Facebook and the Network Effect

In class, we discussed how simplicity and open API were key factors in Facebook’s rise and domination of the social media arena. This article by The New York Times discusses how it is now the network effect which helps Facebook retain their position as the number one social media platform.

Although the benefits of network effects have been reduced for incumbents due to open API, Facebook remains competitive by copying attractive features from its less-established competitors. Over the years, Facebook has added the follower feature (copied from Twitter), live video (copied from Periscope), and most recently, Facebook Stories (copied from Snapchat).

However, users may end up benefitting from this as Facebook, with its large array of resources, developer networks, and deep investment in research, can advance these features and make them even better.

References: Manjoo, F. (2017, Apr 19). Why Facebook keeps beating every rival: It’s the network, of course. The New York Times, Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/technology/facebook-snapchat-instagram-innovation.html?_r=0

The surprising reason why CEOs should be social media savvy

In the past semester, we learnt how to devise and craft social media strategies for firms by looking at both internal factors such as the firm’s manpower, networks and advertising competency, and external factors such as consumer purchase behaviours and crisis management, with a focus on the firm’s employees and their actions.

However, a commentary titled “The surprising reason why CEOs should be social media savvy” offered a different perspective on social media strategy by focusing on the CEO and how their social media presence affects their firms. Neal (2017) stated that CEOs who were active on social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter are better at cultivating networks, make better decisions and are in general, more influential and “in the future, social media savvy may no longer be something that’s “nice-to-have” for prospective CEOs. Instead, it could be a powerful selection criterion that helps companies to identify CEOs who are well-prepared to lead” (Neal, 2017). That being said, we must also consider social media in the Asian content in determining whether such a move is viable for CEOs in Asia as users in Korea and China are more inclined to the role of producers and sharers while users in Japan and Singapore value anonymity and tend to be commenters and watchers.

In addition, Neal (2017) raised an example on how Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky crowdsourced for suggestions on Twitter on Christmas Day in 2016 and this is in line with a few of the concepts we discussed in class. The first being the Magnet strategy where the firm establishes a two-way communication by involving the customers and making them a part of the business and the second being the IMC strategy where this is similar to the Blendtec case study in the sense that the audience is also able to talk back and the CEO is used as a mechanism to build relationships.

All in all, it was not only interesting to see the importance of social media in a firm’s performance and how the impact starts from within, but also nice to be able to apply the frameworks learnt in class to analyse such issues.

References:
Neal, S. (2017, April 13). Op-Ed: The surprising reason why CEOs should be social media savvy. Retrieved April 15, 2017, from http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/13/the-surprising-reason-why-ceos-should-be-social-media-savvy.html

Western content now heading to Chinese social media feeds

I came across this article http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/13/western-content-is-heading-to-chinese-social-media-feeds.html, which detailed how a recent tie-up between local social media platforms (eg; Weibo) and Yoola (a digital content distributor owned by YouTube) will bring selected content, mostly from the US and Russia, into the Chinese market.

One of the few aims of this endeavour, is to help influencers gain traction in China and bridge international content gaps by localising Western content and promoting it on different networks in China.

I think it is very interesting how China is slowly opening up to Western media, although it seems very certain that China will continue to block International social media companies such as Facebook from gaining a foothold in the local market.

Social Media complicates crime scene

I chanced upon this article recently http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/news/crime/2017/04/03/social-media-complicating-crime-scenes/99442510/ , which showed how the openness of social media has its complications.

With the advancement of technology and evolution of web from 1.0 to 3.0, news has become instantaneous and easy to access. While many articles and news have covered the positive aspects, the credibility of these postings (should it be on personal accounts) are questionable. Social media is a double edged sword and I believe its very much on a user’s discretion and due diligence in posting the right content.

Standing United in Social Media

In the past few days, videos of a man forcefully pulled out of his seat in a United Airline plane circulated on the Internet. It was a result of overbooking, a common practice among airline companies, and 4 passengers were asked to give up their seats for 4 employees of United Airlines. The videos went viral, as it displayed an ugly side of how United Airlines handled this situation.

United Airlines violently removing passenger from his seat

Passenger injured and bloodied in United Airlines confrontation

These two videos, and another one showing the incident from an adjacent angle, blew up on social media sites, and garnered countless attention. A large majority of people paying attention to this story is blaming United Airlines for this disturbing and unnecessary incident, and some of them says that they will never ride on United Airlines anymore. While it’s unsure how United Airlines’ revenue will be impacted, the share price of the company felt the impact of the incident, as its share price and market value dropped immediately following the incident. New York Post also reported that “CEO was tone-deaf” as he issued an email which said that “he emphatically stands behind his staff”.

This incident definitely exemplified the power of social media, as it was able to garner so much attention due to the share-ability nature of social media. It shares some similarity with one of the case that Prof Kyu shared with us in “Social Media in Asian context”. In the Namyang dairy incident, people wanted to pursue social justice for the senior who was bullied; netizens are calling out United Airlines for their gross behavior in this incident. There were media richness as well, as people felt offended that the airline company was capable of such inhumane behavior despite it claiming and promising that it cares for the safety of its passengers. The video was very provocative, and stirred strong emotions in netizens, and their rage expedited the issue.

This incident could be explained with a lot of the knowledge that I gained from COMM346. COMM346 has opened my eyes to how closely relevant social media is to our lives. Society is deeply embroiled in social media, as people’s emotions could be stirred up using provocative content on social media. Companies cannot deny the impact of social media, as it relates to their bottomline and company performances. As an individual, all the more it is important for us to know how social media plays a part in our lives, as it will definitely affect our future prospects: in employment, relationships, and more. Henceforth it is important for us to manage social media, no matter what our status or identity is.

Learning how social media comes to life in COMM346 was a joy, but it could not have been so without Prof Kyu. I would like to thank Prof Kyu for sharing valuable insights of the correlations between social media and organisations, societies, and individuals, and for helping me understand the intricacies of social media strategies much easier with interesting and thought-provoking examples. I would also like to thank TA Pui Fang for helping me out whenever I run into problems. COMM346 is definitely one of the modules that will resonate with me even after I graduate from SMU and enter the workforce!

 

 

 

Group 5 – Suunto Singapore

Hi everyone!

Here’s a follow up on our project 🙂

Screenshot 2017-04-09 23.06.13.png

 

COMPANY INTRODUCTION

Founded in 1936, Suunto is a Finnish manufacturer of sports instruments for adventurers worldwide. Suunto’s product line ranges from premium sports watches to accessories that aid in various sports such as diving, climbing, and triathlons. In Singapore, Suunto’s merchandise are available at sports retailers such as World Sports and Royal Sporting House.

Internationally, Suunto is a highly-recognised brand, with a substantial following of 382,245 fans on its global Facebook page (@Suunto). These fans receive frequent updates regarding Suunto’s partnerships, brand ambassadors, and product information.

Singapore is a promising market for Suunto as tech wearables such as sports watches are becoming increasingly popular, with a 69% increase in retail volume in 2016 (Euromonitor, 2016). However, Suunto has been unable to fulfil its business potential in Singapore, as our conversations with the company reveal that consumer awareness and sales levels remain low.

Suunto Singapore believes that social media can help them achieve their business goals. The trend of sharing fitness tips on social media, coupled with Singaporeans’ high mobile and internet penetration rates have led to increased integration of social media with fitness (Euromonitor, 2016). Additionally, sports and fitness enthusiasts are the main sharers of fitness information on social media (Euromonitor, 2016) thus indicating how social media can raise awareness of sports-related wearable technology.

Thus, our project seeks to answer the following research question: How Suunto can use social media to increase brand awareness among athletes and sports enthusiasts, so as to forge a strong community around the brand and increase sales in the long run.

 

TARGET AUDIENCE

Currently, Suunto Singapore targets male athletes between the ages of 18 to 30-years-old that exercise two to six times a week, for at least three hours each. Based on this information and further research, our group expanded the target audience to include females and water sports enthusiasts. This is because of the growing number of women who have an interest in sports and fitness (Euromonitor, 2015), as well as Suunto’s core competency in dive computers that give it a competitive advantage in manufacturing watches for water sports.

