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Case study: How Eu Yan Sang piqued Millennials’ interest in TCM

Everyone wants a piece of the Millennial pie and legacy brands are without a doubt one of them. As such, companies steeped in traditional are constantly striving to remain relevant and engage the tech-savvy generation.

Natural health and wellness company Eu Yan Sang Singapore managed to capture the attention of the Millennials by through a mix of cocktails and a bar. This led to the company winning two awards at the recent Marketing Events Awards 2017 – Gold for Best Media Event and Bronze for Best Pop-up Store.

This post was done in conjunction with Eu Yan Sang Singapore.

Problem

Millennials are a crucial segment for the traditional chinese medicine (TCM) business and educating them on its benefits at a young age will allow Eu Yan Sang to grow with them through the different life stages. However, Millennials typically perceive Eu Yan Sang and TCM as being too traditional, difficult to comprehend and irrelevant to their way of life. Repositioning the brand would take time but Eu Yan Sang needed a quick win to start that engagement journey.

Solution

In order to shift Millennials’ perceptions of a brand, Eu Yan Sang had to tap into their sense of curiosity and bring them on a journey of discovery. The strategy was to present TCM in a completely unexpected way that is contrary to their preconceived notions of an archaic practice that had no role in their daily lives.

Eu Yan Sang forged an unconventional collaboration with an unlikely partner – a popular speakeasy – The Library to create a six-month herbmixology pop-up space campaign. The campaign combined the age-old tradition of TCM and the art of mixology to provide a new experience for the Millennials. Holding the pop-up at a stylish and contemporary space delivered modern associations, while incorporating TCM herbs in cocktails re-contextualised how they are used, making them immediately relevant to modern Millennial lifestyles.

In order to maximise awareness for the campaign, Eu Yan Sang hosted a press preview, inviting lifestyle influencers and traditional media guests, who reported on their experience of the customised space and cocktails.

Objective

Introduce TCM to millennials in a relatable manner and establish Eu Yan Sang as a brand of relevance.

Execution

A three-pronged approach was adopted.

To fully capture the attention of Millennials, the pop-up space was designed to go beyond being just visually stimulating, and Eu Yan Sang worked to incorporate elements of touch and smell into the experience. Visitors were able to view, hold and take a whiff of the 49 herbs displayed in a transparent periodic-chart-inspired medical chest, categorised into various energy groups. Learning about the brand, herbs and TCM was also made fun by presenting the information in forms which would appeal to Millennials, such as tongue-in-cheek posters and “four-tune” cards that provide remedies for hangovers and other modern health problems. Visitors could also find out what their drinking personality was by taking a test on the iPad.

To further the experiential experience and open Millennials to the many possibilities of using Chinese herbs beyond its traditional use, Eu Yan Sang worked with chefs and mixologists at The Library, to design and create a refreshing and exciting range of TCM-inspired cocktails and canapés. They explored close to 40 different types of herbs to develop a great menu which showcased new and creative ways to integrate Chinese herbs in everyday food and drinks.

Eu Yan Sang also invited key media with a Millennial reach including influencers, to an exclusive and interactive cocktail workshop. Media was tasked to create one of the cocktails in the new menu from scratch and was given their very own herbmixology kit that contained bar tools and a recipe card. Providing media and influencers with a hands-on experience provide ample opportunities opportunity for them to share photos and videos online.

Results

The strategic collaboration with The Library on the six-month pop-up campaign was a resounding success in establishing a starting point for Eu Yan Sang to pivot the brand’s perception with Millennials. Overall, the pop-up was well-visited and attracted a healthy footfall, mainly comprising Millennials.

The immersive brand experience proved to be successful in increasing the awareness of the brand amongst the target group. This was best exemplified through the high number of organic conversations and engagement online generated on the pop-up space mostly from Millennial consumers – a total of more than 5,700 likes, 990 views and 180 comments were garnered on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Media also played a key role in amplifying key brand messages to the public with secured coverage reaching an estimate of more than 3.5 million in reach across the various channels. Coverage secured highlighted Eu Yan Sang as an innovative brand, a brand that was making headway in changing Millennials’ perceptions about TCM.

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