Haier: Bringing Filipinos Together Through Technology
PR and Social Media Management
As the Philippine economy grew, countless Filipinos were able to afford and move into new homes. With this housing boom taking place, a large demand for consumer appliances was inevitable. Businesses were confident in investing in the up-and-coming economy. Total remittances from the millions of Overseas Filipino Workers across the globe increased annually by 6%. The robust BPO industry provided an abundance of high-paying job opportunities, bolstering the spending power of the young middle class--many of whom bought appliances.
The numbers said it all: a report by Singapore-based consulting firm GfK stated that television and refrigerator sales in the country increased by 12.9% and 9.8% in terms of value, respectively.
This was the perfect opportunity for Haier, a Chinese manufacturing company, to enter the Philippine market and take a big piece of the pie.
Haier was at the ready; it had a wide range of innovative and competitively-priced products it could offer to sensible consumers. The multinational manufacturer was no stranger to brand launches as well; it had already penetrated over a hundred countries around the world.
However, the Philippine market had its own Great Wall: a discerning, brand-conscious audience.
Haier’s vision was to establish itself as the first choice for consumers--a seemingly insurmountable task considering all the impeding factors. Big players in the industry have made their way the top through decades of success in the market. They knew the Filipino consumer like the back of their hand, regularly spending on targeted marketing campaigns, hiring celebrity endorsers, and banking on competitive corporate sales packages.
With this in mind, M2.0 deemed that competing head-on with industry titans wasn’t the best course of action. A conventional campaign would be lost in the multitude of advertising and promotional efforts other companies implemented.
Knowing the impact meaningful stories can have on brands, the team decided to focus on a message that any Filipino would be able to relate to: the value of family, a theme aligned with Haier’s philosophy of “fostering togetherness through technology.”
But to get this narrative across, the agency first needed to correct prevailing misconceptions about the brand. Thus, M2.0 needed to establish Haier’s key values:
- R&D and manufacturing are important pillars of Haier as an innovative company. Its extensive research process ensures that it can easily compete with European, US, and Japanese brands. Echoing this core strength in the campaign would help raise its reputation among brand-conscious consumers.
- Favorable pricing as a product of its R&D expertise. Cost-effective sourcing and an uncompromised production process made the manufacturer welcome among price-sensitive families.
- Haier’s lauded after-sales service displayed the manufacturer’s commitment to the Filipino market. Its heavy focus and commitment on social media channels would strengthen the brand’s image and reputation.
For many Filipinos, Chinese brands have become synonymous with low quality. There was this general notion that it would better to spend your well-earned money on American, Japanese, and European products. People thought they “lasted longer” or were “more reliable”. This made it difficult for China-based brands like Haier to establish a strong foothold in the household appliances market.
Despite its re-launch in 2015, the public knew little about the company or its products. Haier remained a “secondary” or “next option” to Filipinos, especially for misinformed consumers.
According to a Euromonitor report, the appliance giant has been the leading home appliance manufacturer for seven consecutive years. USA Newsweek’s website even listed Haier as one of the top 10 most innovative companies.
But all these accolades didn’t matter--for Filipinos, Haier was just another name.
The Philippines all but seemed like an impenetrable market. Haier needed more than just a regular marketing or PR campaign to become a trusted name in Filipino households.
Armed with a story-driven strategy, the agency communicated Haier’s messages through an integrated multimedia approach. M2.0 utilized media outreach to establish relationships with top-tier blogs, print, and broadcast media. The campaign impressed upon the media the appliance brand’s global reputation and its various innovations. The team brought forth Haier’s youngest ASEAN country manager, Nobuhito Hayashi, as a thought leader who would answer the misconceptions surrounding the brand.
The campaign didn’t stop at words to demonstrate Haier innovations; it let the products speak for themselves. Rather than release flavorless articles that highlighted product specs, M2.0 pitched how Haier products integrate into and elevate Filipinos’ lives. Readers saw articles such as food hacks using eco-friendly ovens and tips on how young couples can make their homes comfortable, eco-friendly, and energy-saving through Haier’s appliances.
To engage the consumer directly, the team utilized the most popular social platform in the country: Facebook. The agency created content pillars that revolved around the key message of family--a theme that resonated with the Filipino audience. M2.0 posted articles that talked about electricity-saving tips, easy-to-make recipes, and effortless appliance troubleshooting together with news and reviews about Haier and its products. Leveraging the power of social media, the team applied its digital expertise to effectively engage with the online audience.
The constant publication of Haier articles in top-tier broadsheets, online news, and blogs went beyond expectations and demonstrated the high interest of the media and the public in the brand. The team was able to pitch meaningful narratives that resonated with journalists and bloggers. The resulting headlines highlighted how Haier’s state-of-the-art products made Filipino families closer.
Haier’s stories generated Php 52 million in media value and turned Haier Philippines CEO Nobuhito Hayashi into a valuable resource person for innovation in both print and broadcast media, such as the Philippine Star, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, and DWDD.
Haier Philippines’ Facebook followers grew from 5,900 fans to 53 thousand--798% increase. The growth was fueled by quality content that garnered an engagement rate of 19.96 percent--almost four times the target. Haier’s Facebook page became a great platform for connecting with intrigued social media users--consumers who commented and reacted positively to the brand’s posts.
By the end of 2016, Filipinos no longer saw the company as the “next option” or “just another appliance brand.” It become a top choice for consumers. But most importantly, Haier stayed true to its advocacy of “fostering togetherness through technology,” helping and unifying Filipino households through its innovative products.