Old fashioned marketing won’t help Wonda achieve 20% market share in Malaysia


Wonda Coffee, owned by Asahi Group of Japan used The New Straits Times (NST) a Malaysian daily to launch its hallmark canned coffee with what the NST called “its first 5D advertisement campaign.”

According to the NST the campaign for the ready to drink coffee was “widely touted as the most amazing print-enabled campaign.”

It ran for four days and readers of the newspaper were promised they would be able to “engage their senses of touch, sight, sound, smell and taste with the launch of Wonda.”

There were multiple teaser ads before the launch, at least four full page ads in one edition of the paper, wraparounds of another, a four page ‘pop-up’ ad and sponsorships of whole supplements of the paper that required the use of 3D glasses. The 3D glasses were supposed to come with the paper but ours didn’t.

There were advertorials on the benefits of coffee, teaser ads and even a little music box that played a Wonda coffee Jingle that probably went out across radio. I couldn’t get it to work although it does now play occasionally, normally when nobody is near it.

Typical Wonda print ad
Typical Wonda print ad

There were also multiple messages, taglines and headings used in the campaign that I found confusing.

I don’t know the cost of this campaign but it won’t have been cheap. It is not uncommon for a brand to launch with a mass advertising campaign like this. It’s the wrong way but if you give your product launch to an advertising agency, what else can you expect?

One of the key points of a launch is to ensure that if any buzz is created and consumers buy into the idea of the product, their ability to engage physically with the brand must be seamless. In other words it needs to be available or better still be everywhere the consumer goes.

Although I’m a coffee drinker, I’m not a fan of instant coffee but I decided to buy the product. On the third day of the campaign, I went down to my local convenience store to buy Wonda. They sell most drinks here except it would seem, Wonda.

The following day the NST carried another full page ad for Wonda coffee with a coupon offering a can for 10 cents if you buy from 7eleven. So I tore out the coupon and went over to the local 7eleven. I had a look in the fridges and there was no sign of Wonda coffee. Competitor brands from Nescafe and others were represented and selling for RM1.90 (local brand) – RM2.20 (Nescafe).

I showed the coupon to the assistant and asked for my 10c drink. He wasn’t aware of the offer. However after some cajoling and a couple of rereads while the queue grew he went to the storeroom and got me a can. I asked what the retail price is and he said RM1.90. On the tin it says premium coffee yet is priced below Nescafe.

Since the big splash in the NST I’ve seen Wonda coffee posters at toll booths and there is at least one TVC (see below) so they are obviously spending a lot of money on traditional media.

But of course the initial buzz around the product launch will die down within a week or two once the advertising has stopped. In this era of social media, there is a great opportunity to maintain any traction by taking the marketing to the community.

I had a quick look on Youtube to see if there is a consumer driven competition there. All I could find was this TV commercial.

The TVC has been up for a month and has only received 400 views. Interestingly not one like or dislike. Seriously underwhelming but at least we know they haven’t paid for likes!

Determined now to find out how Wonda is engaging consumers on Social Media I figured there would be a big splash on Facebook, right? Nope. I couldn’t find anything. Twitter? Nothing.

I wonder why Wonda isn't using FB to launch itself
I wonder why Wonda isn’t using FB to launch itself

So here we are in 2014, launching a new product in Malaysia and there doesn’t seem to be any use of social media!

Even though Facebook is the most visited site in Malaysia – There are 10.5 million Facebook users in Malaysia (out of a population of about 27 million) and 3.5 million of those are 18 – 24, probably the perfect target market for this product. Social media is responsible for 33% of all web traffic in Malaysia.

Globally 93% of marketers rate social tools as important and 90% of them support this by using social media channels for business. In this social media dominated era, why aren’t the team responsible for launching Wonda using Social media?

Now of course I don’t know what else is involved in the launch of Wonda and it could be that some sort of Social media presence is part 2 of the launch.

Although not the right way to launch a product, I hope this is the case because ultimately, it will be consumers on social media who determine the success or failure of Wonda Coffee and not a traditional campaign pushed out across traditional media, no matter how creative it is and how ‘amazing’ it is.

