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Rod Strother: Some brands still paying lip service to social media and expect it for free

Rod StrotherRod Strother has moved on from Lenovo after four years running the computing giant’s global social media operation out of Singapore.

The Scott, who has lived and worked in Asia for the last 18 years, says he is “committed to Singapore” and will remain here for his next job.

Reflecting on where brands in Asia are now on the social front, Strother said in a conversation with Mumbrella that while some were getting it right, many others were still paying social media lip service.

“They want to talk about it, but in reality they want to set up a Facebook page,” he said.

Strother held up McDonald’s, and the work of regional digital marketing head Andrew Knott, as an example of, as well as Lenovo, a brand getting social right.

But examples of best practice were few and far between, he added.

“There are lot of clients who want to do it [social media], but when they find out that it costs money, and they’ve got to hire an agency or invest in doing it inhouse, they start getting cold feet. There is a perception that social should be free,” he said.

Brands that have invested in social early on are at a big advantage, Strother said. Brands that haven’t invested in infrastructure and agencies will find themselves left behind.

“If they haven’t already been doing it, it’s already late in the day. They will have genuine difficulties when the market starts to get even tougher,” he commented.

Strother’s role at Lenovo, director, digital and social centre of excellence, is now under the purview of Lawrence Yu, who runs the company’s global engagement marketing function.

Strother moved to Asia in 1997 to set up Grey Direct, the direct and digital arm of ad agency Grey. He ran Proximity in Singapore for two years, was regional business director at BBDO\Proximity and joined Lenovo from Catalyst UK in 2011. Strother started his career on the client-side for British Gas Scotland.

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