PRIMARY RESEARCH

Our primary research comprised of 19 in-depth interviews and an observational study. For the in-depth interviews, we interviewed individuals who considered themselves as sports enthusiasts for an average of 20 minutes each, guiding them through a structured discussion on their awareness of sports watch brands, current lifestyle, and social media usage. We then conducted an observational study at MacRitchie Reservoir Park to gain insights on the social media usage patterns of sports watch users and non-users. Their opinions assisted us in identifying strengths and weaknesses of Suunto’s current social media strategy.

            In-depth Interviews (IDIs)

We started the interviews by asking broad questions to gain insights from our participants and progressed to more in-depth questions targeting their perceptions on sports watches and their social media habits. To glean a better representative of each segment, participants included male and female users and non-users of sports watch brands, from various income groups.

Most IDI participants had positive perceptions of sports watches and would use one if it can enhance their trainings. However, only 21% of the participants have heard of Suunto, compared to 74% who have heard of Garmin and 26% who have heard of Polar. This suggests that Suunto has very low brand awareness compared to its main competitor, Garmin.

As for social media habits, 94% of the participants use Facebook as their main social media channel, mainly to keep up with the latest news and trends. The high usage rates can be attributed to positive network effects as there are more than 1.23 billion daily active users, thus making Facebook the most popular social network worldwide (Statista, n.d.). Hence, Facebook is an important platform in increasing consumer awareness of Suunto, and our group will utilize a pull strategy to attract users to the page.

Additionally, 84% of participants also mentioned Instagram as one of their most frequently used social media channels. Participants explained that while they use Facebook to gain general information, Instagram is used to share photos and personal milestones with a smaller, more intimate circle of contacts. This helped our group understand how target users’ media habits differ across platforms. We will thus include Instagram in Suunto’s social media campaign as it can help us reach consumers on a more personal level.

Next, 47% of participants also listed Snapchat as one of their most frequently used social media platforms. Participants explained that Snapchat is used to post photos and videos that are less visually aesthetic, such as funny faces or mundane everyday scenes. A small percentage of participants also highlighted that they enjoyed reading listicles in Snapchat’s ‘Discover’ section, which are published by Snapchat’s content partners. As such, we can capitalize on this small but substantial percentage of users by pushing out relevant information on sports and fitness.

Lastly, most participants said they would follow brands online if these brands had engaging stories and attractive giveaways. Therefore, we should capitalize on Suunto’s rich history in manufacturing diving computers to establish trust in their product quality, modernize this story to be more relatable to consumers’ needs, and carry out periodic giveaways to further engage consumers.

            Observational Study

We observed 200 runners at MacRitchie Reservoir Park to find out the percentage of sports enthusiasts who own a sports watch, and among these, who owns a Suunto watch. 61 runners (30%) use a sports watch to track key workout statistics. Out of those 61 runners, only 1.5% had a Suunto watch while others used watches from competitor brands Garmin (64%), Polar (18%), Fitbit (13%), and Timex (3%). In terms of social media habits, out of the 61 people who wore sports watches, 90% of them also engaged with their mobile phone. Out of these 55 mobile phones users, 54 were surfing social media platforms on their phone, with 70% using Facebook and 30% using Instagram.

SECONDARY RESEARCH

Facebook boasts 3.5 million active users every month in Singapore, and is used to keep updated on the latest product and brand offerings (Kantar TNS, 2015). Majority of Singaporeans (60%) used a search engine to aid them in their purchase decisions (Google Barometer, 2014), with Facebook ranked among the top three search engine/social media sites that Singaporeans used to do so (Alexa, 2015).

The number of Instagram users in Singapore has been growing steadily every year, from 51% in 2014 to 63% in 2016. 85% of Instagram users in the APAC region are aged between 16 to 24-years-old. Instagram users cite the appeal of highly-curated, beautifully-edited pictures as the reason for using the platform (Lawrence, 2016).

Meanwhile, Snapchat usage in Singapore has doubled from 19% in 2015 to 37% in 2016 (Lawrence, 2016). An analysis of Snapchat usage found that the platform is best for “raw, in-the-moment, humorous” content (Lawrence, 2016). Furthermore, Snapchat’s user demographics comprise of 70% females (Macmillan, 2013), and 71% of users are under 34-years-old (Reisinger, 2015). More than half (58%) of Snapchat users in the APAC region are aged between 16 to 24-years-old (Lawrence, 2016), thus falling within Suunto’s target audience.

With the increase in Singaporeans’ adoption of these platforms, brands can more easily access and engage with their target audience. However, 22% of consumers in Singapore ignore online content from brands, because they perceive such efforts as invasive (Lawrence, 2016).  Thus, brand content must be integrated naturally into the platform, be tailored specifically to the chosen platform, and offer content that provides value to consumers.

More engaging content can be produced through collaboration with online influencers, with almost half of consumers aged 16 to 24-years-old (40%) saying that they trust what other people say about brands rather than official sources such as brand websites (Lawrence, 2016).

COMPETITOR ANALYSIS

            Premium Sports Watches

Garmin is Suunto’s closest competitor in Singapore due to their similar product offerings and pricing strategies in the field of premium sports watches. Known for its GPS technology in industries such as auto motives and aviation, its venture into wearable technology has greatly increased competition in the sports watch industry (Anderson, 2013).

Although Polar is also considered as a close competitor of Suunto (Hall, 2016), due to their lack of social media presence in Singapore, Polar will not be included in this competitor analysis.

Facebook

Both Suunto and Garmin have a social media presence in Singapore. Both brands have a Facebook page, but only Garmin has a local Instagram account.

Suunto Singapore’s Facebook presence is markedly less established when compared with Garmin. While Suunto has 380,000+ followers on its old Facebook page (@SgSuunto) and 2300+ followers on its current Facebook page (@Singapore.Suunto), both still trail behind Garmin, which has 1,500,000+ followers on its Singapore page (@GarminSG).

Unlike Suunto, Garmin has localised its social media strategy and expanded its content beyond product promotion and general events. Garmin’s more engaging social media strategy has helped the brand achieve top-of-mind-awareness as noted during our IDIs, and a strong social media presence in Singapore (Socialbakers, 2017a).

Comparing Suunto’s content with Garmin’s, the latter shares articles, fitness tips, and their brand ambassadors’ lifestyle and training insights to facilitate interaction and engagement with consumers, resulting in approximately 264 interactions per week compared to Suunto’s 24.

Instagram

As mentioned previously, Suunto does not have a Singapore-based Instagram account. Garmin, however, has a Singapore-based Instagram page (@GarminSG) with 2,466 followers. From December 2016 to March 2017, a total of 77 posts were uploaded, amounting to approximately six posts a week.

Garmin’s page enjoys an average of 440 interactions per week (Socialbakers, 2017b), and publishes targeted, consistent, and localised content in tandem with their Facebook page.

 Not having an Instagram page means that Suunto is not reaching a large swathe of its target audience, especially millennials (19 to 29-year-olds), who are very active on Instagram (Pew Research Center, 2015). As our primary research also finds that Instagram is among the most popular social media platforms for sports-related content, Suunto is clearly forfeiting a significant opportunity to reach and engage with its target audience.

            Activity Tracker Watches

In addition to competing with premium sport watch brands, Suunto also competes with activity tracker watch brands such as Fitbit, Samsung, and Apple. As both Samsung Gear and Apple Watch do not have a social media presence in Singapore, our evaluation will only include Fitbit Singapore.

Facebook

Fitbit has a dedicated local account on Facebook (@FitbitSG), which has garnered over 1,894,018 fans as of March 2017 (Fitbitsg, 2017). The page features regular updates, with at least one post per day. Content ranges from product updates to health, fitness, and nutrition tips. Unlike Garmin, Fitbit appeals to the mass market and does not demonstrate a localised strategy. However, as Suunto is a premium sports watch brand with a niche market, it should develop a localised strategy like Garmin’s to enable its target audience to better identify with the brand (Omuus, 2016).

Similar to Suunto, Fitbit does not have an Instagram account in Singapore. Hence, with respect to its competitor’s social media strategies, Suunto should take necessary actions to stay competitive.

CURRENT SOCIAL MEDIA EFFORTS

Having evaluated Suunto’s social media efforts using the data obtained from Socialbakers (December 2016 to March 2017), these are our findings:

Reach

Facebook is the only social media platform Suunto utilizes in Singapore. In mid-2016, Suunto Singapore moved from its old Facebook page (@SgSuunto) to (@Singapore.Suunto). However, while its active Facebook page has only 2300 fans, the inactive, yet verified page has approximately 165-times more followers (SgSuunto, 2017), which may cause confusion among current and potential fans. Also, by only being present on Facebook, Suunto loses opportunities to build better relations with its target audience, who are active on other platforms.

