Digitas’ Chia Chen Builds Brands with a Mobile First Approach

Chia Chen is the Senior Vice President/North American Mobile Practice Lead at Digitas. Chia leads mobile innovation and marketing and works across the Digitas network of clients including Delta Air Lines and P&G. We recently spoke with Chia about his current role.

The Makegood: Chia, you are the Senior Vice President/North American Mobile Practice Lead at Digitas. What does your role entail?

CC: At the broadest level, my role is about helping our clients build brands and businesses in the post-PC digital era. That means taking a “mobile first” approach to conceiving of and executing marketing programs. On a moment-by-moment basis, it’s thus part educator, part strategist, part producer and part talent scout.

The Makegood: You have worked with a diverse range of client types from telecom to CPG, for clients including AT&T to Visa International to Unilever. What would you say are some tactics that work well for most types of clients?

CC: Certainly, there are basics, like having a mobile website and mobile search. You have to start by being present in the channels that people are using. At the same time, the most successful mobile tactics are usually the result of getting at insights into the “moments that matter.” At Digitas, we have a process that looks at the moments in peoples lives where the brand could have impact and create experiences that deliver value for the consumers and the brand in those moments. For example, it’s how we got to develop the Expecting Baby app for Mead-Johnson’s Enfamil brand. We know that moms have really embraced smartphones and that they are very much looking to share key moments of their pregnancy. The Expecting Baby app does just that.

The Makegood: Recently, you were quoted as saying that often times with mobile ad campaigns, the “creative doesn’t get the attention it deserves.” Do you think that in the near term future things will change? What would need to happen in order to make this change?

CC: This will change first with the clients who are investing most significantly in mobile display advertising. When you get to a certain scale, it becomes more worthwhile to create mobile-specific advertising creative. Also, you wouldn’t spend a few million dollars to run something that didn’t look right. On the other hand, we need to get to a (very) few standards for mobile rich media and address some of the obstacles that still stand in the way of advertisers doing bigger buys. For example, we need to find ways to ease buying at scale, targeting based on both segment and context as well as reporting.

The Makegood: Are there any recent successful campaigns that you can tell us about?

CC: The Buick “Moment of Truth” ( campaign is one that is explicitly designed for the post-PC digital world. The online presence aggregates real-time social media and blogosphere commentary for all Buick mentions, be it positive or negative, pulling content from YouTube videos, Flickr photos, Facebook, Twitter, automotive reviews, consumer blogs and more.  And it’s designed in such a way that it’s easy for consumers to navigate through all of it, regardless of device, and choose exactly what they want to look at.

Moment Of Truth has been such a success because it’s more than just a website: it’s a community of brand enthusiasts and spokespeople. It is a real-time venue for potential buyers to get reviews and feedback — on whatever form-factor they want. In fact, since the relaunch of Moment of Truth, 70% of site visits have taken place on a tablet.

When we worked with Buick to create the Moment of Truth, our goal was to create something that would provide real value to the consumers; something that would give the brand an active role to play in consumers’ lives. We also wanted to connect Buick with its next generation of buyers, who are more tech savvy.

The Moment of Truth campaign truly influenced consumers and prospective consumers’ behaviors and their perceptions of the Buick Regal. It was so successful that we relaunched it in December and extended it across Buick’s entire 2012 line-up.

The Makegood: Thanks, Chia.