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Snap’s Antoine Challita looks at how to align purpose, context and reach throughout the consumer journey.

By Antoine Challita, Head of CPG in MENA, Snap Inc. and corporate member of The Marketing Society.

It’s no secret that 2020 has been a turbulent year for regional economies and communities. This has in turn affected the way brands engage with their customers, deliver value and measure their marketing ROI.

Within the Middle East, the conversations we are having with brands are also evolving. More and more, these conversations are not only about the scale and reach that Snapchat has in the region but, more importantly, about the context and the value of audiences that brands are trying to engage with. That is why it is important to introduce products that enable marketers not only to leverage upper- and mid-funnel activities, but also to really push the needle to ensure that conversions are happening based on the intent signals that brands are capturing throughout the consumer journey.

Recognising this, new media strategies have had to come into play. The fundamentals of brand building are actually the same. However, the avenues of connecting with audiences are evolving, and the way brands are leveraging these avenues should be optimised to make their investments more productive and effective. Mobile-empowered consumers are making more decisions on the go, researching on the go, discovering on the go, and I think organisations that are conscious of growth need to be very mindful of that and seize the opportunities accordingly.

The other side of this conversation on media strategies is the value of audiences. It’s all about reflecting on where future growth will be coming from. Acquiring new consumers and tapping into Gen Z has been at the forefront of many of our partners’ thinking. Thankfully, we are in a very strong position, considering our scale across the region, as we reach 90 per cent of 13- to 34-year-olds in KSA and more than 60 per cent of 13- to 24-year-olds in the UAE.

Once brands truly know their audience, it is imperative for them to define a brand purpose that is relevant to those audiences, and that the organisation can commit to. I recall when one of the social groups shared a video about the ads that are being created by brands during and for the pandemic. Everything was looking the same, and differentiation between brands was lost.

Alex Edmans published a book recently called Grow the Pie, where he explores how companies can do good and do well at the same time. When brands and businesses have a purpose, partners are generally more willing to engage and collaborate, and employees are now more willing to mobilise and are more productive. Brands that have a relevant purpose – and that are committed to it – can really differentiate themselves. Again, it is possible for you to do good and do well on the bottom line. Profitability and growth are outcomes and are driven by fulfilling the value that brands have set themselves to achieve. This relationship at times has been confused and separated the successful organisations from the struggling ones.

Of course, having a clear brand purpose is easier said than done. Businesses today are hungry for innovative ways to differentiate themselves and to communicate their brand purpose. For example, we have seen how virtual try-ons and our creative tools – powered by AR – have enabled businesses to maximise their sales by driving both awareness and consideration while consumers had restricted mobility.

Taking this all into account, I do think it’s worthwhile to come back to the point about an increasingly mobile consumer. Mobile penetration and time spent on mobiles are incredibly high in this part of the world, and with technological progression this will only grow. As a mobile-only platform, we know how valuable and immersive content experiences can be when they tie back to brand purpose. It is perhaps why 90 per cent of our users in KSA, for example, access our lenses on a daily basis. On mobile, you have a consumer that is leaned-in and attentive. By appreciating the context and the value of audiences, sticking to a clear media strategy and aligning that with brand purpose, brands have ample opportunities to expand their visibility across the consumer journey.