Telum Talks To… Matt Collette, Vice Chair Digital, Asia Pacific, Edelman

Telum Talks To… Matt Collette, Vice Chair Digital, Asia Pacific, Edelman

This week Telum caught up with Matt Collette, who recently returned to Edelman to take on the role of Vice Chair of Digital in Asia Pacific. Matt shared his thoughts on how the PR landscape has evolved over the years, common misconceptions in creating digital campaigns, as well as digital technology trends that excite him.

Congratulations on your new role! Tell us what some of your key priorities are right now.
Establishing a strong community for Edelman Digital in APAC is important as we move forward, so I’m currently focused on getting to know the digital leads, their teams and the great work they have done.

In addition, I am also focused on innovation, specifically how Edelman accelerates our digital business in Asia. Digital has changed significantly and will continue to transform. As new technology is adopted and our use of this technology and content consumption patterns evolve, we need to adapt to find ways to connect, build relationships and communities, ensuring that we are answering people’s informational needs.

You have close to 15 years’ experience in the PR industry. How has the PR landscape changed since you started in 2004?
It is hard to quantify the change that we have all experienced in the industry over the last 15 years. Today, the fundamentals of marketing and communications remain the same, but how we connect with those stakeholders and demonstrate that value is what has changed the most. 

The internet, social media and the advanced use of data have allowed stakeholders to engage in a much more vibrant two-way dialogue with brands than ever before. Some of the basics that are important to consider today include:
  • Leveraging data - Today, it is more important than ever to use data to inform the decisions we are making. According to the August 2019 CMO Survey, investments in analytics is expected to grow by 61 per cent over the next three years. However, marketers still struggle with how to apply analytics and, according to the same survey, only 41 per cent of marketers are able to show the impact of data on marketing.
  • Building a value exchange - According to Facebook, the average consumer scrolls through 300 feet of content every day. Given we are competing for people’s time, it’s more important than ever to consider how we build a value exchange and tap into people’s reasons to care and share. 
  • Consider content consumption modes - The appetite for content is only increasing, growing at 0.4 per cent CAGR per year. It important to remember that people look for different kinds of content based on emotional or rational states. Understanding these content consumption modes and shaping content to fit those and the channels on which they exist is a critical factor in gaining attention.
Which companies do you admire the most for digital strategy and execution and why?
There are so many companies that are doing great things across the digital space. Some of my favourite examples include:
  • KLM - They’re always looking for ways to improve the customer experience and create a strong value exchange across numerous touchpoints. The launch of the KLM bot is just the latest example of how KLM puts customer service at the forefront of their social strategy.
  • Denny’s Diner - I love their wacky take on food and Instagram content. They are always trying to create thumb-stopping moments and the creative is great! Denny’s takes everyday scenarios and combines them with items from their food menu for some wacky content.
  • Netflix, Amazon and TransferWise - According to Siegel & Gale, 55 per cent of consumers are willing to pay a premium for brands that creates a simpler experience. Netflix is a great example of this approach. It makes it easy to find great movies and TV shows by allowing you to personalise your account and utilise its recommendation engine, delivering a simple and straightforward experience. TransferWise is another great example as an online money transfer service with a very intuitive user interface.
I also like to follow and learn from media to see how they are experimenting with digital.
  • The New York Times and The Economist for their use of stories on Instagram. The Economist’s stories span everything from updates on hot trending stories, to great articles to read over the weekend, weekly quizzes and trends. It’s a great way to promote click-through to web.
  • The Guardian for their long form video strategy on YouTube. Today it has more than one million subscribers and their content have generated 370 million views. Long form video content is an area of very strong growth that remains largely untapped by brands. 
What are some common mistakes or misconceptions when creating digital campaigns?
When it comes to common mistakes or misconceptions about digital, there are four that really hit home for me:
  • Complexity - Concentrating on simplicity and agility wherever possible. Complexity does not breed success or growth.
  • Understanding the user journey - Learning how to leverage touch points to achieve a goal, deliver a message, or drive an action.
  • Drinking Kool-Aid - Thinking too much about our products and our brand versus what and how to appeal to stakeholders, and deliver value and utility to drive growth.
  • Relying on vanity metric - Educating internal stakeholders about the value of digital versus focusing on performance and ROI.
What advice would you give to a business professional trying to elevate the role of digital business in his / her organisation?
I look at two things:
  • Understand the stakeholder and what they are doing to develop insights, demonstrate their usage of digital channels and how, increasingly, all decisions are being made through digital touchpoints.
  • Focus on the ROI of digital and how it helps to solve one of the marketers’ key objectives - driving growth of their brands.
What excites you about digital technology and its future?
There are quite a few things that I am excited about when it comes to the digital space:
  • Analytics and Predictive Intelligence - This provides the ability to fully understand more about stakeholders and leveraging data to connect with them more effectively.
  • Emergence of long tail social networks - There have been growing pockets of activity across multiple social networks such as TikTok, Reddit, Twitch, LINE, WeChat, WhatsApp andTelegram in Asia where we have an opportunity to connect with communities of interest. There are some brands that are taking advantage of these new possibilities, such as Nike launching a brand presence on TikTok in Japan.
  • MarTech - I’m intrigued by marketing technology and how automation is helping to improve the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. There have been some very interesting innovations around AI-generated text and visuals that allow brands to implement dynamic content optimisation programs. Combine that with insights on audience and you have a powerful combination that drives performance.
  • Social commerce - This is going to be huge across Asia. We are already seeing great traction with social commerce in markets like Indonesia and India, and this is only set to accelerate over the coming year with the introduction of new tools from social media giants such as Facebook.

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