Sophie Chen
Sep 17, 2012

Spikes Asia 2012: Japanese rivals join hands to share digital advertising tips

Koichiro Shima, chief executive officer, Hakuhodo Kettle, and Yasuharu Sasaki, executive creative director, Dentsu New York, shared five tips to help agencies stay relevant in today’s digital age

Koichiro Sima
Koichiro Sima

The two agencies have been known as historical rivals in the Japanese and world markets. But although they take different approaches, both agencies are known for their work related to digital advertising and branding.

The duo spoke on the first day at Spikes Asia 2012 around the subject of how to make digital advertising work, setting out five top tips to help agencies stay relevant in the digital age.

Design the unique experienceBy delivering the message to the client’s target audience, the traditional approach of advertising was one-way communication. But in the digital age, brands have to design unique experiences that engage people.

“We have to design one-of-a-kind experiences, like bungee jumping," said Sasaki. "The content must be extremely useful or extremely emotional.”

Meanwhile, Shima pointed out that the risk level is also increasing. If the content is good, you can offer deep brand affection. On the other hand, audiences may develop a negative brand perception. “The evolution of digital technology cuts both ways,” he said.

Be a facilitator and allow people to discover the message 


Agencies need to sustain people’s motivation at a positive level throughout the campaign. The key is to be a good facilitator that gives clues and hints to generate discussion among participants.

“In a digital advertisement, we shouldn’t deliver the message directly, but rather allow people to discover it on their own,” Shima said. “People need to feel more in control of the experience.”

                                                                                                                                                 Yasuharu Sasaki                                                       

Be flexible and tune the contents anytime                                                                       
Digital technology has totally changed the structure of advertising campaigns. “We should consider the content we make as temporary quasi-beta version, which is consistently evolving, even after the campaign has been launched,” said Shima.

He said that on receiving feedback, agencies have to be able to change or adjust any parts of the structure, as well as the allocation of the budget for a contingency plan.

Forget digitalUsing digital technology itself is not an idea. For example, launching a Facebook app in order to increase the number of fans is not an idea. Campaigns cannot reach to people’s hearts and engage them unless there is a profound idea. “It’s not the technology but the idea that attracts people,” said Sasaki.

He explained that in the digital age, a creative team needs a different way of thinking to keep people happy for a long time. He added that  to manage digital contents is like driving an amphibious vehicle; you have to adjust your driving technique to the changing environment. “It’s people who drive digital, not technology," he said. "We need human touch."

Make new profit for clientsThe challenges clients face today are getting more and more complex. And just meeting these challenges is not enough, particularly in the digital advertising field. Agencies have to challenge themselves to do much more than what the client requests.

“The client and the agency should trust each other and should create new value and profits,” said Shima. “To make a new profit, the content needs to provide services that are meaningful for users, resulting in creating social significance.”

This article first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific

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