ASAP+ Talks “East Meets West” in Cannes

A keynote speech on “East Meets West” was held at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on the 18th of June in the main cabana. Speakers included ASAP+ founder, Alpha Xu, and Global CEO, Dave Rumsey, as well as Tourism Australia Global Content Director, Jesse Desjardins, and Value Retail- La Vallée Village Tourism Marketing Director, Emmanuel Suissa. The four experts discussed problems and solutions around bridging the contextual gap between China and the West, particularly for the tourism market. The keynote began with an informal exchange between the audience of international marketing creatives and the speakers. Once the session began, the speakers discussed a multitude of aspects around “East Meets West,” from traditional advertising to digital marketing, and leisure tourism to shopping. They spoke of the vast differences between China and the West, especially in terms of digital marketing and e-commerce. Not only do these regions have different languages and styles of communication, but they also use completely different digital platforms. A good digital strategy in China is essential to break down communication barriers and effectively market to a Chinese audience. ASAP+ works with internationalcompanies and organizations such as Tourism Australia and Value Retail to create apowerful digital marketing strategy. By combining the newest technology and unique creative with their knowledge of the Chinese market, they are able to build complete brand ecosystems that engage with Chinese consumers on their native platforms. According to national statistics, the number of Chinese outbound tourists reached 130 million in 2016; 84% of these tourists have been abroad more than once, and 41% have been abroad more than 3 times. This market still has enormouspotential for growth, with 86% of Chinese travelers traveling to Europe this year on their first trip abroad. Shopping is the main activity enjoyed by Chinese tourists besides sightseeing. Moreover, travelling times are distinctly concentrated- the peak travel time is during National Holiday Week in late September/early October. Targeted marketing is therefore required by overseas destinations in order to better meet the needs of Chinese tourists and promote consumption. Emmanuel talked about Value Retail’s series of European Shopping Villages and their year-round marketing initiatives, which serve to capture Chinese travellers at peak travel periods- namely Chinese New Year, summer holiday and the year’s end between the National Holiday and Christmas. In addition, Value Retail has been working to improve the Chinese shopper experience in their European Villages. For example, La Vallée Village organized a Tour Paris campaign, which allowed visitors to try classic Parisian macaroons as they shopped. According to Jesse, Chinese travelers are crucial to Australian tourism. Tourism Australia’s biggest challenge in this market is that although many Chinese want to travel to Australia, few actually do. Effective digital marketing helps them to solve this issue. Social media marketing in China is extremely different from that of the West and therefore requires a different set of strategies. Jesse believes that Tourism Australia’s most effectivestrategy in the Chinese market is cooperation with KOLs. Oneexample of this is how a Chinese KOL posted photos of Tasmania’s lavender teddy bears on social media and boosted them to fame, leading to a surge in tourism. Although measuring the quantitative effect of these KOLs is important, even more important for Tourism Australia has been the deep insights that they’ve learned about the Chinese market through working with them. This knowledge has allowed them to approach their marketing in a new and more effective way. For the Australian Tourism Board, data is a vital part of their research. In choosing a partner for the Chinese market, they wanted to find a company that both understood their situation and had deep knowledge of the Chinese market. ASAP+ has proven expertise in both of these areasand has therefore become a valuable partner for Tourism Australia in China. After the keynote session, participants were again given the opportunity to enter into open dialogue with the speakers. Chinese brands and companies shared their own ideas on creative marketing strategies in the country, allowing the entire audience to gain deeper perspective into the Chinese market. ASAP+ Group is a revolutionary new digital agency. It’s predecessor, FlipScript, was founded in 2007 as one of China’s first digital marketing agencies. In 2013, FlipScript was acquired by the UK’s fourth largest marketing group, Engine Group, and rebranded as a subsidiary of the digital marketing brand Deep Focus in China. Two years later the company was bought back in full by it’s founder, Alpha Xu, and returned to its original name FlipScript. At this time it was joined with Alpha’s other business units to form ASAP+ Group. In addition to providing digital marketing services, the Group has its own tech company, allowing it to serve as a “one-stop shop” for digital in China. Its services include business consulting, marketing integration and data sharing, which all work to help clients “bridge the gaps digitally”and successfully promote their businesses in the Chinese market.