As APAC’s 2 billion internet users grow at a scorching 8 per cent a year, with the region’s digital economy projected to top $1.12 trillion by 2021, speakers at a recent seminar said it is high time brands take a close look at how their message is packaged and delivered.

“It is shocking how many brands don’t know their customer as yet. With 400 million internet users in India now, not knowing your customer is unacceptable,” said Rajan Anandan, Vice-President, India & SEA, Google.

Chaotic disruption

Maya Hari, Vice-President, Asia Pacific, Twitter, said the world is getting disrupted and brands have had to face some of the most unimaginable and disruptive moments this year. In the midst of this chaos, she said, it is very difficult for big brands to win.

Johan Vrancken, Managing Director, Nielsen Singapore, elaborated on connected commerce and how decoding consumers online behaviour was vital for success.

The experts were sharing their views on the impact of an evolving, connected environment on business at the #ready2018 seminar in Singapore, organised by Capillary Technologies, suggesting ways in which brands can become ‘consumer ready’.


Richa Goswami, Head of Total Brand Experience, APAC, Johnson & Johnson, said it was imperative for organisations to move from corporate-centricity to consumer-centricity.

“Getting under the skin of the consumer is important,” she said, speaking of how J&J has reinvented its marketing to focus on customer-centricity, community and content.

The FMCG and medical company has also been experimenting with shaking up traditional structures in favour of 'squads' for some of the smaller brands in the J&J portfolio. Just as Amazon Web Services has been doing. Conor McNamara, Head, Business Development, APAC, AWS maintained Amazon is organised in a different way from other organisations, and showed how it has always been Day 1 at the company for over 20 years.

“We create cross functional teams where the anchor is the customer and the outcome is customer-centric. That creates a different mindset,” he said. “We impart the best tools to those teams and empower them to be successful. We do this to reduce dependency on other parts of the organisation.”

Google’s Anandan said the onus was on brands to engage much more with the customer, “since they are a breed that has no patience, are much more informed and are looking to engage with brands more intimately.”

Citing an example of a consumer who walks into an auto dealership, Anandan said today’s consumer is much more knowledgeable than the sales rep in the auto store.

“Being more informed, consumers today demand attention and quick service, given Millenial's 8-second attention span, but brands have not found a way to engage with them,” he added.

(The writer was in Singaporeat the invitation ofCapillary Technologies)