The importance of having a balanced and professional-looking web presence in the digital age cannot be overstated. However, managing your company web and social media pages may not be as straightforward as you think: as Laurent Notin points out, you need to plan ahead and come up with a comprehensive communications strategy for your venture.
With more than 17 years of experience working in Southeast Asia, Notin’s, the Managing Director of marketing agency Brains Communications, has a wealth of knowledge to share on the local and regional market. We tap into his professional insight to learn more about managing your company’s web presence in the Kingdom.
B2B: How would you assess the different media platforms in Cambodia?
Notin: TV remains the number one media in Cambodia followed by radio, then the Internet.
TV is also the media platform with one of the highest credibility levels. It attracts a wide audience nationwide. However, this does not mean that advertising on TV is efficient for everyone. I would say TV is a very good platform to create, raise and maintain brand awareness to a broad consumer base, but it needs to be supported with other advertising channels. You may see a product advertised on TV, but seeing a nicely designed print advert can reinforce the image.
Radio can help reach people in their cars on their way to work or people living in rural areas. The Internet’s penetration rate is steadily growing; most users are young and based in urban areas. An interesting fact, specific to Cambodia, is that 99% of Internet users have a Facebook account so they actually connect to the Internet via Facebook. This is unique to Cambodia, as of course information on Facebook is not always verified and informative. Print media are a good medium to display a brand’s value through well designed adverts, and to reach people who are reading — thus also a better educated and usually more solvent clientele.
B2B: How would you advise companies to take advantage of these outlets to promote their brands?
Notin: My first advice would be to do things in the right order. First, develop your objectives and communication strategy, set up a budget and then select the relevant media platforms to execute the strategy and achieve your goals. You do not necessarily need to be on every channels to be effective. Know your market: do some research to understand how your target audiences consume media.
Second, I would recommend to get a good understanding of the benefits of each media platform so that you can maximise their efficiency. Each media platform appeals to different population segments. So you need to select your channels according to the type of product or service you want to promote and the objectives you want to reach.
Finally, I suggest to use the services of a communications agency to define and implement your communication strategy — which is not only about advertising, but also about brand image, PR, design, etc. It will bring a wider range of expertise and specialised knowledge and will save time and money.
B2B: How can companies effectively measure the success of their advertising/marketing campaigns?
Notin: You need a combination of qualitative and quantitative data. While you are working on the communication strategy, set up Key Performance Indicators (e.g. brand awareness levels, market shares, click through rates, AB Tests, etc.) against which you will gauge the results of the campaign. Use consumer research and online analytical tools to collect such data. Continuously monitor the results, find out what is working from what is not, so you can regularly fine-tune your communication strategy. This is something we help our clients with.
B2B: How important is having a web presence in Cambodia?
Notin: It is crucial. Companies looking for partners or suppliers in Cambodia will first go to the Internet and do some research on a brand via its website, social media and how it is presented in the marketplace. In addition, consumers are getting more and more connected and sophisticated using digital platforms in their daily life to make friends, stream music or discover e-shopping, for example. Cambodian companies understand the importance of digital marketing — the number of website development and social media management requests we have been receiving is steadily rising.
B2B: What are the different options available for businesses to establish a web presence and what are the costs involved?
Notin: There are several ways to have a web presence: build a website, manage social media accounts, maintain a blog, distribute a newsletter, participate in forums, advertise online, etc. Costs vary from one platform to the other, and contrary to popular belief, having a digital presence is not free. In the digital sphere, just as in TV or print advertising, your brand, product or service needs to stand out and attract the viewer. Our role is to help our clients navigate the different digital options and to recommend an efficient digital strategy.
B2B: Why are companies opting for a Facebook presence over having their own websites, and what are the pros and cons of this?
Notin: I am not sure this is a worldwide trend. Again, it is all about objectives and strategy. Why do you want a Facebook page? What are you expecting people to get out of your social media accounts, or your website? How much would a business partner trust your brand quality if you have thousands of likes from people who are not really a target group? Can you really represent your business and all of its key aspects via a Facebook page, or are you in better control of what you want to say by doing so through a clean, modern, efficient website that details all of your offerings? Do you want to reach business partners, or do you want to reach people who buy pizza?
Having a Facebook page and boasting about the numbers of likes does not help — how many of these likes are turning into a sale/contact/brand loyalty? I know many decision makers who earn a lot of money and who don’t use Facebook. Do you want to reach this small but highly important target group too? Maybe you better do so via print ads, via direct marketing or via sponsorship of an event they might attend. A company’s digital presence should be integrated into its overall communication strategy in order to optimise the return on investment. Facebook is one part of it, but to make yourself dependent on one platform will not work for all brands and might not be wise, either. Brains Communication has the experience and tools to build a comprehensive media strategy online, outdoor, in print, TV, radio, sponsorships etc. — each client needs an individual strategy.