Frequency of Posts

Suunto only published 14 Facebook posts in the three-month-period, posting approximately once a week. While social media can build brand awareness and foster consumer engagement, Suunto’s limited and irregular posting prevents them from reaping these benefits.

Quality of Posts

Suunto posts two types of content: product promotions and event updates. Posts on product updates comprise of product photos with a lengthy caption and website link, while event updates feature the Suunto Fitness Group (SFG). Currently, these posts only comprise the event date, time, and location, without any follow-up photos or videos to document the session. Although these posts are relevant to the brand, they are not engaging, and instead come across as generic and lacking in variety. Additionally, Suunto has not adopted a localised social media strategy, which could make the brand unappealing to locals.

 Engagement

Over the three-month-period, (@Singapore.Suunto) received an average of only 24 interactions per week. Promoted posts represented 104 of the share of interactions, while organic and undetected amount to 55 and 150 respectively. This shows that Suunto adopts an unappealing one-way social media strategy, without providing opportunities for user interaction. Additionally, the lack of localised or varied content results in poor reach and engagement levels among   Singaporean users.

 EVALUATION OF CURRENT SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

According to Hutter et al. (2013), a brand’s social media presence is important in increasing consumer’s brand awareness, word-of-mouth, and ultimately, drives consumer purchase intentions. However, Suunto’s current level of brand awareness is very poor, with 85% of IDI participants being unaware of the brand. This problem is exacerbated by having two locally-based Facebook pages. The lack of clear communication regarding the transition to the new page may prevent interested users from following Suunto on Facebook. Thus, Suunto needs to clearly designate the page that fans should follow by deleting the old page and getting the new page officially verified, so that users who search for Suunto Singapore will be directed to the new page.

In terms of engagement, Suunto’s current social media strategy does not sufficiently engage its fans as they do not produce content that inspire discussion amongst followers and promote two-way interaction. Also, as Suunto currently does not have local Instagram and Snapchat accounts, they should create both accounts before implementing the following social media strategies, as these are the second and third most popular platforms among their target audience.

PROPOSED SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

            Brand Story

To increase brand awareness and create opportunities for user interaction and engagement, we will use brand storytelling to highlight (1) Suunto’s expertise as a pioneer in its field, (2) how Suunto makes its users ‘stronger together’ and (3) Suunto’s value of inclusivity. These three main facets can create a cohesive brand story for Suunto – a brand that has the expertise to help sports and fitness enthusiasts train better.

As such, we devised three strategies to be organically implemented across Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, the three most popular social media channels used by Suunto’s target audience.

Our first strategy, Suunto Heritage, emphasises Suunto’s rich history of pioneering dive technology before having diversified into premium technologies for other sports such as running and mountaineering. By effectively communicating their heritage, premium brands can improve consumer perception and increase purchase intentions, as consumers of premium goods associate brands with a long, rich history with expertise in producing superior products (Chelminski & DeFanti, 2016). In addition, 42% of IDI participants mentioned that a brand’s history was one of the factors influencing their purchase decisions. Thus, by communicating their rich heritage, Suunto can differentiate itself from competitors and gain awareness amongst target consumers.

Secondly, our Stronger with Suunto strategy aims to convey product benefits that resonate with our target audience, through emotional motivators. Social media influencers will be engaged to push information regarding Suunto’s products and launch conversations regarding the functionality of Suunto watches. This form of native advertising can increase product awareness and the credibility of our marketing message (Gerberich, 2017) by demonstrating how Suunto’s products are crucial in the enhancement of a user’s training experience (Morrison, 2015). This can result in more fully-connected customers, who are 52% more valuable to brands in terms of purchase and usage frequency (Leemon, Magids & Zorfas, 2015). Therefore, highlighting how users can be stronger with Suunto’s products can increase product awareness and opportunities to engage with the target audience.

Lastly, highlighting Suunto’s brand image as inclusive can appeal to all types of individuals, increasing the likelihood of brand patronage. This is in line with Suunto’s defining strength – its wide range of products catering to all kinds of sports. By building on Suunto’s value of inclusivity through targeting users across sports and genders, Suunto’s diverse target audience can better identify with the brand. Once consumers identify with the brand, brand loyalty and positive word-of-mouth increases (Han, Kim & Park, 2001). Indeed, 57% of IDI participants mentioned that they were attracted to brand stories that they could identify with. As such, Suunto’s story can centre around inclusivity, and how gender, physical disabilities, and other characteristics are not barriers to greatness, but can be instead seen as a uniting force to conquer new territories with the help of Suunto products. With a greater number of users interested in the brand, Suunto can build an online community who are united and interested to engage with the brand.

Through a cohesive brand story, our target audience will be able to identify Suunto as a brand with the best expertise to help all sports and fitness enthusiasts train better.

STRATEGIES

            Suunto Heritage

Objectives

  1. To increase interest and brand awareness among competitive athletes and sports enthusiasts.
  2. Differentiate Suunto from other sports watch brands such as Garmin and Polar.

Rationale

Suunto Heritage utilizes a pull strategy with a mix of videos, pictures, and infographics to increase current and potential consumers’ understanding of Suunto by featuring Suunto’s rich history of innovation.

 Execution

Time Period: April 2017 – June 2017

 Goals for Facebook are in percentages as it builds on Suunto’s existing fans and views, while goals for Instagram and Snapchat are in numbers as Suunto does not have existing Instagram and Snapchat accounts.

 Facebook

A video providing an overview on the milestones of Suunto’s sports watches over the years will be released to mark the start of the campaign.

Subsequently, text content such as articles and infographics on Suunto’s heritage will be posted weekly to showcase past Suunto watch models and how they were made. This provides consumers with a deeper understanding of the expertise behind Suunto’s product development.

Instagram

High-definition pictures will be posted on Instagram weekly, with each picture featuring a vintage sports watch, a historical figure, or watch-making process, along with an insightful caption. Users will be invited to visit Facebook to read the full article.

Snapchat

As IDIs have shown that consumers enjoy discovering short, interesting titbits of content on Snapchat, snaps will be posted on Suunto’s Snapchat to celebrate the brand’s milestone anniversaries.

            Stronger with Suunto

Objectives

  1. Increase product awareness and interest among current and potential Suunto users
  2. Promote engagement between Suunto and the target audience

Rationale

Stronger with Suunto taps into local influencers’ existing clout in the sporting community to reach out to current and potential of Suunto watches, with the goal of increasing product awareness and engagement.

The influencers for this strategy are chosen based on their betweenness and closeness to our target audience and their embodiment of Suunto’s core values of “Innovation”, “Determination” and “Inclusivity”. The high betweenness quotient will increase the reach of Suunto‘s social media efforts, while high closeness allows Suunto to more effectively call for action and collect feedback from the target audience.

Execution

Time Period: April 2017 – June 2017

Influencer Selection

Yip Pin Xiu embodies Suunto’s spirit of conquering new territories by showing that an indomitable spirit can overcome any obstacle. By partnering with her, Suunto will be making a clear statement that we are inclusive and support athletes of all backgrounds. Pin Xiu is also a good fit for Suunto because Suunto’s aqua watches can significantly improve her training by keeping track of her physiology and training progress.

Timothee Yap’s role as a student-athlete will resonate with a large percentage of Suunto’s target audience and his massive 16.4k reach on Instagram will significantly boost Suunto’s reach on social media. Furthermore, Suunto’s land watches will be helpful in tracking his training variables and in planning his recovery sessions.

 Facebook

Product reviews, blog posts, listicles and media coverage of Suunto’s influencers will be shared on Facebook, with content published thrice weekly.

Paid content such as product features and reviews from tech-focused content portals like TechCrunch and RunnersWorld aim to increase product awareness among users seeking information on Suunto’s products. The links can also promote engagement in the form of shares and comments among Suunto users.