Asahi is targetting 20% of Malaysia’s coffee beverage market with Wonda. If it continues to use old fashioned methods to launch and market Wonda and doesn’t leverage on Social Media, it won’t achieve this goal.

You may have to perform miracles to make your brand stand out at Christmas


Plenty of marketing people will tell you they are expected to perform miracles to keep ahead of the competition.

WestJet, a Canadian based carrier proved it can be done!

The airline set up ‘Santa chat boxes’ that looked like gifts at Hamilton and Toronto airports in Canada. The boxes featured a chatty Santa who asked kids and parents what they wanted for Christmas. Little did they know that the information was relayed to the WestJet office at their destination where a team of 150 WestJetters went out and bought the actual gift.

They were then sent back to the office where they were wrapped and put on the carousel as the passengers waited for their luggage. Just as the presents arrived Santa walked out and started interacting with the stunned but very happy passengers. Have a look at this wonderful video:

The video has got over 11 million views in 3 days. Hundreds of column inches and been featured in numerous news programs around the world. Total cost? Maybe US$100,000.

Malaysia Airlines achieves 1 million Likes on Facebook


Malaysia Airlines issued a press release yesterday announcing the airline has one million “Likes” on Facebook.

You don’t need me to tell you Facebook is massive. But I will. Facebook is massive. If it were a country it would be the third largest in terms of population, the largest in terms of area covered and probably the richest in terms of income.

So it is understandable that MAS wants to use Social Media and in particular Facebook, to build its business. Indeed, Khairul Syahar Khalid, Malaysia Airlines’ Head of Advertising & Promotions says, “Social Media is a new frontier for marketing, and as many brands have discovered, going on social media certainly pays.”

Encik Khairul adds, “We have positioned social media at the forefront of our marketing mix. We will be pushing the boundaries even further with our next marketing plans, all of which will see the social media platforms at the forefront. We want to continue to engage with our fans globally at a much deeper level whilst growing our footprint further. Growing our engagement with fans globally has contributed significantly to our business turnaround successes.”

Crediting Social Media with providing a significant contribution to the improvements in the airline’s performances recently is interesting and shows how important is Social Media.

Personally I think it is exciting that MAS is pushing the boundaries even further on social media, especially after the dreadful advertising campaign that is still being run. For more on that campaign please refer to this article

To thank fans for helping the airline reach one million ‘Likes’ on Facebook, MAS created a video with their social media ambassador, Malaysian singer Yuna. The video has been viewed 2,000 times since its launch a week ago.

Incidentally, I believe the Malaysian government has missed a trick here because I think Yuna should be the face of the Malaysia Nation Brand. You can read more about that here.

But how important are Facebook ‘Likes’? Are they a relevant metric for a business? What do they tell us and how can we leverage them?

The bad news is that 96% (BrandGlue goes even further, stating that only 0.02% of fans who ‘Like’ a page ever return) of ‘fans’ never return to a page after liking it. Moreover on Facebook, most posts are seen only by about 10% of fans.

Another little known fact about Facebook is that when fans create new posts on your Facebook page, other fans don’t necessarily see them. In other words, just because you go to your fan page doesn’t mean your fans are doing the same.

Consumers are increasingly sceptical about Facebook ‘Likes’ because it it is so easy and cheap to buy them. Twipquick is offering 100,000 Facebook ‘Likes’ for about US$750.

Any social media strategy must have clearly defined target markets and relevant customer data and content must be developed that will resonate with those customers. This content must resonate with those target markets. After all, there aren’t any groups for 18-35 year olds on Facebook.

MAS must avoid taking its advertising campaigns and trying to push them out across social media. Taking a video and dubbing it into the local language is not a social media strategy. This is simply mass economy marketing and there is no place for that model in the social economy where customers not companies define brands.

MAS must engage consumers and encourage them to contribute to the MAS story and then share and encourage the sharing of that content whilst enabling multiple channels for consumers to interact through.

