Digital Marketing Specialist, Will Carnwath visited COMM346

Will Carnwath lectured for COMM346, illustrating new pressures and extended responsibilities of corporations with regards to digital innovations and changing trends in marketing communications.

In the lecture he shared new trends, specifically, perishable content, visual content dominance, changing editorial algorithms, the demise of the traditional human bylines, and social business initiatives in the B-to-B sector.

In addition to touching on digital trends and its implications for corporate communication, the guest lecture session covered real-world case studies to provide practical insights and lessons learned.

In the follow-up Q and A session Will shared with students regarding the projection of future trends and possible organic reach of the corporate content and some other interesting topics for further discussion.

Will’s expertise focuses on corporate reputation, investor relations, and crisis—with a particular focus on the use of digital strategies to engage with a broad range of stakeholders—and he co-leads Brunswick’s Business and Society practice for Asia. He is a former senior investment banker, with over 10 years in corporate finance at Nomura and Piper Jaffray, where he focused on healthcare and industrials in the investment banking group. Before moving to Singapore to establish a new office, he spent three years as Chief of Staff to the Chairman of Brunswick in London, working with him on the largest and highest profile international client accounts and deals. Will graduated from St. Andrews University with a degree in physiology.

Thank you so much, Will, for sharing your valuable insights with COMM 346!

G2 [GROUP 12] [UNIVERSAL STUDIOS SINGAPORE]

 

universal-studios-singapore

Introduction to Universal Studios Singapore (USS)

Back in March 2010, Southeast Asia’s first Hollywood movie theme park, Universal Studios Singapore(USS) was opened. Located on Sentosa, Singapore’s designated leisure island, it has proved to be a contributing factor to the success of Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) which is operated by Gentings Singapore. Resorts World Sentosa’s mission is as follows:

“We come to work everyday to provide the most memorable guest experience with innovative and differentiated products and services.”  

In USS, visitors are able to experience cutting-edge rides, attractions and shows based on their favourite blockbuster films and television series. One of its star attraction would have to be Battlestar Galactica which is the world’s tallest duelling roller-coaster. Apart from that, USS also host special annual events such as “Halloween Horror Nights”. In 2016, the theme park was most recognised by TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Award as the top amusement park attraction in Asia for the third year in a row, leaving Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park ranked as the second and third respectively.

Why did we select USS?

Despite that, Resorts World Sentosa is not doing well as a whole. For the entire financial year of 2015, Genting Singapore’s net profit slumped 85% and its annual revenue fell 16% year-on-year. This is mainly due to the weak performance in its gaming business (casino) with its revenue falling at 38% from the 2nd quarter of 2014 to 2nd quarter of 2015. Growth in non-gaming revenues seem to have increased and help offset some of the declines in the gaming side of the business but it is clearly not enough. The number of USS visitors have increased through the quarters but visitor’s spending has decreased.  

Business problem faced by RWS  – Gaming revenues are down.

Solution – Boost profits in non-gaming sectors and thus, USS is the centrepiece of their strategy.

Hence, our main project goal is to increase profits of USS. This can be done via 2 ways which is to increase visitors to USS and to increase visitor’s spending in USS. Based on our observations regarding USS social media presence, we believe that USS have not utilise social media to increase its brand awareness as well as increase its competitive edge against other place of attractions.

Therefore, our research topic is:

‘How can Universal Studios Singapore utilise social media technologies to increase its brand awareness to international visitors and increase its competitive edge against other tourist attractions?”

Current social media presence

Capturehrejkw.PNG

Observations:

Universal Studios Singapore currently does not have its own official website and social media page such as Facebook and Instagram. It is featured in ‘Resorts World Sentosa’ official website together with other RWS attractions, hotels and spas and casino. Information found in the website mainly focuses on the rides and shows in USS. However, there is a lack of information regarding other aspects of USS such as the restaurants and gift shops there.  

For Facebook, Universal Studios Singapore has an unofficial page with about 97,000 Likes as well as customer feedback/reviews and tagged photos. This suggests that social media users would engage quite substantially with an official page if it were to be created. As compared to its regional competitor, Hong Kong Disneyland, the number of likes for HK Disneyland official facebook page is way higher which is about 10 times more.

captureshshr

Overall, one of USS’s weakness is its inactive and weak social networking and online presence. There is also a lack of exposure in advertising media.

Main messages to be delivered

Going back to the mission of the company, “We come to work everyday to provide the most memorable guest experience with innovative and differentiated products and services.”

USS failed to incorporate this mission in its social media strategies. There are no platforms for visitors to share their memorable experience with USS. Therefore, the main message to be delivered is “COME TO USS TO CREATE MEMORABLE MOMENTS WITH YOUR LOVED ONES”

We would also incorporate ‘’Universal Studios Singapore is Asia’s best theme park.” as stated by TripAdvisor in our strategy. This in turn, will create awareness of the recognition held by USS in which many people are unaware of.   

In addition, we would also share more on what is available in USS apart from its rides and shows.

Method of research on target audience

As the broader mass market consumer base of USS is nearing saturation, this proposal will focuses on tourists. Through a survey, we aim to discover psychological determinants in regards to theme park, what do they spent on in theme parks other than the rides as well as their  media consumption activities.

Method of marketing

Our group will be using a mixed approach in which to allow USS to expand presence and engagement on current platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor etc. We would also explore new venues of localised and popular social media outlets such as Weibo, WeChat, etc. Connecting with users around the region via these previously untapped platforms can connect USS with new consumer bases.