In-house content will mainly be focused on informational articles on Suunto’s products. These articles can be taken from Suunto’s global editorial team, and if necessary, be repackaged for the Singaporean market by localizing the content. Additionally, Suunto can engage in brand journalism and content marketing by publishing content such as posts highlighting the functionality of Suunto watches. Suunto can also exhibit thought leadership by producing original articles such as “How exercise increases happiness”, that are less sales-focused but still introduce Suunto’s business while branding them as a fitness and sports expert. By producing such content, Suunto can increase product awareness and engage with consumers experiencing the zero-moment-of-truth (ZMOT) purchase behaviour (Lecinski, 2011).  This is validated by our primary research, with our IDIs revealing that Suunto’s target audience use social media to collect information before making a purchase. Thus, Suunto must increase their social media reach to build interest amongst consumers and create brand awareness, which can lead to an increase in product sales.

General content includes news articles about general fitness, land, and aqua sports, in addition to local athletes’ achievements that can double as media coverage of Suunto’s influencers. This provides an additional avenue for Suunto to engage with current and potential users, as the inspirational nature of these articles is likely to invite likes and shares beyond Suunto’s current follower base.

 Instagram

Based on IDIs, 78% of participants mentioned that they would be attracted to social media campaigns offering giveaways, and that they will not only be motivated to contribute, but will also tell their friends about the giveaways.

As such, Timothee and Pin Xiu will each promote a single monthly giveaway with two posts per week, using the #strongerwithsuunto hashtag to promote Suunto’s Spartan Ultra watch as the prize.

 This incentive can increase engagement between Suunto and our target audience. According to the Social Exchange Theory (Emerson, 1976), consumers will interact with brands only if the benefits outweigh the costs of doing so. Thus, providing watches as prizes greatly increases the expected benefit of the interaction, while inspiring word-of-mouth around the brand.

 Alongside the giveaways, content detailing the functionalities of products will be posted to increase product awareness and encourage discussion among fans. These posts can also nurture fandomization, where fans who take pride in being part of the Suunto community will not only engage in apprenticeship behaviour to educate new fans, but also be motivated to prove their ownership of the brand by interacting with posts and sharing their thoughts and knowledge (Netzer, 2016).

Snapchat

Snapchat will complement Stronger with Suunto’s Facebook and Instagram content by encouraging the conversion of views into sales. Sunny, Suunto’s Snapchat personality, will helm Suunto’s Snapchat, as IDIs found that consumers usually follow personalities instead of brands on Snapchat. Sunny will share fitness tips every Friday for the Fitness Friday campaign, share promotional codes for the Mega-Sale Monday campaign, and announce new product launches for the Sneak Peek Saturday campaign.

            Suunto Tribe

Objectives

  1. Retain new and existing fans through social media engagement
  2. Build an online community around the Suunto brand

 Rationale

To promote sustainable interest in Suunto after the Suunto Heritage and Stronger with Suunto campaigns, our third strategy builds an online community around sports, fitness, and the Suunto brand. Continual engagement by encouraging community interaction can strengthen loyalty to the Suunto brand.

Pin Xiu and Timothee can initiate the creation of the online community, Suunto Tribe. Suunto’s social media platforms will be a dialog Magnet to increase conversation, grow network effects, increase word-of-mouth, and strengthen brand loyalty by sharing stories of training with their teammates while using Suunto products.

Execution

Time Period: June 2017 – August 2017

As Suunto will be active on all three social media platforms by the start of the Suunto Tribe strategy, all goals are in percentages as they build on existing fans and views.

 Facebook

Monthly live streams in the form of AMA(ask-me-anything) s with Pin Xiu and Timothee will be held on Suunto’s Facebook page, where they will answer questions and share how Suunto watches enhance their training performance.

Suunto can set questions centred around the campaign themes of inclusivity and being stronger together. Additionally, besides asking questions and finding out more about their favourite influencers, Suunto fans can forge community bonds by posting comments and interacting with other users on the page.

Instagram

Picture posts on Instagram with the hashtag #suuntotribe can foster a community spirit among existing Suunto followers, while motivating potential users to switch to Suunto for its positive and inclusive community. Users will be encouraged to share pictures accompanied with captions about how Suunto enhances their trainings and can find like-minded Suunto users by tapping on the hashtag #suuntotribe.

Pin Xiu and Timothee will feature in picture posts on their own as well as Suunto’s Instagram page discussing topics such as “Why I love my #suuntotribe”. Photos of them exercising will be accompanied by anecdotes on why they feel that Suunto nurtures a sense of community and togetherness.

To foster two-way interaction on these posts and to promote Suunto’s complementary accessories, Suunto can tap into the Social Exchange Theory (Emerson, 1976) by hosting weekly giveaways to motivate users to share their own stories in response to the influencers’ posts. Users with especially engaging posts will receive a Suunto accessory to enhance their training.

Snapchat

Snapchat will complement Suunto Tribe’s Facebook and Instagram content and establish a personal relationship with viewers.

Sunny Search will be held weekly, where Suunto’s Snapchat personality, Sunny, will post a snap at an unidentified running route and invite viewers to guess the location of the route by replying to the snap. The answer will be revealed the following Wednesday through an aesthetic picture post on Instagram, thus capitalizing on the different strengths of Suunto’s platforms. This strategy can increase brand identity by humanising the brand, and utilizes the Psychological Ownership Theory (Pierce, Kostova & Dirks, 2001), which states that users enjoy a feeling of validation from providing their opinions to the community, to encourage replies and guesses to Sunny Search despite the lack of extrinsic rewards.

Takeover Tuesday allows prominent sports influencers to take over Suunto’s Snapchat account for one day every fortnight. These takeovers provide viewers with exclusive, personal insights into the influencer’s daily life, and shows them being part of the Suunto Tribe by incorporating Suunto watches in their workout.

To attract participants for the SFGs, Suunto can post snaps of attendees using Suunto watches during training, and emphasise the sense of community and camaraderie. This allows viewers to see the Suunto products at work and witness the #suuntotribe spirit as attendees exercise and bond together. To sustain engagement, Suunto can invite surprise guests, such as the influencers, to take part in the SFGs, and highlight new running routes, diving spots, and fitness tips that emerge in each session.

EVALUATION

All strategies will be evaluated on a whole based on their reach, frequency and quality of posts, as well as engagement at the end of the stipulated campaign period to determine its success.

Screenshot 2017-04-14 14.31.33.png

CONCLUSION

Based on our research, the proposed strategies will lead to a significant improvement in Suunto’s social media content. An improvement in content quality, frequency, and online interactions can reinforce Suunto’s brand and increase reach and consumer engagement. As the recommended strategies were developed to capitalize on Suunto’s strengths and give Suunto a competitive advantage over its competitors, both in the short-term (through Suunto Heritage and Stronger with Suunto), and the long-term (through Suunto Tribe), our group is confident that the implementation and constant evaluation of our strategies will lead to Suunto’s increased online presence and sales in the Singapore market.

Last but not least, our group would like to thank Prof Shim for the valuable and engaging lessons, Pui Fang for answering our queries so earnestly and writing the weekly summaries that came in very handy in our preparation for finals and everyone else in the class for your insightful questions during class and the friendliness shown whenever we asked for help 🙂

Yours Truly,
Crystal,Jun Yong, Nicole, Samantha, Theodora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Western Co

Hi Guys,

Sharing our social media strategy for the Western Co. and a final concluding remark on the course.

TWC LOGO

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background of TWC

The Western Co. (TWC) was launched at Foch Road in July 2016 and was touted as a rising star among food lovers in Singapore for their innovative Swiss raclette cheese dishes priced affordably. Being one of the first few establishments to introduce such a unique offering in Singapore, their gooey melted raclette cheese videos have gone viral on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram and had most certainly caught a fair share of Singapore’s dining population.

1.2 Analysis of TWC’s Business

Allowing customers to indulge in its unique dishes, TWC generated substantial awareness and chatter surrounding its brand. However, the slew of social media notoriety had led to the resignation of the previous management, leaving a new management to grapple with re-establishing TWC’s brand reputation.

Crisis #1

A few months into their opening, TWC had their first brush with bad publicity where the original founder, Ms Larissa Yang had refused to pay for the advertorial services of well-known food blogger Seth Lui who’s team promoted the café through a blog post. Ms Yang discredited Seth Lui’s work on the grounds that much of the sales and publicity rendered had been a result of the previous blogger hired. Livid, Seth Lui took to social media to discredit TWC which had an immediate crippling effect on TWC’s reputation, especially among his followers.

