Taking home the bronze award for Best PR campaign: B2B was Visa and its agency Ruder Finn at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's PR Awards. Visa won over the judges with its initiatives to help retailers and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), which forms the backbone of Singapore’s economy and account for nearly half of the nation’s gross domestic product. Leveraging insights from previous studies conducted by Visa on Singaporean consumer payment attitudes, Visa was able to identify future areas for growth in driving the adoption of electronic and digital payments while exploring emerging trends in supporting local businesses.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to worldwide health, economic and social challenges, and the period of contagion, self-isolation and economic uncertainty has transformed consumer needs and behaviours impacting businesses of all types. In particular, the payment ecosystem in Singapore has slowly been transiting towards a cashless, contactless digital payment system that saw increasing use of QR and mobile contactless payments.
The pandemic vastly accelerated Singapore’s digitalisation efforts and created long-lasting changes to consumer behaviours. However, a majority of SMBs and small business owners in Singapore lacked the know-how and resources to digitise their businesses and were left confronted with the painful reality when the pandemic struck.
Studies by Visa also showed that consumers were turning towards online channels and eCommerce as a preferred method of shopping due to stay home measures imposed. With 83% of Singaporean consumers believing that it is important for local retailers to have an online presence, and over 40% of Singaporean shoppers expecting their future online purchases to increase even beyond COVID-19 , Visa felt there was an urgent need for businesses to establish their presence online and adapt with changing consumer behaviours. Yet, despite this need to digitalise, not all SMBs had the capability nor resources to pivot their business towards online digital channels, as most struggle to adapt to an ever-changing digital ecosystem.
Leveraging insights from previous studies on Singaporean consumer payment attitudes, Visa was able to identify areas for growth in driving the adoption of electronic and digital payments. These insights also allowed Visa to focus its efforts on three key messages for the campaign.
- Small and micro businesses are the heart and soul of the local community. From an economic standpoint, SMBs are a key pillar of Singapore’s economy contributing to 44% of the country’s GDP while employing 69% of the workforce. With consumer spending on local brands falling by 14% due to the lack of foreign visitors and change in shopping preferences among locals, consumers are now greatly empowered to make a difference and positively support their local community, simply by choosing where to shop.
- Consumers are recognising the convenience that cashless modes of transactions bring, with 62% of Singaporeans expecting their usage of cashless payments to increase. Furthermore, new online habits and Singaporeans' increasing preference for online shopping are likely to remain post-pandemic.
- Visa’s innovative payment network connects SMBs to their customers in a growing variety of channels for an integrated seamless payment experience. Through Visa’s #WhereYouShopMatters initiative and business solutions, SMBs can grow and thrive as they go digital. With the key messages in mind, Visa adopted a two-pronged strategic approach for its #WhereYouShopCampaign. This was to encourage everyday Singaporeans to lend a hand to local businesses by being mindful of the brands they shop with. It also aimed to support SMBs develop their digital strategy.
With the key messages in place, content collaterals were created for the campaign across multiple communication channels, ensuring relevance with the intended target audience. This included the development of B2B centric content pieces, content partnerships with appropriate media publications and government agencies, profiling of homegrown brands that have participated in the campaign, and press announcements to drive awareness for the campaign.
Brand collaborations and content partnerships were key centrepieces in bringing local brands to top-of-mind recall. Working with consumer-centric publications such as The Smart Local, allowed for impactful storytelling with an already engaged community of followers. This also allowed the #WhereYouShopMatters campaign to be seen in a different light that taps on the heartstrings of Singaporean consumers.
The campaign also looked at partnerships with online marketplaces and government agencies to support the narrative of encouraging Singaporeans to shop for local brands, while supporting SMBs to go digital. This includes working with eCommerce platform Shopee to highlight over 2,000 SMBs while offering discounts on purchases with local brands, discounts off business packages from Microsoft Office and LinkedIn Premium, as well as cashback on spending with Google Ads. In addition, Visa collaborated with governmental agencies to provide data and insights for SMBs to develop their own data-driven campaigns for a new retail environment.
To better establish rapport with SMBs, the campaign profiled homegrown brands and business owners through inspiring content that highlights their aspirations, passions and adaptability. Showcasing how SMBs can adopt eCommerce processes and technology to better engage consumers, to the impacts that local SMBs have brought to the community, these content pieces revealed the opportunities that transiting to digital can bring as well as driving home the importance of shopping local. These content pieces were also repurposed into various content assets for social media; including image carousels and short 15 – 30 seconds clips, as well as OOH advertisements to meet the campaign’s targeted audience across different mediums.
Visa also produced several B2B content pieces on the campaign’s microsite pertaining to topics including, tips on starting an online business, promoting and managing your online business, and best practices to grow your business. This helped Visa to establish domain authority on the subject matter while showcasing Visa’s support in uplifting SMBs as they transit towards digital forms of business practices.
In Singapore, over 37 news stories were published from the initial press announcement and the various content partnerships as part of the campaign. This saw an estimated 270 social shares. As a result, Visa saw an increased share of voice among Singapore’s key publications at 43.18%, taking over key competitors. In addition, the campaign also received encouraging feedback from participating SMBs, many of whom have seen tremendous results to their business due to the ripple effect of the campaign.
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