 Conclusion

In conclusion, we hope to come out with strategies to bring Universal Studios Singapore to the forefront of tourists’ minds when visiting Singapore, and to expand its regional brand image awareness.

(G1) GROUP 13 | UBER

Let’s Grab an Uber!

Introduction

Uber started as an app to connect people who need rides with people who can provide one, driving their own car. It has been a trendsetter in using technology to make services such as taxi rides and food delivery convenient and efficient. In addition to making transportation more accessible, they contribute to local economies.

Uber has invaded all seven continents, and four social media sites, namely Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Target audience

Uber’s audience is not targeted at a particular demographic, but caters mainly to tech-savvy customers. In our proposal we are focusing on Uber Singapore. A few other target groups we have identified include people aged 18 and above (as card payment is a common option) as well as morning commuters who might prefer UberPool.

Research Question

How can Uber better leverage its use of social media platforms to improve its public image and customer satisfaction?

Value of study

Uber is a major player in the phenomenon of shared economies. Traditional services such as food delivery, accommodation, retail commerce and of course taxi services are becoming increasingly “socialized,” in terms of the use of media platforms. As a company that relies heavily on smart phones, internet data and GPS location, their need for social media to promote and engage is evident. They are also decentralized as the capital and resources do not belong to Uber itself, but rely on social networks.

Uber’s current strategy and its problems

Currently, Uber’s social media content focuses solely on promotional messages. Some of their other popular posts include congratulatory/condolence messages. Uber’s main channel of social communication is Facebook. They then post the same content on Twitter and Instagram.

The problem with this is that there is constant one-way communication through promotional codes, leaving little room for engagement. The Uber team is inefficient at responding to customer comments and complaints on Facebook, lowering customer satisfaction and loyalty. They lack content-optimization for each of the platforms, not utilizing the features and specific purposes of each. Uber also fails to capitalise on key calendar events such as F1 Singapore, Ultra Singapore, National Day and Singapore Food festival. Posting varied and interesting content could increase awareness and ridership.

Methodology

Our research will take place through the following methods:

  • Analysis of:
    • Social Media platform choices
    • Coherence of message strategy across platforms
    • Content-audience engagement levels
  • Benchmarking against major competitors
  • Analysis of three key calendar events
  • We are considering holding interviews/focus groups to find out customer perceptions about the feasibility of our suggestions.

Possible proposed strategies

We will look into:

  • Content strategy in terms of messaging style and content optimization for each platform.
  • Follower recruitment strategy, perhaps through social media campaigns and external brand spokespersons.
  • We suggest hashtag campaigns, lucky draws, sharing of driver and rider experiences, daily updates and improved customer response.
  Facebook   Twitter  Instagram
Role in social media strategy Promotions, service updates, new services, customer feedback, news releases Daily updates, promo codes, pre-event reminders, service hotline User/driver stories, destination photos, hashtag campaigns
Possible campaigns Lucky draw, weekly Uber driver introduction campaign Customer response services Sharing of ride stories, hashtag campaigns, cool Uber rides

By: Jasraj Singh Chadha, Aparna Nellore, Joo Jian Rong Julian, Neo Wei Lun Leonard

Kerbside Gourmet (“Kerby”)

Company Background

 Kerbside Gourmet, known more affectionately as “Kerby”, made its debut on the streets of Singapore in 2013. This environmentally friendly Toyota Hino hybrid truck is also Asia’s first social enterprise gourmet food truck – a vision brought to life by its founder, Luan.  With its strong social outlook, Kerby operates on a BAMGAM (Buy A Meal, Give A Meal) basis through partnerships with other volunteer welfare organizations.

Starting with a simple love for fresh produce and wholesome food, now, Kerbside keeps its customers happy through its 3-prong activation strategy:

  • Brand Activation – where clients can use the truck to promote a brand, message or cause
  • Onsite Catering – where Kerby serves food at a client’s choice of location with a customized menu) and
  • Street Vending – where Kerby serves its gourmet food truck menu at concerts and events around Singapore

Moreover, being nomadic, Kerby does not have a fixed location or operating hours – leaving its fans to search for its whereabouts through the Kerbside Gourmet Twitter page.

fdtruck_st

Competitors

As one of the first movers in the mobile food industry in Singapore, Kerbside Gourmet only has two competitors – the Travelling C.O.W and the Coffee Bandits. However, with the Coffee Bandits focusing on coffee, and the Travelling C.O.W serving comfort food rather than gourmet food, we believe that Kerby does not have any direct competitors in the same market space.

Target Audience

While Kerby inculcates an all inclusive and wholesome culture, it aims to reach out to discerning individuals who seek an alternative, sublime dining experience. Being a first mover in the mobile food industry in Singapore, Kerby could potentially capture a large portion of the consumer market by capitalizing on its unique nomadic traits in an otherwise saturated F&B industry.

Our Motivations

  1. Novelty
    The mobile food industry has witnessed great success in countries like the USA and Canada, and has seen significant growth over the past decade.
    However, the mobile food industry is still a relatively uncharted and undeveloped industry in Singapore due to the beauretic red tape and high costs involved. As Kerbside Gourmet is the first mover in the Singapore mobile food industry, we are excited to work on this relatively new and intriguing food concept in Singapore.
  1. Relevance
    Due to the nomadic nature of the food truck business, they are heavily reliant on word-of-mouth and social media in order to establish relationships with its consumers. We want to analyse the importance of social media, and ways to maximize the effectiveness of these social media channels, to drive communication between Kerbside Gourmet and its potential consumers.
  1. Growth Potential
    Kerby has already seen interest and excitement amongst Singaporeans, especially those who actively seek out new eating experiences. This, coupled with the success of food trucks in other national markets, gives us confidence that Kerbside Gourmet can achieve great success with the right social media strategy. If it is able to maximize the use of its social media channels, we believe that Kerby will not only grow its loyal fan base, but it could even kick start the growth of the mobile food industry in Singapore.