Crisis #2

TWC further aggravated social netizens with their repugnant statements made on social media in response to displeased customers who had expressed their frustrations with TWC’s customer service etiquette. One post recounts a customer’s experience at TWC where he was chased out of the café due to a heated argument with Ms Yang over the payment mode. The customer had believed that NETS payment was available as it was reflected on TWC’s Facebook page. However instead of accepting the mistake and apologizing, Ms Yang adamantly insisted that only cash was accepted and chased the customer out. Disgruntled, the customer took to social media to vent his frustrations. The situation was worsened by Ms Yang’s aggressive replies to the customer’s posts on Facebook.

Given the high traffic and consumer-facing nature of the F&B industry, restaurants are especially susceptible to a PR disaster. With no proper crisis management in place, the entire fiasco spiraled out of control with stakeholders taking to social media to share their frustrations. The combined effect of the two crises together with Ms. Yang’s audacious PR responses instigated severe backlash on social media, resulting in a detrimental impact on the brand’s reputation and TWC’s potential to dominate the market. Being a new restaurant and not having earned enough reputational capital to bolster them during the crisis, the entire fiasco blew up, with Ms. Yang posting a public apology before closing her business.

In December 2016, TWC was sold to Ms Elise Sim who believed she had the capacity to turn the business around. With time, negativity around the TWC brand had seemed to diffuse, with Seth Lui posting on his own social media to end the issue.

Nonetheless some customers continued to be skeptical about the new management and questioned the integrity of the buy-over. Nonetheless, Ms Sim and her husband, foodies with a love for cheese, felt that TWC offers dishes that are truly unique and potential to re-emerge. An in-depth interview with Ms Sim revealed some goals she had for the restaurant both in the short and long run.

 

From the SWOT analysis, and considering the client’s efforts to boost sales, our group feels that there is significant opportunity for TWC to improve its brand reputation amongst consumers and drown the negative publicity under the previous management leading us to construct our research question as elaborated in the next section.

 1.3 Research

1.3.1 Research Question

Due to its negative reputation among several consumers and its haphazard positioning, TWC has found itself lost in a myriad of restaurants popping up in the ever-growing F&B industry in Singapore. As such, our group aims to investigate the following:

“How can TWC better leverage on its existing social media platforms to bridge the perception gap consumers have on them and engage a larger number of their target audience?”

1.3.2 Methodology and Value of the Research

Based on our preliminary findings, we scheduled an interview with Ms. Sim, where she further described the situation of TWC, potential areas to consider and some expectations for the course of the project. From there, our team proceeded on to a full observational study on 17/02/2017.

This was followed by surveys administered online and a focus group discussion with the main objective of understanding: (1) Consumer’s dinning patterns in the F&B sector based on key attributes, (2) Consumer’s perception and brand awareness of TWC based on its current crisis recovery efforts, and (3) Consumer’s perception of TWC’s current engagement level with them. Insights collected from our preliminary research were valuable in re-constructing our perspective and providing us with a holistic view to tailor our solutions accordingly.

To offer Ms. Sim recommendations that would go beyond a short-lived impact, we conducted another survey to test the receptivity of customers to the proposed strategies thereby validating the feasibility of the proposed strategies, highlighting potential areas for improvement and offering some limitations to consider. The research also serves to assist Ms. Sim in understanding the F&B environment and how an increased brand reputation can translate to an increase in sales.

 

 

2.0 Social Media Use and Analysis

2.1 Comparison across TWC’s Social Media Platforms

2.1.1 Owned Media

Facebook

TWC’s Facebook has garnered 7,238 likes in total, growing in followers count by 7.46% over the last 3 months. TWC’s Facebook page is not updated regularly and has approximately a total of 21 posts over the last 3 months, with higher post-frequency in December. TWC’s video posts had 20% more engagement compared to photo posts (all posts were not promoted).

Content-wise, TWC is focusing on messages that highlight the change in management. However, reactions from the public are mixed, with some excited and others calling it a PR trick. Interestingly, posts about the introduction of NETS payment (an issue that triggered the 2nd crisis); garnered the most engagement.

A WordCloud Sentiment Analysis revealed a fair number of negative-connoted words like “threatened”, “wrong”, “bad”, “chase”, attributable to the bad PR that TWC faced in the third quarter last year, highlighting the pressing issue TWC has to address.

Being attentive to the quality of all published content shows TWC’s efforts in maintaining the brand image and their penchant for excellence on all touchpoints. However, TWC’s Facebook current cover photo (wall mural) and profile image is of low resolution and their page does not communicate what the brand is known for. This shows TWC’s indifference in managing their brand image on social media. Despite being a purveyor of quality dishes, the association with quality is not reflected in every aspect of the brand, thereby weakening the reputation of TWC.

Instagram

TWC’s Instagram has a total of 819 followers. Most of their posts on Instagram are reposts from consumers who patronized TWC and have tagged either their location or TWC on their picture. As TWC reposts every picture that they have been tagged in, there is an unappealing combination of aesthetically and non-aesthetically pleasing posts. Furthermore, the frequency of posts is erratic with no proper management, leading to low engagement shown by an average of 15-30 likes on each post, with not much comments.

While TWC’s repost strategy may allow for self-affirmation and validation (Cohern & Sherman, 2007) of their customers, it is not very appropriate for TWC; considering Instagram being an owned media, should comprise of more original content than customer reposts.

 2.1.2 Paid Media

Groupon

TWC has engaged Groupon and sold 902 vouchers thus far. Majority who purchased are from the central part of Singapore, giving us a sensing on the provenance of their current patrons. Proximity may be a factor in determining customers’ decision to visit TWC.

Influencer Marketing

Following TWC’s encounter with Seth Lui in their first crisis, they have a bad reputation among influencers in Singapore. TWC has not engaged any influencers since then and it may be challenging for TWC to engage influencers in the future.

2.1.3 Earned Media

Search Engine

A quick Google search will review that the top hits are plagued with negative publicity. This creates an additional barrier that may deter potential customers from patronizing the restaurant because of the poor reviews it has garnered.

Food Review Sites

According to a Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal, 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business. This highlights the importance of food review sites in reflecting on TWC. Currently, TWC reviews on prominent food review sites like Hungrygowhere are largely mediocre. Such earned media is invaluable because consumers tend to trust word of mouth recommendations from others.

Twitter and Online Forums

TWC has a sizeable amount of negative earned media (offensive and boycotting remarks) on platforms like Twitter and Hardwarezone Forum after the PR crisis. This negative word of mouth that spreads on social networks tarnishes TWC’s brand image and may detract potential customers from visiting TWC.

 

2.2 Competitor’s Social Media Analysis

Muugu Fork and Fish & Chicks are TWC’s close competitors, as they have similar value proposition and food offerings; namely selling western dishes and marketing their food with cheese as the drawing-point. It is worthy to note that Muugu Fork’s target segment is skewed towards the Muslim consumers given that its halal-certification.

2.2.1 Owned Media

Facebook

TWC has the lowest share of fans at 25 % compared to Fish & Chicks TWC (43%) and Muugu Fork (32%). Muugu Fork has the highest relative fan growth in the last 3 months at 27.8%, much higher than that of TWC (7.46%) and Fish & Chicks (2.35%). This indicates that TWC should relook into their content and promotional strategy on social media to increase their fan growth rate and their share of fans.

The sum of interactions is highest for Fish & Chicks at 336.7, followed by TWC at 129.4 and Muugu Fork at a low 8.03. Especially for Fish & Chicks and TWC, it is observed that food reposts garnered the most interactions. Perhaps superior performance in this aspect can be attributed to Fish & Chicks posting higher quality photos than that of TWC.

 

Only Fish & Chicks promoted their posts, achieving a 20-times promoted efficiency. Analyzing sentiments of user posts among the 3 restaurants, TWC performed the worst, garnering the most negative sentiments.

Instagram

TWC has the lowest share of fans among its competitors at 819 followers, it also performs the worst in the number of likes per post. TWC fares moderately in the aspect of frequency of posts, bettering Muggu Fork (1 post every 3 weeks) but performing worse than Fish & Chicks (1 post every week). This shows that TWC should intensify its efforts in gaining a higher share of fans and increase its audience engagement by posting more captivating organic content.

2.2.2 Paid Media

Fish & Chicks have engaged more influencers to market their business than TWC. It can be inferred that Fish & Chicks likely garnered higher brand awareness than TWC through the greater impressions they garnered from their hired food bloggers who have a large following in Singapore. Fish & Chicks have also sold about 456 more Groupon vouchers than TWC, through 2 separate deals on Groupon.

