Medicated oil brand Siangpure pivots to digital, taps Kingdom Digital for social duties

Thailand wellness company Bertram 1958 is embracing the shift to digital, appointing Kingdom Digital to build its online presence for its medicated oil brand, Siangpure, in Malaysia. According to Bertram’s assistant vice president (marketing), Meena Akrapongpisak, one of the main challenges it faced locally due to the lack of digital presence has been the confusion around counterfeits as its exported products have different packaging.

“Many of our customers are familiar with the iconic amber-red, tall bottle packaging that they have come to know over the years. But our medicated oils and balms come in various sizes, packaging, and types as well – some of which may not be as common to Malaysians. So, there have been instances where existing customers have mistaken those as imitations and doubted the products’ authenticity," Akrapongpisak explained, Hence, the brand hopes to establish an official page for Malaysia, which will serve as the go-to platform for information related to the brand as well as a channel for customers to direct any queries about the products.

To help the brand drive awareness and connect with its customers, Kingdom Digital will be responsible for creating and managing Siangpure Malaysia’s Facebook and Instagram. The agency’s duties also include developing bold strategies and planning and executing creative content for these platforms.

The appointment follows a pitch earlier in February which saw three agencies vying for the account. The appointment will be for six months until the end of this year in December. While the brand declined to comment on which other agencies pitched, this is the brand’s inaugural partnership with an agency locally.

siangpure products

Akrapongpisak said the agency's creative ideas stood out and it was impressed with how prepared Kingdom Digital was during the pitch, demonstrating a great understanding of the brand with in-depth research. “Together with its strong social media credentials, we believe the agency will be able to drive stronger brand affinity and credibility for Siangpure through the unique positioning and ideas they have proposed,” Akrapongpisak added.

With the help of social media marketing, Siangpure hopes to achieve around 15% to 20% increase in sales, said Meena. Work has commenced earlier this month. Kingdom Digital’s strategic planner, Yvonne Lee, said it saw an opportunity to widen Siangpure’s customer base to include younger audiences through relevant, engaging content.

“Medicated oils and balms are generally used more frequently among the older generations. But our custom survey showed 76% of those between the age of 15 – 34 use them as well. And according to them, they associated Siangpure with spiciness, strong and very effective. Thus, giving us the advantage of a brand that is not just effective, but with a punch”, said Lee.

According to the agency, Siangpure is already very well-known among the silver generation in Malaysia as it is a household brand that’s known to be a cure for all discomforts. Quoting an internal custom survey, Kingdom Digital said that the agency discovered that the younger audience knew about the Siangpure brand through their grandparents or parents’ introduction since young. 

Therefore, to appeal to this group of audience, the agency leveraged Malaysians' familiarity with the brand using Thailand’s bold, over-the-top, and humorous approach while incorporating local nuances to draw attention to Siangpure’s brand and products.

Edmund Lou, the agency’s head of strategy, added that the survey showed that medicated oils are perceived to be “miracle workers”. “With this in mind, we derived the big idea of 'Ridiculously Effective' – mysterious yet effective and works like a miracle – while being ridiculously witty, bold and reliable through communication,” said Lou.

siangpure kingdom digital

Currently, Siangpure aims to focus on building social presence first to strengthen awareness and induce trials. The brand will also be leveraging the distributors’ eCommerce platforms, through the distributor Teong Huat or drug stores such as Watsons and Guardian for product promotions. Although the initiative targets mainly the younger generation, Kingdom Digital said it is not neglecting the older generation, with plans to use Facebook as one of the key platforms to reach out to this audience group. “The unique proposition and big idea are also crafted to convince the existing medicated oil users (mainly silver generation) who are using competitor brands to switch to Siangpure for its effectiveness with a punch,” the agency said.

Bertram 1958 rebranded from Bertram Chemical 1982 in 2019, according to the company’s website. Aside from Siangpure, the company also owns Peppermint Field, another medicated aromatic line that comes in the form of inhalers, balm gel tubs, and balm sticks. 

Aside from Bertram, Kingdom also recently won the account for Sunway City KL’s social media duties earlier last month in June. The appointment is for six months, with the possibility of an extension. Yvonne Lee and Mior Anwar, strategic planners of Kingdom Digital, said then that it will move away from the tactical-driven content to a stronger emphasis on its appeal as an all-in-one retreat. By highlighting the various offerings around the township, it aimed to create new memories for both local and foreign visitors.

Prior to the appointment by Sunway Group, Kingdom Digital is also working with Spritzer Malaysia. It has also worked with a number of cosmetic clients such as Korean beauty brand MAKEHEAL, SILKYGIRL  The History of Whoo, Kopas Cosmetic and LANEIGE Malaysia. Other brands include tissue brand PASEO SG.

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