May 30

Communities & Fanbases: Do Brands Need It?

Article written by Senior Digital Content Writer: Audrey Tan

Today’s market is a war-like landscape, with brands competing against one another everywhere you look. To build a successful brand, companies require more than just a great product or service. Most brands neglect their community, focusing heavily only on talking to their audience through product sharing and promos, and not listening to their audiences’ thoughts, wants, and concerns which would drive rewards and long-term brand loyalty. The brands that can truly thrive are those with a clear understanding of their community and are able to connect to them.

So, what are communities and fanbases? How do they function to benefit a brand?

Brand communities and fanbases1 are groups of loyal customers or fans who share a common interest, passion, or affiliation with a particular brand. They are formed around a brand’s products, values, cultures, or mission, and are characterised by active engagement, shared experiences, and a sense of belonging among members. A few global brand examples are Adidas with their Creators Club, or Starbucks with Starbucks Rewards.

On a local level, we can look at Chucks’ recently launched Chucks n’ Pals or Moom Health’s Club Moom2 and Wellness Events3. These brands were able to create hype and generate talkability which in-turn built their brand loyalty through community-based events and community engagement content on social media.

Traditional Marketing vs. New Marketing Approach

The focus on community building for brands takes on a different approach in comparison to the traditional way of advertising through a marketing funnel. There are four stages in a traditional marketing funnel.4

As we can see, traditional marketing focuses on the first three stages with loyalty coming last, but that is precisely where communities are built on.

A strategy that centers around community building however, is the McKinsey Flywheel.

Unlike the traditional marketing funnel, which is linear and transactional, the Flywheel5 emphasises the circular nature of customer interactions and the importance of customer retention and advocacy as the key drivers of a brand’s growth.

To break it down, how does this approach benefit you more than a traditional marketing funnel?

  1. Customer-centricity: The Flywheel places the customer at the center, building exceptional customer experience and long-term relationship.
  2. Positive Feedback Loop: Creating a positive loop of engagement, satisfaction, and advocacy allows brands to retain repeated customers in a cycle of product, services, and customer experiences improvement.
  3. Holistic Approach: The Flywheel considers all aspects of the consumer journey, allowing brands to optimise the entire consumer experience, rather than just focusing on acquiring new customers.
  4. Community Building: As the Flywheel centers itself around the brands’ community, it focuses on building a place where customers can engage, share experiences, advocate for the brand, and foster a sense of loyalty. The community is also able to produce user-generated content that drives word-of-mouth marketing. This will be more effective and cost-efficient than traditional advertising in the long run.
  5. Long-term Growth: By prioritising customer-retention and advocacy, brands can reduce customer churn, increase customer lifetime value, and achieve higher customer satisfaction, leading to a strong foundation for future growth.

Chuck’s: Our Community is Everything

A skincare brand launched by an influencer or a celebrity may rise fast, but it fades out equally as fast. Jane Chuck’s brand6 was able to leverage on her identity to first launch itself but she understood the

importance of community for her brand/business longevity. That is why she started the trend of community events.

In February 2023, they hosted a slew of workshops for their Chucks’ N Pals (the name of their community that was launched in telegram) titled “Did It For Love”7. Playing into the theme of love languages: Words of Affirmation8, Quality Time9, Acts of Service10, Physical Touch11, and Gifting12, they were able to leverage on their community of millennials and gen-z’s interests to build events that also coincided with the launch of their exclusive bundles.


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A post shared by Chuck’s (


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A post shared by Chuck’s (

Source: Instagram | Did it For Love7 and Words of Affirmation14

In summary, by creating a safe space for their customers to share their interest, converse, and engage, Chucks was able to build loyalty, brand recognition, customer retention (and growth), allowing what was originally just labelled as an “influencer brand” to turn into a force in new-age marketing, and “more than just an influencer brand”.


By focusing on community building and embracing the Flywheel, brands can create a more robust and resilient business model in comparison to the traditional marketing funnel, one that we might debate on if it might eventually be obsolete — but that is a debate for another day.

If you’re looking for help getting connected with your community, get in touch.

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Apr 11

Let’s BeReal: Should your brand be on these “trendy” social media apps?

Article written by Digital Content Writer: Serene Yap

Social media usage among Malaysians continues to achieve record figures, with the active user count peaking at over 30 million1 in 2022. Despite Facebook and Instagram’s dominance, platforms including Xiaohongshu, BeReal, and Bondee have been shaking up the social media scene.

However, not all have proven to be more than a passing fad. Here’s the lowdown on these apps and how brand marketers may leverage the potential opportunities they present.

Xiaohongshu: Online Shopping REDefined

Boasting a monthly active user base of 200 million2 people, Xiaohongshu, or RED, is one of China’s fastest-growing social media platforms. Unlike other apps angled at networking or staying in touch, Xiaohongshu sets its focus on lifestyle-sharing, particularly fashion and beauty.

Addressing a community comprising mainly young, affluent Chinese women, the content on Xiaohongshu is anchored on sparking conversations around trends and products instead of direct promotions. Credible user-generated content3 is the driving force behind Xiaohongshu’s success, and this comes from the sizeable community of key opinion leaders (KOLs) and key opinion consumers (KOCs). Compared to mainstream advertisements, users deem their content to be more “trustworthy”, which in turn translates to higher conversion rates.

Nonetheless, due to the distribution algorithm, high follower counts do not guarantee reach on Xiaohongshu. In its 2019 perfume launch4, C-beauty pioneer Perfect Diary bypassed this barrier by engaging over 150 KOLs with follower counts ranging from three to six figures. Five days after the launch, more than 24,000 bottles of perfume were sold, generating Perfect Diary millions of yuan in revenue.

Not just another figure4: A “small” KOL’s post attracted more engagement than a KOL with over 10,000 followers.

Quick Takeaway

As a product-centred platform, Xiaohongshu may be ideal for generating awareness through word-of-mouth, especially for smaller or newer brands. Given credibility is key, it is important to partner with the right KOL or KOC5. Remember to consider whether their content and audience align with that of your brand. Moreover, endorsements that are too “commercial” do not do well on Xiaohongshu, so aim for authenticity rather than perfection.

