I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of advertisements. It may seem strange coming from someone who works in the industry, but it’s true. Oftentimes, I find that most get in the way of my experience, and do so without even providing me with something worth seeing. When I’m catching up on television shows or mindlessly browsing the internet, I’d rather not run into multiple brands pushing me to buy their latest product RIGHT NOW.

As it turns out, this isn’t an unusual mindset. Most consumers no longer just want brands to provide products or services they can purchase. Now they’re looking for something more worth their while. They want to be entertained, they want to learn something, they want to be told a story. That’s something most brands cannot do, given that consumers feel as if 60% of the content they see is irrelevant, or fails to deliver. In fact, 40% of the country’s internet users are already using ad blockers, just to avoid seeing advertisements. These numbers speak a lot about how many of today’s advertising efforts are potentially falling on deaf ears. With consumers being more selective and expecting more from brands, how do we pique their interest and get them to listen to what we have to say?

This is what industry experts answered during the first Consumer Insighting and Storytelling Conference last April. The two-day seminar focused on understanding how consumers think and behave, and using those insights to craft engaging stories that make an impact. Included in the conference’s pool of speakers was our CEO, Arthur Policarpio. A pioneer in digital marketing, he discussed how we can bring these stories online, in order to drive brand performance and deliver results.

 

The Future (and the Present) is Online

It’s no surprise that Filipinos are VERY active online. In 2017, our average internet usage was at 9 ½ hours every day. That’s nearly half of the entire day spent browsing social media, watching videos, or playing online games. Knowing that, it becomes a no-brainer to invest in digital.

From there, the next question to ask is how to properly connect with consumers online. Needless to say, the story, or the content, is king. Content marketing leads to several brand performance improvements, from more visits to assets, to higher consideration and even conversion. To add to that, these all happen for a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing.

These results make going digital very enticing. But then comes the daunting part. Since consumers have higher expectations, brands now have to face the challenge of providing better content – those that tell stories and offer experiences beyond functional benefits.

How do we do that? Here’s a handy guide with six content types that will help drive more meaningful connections, as shared by Policarpio during his session. Alongside those are a few examples of brands who’ve tried the task, and achieved it with great results.

 

ONE: Inspire

Everyone loves an emotional story that makes them feel good. It’s why we enjoy movies where the underdogs beat the odds and come out on top. It’s why we can’t stop watching videos of babies who get new glasses and see their parents clearly for the first time. The positivity of the content gets transferred onto us, which then makes us smile and share the experience with everyone else. Imagine that happening, but with a brand at the forefront. They would gain not only attention, but also a strong positive sentiment that would make consumers feel very good about their brand.

Take Hyundai, for example. Their 2015 Message to Space campaign was an audacious attempt at storytelling – one that highlighted the unbreakable bond of family, while at the same time putting the brand at the center of the story. In return, the campaign was shared millions of times and covered by mainstream press around the globe. This poses a challenge to the rest of us, to take risks and go beyond what’s normal, because that may be where the strongest stories are.

 

TWO: Entertain

If you’ve seen the classic film Singin’ in the Rain, you’ll be familiar with this phrase: make ‘em laugh. More than six decades later, the idea still holds true. This is especially true in our country. Light and comedic content are always in style. Even our usual behavior follows suit. We love to smile and make jokes throughout almost everything. We also love taking things and running wild with them. Use those to your brand’s advantage.

Policarpio noted in his session that “some of the best shared, most entertaining stories in digital are co-created with consumers.” Because nowadays, consumers aren’t just consumers. They are storytellers themselves. And brands who can harness that innate creativity are bound to succeed.

Last year, one of the brands we handle released a commercial with a jingle that got stuck in everyone’s heads. Allow me to refresh your memory with one question – May RiteMED Ba Nito?

On its own, the song was entertaining and catchy enough. But we took things one step further, and encouraged consumers to go nuts with it. How? The solution was simple. We set up a video contest online, with the best submissions winning prizes. The outcome was overwhelming. There was a wide variety of renditions. Acapella, instrumental, EDM, acoustic. If people weren’t singing the jingle, they were dancing to it, or they were recreating the commercial it originated from. Those videos gave the brand 8.5 million video views, over 100 million impressions, resulting in free media values of PHP 11M. All of that from a Facebook post promoting a video contest.

