Breaking Out The Bamboo Curtain

BRANDING ALIBABA

Breaking Out The Bamboo Curtain

Adam Najberg who heads Alibaba's digital media arm, Alizila shares how posting people stories that create hooks became the vital ingredient that propelled the group beyond China’s shores.

The Sino-Malaysia technological tie-up is becoming ever more tight – not only has Jack Ma come and gone – twice this year; their man from Alizila followed in his wake.

Adam Najberg who heads digital media at Alizila – the media arm of the Alibaba Group came to dispense one hour of sagacious wisdom at COMMA 2017 on what counts in content creation for the online marketing behemoth.

The former newsman began his presentation by stating the painfully obvious - `Never, never put the same thing on the same dish twice!’.

He says, in order to go viral; humanise postings and do not repeat the same thing in the same way. The nosey-parkers that we are; people want to read about fellow people.

“Even if you are to write about things – it will only be read if people can connect with it.”

This, in essence; was the track on which the online retail giant juggernaut went global. 

What do you do when most of your customers are in China and most of your investors are not in China? The answer is - you tell stories about your company.

Najberg said it relayed its compelling brand story of the tech and retail giant to their audience beyond home ground.

“What do you do when most of your customers are in China and most of your investors are not in China? The answer is - you tell stories about your company.”

“There was so much that people didn’t understand. Alibaba is not just an e-commerce company. It is a company that’s into blockchain. It is a company that’s into artificial intelligence. It is also a company that has a research institute. And it is going global,” says Najberg.

“Alizila started with zero followers on Facebook. What we discovered is that, once in awhile, when we put a video on Jack Ma in it, suddenly we get 10,000 followers.”

“You can’t populate the channel completely with Jack Ma but we started to look at what other things we could do, such as covering events he went to.”

“People don’t want to read about this on Facebook. People want to read about people.”

Having spent 25 years in journalism, Najberg falls back on his storytelling instincts to create a brand story that ticks with different audiences.

 

First and foremost: Craft a Single Message

“When you come up with a content plan, ask yourself, what are you trying to do with it?”

“Because if you’re scattered, your content won’t be focused, you audience is not going to focus and you will fail.”

Why do People Care about Alibaba’s 11.11? Najberg explains

Target Specific Audience

“Don’t go after a general audience because you’re trying to split the difference and these days, you can no longer get away with that,” says Najberg, citing falling newspaper readership globally as a case in point.

“It is very important that you craft your message to fit your specific audience. It could be the same piece of news, you can target two different audiences but hit them with two different pieces of content.”

“The worst strategy you could ever have in digital is to pump the same thing out on all the different platforms in the same way, same tone, same photo.”

One Medium at a Time

“When you go into different media channels, your message is different, your tone is different and your presentation is different. It takes a lot of time and money. I’d rather do it in a more linear fashion.”

“Start with one channel - really pump it down that pipe, make it resonate, achieve your goal and move on to something else. Because if you try to do, say, three things with three different channels with three different media, you will not get noticed. There’s too much noise out there and all you’re doing is contributing to it.”

Najberg Talks About Brand Story Strategies to Sell Drones. He was the Global Communications Chief at Shenzhen-based Drone Maker, DJI Before Joining Alibaba

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