Nevertheless, the platform may be unsuitable for a Malaysian audience as Mandarin is almost exclusively used on the app. An alternative to this setback may be the up-and-coming app6, Lemon8. While similar to Xiaohongshu, Lemon8 appeals to the Malaysian masses with highly-localised content in both English and Bahasa Malaysia. Although monetised content features have yet to be introduced, Lemon8 certainly holds promise for brands looking to boost their visibility on local ground.

BeReal: A Snap to Fame

In early 2022, this French social media app exploded in popularity worldwide. Its emphasis on being authentic and effortless7 appealed to a younger audience, particularly Gen Z. Once daily, the app would notify users to snap a photo. Users are given a two-minute window to post, with no options to add filters or edit. The idea was to get users to post about what they were “really” doing at the time—a clear distinction from the perfectly-curated content seen on other platforms.

Although BeReal does not offer ad space or business pages, it provided brands with a novel way of connecting with consumers. Two major brands that effectively and quickly built a presence on BeReal at the start of its rise are fast food giant, Chipotle, and renowned cosmetics maker, e.l.f. Beauty.

Both brands understood the draw of the platform well, who their target audience was, and the type of content that worked. Breaking away from the usual polished photos, Chipotle8 simply posted BeReals of promo codes handwritten on paper bags, asking followers to redeem the codes at its restaurants. Through e.l.f. Beauty’s account9, followers were given an “unfiltered” look into the company along with discounts and freebies. In addition to the attention garnered on BeReal, both brands enjoyed extensive media coverage abroad for being among the first brands on a considerably new platform.

Everybody loves a treat8: Chipotle shared a BeReal with a promo code to reward fans.

Quick Takeaway

While it may have been advantageous to be on BeReal at the peak of its popularity, in recent times, the app seems to have lost its lustre among users and brands10 alike. Little activity is seen among brands that were early adopters of the platform, and as of 2023, only 9% of BeReal’s user base is reported to be active7.

Bondee: Bonus or Bust?

Dubbed the “next-gen social app”, Singapore-based Bondee took Asia by storm when it racked up millions of downloads just one week into its launch. The app intrigued a young audience with features for customising avatars and interacting with friends in a metaverse environment. Millennials found themselves nostalgic, comparing Bondee to the likes of Habbo Hotel and Club Penguin as they decked their “rooms” to their hearts’ content.

Like BeReal, Bondee currently does not offer direct advertising avenues for brands. Nevertheless, the app does offer a great channel to interact with consumers. Mydin tweeted11 a snapshot of its Bondee room, to the amusement of local netizens. The supermarket chain then shared a QR code inviting followers to “befriend” Mydin on Bondee. As Bondee has a limit of only 50 friends per account, spots were quickly filled up.

New neighbours11: Dozens of fans “befriended” Mydin on Bondee.

Across the causeway, beer brand 1664 Blanc nudged fans to add them with the promise12 of the chance to win a four-pack of its beer. Creating a Bondee account to leverage the hype surrounding the app was effective at getting consumers to sample 1664 Blanc’s products.

Quick Takeaway

With the limited exposure given to an account on the app, the potential of advertising on Bondee remains curtailed. Additionally, given its user data troubles13 and lack of feature updates12, only time will tell whether Bondee will continue its rise or wane into obscurity.


Evidently, leveraging emerging social media apps at opportune moments can drive greater authentic awareness and engagement for your brand. However, navigating past the restrictions and sustaining traction on the platforms may be challenging. Before making a leap onto the next trending platform, ask these questions first:

  1. What are your objectives?
  2. Can the platform help meet your objectives?
  3. Is your target audience on the platform?
  4. Are your resources best spent here?

Lastly, creating content and developing visual directions specific to the platform, no matter which, is fundamental towards achieving your goals.

Get in touch with us for more insight before testing the waters of social media apps new to your brand.

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Mar 30

Brands, get a personality

Article written by Digital Content Writer: Embren Batrisyia

‘INFP’ ‘INFJ’ ENFP’ ‘ENFJ’. We see these Myer-Brigss Type Indicator labels plastered on people’s bios more than ever before. Maybe it’s just riding on the bandwagon, or perhaps it’s a deeply rooted feeling of wanting to connect with one another. So, whether we believe in these personality indicators or not, it’s hard to deny that we do subconsciously seek to find those with common personality traits.

This presents a unique opportunity for brands to humanise themselves in order to resonate better with their consumers. With marketing strategies evolving to a more two-way communication style today, a well-cultivated personality and voice can encourage deeper and more robust engagement with consumers, making it a worthwhile investment for any brand.

What is Brand Personality?

Brand personality is a set of human traits that you would associate with your brand. Think of it as creating a Sims character—What are their likes and dislikes; how do they talk, and what do they stand for? All these characteristics are what will help to build a connection with your consumer. It’s what made them choose to buy a product from you, rather than your competitors.

Types of Brand Personality

Back in 1997, marketer, Jennifer Aaker published ‘The Five Dimensions of Brand Personality’ which later became the most popular brand personality scale in the management literature² (Think the Myer-Brigss Personality Test, but for brands). The paper revealed a framework that measures the “personality” of a brand in five core dimensions.

Analysis of Brand Persona

Now that we have been acquainted with all the different types of brand personalities, let us take a closer look at a few international and local brands’ personas for inspiration.

1) Chanel (Sophistication)


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A post shared by CHANEL (@chanelofficial)

Adopting a sophisticated brand persona, Chanel’s exclusivity energy is even consistent in the manner in which they only follow 3 brands on Instagram.³ The brand is very selective in the people it allows in its circle, working with only influencers that portray a certain type of aspirational lifestyle. This proved to be a great move as the luxury brand achieved a resounding success of one million likes in a month through its influencer campaign to promote No.5 L’Eau perfume.

Naturally, fashion translates best into visuals and Chanel understands this well. They conjure up images of opulence—minimalistic yet artful that are consistent as you browse through their official social media accounts with Instagram boasting a hefty 54.6 million followers, one of the highest among luxury brands.

Chanel carries an air of affluence by having a no-nonsense approach with very straightforward language. All the captions used throughout all their social media platforms have a classy feel with little to no room for emoji at the risk of looking unprofessional and unsophisticated.

