situation where the traditional media is battling it out with the new age media. Media agencies can no more merely involve themselves with planning and buying on cannibal margins – they have to become full-service agencies. And agency size does not matter, it is nimbleness that will make the difference in the digital age,” he said.
Lee’s suggestions: traditional media will have to get more engaged and recover their confidence; media agencies must work hard to stay agnostic despite the natural disposition to new technology; and ad agencies and their clients have got to find a lasting solution to compensation issues.