At the same time, MAS must not forget its existing customers. MAS has millions of frequent flyer members but it currently neglects these existing customers, despite spending a lot of money to acquire them.

You need to track the reputation of your brand online: Infographic


Recently I was asked to map out a plan to develop some substance around the CEO of a major organization in Malaysia. The belief was that although he heads a hugely successful company, his personal brand lacks gravitas and this may count against the firm in the long run.

And they were right because the reputation of a CEO is inextricably linked to the reputation of a company. Just look at the fortunes of any CEO who had a good reputation then lost it.

Or the fortunes of a business whose reputation was painstakingly built over years, only to fall in a heartbeat because of C level indiscretions or dodgy practices.

Here in Malaysia errant CEOs generally leave quietly so we don’t often hear about such reputational issues but there are plenty of examples of the above. Because of the increasingly litigious nature of society, I’m not going to name names but think of the automotive, aviation, banking, steel and telecommunications industries amongst others and you should be able to work out who I am talking about.

Even in the consumer trenches, a company with a poorly respected CEO or dodgy reputation is going to struggle to find enough customers to build a brand. After all, would you buy from a company with a poor reputation? If a company with a questionable reputation submits a tender to your company, would you consider them? With so many alternatives in the market, there is no need to do so.

Even if the CEO has a solid reputation, he is often the difference between the company and a competitor. If he lacks charisma he may struggle to compete effectively. Tracking his reputation online will enable firms to identify what issues to address, in which channels and where and when. The effectiveness of solutions can be tracked and improved almost immediately.

In today’s social economy, where consumers not companies define brands it is imperative that every organization tracks its reputation online. This is even more important here in Asia where consumers are more likely to take to social media to complain and raise issues rather than connect directly with a company.

Unfortunately many companies still don’t see the benefit of tracking their reputation. Hopefully that will change with this handy infographic from Digital Firefly which shows why companies need to make reputation management a top priority – NOW!

Tracking your reputation online has never been more important
Tracking your reputation online has never been more important

Great example of how to use video to build interest in a brand


The 1970s are considered to be the decade in which Hollywood rebranded itself after the collapse of the studio system of the 1960s. Independent filmmakers (at the time) such as Scorsese, Lucas and Spielberg all got their breaks in the 1970s creating such iconic movies as Jaws, Star Wars, Raging Bull, The Godfather, Raiders, ET and Chinatown.

It was also a period (no pun intended) when some of the scariest horror movies such as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Exorcist (in my opinion the scariest film ever), The Shining and Carrie which was possibly the forerunner of the teen horror flick, were released.

But for every successful blockbuster, I think that something like 7 fail. And those failures can be really, really expensive. John Carter, released in 2012 is rumoured to have lost RM250 million (US$90 million), despite a RM330 (US$100 million) million marketing campaign.

So in an attempt to reduce failures and to squeeze more money out of a successful franchise, Hollywood likes to remake films. The latest of which is Carrie. I saw Carrie when I was 14. I wish I hadn’t. Carrie is an outsider, her mother is a religious nut and all of her classmates hate her. But Carrie has special powers. Telekinesis powers which means that she can mess with your mind, especially when you piss her off. Add in her first period, pigs blood, a prom, nasty girls etc. You can imagine the rest.

But the movie still has to be sold. And selling a movie is not easy. Especially as international audiences are often the difference between a success and failure – John Carter only took US$80 million in the States, over US$100 million came from Asia. So they decided to come up with a digital marketing campaign whereby they would lay the foundations with a video and then encourage consumers to do the rest.

So far the video has received almost 10 million views in 2 days. The cost? Maybe RM320,000 (US$100,000). Sure a viral campaign is nothing new but it shows that marketing departments need to open their eyes to the social economy and in some sectors, there actually may be one size fits all solutions.

Travel related brands, especially luxury brands need to be doing social


Any brand in the destination branding space should look at this infographic to see how much effort the big travel related US brands are pouring into social media.

It is reported that there are 199 airlines active on Twitter which is an impressive total. This infographic looks at the top six which is dominated by US carriers.