2) Duolingo (Excitement)


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A post shared by Duolingo (@duolingo)


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A post shared by Duolingo (@duolingo)

To stand out from the competition, brands must create authentic content that sets them apart—and authentic is exactly what Duolingo went for. The language-learning app builds its Excitement persona around a humourous guilt-tripping green bird. While it can be a double-edged sword, Duolingo however remarked that the guilt trips were actually found to be 5 to 8% more effective at getting users re-engaged than other methods⁶, proving that focusing too much on a noble image online can be unnatural and deter consumers.

Their controversial personality online is given a face through its brand mascot, Duo. The cheeky green bird often trend jacks onto controversial topics. When the entertainment industry was shocked by the cheating scandal of Shakira’s ex-husband Picque, Duolingo certainly did not hold back⁷ from giving its own take on the issue. The brand did not shy away by creating its own spin-off⁸ of Adam Levine’s leaked DMs with an Instagram model too.

Keep in mind that reports show that only 33% of consumers⁹ want brands to be snarky, while 83% prefer⁹ brands to be friendly. However, with Duolingo’s audience trending younger, with 60% of US users under age 30¹⁰, their snarky replies¹¹ online are found to be humorous and generally well-accepted. Regardless, the brand still keeps a good balance of snarkiness and kindness to avoid an excess of negative sentiment on its pages.

3) Mydin (Sincerity)

@mydinmalaysia 100% hasil jualan T-Shirt Ourdin akan disumbangkan kepada mangsa banjir.#fyp #MYDINMalaysia #OURDIN ♬ original sound – Mydin Malaysia

Since the founder, Tuan Mydin Mohamed’s demise, the supermarket chain’s legacy has been continued by his son, Datuk Wira Ameer Ali, who currently holds the Managing Director position and also acts as the face of the brand. With his image, the brand appears to be more honest, genuine, and altogether radiates a kind fatherly figure.

The brand doesn’t necessarily maintain consistency in terms of visuals, however, Datuk Wira Ameer Ali is seen as a recurring figure in their online presence, creating young and trendy content that one wouldn’t assume someone of his stature and age would be interested in. This, in turn, tremendously aid in humanising the brand as it portrays Mydin as a fatherly figure that is just happy to make someone’s day. Mydin Malaysia at present has 386.9k followers¹² on TikTok and remains the only local supermarket giant to see the potential of the platform.

As with every social media account, there is an admin on the back end replying to inquiries and comments. Staying true to the brand’s efforts to humanise its presence online, the brand’s admin identifies itself as ‘Min’¹³ (Perhaps a truncated version of the word ‘Admin’) in the captions and replies. This small effort helps the followers to feel closer to the brand in what would otherwise be a very cold and automated experience.

4) KyoChon Malaysia (Sincerity)


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A post shared by KyoChon 1991 Malaysia (@mykyochon)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by KyoChon 1991 Malaysia (@mykyochon)

KyoChon understands that the key to adapting to local culture is to amalgamate. Back home, their fried chicken is served sans side dishes and is mainly enjoyed with beer. But here, rice and soup are added to relate to Malaysians and their culture.¹⁴ The same can be said for KyoChon Malaysia’s social media, they managed to merge Korean culture with Malaysian culture through a wholesome persona simply called ‘K’. This character seeks to present the best of what South Korea has to offer while earnestly taking Malaysians’ preferences into account.

On Instagram, KyoChon Malaysia utilises two or more talents in order to capture the feeling of togetherness that is close to the hearts of Malaysians. This is further strengthened by creating a hashtag #Kyommunity which serves as a platform for their followers to join in on the camaraderie too. Additionally, the brand often jumps onto trending Korean entertainment topics by featuring images of Korean artists in memeable formats¹⁵ for a touch of humour. To date, KyoChon Malaysia’s official Instagram has the highest number of followers at 69.9k followers¹⁶ in comparison with its close competitors (Kfry Malaysia at 65.5k¹⁷, 4Fingers Malaysia at 38.4k¹⁸)

KyoChon Malaysia’s approach to its language on social media is also a big factor in gaining a strong presence online. Asides from humanising itself by identifying as ‘K’ in the captions and calling its followers #KyoChingu (Chingu means friend) to foster a strong relationship, the brand also incorporates Korean terms in its captions and visual copy to hint at their Korean origin. Nevertheless the brand still very much speaks the language of Malaysians for instance when the brand created a contest named #AyamBigWinner¹⁹ with ‘Ayam’ (Malay for the word chicken) being a wordplay of ‘I am’. On Twitter, the brand maintains this synergy too by replying to inquiries²⁰ in Malay while using GIFs that feature Korean artists.


‘The Five Dimensions of Brand Personality’ is a great way to start when it comes to aligning what persona your brand represents but taking your time to build something that’s uniquely your own—from visuals, and language all the way to the overall energy your brand is trying to convey, is what ultimately will set your brand apart from competitors. In the end, whether big or small, a unique brand persona not only strengthens customer loyalty but more importantly, helps foster relationships that can go a long way with the audience.

Need help building a personality for your brand like how we developed one for KyoChon Malaysia?
(Yes, we’re the brains behind that.)
Get in touch with us today.

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Mar 08

Unlocking Emotions with Experiential Marketing

Article co-written by Digital Content Writers: Amber Seow, Embren Batrisyia, Serene Yap

In the 19th century, Defiance, a powdered milk company, struggled to penetrate a heavily saturated market. Despite advertising efforts, sales were just not picking up.

Their ads did however spark consumer inquiries on infant care. Unheard of in its time, the company founder hired a nurse to respond to each inquiry with a handwritten letter. Soon, hundreds more questions came flowing in. As public interest in Defiance’s products grew, so did its sales¹.

What can the modern marketer learn from Defiance’s story?

In one of the earliest manifestations of experiential marketing, Defiance has shown us a great example of how unique brand experiences can support a brand’s goals—by attracting new customers and anchoring user loyalty.

Defining Experiential Marketing

The essence of experiential marketing lies in forging an authentic emotional connection² between the consumer and the brand. These unique experiences allow the consumer to engage with the brand through some, if not all, of the five basic senses—touch, taste, sound, smell, and sight.

Today, experiential marketing takes on various forms including guerrilla³ and interactive campaigns.

The former often rely on the element of surprise, emotions, and provocativeness. Examples of strategies employed in guerilla marketing are large-scale flash mobs, quirky publicity stunts, and street art installations.