Current Marketing Strategies

Kerby is currently active on its Twitter (97 Followers), Facebook (7.6K Likers) and Instagram (997 Followers) social media pages, and has an updated website. It relies mainly on its Facebook and Twitter pages to communicate its whereabouts to potential consumers. However, given its relatively small following on its social media pages, we foresee the possibility of significant growth on these platforms through the implementation of new social media engagement activities.

Main Project Goal

Our main objective is to foster stronger customer relationships between Kerby and its consumers. We intend to do so through the implementation of new initiatives on its social media pages. The implementation of these initiatives will foster a heightened sense of loyalty amongst existing consumers, and attract new consumers to Kerby’s unique business proposition. We believe that strengthening customer relationships will ultimately lead to Kerby establishing a dominant market position with top-of-mind awareness in the mobile food industry.

Research Question

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Given our objectives for this project, we have come up with the following research question: “How can Kerbside Gourmet leverage on social media to build strong customer relationships in the mobile food industry”

Method of Research

We aim to gather more data on customer expectations from a food truck in Singapore, their general sentiments on the mobile food industry, and their willingness or interest to participate in various social media led initiatives, to be better equipped to design our strategy for Kerby.

The collection of this research will be done through:

  1. Primary Research
    – Focus Groups
    – In-depth Interviews
    – Online Surveys
  1. Secondary Research
    – Case Studies
    – Online Research

We have chosen to utilize primary research to better understand the attitudes and behavior potential consumers towards the mobile food industry and secondary research to understand the industry in more established markets and understand how we can emulate the success of food trucks in other markets in Singapore.

Conclusion

In conclusion, our proposed strategies will help Kerbside Gourmet establish relationships with their customers and turn them into loyal customers and brand advocates. In addition, this project will also allow us to examine the effects social media has on the consumption choices of Singaporeans and explore the effectiveness of social media as a key tool for the growth of Singapore’s first food truck business. We hope that Kerbside Gourmet will be able to change the landscape of the food industry and the use of social media as it rises in the ranks to become a household name in Singapore.

How did Facebook beat Google Plus?

Gavin Bellson, CEO of Hooli, the Google-like fictional company in HBO’s hit show Silicon Valley, indulging in invigorating intellectual curiosity and a competitive mind, hasn’t a care about what it takes to buy whatever seems attractive and stock-it-on promising start-ups. Likewise, major turn-ons that motivate most Silicon Valley tech tycoons might not merely be ROI number-crunching like any merely mediocre traders. More exactly, their self-indulgent causes are humane commitment “To make the world a better place” and/or self-righteousness based on an “It-has-to-be-me” mindset.

hooli
Their playing with giga-investment decisions on cutting-edge, maybe even game-changing technologies, flying cars, free-internet-distribution balloons, drones and the like, might essentially be the same as that of the show’s Erlich Bachman, self-claiming he did something superspecial and creative with a hell of exorbitant silly parties that represents Hawaii in Alcatraz decorating with real dinosaur bones that cost a fortune for merely a short term rent. They’re all carefree egotripping with all the $$$-tsunami from scalable IPO and corporate shares given to founders and investors, enabling them to wallow in party time atop of insatiable demands for Brain entertainment.

Similarly, our perspective on Google’s recent blunder on Google Plus and its ignominious retreat in the war against Facebook … Actually, it began at the wrong end, clashing with Facebook simply in revengeful reaction to i) some of its skilled workforce defecting in that direction, and ii)  Facebook’s phenomenal growth, a la the slur of “short-lived college-town fever …” Remember? Google believed it had the upper-hand  and that it could leverage on what Facebook does not have, namely search, solid user-base, ultimately-better tech platform, a more-integrated mail-service platform, YouTube, maps, the list goes on … Google carried out the plan to prove its belief they actually perform better than Facebook. Yes, definitely technological determinism, Valley boys’ typical projection of the world around themselves.

But, as we all already know, for Google Plus it didn’t go as planned. Facebook responded vigorously and, to put it mildly, Facebook has a whole lot of vigour, (a whole lot of capital-C Clout). So, no surprise, it routed its contender (as I write this, Russia’s 1812 rout of Napoleon keeps coming to mind). This is a story of a win by the Facebook people despite their technological shortcomings compared to Google Plus. Thing is, the winning team has more Moxie.  That word says it all: They eagerly committed themselves, were determined to win, confident that sheer force of character can achieve the intended outcome.  In contrast, Googlers seemed more relaxed, perhaps intoxicated with their well-established empire, resting on their laurels (so to speak).

 

Does this view hold true? Does it take into account all factors behind Facebook’s success?

Recently with my husband I for the first time came to an interesting bar: it used drones to serve tables! He deliberately picked it to cover a story on that very topic. Then a surprise: I learned that the bar not only is well known, but also close to my school, literally small-ball-throw close. So it sank in that although I’ve been here two years I never had explored the neighborhood close to campus, never registered its coffee shops, restaurants, bars, museums, bookstores … in a word, its character! Nor had I felt genuine curiosity toward what this city has to offer. I wonder why. Imagine a similar lapse in, for example, Paris, Barcelona, Zurich … in the last two of which, actually, I have been (also in the last two years) and where I did explore. Probably here I simply haven’t been in the mood because this city is for me my workplace where my necessary focus is my career performance. Bottom line: One’s workplace city is hardly where one’s leisure time is given over to relaxing and chilling out. Nor does it necessarily intrigue one’s curiosity.

