Bates Strategic Alliance, the pioneering leader in integrated marketing communications, who in 1993 pioneered the introduction of public relations into the services offered and backed it up with strong foray into BTL with its affiliation to 141 Worldwide and then started working in online and digital in the early 2000s, announced that it was fully committing to transforming the agency offering in anticipation of the future of marketing communications.
Chairman and CEO Nimal Gunewardena, ever the iconoclast in the industry, ready to challenge the status quo as well as the foibles of the ad industry both through his blogging and blues compositions, said, “We subscribe to the wisdom coming from international trend spotters that the future of advertising is not advertising as we know it. Interruptive and repetitive bombardment through 30 second commercials is becoming less effective and cost effective, as more and more people are seeking out information about products, services and brands through online interactions and sharing via social media.
Even in Sri Lanka, mobile broadband is growing rapidly, e-commerce is taking off and tech start-ups are driving superior service and convenience, traditional mass audiences are now fragmented due to media proliferation and today’s citizen consumers are looking for entertainment and edutainment with useful information and truly do-good brands that understand sustainability and are consciously improving their products focusing on doing good for the planet and people’s health and welfare and are ready to champion and fight social ills like discrimination.”
He added, “Taking all this into account, marketers and admen need to wake up, face the reality and challenge and change what they are doing. We see that brands that entertain and edutain and genuinely commit to doing good and championing causes are the ones that will get recommended and shared by people. And such word-of-mouth is what brands need to generate if they are to be bought, advocated and loved. Brainwashing through bombardment is dead. The way to communicate is through targeted online content, edutaining web video, entertaining and participatory events, and the use of tech innovations that allow us to engage and awe the consumer using augmented reality, virtual reality and the like.”
Bates believes that marketers need to understand, embrace and experiment with digital and social media without confining themselves to traditional media, accepting that in the digital space it is a matter of evolving learning. Arguments about still inadequate audiences online are no longer valid. High mobile penetration with rapid smartphone and mobile broadband growth where most Internet access now happens is ensuring that Sri Lankan consumers and the vital millennials are best engaged through digital and social media. Bates people now becoming evangelists for this cause and sharing knowledge with clients, to ensure that they lead and do not let competitors to steal a march
In an initiative to attract the uncommon talent who subscribe to the founder’s views and vision, Bates is re-training its people and now seeking to attract some leaders and enthusiastic experimenters to drive this futuristic approach. Using an integrated campaign driven through print, PR, social media and more, Bates is walking the talk to relaunch and recruit for the future. The campaign features the CEO in a new avatar as a humanoid pitchman.