On the other hand, interactive campaigns focus on building direct connections with customers. Through games, interactive pop-up stores, or providing real-time product personalisation (eg. merchandise engraving), brands create opportunities for customer interaction.

With exceptional leaps in technology, brands have also jumped on the virtual bandwagon with their interactive campaigns. These range from immersive microsite experiences to impressive augmented reality (AR) showrooms.

Experiential Marketing In Action

Brimming with unparalleled creativity, here are a few noteworthy campaigns that demonstrate the far-reaching impact of experiential marketing done right.

1) Social Swipe Campaign, MISEREOR (2020)

What is it about?
In an awareness campaign, MISEREOR6 installed digital displays at multiple airports depicting visual representations of social issues the NGO was trying to combat—a loaf of bread for world hunger, or wrists tied with rope for wrongful imprisonment. The screens were equipped with digital card readers, inviting audiences to make a donation of €2.

Upon donation, the images came to life: the bread sliced, or the hands freed. The imagery had a visceral effect, showing participants that their small donation made a real difference.

Why does it work?
The nature of the campaign gave participants the feeling that they were part of something bigger—that their small act of kindness had a tangible effect. The campaign expertly leveraged technology⁷ to immerse viewers in its story.

The interaction didn’t stop there6. Participants would later receive a thank-you note in their bank statements, with a link to turn their one-time donation into a monthly one. While the connection was forged during the experience, this follow-up action furthered it.

2) Stratos Campaign, Red Bull (2012)

What is it about?
Red Bull has always been associated with over-the-top marketing stunts. The brand raised the bar when they sent an Austrian sky-diver to the edge of the atmosphere, intending to break the world record for the highest altitude jump.⁹ With eight million people watching the event live¹⁰, the campaign made a massive leap in becoming one of the most successful marketing campaigns of all time¹¹.

Why does it work?
Although there wasn’t a tangible element to the campaign in which consumers could partake in, such feats take them vicariously into self-realisation that the human race is extraordinary.

Red Bull gained two million new subscribers in the span of 15 days¹². The key takeaway from this campaign is that brands can move beyond ROI and instead focus on generating emotional impact, as humans are intrinsically emotional creatures.

3) Speakeasy Café, Wonda Coffee (2020)

What is it about?
Closer to home, Wonda Coffee launched a mobile café¹³ camouflaged as an abandoned bus. To access the café and enjoy a free cup of coffee, consumers participated in a mini-mission to obtain a secret code. Clues were posted on Wonda Coffee’s social pages, and the café’s location was disclosed through Waze location pins. This made the immersive experience all the more exciting for consumers while increasing traffic to their socials.

Why does it work?
A recurring theme throughout all the campaigns is emotional pull. The brand understood that consumers want to break free from the humdrum of 9-5 life, and so they transformed a mundane coffee run into a fun adventure.

The shareability of the café’s interior played a role too. By creating a trendy and Instagrammable atmosphere inside a cafe accessible only to those who solve the puzzle, the brand instilled a fear of missing out among consumers. The result? Wonda Coffee gained a stellar 25% growth in sales¹⁴ over the campaign period alone.


Back to the notion put forth at the beginning of this article: humans are emotional by nature. We prize the idea of feeling like we matter, or that we are part of something bigger than us. Good experiential marketing understands this well.

As the world grows more connected than ever, multifaceted digital and social media strategies are fundamental in amplifying the impact your experiential marketing campaign creates. Give your campaign a leg up by getting the word out through digital advertising or generate greater buzz on social media—before, during, and even after your event.

Not sure where to start? Get in touch today to elevate your next campaign with an all-around approach to both digital and social media.

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Jan 09

5 key consumer trends to look out for in 2023

Waving goodbye to yet another fruitful year, let us set our sights on 2023 as we predict the upcoming trends this year.

There are lots of exciting developments in the digital landscape that will undoubtedly influence consumers’ behaviour that will in turn impact marketing strategies for brands across the world.

What can we expect in the brand new year? Read on to know more about the hottest 2023 consumer trends in the digital sphere.

Web3 continues to make a splash

Based on blockchain technology, the idea of Web31 is to decentralise the web2, returning ownership to the users and builders. Instead of having large data controlled by tech giants and governments, Web3 hopes to gradually shift the internet to a consumer-driven space. Some examples of Web3 applications include Bitcoin3, OpenSea4, Google Cloud5, and even Apple Siri.

Source: Coca-Cola

Cryptographic assets based on blockchain technology such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs)6 have been all the rage the past few years. Huge brands such as Coca-Cola7, Adidas8, and Clinique9 have been quick to create their own, leading the way of the future.

Various sectors from media and entertainment, retail and e-commerce, healthcare, and energy are expected to adopt Web3’s blockchain technology10 in their operations. It’ll definitely keep being part of the conversation in the coming years, way beyond 2023.

Influencer marketing still reigns supreme

Proven to be an effectively rewarding strategy for brands, influencer marketing needs no introduction. Statistics show that 30% of consumers prefer influencers’ recommendations11 over their friends and families’, putting their trust in the products and services recommended by their favourite content creators.

Moreover, according to studies, 33% of Malaysian buyers12 tend to gravitate towards popular influencer content such as reviews, vlogs, and unboxing videos. Consumers would seek inspiration and pick up DIY hacks plus tips and tricks by watching them.

Repurposing influencers’ content13 can effectively attract eyeballs and help stretch your marketing budget, making the most of these paid partnerships by building a lasting brand impression. They can be promoted and amplified across platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, leading to higher conversion rates and customer stickiness.14

Furthermore, long-term partnerships with influencers15 will help create a consistent flow of content for your brand, retaining your audience’s attention and keeping them intrigued.

Social media as the starting point of buyer’s journey

As business owners, having a strong social media presence is one of the fundamental ways to increase brand awareness among potential customers. Social platforms provide consumers an opportunity to interact with brands while researching products or services before purchasing.

At the very beginning of the buyer’s journey, your potential customer is seeking a fix to their problem.16 This stage is where educational social content comes into play. In order to create effective awareness content, brands should research extensively about their target audience and consider the pain points of their customers17, then present their product or service as the solution.