Invoking the example of my usual look-away from what surrounds my workplace might explain why people have little notion of what Google Plus is all about, or don’t even know it exists. Odd, this, considering that by a simple glance around, a single click on their existing Gmail account, they’d have a sense of it. No doubt Google Plus is a technically well-designed and efficient platform. And, across the board, the Google platform works well for us, especially when we pursue max efficiency in our online behaviors, whether work or leisure, and especially when we Google business websites to prepare a client meeting, check emails needing our utmost immediate attention and reply, share docs with co-workers, need doc-edit tools, navigate fastest travel paths, etc. That said, Google might not be the most convenient or emotionally feel-right option when we want to simply kick-back, chill with friends and colleagues, giggle at selfies, share comments, or just sneak-peep into celeb lives. Those are exactly what we do on Facebook. This might address some part of my previous question as to why people turn away from the feature-laden, fascinating, new, social network platform.

In looking closely at what Silicon Valley tech tycoons such as Google, Facebook, and MS are doing in pursuit of future long-term business, I claim it is exactly what Gavin Belson does in the show: his driving impetus is insatiable appetite for personal visions and daydreaming. To elaborate, he, Belson, doesn’t, and they, hi-tech giants, don’t, care about what customers want to do on their platform. More indulgent for them than their customers’ wants is technological utopianism dabbling in the anything-everything technically possible. Scents of narcissism and self-indulgence linger in the immediate air of Must-be-I-none-else. In such an ethos are embodied the take-no-prisoners, and the burnt-earth slashes of disrupting competitors by picking fights over issues, or brutal and ruthless buy-outs. Incited by Facebook’s unprecedented success  in social networking, Google launched Google Plus, and MS merged LinkedIn, rather than focusing on what they do really well and in which they have real expertise.

On top of that, the further conjecture that many Silicon Valley tech gurus phase out a good number of unrealized business projects and secret missions being propelled by quiet ambition.A major corporate entity, SamSung, for instance, based in the small-scale thus financially-infertile Korean market (i.e., in comparison to the US), has much at stake when it goes for a new business category. Example: invading the auto industry purely on the CEO’s personal whim and vision. In contrast, Silicon Valley is a flood of money, so once one maintains one’s foothold in the major sector of one’s business, one will be safe in poking around and angling at anything infatuating even beyond one’s core business domain.  Right?

Well, the problem caused at the users’ end is that their core identities, mostly, inhibit their expansion to other domains. When Google wants to act like Facebook, its very being Google tends to disrupt the plan. Likewise for Facebook … Example: Facebook, once endeavoring to go beyond mere photo-sharing and communication, put visionary effort into creating its own economic ecosystem …  But it didn’t work out.

When one wants to share selfies taken by Instagram and manage one’s social identity and relationships, Facebook is the go-to place. But it’s surely not the place where many would go for their commercial transactions with virtual currency like Bitcoin.

Absolutely no denigrations of tech people’s pure intellectual devotion and visionary efforts are intended here.  Nor I am saying all their money games turned out flops or deserved scorn. But the question remains: What did we learn and what should we learn from past incidents? Some other questions as well: What is the true meaning of innovation and vision, and in what ways does technology really help us better the world?. In many cases, clearly observing going somewhere we previously didn’t locate should not be enough to prove we are progressing. Instead, in many cases, those moves turned out to be nothing but self-obsession, a like-we-got-to-do-something-anyways moment.

Thus we move to another angle to answer my initial question; How come did Facebook end up beating Google, the Silicon Valley moguls’ big bro? Maybe we might say Facebook was into furthering its own zone to stay abreast of what it is, while Google tried to be what it isn’t. And the major or minor interface and service improvement Facebook achieved during the rock down period might be the consequence of what we could label truly-practiced innovation, i.e., getting to one’s core competency, enriching what already is inside one, gauging the scope and amount of what one’s box can contain practically.

So, to innovate and grow further, both practically and theoretically, surely our primary ethos should be to master the underlying mechanisms already in our box, rather than lurk at street corners, then sneak into others’ boxes?

Reference: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/06/how-mark-zuckerberg-led-facebooks-war-to-crush-google-plus

https://backchannel.com/who-are-the-real-life-models-of-silicon-valley-characters-we-have-them-3507bc890d9a

 

KFC IS LISTENING

Abstract

According to the National Restaurant Association, the growth of the restaurant industry has tremendous growth potential and just in 2014 alone, the restaurant-industry sales are projected to total $683.4 billion from the previous $586.7. Restaurants are an essential part of people’s life with 9 out of 10 consumers stating that they enjoy going to restaurants (National Restaurant Industry, 2015).

With Yum! Brand being the world’s largest restaurant companies, this report seeks to focus on how KFC, one of their major licensed brand, could leverage on the other two major brands: Pizza Hut and Taco Bell to further strengthen and bring Yum! Brands to greater heights.

KFC Corporation

KFC Corporation was founded in 1929 by Colonel Harland Sanders whom started with demonstrations with pressure cookers. Never did he realize that his trial and error with chickens and herbs with pressure cookers would led him to the famous Colonel secret recipe now used in all KFC stores. KFC then expanded exponentially via franchising and currently includes more than 15,000 restaurants in more than 120 countries (Houston, 2016). In Singapore alone, KFC currently has 76 outlets all over the different parts of Singapore

Financial Stability

According to their Annual Report in 2014, KFC’s franchising business model is proven to be incredibly strong, having double digits operating profit growth. KFC even set a new record for their international development by opening nearly 670 international units in 2014 (Brand, 2016).

