SMG scores with digital edge

A Google portal has lauded Star Media Group’s (SMG) digital innovations, user-centric approach and design thinking practices which it says have culminated in many new initiatives to elevate its business.

Its English news portal, The Star, was recently cited by Think with Google APAC as a prime example of how news brands can drive positive change in their businesses.

“Here are three key steps that (Japan’s The Asahi Shimbun) and Malaysia’s The Star followed that other news brands can learn from:

“Create a safe and friendly work environment. Understand your consumers. Ensure transformation occurs across the organisation, ” writes the Google portal which provides insights for publishers, brands and marketers.

In the past year, The Star has made strides in understanding its consumers, noted SMG group CEO Andreas Vogiatzakis.

“Customers’ expectations have changed. They not only look for credible and compelling content, they look for meaningful engagement.

“By introducing a digital membership plan and consolidating our data management platforms, we can now build a single view of each reader to understand what, how and when they read, ” Vogiatzakis said.

“This allows us to serve them the right content in the right format, at the right time.”

He added that SMG is using image recognition to train its Kuali recipes app and building models to estimate cooking times and calorie count so that it can provide users recipes based on their lifestyle and diet.

“Data and digital innovation underpins everything that we do, from content creation and increasing engagement to improving yield of programmatic ads.

“As Think with Google wrote, we have embraced a ‘fail forward’ approach without being reckless, ” he said.

“From new editorial formats to site updates, we conduct A/B tests with readers as much as we can to get valuable insights before implementing changes.”

Vogiatzakis added that in addition to the external innovations, there have also been many internal enhancements to improve efficiency.

“Last year, we updated and consolidated our print and digital content management systems to streamline processes as well as allow our journalists even more freedom to work remotely, ” he said.

Vogiatzakis explained that this has been critical in helping SMG to continue serving its customers during the ongoing movement control order.