Social media: more than just an awareness creation tool

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CHANGING consumers’ perceptions is perhaps the toughest assignment any brand has to go through. Once a brand has created some sort of footprint in the consumer’s mind, it is very difficult to change it.

The main focus of today’s article is a case study that I really wanted to share, after it received so many plaudits from the public and marketing experts alike. It is the story of how Charoen Pokphand managed to enter the hearts of Thai consumers, as opposed to just being a company selling chicken.
The highly acclaimed “Every Mouthful Is Meaningful” campaign by CP was praised for its tear-jerking execution and, equally, the way the delivery channels were effectively selected with such a small budget. The media planning and buying were managed by Initiative Thailand.
With such sheer domination, the corporate image of CP was generally not seen as favourable. Rather, it was viewed as an uncompassionate money-making machine out to conquer the world.
So CP embarked on a mission to convince consumers that it was an empathetic entity that deeply enriched the everyday lives of Thai people.
With the proliferation of social media, it is easy for just about anyone to release bad press on a brand, and the negative sentiment against CP peaked last year. Mass media were never going to be a priority in the campaign, for the rules of engagement had taken centre stage since the beginning of this decade. CP wanted people really to engage with the brand and to reconsider their attitudes towards the food giant.
Having been the first agency officially to recognise the growing trend of multi-screening behaviour way back in 2013, Initiative Thailand realised that TV was never going to deliver the goal of engagement, but the campaign had to be embedded on socially interactive screens. It really needed to target the urban masses, the true key stakeholders of this campaign.

Insight
With a single profound media insight unearthed, CP realised that Thais are genuinely influenced by key opinion leaders (KOLs) with positive images. So apart from the paid media that it set out to use, these KOLs had to be the key channels of message delivery.

Strategy
As a strategy, then, the task was to reach wide, bring about believability and stir emotion in the urban masses, those who were active multi-screeners – in essence making the content “shareable”.

Execution
YouTube was the main artillery to spread the message. The momentum was maintained by utilising Facebook as a medium for audiences to spread the word via sharing, hence bringing about engagement.
Once the video caught wind on digital media, out-of-home media and transit screens were employed to act as reminders of the brand’s social stance of wanting to enrich the lives of Thais.
As a conclusion to the proceedings, both social media and television personalities endorsed the videos to attain the believability essence of it all, which undoubtedly worked to perfection.

Result
n A total of 6.5 million people were reached in two weeks on YouTube, of which 18 per cent was organic, against the industry norm of 3-10 per cent.
n During the same period, 250,000 likes, 25,000 shares and 12,000 comments were achieved.
n A total of 2.7 million views and 140,000 engagements were received from KOLs sharing the video.
n Some 15 million viewers were reached via all out-of-home media including transit.
n About 4.6 million were reached through KOLs via television shows.
n But most important, a +567 lift in brand interest was induced on the back of only Bt3 million spent on digital media.
n The cost per view for the campaign was only Bt0.57, against the expected rate of Bt2.60.
CP’s campaign was rewarded with being placed third overall on the YouTube Ads Leader Board Thailand and an amazing eighth place on the Asian level.
With great powers, any brand has the ability to deliver emotively responsible campaigns and truly get to the core of the meaning of “engagement”, an overused and abused term in the advertising industry.

Pradon Sirakovit, associate director for corporate communications at IPG Mediabrands, can be reached atpradon.sirakovit@mbww.com.