Driving leads for MAB
MAB needed a sales and marketing campaign that would drive awareness for its new Box Hill apartment project, Tempo, among the local Chinese population. With the project’s display suite slated to open in May, we were tasked to develop a campaign to prime the market, drive registrations of interest and then foot traffic into the sales suite in order to drive sales.
In our strategic approach we also had to help our client understand the ‘tried and tested’ approach to selling property wouldn’t work for Chinese audiences, due to the different communication and consumer behaviours between Chinese and western audiences. Our client had also secured activation spaces in Box Hill Shopping Centre, so our strategy had to leverage a number of activations to bring online and offline together.
To reach the Chinese audience, WeChat must sit at the heart of every strategy. Among the Chinese population, not being on WeChat is like not having a website. Therefore our strategy treated WeChat just like a project website would – we drove traffic directly to it where we served up information to followers to drive action.
We structured paid media and the shopping centre activations to all drive followers to MAB’s WeChat where we were able to serve up information on Tempo to encourage parties to enquire directly to sales agents integrated into the channel.
In crafting the approach we also considered the audience’s need for incentives. Chinese customers need incentives to follow and engage meaningfully with brands on WeChat. By reviewing the Tempo brand, which features chic illustrations of future Tempo residents by a Japanese artist, we envisaged a path to drive WeChat follower growth through the activation, which would act as an interactive photo booth style experience with oversized renders in which people could take pictures of themselves interacting with relevant fun props – because with Chinese consumers, a photo opp is everything and drives shareability and reach. The activation was fitted with QR codes and consumers were incentivised with collectible magnets of the Tempo characters to interact and follow MAB’s WeChat account. These magnets were also devised to become an at-home reminder of the project throughout the teaser campaign, until the display suite opened.
Within the WeChat channel we served up frequent and targeted media placements and episodic storytelling.
When COVID-19 shut down the activation, we pivoted, developing an interactive quiz on WeChat to capture potential purchaser data, using the magnets as incentives and driving to the quiz through paid placements.
Through the campaign we grew MAB’s WeChat by 292 followers, while our tactics reached 487,000 – with a focus on targeting Melbourne residents, particularly around Box Hill. Throughout the three month campaign period impressions totalled 1.1 million, while articles drew 22,000 views.
Melbourne Cup Carnival KOLs
We know Australia’s A-list have long loved Spring Racing Carnival, but what about our Chinese influencers? Victoria Racing Club wanted to drive greater awareness of the Melbourne Cup Carnival among Chinese audiences and turned to Bastion China to help.
One of the challenges with any event is how to drive ticket sales and awareness prior, when you aren’t able to showcase the experience until it happens.
With this in mind we strategically developed a pre-campaign to drive these important ticket sales and desire to attend. Our WeChat campaign aimed to find the most influential Chinese in Melbourne who would be offered the exclusive opportunity to attend the Birdcage.
To help with our efforts we selected five local Chinese KOLs with influence in different areas to reach diverse audiences – including fashion, politics, education and business – and invited them to the Oaks Day Birdcage cocktail party where our audience could also win tickets by sharing and interacting with Cup Carnival content.
The campaign drove 1,000 new WeChat followers and resulted in 20,000 WeChat views and 11,000 engagements.
Australia’s first WeChat mini-program for a major event
In partnering with the Royal Melbourne Show, Bastion China was tasked with increasing the event’s visibility among Chinese consumers and drive ticket sales.
We started by strategically reviewing the touch points for Chinese visitors to the Show to ensure they were optimised for the local Chinese audience. As part of this we removed a significant barrier by integrating Chinese mobile payments to enable walk-up ticket sales on a platform widely preferred by Chinese customers.
We also created the first ever WeChat “mini-program” event guide for an Australian major event. Mini-programs are sub-applications within WeChat that you can swipe down on WeChat to access. Users spend more time in mini-programs and they’ve emerged as a key part of the WeChat experience. Our mini-program helped Chinese visitors learn more about the Show and navigate it quickly and easily, helping them have a great time.
To amplify this we also executed a comprehensive PR campaign including ticket-sales partnerships, an online consumer campaign, Chinese influencer and KOL engagement, a media launch as well as WeChat content marketing.
The results encompassed jumps in ticket sales, follower growth (1,800 new WeChat followers), audience engagement (open rates 500% higher than industry average) and drove a new audience to experience the quintessential Victorian event for the first time.
Launching KORA Organics into China
KORA Organics was founded by Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr to provide customers with a healthier, safe and toxin-free alternative to beauty brands on the market. Recognising the potential in the Chinese market, KORA approached Bastion China for assistance in driving awareness among Chinese consumers that KORA was now available on their shores.
When we considered the right way to launch KORA to consumers in China we considered the big risk to the campaign – counterfeiting – and therefore decided to tap into the US$8 billion KOL movement that drives the success of many brands in the market.
To overcome the risk of counterfeiting upon KORA’s launch offshore, we had to ensure that the brand was aligned with trusted sources of information, and those that can also drive sales.
As Chinese social channels such as WeChat are highly commercial and you can seamlessly buy a product in-app we pinpointed an exclusive group of KOLs and media, hosting a press briefing in Shanghai to introduce the product to them.
We brought Miranda along herself to add further credibility to the message, create excitement and ensure the audience understood this was very much the real deal.
