Matthew Miller
Sep 18, 2012

Spikes Asia 2012: Approach emerging markets with social first, says Microsoft

Research by Microsoft and BBDO in cooperation with Ipsos OTX shows that while consumers in developed markets respond most readily to relevant advertising discovered through "serendipity", brands in emerging markets need to know that consumers there are more responsive to a social-first approach

Spikes Asia 2012: Approach emerging markets with social first, says Microsoft

Presented at Spikes Asia by Natasha Hritzuk, global head of research and global insights for Microsoft Advertising, the study involved both qualitative and quantitative research on consumers in two developed markets, the US and UK, and two "emerging" markets, Brazil and China. The qualitative research consisted of six consumer bloggers in each country, who recorded how they came across content and engaged with it online. The quantitative phase involved 300 smartphone owners aged 18 to 45 in each country.

The study provides a fascinating study in contrasts in line with the "cultural ethos" of the countries involved, Hritzuk told Campaign Asia-Pacific just after her presentation this morning.

In the developed markets, emphasis on individuality means people like to "stumble upon" relevant information on their own (although of course they are actually being targeted as precisely as modern technology and legislation will allow). By contrast, in the emerging markets people value knowing that their friends and family, as well as cultural influencers, favour a product or brand.

"In China and Brazil, it's people that are most valuable to the brands, whereas in the US and UK, the brands have to prove their value to the people first," she said.

In China and Brazil, social was the predominant approach that drove people to engage with digital advertising, because a social approach engaged an underlying need for conviviality and a sense of belonging. "It's about other people seeding the idea with me that this is a brand or product that I need to buy, and suddenly I have a feeling of being part of a larger group," Hritzuk said. "Emerging markets seek advice first."

Hritzuk cited a Cartier campaign that focused on sharing true love stories and the 'People's Car' campaign by Volkswagen as examples that succeeded in this way.

Hritzuk also repeatedly emphasised the need for brands to pare product information and choices down to a manageable level--regardless of market. "Simplicity drives purchase decisions," she said, as well as communication of those decisions through social channels. "You could get presented with every piece of information under the sun, but at the end of that you want information that's relevant and contextual and important to you," she said. Too much information leads to a feeling of loss of control, whereas a limited set of key data points breeds a sense of security that leads to confident action.

This article first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific

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