Mr. Seng Yee Lau, Senior EVP of Tencent discusses his insights and experience about innovation and creative solutions in China
Tencent joined hands with chief marketing officers (CMOs) and brand communications heads from 25 of the world’s leading enterprises at the first ever CMO Growth Council in Cannes to drive growth opportunities for the marketing industry worldwide. Hosted by Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (Cannes Lions), the world’s most influential advertising and creative communications event and the Association of National Advertisers, the CMO Growth Council was created as a platform to drive discussion, collaboration and implementation among global marketing leaders. Mr. Seng Yee Lau, Senior Executive Vice President of Tencent, Chairman of Tencent Advertising and Chairman of Corporate Marketing and Global Branding is the only Chinese company representative invited as a broad member of the CMO Growth Council.
On June 21, Lau attended the first board meeting of the CMO Growth Council and shared his industry insights around roles of marketers with fellow board members. “Marketers need to focus on not only business value, but also the long-term impact of business behaviours and changes made to the society. That is the reason why the full integration of technology and culture is a good first step for marketers to consider,” said Lau. During the session, Lau also introduced the exceptional experience Tencent has created for one billion users in China, an experience which was centred around the special role of technology and culture in advertising and marketing, and its longer-term impact to the society.
Cannes Lions is regarded as the largest event of the advertising and creative communications industry in the world. It brings together global trends on creativity and digital culture, and promotes exchange and understanding between East and West. As an important component of this year’s Cannes Lions, Tencent Advertising hosted more than 10 presentations, industry discussions and customer interviews. These events attracted thousands of representatives from global technology enterprises, corporate clients, marketing gurus and industry experts, who joined together to learn more about Tencent’s insights on China, as well as share experience on innovation and creative solutions.
Creating exceptional experience for billions of users through “technology + culture”
At the themed presentation that focused on Experience, Lau highlighted Tencent’s positioning as a technology and culture corporation with a strong foundation in Internet technology, and shared experience on how it created exceptional user experience for one billion users through the integration of technology and culture. In the digital era, while users look for empathetic experiences and connected to others. On contrary, they also tend to look for personalised experience that enables self-expression. To address such interest among users, in July 2017, Tencent Pitu released an H5 program on its mobile application, allowing users to upload personal photos to generate their own uniform photos with “one click”.
This interactive H5 creative quickly went viral and created a novel expression of nationalism with personal style. The photo application received record high user participation of over 1.074 billion page views and 168 million unique visitors within two weeks. While this landmark event created a common experience for all participants, everyone had a different personal experience, addressing the need for users to enjoy shared experience and personalised experience at the same time. In addition to the successful uniform photo campaign, Tencent also initiated themed functions including “Chinese New Year Family Portrait” and “My Student Photo” during major festivities like Chinese New Year and Children’s Day, attracting over 100 million users to interact and share their creativity with their families and friends. “Technology makes unique user experience possible. The extraordinary experience created for one billion users is not only a product experience, but also a cultural experience. The interplay of technology and culture has created exceptional experiences that make you feel “independent” and “connected” at the same time, Lau said.
With the integration of technology and culture and creation of unique user experience, new tipping points of digital culture will emerge. For instance, the WeChat red envelope is a perfect example of combining mobile payment and Chinese tradition, which has led to a tipping point of Chinese digital payment development. Another example is the “9.9 Charity Day”, which leverages mobile payment to educate the public about the culture of philanthropy. “The integration of technology and culture has stimulated the emergence of a new digital culture, leading to a new era of civilisation – digital civilisation. This greatly releases personal creativity, while ensuring equality, universal benefit and a sustainable development model that help connect the world and form one digital community,” Lau added.
Introducing the “Digital Global Museum” Initiative
To foster the construction of the “Technology + Culture” ecosystem, Lau announced the launch of Tencent’s “Digital Global Museum Initiative”, which is open to museums and cultural organisations around the world. Through opening the platforms of Tencent Cloud, Tencent Maps and WeChat Applets, and integrating technologies including audio guides, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality, Tencent hopes create a comprehensive digitalised solution which functions like a digital assistant for museums. Combining three key aspects of “universal connection, experience enhancement and heritage activation”, the “Digital Global Museum Initiative” will enable more people to experience traditional culture in innovative ways, promoting multicultural exchange.
The “Digital Global Museum Initiative” was introduced following Tencent’s successful experience in creating similar programs in China. In 2017, Tencent forged strategic collaborations with the Palace Museum and Dunhuang Academy to provide digital solutions to preserve and promote cultural heritage through the integration of digital technology and Internet service platforms. More users, especially the youths, would be able to experience the unique culture and historical background of Dunhuag Mogao grottoes, which had been regarded as a symbol of ancient Chinese civilisation and world cultural heritage with significant value in history and art. Earlier this month, the Dunhuang “Digital Donor” charity program was initiated on Tencent Charity Platform, which featured 35 disappearing Dunhuang murals in a creative and interactive showcase. The program aimed to encourage people to play a role in the promotion and preservation of Dunhuang culture and support the preservation through donations. Within the first day of the launch, it has attracted the attention of nearly 1 million users and many had donated to the cause.
