How Singaporean Brands are Leveraging Live Streaming for Marketing

Advertisements on online platforms or social media are nothing new; however, advertisements generally can be intrusive and annoying, causing some viewers to block or ignore the advertisement. Some go as far as to give negative feedback on the brand. This is where live streaming comes in. Due to it being live, it is more authentic, and the viewers are able to interact with the streamer in real time. Live streamers are also known to be more casual, and viewers are actually able to see the actual personalities of the streamers compared to edited videos, which makes it easier for viewers to relate to the streamers. These factors result in a lower chance of viewers skipping the advertisement and improve the overall receptiveness and effectiveness of the advertisement.

As more Singaporeans have internet access now than ever before, Singaporeans are slowly but surely spending more time online compared to a few years ago. It is estimated that Singaporeans spend about 7 hours on the internet daily, and this number is only expected to increase. That being said, with a heavier online presence, Singaporeans are more susceptible to online advertisements.

Streaming as an online business idea initially began to grow in Singapore around the year 2015, and it has witnessed a rapid increase in popularity since then. Singapore, being a country that is a tech hub, hopped onto the streaming bandwagon quite conveniently and took it to a whole new level. Live streaming Singapore, more specifically, has evolved into one of the most powerful tools for marketing and advertising. Aiding in customer engagement, brand building, and boosting sales, this tool is widely used by multiple brands from various industries. This essay will explore the various ways in which brands in Singapore are leveraging live streaming Singapore, the successes and failures faced by these brands, the factors contributing to both, and why it is an effective tool, especially in the Singaporean context.

Benefits of Live Streaming for Singaporean Brands

Singaporean brands, Skin Inc and Benefit Cosmetics, had collaborated on an influencer marketing campaign on Facebook Live to promote and engage fans with their newly launched “Get Glowin’ Bright and Glowing Mask”. The 30-minute stream, which to date has garnered 47,000 views, engaged fans through a question and answer segment and a mini competition. Skin Inc and Benefit Cosmetics had offered a free facial/mask session to selected viewers who had shared the live stream and commented on the video. The engagement between the influencers and the viewers created interest in the product and has led to an increase in mask sales post-campaign.

Live streaming has the ability to keep viewers engaged due to its real-time viewing aspect. A typical social media user usually spends about 3-10 seconds on a piece of content and would move on to the next if they find the content irrelevant in the first few seconds. With live streaming, users can be notified when a brand goes live, which creates a sense of urgency. This is especially effective when the content is enticing to the viewer and the brand has a strong fan base.

Increased Engagement

Considering the rise of live streaming as a marketing tool, Singaporean firms should use the benefits of this platform to their advantage. The primary benefit of using live streaming is its ability to create higher engagement between the brand and the customer. Traditional advertising methods may create an image of the brand, but it is not conducive to creating a personal connection between the customer and the product. Live streaming not only allows the customer to see the product in a realistic setting, but it also allows real-time interaction between the customer and the streamer. This interaction can take form in many ways. At the highest level, it gives the customer a chance to give direct feedback on the product. For example, if a streamer is demonstrating a smartphone, a viewer may ask a question about the phone’s features. The streamer can answer this question and give a demonstration tailored to this viewer. This is a level of customer service not found in any other advertising medium. High Touch is a Singaporean company that has streamed product launches and trade shows and found that interaction with viewers gives the company a better sense of what the customers want to see, which impacts the products the company covers in the future and enables sponsors to get instant feedback from viewers. A live streaming campaign done by Umaid Singapore had the CEO become a salesperson for a day, broadcasting live as he sells his product to people who interact with him. This campaign was a success, and CEO William Koong claimed it gave the brand a real identity and a customer can identify with the person selling the product. An increase in customer engagement can also lead to an increase in brand reputation. Repzilla is a young brand that has seen impressive growth through the live streaming platform Rin from Repzilla expressed, “It has been easier to captivate someone’s attention, thus leading to a deeper connection with the viewer compared to other content platforms. Our chat interaction has also been a core aspect of our growing community and has seen a significant rise in our viewer loyalty and retention rates.” With the various methods of interaction in live streaming often leading to a more personal relationship between viewer and streamer, it is an effective way for a brand to build customer loyalty and establish a core audience. Another benefit of increased engagement that is often overlooked is the effect it has on the streamer in what they are learning about the customer. To be engaged successfully, the streamer must have a strong understanding of their audience, understanding what type of content they will want to see and what times they will be most available to view it. All this can lead to a great understanding of the product’s target audience and will be valuable information when shaping the product and future marketing strategies.

