01 May 2012

THE DIGITAL EXPANSE: Digital Media and It's Role in Brand Building in the Philippines

Pauline Lao and Manolo Almagro both work in Jollibee, she as the Director for Marketing Communications and he, as Digital Initiatives Consultant. In a recent webinar, they talk about the digital media and its role in brand building.

Pauline Lao used to be the Director for Consumer Connections for Procter and Gamble for 17 years before she moved to Jollibee. She sites that the two companies have different requirements and setups when it comes to digital.

Manolo Almagro, who recently developed an integrated digital advertising strategy for Globe Telecoms, says that the movement is moving three times faster here than it is in the U.S. And as such, some of the brands are going to be left behind. The challenge is in investing in digital programs, which is a closed system.


Pauline explains that digital has changed the game for brands such as Jollibee and those under P&G. The digital landscape is undergoing an evolution. Technological innovations in internet, mobile marketing, and out of home programs are moving the medium’s boundaries.

Although 70% of the Philippine population still is not connected to the internet, this is rapidly changing. In three years time, Pauline sees the Philippine digital movement to be that of what Japan is today in terms of its digital campaigns.

Jollibee’s digital marketing is dependent on the campaign and the target audience. If the market is sophisticated, digital is the viable option. The ad spend of digital is less than what it is thought of to be, she adds.

She cites, Procter and Gamble’s Oil of Olay Total Effects. They included a digital component to the program such as an email and website but it was still heavily tilted towards PR. At that point, they were still learning about digital. Since Olay was a new category at that time, they had to be extra careful in the use of digital media. She concedes that they should have used more of it but were not as aware and educated with the medium to do so.


The role of digital in the overall marketing and the brand objective should be very clearly communicated to the agency partner working on it.

She notes that they are gearing up to doing more digital and it is a priority that will be taken up in a few short months. She thought it pretty cool to play a game like Bejeweled (a popular puzzle game like Tetris) but with Jollibee themed icons.

In preparing to go digital, a campaign’s success is always measured against its objective. If the objective is not clear from the start and no clear measure, then there is no clear measure of success.

Partner agencies in a digital campaign should have people who have strategic expertise and knows the brand position. The agencies themselves should have the capabilities to fulfill the requirement. Expertise in the digital field, thoroughness in execution and follow through is important. An excellent plan but with shallow or no execution will not work.

As such, familiarity with digital marketing is important to a marketer’s career today. Media is getting fragmented. Television may not even be the primary medium anymore; it could be mobile or the internet. Technology is running across and spreading and even becoming easier to handle. The priority is to capture the audience’s attention and make them fall in love with their brands.


Pauline adds that she is not a digital expert and is still learning as fast as anyone can learn it. It is an exciting channel and touch point. It’s even fun.
Partner agencies must go back to basics in understanding brands and objectives in the digital world.

Manolo adds that television is still dominant. But he sees that this, just like Pauline’s observation, will change.

For one, digital is actually cheaper than traditional media. It can work for small budgets. Digital campaigns can be adjusted to be big with a wide scope of services or a boutique type with small but targeted programs.

The important thing is not to wait for digital to go mainstream before investing in it. Now is the time to start learning digital and to start going to digital.