Big data is a topic that has been commonly talked about in the recent past 2 years in the business, academic or research spheres. Although it is a topic frequently mentioned, there seems to be a certain fear or apprehensiveness towards garnering further in depth understanding of this topic – particularly among those in the business community to explore how big data can be harnessed to enhance business competitiveness. Probably, this could be attributed to the manner and platforms whereby this topic has been mostly discussed, with terms and choice of language mostly skewed towards a “digital or scientific lingo” commonly used by data analytics and research professionals.
In general, big data can be referred as technologies that are able to make sense of huge data sets which would open the door to a new approach to understanding the world and making decisions. The interest towards big data of late is very much attributed to the explosion of large amount of data generated from both within organizations and in the digital space. Specifically with the advent of social media and the intensive usage of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions, the digital space has been experiencing an exceptional growth rate. It is on this premise that a large portion of all existing data in the world, which is approximately 90% has been only generated in the last 2 years. For instance, within each minute, brands receive 34,722 likes, Facebook receives 684,478 new content and Twitter sends out 100,000 tweets. There is indeed a lot of information about people concerning their interests, behaviours, unmet needs and aspirations that are available out there in the digital space! We definitely can learn a lot about our target market if we could make sense of these data after pulling them together – something that some successful companies have started doing.
Thus, this brings to the question, “What is the impact of Big Data to brands?” Successful brands have been those who have stayed relevant to their target market over time. Brands such as Amazon, L’Oréal, Heineken, and Starbucks had reinvented themselves several times over to stay ahead of the competition by staying relevant in the marketplace. This is achieved by capturing insightful information of customers’ behaviours and their needs progressively via different sources; and to apply them to create the brand experience that is impactful. Top performing brands attest to this by demonstrating that twice as many of them tend to use market insights to drive future strategies and improve on their customer engagement. In short, big data has not changed the principles of branding, but rather has introduced a new channel to facilitate an innovative approach in brand management. This in turn has help brands to better understand their customers more efficiently and in a more dynamic manner in order to continue foster a close relationship with them.
On this premise, I would like to share two examples whereby brands had leveraged on big data to stay relevant to their target audience. L’Oréal, for instance demonstrated their reliance on Big Data by observing “Google Search” bahaviours of women when they were looking for hair colouring products online. From this analysis, L’Oréal was inspired to develop their Ombre hair kit which was very well accepted. Another example is Starbucks. Starbucks identify purchasing trends of their customers based on data obtained from their loyalty programme. They can activate personalised promotions to regenerate interest of customers that show weaker affinity towards the brand.
Moving forward, we at A.S. Louken recognise the impact of Big Data towards the evolution of brand management. Together with our group of agencies under the Louken Group, we have started exploring in our client engagement by advising them to leverage Big Data to understand the behaviours and needs of their customers in order to better manage their brands.
Extracts of this article was taken from an original speech delivered by Dr Lau Kong Cheen, Senior Brand Director, A.S. Louken, at the ASME Seminar for “The Age of Big Data Analysis” on 22 January 2015.