The French advertising giant, Havas Group, is launching Socialyse in Cambodia. Socialyse is the social media solution of the company which focuses on strategy through content, while driven by analytics and data. Applications such as Facebook or Instagram are then central to Socialyse. The dramatic growth of social media usage has attracted the mega French Company to the Kingdom of Cambodia. Management Insider was invited to the launch event on 29th of June 2017 and was given an exclusive interview with three executives of Socialyse.
Olivier Gonzalez is the Global Head of Socialyse where he joined Havas Group in 2015 as Managing Director of Havas Forward France. Vishnu Mohan is the CEO of Havas Media Group, Asia Pacific. Anthony Keck is the Managing Director of Havas Riverorchid (Riverorchid is specialized on South-East Asia and is the partner of Havas).
How is Socialyse different from other digital agencies in the market?
Olivier Gonzalez: We would like to be known not as a digital agency but as a social platform. This is a massive change as the key aspect of the digital transformation has shifted to the terminology: application. Facebook is not a website, it is an application. Today, we are different because we are unique; we are based on a full-stacked of technology to listen, manage, engage and analyze all the data. Our emphasis is on providing full services and activation on social platforms.
What is Socialyse’s strategy in Cambodia and in ASEAN? Do you have a long-term vision for the group in Cambodia?
Anthony Keck: Due to my duration in Cambodia for about 20 months, I have high expectations for long-term growth in this region. Riverorchid is recognised as one of the largest, most successful and longest standing advertising agencies in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, since the business establishment 16 years ago, the commitment for excellent service has long been our striving factor. This dedication is extended to Cambodia, as we are equally devoted to any other Indochinese countries. Other countries include Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. Our target is where the growth is going to be. It has come to our decision to combine with Havas Group as this will enable us to strengthen our capacity in the revolutionising power of social media. The digital expansion and the changes in technology is enormous. By incorporating our Indochinese knowledge with the very successful and technology driven Havas Group, we merged the best of both worlds.
Europe can be seen as the Old World and this feels like the New World. It really feels like it’s a good time to be part of the Cambodian history.
Does the Cambodian market offers any unique characteristics in comparison to other countries?
Anthony Keck: Every country is unique in its own way. The uniqueness stems deeper within each country. For instance, Myanmar communicates in more than 25 different languages whereas Cambodia has one language. It has to come my attention that when I first came to Cambodia, the country seemed like it was twenty years behind other parts of Asia. However, the astonishing economic growth with a genuine increase in GDP and stability have convinced us that it is time to come here. So why launching Socialyse now? There are lots of reasons why. Sometimes countries have their time. Europe can be seen as the Old World and this feels like the New World. It really feels like it’s a good time to be part of the Cambodian history.
There are several companies working on digital marketing in Cambodia. Do you expect much competition?
Anthony Keck: Of course, there are all coming here. There are a lot of global agencies that came here and crashed and burn. It is not for the fainthearted. If you go back ten years ago, these companies came and a year later they were all gone. But now with the growth we are getting in the middle-class that is undoubtedly coming through, they are all going to come. No doubt. We welcome them, absolutely. Competition is good; it can only help the country. And the country deserves to go well.
What are some visions Havas Group are having for Cambodia?
Oliver Gonzalez: Cambodia is really impressive. Havas Group would like to stay here long-term. Vishnu is pushing hard to create an academy here on social media. And thanks to Vishnu, three years ago we launched Socialyse in this region. To be fully transparent, it is a massive boom that people are using social network excessively and therefore we are following the trend while surfing the trend with our platform.
Vishnu, you are very interested with education. What is the idea behind the creation of a learning centre?
Vishnu Mohan: Education is the core value for any organisational establishment. Helping others get educated about social media will increase their knowledge and awareness in this field. For us, facilitating that is long-term and is thus better. Otherwise I would be trying to operate in a sea of ignorance. Wouldn’t it be better if I operate in a sea of knowledge? To become the first mover in this field, having real expertise in the business enables me to be honoured to have a corporate responsibility to help a nation get better at it. Education is the starting point of anything and therefore I am very convinced that we will have an academy here. The academy will train whoever wants to come and learn about the different fundamentals of social aspects. Today everyone is a phone user but not everyone has leverages on it, the difference between the two is knowledge. The way a company or a marketer uses a phone is very different from a casual use. Havas Group has a role in educating people how to use social media. It is a program that we are currently running in Singapore and in Indonesia.
How are you going to fund it?
Vishnu Mohan: The Company will provide all the coaches and all of the trainers. It is a possibility that Havas Group and a local university become partners. We are able to draw people from the market who would want to learn. There is no problem with that. It is not the first time that Havas Group creates a learning centre, thus we hold a proven expertise on the process. It is important even from a commercial perspective as this will generate high level interactions between businesses and individuals.