Nuffnang: Influencers the ‘X-Factor’ to Win over Consumers

Kausern Hieu

Having been established back in 2007, Nuffnang is well known as an influencer and content marketing company in Malaysia and throughout Southeast Asia.

According to its Country Manager Kausern Hieu, the company continues to remain successful throughout the years simply because “we strive to stay ahead of marketing trends, with constant emphasis on reinventing and repositioning ourselves so as to provide clients with a superior experience.”

Surfshark VPN

As to what he foresees as the ‘next big thing in marketing’, the marketing expert’s response was immediate: “Social Influencers and live commerce.”

“Influencer marketing is, indeed, booming simply because consumers tend to trust endorsements as approvals from credible third parties. It is the ‘X-Factor’ to win over consumers within today’s digital economy.”

According to Nielsen, 83% of consumers tend to trust recommendations from family and friends over advertising.

“Influencer marketing is as close to the real thing as brands can get and still retain some creative control over the message and audience,” emphasised Kausern.

“The practice (influencer marketing) integrates products into influencers’ lives that their followers seek inspiration from and can relate to. These attributes potentially increase consideration and purchase intent.”

International research certainly supports Kausern’s optimism in this field.

Media company Mediakix of the United States believes that global advertising expenditure would be a USD5 billion – USD10 billion market this year, soaring at least ten-folds from some USD500 mil back in 2015.

Meanwhile, Media Specialist Association (MSA) of Malaysia in collaboration with Malaysian Digital Association (MDA) and Malaysian Advertisers Association (MAA) reported that social platform captured almost one third (RM200+ million) of total Malaysian Digital Adex in H1 2020, the largest YOY growth of +15% while other platforms shrunk, with the exception of video which posted marginal growth.

On this note, Kausern shared that Nuffnang would be venturing further into live commerce as he views this field as being the next frontier of growth for the company.

“Although the field of live commerce is still in its infancy, we foresee tremendous growth in the years ahead and set to complement our influencer marketing strengths,” said Kausern.

“Live commerce is essentially live video streaming combined with the ability for online shoppers to interact with charismatic sellers and influencers to buy immediately,” he added.

At the forefront of this movement is of course Nuffnang – which is constantly innovating to deliver value to their clients.

Today, Nuffnang also has one of the most comprehensive networks of some 13,000 celebrities, personalities and content creators across all levels of society and diversity with a collective reach to more than 20 million consumers in Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan.

Malaysia’s Bill Gates sprinkles his magic dust

The Nuffnang of today is a totally different entity to what it was 13 years ago. It is still a subsidiary of Australian Stock Exchange Listed Netccentric Limited – but with a trump card which is its majority shareholder and Executive Chairman Ganesh Kumar Bangah.

According to Netccentric’s website, and for the uninitiated, Ganesh is “is an award-winning entrepreneur and start-up investor. Ganesh founded his first internet business, MOL AccessPortal Sdn. Bhd. (MOL), in the year 2000 at the age of 20. Ganesh listed MOL on the Malaysian Stock Exchange at the age of 23 when he was certified by the Malaysia Book of Records as the youngest Chief Executive Officer of a Malaysian public listed company. Through a series of acquisitions all over the world, Ganesh built MOL to become one of South East Asia’s leading online payment gateways and South East Asia’s first internet company to be listed on the NASDAQ in 2014.”

“Ganesh is known as the ‘Bill Gates of Malaysia’ and we are indeed fortunate to have him charting the strategic direction for us all as a group,” said Kausern.

Earlier this year, Ganesh had bought an 84 percent stake in Netccentric, a development closely followed by his numerous ‘cult’ followers. From a low of AUD0.005, Netccentric’s share price began ascending to hit a 52-week high of AUD0.062, before settling at AUD0.050 currently, a ten-fold increase from its 52-week lows.

Prior to the Netccentric purchase, Ganesh built up the Commerce.Asia empire, essentially an end-to-end e-commerce ecosystem that integrates best of breed technology solutions, talent development programmes and big data insights for local and Southeast Asian businesses to succeed online.

Commerce.Asia develops these solutions by integrating and making strategic investments in technology enablers, so much so that it now has a database of 8 million small medium enterprises spread across 7 countries, coupled with 61,000 active merchants who sold more than RM1.5 billion worth of goods in 2019.

“Now when you integrate the strengths of Nuffnang and Commerce.Asia, you will get ‘explosive growth’ ahead,” said Kausern. “That’s what the boss has done to keep all the engines firing on all cylinders.”

Enter the platform strategy in Nuffnang Live Commerce

The combined synergy among Netccentric and Commerce.Asia resulted in the birth of Nuffnang Live Commerce, a platform-based strategy that is able to capitalise on the growth of the global social influencer and live commerce industry, explained Kausern.

“With this platform strategy, the boss has now connected multiple groups – including merchants, influencers and consumers – to create positive network effects,” he added. “With greater user participation, efficiencies inevitably increase.”

At the heart of this platform is a proprietary innovative tech dashboard which enables the automation of live streaming sessions on popular platforms such as Facebook for e-commerce transactions.

“Live commerce represents the fusion of e-commerce and livestreaming which centres around influencers showcasing and promoting products and services to viewers. I can almost bet my last dollar that this industry will soar in the years ahead,” said Kausern.

“It is a much more enriching online shopping experience compared to traditional e-commerce shopping because, as human beings, we’re deeply rooted to search for social connections especially during times like this.” 

“Integrating our influencer, content and e-commerce know-hows, we will be providing end-to-end live video commerce solutions from live video production to payment and product fulfilment. Our technologies, combined with our largest influencer platform and onboarding training, would then empower companies to be independent and self-sustaining as they propel and scale in this fast-growing field of live commerce,” he added.

Looking at the Middle Kingdom for inspiration, Kausern said that live commerce was the game-changer last year for the e-commerce scene, accounting for what he believes to be almost 9% of total estimated e-commerce sales in 2019. “The ballpark figure would be a staggering RMB440bil or 263 billion.”

From observing developments in China, personalities are important for both relevance and trust-ability. The host must also be well trained into in holding immersive sessions.

“In addition, shopping on live streaming has a short window of purchase. This drives urgency and spontaneity. This ‘in the moment’ shopping experience is addictive, more so with captivating deals, deep discounts and rewards for consumers,” said Kausern.

“What’s more, it is about ultra-convenience. From ease of ordering during a live show to the speed of receiving the ordered products with proper customer service support,” he further explained, adding that another key element is commendable production value to foster trustworthiness with shoppers.

Like a true marketing guru, Kausern wrapped up our session by emphasising again on the importance of influencer marketing.

“Influencer marketing is paramount in the world of marketing today. Currently, measurements on Return On Ad Spend in this space is limited to awareness (impressions, views) and engagements (comments, like, shares). But with the rise of live commerce, we can now measure conversions. Hence, providing a more complete ROAS measurement for our clients – from impressions to conversions.”

“Marketing in today’s digital economy is essentially about engaging the audience’s emotions before creating memorable buying experiences. Our aim is to further deepen the ‘Nuffnang Experience’ whereby, once clients have tried us, they will keep coming back for more,” concluded Kausern.