As part of our look at Taiwan's top brands of 2018, which is part of our Asia’s Top 1000 Brands report, we found that Taiwan consumers see Apple, Samsung and Google as the top mobile-friendly brands, with Yahoo, Starbucks, and Amazon also rating highly. We asked in-market observers for their insights.
Nielsen’s research shows that the top 3 most mobile-friendly brands in Taiwan today are Apple, Samsung, and Google. Do you agree with this finding? If so, what are they each doing right?
Daniel Cunningham, PR & Marketing Project Manager, DDG: Apple, Samsung, and Google are ubiquitous in Taiwan. Since opening last year, Apple’s new flagship store in Taipei has become a really important touchpoint for the brand experience. Apple is known for its ability to make their brand come to life through their retail teams and space. With the new flagship store, they are now able to directly impact the narrative around its brand and mobile campaigns in Taiwan, and gain firsthand knowledge regarding the local market.
Christina Hsu, Marketing Manger, DDG:Samsung is known for its experience centers worldwide that cater to different audiences, and they’re no different in Taiwan. Towards the end of last year, they collaborated with the mobile messaging app LINE to set up a pop-up experience center in a hip area of Taipei. It was a smart play because of the popularity of LINE locally. By gamifying the retail experience, they not only increased brand awareness amongst the locals, but also deepened consumer interest in the brand.
Eric Chang, CEO of McCann Worldgroup Taiwan:Yes, Apple is selling well because of brand affinity, Samsung are selling because of telecompany bundles. Google is strong on search and map functionality.
Dylan Porter, Managing Director, Gremlin Works: Taiwan has one of the highest uses of mobile internet in the word, and mobile friendly experiences can make or break brands overnight. Apple has long been looked to as the benchmark for mobile experience, with UX which is mobile-first rather than just mobile-friendly. Google and Samsung are also keeping consumers happy with designs which remain consistent and logical whatever device you are on.
Maggie Tang, Managing Director, IPG Mediabrands: Apple showed local engagement by building flagship store at Taipei 101. Samsung sponsored Taiwan kid’s baseball. Google set up an R&D centre and bought HTC’s Pixel design team, making Taiwan Google’s biggest engineering centre in Asia. They all showed their long term engagement to Taiwan.
Some less obvious but high ranking brands for mobile friendliness in Taiwan were Yahoo, Starbucks, and Amazon. Do you also agree with these findings? If so, what are they each doing right?
Cunningham: Yahoo and Amazon face stiff competition from both domestic and mainland e-commerce brands. Domestic coffee brands, such as Louisa Coffee, are presenting a strong challenge for Starbucks too. Earlier this year, Louisa Coffee launched its limited edition ‘black card’, which was very successful in boosting sales. Louisa Coffee coaxed its Facebook followers to sign up for the brand loyalty card via Facebook Messenger chatbots, resulting in more interactions as well as sales.
Chang: Maybe they're high ranking but Yahoo, Starbucks and Amazon are fading in the market to be replaced by local brands.
Tang: Partially agree. Yahoo enriched their services. Such as live-streaming programming to engage with the people. I don’t see any Starbucks and Amazon highlights recently.
What are the most important elements for making a brand mobile friendly in Taiwan?
Cunningham: Wangmei and Wanghong (social media personalities) have taken Taiwan by storm. They’re everywhere, from Youtube to Facebook and Instagram. Many multinational brands are investing in local KOLs or influencers to expand their reach in Taiwan.
Hsu: The brand’s ability to turn services that traditionally require in-person presence into virtual processes, such as providing mobile payments options, for example LINE pay/points and Alipay. Also, retail banks in Taiwan have taken large strides to become more mobile friendly, such as Taishin’s digital bank Richart, which has successfully implemented a completely mobile account opening and management process. They are sometimes even said to have changed the way millennials view banking in Taiwan because of the sub-brand, Richard, which they founded. However, they’re just one of the many banks in Taiwan that are making the retail banking and financial planning process more mobile friendly. E.Sun and China Trust are other examples of traditional banks that are going through digital transformations to become more mobile friendly, as well as Fintech startups like O-Bank.
Chang: User friendly design and utility.
Porter:UI/UX style has changed rapidly in Taiwan. Around 5 years ago the most common style was to cram as much information as possible on to your landing page! With the advent of mobile internet, this has quickly changed to a more elegant design style. Unlike China, the marketing environment in Taiwan is very similar to that which we see in the West, and the elements for success are the same also.
Tang: The most important element of making a brand mobile friendly is every consumer engagement is under the thinking of “Mobile First”. That means all designs of communication contents are based on consumer mobile usage.
Which social media platforms can really make or break brands in Taiwan? Can you give us some brand examples?
Cunningham: Despite the scandals, Facebook is still the most populous social media platform in Taiwan. Part of the reason why Facebook has become so popular is discussion groups. Commenting is a really important function for Taiwanese mobile users. If your brand is going to succeed on social media in Taiwan then you better be prepared to engage your followers through discussion platforms like Facebook. The Clarins chat-bot is a prime example. Facebook is most popular among social media users over the age of 30. For millennials, Instagram is a popular medium, and for college students there is a popular app called Dcard.
Chang: Facebook, almost all ages from 15 to 65 use Facebook here. Instagram is also popular with the younger generation. From a branding point of view, almost every company here has their own fan pages. No matter if they're B2B or B2C.
Porter: Facebook really is king in Taiwan, with the highest penetration rate in the world and unlike in the West, no real sign that younger users are losing faith. Instagram works well for brands which are more visual in nature.
Tang: Taiwan’s social platforms are dominated by Facebook and LINE. COKE’s LINE platform is the best example of showing how to engage with the younger generation via various interesting pieces of content and products.