User-generated content is the key to building brand trust

Compared to brand-generated content, consumers find user-generated content (UGC) more reliable and trustworthy, as the message isn’t coming directly from the brand itself. Thanks to social media, getting your loyal customer base to create content for your brand isn’t a far-fetched idea.

Wondering how you can get started? Use a call-to-action to encourage your followers to create content featuring your brand. Then check your socials regularly and actively be on the lookout to repost any UGCs available, it’s a great way to ensure a continuous stream of content for your brand as well.

For instance, Nutox’s ‘1 Serum, 100% Loyal Users Programme’18 repurposed consumers’ testimonials for their social content, where they managed to garner a whooping 18,551 unique sign-ups and increase social media video views by 199%.

Utilising branded hashtags19 is also an easy way to encourage contribution and collect user-generated content on social platforms. It can be shared along with a “call to create” action, where your brand can tap into, earn consumers’ trust, and grow.

Customer experience matters

In the coming year, building meaningful and lasting relationships with their customer base will be crucial for businesses. The modern consumers increasingly crave for their interactions with brands to be more noteworthy and memorable. To stay relevant in the field, brands must turn customer journeys into thoughtful and memorable experiences.

For instance, by going the extra mile of offering personalised products and services20, it’ll make your customers feel special, and even attract new customers. A research by Deloitte found that customers are often willing to pay a 20% premium for customised or personalised products.

Brands can leverage cost-efficient creative automation tools such as our proprietary system, Digital Creative Automation (DCA)21, to effortlessly achieve hyper-personalisation while maintaining brand consistency.

Are you ready for what’s coming next in 2023? Together, let’s embrace change and growth to manifest new heights and break records.

Get in touch to see how we can help elevate your brand’s digital presence this year.

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Nov 24

How brands can use nostalgia marketing to create magic this CNY

Ahh, nostalgia! It’s a blast from the past that allows us to re-experience the sentimental good ol’ days. A throwback in the form of a heart-warming embrace filled with all your favourite memories.

Research has shown that nostalgia serves an existential function1 by giving our lives a sense of meaning as we grow older. Especially during uncertain and challenging times in our lives, we tend to cling to familiar things that bring us comfort.

This is evidently seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, where nostalgia marketing was all the rage. Using Nike’s You Can’t Stop Us Campaign2 as an example, it served as a blissful escape from loneliness, boredom, and anxiety during the looming lockdowns.

Let’s dive into the power of nostalgia and take a walk down memory lane with a few case studies.

What is nostalgia marketing?

Nostalgia marketing is a strategy that taps into familiar and endearing concepts, appealing to our collective longing for a much-coveted past.

It’s the secret ingredient that adds a spark to contemporary campaigns to generate interest and ultimately build consumer trust. It strategically associates your brand with something your audience are already fond of, thus encouraging an emotional connection.

This popular marketing tactic is taking over the world by storm. Big brands from Apple, McDonald’s to Lego are capitalising and maximising on nostalgia marketing, actively targeting millennials in the process to enjoy exceptional returns.

Why does it work well for brands?

The 30-year cycle

Also known as the nostalgia pendulum, the 30-year cycle is when the consumers grow into adulthood and start shaping the cultural landscape as creators.3

According to Patrick Metzger4, “After about 30 years, you’ve got a real market of people with disposable income who are nostalgic for their childhoods. So artists working in popular mediums are rewarded for making art that appeals to this audience”.

This also explains why the 90s is the era that’s most fondly remembered by the millennials, as 30 years have passed since then.

Emotional attachment

Nostalgia-centric marketing forges meaningful connections between the past and present, creating a strong emotional hook.5 The key is to leverage on nostalgia while also offering something new, making it a perfect symphony of the past and present.

Nostalgia lets the consumers take refuge in happy memories from the past, giving them a sense of comfort in times of chaos.

Brand authenticity

With consumer scepticism rising and brand trust being at an all-time low, injecting nostalgic elements will help present your brand in a more authentic light6 and regain consumers’ trust.

Nostalgia-themed campaigns show that your brand isn’t afraid to experiment and have a little fun from time to time. This built sense of trust7 will then lead to conversions, as scientific studies8 found that nostalgic feelings weaken people’s desire for money and increased their willingness to purchase. This makes it a surefire way to boost sales, making your campaign a smashing hit.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Below are some great examples showcasing how the past and present can come together to form a campaign that will elevate the consumers’ brand experience.

Example #1: The Success of Pokémon GO

As the most searched item online in 2016, Pokémon Go, a location-based mobile gaming app that merges our physical and digital world, was a roaring hit globally. It saw consumers clock in 8.7 billion kilometres9 when playing the game.

The New York Times called it millennials’ “first mass-consumption nostalgia product”, as it allowed them to relive the joys of their youth by capturing Pokémon characters through augmented reality.10

Example #2: Pac-Man X Pizza Hut

Order a pizza and play Pac-Man on its box? This fun, retro collaboration11 lets you do just that.

As part of Pizza Hut’s ‘Newstalgia’ campaign, it’s bringing back dine-in favourites with a modern touch. The limited-edition pizza boxes will feature QR codes that allow users to play an Augmented Reality version of the game.

Example #3: F&N’s Classic Taste Throughout the Years for CNY

Our yearly lunar new year celebrations aren’t complete without a fizzy drink or two. F&N has been a familiar and popular choice of beverage after hearty meals during the festivities.

Understanding this, F&N’s 2021 Chinese New Year advertisement takes the audience on a trip back in time, showing how the brand has accompanied families throughout the years during the annual celebrations with a time jump from 1987 to 2021.

Example #4: Silkygirl’s Brand Journey

To celebrate the brand’s sweet 16 back in 2021, Silkygirl produced a storytelling-style video that showcased how the brand started, a timeline of its product launches, to the brand’s latest updates.

This little throwback is a fun, quirky way to let your audience learn more about the initiation of your brand. It helps build brand loyalty while encouraging engagement within your brand community.


Are you ready to take your audience on a journey through time? With Chinese New Year coming up, this is a great chance for your brand to leverage nostalgic feelings and kickstart the conversation with a fond festive memory.

Get in touch to see how we can help you incorporate nostalgic elements into your CNY campaign.

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Oct 06

5 mistakes to avoid in content marketing

Quality content is the building blocks of a successful brand strategy, which is why investing in content marketing is key for businesses. It creates a strong online presence while bringing in traffic and leads that allow your brand to go further.

