The art of adaptation

Jul 23, 2018-

Dave McCaughan has been working in the marketing and advertising sector in various South Asian countries since 1984. He is the founder of Bibliosexual, a media and advertising consultancy, where he builds brand stories and conducts workshops. He is also the chief strategy officer of Bangkok-based Ai Agency, that specialises in artificial intelligence. McCaughan who was in Kathmandu for the Nepal Management Symposium 2018, spoke to the Post’s Alisha Sijapati, where he shared his views on strategic marketing and some leadership skills a brand manager must acquire. Excerpts:

Marketing strategies have been changing and evolving with time. What are the changes you have seen in the field over the years?

Modern marketing is constantly evolving. If one looks at its development, the world of marketing changed through mass literacy. Earlier, newspapers were highly taxed in several countries because certain section of the society didn’t want people to get too much information. However, with time that changed and everyone had access to the world. When tax was deducted the only medium to the audience was through printing ads in newspapers. Unilever, one of the oldest organisations in the world built its brand through print ads, which gave them a lot of leverage and success in the market. Social change is one of the key aspects of marketing.

We need to be careful about how and what we project to the audience. For instance, if a young man wants to woo a woman, he gets ideas from movies or product video clips. We need to see how that creates an impact in the society, either positively or negatively. Being a marketing person comes with a lot of responsibilities. 

How challenging is it to create and maintain a brand image of a product?

First, you have to create a brand image that fulfils your product’s particular needs. After that, you need to keep evolving because a customer’s preference is never constant. For instance, Levis’ has been under massive pressure to change their marketing strategies constantly as people’s preferences of jeans have changed over the past five decades. As things change, you have to recreate how the brand is going to be represented in the market. You want to be reachable. As the marketplace gets more complicated, you need to design strategies on continuing to stand out. In Nepal, there are many up and coming brands. New brands making their way into a new market need to first understand that relevance is absolutely crucial. Everything is about relevance. A lot of brands get carried away with what’s fashionable, forgetting what matters to people. Nokia was one of the most successful companies in the world once but with time they didn’t see the change in competition and they failed to keep abreast with what people want. Nokia was great when people wanted verbal communication, but nothing is constant. You need to continually adapt.

Social media and networking sites have become an alternative platform to advertise products today. How do these platforms help in branding a product? 

Social media has been around for over centuries now, only previously it was through meeting people from the society and passing out information. However, with modern technology evolving and more exciting features being introduced, things are changing for the marketing and advertising world. Work is getting more challenging and roles and responsibilities are changing. We are directly exposed to the audience, where we get both positive and negative feedback. Before modern technology existed, the only medium of communication with the audience was through print ads in newspapers. Earlier, if you sent an article to a newspaper, the designated person had the liberty to choose what they want to print but now through social networking sites, the audience selects what they want to see. As a marketing and advertising person, you need to now adapt and understand the different tools required to reach out to your audience.

As a marketing expert, what do you think are some of the skills required to become a competent leader in your field?

There are three fundamental responsibilities that a marketing leader should understand: You need to understand people, you need to meet people and you need to constantly do research work in your field. Marketing and advertising aren’t for people who like desk jobs. You need to go out and meet new people constantly.

What are your three tips on marketing?

Understand people. Understand the medium. Make sure your responses are emotional not rational.

Published: 23-07-2018 09:58

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