A total of 21 media attended the event, including key magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and ELLE China, together with other leading mainstream lifestyle and beauty media. Additionally, 9 KOLs from fashion, beauty and lifestyle sectors attended the event, with a total follower reach of over 14 million.
Alibaba TMALL World Community Engagement & PR Campaign
Alibaba is one of the biggest companies on the plant – a combined Chinese e-commerce, retail, internet and technology conglomerate, its online sales and profits regularly outperform all US retailers combined. And, Australia is its third largest overseas market.
It came to Bastion China to help promote its Tmall World offering to local Chinese audiences. A service that gives 100 million overseas Chinese access to 1.2 billion products from brands and merchants already selling through its Mobile Taobao app, Tmall World gives local users an end-to-end experience with logistics, payment and support all incorporated.
Alibaba asked Bastion China to develop an Australian-Chinese community engagement strategy and a sound PR plan that would drive traffic to the first ever Tmall pop up stores in Australia. Success was to be measured in the number of media/KOL clippings Bastion China could achieve within a two week period.
We needed to create a groundswell of excitement around Tmall World despite the limited number of Chinese media and KOLs based in Australia.
Rather than relying on a single announcement, we created three media events and five separate, individual media angles through which to profile the new service.
By pitching these different angles to local Chinese media and KOLs with a mix of paid and unpaid approaches, we were able to dramatically increase the number of stories that were told and drive greater reach across more targets.
The results were significant. Over the two week campaign period, a total of 121 pieces of coverage were achieved through 34 local Chinese media and KOLs. Benchmarking an elaborate campaign such as this is difficult as nothing like this has been done in Australia before. This breadth and depth of coverage not only met the brief but also surpassed Alibaba’s expectations.
Australian F1 Grand Prix
The Australian F1 Grand Prix wanted to build its presence among the Chinese audience, positioning this iconic event as a ‘bucket list Melbourne experience’ for Chinese visitors and residents. It wanted to increase ticket sales to the Chinese, but to do so we had to take a careful look at its entire brand strategy to identify how it could best execute a sustainable and successful China expansion strategy.
We started by reviewing the Grand Prix’s existing initiatives related to China, identifying where the current challenges and opportunities were and how to get started.
From this process we developed a three-phase strategy that started with the Grand Prix harnessing a brand narrative that leveraged both the global F1 and ‘clean, green Australia’ brands. We developed strategic pillars for Chinese marketing and helped craft an experience that has Chinese characteristics rather than a Chinese experience with Melbourne characteristics.
Phase 1 in 2018 was establishment and included the creation of a WeChat in-language Mini Event Program, which was used 3,300 times during the four-day event with users spending an average of 5.18 minutes within it. This helped to deepen understanding of the event, while ticket sales partnerships and new payment options helped to drive sales.
In 2019 the Grand Prix moved into phase two of its China Engagement Strategy, building on the success of the previous year.
We started by upgrading the Mini Program in order to take engagement to the next level. This revamped program enhanced the user experience by allowing Chinese spectators to view daily event listings, create a favourite menu and understand what to see and do prior to arriving at the Prix. Visitors could also view circuit information via GPS-enabled interactive map to support wayfinding for Chinese spectators.
The second challenge was to identify key commercial opportunities. Based on Bastion China’s recommendations and networks, the Grand Prix were able to establish key partnerships with prominent international travel agencies such as Ctrip and SmartFly to speak directly to inbound visitors prior to departure. This enabled offshore ticket sales into new areas of China. In addition, local onsellers and media were engaged to communicate with local Chinese audiences in ways familiar to them.
The final piece involved creating a dedicated Weibo account to support the existing WeChat channel. As Weibo is estimated to be used by 25% of mainland Chinese, activating this channel was a key growth opportunity. These two channels worked hand-in-hand for three months leading up to the event. Follower growth for the WeChat account grew by 120% over this period.
Bastion China has truly put the Melbourne Grand Prix on the map for Chinese consumers, both locally and internationally. Our three-year strategy set the pace for the organisation and helped it strategically ramp up its Chinese offering. In 2020, our third year on the job, COVID-19 unfortunately impacted and led to the cancellation of the event – but not before we were able to work with some fantastic KOLs to drive awareness.
Building a WeChat audience for Virgin Australia
In order to increase awareness of its new Hong Kong routes among local Chinese audiences, Virgin Australia sponsored Hong Kong’s most recognised singer Jacky Cheung’s Australian tour. Bastion China was asked to leverage the sponsorship to increase the brand’s awareness and presence on its WeChat, which we had just set up for the airline in addition to its Weibo.
Taking inspiration from Jacky Cheung’s best-known song ‘With You All The Way’, Bastion China created an innovative WeChat campaign. The campaign paired some of the singer’s best-loved songs with the idea that travel creates unparalleled memories. Specifically, WeChat followers were asked to share their memories to the soundtrack of Jacky’s music, driving the message to create new memories with Virgin Australia.
Our WeChat competition to win flight and concert tickets aimed to build WeChat audience share for further marketing opportunities.
We engaged nine influential WeChat channels to promote the campaign, while also crafting a media plan comprising WeChat paid advertorials, WeChat Group promotions and WeChat Influencer Moments to maximise campaign results.
Through this integrated approach, the airline’s WeChat account grew from 155 to 4,336 followers (over 2600% increase). They also deepened their engagement with Chinese audiences in a way that was both typically Virgin Australia with distinctly Chinese characteristics.
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