Travel brands are investing in social because that's where their prospects and customers are spending their time
Travel brands are investing in social because that’s where their prospects and customers are spending their time

US hotels have jumped on the social bandwagon as well. Followers on Twitter for the top 6 hotels range from 4,000 (Radisson) to 231,000 for the Marriott. According to hotel marketing Internet users in the US generate 66.3% of global searches for luxury hotel brands which means that anyone in the luxury destination business needs to be online and doing social.

But it’s not just luxury brands that need to be doing social. 65% of leisure travelers begin researching online before they have decided where or how to travel. And a typical traveller visits 22 sites before making a destination decision. Arabs are big users of the online space for travel. Online bookings will nearly double in Arabia between 2011 and 2014, and the online leisure and business travel market is expected to cross the US$16 billion mark.

So if you are looking to attract visitors, especially from Western countries, you need to be doing social.

Thanks to media mosaic for the infographic.

Further proof that you need Twitter to build your brand


The talented team at Brandwatch in the UK have produced a very useful report on Twitter usage by global brands. This report should be read by marketing departments and CEOs. You can read the full report here but some of the findings are listed below:

1) 253 companies, primarily from the US and UK were analysed for the report.
2) Only 2.4% of the companies surveyed did not use Twitter at all
3) 97% of major brands used Twitter in 2013, up from 62% in 2011.
4) It was noted that Apple does not use Twitter or any other social media. Interestingly, Apple’s share price has tumbled to as low as US$400 earlier this year, down from US$700 in September 2012. Of course I’m not blaming that on the fact they don’t use Twitter however it does mean there will be some distance between the brand and customers.
5) Brands use Twitter for both broadcast and engagement purposes but most of them acknowledge that Twitter is best utilized as a two-way channel.
6) 145 brands surveyed (over half) tweet a minimum of 30 times per week.
7) 25% of Brands use Twitter solely as a broadcast channel.
8) 63% of Brands have multiple accounts. Using one for company news and another for customer service was a common example of multiple accounts.
9) Dell has 44 Twitter accounts.
10) Weekends are the best time to reach customers on Twitter. (I don’t think that applies to Asia). However a little research into what your audience prefers goes a long way to successful engagement.
11) Tweets with media (a photo/video) get 3 to 4 times more engagement than those without.
12) The average size of a UK and US Twitter team is 4 people.
13) The maximum number of tweets in a week for the US was 2,500 tweets, compared with 113 tweets in the UK.
14) The Twitter web interface is the most popular platform for tweeting.
15) 20% of the top 100 global brands use HootSuite.

What can Asian firms learn from this data?

For a start, if your firm is not on Twitter, it needs to be. Twitter won’t go away! British and American firms have an average of 4 people on their Twitter team. Most Asian firms don’t even have a community manager, let alone a social team. This needs to change.

Asian firms can use Twitter to engage customers more effectively, deal with issues and retain customers. It is far more effective and less expensive than attempting to use acquisition marketing across traditional channels to retain existing, unhappy or vulnerable customers.

Twitter can be an effective and inexpensive way to drive sales. Low cost airlines in the US generally tweet special offers to their followers before making them available. The cost for the tweet is minimal and its effectiveness can be easily measured.

Asian firms can be notoriously opaque and secretive. Twitter forces firms to become more open and transparent, encouraging trust.

In Asia we tend to follow the US and Europe in many things, especially in marketing. This report gives Asian firms the data needed to support their marketing strategy going forward.

Social Media in action – a case study


For whatever reason, a guy in the UK called Richard Neill posted a comment on the Facebook page of Bodyform, the manufacturer of female hygiene product Maxipad.

Richard complained that Bodyform had lied to him through their advertising. Apparently Richard watched Bodyform commercials on a regular basis as a child and young man and couldn’t wait to get his first girlfriend to experience all the wonderful experiences shown in the commercials.

Alas it wasn’t as portrayed and he took it out on the company on their Facebook page. You can read his short rant here. The comment has so far got over 100,000 likes and nearly 5,000 people took time to post a comment.

