As media trends and behaviours are rapidly changing, brands are forced to find new creative and meaningful ways to reach consumers. From augmented reality campaigns to experiential marketing, the world of branding has kept us at the edge of our seats on what’s next. With this in mind, we see one of Asia’s biggest agencies, Dentsu Media, re-birthing itself as dentsu X and embracing a new ethos of “experience beyond exposure” to better serve the new consumer demand-led world. We speak to the agency’s Asia Pacific Managing Director and Thailand CEO Mitsuyuki Nakamura on creativity, the secrets to their business success, and what the future holds for the industry.
What’s special about the rebranding to dentsu X?
We used to be called Dentsu Media for the past 15 years in the Thai market, but as we all know, the industry is fast-changing and consumers are increasingly following or being inspired by new media trends. The whole environment, including business and media partners, is changing due to this shift in the media landscape and consumer behaviour. It’s all about data these days. In that context, we believe media is becoming more and more important as a conduct point with consumers for brands to generate their business. The ‘X’ in our new name represents our focus on creating experience for consumers. While we are still a media agency, we felt that we should adjust the name to encompass everything that we promise to achieve.
How will dentsu X in the Thai market be unique from that in other Asian markets?
As I’ve mentioned, under the name Dentsu Media, we have been providing what we call “one-stop solution services” not limited to traditional media. We have client services, an award-winning creative team, digital and media teams, content creation, and a team dedicated solely to sports marketing. The uniqueness of dentsu X is the implication of Dentsu Inc. in Japan. The size may vary, but we have all the same functions as they do at the Japanese headquarter. We work closely with them, especially with content technology and innovation.
Where do you see the future of advertising heading?
I’m not a prophet, so to be honest I have no clear picture of what the future industry will look like. The only thing that I can be sure of as a content provider is that we will not fail as long as we focus on the demand of consumers. Paying attention to data is crucial, as all the media is now about data. We are moving towards an era of experience, so there needs to be some context that is relevant for both the consumer and the brand. Thus, I believe content marketing is one of the best options to create relevance between the two.
What are some achievements you’re most proud of coming out of dentsu x Thailand?
A lot thanks to our talented team members. I believe we may be the only agency from Thailand who was awarded in all 3 major categories of media, digital, and creative at the Campaign Agency of The Year awards and the only Thai agency that received an award in the category of Southeast Asia Integrated Agency of the Year.
Are there any particular projects that stood out to you?
We have major clients like AIS and Lexus, but what I’m most proud of is our company-led project called Team Thailand in collaboration with the country’s National Olympic Committee. We reached out to them to find a way for Thai sporting industry to be more relevant with the people. In turn, we want to re-energise the Thai fan base so they become more enthused about the athletes representing the country. I believe Thailand will become much stronger in many upcoming national and international sporting events like the SEA Games, Asian Games, and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. We encouraged our clients to join the project and support Thai athletes so their brands can also be relevant to Thai consumers. This is the kind of initiative I can be proud of: not just answering to clients, but creating new initiatives that are relevant or necessary to society and fulfil our corporate social responsibility as a communication company.
How do you define success?
At the end of the day, it’s better measured in numbers, although numbers don’t appear by itself. Rather, they are the result of quality work, so I think it’s very important to balance investment and return. Success for us is decent, appropriate results in numbers together with a positive reputation. Our people should be working somewhere interesting and exciting. We may not be the biggest, but we want to be the best.
How do you bring out the best of the people you work with?
It’s a matter of balance between our investment in people and how far we should explore the result in numbers. In the end, people are the only assets we have in the company. The ideas coming out from our employees are the only products we have. The important thing is to invest in the right current, which is why I am willing to invest in people. On the other hand, I ask those who are invested by us to be committed to the result. It’s all about balancing investment—finding the right current, doing the right investment, and getting a fair commitment.