Product of the Year (POY) held the second edition of its POY Talks in early September in Dubai. Every year, the biggest brand names from across the gulf gather under one roof to recognize the most innovative products at the Product of the Year Awards. The prestigious award rewards innovation in the FMCG sector by allowing the customers themselves to vote and select winners. Every year, after the award ceremony, POY conducts an interactive seminar for all participating brands under the umbrella of “POY Talks: supporting innovation”.
Focusing on the FMCG sector, this year’s theme was “How Can FMCG Brands Succeed in Establishing Online Engagement Through Social Media?” The seminar was aimed at helping FMCG clients understand the changing world of social media and how they can make the most of it.
The event brought together Stephen Hillebrand, CEO of TNS Market Research; Amira Rashad, Head of Brand – Facebook Middle East; Kaswara Al-Khatib, Chairman at UTURN; Herve Cuviliez, CEO at Diwanee; and Daniel Neuwirth, Co-founder of Shahiya.com.
Hillebrand provided an overview of the digital media landscape in the GCC region, highlighting the female demographic’s use of social media – something that has worked to the advantage of Shahiya.com. There’s no doubt that the digital media landscape is constantly evolving with new platforms sprouting up. However, as Neuwirth pointed out, brands need to focus on understanding their targeting audience and meeting them on relevant platforms, rather than blindly jumping onto the social and digital media bandwagon.
The conference also served as a platform for clients to understand Facebook and, now, Instagram’s new ad offerings, which are key to helping brands develop the right strategy. Naturally, one of the main content formats was video. Al-Khatib impressed upon the audience the difference between online video content and TV commercials, and how the one cannot – or should not – be used interchangeably with the other. He also listed the different ways in which video content can go viral.
However, there is a sense of skepticism around the concept of virality, as most of it seems to be based on sheer luck. Although achieving virality may seem far-fetched, brands should look at improving their earned media to generate better data and improve ROI on the marketing investments, advised Cuviliez.