Ahead of this year’s Cannes Lions, Tencent kicked off the NEXT IDEA Innovation Contest with Art Exhibitions China (AEC) at the Louvre Museum in France. The initiative brought together top museums and cultural organisations in the world including the British Museum, the Great Wall of China, Palace Museum, Dunhuang Academy and the Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum to create a showcase of dozens of extremely precious cultural heritage paintings, aiming to inspire creativity among young talents. The showcase included “Panoramic Landscape” by Wang Ximeng, “Along the River during the Qingming Festival” by Zhang Zeduan, “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci and the “Admonitions Scroll” by Gu Kaizhi.
Moving forward, Tencent will continue to promote the “Digital Global Museum Initiative” in various parts of the world to encourage cultural exchange, enhance understanding of cultural diversity and nurture global vision among the next generation of talents.
Launch of an open marketing ecosystem and the showcase of smart retail solutions in China Mr. Steven Chang, Vice President of Tencent was the keynote speaker of the Cannes Lions “China Day”. “Brand marketing faces various challenges and digitisation provides an opportunity for brands to stay competitive,” said Chang. At the panel session of “Onward and Upward: Where Does China’s Innovation Take Us Next?”, Ms. Sophia Ong, General Manager of Strategic Partnership and Key Account Service, Tencent Online Media Group joined other senior marketing executives to discuss how international brands can leverage creative Chinese marketing concepts to explore new opportunities. Other panelists joining the discussion included Ms. Asmita Dubey, Chief Digital Officer, Consumer Products Division, L'Oréal, Mr. Matt Che, VP Marketing, AB-InBev APAC North and Mr. Zhang Minyi, Deputy General Manager of Tencent Social Ads.
In addition, Tencent also hosted a series of Tencent Cannes Lions roundtables and case study sharing sessions that focused on the recently launched "Tencent WE+" marketing service, discussing market insights and marketing trends with industry elites. "Tencent WE+" marketing service is a system developed based on an "open" concept which consists of three key components: “WEmpower”, “WEngage” and “WEmbrace”. This marketing system aims to provide a nurturing environment for further innovation and breakthrough in digital marketing, which could drive business growth and ensure a win-win model for brands and consumers.
At the session titled "Breaking the Boundaries – Online and Offline Marketing Convergence", Mr. Davis Lin, Corporate Vice President of Tencent, shared his insights on the digital trends of Chinese business environment and consumer behaviors. He also showcased Tencent’s smart retail solution, which was conducted in collaboration with retail brands and business partners. "With the rapid advancement of mobile Internet, super mobile applications like WeChat have not only been breaking the boundary between online and offline worlds, but also reshaping the way of life and shopping habits," said Lin. Facing a full-scale enhancement of consumer needs, Lin recommended businesses to adopt consumer-centric digitalization, integrate online and offline infrastructure, and create new business logic. Lin also highlighted three major elements in the smart retail solution – WeChat Applets, QR code and Tencent Intelligent Recommendation. WeChat Applets can be leveraged in every step of the consumer journey, creating new forms of purchase and shortening purchase decision process. QR code seamlessly connects online and offline world, helping brands to achieve cost-effective conversions. Tencent Intelligent Recommendation enhances brand service effectiveness by targeting the right audience. More importantly, with the support of the powerful Internet tools and technology advancement, Tencent is able to create novel consumer experience through digital operations, connecting brands with consumers, bridging users to the world, and ultimately advancing the lives of people.
Ms. Ying Yu, Vice President of Carrefour China, a Tencent business partner, shared her experience in smart retail. “Carrefour leveraged data and technology to drive product development and customer purchase, as well as upgrade our customer service. It also helped us discover consumer needs, enhance purchase experience and transform to a membership model. Our CRM system, which connects to WeChat Pay, is created based on Tencent’s infrastructure and technologies. This enriches our online-offline channel convergence and helps us migrate to digital operations,” said Yu. The user insights, diverse advertising scenarios and techniques provided by Tencent Social Ads also helped optimise the effectiveness of Carrefour’s brand marketing initiatives, leading to an increase of 454% in download rate of the mobile application and growth of online sales by 157%. Taking the occasion of Cannes Lions, Carrefour opened a pop-up store “City Cannes ALEX 3” in the city centre, allowing visitors to shop through interactive technologies, including scan-and-pay and facial recognition payment system which were jointly provided by Tencent and Carrefour.