Carat’s magic formula for Social Gold
This week saw Carat China CEO, Ellen Hou lead a panel at Campaign’s Digital 360 summit in Shanghai. With an audience of leaders from China’s top brands, tech giants and marketing experts across media, digital, ecommerce and social, Carat led a lively debate, tackling the topic "Keeping up with Social".
Sharing the stage were Zhang Mengqi, Key Opinion Leader, Blogger and Influencer (@monkiyuki), Lawrence Wang, Social Media and Digital Director, AIG and Maggie Wang, Vice President, Commercial Strategy and Innovation, AdMaster. Discussion covered what brands need to do to utilize live streaming more effectively, to best practices in creating great stories and what’s coming next.
Starting the debate, Hou led the panel asserting that “the real driving force of these platforms is not the traffic but the actual content, that's the key to win consumers over”.
CREATING A GOLDEN CONNECTION…
Hou shared an example of this thinking from a campaign Carat led in 2016 for leading noodle brand, Master Kong. Master Kong were not an official sponsor of the Rio Olympics but they wanted to be part of an event that has cultural significance. “We began by thinking, ‘how can we enable Master Kong to meaningfully connect with such a high profile event’? This led us to a universal truth and a product truth ‘every Chinese person has a Chinese stomach’. When we travel we still want to eat the food that we’re comfortable with… and that means noodles… and that’s Master Kong”.
“In Rio we built a noodle house, serving free Chinese food to the volunteers and athletes. The investment was purely on building the house – we didn’t spend on KOL’s coverage or the buying the athletes. Our purpose wasn’t to aggressively drive traffic or sales.. it was about creating a more meaningful engagement, a subtle feeling of empathy and connection that would general natural sharing across social media. This really resonated and the overall impact of this tiny noodle house was huge, with PR value over 75m RMB”.
LIVE STREAMING, THE KEY TO THE NEXT GOLD MINE FOR ENGAGEMENT?
With over 600,000 followers, Zhang Mengqi has spent two years understanding what drives engagement, and for her it is a question of authenticity. Raising her experience that paying to drive traffic did not convert into engaged followers. Hou raised the question if it’s not a question of traffic but of content, what’s the top formula for likes? For Mengqi “From my experience it is #1 from selfies – my followers want to see my daily life and passions. Then #2 for keeping interest is celebrity content. But it’s celebrity in a real life setting. My followers love seeing what do celebrities look like when they are off duty – shopping or in the airport”.
For AIG, the insurance category is still an industry rooted in performance. Lawrence Wang shared his perspective on the need to attribute effectively; “attribution in social is still a challenge and before more media investment moves we need fine tune the KPI’s and how we can extract critical data from social media monitoring”.
For Maggie Wang of Ad Master, the past 12 months have seen a huge shift in investment towards softer advertisement models and it’s forcing the industry push forward on new ways to measure engagement. “Consumers are rapidly evolving their behavior and we see in sites like BiliBili just how much of a draw it is now to be able to read the comments and posts of other users – some videos we know that a key attraction for the user is to specifically read the comments from other users”.
THE MAGIC FORMULA?
Wrapping up the debate, Hou summarized that technology and platforms are only one part of how we keep up with social media. “From an industry level, we can fine tune the way we set KPI’s and track engagement but the critical area of focus is what type of content we produce. Social media is about people behind the camera”. For advertisers and agencies, keeping up with social means first that we need to consider the significance of our product and what role it plays in consumers’ lives. Hou concluded “We believe the formula for making social work is: authentic story + meaningfulness + targeted amplification = positive influence”.