2.2.3 Earned Media

Aggregating the quantity and quality of earned media, our group believes that Fish & Chicks performs the best, having the largest number of positive reviews and mentions on social media. Although TWC has a decent amount of positive earned media from Food review websites, it has a largest number of negative earned media from Twitter and Hardwarezone Forum as compared to its competitors. This shows that TWC has to improve its service offering both at the store and on social media, to improve their brand image. This translates into more positive earned media that eventually drowns the negativity online.

2.3 Evaluation

TWC’s marketing efforts are presently executed mainly through their Facebook and Instagram accounts with no proper order and conscientiousness with regards to its upkeep. Given the potential for social media to elevate a brand’s reputation and project brand values and personality, our group feels that TWC is not fully utilizing their social media presence to reap their benefits in its entirety. We hope to help TWC create a successful social media strategy to excel in majority of the listed measures, which will undoubtedly translate to an advantageous market position for TWC.

3.0 Proposed Social Media Strategies

3.1 Objectives of proposed Social Media Strategies

To achieve Ms. Sim’s goal to increase sales by 20% from the original sales pre-TWC crisis by the end of 2017, our group feels that TWC should focus on the following 3 objectives that come together to bolster TWC’s reputation building efforts.

3.1.1 Objective 1: To change the negative perception of TWC among targeted market within a year

From our survey results, 62% of our respondents have only heard about TWC through the PR fiasco and 53% do not see themselves patronizing TWC. With 48% of respondents identifying as “Unsure” of their current feelings towards TWC, we saw a need to change the current customers’ negative perception of TWC by distancing themselves from the PR fiasco in consumers’ minds and get them to associate the brand with more positive experiences instead.

3.1.2 Objective 2: To increase customer retention rate within a year through active social media engagement with consumers

Of our respondents, only 16% have ever visited TWC, with only 4% of them being repeat customers. Furthermore, as the cost of acquiring a new customer is approximately six to seven times more than retaining an existing customer (Morris, 2016), and a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-100% increase in profit (Reichheld, 2012), TWC should engage sufficiently with its customers and build a loyal customer base, which serves to achieve the overarching goal set by Ms Sim to increase sales revenue by 20% from the pre-crisis sales amount.

3.1.3 Objective 3: To establish a well-maintained position in the industry among a community of cheese enthusiasts.

Our survey revealed that 38% of respondents indicated that they are more likely to travel to a location to dine if it offers a unique dining experience. Furthermore, according to the theory of attraction, similarities in ideologies and attitudes bring people together. Given the findings revealed in our primary and secondary research, we feel there is great opportunity to connect with customers to curate a unique dining experience for them, building a community that increases the emotional connection patrons have towards TWC as they find an identity amongst like-minded individuals.

 3.2 Target Audience

We have chosen millennials, aged 18-35 as the target market for TWC. Millennials constitute nearly 27% of Singapore’s current population (Varma, 2015). They are more tech-savvy than their counterparts and majority of Singaporean millennials agreed that gathering experience, and not material possessions, is the most important form of wealth (HRM Asia, 2016).

Social Natives

88% of Singaporeans own smartphones and 90% of millennials go online daily. Hence, Singaporean millennials rely on social media for purchasing, advice on food and travel and like to share both good and bad experiences online. Millennials in Singapore turn to influencers and follow them to find out what is trending in the food scene, spending an average of 3.4 hours daily on their phones. Thus, TWC should increase their social media efforts and engage the right influencers to connect with millennials.

Traditional no more

Singaporeans are turning away from overtly stressful lifestyles to spend more time to travel and explore. They are willing to spend on entertainment and dining out, with Singapore millennials spending 13% more on eating out in 2013. Thus, TWC should leverage on this characteristic to create an environment that enhances the overall dining experience for patrons.

World’s gloomiest millennials

Millennials in Singapore are the world’s gloomiest with 50% of millennials feeling pessimistic. Since Singapore millennials come in second when it comes to working the longest hours in a week (average of 48 hours), it presents TWC with an opportunity to capitalize on this by offering a venue young millennials can find respite in.

3.3 Message Strategy

TWC’s current reputation revolves around the PR fiasco. However, we believe that there is significant room to build the brand and remove TWC from this negative perception by targeting millennials and getting them to believe in the brand first. In doing so, we hope to create a community of individuals who front TWC’s social media realm with their support, drowning the noise from TWC’s past. We also see a compelling need to provide more meaningful user engagement, to increase customer interactions and TWC’s retention rate.

The main message that these strategies will deliver is the fact that TWC’s new management is all out to listen to their customers and put their customers first, while retaining the central theme of sharing a passion and love for cheese.

3.4 Social Media Strategies

3.4.1 Rebranding The Western Co. to TWC

Name Change

Our group proposes they rebrand as the abbreviated version of its name, TWC, which would enable it to start afresh in building its reputation, highlight the new management and most importantly, preserve its identity in its cheese whilst drowning the negativity online.

While this may not initially seem like a social media strategy, it has implications on TWC’s online presence and subsequent social media strategies. As mentioned, from TWC’s online audit, the name “The Western Co” results in an overwhelming amount of negative posts, immediately raising red flags for potential patrons. However, Ms. Sim noted that the name “The Western Co.” carried with it the identity as being the “cheese” company. Thus, the name TWC serves to balance the need to retain the identity of the company whilst simultaneously dissociating themselves from the past

Creating a community of cheese enthusiasts

We also propose that they set the stage to foster a community of cheese enthusiasts. Hence, we recommend that the graffiti on the walls of the restaurant (Figure 14) be painted over with the words #TWCSAYSCHEESE (Figure 15). Drawing from the success of Island Creamery, this would act as a photo wall so patrons can put up pictures of their visit to TWC, leaving their mark behind. TWC should work with instantly.sg, a photo printing company, to allow patrons to instantly print photos when they upload it to Instagram with the hashtag #TWCSAYSCHEESE, which they can choose to keep or put on the wall.

Through this, we aim to increase the density in the Social Network Theory, to evoke a sense of familiarity when patrons spot familiar faces on the photo wall. This will generate earned media for TWC via location tags and hashtags, and increase betweenness among consumers.

3.4.2 Improving content strategy on social media

Curating published content is a key aspect of a brand’s marketing efforts as it reflects brand personality. Content posts are often the first touch points through which an impression is formed by offering the public a glimpse into what the brand advocates. Neglecting this autonomy that TWC has on its own social media to shape the public’s perception of themselves through carefully curated content is a lost opportunity for TWC.

Emphasis on quality

With a plethora of unique product offerings, TWC should strive to actively feature dishes with carefully curated content images. Done right, the aesthetic appeal of the content alone is effective in generating three times as many leads as traditional marketing (Hurst, 2015). With businesses facing an aesthetic imperative, the element of aesthetics in marketing has become a critical source of product identity and consumer value. In fact, the desire for interesting, memorable and meaningful sensory experiences has become increasingly necessary for many consumers (Postrel, 2003).

Video Content

We also propose that TWC capitalize on 3 types of video technology to promote its renowned raclette cheese namely:

  • Live stream technology on Facebook and Instagram that creates a behind-the-scenes look into kitchen preparation. Notably, this would be ideal for big events that TWC might want to host, to engage viewers and create excitement
  • Current viral social media food trend, Tasty, in recreating TWC’s dishes step by step to increase engagement with viewers
  • Boomerang videos which replays the raclette cheese being melted onto dishes

Knowing that TWC’s video content generates 20% more engagement than its photo content and that cheese videos have been the most popular out of all food videos (Moses, 2017) in engaging viewers, we believe that this strategy bodes well in terms of being low costs with high rewards.

#howcheesyareyou Campaign

Based on the idea that cheese goes well with everything and TWC’s identity in cheese, TWC can create a campaign revolving around cheese. Entitled #howcheesyareyou, viewers can share the most unconventional food item that they have paired with cheese and surprisingly, turned out delicious! They would then tag 3 friends to challenge them to do the same.

