How a brand can become a digital influencer in Thailand

In an age of empowered consumerism, brands need to rethink the way they connect with consumers within a new set of consumer expectations.

In Thailand, over 20 million millennials make up 30% of the country’s population. This generation grew up in an environment where technology granted them immediate access to information. With the push of a button, they are able to see what their friends are eating for brunch, get a ride to the nearest spinning class and know what the best restaurant within 200 meters is.

Given that this is how millennials have been conditioned, they have also adopted different expectations and methods of communicating compared to that of the generation before them. They are impatient, yet appreciate being “chill”. They highly value individualism but are also adaptive. And as consumers, they are demanding, sceptical and want information fed to them in bite-sized pieces.

This makes millennials one of the most complex generations for a brand to reach and engage. Here are four steps how brands can become a digital influencer:

 

As new digital media channels emerge, consumers are being overly bombarded with sales messages and ads. Consumers no longer want to be told what to buy; they want to make that decision for themselves. They seek unique and engaging content experiences and want a two-way dialogue with brands.

 

Take the example of Bricks Thailand and their highly successful “My first LEGO Story” Facebook campaign. Consumers were encouraged to share the story behind their child’s first LEGO creation in the comments section of the campaign post. Parents could share and get praise via “likes” for their child’s work and LEGO got lots of stories about why children loved LEGO. This is an example of a dialogue between a brand and its consumers that worked because it was a win-win situation for both sides.   

 

Successfully connecting with today’s consumers means enticing them with a reason to have a relationship with your brand. The most-followed brands’ social media pages in Thailand provide followers with a wealth of content that entertains, educates and – especially for a country that is known for its social media addiction – kills time.

Harnessing the power of key opinion leaders (KOLs) can be powerful in an advertising-saturated environment. In Thailand, leading KOLs are active via their Facebook/Instagram pages, Youtube channel and use (live) video formats to engage and connect with their followers.

 

They get such large followership because in this day and age people turn to social media not only to share and stay connected, but also to be inspired by content produced by others. Instead of finding out how to create a cat eye from watching your mother put on her makeup, millennials turn to Youtube to search for how their favorite vlogger does it.

 

Pearypie, a celebrity make-up artist and beauty blogger, has more than 1.3 million followers on her Facebook page. She works with Sephora, L’Oreal, Dior, YSL and many other brands to either incorporate their products in her make-up tutorial videos or live-stream fashion shows.

 

So how can this be applied to your brand? Think social media account take overs and joint media campaigns with KOLs to start.

E-Jeab Reap Duan, a Facebook page known for its cynical posts and sharp criticism on trending society topics, has 2.3 million followers. Por Baan Jai Glaa (translation: a brave husband) has 1.1 million followers and mimics the reality of the life of a husband who tries to challenge and exert dominance over his wife only to be “taught his lesson” later.

 

Or take a look at fast-food giant Wendy’s Twitter account. Back in January, Wendy’s Twitter following grew by 40% as the brand developed a knack for playfully roasting its followers. From then on, Wendy’s was able to get consumers to turn to the Wendy’s Twitter account on topics ranging from help on maths homework to memes requests. 

 

What do these pages have in common? They convey authenticity and are consistent with their voice. If your brand can find its voice, your audience will reward you with their attention.

The beauty of digital marketing and online channels is the ability to tailor your message depending on who your audience is. Your target audience may be a woman, 18-35 years old, living in Bangkok. But does she like to stay in? Does she like to exercise? Does she like travel?

 

Digital marketing allows you to convey different messages to each segment of your target audience. And by doing just this, you become more relatable and relevant to each one.

The journey to become a digital influencer in Thailand is gradual and brands first need to build credibility with their target audience. Creating a trust-based relationship by providing value in the form of great content vs only trying to sell is key to successful engagement. Once that is established, you will be able to sell “naturally” – and exponentially – as these consumers will be your brand’s volunteer endorsers.