By embracing the interactive elements of such content, some Taiwanese brands are creating emotional, authentic stories that reach out to and mobilise their loyal consumers.
We all know that developments in technology are driving a massive shift in consumer behaviour and the way brands interact with their audiences. In Taiwan, these trends are accelerated.
The country’s advanced 4G wireless network means social media usage is frequent, with more than 80 percent of the online population active on Facebook and Line. A 2015 report by CommonWealth Magazine on online video adspend showed the US and Italy topping the list and followed, rather remarkably, by Taiwan (15.8 percent of total adspend on video).
What does this mean for us in the creative industries? A transformation spurred on by the rise of digital communications and a highly sophisticated social-media landscape.
What’s interesting is that the rapid growth of social media and mobile penetration has enabled more and more brands to use branded content (more often than not in the form of online video on social media) to engage consumers on a wide range of social and cultural topics.
By embracing the interactive elements of such content, some Taiwanese brands are creating emotional, authentic stories that reach out to and mobilise their loyal consumers. Being highly engaging, these stories also maximise the efficiency of earned media.
For example, Taiwan's largest financial group, CTBC (China Trust), is famous for its brand mantra "we are family". For the brand’s fiftieth anniversary, instead of using the traditional way of publicising past feats and future business plans, CTBC boldly chose to create an eighteen-minute mini documentary.
Titled "Are you well over there?" (referring to the one million Taiwanese families separated because of family members working abroad), the documentary features a family living separately in two different cities.
The aim was to express care and empathy for every Taiwanese who is living overseas and striving hard to provide for family. Through capturing a real social phenomenon in Taiwan, the documentary's human angle resulted in many viewers sharing it on social media and generating strong interest in their circles. With over six million views, this new social-influence approach has well surpassed previous, more traditional, campaigns.
Social media has enabled brands to embed themselves more deeply into the lives of their consumers. Yet, the challenges are structuring and integrating branded content creatively into consumers' social interactions. The challenges may remain, but the rewards are plenty.
Gary Chi is managing director of McCann Worldgroup Taiwan