Despite the fierce competition for consumers’ attention1 in the digital sphere, with the right approach in content marketing, you can still maximise every piece of content you publish.

To produce optimum results for your brand, avoid these 5 mistakes when it comes to content marketing.

Not defining your target audience

As a brand, you might be inclined to target everyone and anyone in hopes of getting more revenue for your business. But the mass marketing approach of trying to reach everyone will result in you getting very little quality leads.

Appeal to everyone and you’ll appeal to no one2, this is especially true for digital marketing. Brands should be breaking down their mass potential consumers into segments based on different characteristics, such as their age, gender, cultural backgrounds, educational level, etc.

This segmentation method will definitely help your business with developing effective marketing communication strategies. More specificity in targeting3 allows you to reach your target audience and generate quality leads.

Setting up primary and secondary audience groups with different objectives will also help to create more relatable personas for the brand. For instance, brand campaigns usually target a wider audience, while social media content marketing requires a more niche target audience to engage with the brand.

Lack of marketing goals for your content

To keep track of your brand’s engagement and growth online, set an objective for every content you publish. Do you want them to know about your latest offers or sign up for your newsletter?

Having a clear objective provides a comprehensive vision of what you’re hoping to achieve for an ongoing campaign or individual ads. Once you have set clear intentions with every piece of content, it’s easier to map out a digital marketing strategy.

An example would be to utilise Facebook’s ad objective4 and label your content whether they’re meant for brand awareness, reach, traffic, or engagement, then boost them accordingly to reach more of your target audience.

The one-and-done approach to content creation

It’s no secret that content creation requires a ton of brain juices and time to execute. This is why the one-and-done approach to creating content isn’t a great long-term plan.

Make sure you plan properly ahead of execution with the intention to reuse and repurpose your content across different platforms to make the most of them.

For instance, shooting and producing video content is a costly and time-consuming task. It helps to be able to reuse that content more than once, so you can cut costs and maximise your returns5 with every piece of content.

Pro tip: Keep an eye out and get inspiration for your content by staying up to date with the latest trends. It’s a surefire way to garner attention and boost engagement online.

When the whole world was obsessed with Netflix’s Squid Game back in September 2021, Munchy’s was quick to hop on the trend to appeal to fans of the show.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Munchy’s Malaysia (

In a similar manner, KyoChon Malaysia also followed suit when Popcat went viral last year to promote their SalSal Poppers to the hungry masses.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by KyoChon Malaysia (@mykyochon)

Neglecting user-generated content

Commonly utilised by skincare and makeup brands, user-generated content (UGC) is any form of unsponsored content shared online featuring a product or service. They’re equivalent to the modern-day word of mouth in the digital era.

They are excellent for encouraging two-way engagement with your audience online. This helps build credibility6 and brand loyalty among your customers while fostering a sense of community for your brand.7

“79 percent of people say user-generated content highly impacts their purchasing decisions, while only 13 percent say content from a brand is impactful.”

This means that brands could leverage UGC for their social media instead of churning out branded content all the time. The best part is that they require minimal effort and resources8, with the potential to encourage conversions for your business.

New to UGC? It’s not too late to start using them to boost your presence online. Just use a simple CTA that urges your followers to tag your brand in their stories or posts, then re-share their content to your brand’s social platforms.

However, before repurposing any UGC content9 for your social media, be sure to seek permission from the original content creator and remember to credit them when you re-share their content.

Not using data to support your content strategy

Blindly churning out ideas for your monthly content? You might be missing golden windows of opportunities that will help you reach your audience more efficiently.

Set up a monthly meeting with your team to go over the stats and reflect on what’s working and what’s not. Look into the likes, reach, and engagement rates from both the page level and post level to evaluate the monthly performance of your content.

The next step is to come up with an improved strategy that turns these precious data into actionable insights10 for your brand. The key is to always stay on your toes and constantly adapt to the best practices for improved performance.


Content marketing is a life-long marathon for your brand, so slow and steady wins the race. Get the most out of your content and increase your return on investment (ROI)11 when you avoid these marketing pet peeves.

Get in touch to see how we can help you.

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Sep 12

Human insights, the key to building brand trust and emotional resonance

Consumer cynicism is at an all-time high1, and with it, a drop in brand trust. A statistic from Havas 2021 Meaningful Brands Report shows that less than half of brands are seen as trustworthy (47%), with numbers in East Asia being as low as 24%.2

This presents yet another challenge marketers must tackle. But how? A loss of trust can’t be made up for with more ads—as it is, consumers see 4000 to 10,000 ads a day3—or more data. Data-driven efforts like personalisation or programmatic media buy are only as effective as the ad itself, and in an increasingly digitalised world, data privacy is yet another factor that can erode consumers’ trust.

Rather than looking to these tools to enhance the ad experience, brands should turn to and focus on human insights.

These insights paint a picture of what matters to consumers and guide us to forging an emotional connection and later, building trust. Ultimately, trust impacts sales as a major value driver, both in the short-term and in the long-term.4 It can’t be ignored.

So, what are human insights exactly, and how can brands leverage them?

What are human insights?

Human insights are the “why”. While data offers numbers and measures quantitative metrics, human insights ask, “what happened” and “why it happened”. These insights are typically difficult to quantify and are highly subjective. They are rooted in observation and unfortunately, in today’s data-driven world, overlooked.

Our Head of Strategy, Edmund Lou, adds:

“Observations are key to any communication strategy. You don’t always find great big ideas from data. Rather, it’s the legwork of getting on the ground to observe and experience it all together.”

He goes on to say, “Observations are almost like a lost art. Brands tend to sway towards data because it “looks more credible”.” In reality, data and observations go together. For example, “One way to make observations appear more “credible” is to turn [them] into a survey, which will result in “data”.”

Why human insights are so important

You can tell when an ad or piece of content is utterly engaging. It hooks you in and has a certain je ne sais quoi—a quality that cannot be described or named easily, that retains your attention. As an audience member, you may feel moved or excited, or even inspired.

This is what happens when human insights are used strategically. They resonate.

Edmund explains, “[Consumers] will feel that a brand knows and understands them. The right use of such insights bridges the gap between brand and consumer. By closing [this] gap, brands can build stronger, lasting relationships with consumers.”

