Time, Tension, Ideas: The Art of Engaging Asian Consumers

The communications industry must reconcile "traditional" top-down brand building principles with a new world of bottom-up consumer empowerment.  Fueled by technology and exploding life style options, our industry is confronted with a dramatically altered relationship between consumers and brands.  "Engagement" has become the new rallying cry, and rightly so.  Communications success is now defined by "content that spreads."  Involvement in creative is driven by "depth of participation."  In the process, however, marketers risk losing control of their message.  Across the every-morphing Asian brand scape, chaos and inconsistency often rein.   Brand stewards must embrace a conceptual framework that resolves the tension between message clarity and consumers’ technological liberation. 

adobo Masterclass, with JWT’s Tom Doctoroff (CEO, APAC), presents: "Time, Tension and Ideas: The Art of Engaging Asian Consumers" — a simple-yet-nuanced framework that aligns new-age empowerment with timeless marketing truths.  Four interactive and inter-related modules, filled with successful cases from Asia and beyond, are covered.  Regardless of whether the challenge is strategic or executional, each highlights the importance of both consistency and reciprocity, reinforcing the truth that healthy brands promise relationships, not transactions.  
Consumer Insight.  Insights, fundamental motivations that explain behavior and preference, answer the question "Why?" 
Brand Idea.  In the engagement era, the Brand Idea must be defined, meticulously, as long-term relationship between and brand that remains consistent over time but flexible enough to evolve as competitive, demographic and other environmental circumstances shift. 
Engagement Ideas.  To ensure media-neutrality, creative must be expressed as ideas that invite participation.  Engagement Ideas can be short-term, long-term, thematic or tactical but they must be expressions of the Brand Idea. 
Connection Plan.  When engagement Ideas are defined as participation platforms, the opportunity to "marry" creative and media becomes much richer as ideas are woven through the fabric of consumers’ lives. 
Born, bred and educated in America, Doctoroff somehow found his way to Hong Kong in 1994, then to Shanghai in 1998, and never quite made it back to the States. 
He began his advertising career at Leo Burnett in Chicago before making the move to JWT (Chicago).  In 1994, he flew to Hong Kong as regional business director for clients such as Pepsi, Philip Morris/Kraft and Citibank.  In 1998, he came to China as the managing director of JWT Shanghai.  In 2002, he was appointed Northeast Asia Area Director (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea) and Greater China CEO, and in 2008, also assumed leadership of JWT Japan.  Currently, he is the CEO for JWT Asia Pacific. 
Doctoroff has also authored two best-selling books on Chinese consumers; "Billions: Selling to the New Chinese Consumer” and "What Chinese Want”, which was published in 2012.  
adobo Masterclass: "Time, Tension and Ideas: The Art of Engaging Asia Consumers" with Tom Doctoroff takes place on April 17 at Tower Club. For more information, log on to

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