This would encourage greater participation and engagement from the audience. With the Monitor aspect of social media implemented, individuals can communicate and engage with others through creative uses of cheese. TWC would also be able to receive different ideas on the use of cheese and commercialize them by incorporating them in their menu if the food idea resonates with their overall theme as part of the Magnet aspect of social media. TWC could also give them rewards like discounts, for the most creative/unconventional response to spark participation. Also, the tagging system enables them to leverage on the concept of betweenness in the Social Network Theory, reaching out to potential patrons that have no direct network with TWC via the network of their current patrons.

3.4.3 Improving their online presence

Launching an online website

According to the Psychological Ownership Theory, when an organization is facing negative feedback from the public, it should push out more organizational communications to curb the negative publicity. Therefore, it is imperative for TWC to launch an official website as it would serve as a dedicated online space for TWC to present their brand story to the public and share what the brand and the new management synergistically believe in. Through curated visuals, the website serves to align the core positioning of the brand while highlighting their differentiated and unique product offerings. By explicitly presenting such information, TWC would be able to strengthen their brand identity and increase awareness surrounding their entire business.

Furthermore, the website would greatly elevate TWC’s online presence as according to our survey, 40% of our respondents utilize web search to obtain information regarding where to eat. Also, given web search ranks highly as the platform for millennials to source for information, being easily accessible on the digital realm would greatly boost TWC’s brand recognition among the public and gain the traction from millennials. The website would also serve to drown the noise surrounding TWC’s reputation online as paid SEO allows the official site to emerge first, serving as the key contact point with new customers.

According to the Framing Theory, an official website explicitly frames consumer’s understanding of TWC. Instead of allowing the media to tell their story, TWC should take ownership by having a platform to tell their own story. Currently, with no official platform to share their brand story, beliefs and values, TWC neglects an opportunity to build a strong reputation capital and cultivate a holistic identity.

3.4.4 Improve communications about the new management

We recommend Ms. Sim to have an introductory video done, capturing the day-to-day operations in TWC featuring Ms. Sim herself in a casual lighthearted format. This video serves to elaborate on her motivations and rationale for taking over the company and her vision for TWC enabling current and potential patrons to know who she is. To increase the legitimacy of the strategy, the video must be professionally done and filmed in a sincere manner. This video should be uploaded onto Facebook and their official website adding weight to TWC’s efforts to communicate their brand story. This increases the authenticity of her business, as people are now able to put a face to the TWC brand, humanizing the image of TWC.

Keeping in mind the objective to change the negative perception of TWC, we want to increase the authenticity of the claims, completely dissociating the old management with TWC. Furthermore, coupled with the evidence that videos were 20% more engaging than pictures on TWC’s Facebook page, through the Megaphone aspect of social media we are able to emphasize the change in management.

3.4.5 Influencer marketing

Since The Western Co. will be rebranded to TWC with all social media handles reflecting this change and an official website, we propose that TWC engage food bloggers to create hype around its product as well as highlight the dining experience under the new management. It is advisable not to engage Sethlui.com due to the poor experience in the past. Given the tight budget, we recommend that TWC choose one influencer from the ranked list. Based on reach and relevance, we recommend that TWC approach Danielfooddiary.com as their first choice.

TWC’s marketing efforts has done little to bring attention to the restaurant and gain traction amongst their target audiences via the use of influencer marketing. In fact, the absence of influencers advocating their reprise impedes TWC’s efforts to recover from their crisis. Therefore, our group feels that engaging in influencer marketing would greatly elevate their brand recognition amongst current and potential customers, whilst drowning out the negativity.

3.5 Limitations

3.5.1 Feasibility

The proposed strategies are easy to implement, cost efficient and sustainable (Figure 22). Financially, several of the potential cost components can easily be offset and some of the proposed strategies have already been budgeted for by TWC. Operationally, our group estimates that only 2 TWC employees are required to maintain and execute the campaigns, Facebook and Instagram initiatives. Therefore, the strategies pass the test of feasibility at both the financial and operational level, and the potential benefits of the initiatives to TWC far outweigh the cost.

3.5.2 Receptivity

Our group conducted a 2nd survey to analyze the receptivity of our target group to our proposed social media strategies which included the 1) tasty concept videos, 2) website 3) corporate video and 4) campaign synopsis. Respondents stated that they were likely follow and ‘like’ TWC on social media, while 78% respondents expressed their willingness to share TWC’s Tasty-inspired videos on their own social media accounts. Moreover, respondents reacted positively to the #HOWCHEESYAREYOU campaign and indicated their interest to participate in the challenge. Furthermore, our objectives were met as respondents stated that they would patronize TWC after being exposed to our simulated strategies. Overall, respondents had greater brand knowledge about TWC and predominant sentiments towards TWC changed from “unsure” to “promising”. Therefore, we feel that our strategies will be well received by the target audience, meeting our desired objectives.

3.5.3 Obstacles and Risks

One obstacle would be that the openness of social media creates management challenges, which centres around the inability to control what consumers say about the company. As noted from the Starbucks case, although the discussions tab on their Facebook contains enthusiast’s comments and thoughtful dialog, it also includes several hostile threads to the firm. Thus, the principle advocated to TWC here would be to bear some dissent and have respect for customer’s opinions online. Facilitating any firm’s social media presence is challenging and in the case of TWC, increasing their responsiveness and engagement on social media exposes them to a risk of further aggravating negative consumer sentiments.

Nonetheless, we believe this is part of crisis recovery and TWC should continue to walk in this direction despite the uncertainty. This would elevate their brand perception among consumers eventually as customers will feel their sincerity and passion in serving quality food.

4.0 Conclusion

As Ms. Elise Sim was very keen on having some core deliverables that she would be able to implement, our group was very careful in structuring the recommendations for this project. Of utmost importance to her, was the longevity of the recommendations. Through our proposed recommendations, we hope to help TWC re-establish themselves and achieve their advantageous position they once had. Despite the possible risks, our group believes that proper management of the initiatives will overcome these obstacles. Furthermore, the initiatives are practical, easy to implement and sustainable. Given that our survey results show that the target market will be receptive to the initiatives, we feel that TWC can employ these strategies to achieve its goals in the most efficient manner.

Thank you for reading thus far. I omitted the pictures as it will lag the page because we have many visuals in the report.

I will like to take this opportunity to thank Prof KyuJin for the past 13 weeks of insightful sharing and wisdom imparted to us! Also thank you to our TA Pui Fang for helping with the necessary administrative matters! I think my greatest take away from the course is understanding the underlying consumer motivations and theories that make our strategies much more effective on the social media space.

Take care everybody! 🙂

Signing off,

Foo Yong Ming, on behalf of my group- Erina Tan, Anita, Ernest

Group 5 – Suunto Singapore

Hi everyone!

For our project, our team has decided to work on Suunto Singapore.
screenshot-2017-02-10-22-44-31

Company Background:

Founded in 1936, Suunto Oy is a designer and manufacturer of sports watches, dive computers, and sports instruments for adventurers worldwide. Headquartered in Vantaa, Finland, Suunto’s product line ranges from premium watches to accessories that aid in various sports such as climbing, hiking, triathlon, and many others. Suunto is a subsidiary of Amer Sports Corp. In Singapore, Suunto’s merchandise is available at sports and watch retailers such as World Sports and Royal Sporting House, just to name a few.

Why we chose Suunto:

Internationally, Suunto is a highly recognised brand in its field. Its first GPS sports watch with optical heart rate measurement, the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR, was awarded the Runner’s World Editor’s Pick in January 2017. Other awards won by Suunto include The Outdoor Retailer ‘Best in Show’ Gear for 2016 by Gear Junkie, Editor’s Choice 2016 Award by Competitor magazine and Best New Gear Award: Outdoor Retailer Winter 2016 by GearInstitute, among many others.

Suunto also has a substantial global following, with 382,245 fans on its global Facebook page (@Suunto). These fans receive frequent updates regarding Suunto’s partnerships, brand ambassadors, and product information.

Singapore is a promising market for Suunto, as wearable electronics are becoming increasingly popular. Around 73,000 units of smart wearables were sold in 2016, amounting to a 69% increase in retail volume. As for activity wearables, 2016 saw a 28% growth in retail volume. It has been noted that the strong demand for wearable electronics stems from the sharing of exercise habits and fitness on social media. Consumers are constantly on social media, with Singapore having the highest penetration rate of mobile phones and internet connectivity. In their respective social communities, sports and fitness enthusiasts are the main sharers of fitness information among friends on social media. This indicates the complementary nature between wearable technology and social media.

