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A look in the mirror – preparing for the future starts here

Connie Xu

Director of Brand Strategy

Kantar Vermeer





Karina Soedjatmiko

Account Manager

Kantar Millward Brown



“If we do not change, we will no longer be competitive.” We’ve heard these words time and time again from our clients. Indeed, as consumers ourselves, we face the undeniable truth is that our world is changing.


Take a moment to imagine a world where we all have our own robots, one where people no longer drive, where the lines of virtual and physical realities blur. Although it sounds like something out of Minority Report, this is the reality that our grandchildren, if not our children, will know as run-of-the-mill. In fact, according to tech trends observed by venture capitalist Mary Meeker and seen at the technology shows IFA and CES, this is a world that is already here.


The major trends of 2017 include the Internet of Things (IoT), supercomputer cars, and humanoid robots. Sound futuristic? Consider this. IoT is simply a fancy term to describe connecting devices with the internet, and/or to each other. A simple example is just your Apple smartwatch or your FitBit. What about supercomputer cars? These include, in their most basic forms, the navigation system on your car helping you find your next location, or if you’re lucky enough, your car’s ability to parallel-park itself. As far as humanoid robots go, just think of the surge in drone usage here in Indonesia.


To further put into perspective the impact of digital, simply think of your day today. As for me, I woke up from an alarm set on my Samsung, answered Line messages, checked my email, sent a Rollover Reaction lipstick on Instagram to a friend, and then started playing Spotify as I got ready for work. On my way home, I ordered dinner from Go-Food for the night, as well as groceries on HappyFresh as I took a Go-Jek home, all while still listening to Spotify. Highly digital, are we not?


Indeed, the consumer has changed and so has the ecosystem. In other words, the consumer journey is rapidly evolving. As marketers, we must ask ourselves, are we truly equipped for this reality? If not, what can we do to stay competitive?


Well, the first step we can take is to take a good look in the mirror and assess our own marketing capabilities. Such a significant change in the consumer ecosystem requires us to re-evaluate our entire way of working – a simple tweak or adjustment is not enough for us to adapt to this new reality. In assessing our capabilities, we should focus on three basic aspects: people, process, and tools.


1)    People - Are our people digitally savvy?  With the rise of technology, we must take into account that the lines of marketing and technical expertise are beginning to blur and become one. As such, we need to ensure that we hire the right talent with a mix of marketing and technology experience. At the same time, we must invest in building our internal capabilities to equip our marketers with the knowledge to succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace.


2)    Processes – Do we have the right processes in place to respond to the market in real time? In today’s world, fast becomes faster. By this, we mean that with the rise of social media and digital technologies, everything is moving forward at a record pace.  Two common examples that we face are the speed of consumer word of mouth, as well as disruption in the market due to rapid product innovation. With all of these changes taking place, to stay ahead of the market, it has become increasingly crucial to break down organizational silos and empower our marketers to make decisions and take action in real time.



3)        Tools – Finally, with the advent of big data, we must evaluate not only whether we have the right tools to understand our market, but also if we’re able to pinpoint the key insights to drive our businesses forward. Brands that succeed today are ones that approach insights and strategy holistically, to become meaningful, salient, and differentiated in the market.


In short, to succeed and stay competitive, as marketers we must first evaluate ourselves. If, in doing so, we find gaps in our people, processes, and/or tools, let us be bold and make the changes necessary to drive our businesses forward. As Mochtar Riady once said, “If you dare to think big things and are willing to fight for it, then you will succeed.”