5 tips for effective marketing this National Day

With the public holiday featuring a military tattoo, aerial performances, 3D projections and both an indoor and outdoor fireworks display, there are plenty of opportunities for local and global brands to involve themselves in the celebration. Yet when it comes to developing a digital marketing strategy around such an important event, it is not easy to know how to keep your ideas fresh and classy.

Making Singapore National Day memorable

On 9 August 2016, Singaporeans will be celebrating the 51st anniversary of Singapore’s independence – also known as National Day and colloquially called NDP (National Day Parade).

I recently talked with a handful of the most respected minds in Singapore’s digital marketing scene and asked each of them to share one actionable tip that they would offer to local marketers looking to capture the importance of National Day with their marketing.

Here are five insightful digital marketing tips to think about.

  1. “Be authentic” – Clarence Lin, DBS Bank

When it comes to Singaporean brands delivering lovable campaigns, DBS Bank’s digital marketing stands out as the benchmark. A case in point is their foray into the branded content space with Sparks, a mini- series inspired by a true story that brings banking to life, and their Facebook page Living, Breathing Asia.

Clarence Lin, VP, group strategic marketing and communications at DBS Bank, said if Singaporean marketers want to make an impact, they need to be authentic. “With the clutter that’s expected around National Day and SG51, have your brand and content stand out with a level of genuineness,” Lin said.

“Authenticity in digital is really important, regardless of occasion. And in terms of best practice, ensure your stories contain contextualised rich content in real time and in a conversational manner.”

  1. “Keep it local” – Matilda Aldridge, Publicis Singapore

Likewise, Matilda Aldridge, senior social media manager at Publicis Singapore, echoed these sentiments of authenticity with a key lesson for non-indigenous brands. “Singaporeans are very proud and patriotic about NDP, and it’s vitally important that brands respect this, particularly if your company is a global brand,” notes Aldridge.

Weaving your local knowledge into the creative will help make your tone more authentic.

“Additionally, keep your messaging local – don’t just think about Singapore as a country. Think about its people, what they like, their habits and what is important to them on NDP. People first, not brand first,” she said.

  1. “Less dollars, more sense” – Hedvig Lyche, King Content

Often brands fall into the trap of making the spectacle about themselves and their products.

Hedvig Lyche, general manager of King Content Singapore, says brands should ensure that they focus on the occasion and what it means for people living here. This means avoiding being seen as trying to make money from it.

“Don’t try to push your audience towards your products. National Day is neither the time nor place for such marketing,” she said. “Singapore National Day is a festive affair, and such events call for brands to be creative and deliver out-of- the-box thinking that the audience will want to engage with.”

“Instead of pushing product, invest your efforts into researching the event. Understand the purpose and heritage of NDP, and really think about how to make your story relevant and unique on the day,” she added.

  1. “Stay relevant to the content and the channel” – Akshay Bajpaee, LinkedIn

Another vital factor that brands need to watch for is relevance. Akshay Bajpaee, APAC partner lead at LinkedIn Singapore, says it is critical that marketers associate National Day with sincerity and originality.

“During SG50 last year, we at LinkedIn saw a plethora of member posts ranging from tributes to the nation and its founder, to the best/worst marketing campaigns surrounding the occasion,” he said.

“There is obviously an abundance of pride and excitement associated with the occasion. With all eyes on their campaigns, marketers need to be respectful and relevant to their audiences.”

When looking to promote a brand story, Bajpaee added that it’s important to consider the channel most relevant to the message.

“As the world’s largest professional network and publishing platform, we used LinkedIn’s internal data to create a visually appealing infographic about LinkedIn’s 1+million members in Singapore. The infographic, in association with our 50 data points post, was designed to resonate with the aspirational Singaporean audience on our platform.

“Digitally, marketers and brands must choose the right channels to relay their messaging and reach the relevant audiences,” he said.

  1. “Should your brand be part of the NDP conversation?” – Timi Siytangco, Outbrain

Turning our outlook to a macro view, it is true that brands sometimes make the mistake of trying to be all things to all people.

Timi Siytangco, Outbrain’s head of amplify in Southeast Asia, said marketers need to be smart about whether to involve their brand in National Day at all. “It’s not enough for your brand to piggyback off the event. You need to really figure out if there is a relevant and compelling story for you.”

Siytangco explained: “To do this, you need to find a common ground from three factors: What story is your brand trying to tell? Where does NDP fit in with that story? And will your audience care about it? If you struggle to come up with a campaign that does not do justice to all of these elements, then maybe NDP is not the event for you.”

Future-proofing our industry

According to the NDP’s website, this year’s National Day theme is Building our Singapore of Tomorrow. The slogan encourages all Singaporeans to be disruptive, forward thinking and innovative.

As most Singaporeans will understand, such themes are par for the course in the ever-changing world of digital marketing. So naturally we asked our Singapore experts to highlight the innovative digital trends that Singaporean marketers need to keep an eye on the next 12 months:

  • “The rise of branded content running programmatically alongside ‘micro-moment’ updates will dominate. And of course, everyone will have their eyes on (the success of) Pokémon GO and what it brings.” – Clarence Lin, DBS Bank
  • “Brands in Singapore will further embrace disruptive marketing methods. We are seeing many Singaporean brands experimenting with content marketing and native advertising, and running them together with their social media strategies. Those who do are ahead of the curve and thus ahead of their competition.” – Hedvig Lyche, King Content
  • “One thing I keep saying to marketers who want to be ahead of the game in social is to get on top of your data. If you’re using data in a way that can create innovative creative and user experiences on social, you’ll be ahead of all of the trends. Data is where you begin to find the trends.” – Matilda Aldridge, Publicis Singapore
  • “Mobile-first strategies that drive customer engagement across the whole buyer funnel, not just conversions, is something we are seeing marketers looking seriously into. While B2C brands are ahead of the curve in this space, I expect to see B2B marketers moving in to catch up.” – Timi Siytangco, Outbrain
  • “I am also seeing a greater experimentation with messenger apps, such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger. These channels are far more personal than traditional social media, and we should expect to see some really innovative campaigns coming from them in the next 12 months.” – Timi Siytangco, Outbrain

Capture the importance of National Day in your marketing with the tips you’ve read in this article. But more significantly, capture the spirit of this year’s celebration by looking ahead and seizing the opportunities that these digital trends present for our industry.

King Content wishes Singapore a very happy National Day 2016.

This is a sponsored content by King Content.