So, what might they look like? We’ve curated several case studies below.

Example #1: Kärcher Malaysia tugs heart strings

Big idea: Oddly Satisfying

Human insight: House cleaning is seen as a chore to many. But the positive takeout is that cleaning is somehow oddly satisfying.

Kärcher Malaysia has used this big idea since we won the pitch in 2020. The concept goes beyond what the brand and its product offerings do, but rather what emotional benefit a consumer derives from using their product. In this case, it’s about that tingle of satisfaction from cleaning, which to many, is oddly satisfying.

While one-off campaigns leverage different insights, this big idea will always be the foundation for future campaign ideas.

For instance, our Raya campaign for the brand. Titled “Rumahku, Memoriku”, the campaign ties nostalgia to the odd satisfaction that comes with cleaning. It draws on this additional insight: families may bond when they come together and spruce their homes up for Raya, but such memories can be side-lined and even forgotten.5

Example #2: Nissan leans into family dynamics

Big idea: My One Better Than Your One

Human insight: Sibling rivalry is real and it’s more obvious during Chinese New Year (CNY).

During the celebrated, annual festivities, Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) and NISSAN sought a way to build brand affinity and relevance, while promoting their vehicle models.

To do so, they produced a film in collaboration with us and Clic Production. The film is set during CNY when two brothers—and their families—arrive at their parents’ home for a reunion lunch. Over lunch, casual chatter escalates into sibling rivalry. The two brothers and their wives battle it out, comparing their cars, lifestyles, and accomplishments. This eventually reads futile when the siblings’ parents teach them a valuable life lesson.6

The sibling rivalry in this scene, according to the brand, is common in Chinese families and especially so during the festive period. Leveraging this insight, ETCM and NISSAN took the opportunity to share this message with Malaysians: quality time with loved ones outweighs comparing achievements.

Example #3: KFC and the enduring tagline

To cap off these campaigns, Edmund shares his breakdown of KFC’s tagline and how it connects back to human insights.

Source: Business Insider

Tagline: Finger Lickin’ Good

Human insight: Consumers tend to eat fried chicken with their hands. And when they are done, they lick their fingers in satisfaction.

It’s an insight based upon observation. Data will likely never show the exact percentage of people who eat fried chicken with their hands, nor how they end a satisfying meal by licking their fingers clean.

But this true statement shows us why KFC’s long-time tagline still connects with us Malaysians and people all over the world.


Human insights are powerful and can impact bottom-line metrics even if they don’t always have the data behind them. And this is because these insights speak to experiences we have. That is what makes them relatable and emotionally compelling. Without it, to the consumer, an ad is just an ad. People would not care if 75% of brands disappeared1 because there is no meaningful connection.

Instead of seeking out more digital tools, focus on human insights. Find the nuances that connect us as humans and infuse them into your marketing strategies. Tell stories that your consumers can’t help but resonate with and associate that emotional engagement with your brand.

To humanise your brand and build meaningful relationships with your consumers, get in touch.

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Aug 12

Differences between
Digital Creative Automation and Dynamic Creative Optimisation

The ad landscape is saturated with digital assets—photos, music, videos, animations, and interactive ads—all intended to capture the consumer’s attention.1 From a boosted social post to multi-channel ad delivery, the question we often ask is, “Is this ad reaching the right audience?”

In today’s content-rich world, there’s no avoiding it. You’ve got to make sure your ads are relevant to your buyer persona, that they’re quality-controlled, and you’ve also got to scale these efforts. You’d eventually wonder how many more ads you need to serve and if you can optimise and save costs.

All without creative teams burning out.

The best way to keep up? Eliminate the manual creative process. Dynamic Creative Optimisation (DCO) and Digital Creative Automation (DCA) are two types of automation tools worth considering. Though they sound similar, their uses are fairly different.

So, what are the differences between DCO and DCA?

DCO: A complex tool that fuses programmatic media buy with creative automation

As the name suggests, there are two parts to it 2:

  • Dynamic Creative allows ad components to be swapped in real-time to build new creatives automatically.
  • Dynamic Creative Optimisation uses “artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to create and serves the most effective combination of creative elements for each viewer” 3, informed by real-time data, testing, and live analytics.

“This technique enables you to create multiple iterations at speed. By combining the dynamic elements with analytics, it becomes easier to resonate with your audience and optimise creatives for an increase in relevance and ad performance.”4

In short, DCO is a useful tool that enables visual asset creation on the fly. However, what is DCO’s most unique feature is also its biggest limitation.

Challenges to know include:

  • The complex features of DCO have a steeper learning curve.
  • The platforms that offer DCO require integration and these could be limited to one platform rather than multiple DSPs.
  • Most DCO platforms only produce HTML5 banners, not other formats, such as video.
  • Existing templates on these platforms cannot accommodate different kinds of content.
  • Only simpler elements can be swapped in and out, hence there are limitations on editing, revising, or adjusting layouts for different ad versions.

Though DCO is powerful, its creative flexibility is a limitation worth considering, particularly if that’s a workflow you find important. In this case, it’s worth trying a hyper-focused asset-creation tool: DCA.

DCA: A managed service that speeds up personalised creative production

Unlike DCO, Digital Creative Automation (DCA) focuses entirely on removing manual adjustments to creative assets through automation.

Why would this matter?

Imagine taking a single creative asset and localising it for multiple markets, in different regions, with different languages.

“Most creative teams spend between 30-50% of their time managing the manual process of design adaptation, forming a creative bottleneck that ultimately compromises the agility of a marketing agency or team.” 2

DCA helps you eliminate these manual workflows and creates space for your team to work on what impacts ROI: creativity.6

By optimising the creation of better, more relevant visuals, you can keep up with the sheer amount of creative assets needed for your ad campaigns and you can maximise each asset’s visual impact.

Why DCA?

There are 3 reasons why DCA is ideal for those who are seeking creative automation solutions and need flexible content production.

1. DCA is platform agnostic

Our biggest flex is how integrative DCA is. It’s not tied to a specific DSP or media platform, so it’s flexible enough to produce various types of ad assets for any server. This saves you time and costs, especially if you’re new to adding an automated component to your workflows.

