Trang Hoang
Sep 17, 2020

How brands are driving conversations to make a difference

Seven strategies from brands leading the conversation on Twitter in Asia Pacific.

These leading brands are leading the conversation during these testing times
These leading brands are leading the conversation during these testing times

Text: Trang Hoang, head of global business marketing for Southeast Asia at Twitter

In a time of upheaval, many brands are asking themselves the hard questions:

Is now a good time to launch a new product? Can we use messaging that’s lighthearted and playful at a time when people are neither? What’s the best way to stay agile in the face of uncertainty?

At Twitter, we’ve seen how conversations can make a difference.

We’ve been humbled and inspired by the brands across Southeast Asia who have stepped up over the past few months to lead the way for others.

We’ve also seen that conversations can drive business results for your brand.

According to a recent Twitter study, a 10% increase in brand conversation could increase brand sales revenue by up to 3%1.

For brands considering how to take action during this time, we’ve got you.

Here are seven strategies and insights that draw on the best practices from the most effective brand activations on Twitter so far this year.

These strategies draw from the recent success of leading brands across Asia-Pacific who made the effort to understand customers’ mindset and today’s new landscape before taking action.

How did these brands succeed?

1. Lead by Listening.

The brands that have thrived understood that people want brands to be communicative, supportive, and people-first.

In APAC, 83% of people on Twitter think that brands should be pledging money, aid or supplies to help people2. People care about how businesses care for their own employees, vulnerable individuals, and local business.

People also want brands to be supportive. One of the things people are looking for during this challenging time is payment or financial support, with 88% feel that brands should offer flexible payment terms, for example, allowing people to pay in instalments3.

Leading brands take the time to understand their customers’ mindset first, before jumping in to help.

McDonald’s Philippines launched McDonald's Kindness Kitchen along with Ronald McDonald House of Charities (RMHC) during a time when the entire country was on lockdown and frontline workers needed support. They prepared and distributed over 10,000 meals to frontline healthcare workers, volunteers and communities, and raised over ₱ 8 Million in donations. Partners, ambassadors and various people came forward to contribute to the Kindness Kitchen project.

2. Lead with Purpose.

Because now, more than ever, brands need to show their customers what they stand for. 82% say brands should use their position to affect positive change in society4.  Brand marketers can identify their brand’s place in this moment by clarifying their three Ps: purpose (what guides your brand), people (how you are supporting those most impacted by a crisis), and pledge (how you plan on giving back).


Ariel India shared a video promoting equality at home by encouraging families to #ShareTheLoad and #ShareTheLaundry during the lockdown.


GCash Philippines shared a video as a guide for those who want to donate to their charity partner, ABS-CBN Foundation, to help the families of those who lost their jobs because of COVID-19.


Maybank Malaysia launched the #BinaBersama (Build Together) campaign to encourage Malaysians to support local businesses. When customers pay with QRpay, Maybank will match the amount transacted and donate to communities in need.

As brands work for their next brand purpose campaign, they should take into consideration that 84% of people on Twitter in APAC want brands to think and act in a more sustainable way to protect the earth and the environment post-pandemic5.

3. Lead by Example

In APAC, 79% of people on Twitter think that brands should show how they are responding to COVID-19 or helping customers during this crisis6. Conversation leaders tend to follow a common set of rules.

The Do’s

Provide useful information to help people navigate uncertainty and remain calm.

Broadcast any initiatives you’ve launched that address issues customers have raised.

The Don'ts

Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

Don’t view misfortune as a marketing opportunity.

Don’t shun interactions with frustrated customers.

Bank of Thailand launched a dedicated COVID-19 website, which served as a source of information on financial assistance. Users can search, compare and learn more about different aid measures they could apply to.  

Samsung Philippines launched Samsung Live Shop Assist, a one-on-one online shopping assistance providing customers with an in-store experience in the comfort of their homes. 

4. Lead with Something New

Successful brands lead by launching new products, services or introducing new messaging during a downturn. In fact, brands that launch (or relaunch) in a downturn experience a 15-25% growth in 'excess share of voice', which is found to have a direct impact on long-term market share7

Wall’s Indonesia launched their ice cream home delivery service with the #BikinSemuaJadiHappy campaign (Makes Everyone Happy) to encourage people to be #DiRumahAjaDulu (Stay at home first) during these unprecedented times.

Vivo Philippines launched the new Vivo V19 phone with their new ambassador LANY, an American indie pop band.

5. Lead by Connecting

Leading brands connect with their audience and maintain relevance by turning live events into virtual ones, marking special occasions online, and leaning into what people care about.

Indosat Ooredoo celebrated Ramadan by livestreaming #CollaboNation, a Ramadan concert featuring Kunto Aji, one of Indonesia's biggest acts.

The Asian hip-hop and pop collective 88rising hosted its Asia Rising Forever festival on Twitter. The virtual event shone the spotlight on Asia’s top talent. Fans around the world agreed that it was a huge success.

ZEE5Premium, an Indian online streaming service, promoted their new show, Yaara, by asking followers to share personal friendship stories on Friendship Day.

6. Lead with Agility.

Leading brands use creative ideas to solve existing limitations. They evolve their content strategy by transforming old assets into new ones, creating new content with creators and influencers, and rethinking their live events.

AIS Thailand entertained its followers with a video of how the celebrities filmed their individual parts for AIS’s commercial during the lockdown period.

Sony TV India released ‘Family’, a made-at-home short film.

Prime Video India launched ‘Breathe: Into the shadows’ with an interesting scenario thread that invite followers to #HelpKabirInvestigate the case.

7.  Lead with Positivity

At a time when people are hungry for lighthearted content, successful brands lead with positivity by sharing moments of humanity and levity with their followers, engaging with people's interests, and creating unique experiences. 

70% of people on Twitter think it’s important for brands to boost positivity and promote positive stories during these challenging times8 .

This is especially true for Thai consumers, with 56% wanting ads that are inspiring (56%), heart-warming (42%) and amusing (30%)9.

KBank Thailand advocated for #ClimateChange by discussing the importance of trees through an entertaining kids video called "AB-Tree", which parodies the widely known ABC tune.

McDonald’s Philippines celebrated the many roles of fatherhood in an engaging video on Father’s Day.

Digi Malaysia created some fun ‘DigiEmoji’ GIFs and engaged with their followers by asking them to like, retweet or reply to their favourite emojis.



  1. Twitter Meta Analysis: Measuring the impact of Earned Conversation, Neustar MMM (2019) Note: This represents Max value per 10% increase = 2.6%; Min value = 0.02%
  2. GlobalWebIndex, Coronavirus multi-market study, Wave 3 amongst Twitter visitors/ users in APAC, Apr 22-27 2020. 
  3. GlobalWebIndex, Coronavirus multi-market study, Wave 4 amongst Twitter visitors/ users in APAC, May 19-26 2020.
  4. Firefish, The Numbers Lab & Twitter, Brand purpose, US Q: Thinking about brand purpose campaigns overall, how much do you agree or disagree with the following statements? Twitter users n=742
  5. GlobalWebIndex, Coronavirus multi-market study, Wave 4 amongst Twitter visitors/ users in APAC, May 19-26 2020. 
  6. GlobalWebIndex, Coronavirus multi-market study, Wave 4 amongst Twitter visitors/ users in APAC, May 19-26 2020. 
  7. Nielsen. Global. Budgeting for the upturn — Does share of voice matter.
  8. Twitter Insiders, US Only, March 25-30, 2020, n=826
  9. Study By Video Ad Tech Company Unruly amongst 4,800 consumers around the world

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