Case study: OPPO and Singtel

The background

Founded in 2004 and based in Guangdong, OPPO is an electronics manufacturer that delivers mobile devices in more than 20 countries. Its major product lines include portable media players, LCD TVs, DVD/Blu-ray disc players, feature phones and, most recently, smartphones and tablets.

Having successfully entered China’s mobile phone market in 2008, OPPO began exploring international expansion in 2010.

By mid-2014, OPPO had established a presence in the US, China, Australia and other countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. By now, the tactile and aesthetic qualities of OPPO’s designs, and its commitment to co-developing products with its customers through user-experience feedback channels had achieved widespread recognition.

As such, with its latest N3 and R5 models, OPPO started in the final quarter of 2014 its most challenging cross-border expansion project yet – delving into Singapore’s saturated smartphone market.

The context/challenge

The rise of smartphones has been swift, with technological innovation creating an incredibly sophisticated mobile ecosystem. Singapore’s advanced infrastructure meant it was uniquely poised within this vibrant scene. The early introduction of 3G and public Wi-Fi made Singapore a “mobile-first” nation. By 2014, Singapore had the highest smartphone adoption rate globally, with most consumers carrying either an Apple or Samsung model.

“As a new entrant in a mature and small, but affluent market, quickly building brand equity would be essential for successful expansion. So we sought a partner that could provide a comprehensive understanding of and access to local consumers across multiple platforms,” said Sean Deng, managing director of OPPO Singapore.

Building brand equity involved a three-step approach:

  • Increasing brand awareness among consumers mostly likely to purchase smartphones.
  • Driving preference by communicating the distinctiveness of the new N3 and R5 smartphones.
  • Encouraging product trials at the newly opened OPPO Concept Store at Suntec City Mall.

Finally, the campaign had to be consistent with OPPO’s brand positioning, “The Art of Technology”, which required its marketing partner to consider the granular details in everyday living and combine that with technology to create trendsetting by-products and unique consumer experiences.

The solution

Acknowledging that digital media had created a more elusive consumer with short-term thinking and who lives across multiple screens, OPPO sought a partner that had been keeping up with the times, one that apart from offering a cross-platform approach, was agile and armed with the latest marketing technology.

Singtel’s latest data-driven solutions analysed dynamic consumer behaviour across platforms and delivered robust insights. With these insights, OPPO could then strategise and select the right platforms for effective engagement, optimising its advertising spend.

Daily channel-by-channel viewing data from Singtel TV subscribers was combined with insights from Singtel’s Project Newsroom – a commissioned report detailing household demographics and product consumption information. Using this data set, consumers who tuned in to watch the Barclays Premier League (BPL) were identified as OPPO’s most relevant niche target segment for the following reasons:

  • BPL viewers had one of the highest purchase percentages (81%) for consumer electronics.
  • A majority (40%) of BPL viewers within the 20-39 age group and 32% were highly affluent (>$10,000 monthly household income) – in line with OPPO’s aim of “capturing energetic young hearts”.
  • These viewers are also steadfast seekers of the best in local food and beverage (97%) – the R3 and N5’s superior smartphone cameras being a perfect foil for these “foodstagraming” gastronomists.

Informed by these insights, OPPO opted for a marketing campaign that included Singtel TV channels broadcasting the BPL, online assets HungryGoWhere and inSing – popular sources for local food and beverage and lifestyle recommendations, as well as news aggregator NewsLoop for content amplification.

“With the fragmentation of media consumption, ‘audience targeting’ has become today’s marketing imperative. The identification of target segments must be insight-driven for sound decision-making. Singtel’s data-driven solutions, variety of platforms and BPL telecasts provide OPPO with flexibility and dynamism. Consequently we have been partnering with Singtel since we entered Singapore,” Deng said.

Business results

OPPO evaluates a marketing campaign by looking at how it increases brand awareness, drives product preference, increases foot traffic at its Concept Store and contributes to revenue. Overall, the campaign led to an increase in brand awareness and consumer purchasing intent, contributing to a rise in OPPO’s smartphone sales during the final quarter of 2014, while delivering the following:

  1. Increased brand awareness by engaging more than 243,000 BPL viewers per month from October 2014 to December 2014.
  2. Association with the most watched football league reinforced OPPO’s premium positioning.
  3. Optimised media plan across both “live” and repeat BPL matches by airing an OPPO TVC to reach out to its target audience of young, affluent and tech-savvy consumers.
  4. Brand integration within Goals HQ, a top-rating show on Singtel TV hosted by celebrity host Tabitha Nauser, where coverage on the OPPO launch event was seamlessly incorporated.
  5. Content marketing and online re-targeting to highlight product features, driving preference across online and mobile platforms. These efforts engaged more than 1.3 million active monthly users, with resultant click-through rates exceeding the industry benchmark (5% higher for inSing, 65% higher for NewsLoop).
  6. inSing: “Live” social media coverage and a video of the OPPO launch event on Facebook and YouTube, along with advertorials and customised banners highlighting features of the N3 and R5.
  7. HungryGoWhere: Creative execution of gallery sponsorship on Singapore’s top food and beverage portal, where a dining guide for Gardens by the Bay featured images taken using the N3’s high-res auto-rotating camera.
  8. NewsLoop: Advertorials and banners on Singtel’s news aggregator application, with a sponsored category on the homepage ensuring clutter-breaking brand visibility.
  9. Product giveaways and in-store footage which encouraged product trials and drove foot traffic to the OPPO Concept Store from October 2014 to December 2014.
  10. A quiz was incorporated on Goals HQ, allowing viewers a chance to win a new N3 smartphone.
  11. Segments of Goals HQ were shot in the OPPO Concept Store to provide a sneak preview of the store’s physical space and location.

“Singtel’s advertising channels are an integral part of OPPO’s intent to build its brand equity in Singapore,” Deng said.

“Given the integrative nature of the Singtel platform, OPPO has certainly benefited in terms of heightened brand and product awareness.

“It is for this reason and also due to the collaborative nature of the Singtel advertising team that we have embarked on a second campaign in February 2015. As we continue our content marketing efforts, we project our smartphone sales to grow at an increasing rate in the months ahead.”

The second campaign

With Singtel introducing virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology in early 2015 to help local advertisers address the challenge of viewers paying less attention during commercial breaks, OPPO will be the first brand in Singapore to utilise the Singtel-acquired virtual studio.

“Being a technology company, we are always on the lookout for new ways to showcase the brand in a manner that befits our obsession with quality and R&D,” Deng said.

“With VR and AR technology, we are able to have our brand visually incorporated into sports programmes through three-dimensional scoreboards and a stylistically redesigned virtual background. This ensures that our content captures the attention of audiences when viewership is at its peak.

“Singtel’s approach when providing marketing services mirrors OPPO’s brand philosophy when designing consumer electronics.

“As a part of improving the user experience associated with our products, we are keen to advance the use of VR and AR, as well as our engagement with local football fans. Our second campaign involves advertising on Singtel TV channels broadcasting the BPL and English FA Cup, coupled with Singtel’s online and SMS advertising platforms.”