2. DCA is flexible across multiple types of creative production

With DCA smart template, you can adapt any type of content—think static visual, video animation, HTML5 Banners etc.—to your needs. DCA lets you churn out creative assets across multiple channels, modify languages for different countries, and target varying audience segments.

3. DCA helps you better understand your consumers through personalised creative

Having personalised ad variations lets you test and gather consumer insights. This helps you understand how your consumers respond to different types of creative content and what resonates with them. Focusing on what works then leads to overall improved campaign performance and better ROI.


These creative automation solutions are ideal for different situations, so which tool should you go for? We recommend first examining your needs and what automation can do for you.

If you already have a robust media buy workflow in place, are looking to understand what content speaks to your audience, or you’re looking to try out automation, DCA is our recommended option. It’s the solution to root out inefficiency, create resonant and engaging ads, and help you capture consumer attention.

See how we’ve helped Grab save 80% in man-hour costs.

If you’re ready to launch a personalised ad campaign with DCA, get in touch to schedule a demo.

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Jul 26

Not just for Gen-Z, it’s time to elevate consumer experiences with AR & VR

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) aren’t for the future. They’ve been around and they’re only becoming more prevalent. Though they’re associated with Gen-Z platforms like Snapchat and Roblox, they’ve also crept into the mainstream consumer’s daily life.

This was most evident during COVID-19 restrictions when majority were confined to their homes. Consumers drastically shifted to the digital-scape and businesses followed suit. To bridge the physical-virtual gap, businesses used AR and VR to ease consumers’ purchasing journey and emulate the traditional, in-store experience. Consumers could visit virtual pop-up stores, try-on products from their couch, and interact with brands in ways that weren’t available before. Brands that pivoted and catered to consumers’ needs during this period remained top-of-mind and boosted sales.

Very quickly, imagination, immersive interaction, and ultra-convenience came to characterise this period of online shopping. Though we have emerged into hybrid living, consumer expectations have been raised permanently. Failing to meet these expectations will result in consumers losing interest. AR and VR present a unique solution to meet and even elevate these expectations.

Brands that integrated AR and VR into their marketing strategies discovered two main benefits:

1. Improving brand recall + recognition

Source: Pocket Lint

VR promises a fun, immersive experience1 that eliminates the need for ad-blockers and invites the consumer to interact voluntarily. During a VR in-game advertising study, YuMe Research discovered that:

  • 74% found VR ads less intrusive than digital advertising
  • 69% said the ad was well-integrated
  • 26% of respondents felt that seeing a brand in a virtual world was more memorable than a digital video ad

This erases two common marketing gripes—ad avoidance and the lack of ad recall. YuMe research lead Mireya Arteaga says, “[The] study indicates that VR advertising is highly memorable in any format.” Notably, video ads do deliver the highest rate of ad recall in the VR world.2

This kind of branded messaging goes beyond interactivity and engagement, it also offers consumers the opportunity to own their ad experience,2 further shifting the brand-consumer dynamic.

Naturally, there are challenges that come with crafting highly immersive ads. For example, while advertising in multiplayer VR games enables the transference of high emotional engagement to an advertised brand—and is an opportunity to deliver an ad with high recall—crafting a noticeable ad unit within an engaging game is a challenge in itself.2

Source: Games Radar

Fortnite X Travis Scott

When done right, in-game VR advertising yields astronomical results. Take Travis Scott’s Astronomical concert in Fortnite. The game involved players as early as during the virtual stage’s construction, showcasing the changes in what promised to be an exciting event.3

Fortnite followed these pre-launch tactics with a clever in-game launch, offering players a new level and features in conjunction with the concert event. Interested players could also complete tasks to win digital merchandise, such as a Travis Scott avatar skin.3

This concert was a success. 12 million people joined the Astronomical concert, proving that Fortnite wasn’t just a game, but a virtual universe. Players could shop, fight, and attend events. This showed that community spaces with engaged users offer opportunities to building brand presence.3

2. Increasing buyer confidence

Shopping with VR or making use of telepresence—participating in events virtually where users feel the “sensation of being elsewhere beyond their immediate environment”—positively impacts consumer perceptions of a product.

Consumers can interact with the product, thereby eliminating the need for physical prototypes or samples virtually.4 This increases consumer product knowledge, attitude, and purchasing intention.4 Of note, telepresence reduces consumer beliefs regarding product risk more effectively compared to print, video, or online ads.4 With VR, businesses can better serve customers and help them navigate their shopping journeys by mitigating frictions caused by a lack of physical product interaction.4

Similar to VR, AR creates an engaging shopping environment by helping consumers “try-on” products before purchasing. Consumers are more likely to recognise the brand, remember product details,5 and feel more confident. Shopping becomes more rewarding with less risk 5 and consumers are less likely to encounter post-buy disappointment or decide to return the product. A 2020 study by Deloitte showed AR in action, helping several home-goods companies lower returns and increase their conversion rates.6

Source: Makeup AR filter developed by us for LANEIGE

Purchasing online comes with some degree of uncertainty, particularly in beauty. Product photography may not reflect reality and the risk of buying the wrong product may put a consumer off online purchases. AR, or virtual try-ons, are meant to eliminate those worries.

L’Oréal & Modiface

An example of AR reducing barrier-to-purchase is L’Oréal’s project with Modiface, enabling lipstick try-ons via a selfie or a mobile phone’s front camera.7 Global Chief Digital Officer, Rochet, shares, “…Virtual makeup [try-ons] [are] the base of any experience. At the end of the day, the only barrier to buying [a product] is wondering what it will look like.”8

L’Oréal’s AR addition helped reduce that barrier. Consumers double their engagement time and tripled conversion whenever this AR feature was available on one of L’Oréal’s brands’ websites or apps. Shopping is intended to be an enjoyable experience and this AR feature contributes to that. Instead of navigating a makeup counter, people can, and are “…trying 42 looks because it’s fun and entertaining.” Rochet further adds, “People are really playing with it and are really starting to spend time with the brand.” 8


Consumers in the aftermath of the pandemic are tech-savvy and aware of how immersive and ultra-convenient online shopping can be. Their expectations are higher than ever. Integrated AR and VR marketing strategies can help brands navigate, meet, and surpass these expectations.

The question is, are brands in Asia ready to integrate AR and VR as part of their digital marketing strategy to better engage with the consumer?

Talk to us if you need help strengthening your digital presence.

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