RESA 2022: Kat Costas on cultural diversity throughout SEA in terms of retail and ecommerce growth

RESA Blog

The time is ticking away as we get closer to the Retail and Ecommerce Summit Asia 2022. As we move closer to the awaited event, here is a sneak preview of one of our remarkable thought leaders, Kat Costas, the current Southeast Asia E-commerce Marketing Lead and Marketing Manager of Levi’s. Having fifteen years of contribution in marketing and communications, Kat is also in charge of the brand building and digital transformation of Levi’s in the Philippines as well as unlocking growth potential of ecommerce across SEA retails. In this spotlight interview, Rockbird Media spoke with Kat where she shared about the retail and ecommerce industry, cultural differences in SEA and her core values as the Levi’s Marketing Head. 

 

Rockbird Media: What is that one thing you want people to know about retail & ecommerce in the Philippines?

You have to put the consumer first. As a brand, you need to embrace the changes that we are seeing currently with the consumers. We’re seeing changes in the way they discover products, the way they shop, their media habits. So we need to embrace that because if we don’t, we’ll just be a brand that will be left behind or die.. For brands, it’s really important to invest in the consumers, invest in bringing them an elevated, engaging and a brand-centered experience to customers not just offline but online as well. 

 

Rockbird Media:I believe that you handle not just the Philippines since you are overseeing the SEA markets, how was it in terms of cultural differences and in terms of how mature the market is in unlocking the growth potential of ecommerce?

I handle SEA and looking at the region, there’s actually more things alike than different. And yes we do acknowledge. We’re very diverse, we have different cultures, different languages, religions. But all in all, I guess the thing that brings us together is that we’re young countries and in terms of opportunity for e-com growth, we’re actually now just accelerating versus the likes of more developed countries, the US, NZ, Japan. There’s so much opportunity now for growth and we’re sensing it across the brands as well. 

 

Rockbird Media:What are your core values as a Marketer that you can share to your audience?

It’s very important to be values-led right now. I guess that’s the heart of every company, that’s the heart of every brand. Consumers can see us as a brand if you’re very superficial. So what we tend to embrace right now is more principles over profit. So when you talk about brands like Levi’s, you really put forward our values on sustainability, empathy, equality, diversity, all of that you see in the campaign. It becomes what we stand for as a brand. Because if not, you’ll just end up being a commodity. Why will consumers want to support you or why will they want to get more of you? It’s because you align with the values that they hold strongly, so it is important to be values-led. 

 

Rockbird Media: I agree with you on that. You, being the Marketing Head, you also focus on the deeper level of the brand. Such as sustainability, on how they help the environment. That probably says something about the brand from the consumer’s perspective. They are looking on the advocacy side as well. 

Yes, there are expectations coming from consumers unlike before, “Who do you expect to change the world – the government, society?” Now they really look at brands also to create that good impact on the communities where they are as well.

 

Rockbird Media: What is your message to all the retail and e-commerce leaders in the country?

We do have to embrace change. We have to put focus on the consumer and see what trends are happening and adapt to that. Ask ourselves, “What are the experiences that we want our consumers to take from the brand?”  We want to create those moments that become memorable for our consumers. So driving that elevated, engaging experience again not just in our brick and mortar stores, but we’re also now transitioning that same good experience that we leave on physical stores as well in the online space. 

 

For all the retail and e-commerce leaders in the country

Ending the conversation, Kat gave a message for the industry leaders in the country. “We do have to embrace change. We have to put focus on the consumer and see what trends are happening and adapt to that. Ask ourselves, “What are the experiences that we want our consumers to take from the brand?”  We want to create those moments that become memorable for our consumers. So driving that elevated, engaging experience again not just in our brick and mortar stores, but we’re also now transitioning that same good experience that we leave on physical stores as well in the online space.”

 

#ResaSummitAsia #ResaPH2022 #retail #ecommerce #rockbirdmedia

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About Rockbird Media

Rockbird Media is an international event expert that offers premium events and business solutions designed for C-level executives — the most influential members of an organization — to facilitate powerful interactions, benchmark strategies, and unlock innovation. For more information, visit www.rockbirdmedia.com.