Real-time Interaction with Customers

Real-time interaction can also help the brand understand what their customers want. While doing a live video stream, the hosts can obtain direct feedback from the customers. This can help the brand to understand their customers’ wants and needs so they can create the relevant products or services to increase customer satisfaction and boost sales efficiency. An example would be how Canon Singapore used Google+’s live streaming function to interact with potential customers. During the session, the viewers were shown tutorials on how to snap professional photos and they were able to ask the instructors questions on how to better their photography skills using Canon’s products. The instructors were able to give them advice and that would allow Canon to see what their potential customers need to be able to take good photos using their products. At the same time, the instructors were able to seek some product improvement suggestions from the viewers which would also benefit Canon.

Real-time interaction with customers has never been easier through the use of live streaming for Singaporean brands. The viewers have the ability to interact with the hosts in real time from anywhere around the world. Some brands have leveraged this feature to conduct real-time Q&A sessions through live streaming. An example would be the local jewellery brand, Choo Yilin, who was the first Singapore brand to use Facebook’s Live function to hold a live Q&A session with its customers. In that session, Choo Yilin introduced its new collection and also answered questions that were posted by the customers about the collection and the brand. This was effective as it was a cost-free way to approach both existing and new customers in real-time to boost the exposure of the brand and its new collection.

Cost-effective Marketing Strategy

Since live streaming has a number of marketing benefits, one main reason it stands out is due to the fact that it captures the user’s attention instantly. With the popularity of smartphones and ease of internet access, a simple notification about a live stream can attract immediate viewers. In comparison with a written advertisement, it may not attract much attention and can easily be skipped. Static photos or banners may not always engage user interaction and can be easily forgotten. Videos may attract attention, but the audience may not always finish watching the video. People today seek instant gratification and entertainment, which live streaming can provide. Imagine a company hosting an event or product demonstration. Viewers who are able to watch it live can interact by asking questions or being involved in activities. The host can also provide immediate responses to any feedback. This type of interaction is entertaining and creates a more memorable experience for the viewer. Live streaming also has the potential to attract new and returning customers to increase brand loyalty. Consumers prefer to purchase products or services from an established brand. By showing that the business is active and has transparency, it gives an impression of goodwill and willingness to provide the best for their customers.

It is known that TV advertising can be expensive in Singapore. Many local businesses might not have the financial capabilities to engage in TV advertising. Various online advertising and social media marketing may not always bear fruit or can also be costly. Businesses are constantly seeking more cost-efficient and effective ways to market their products or services. By using live streaming as a marketing tool, businesses can save on the costs of video production and expensive advertising. Most live streaming platforms, such as Facebook Live and Instagram Live, are free and user-friendly, requiring only a smartphone and internet connection. Viewers can be easily notified and redirected to a live stream with just a simple notification. This serves as an effective way to reach out to target audiences and notify them about upcoming events or promotional sales. Not forgetting that the cost of hiring an influencer or online celebrity to market a product via live streaming will cost less than a local celebrity, with whom the business can engage in direct interaction with the influencer and audience. An example could be a live Q&A session with an influencer about the product or service to clear any doubts viewers may have. The influencer will then be able to answer in real-time with the viewers. This will create a more personal interaction compared to a recorded video interview and bear a more positive response for the brand.

Successful Examples of Live Streaming by Singaporean Brands

Riding on the social element of live streaming, Tiger Beer took things a step further by producing an E-Audience guide for the viewers at home. Here, the audience could download an array of fun soundboards, GIFs and even instructions on how to rig a drinking game to play as they watched the challenge. The guide also made it clear that comments from the audience could affect the challenges in the event, adding an element of interactivity that today’s live streams are accustomed to.

Upon tuning into the stream, viewers will quickly realize that this is not your regular live streaming event. Unlike usual live events, ‘Tiger Uncage Live Dare Challenge’ is scripted to be like a sports broadcast. With a trio of commentators, a sideline reporter and exclusive content from the teams in the days leading to the event, Tiger Beer has upped the ante of its live events to engage viewers. Not stopping there, the live stream promised a number of instant lucky draws for viewers to win prizes just for commenting on the stream. A trickle of messages quickly turned into a flood as viewers swarmed the comments section in a bid to win something for themselves.