With Yum! Brand being the world’s largest restaurant companies and KFC being one of the major licensed brands by operating profit (29%), it would be significant to analyse KFC’s social media strategies and how can KFC leverage on the other two major brands: Pizza Hut and Taco Bell to further strengthen and bring Yum! Brands to greater heights.

Social Media Analysis

Three main KFC social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram & Twitter (Fig. 3) will be analysed from 25 March to 8-April (2 weeks) to observe KFC’s frequency in posting, popularity among followers as well as the effectiveness towards their main goals of product customization, innovation and customer engagement (Brand, Yum! Brand Annual Report, 2016).

Interestingly, KFC’s content strategy in all three platforms do not vary much and most of their post in three different platforms are the same. However, as the amount of users present in each platform varies, their likes and shares for the same post on the various social media platform varies as well.

PIC 2
Data Collection
PIC 1
KFC Social Media

Overall Marketing Strategy

2 weeks of data collection and observation of KFC’s content strategy in social media, observations were made towards KFC’s content strategy via social media. KFC’s main content strategy is the promotion of their unique chicken series via family feast promotions. KFC makes use of high quality marketing and images to lure customers to try out their newly launched products.

KFC’s average rate of posting is around 1.06 post/day and the average number of likes varies across different platforms. On Instagram, the average number of likes is 163, for Facebook, 155 likes while twitter only at 13 likes (Fig 4). Despite KFC having huge amount of followers across the different platforms, it appeared that KFC might not be hitting their goal of customer’s engagement.

Public interest

After analysing KFC’s main social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram as well as their Twitter account, it appears that the public is more inclined towards two main segments of KFC’s postings. Firstly, the new chicken series and secondly, their breakfast series.

Looking at their new products launched almost every 2 months, Parmesan Chicken, Yang Yeum Chicken, Shoyuzu Chicken and Red Hot Chicken, it can be observed that KFC’s followers on their social media have high tendency to comment more on newly launched products as well as tagging their friends to inform them about the new launch. The engagement rate of newly launch products are much higher than other posts relating to Breakfast menu or other regular menu items. Comments such as “Favourite chicken so far”, “Bring this back” are seen across all their unique products. This gives KFC a sense of the public’s acceptance towards their newly launched products and how they should further engage their loyal customers.

Summary of main findings

Analysing KFC’s social media platforms, KFC’s social media strategy of using pictures to lure customers in trying out their new products is good and feasible, however what they are lacking is customers’ engagement as well as creative marketing promotions.

KFC lacks ongoing conversations with customers and most of their posts are one-directional without much engagement with customers.

Proposed Social Media Campaign

Looking at the high popularity for new launched products, KFC can invite customers to co-create the new product together. In this proposed social media campaign, the target market will be on customers who are open to experiences and active on social media.

Campaign Plan

KFC will be uploading a post on recent hot topics and allowing customers to provide suggestions on “what flavour of chicken does this remind you of?”

pic 4

This campaign #KFCislistening hopes to garner more suggestions and ideas from loyal customers in terms of their creative chicken flavours. Since KFC’s target customers are teenagers and young adults, by posting hot topics such as the recent Korean Drama “Descendants of the Sun” it will definitely garner huge attention from the public. New flavours such as “Korean snowing chicken or even Korean

Furthermore, KFC’s discounts and promotions has always been a great marketing strategy for them to attract loyal customers, this campaign aims to attract customers by providing them with $100 vouchers for the most creative chicken flavour. Furthermore, the new flavour will be launched the following week and will last about a week. New flavours such as “Korean snowing chicken” or even “Korean spicy chicken” can be considered.

With this campaign, it will definitely attract a lot of attention from people who watched this drama before and most importantly, it will be able to attract loyal as well as new customers sparked by the curiosity of the latest drama and KFC’s new marketing campaign. Apart from that, hot topics other than dramas are posted every week.

However, one of the foreseeable obstacle is that people might not be receptive towards certain new products or some may comment irrelevant comments on the post diluting the focus of the marketing campaign. Furthermore, some may even doubt and complain about the fairness of results. Hence KFC has to be transparent in terms of their criteria as well as transparent in the posting of results.

Thank you!

-Dorothy Lee

Grab: Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

Grab

Grab is a mobile app that links transport options to passengers and these transport options range from regular taxis, private cars to larger vehicles with bigger seating capacity. It is present in many Southeast Asian countires and developed from a simple taxi booking app in Malaysia to a regional mainstay. In 2014, Grab launched its app in Singapore. Its very form as an app makes it necessary for the company to be savvy, especially on social media. This has to do with the demographic of people who are technologically savvy enough to employ the use of this app. Grab’s main competitor is Uber, an American company with an app that essentially has the same function and purpose. Grab has developed in a similar manner as Uber but its localisation has allowed it to take a significant chunk of the market share from Uber.

Research Question

How has Grab capitalised  on their competitive edge as a more relatable brand with a localised presence in relation to their nearest competitor, Uber via their online presence?

Social Media Presence & Analysis

Grab has a rather uniform presence in terms of content across all 3 platforms. While their content on Facebook is not entirely uninteresting, ambient noise from complaints and random enquiries dilute the message impact. On Instagram and Twitter, the content is identical, just tailored to different platforms. The engagement is largely confined to complaints and queries. Often, pertinent questions go unanswered and this goes to show a lack of training and perhaps even protocol in dealing with social media.

