Engaging Consumers in a Technology-driven Age

WKW Engage returned with a stellar lineup of speakers from big tech brands like Spotify, Facebook and Grab.

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There are more than 800,000 users who created shower playlists on Spotify in 2016. With access to such data, the Stockholm-headquartered music streaming company is able to easily name the top three songs in this category. They are “Umbrella” by Rihanna, “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” by BJ Thomas, and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!

With 140 million users worldwide, the music streaming giant can target specific people based on data that reveals their actual thoughts and feelings. “Data is your friend. You have to reach the right audience at the right time, the moments that matter,” said Joanna Wong, Head of Business Marketing for Spotify in Asia-Pacific, who shared the tech company’s global shower playlist trivia to a full house at WKW Engage 2017 on August 31. Wong was one of seven speakers at this year’s WKW Engage, held at Mandarin Oriental.

Following the theme of “Harnessing Technology in Communication” this year, WKW Engage organisers brought in international guest speakers from top industry leaders such as Spotify, Facebook and Grab to tackle trends in advertising and the evolving media landscape.

As part of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information’s 25th Anniversary celebration, this year’s conference attracted around 400 people, four times the number of attendees last year.

The first keynote speakers that day, co-founders of Amsterdam-based advertising agency Superheroes, Django Blanchetta and Rogier Vijverberg, shared a recent feat in fulfilling the company’s mission to “fight boring advertising”.

Superheroes' New York office launched a viral marketing campaign for electronic giant Asus in April last year called “No Need to Rush” on YouTube to promote its flagship smartphone product, the Asus Zenfone, which boasts a battery life of 38 days. In this video, YouTube rapping sensation Mac Lethal is seen humorously playing out the woes of a mobile phone battery about to go flat by performing a speed-rapping stunt in a supermarket. By marrying technology with creativity, the campaign topped the global viral video chart for three consecutive weeks and garnered over 30 million views on YouTube.

“Consumers today are no longer passive consumers; they expect to be engaged, and they expect a lot more from their service providers.”


Sharing the stage at WKW Engage was WKWSCI alumna Angeline Poh (CS ’99), Assistant Chief Executive of the Info-communications Media Development Authority. Poh, who was an electronic broadcast media major, reflected on the evolving media landscape in Singapore.

“Consumers today are no longer passive consumers; they expect to be engaged, and they expect a lot more from their service providers,” she said. “Media businesses have to redefine the relationship with the audience.”

Other speakers in WKW Engage 2017 included marketing and advertising experts like Facebook’s Agency Development Lead Matthew Drury, Visa’s Digital Content Director Kris Leboutillier, and Grab’s Head of Marketing Ershad Ahamed.

A new initiative for this year’s WKW Engage was a networking session after the conference for students and alumni to mingle with companies at the industry’s forefront such as Edelman, TBWA, Saatchi & Saatchi, and SGAG.

Spearheading this year’s new WKW Engage committee of 10 students were final-year students Chairman Lim Zi Song and Vice-Chairman Laura Naland. WKW Engage is a student-organised event supervised by WKWSCI lecturer Wong Pei Wen.  

Having recognised the importance of technology on the current media landscape, the WKW Engage team sought out thought leaders in the fields of marketing analytics and digital advertising.

"In an industry like ours, trends are always changing. One of the main purposes of WKW Engage is to create a platform where professionals, alumni and students can mingle and discuss the latest trends in the industry," said Naland.