The key messages from Mumbrella360 Asia: a call to action

Last week Brand Learning joined 1000 marketers, publishers, agencies and tech folks at the first Mumbrella360 Asia conference. Two themes stood out: the need for consumer relevance and the need for marketing to raise its corporate game. Each were calls to action fueled by new data, examples and stories.  Here we capture the messages we took out for marketers in Asia – and indeed, for marketers across the globe. 

Time and time again we heard the call to arms for relevance, driven by real consumer understanding

According to IPG reach is easy, relevance is hard, and brands need to bridge the two. As Chatbots and AI get more emotionally accurate to drive relevance, there remains a gap in real consumer understanding, despite the volume and breadth of data we can access.

Here are 3 messages on insight that caught our attention:


A new insight to action

Viacom’s session emphasised an insight into Asian consumers: success is shown more in relationships than material markers – a big and important shift. Friendship circles matter, there are more people in APAC who have online friends they’ve never met in real life than in the rest of the world. But depth of relationships and impact also matter. People want to make a difference. Brands that can build experiences, connections and help people to make a difference will generate higher brand equity.


Prophet’s Tom Doctoroff shared their top 10 Brands in China including Alipay and WeChat, but also Western brands like IKEA, NIKE and Marriott. All were compelling examples of both local and international brands understanding and tailoring their message to the massive and important Chinese market. For example, Nike’s “Just Do It” concept makes sport about the individual in Nike’s Western campaigns, but does not play so well in China where the relationship between individual and society drives culture. The successful approach for Nike in China presented sport as a means to an end “Use Sports… to get what you want, to fit in, to have fun.”


A great session from Ed Pank from Warc lifted the lid on Asia’s best ads. Unilever’s Clear in Japan developed a B2B campaign for shampoo. Acting as a disrupter, they changed the rules in their favour by focusing on employees who wear any kind of headgear, from pizza delivery to baseball teams and hotels and reaching out to employers to bulk purchase shampoo to address the issues of sweaty hot headgear. They helped companies provide value to their employees, solved a real need and developed a new revenue stream.

With the tenure of CMOs the shortest of the C-suite and concerns about marketing losing appeal to CEOs, the final 2 messages are calls to action for all marketers to cement their corporate impact:


Cheryl Goh, Grab’s VP Marketing shared a glimpse into life at Grab from its early storeroom days to its 1 billionth ride last week and opened up the challenge facing all marketers: How do we set up marketing to own growth goals in the organization? Top of her list: Find your “one metric that matters”. For Grab it is the number of successful rides. Enough passengers booking vehicles and enough drivers accepting jobs. Not downloads and impressions and views. In her view Marketing drives customer growth and they have a clear strategy: get more people into cars and bikes.


How to unlock the ingenuity of your people

It’s not just leaders that lift marketing’s game: managers are a critical, and often overlooked, group. Brand Learning MD APAC, Harriet de Swiet, shared our latest research into how changing your practices as a manager can change the performance of your whole team to drive growth. It was an energetic session which saw all audience members try out the growth practices that marketing managers can adopt now to deliver growth through their teams. A GPS doesn’t tell you about all the wrong turns you made at the end of a journey, and so it is with the best managers who role model, stretch and guide you to achieve your potential. Download our toolkit to find out what each practice involves.

At Brand Learning we support organisations to become better able to drive growth by identifying and building their capabilities. Get in touch with our team in Singapore if you’d like to hear more about the work we do helping organisations unlock better performance in APAC. 

 BRAND LEARNING: Inspiring people. Lifting capabilities. Growing organisations.