Bodyform could have left the story to fizzle out but they decided to respond with a clever video that featured an actress in the role of CEO Caroline Williams who apologized to Richard and went on to say that they needed to protect men.

The video has received nearly 5 million views and over 8,000 likes.

There is a lot of chat online about how good was the response from Bodyform. What do you think? Did the company do the right thing? Was the content right? Were they right to use an actress or should the real CEO have engaged Richard? Was it just a bit of fun between a company and a consumer?

Personally I think it was a clever use of social media by the company and reflects how to engage consumers on a more personal level. The company has engaged with the writer, and the millions of people who have dropped by to see what all the fuss is about in a like minded way. No airs and graces, confident and light hearted. My only minor criticsm is that the real CEO should have presented the video.

Of course the major question now is “How can the company leverage its new position in the minds of consumers?”

Five steps to creating a CEO brand


According to a survey by Forbes, 70% of professionals believe they have defined their personal brand and 50% believe they are living it but in fact after greater analysis the report states that less than 15% of executives have actually defined their personal brand and less than 5% are actually living it at work on a consistent basis.

The gap is because too many professionals believe self-promotion is personal branding when in fact developing a personal brand requires a commitment to advance themselves by delivering value to others.

Every time an individual is interacting with the community, whether internally at a meeting, staff event, ceremony or other or externally at a conference, exhibition, meeting or other event, corporate leaders must be aware of other’s perceptions of them and be able to influence what they want others to experience about them.

And in today’s fast moving social economy, every corporate leader must maintain a dynamic, fluid and unique profile and look to be viewed as an authority in their chosen field in order to stay relevant and provide an emotional connection for stakeholders.

A CEO’s reputation is critical to the success of a company. In a recent survey, PR company Burson Marsteller found that 95% of those surveyed decided whether or not to invest in a company based on the reputation of the CEO.

Furthermore, 93% would recommend a company as a good strategic or merger partner and 88% would recommend a company as a good place to work.

Crafting an impressive, personal brand requires a comprehensive investment in personal appearance, personality development, communications ability including relevant content development and strategy to social media activities initiated across the ecosystem.

This can be a real challenge for busy executives as it requires a thorough understanding of one self, high levels of self-awareness, the ability to accept personal recommendations and action those recommendations.

There are 5 key steps to building that brand and they are:

1) Carry out a personal audit that includes a perception audit of yourself with key target markets – so in the case of the CEO of a financial institution that would mean retail, corporate and private wealth management. A review of current content and style and platforms used for distribution and value offerings as well as potential new areas to develop.
2) Clearly define what is your brand and what you stand for (your values), and what is required to deliver those values, the tools and platforms to be used and the strategic content to be created.
3) After analysis of the findings, map out a strategy to best communicate the brand including what content is to be created and for which constituents, where distributed and across which platforms and to determine the relevant events and speaking engagements and how your brand is to be managed.
4) Implementation of above strategy, sharing of achievements, victories, activities, developments and creation and sharing of content and the utilization of marketing tools to ensure important content reaches the first two pages of search engine results.
5) Continually measure and improve.

In an increasingly competitive world where even the smallest advantage can give you an edge over your competition, it makes sense to invest in you, your brand.

Storytelling must be part of your brand strategy


Telling a story has always been an important element of brand building but sadly too many CEOs have left it to advertising agencies and creative campaigns to try and tell their story.

This model is flawed because it nearly always focuses more on creativity than content. It is also flawed because few brands have the deep pockets required to sustain such a creative campaign. And the limitations of traditional media mean that it is extremely expensive to try and build a brand this way. And, if the truth be told, too many advertising agencies are often more interested in the next design award than they are on delivering good quality content.

Social Media gives brands the platform and reach they have always wanted, without the costs. Moreover, the increasing importance and influence of social media means that the ability to tell a story and share that story and encourage the sharing of that story further across the ecosystem is now so critically important to an organisation that it no longer needs to be left in the hands of advertising agencies.

This infographic from NCM Fathom maps out nicely what you need to include, what channels to use, why you need to develop stories and the benefits of doing so.

Build stories into your branding