 

Objectives

Objective 1: Create an online brand community through sustained engagement and interaction.

Objective 2: Create organic brand ambassadors through humanising brand identity.

Proposed Strategies

  1. Feedback Channel

To address the flooding of posts with comments on bad experiences or enquiries, Grab should dedicate an in-app system of automating FAQ answers and providing feedback. Most importantly, the time-sensitivity of certain issues may necessitate speaking to a representative of the company. This can be in the form of an in-app live chat or hotline. This then frees up space on their Facebook wall and does not threaten to derail any messages that Grab is attempting to convey to its consumers.

  1. Diversification of Online Content

In partnership with celebrity food bloggers, Grab can come up with a campaign that engages users to share their favourite food haunts and perhaps even use the app algorithm to schedule Grab ride-sharing for those who would like to try the food that users have recommended. This adds an additional dimension of personality to the brand and contributes towards the creation of a brand community crowded around a common interest.

  1. Building on Existing Strategy

Currently, Grab has embarked on a #herestoourdrivers campaign whereby they feature Grab partners and their unique quirks in the car the operate out of. What is great about this strategy is that it gives a personal and human touch to the brand. What is problematic, however, is that some of the recent features do not have faces to them. It is important that the drivers they feature are humanised rather than just textual description. Next, the voting competition on their Facebook page that started on 13 Apr 2016 is a short term and myopic strategy to encourage interaction with the brand. Beyond this competition, there is no value-add to the relationship between consumer and brand. Instead, they should focus on making consumers organic brand ambassadors through using their partners’ service to win over consumers. This can be done through an extensive employee training programme where every one from drivers to front and back office staff go through a service standard training so that the level of service that Grab claims to offer can be matched and consistent.

Conclusion

In the observation period, it is clear to see that the social media performance is less than satisfactory. Moreover, the exploitation of their localised brand identity is incomplete and poorly sustained. However, it is encouraging to see that Grab has recognised their competitive advantage as a brand ‘closer to home’ and has begun to go about taking advantage of this unique position. In order to fully leverage their unique identity, Grab has to take a multi pronged approach in addressing the poor engagement and interaction levels as well as to build on their position as a localised service. In the future, it will be meaningful to research the effect that such marketing has on brand equity and establishment of a brand community.

 

 

 

G2 – Instagram (MDS, LB, and Osmose)

Research Question:

How Can Osmose Leverage on Instagram’s Strengths to Improve its Level of Customer Engagement on Instagram so as to Successfully Compete With the Other Online Fashion Retailers in Singapore?

Brief Information on Companies Analysed

MDS, Love, Bonito (LB), and Osmose are online fashion retailers offering apparels that balance both style and affordability to meet the needs of young women in Singapore. While all three retailers offer similar style of clothes that are fall within the same price range, they differ in their levels of customer engagement on Instagram, in terms of likes and comments garnered from each post. LB is the leader among the three companies, with 89.5 thousand followers, posted an average of 1.1 post per day during the March 2016 and each post receiving an average of 526 likes and 11 comments. MDS is a close competitor, with 60.2 thousand followers, posted an average of 4.1 posts per day  during March 2016 and each post received an average of 526 likes and 11 comments. In contrast, Osmose only has 9383 followers, posted an average of 3.6 posts per day during March 2016 and each post received an average of 71 likes and 2 comments.

 

Instagram As A Strategic Tool

The use of social media to communicate with customers is no longer an additional communication option but a strategic tool widely recognized and employed by the fashion industry to interact with customers with the goal of achieving positive business results.The three most commonly used social media platform by fashion companies are are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, with Instagram being the most preferred platform.

The allure of Instagram to fashion companies can be attributed to the following reasons, namely, migration of young millenials from Facebook to Instagram, the high engagement level achievable on Instagram, and the visual nature of Instagram that brings about immense benefits that can be harnessed by the fashion companies.

Since the target customers of MDS, LB, and Osmose comprise mainly of young women and  there is a trend of teenagers and young millenials migrating from Facebook to Instagram, there is a higher likelihood of reaching and interacting with their target customers on Instagram. Notably, the trend of these cohorts of the demographic switching from Facebook to Instagram is particularly obvious in Singapore. Hence, this increases the importance for these online fashion retailers to be on Instagram so as to reach and interact with their existing and potential customers.

In addition, given that empirical findings have proven that positive business results can only be achieved by companies who have a superior capability in customer engagement on social media and that Instagram provides the highest level of customer engagement among the social media platorms used by fashion companies, they collectively highlight that actions taken on Instagram can have a direct impact on the business results of a company, further emphasizing the importance of the actions taken by these online fashion retailers on Instagram.

Moreover, Instagram’s visual nature allows these companies to market their products and satisfy customers’ desires to keep abreast of new trends and offers easily, thereby effectively capturing and retaining their interests in the brand on a global scale. However, an analysis of the relationship between the level of customer engagement and they types of  posts by the three online fashion retailers show that their followers are less receptive to marketing content, with the exception of marketing content designed as information on new trends, and are instead more receptive to content that involves lifestyle images and friendly or empowering messages.

Unlike MDS’ posts, which comprise mainly of information on upcoming new designs, Osmose’s posts were mainly on marketing of its current products. Unlike LB’s marketing content, which was delivered as information on new trends, Osmose’s marketing content was delivered as straightforward selling of its products. Therefore, to successfully capture and retain customers’ interest in the brand so as to achieve a higher level of customer engagement, Osmose can adopt the strategy of MDS, to strike a better balance in their marketing and non-marketing content, or the strategy of LB, to employ native advertising, which is to deliver its marketing content as information that meets the informational needs of its followers.