Because consumers were not just entertained but were also encouraged to create their own entertainment, this story unfolded easily and organically.

 

THREE: Educate

Contrary to popular belief, Policarpio pointed out that we don’t have to make consumers laugh or cry all the time. There is also a big opportunity to provide them with educational content.

To do that, start with this exercise. Look at your category, and figure out what kind of information your consumer is looking for. For banking and finance, consumers may want to read about different types of loans. For a food brand, they may be interested in recipes involving it as an ingredient. In fact, tools such as Google Trends can help get a glimpse of consumer search behavior, guiding you on what content to create.

This is precisely what we did for RiteMED. With the knowledge that Filipinos tend to self-medicate, we had two solutions. The first was to turn the brand into a health content provider, publishing up to 20 articles a month on disease information, diet and exercise tips, and the like. Through this, RiteMED became one of the country’s leading health resources. The second solution was the Payo ni Dok series, or videos where doctors discussed health conditions and concerns. Published on Facebook and YouTube, the series earned over 4,000,000 views.

Looking at the brand itself, it isn’t even something that we can call too exciting. It isn’t a delicious burger brand, or a new line of innovative gadgets. But all brands can be the subject of exciting stories. Once we dive into the minds of our consumers and figure out what they want, it won’t be too hard to find and create content that they’ll want to learn about.

 

FOUR: Inform

The simplest solutions can often be the most effective. Aside from or instead of educating consumers, also consider informing them. In other words, supply them with basic, yet helpful knowledge that’s relevant to them. Again, this will involve finding what information your audience searches for, and creating content based on that.

The information you provide doesn’t need to be complicated. For example, a tire company may want to show people how to properly change a tire, while a scarf brand might be interested in presenting different ways of wearing the accessory.

Policarpio shared that How-To videos are some of the most watched videos on YouTube, from both brands and content creators. These often contain straightforward tips. But they’re useful, and answer at least one question that consumers have. At times, that’s enough to make a connection with your audience, and may be preferable over giving them a large amount of information all at once.

 

FIVE: Help

Here’s a quick statistic: 64% of Filipinos prefer completing tasks digitally whenever possible, as it’s much easier. Convenience is now extremely important for the consumer. That makes sense. After all we’re in the age of Grab, Lazada, and FoodPanda. Now, what do these services have in common?

They all exist online.

There is a competitive edge when a brand can make their consumers’ lives simpler. An example of this comes from our partnership with McDonald’s Philippines. Back when food deliveries mainly happened via phone call, we brought the process online, through McDelivery Mobile. With a delivery store in their pocket, consumers didn’t need to call for a delivery, nor did they have to navigate a non-intuitive site on their phones. As a result, McDelivery Mobile not only generated sales equal to an entire branch, but also won multiple awards.

 

SIX: Reward

Promos, discounts, freebies. These words are music to the consumer’s ears. Through rewards, they get to save money, even when they’re spending it. For example, consider giving out points or coupons in exchange for purchases. This helps build customer loyalty. If they earn benefits by simply patronizing your brand, they’ll find it worthwhile to keep interacting with it. From there, a relationship is built and a loyal customer is gained.

Now, our usual idea of rewards often involves loyalty cards, stickers, stamps and coupons. But why not bring that to digital? Convenience is now a priority for consumers anyway, so the idea holds water.

Imagine earning points and freebies right from your phone. We did just this for a client, creating a cardless loyalty system to replace the hassle of paper coupons and stamp cards. With a simple tap on their screens, they had access to free products, discounts, and promos. The result? In just four months, app users spent over PHP1M on donuts, and redeemed 12,000 coupons. Not bad for a mobile app.

 

These success stories have their own tale to tell. Gone are the days of having to stick with uninteresting, non-impactful ads. As brands, we now have the freedom, as well as the challenge to tell stories that are actually worth sharing. And digital is a game changer when it comes to that. The potential to not only reach, but also impact millions of consumers is infinite.

Just some words of advice: Remember your consumer, find out how he thinks, and run with that. Be creative, be bold, be audacious. And don’t forget the six key words. I’ll list them down so you don’t need to scroll back up: inspire, entertain, educate, inform, help, and reward.

If you need a hand in making that happen, consider sending us a message. We’ll be more than happy to help you tell your tale.