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Old School

The eBRANDING Scenario – As It Is.

I have been trying really hard lately to gauge the level of understanding on interactive branding and digital marketing in the local branding and marketing environment ( well, at least in Kuala Lumpur within the SME and SMI environment ) for the past two months. I was hoping to see that it had gone to another significant level since the days of the dotcoms before and after it collapsed in 2002.

My objective was to understand the level of anticipation towards e-marketing in the local business environment, what does it mean to them and what are the expectations.

First stop was to investigate keywords and keyphrases on the subject of `interactive branding’ on Google Trends, a wonderful research tool to determine search popularity according to market demographics. There were no results on `interactive branding’ . Search volume was not substantial and supporting keyphrases were not that impressive on Wordtracker for the past two months. The keywords for `digital marketing’ did not yield any relevant results connected to the local environment although it seems to be the buzzword for most matured european markets and in Singapore as well. It was rather the keyword `internet marketing’ that topped the charts. And to my surprise, it was the most searched keyword done by users in Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur being the second city to top the list. ( First being Jakarta ). An encouraging sign.

Off to the forums, newsgroups and Q&A sites. Instead of finding well structured strategic content on interactive branding or digital marketing, a vast coverage on internet marketing ( or e-marketing) for budding internet entrepreneurs was found. If it was interactive branding or e-branding, its more likely to focus on the area of web design and developement. Again I’d like to stress that Im working within the local context.

And, to get a feel of the actual situation, I got in-touch with digital marketing seminars and conferences `of the moment’ for the past two months either attending it personally or interviewed those who attended. One of the first events of the year addressing this issue was Malaysian Media Congress which contemplated much on the research of consumer behaviours in the consumption of ad messages, local content distribution and the value of internet and mobile technology as a communicative medium. MIRC SME introduced entry level e-marketing workshops and seminars to SMEs and SMIs which saw some very good response in its turn out. One which caught my attention was the 20min talk on payment gateways, its trend and future developements that will significantly drive e-commerce in Malaysia to the next level. Engage 2007 was centred in singapore. Interactive experts mainly from U.S. and Europe gave a piece of their mind on building brands through internet and mobile technology which I believe what most media and advertising consultancies were looking foward to. Next stop, `The 4th Superlative Annual Brand Marketing Conference on the 29th & 30th Oct 2007 organized by the Brand Equity’ magazine which promises some interesting insights and developements.

As far as the business community is concern, they acknowleged the fact that they need to venture abroad, to change more rapidly than ever before at a pace and scale on par with international businesses. To them ignoring the power of internet as a form of communication would be suicidal but they haven’t got the hang of the idea of creating
a business entity centred around it. Having said that, most of our local businesses are really at a lost in terms of how to build and integrate e-branding objectives as a form of brand value to support its brand equity. Those that I came into contact with expect a standardization in benchmarking for results, more case studies as a reference point and consultants that are capable of guiding them to make quality executive decisions and in producing the results they are after.

Of course my research cannot represent the state of the local interactive market situation but at least it gives those who have the slightest idea ( Just like I did a couple months back).of what’s really happening at this point a perspective to begin with.

One thing is for sure.Things are catching up fast.

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About Pete WP Fong

Pete is the Digital Marketing & Social Media Consultant of DMC Engage365, pioneering the landscapes of digital marketing with huge ambitions to bring local brands to virtual life

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