Additionally, comments are generally made only with the presence incentives across the three companies analysed. Hence, Osmose should intensify its Instagram campaign of incentivizing its followers to comment on and tag other Instagram users in its posts so as to encourage dialogue within the comments section as well as to magnify its online presence. Accordingly, Osmose should be able to increase and retain customers’ interests in its posts, proxied by the number of likes and followers, and increase the level of interaction between and among its customers, proxied by the number of comments on its posts.

With the adoption of the above recommendation, Osmose should see an improvement to its level of customer engagement on Instagram, which will thus help them compete more effectively with the other online fashion retailers and assist them in their pursuit of better business results.

 

 

Malaysian Airlines Berhad: Social Media Research Report

Hi everyone, my name is De Zhong and my research report is on Malaysia Airlines Berhad!

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Dang dang dang!

That’s right, the airline carrier which unfortunately got thrown into the spotlight after 2 of its planes met with unfortunate incidents. Well, it has been a trying time for MAS (I’m gonna call it that from now) as even before the incidents, they were already in trouble as there are just SO many strong competitors in the region, such as from Singapore Airlines Limited and Garuda Indonesia!

So what happened after is that they basically had to fire staff, hire a new CEO – but he has been doing a rather good job! Just a few days ago, an article has been published stating that they have just profited for THE FIRST TIME since the incidents!

I am very excited to see what will happen in the near future as MAS progresses to become an inspiration to other businesses out there which have met with trials and tribulations.

Alright, but firstly, here’s the two questions I was pondering whilst doing the research report. They are written below!

  • How is Malaysia Airlines Berhad currently utilizing its social media platforms in order to engage with its key stakeholders?
  • How can Malaysia Airlines Berhad, through social media initiatives, reestablish a

reputation of trust and safety for the corporation, and ultimately increasing profitability to pre-incident levels?

So basically for my research report, I looked at MAS’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, in comparison to the other national airlines in the vicinity, namely Garuda Indonesia (who actually also suffered from incidents in the past but has managed to become such a respected airline after restructuring), and the one and only Singapore Airlines!

Strong competition aye.

Dolce & Gabbana Candy Apple Red

Alright now to my findings!

I compared the 3 airlines to each other and WOW were they different. For example, Garuda Indonesia posts more commonly in Bahasa Indonesia (they are sure missing out on a lot of people like me who can’t speak Bahasa), and Singapore Airline’s social media is like reading a gigantic “fact-of-the-day” book, its really interesting and filled with little bite sized pieces of information about travel, tourism and culture!

Whereas for MAS, I am quite surprised but elated that they are not doing too badly too – in fact they have more followers on Twitter than SIA! HA!

yay-54383329058

 

But back to serious business:

MAS’s social media account is quite unique, focusing on its staff, and peripheral cues such as happy people to portray optimism on its platforms. Yes! On its people. While this may not work for everyone (for example, personally I’m not so interested in looking at photos of the staff and managers no matter how handsome or pretty they are), but it does BUILD PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS with the people who follow the account.

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But at the same time, if you look at these pictures of the smiling staff and think to yourself…

“HEY. They weren’t smiling when they served me rancid coffee on the plane.”…

Then you know what’ll happen?

This’ll happen.

AAAAA COMPLAINT

Negative sentiment is a major issue, as people are generally critics and only listen to negative stuff most of the time. I bet you’ll notice this a lot more than the usual “Good job posts eh”, coz this is more exciting, ain’t it?

So, if we look at MAS’s sentiment analysis as below:

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11.8% is way too much.

Let me give you this analogy.

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Let’s say I buy a plate of chicken rice at the hawker centre. And there’s a single cockroach leg in it. I make a big fuss, and a complaint on social media.

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Does the public see that the other 10000000 plates of chicken rice are nice and tasty? NO!

So you’ve got my point.

My aim now, is to bring down these little pieces of negative sentiment to 5% (a realistic goal coz 0% is impossible) – How so? I will DIVERT and DETER.

DIVERTING, by putting up call-to-action posts to ENCOURAGE users to give feedback (and hopefully inclusive of the bad ones) via messaging them directly, and not post it on social media and all. BUT this requires their effort to be very consistent and timely in fixing problems as well.

Here’s an example of what they can do!

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Yup, friendly language, hashtags and all – I AM CONVINCED AND I WILL MESSAGE THEM.

So what about DETERRING then?

Well, we will be PROACTIVE in engaging in a social media campaign, unified by #TheMASLife hashtag. In essence, they are already posting pictures of their employees (yay!), what I am suggesting is for them to actually make it into a campaign, and build upon it by including inspirational accounts of why they joined MAS and etc.

Here’s an example!

FAKE POST

Basically, everyone already knows our sob story. Now’s OUR turn to tell them that WE MADE IT BACK, to serve you guys.

And isn’t that beautiful?

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Well of course, on hindsight, these communication strategies rely a little on fate. If MH370 is found, and we know how the plane was lost, then MAS would be better able to tell its key stakeholders that they either have made the necessary changes to prevent such an incident from happening again, or scapegoat someone else.

That’s all folks, and I am so happy that I have signed up for this module with you guys! Till the summer holidays!!!

De Zhong 🙂

G1 – Individual Project: #AnEmbracingOpportunity by American Eagle Outfitters

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Hello Everyone! 🙂

It’s been a long journey since we all started out in COMM 346 and it has all culminated in this very project which I’ll be sharing about.

