Rob Mills says China expansion will offer new market learnings for Australia
Brands that have traditionally used sports to target older, male audiences are having to rethink their approach in order to connect with women and younger audiences, the head of sports and entertainment strategy specialist, Gemba, said.
The Australian-based group is making a push into China after a nine-year hiatus as the strategic opportunities in sport continue to grow in the region, but women and younger demographics are becoming more important to brands that previously had a very narrow demographic focus.
Gemba, which specialises in insight, strategy and communications in the sports and entertainment industries, is working with both Adidas and Coca-Cola in the region, believing the dynamism of the market will offer lessons for Australia.
Former US National Basketball Association executive, Yan Mao, will spearhead the effort in the region where consumer research is only just beginning to be understood.
Gemba CEO, Rob Mills, said the level of access to data that companies were able to get in China outstripped that which was available in Australia, meaning the potential to deliver even greater insights to clients made China an important market to be active in.
“Here it can be quite stable because our sport and entertainment habits are quite entrenched,” Mills told Mumbrella.
“Up there you will put a swimming event in and everyone will love swimming for two months, and then move on to something else, so there is real volatility.”
The agency has also put a person into Europe for the first time, initially to service an existing client, but with plans to expand the business over time.
Former ARU marketing and commercial specialist, Maeve Moriarty, will handle global rugby projects and is charged with growing Gemba’s footprint in Europe.
While sport remains vital to many brands, Mills said he was seeing a lot of clients rethinking who their audience is.
The Voice a different solution for Mondelez
“We are doing a lot more work probably in the past two years in helping brands balance their portfolios that have, perhaps, been older, male-skewed, sporting-led portfolios,” Mills said.
“Our research programs are helping those organisations have confidence that by divesting out of sport and moving into entertainment assets they are not losing any relevance.
“Mondelez is a good example – where we have helped them transition out of a very traditional portfolio into something that is far more entertainment-led.”
Mills said it was often in identifying that the target consumer was the mum who, as the main grocery buyer, was more able to be influenced by entertainment properties rather than sport, with Mondelez discovering: “The Voice was one of its best solutions”.