GroupM’s Challenger Series brings future closer

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We eaves-dropped onto GroupM’s recent round-table webinar which focused on the future of e-commerce titled “The Future Is Closer Than You Think”.

It featured Chanchal Chakrabarty, GroupM Malaysia CEO; Merrill Pereyra, Managing Director of Yum Brands (Pizza Hut India); Safiyya Rusl, Head of Digital at unifi; Tejas Kirodiwal, Zalora’s Regional Head of Growth and Toni Ruotanen, GroupM ASEAN’s Head of e-commerce; with Sheila Shanmugam, MD of m/SIX Malaysia as moderator.

On GroupM doing more than just media campaigns as their raison d’être…

Chanchal: We work with clients to create new media products such as OTT (over the top) media products with our partner Viu  We’ve developed a KOL (Key Opinion Leader) product, including micro KOLs, that were used in various campaigns throughout MCO, identifying which influencers work better in terms of engagement and business outcomes.

And finally the e-commerce businesses, which has really gone to a higher level.

While many of our clients were fence sitters at first on whether to shift to e-commerce, it has now become one of their key priorities.

On navigating the business of Pizza Hut in a lockdown in India…

Merrill (Pizza Hut India, picture): We reassured our customers about “trust in every bite”. We had to show them everything we were doing to make sure their pizza was coming out from the oven directly to them, completely contactless.

Another strategy was while everyone in the world was giving food out to the hospitals, which we did as well, we took it a step further by asking aggregators to give all delivery drivers a free meal from Pizza Hut, no matter who they were delivering for.

On new online-shopping business opportunities….

Tejas (Zalora): We started looking at more clusters and segments to understand the audience better. For example, we knew that due to the pandemic, people were staying at home, therefore office wear was not going as well as it used to, so we started serving more loungewear products with more lucrative prices.

We also realized people were spending more time on video streaming platforms, so we followed the eyeballs of our customers.

On unifi providing online training to SMEs and businesses… 

Safiyya (unifi): There are 3 questions we focus on, to answer the challenges businesses are facing… 
1. How do they continue to sustain the connectivity they have in the office? 
2. How do they access flexible financing? 
3. Do they have enough knowledge to go into the digital space?

We are now offering all this and more, via our Unifi Business Club (UBC) and we’ve launched an e-commerce website to assist local businesses, and via cari@unifi.

On how GroupM is supporting clients in the changing online marketplace…

Toni: We have created offerings around strategy, consulting and advisory, helping clients to go online, set up shop, decide on product ranges, etc.,…. and we offer to manage it for them too.

We have services that provide end to end solutions so we can optimize around outcomes instead of transactional activities.

The retail industry has taken a severe hit due to COVID-19 but for brands with e-commerce, they have been able to mitigate the impact and look for high outcome options from their marketing spend. Retailers are now given opportunities to grasp and retain their businesses in ways they have never done before.

The show must go on, so we continuously adapt by observing consumers’ consumption of media platforms.


The 14th Malaysian Media Conference (MMC) is happening on 25 September at the Sime Darby Convention Center and is proud to announce its list of speakers compromising the most influential leaders in Malaysia’s media landscape. Have you registered to join MMC 2020?

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