Btw, I hope that provocative image above did not scare you away, but rather, enticed you to want to know more about my project! Either ways, it achieved its purpose of inciting a reaction, which is precisely what a campaign should be all about!

Without further ado, let me bring to you the company, American Eagle Outfitters.

Introduction

American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) Inc. is an American clothing and accessories retailer with over 1,200 stores worldwide. Since it was founded in 1977, the brand has abided by its company’s culture and core values in shaping its aspirational yet easily accessible brand identity, in an effort to make the world a better place, alongside its customers.

Historically, AEO created a brand community based on ‘inclusionary marketing’, targeting people between the ages of 18-30 years old, independent of size and gender, earning it second spot in the list of “coolest” brands, just behind retail giant, Nike, according to Teen Research Unlimited in spring 2007 (Driscoll, 2007). Its blend of effective marketing campaigns alongside approachable pricing and heartwarming in-store staff has helped the brand to create a relatable and down-to-earth brand experience, which is accessible to all.

Research Question

So with this amount of good going for the brand, the question that lingers on in my mind is WHY is the brand not surpassing its competition (like F21, H&M and the likes). Moreover, as evinced from the social media listening which I conducted, the brand has a strong following and a favorable brand perception going for them.

Hence, I wanted to explore how AEO could leverage on its existing and extensive social media presence to create endearment and buzz for the brand so as to capitalize on the massive opportunities that abound in the Singapore market and stand out from the cluttered local retail scene. In doing so, an actionable strategy via the social media vehicle will be laid out so as to address the following broad ideas:

  • How is AEO making use of its social media platforms to sieve out what its target customers really want?
  • Building upon that collective knowledge, how can AEO foster a deeper relationship with its customers so as to develop brand retention and loyalty with this group of people?

Analysis & Findings 

Strengths

1.Crisis Management

What AEO has going for itself is the ability to manage a crisis, and work a negative event to its advantage. Its #AerieMAN campaign was one such example whereby it evolved into a disaster after it was announced to be a parody. What was to be a refreshing celebration of a man’s true self and an introduction into a new era of body positivity became a lackluster joke and this became the center of conversation among its fans on its various social media platforms.

However, AEO was active in its social media scanning and picked up these negative sentiments and responded almost immediately (on 1 Apr 2016) with a statement that was underscored with an apologetic tonality.

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Good job, AEO! (Y)

2.Wide Exposure

Riding on the popularity of its global social media pages, AEO’s local Instagram page also shares in this pie of fame. It has amassed a strong following of close to 3,000 followers within a short span of 47 weeks (when the account was first created) and has had about 1000 user-generated pictures posted and tagged with their exclusive #aeosg.

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Once again, a pat on their back!

Additionally, similar results could be found on their local Facebook page, with traffic of close to 300,000 users.

Shortfall

However, similar to any human being, a brand cannot be rid of flaws. And the same can be said for AEO. Despite a large following, AEO fails to engage its followers meaningfully by inviting comments, creating buzz-generating alternative content or featuring UGC.Furthermore, when offered an opportunity to engage in a collaboration, the brand cursorily passed it off with a generic response.

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What are you thinking AEO? Or why weren’t you??

And hence, this led me to my recommendations for the brand as it was apparent that the brand’s social media content strategies had significant gaps that had yet to be plugged.

Proposed Social Media Strategy (for a target audience between the ages of 18-30, no discrimination allowed!)

Message

In keeping with the overarching brand campaign objective of establishing brand resonance in the hearts and minds of its customers as well as positively influencing its brand identity, the following strategies deliver the key message via two prongs – a CSR-style and an influencer-based campaign. They focus on the brand’s promise of ‘celebrating real individuals’ wherever, whenever.

The campaign message will be communicated via the hashtag #AnEmbracingOpportunity (See what I did there? A.E.O?? Haha). It is also a collaboration with Support for Eating Disorders Singapore (SEDS), a support group for those coping with eating disorders, and all proceeds generated through this campaign will go to the organization to fund their operations.

Deployment

This campaign involves the brand’s social media followers posting videos of themselves in their truest, rawest state. By doing so, it challenges them to accept their flaws and who they really are, without any pretense or cover-ups. In this present age, with media’s distorted perception of beauty (hello, not everybody has to look like Kendall Jenner or Gigi Hadid?!) , this campaign stands out, as it is one that reverses this order of thinking and educates the brand community that it is perfectly fine to stand out, because there is beauty in being raw and untouched. (Of course, there will be prizes involved to entice these people into participating!)

Furthermore to enhance the reach of this campaign, AEO will invite local social media influencers such as Andrea Chong (241K Instagram followers), Christabel Chua (98.2K Instagram followers) and Dee Kosh (60.8K Instagram followers with a strong following for his YouTube channel) to participate and endorse this campaign.

Facebook and Instagram will be the primary platforms for this campaign (which was expounded in the report, but I’m sure all you tech-savvy millenials know why 😉 )

Conclusion 

The proposed campaign aims to associate AEO with compassion and authenticity, which is the driving philosophy of the brand, while engaging the brand community across a variety of platforms and encouraging them to create buzz-generating content for the brand. These strategies were specifically constructed to capitalize on each individual platform’s strengths and aimed at consolidating AEO’s brand identity as one that is authentic and relatable with its target audience. With that, it is of my hope that AEO is able to establish a long-lasting and endearing relationship with its customers.

So long, my friends of COMM346! I hope that this was worth your time and that it was an interesting read for all! 🙂 We all need a break from studying for exams don’t we?!

Cheers,

Alethea

P.S (Helloooooo SUMMER 😀 )