Despite the growing trend for active lifestyles and high social and mobile connectivity in Singapore, Suunto has been unable to fulfill its business potential in the tech wearables segment, even though their products and services are not only on par with but may even be superior to those of its competitors. On its social media platforms, Suunto is lagging behind its competitors in terms of reach, engagement, and interaction on those social media platforms within the Singapore market.

In what ways can Social Media help Suunto improve their performance in the Singapore market?

Suunto Singapore’s social media presence is markedly less established when compared to its main competitor, Garmin, on both Facebook and Instagram. While Suunto has 380,000+ followers on its old Facebook page (@SgSuunto) and 2000+ followers on its new Facebook page (@Singapore.Suunto), they still trail behind Garmin, which has 1,400,000+ followers on its Singapore page (@GarminSG). Also, it is interesting to note that although Suunto Singapore changed its Facebook page to @Singapore.Suunto in mid-2016, its older page has remained as the sole verified account.

Screenshot 2017-02-10 22.44.42.png

When comparing across their Instagram accounts, Garmin far outperforms Suunto in the Singapore market. Suunto has a main account with 125,000+ followers (@suunto), but does not have a Singapore-based account. Meanwhile, not only does Garmin have a main account with 261,000+ followers (@garmin), but it also has a dedicated Singapore account with 2,400+ followers (@garminsg), that publishes more targeted, localised content in tandem with their Singapore Facebook page.

Additionally, Suunto’s current Facebook page only features general event and product promotion details with no co-creation of content, thus, resulting in an unappealing, one-way communication strategy. On the other hand, Garmin shares articles and fitness tidbits and showcase active promotion of their ambassadors in addition to providing consumers with the ambassadors’ lifestyle and training insights in order to facilitate interaction with its consumers.

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Therefore, Suunto should capitalise on the complementary relationship between the technological nature of its product and the proliferation of social media in today’s society to reap the benefits of positive network effects arising from the strong sense of community and high levels of density and closeness among members of the fitness community. Hence, an improved social media presence with meaningful relationships built with its target consumers will help translate to higher sales.

Project Goals:

Our team intends to utilise social media to increase awareness of Suunto’s differentiated product offerings amongst our target audience, the fitness enthusiasts, by emphasizing Suunto’s rich brand heritage and history of making high precision dive equipment that is rugged, durable, and accurate.

Next, as sales in the industry of fitness wearables are mainly driven by perceptions, our team aims to improve consumer perceptions of Suunto, by positioning it as a top-tier sports watch maker and increasing Suunto’s engagement with its target consumer group through social media.

In addition, in order to better connect with potential consumers, our team aims to improve the content of Suunto’s existing Facebook and Instagram pages by fostering an interactive two-way relationship between Suunto and their consumers.

Lastly, our team will tap into the positive network effects of existing sports communities, such as running groups on Facebook, that are already present on the various social media platforms and leverage on their strong, tight-knit community to enhance customer relations and experience and ultimately increase brand loyalty.

In summary, our goals are to:

  1.     Increase awareness amongst target audience groups of Suunto’s differentiated product offerings and brand heritage
  2.       Achieve greater reach
  3.       Improve engagement
  4.       Increase positive online sentiment

Main Messages:

Suunto’s messages will be aimed at building positive perceptions of the brand and encouraging consumers to share the brand among their peers with similar interests.

  1. Suunto brings people to greater heights – whether in breaking new records, overcoming challenges or conquering fears. As Suunto sells products that mainly cater to people taking part in adventurous or extreme sports, the company should build an image that reflects courage and ambition.
  2. Suunto is a community that connects sportsmen and adventurers from all over Singapore. There can be shared reviews, interviews on users of Suunto and introduction to Suunto’s current community website. Users can also go beyond sharing about Suunto products by sharing adventuring tips and other aspects of a Suunto user’s lifestyle.
  3. Suunto products are of high quality and benefit the user in many ways.

Identifying and Understanding Suunto’s Target Audience:

In order to identify the target audience, we will first conduct observational studies at selected watch and sporting goods retailers that carry Suunto’s merchandise. Following, we will seek to confirm our observations and obtain deeper insights from the sales associates through interviews to identify Suunto’s customer profile. Finally, we will conduct on-the-ground interviews with fitness enthusiasts at sports events like triathlons and trail runs.

To further understand the characteristics and behaviours of Suunto’s customer, we will interview consumers that fit Suunto’s customer profile either through in-depth interviews or through focus groups discussions to better understand their perception of Suunto and their awareness of Suunto’s social media presence in Singapore vis-a-vis its competitors. Secondary research will also be conducted for social media data analytics.

Feasible Media Platform

Suunto’s core customer segment consists of fitness enthusiasts who are performance-driven and are typically in their early twenties to mid-thirties. This age group also represents the main users of social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.  According to TNS, 85% of 16 to 24-year-olds use Instagram in Asia Pacific, with Singapore’s penetration rate for Instagram at 63%.  Also, according to eMarketer, the projected number of Facebook users in Singapore 2017 is 3.2 million, which represents 54% of total population and 93% of total social media users.

Measuring effectiveness:

As our two main goals lie in extending Suunto’s reach and increasing engagement through social media, we have developed a set of metrics in order to analyze the effectiveness of using Facebook and Instagram to deliver our messages.

1.Instagram:

  • Reach:

o        Number of followers on account

  • Engagement:

o        Number of comments and likes on post

o        Number of mentions

o        Number of user-generated content for engagement campaign

o        Use of hashtags

  •  Sentiment:

o        Number of positive comments

  1. Facebook:
  • Reach:

o        Number of fans on account

  •  Engagement:

o        Number of people who liked, shared or commented on post

o        Number of video views

  •  Sentiment:

o        Number of positive comments

Conclusion:

In conclusion, our team believes that social media can not only increase awareness and reach, but also improve engagement, and generate positive sentiment towards Suunto Singapore. Given the high quality of Suunto products and its reputation as a trusted brand in the wearable sports technology industry, we believe that Suunto’s weakness lies in its underutilization of social media. This is especially apparent given the strong demand for wearable sports technology in Singapore and the high social media use among fitness enthusiasts in Singapore. Through messages promoting the Suunto lifestyle and building a virtual community around the brand, our team hopes to achieve Suunto’s business goals while benefitting Singapore’s sportsmen.

(Done By: Theodora, Nicole, Samantha, Jun Yong, Crystal)

(G1) Group 6’s Project Proposal: Ohhmybox

Ohhmybox (OMB) is a startup company that was established 8 months ago. OMB provides monthly subscription boxes for the “Modern Gentleman” and is currently the first of its kind in Singapore. Boxes are designed according to monthly themes and contain facial products, grooming essentials and accessories like socks and ties.

Even though subscription box service is not an entirely new concept in Singapore, OMB is fairly unknown. A further analysis of their social media platforms revealed:

  1. Lack of awareness and community on their pages

Startups often face resource constraints and are forced to maximize their advertising outreach at low costs. As a result, even though OMB constantly updates and provide sponsored content on their page, as compared to 2 other male subscription box services, their page is lacking in brand awareness.

Their Instagram page is also severely lacking in authentic follows, with a bulk of its 1,499 followers coming from bots and fellow e-commerce stores. Clearly, OMB can do much more in terms of gaining an organic community.

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  1. Visuals not adequately used to communicate deals and promotions  

OMB constantly updates their social media with upcoming promotions and exclusive deals, yet these promotions are not accompanied with attention-grabbing pictures. This could also be why their posts are often met with less than 10 likes, contributing to its low awareness on Facebook.

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OMB’s target audience includes:

  • Existing customers: 18-35 in age, as found out from an interview with the founder
  • Potential customers: Millennial males, including students and corporate professionals
  • Secondary target audience: Females who intend to buy OMB as gifts for their male friends    

As millennials of this age range are usually active on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, we believe they can each play a different role in OMB’s social media strategy.

Our project goals:

  • Inform millennial males and other potential customers of the awareness of such a lifestyle brand
  • Educate them on how their subscription service works, and establishing OMB as a top-of-mind lifestyle brand for males
  • Engage in conversations and promotions to drive participation on their page

Through social media channels, we hope to convey the overarching brand message of OMB being a “one-stop-shop for the modern gentlemen”. We also aim to establish OMB as a lifestyle brand which provides practical and trendy products and help its customers dress for success.