#MARKiesAwards 2021 case study: vivo smartphone's micro-influencer bet pays off

When it comes to smartphones there are a plethora of options on the market. Trying to stand out from other companies is no easy feat. Chinese smartphone company vivo is already a popular brand among young people, but when it released its newest phone to the market it still needed to convince its target audience this was the one that would excite them. Its efforts for the vivo X50 campaign led the company to win bronze for Most Effective Use – Specific Audience at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's MARKies Awards 2021. Here's how it impressed the judges.

Challenge

Founded in 2009, vivo is a Chinese manufacturer of smartphones. Originally just selling to the Chinese market, in 2014, the company extended its reach to more countries across South Asia, eventually releasing its first smartphone in Europe in 2020. Now with more than two million individuals owning a vivo smartphone it has become one of the most preferred brands of young people across the world.

But its aim is to continue introducing new technology to its customers – dynamic and stylish products for passionate and energetic young people. It also wants to create the ultimate experience in mobile photography and Hi-Fi audio. With this in mind, in 2020, vivo launched its flagship X50 model to the Singapore market. To help drive awareness it turned to X10 Media for help.

Strategy

Having just launched the X50 smartphone in Singapore, vivo chose X10 Media to help it build awareness of the new device. Founded in 2016, before micro-influencers became part of the mainstay, X10 Media was an early player in the industry and has gone on to be one of the key players in the market.

An Instagram influencer marketing campaign was devised to generate reach and engagement with a minimum spend. X10 Media focused on targeting young adults with a passion for adventure, trendsetting, music and photography, and whose smartphone is an integral part of their daily life.

It wanted to target key micro influences that would resonate with the audience and have them post about the benefits of the new X50 smartphone and show them using the device during their adventures and exploration of Singapore. The agency boasts a combined influencer network reach of more than seven million across Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Execution

X10 Media identified some key interests and hobbies of the target audience, which included streaming Korean dramas on their smartphones, exploring and taking Insta-worthy shots of the city they called home, and spending time having video calls with close friends and family. These were all activities the X50 smartphone excels at and so the campaign was born.

Building on vivo’s reputation of building high quality, fashionable digital devices, it was important X10 Media sought influencers that shared their values with the brand’s.

As the campaign transitioned, the messaging changed to cover the three key areas of audience interest so each phase built on the previous postings as awareness of the X50 smartphone grew.

What was also key was to ensure the posts from influencers were just simple one or two lines of captions along with vivo’s brand tag. This would help the posts stand out, be easily digestible by the audience and further the campaign objectives of generating awareness and driving traffic. This was further enforced by ensuring there was no lengthy product information, call to action and that the activities didn’t come across strongly as sponsored posts.

X10 Media carefully selected key influencers that would resonate with them to ensure the objectives were met. To be invited to join X10 Media’s influencer community, an individual’s profile was closely tracked and monitored, with the corresponding data analysed to reveal audience interest, audience demographics, percentage of genuine followers, and average post engagement rates.

Using these rich insights a recommended influencer list was presented to vivo containing profiles that were deemed the most suitable for the brand and the campaign.

Once the influencer profiles were agreed upon, X10 Media’s assigned campaign manager facilitated direct collaboration and coordination between vivo and the influencer. Communication was done through the influencer’s primary communication channel such as WhatsApp or Telegram.

Using the influencers’ communication channel of choice led to greater speed of delivery and greater control over the content. By allowing direct collaboration, communication was improved and vivo was able to achieve a campaign that was on-brand, on-brief, close to its vision and that achieved the results it was seeking.

Messaging throughout the three-phased campaign developed over time, ensuring the audience remained engaged throughout. Vivo was conscious not to flood the market and potentially damage its reputation and so only a small group of 20 micro-influencers whose values matched the brand was chosen.

With Instagram as the channel of choice, a total of 60 unique postings were developed over the three phases of the campaign with no two influencers posting the same content. Vivo’s Instagram was used throughout, driving the audience to follow the brand, which helped to build its follower base.

In addition, the hashtag #Fasterthanfuture was used throughout, increasing traction with the brand and building a trend the audience could be a part of, and to emphasise the speed of the new 5G device. Images were chosen that both enforced the brand’s reputation for developing dynamic and stylish products and that were relatable to the audience.

Results

Total reach for the Instagram influencers over the three phases of the campaign was surpassed 350,000. According to vivo, the campaign exceeded its targeted engagements by more than 250%. In addition to reaching more than 358,000 people, the campaign achieved a total of 27,447 likes, over 1,500 comments, and 22,752 Instagram Story views.

With this size of audience, X10 Media helped vivo generate awareness of its new X50 smartphone on a much larger scale and lower cost that would not have been achievable through other means. The photography-based influencers also did a great job in showing camera definition and resolution. Overall the campaign achieved the all-time highest share of buzz over other mobile brands on Instagram.