Empowered consumers stand up

Enabling community connections gives brands an advantage after Indonesia's political awakening.

Empowered consumers stand up

Enabling community connections gives brands an advantage after Indonesia's political awakening.

The past year has undoubtedly been one heavily influenced by politics in Indonesia. Despite doubts over the country’s ability to conduct a peaceful and transparent election, the fifth most populous country in the world proved it could practise mature democracy, and successfully elected President Jokowi and his parliament. The key factor in Jokowi’s success was in recognising that Indonesians had, for too long, lived passively under whoever ruled over them; be it monarchy, colonial invader or military dictatorship. He saw a society hungry for a greater say in self-determination, with middle-class voters as the agent of that change. He gave them the opportunity, via social media and community outreach, to play a real, collective, grass-roots role in the elections, and in doing so paved the way for an awakening in the political and consumer consciousness in Indonesia. This new ‘active-involvement’ mindset has changed the way brands in Indonesia are communicating.

Brands take a stand

During the election, cigarette brand LA Lights made its mark with a campaign entitled #CariYangKerja (‘Find who works’) that sparked notable controversy. In showing a pair of middle-class working man’s shoes walking on a red carpet, it was perceived to encourage people to choose the candidate who stood for the common man over the other candidate who stood for the red carpet elite. The term #CariYangKerja is still widely used in social media and conversation as a description of a hard-working leader.

Leveraging community involvement

There were interesting developments in the mobile space. Chat messaging service Line was one brand to make clever use of its platform. With ‘Find alumni’, Line produced a mini-sequel of a famous 2002 movie called Ada Apa Dengan Cinta (What’s happened to Cinta?). At the end of the original movie, the two main characters Cinta and Rangga were both separated in a cliffhanger ending. After 12 years apart, Line helped reconnect them. The idea generated massive community word-of-mouth as viewers got involved in the story and shared in the romantic nostalgia that the campaign evoked.

Continuing with advertisers in the mobile space, Samsung created their #ComMEnity platform that enabled Indonesian youth to co-create and show off their skills around art, sports and music under the theme ‘This is me’. The #ComMEnity tag continues to be used, most recently for the Galaxy A launch (under the thematic #BeginAnew tag), and to promote a popular festival that they sponsored (#AvenewFair).

Health and fitness is another area where active community involvement is paying dividends for advertisers in Indonesia. Nike’s highly successful campaign #BajakJKT (‘Hijacking Jakarta’) ran (pun intended) with the theme ‘You vs JKT’. Initial guerilla activity involved Nike runners hi-jacking unexpected public spaces such as office buildings to publicise Nike’s Training Camp and an upcoming night marathon. On the launch day itself, Nike and 15,000 runners took over the streets of Jakarta during the evening rush hour. Whilst this generated some criticism it also highlighted the congestion problems and saw awareness of the brand skyrocket. #BajakJKT is now firmly associated with Nike in Indonesia.

In the same way that Jokowi and his team did during the election, brands in Indonesia are increasingly looking to provide solid, two-way, socially enabled platforms where consumers can interact with both brand and each other. With nearly 70 million Facebook users, 4 million Path users and 29 million Twitter users, brands know that each and every Indonesian consumer could become a close and valuable ally, or a powerful and merciless enemy.

When done well, these initiatives go a long way towards fostering close, long-term relationships with the target audience. Most of the stand-out communication seen in Indonesia has found a way to tap into and leverage this newfound consumer desire to play a bigger role in society, to truly be a part of things, with social media continuing to remain a central pillar for brands and consumers to communicate. Keeping consumers involved and creating content relevant to Indonesians will continue to be a key challenge for brands in 2015.

Sapto Handriyanto is strategic planning director and Ganto Novialdi is director of account services at Dentsu Indonesia


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