Singapore boasts a number of big brands under its belt, one of the most prominent being Tiger Beer. The APB-owned brand has been active in the experiential marketing front, having engaged Internet and cable TV sensation Discovery Channel to front a series of ‘Tiger Uncage’ events that challenge individuals to take on dares of all kinds. In a bid to leverage the growing popularity of live streams, Tiger Beer turned to a live streaming event pitting celebrities and media against one another in a bid to get personalities to take on tricks and dares to win money for charity.

Brand A: Live Product Launches

Sony Brand A’s live streaming campaign focused around the launch of a new range of music products. A live concert was hosted and streamed exclusively on Sony’s website. The concert featured the band Incubus playing in a studio in Los Angeles. Sony used five cameras to film the band performing. The footage was then broadcast to viewers in the UK, France, and Germany at different times, giving each region a chance to watch the show at a reasonable hour. Viewers were able to interact with the band in real time by submitting questions and song requests. The band responded by voice to selected text questions that scrolled across the bottom of the screen. Video questions from the band’s fans were also solicited, and the band answered in breaks between songs. After the performance, viewers were directed to a microsite where they could purchase the new Sony music products while listening to Incubus’ latest album. They were also able to download a free Incubus music “EP” especially created for this event. This live streaming event was extremely effective for Sony as it provided the band with a new way to popularize their music and Sony a new way to promote their music product range. By conveying the success of using Sony products for recording and then showing the products being used in a live performance, the viewers were shown how Sony’s products are suited for both professional and personal use to create and enjoy music. The integration of music promotion with the launching of music products was also effective as it caused music fans to watch the show for the band, and Sony customers to watch the show for an opportunity to buy the products featured in the performance.

Brand B: Behind-the-Scenes Content

As is suggested in the title, Brand B used live streaming to give viewers a ‘behind the scenes’ look into the preparation and grooming a national sportsman goes through before a major competition. The Singapore Slingers, a local professional basketball team made use of the video streaming platform UStream to allow fans and supporters to follow guard Desmond Oh as he prepares for the 25th Sea Games in Laos. This series of live streams gave an intimate look into the huge amounts of effort and sacrifices that are made by athletes in order to represent Singapore on the world stage in their respective sports. By allowing fans to have direct and uncut access to Desmond and the team, the live streams created a stronger emotional connection between the team and its fans. This emotional connection is integral in increasing the support for Singapore’s sportsmen and it also helps to rally increased support for the Slingers and the sport of basketball in Singapore. The aim of the Behind the Scenes Series was to allow fans an inside look into the lives of professional athletes and what it takes to achieve success at a high level in sport. According to CEO of the Singapore Slingers, David Ong, the campaign was used as part of an effort to help athletes become positive role models in the community. He also stated that it was a successful way to increase the awareness and brand of the team both locally and in the region. The actual campaign was a success in terms of opening a window into the lives of professional athletes and there are many aspects that the Slingers and Desmond Oh can build on if they wish to do similar live streaming campaigns in the future.

Brand C: Influencer Collaborations

Visits to the Brand C website came from the influencer’s social media pages as well as new traffic sources, showing that the strategy was effective in targeting a new and larger audience.

The sessions were a huge success, with many viewers making a purchase then and there, as the items were limited and they didn’t want to miss out after seeing how good they looked on the influencer. These viewers also spread the word to friends in order to complete the purchase, creating a very large viral effect. This ultimately increased Brand C sales and drastically expanded their customer reach.

The final pieces that tied the collaboration together were the livestream sessions. The influencer would inform her viewers during social media posts on all her personal accounts to join her on the Brand C website at a specific date and time to catch an exclusive first look at the new collection, an item which wouldn’t be released for sale on the website until a later date. During these sessions, the influencer would model various pieces from the new collection, explaining why she liked the garment and how she would style it. Viewers were able to chat with the influencer and also Brand C staff using a live chat box, answering any questions they had about the garment or the brand and also obtaining styling advice from the influencer.

During these videos, the influencer would act as a Brand C customer, wearing the fashion brand’s various pieces and explaining how comfortable they were or how the material of the clothing made it suitable to wear in different weather conditions. These videos were real and unscripted, which allowed viewers to connect with the influencer on a personal level and also learn more about the Brand C product in an interesting way.

An agreement was made, and the influencer would become the ambassador for the brand, sharing her favorite pieces from the collection and informing her fans of any upcoming sales or promotions. At the same time, the influencer would also create a series of video blogs documenting a behind-the-scenes look at her life, detailing any challenges she faced and providing her viewers with advice on how she overcame those challenges.

After a chance meeting at a networking event, the owner of Brand C met a local social media influencer who had a very similar target demographic. The influencer had a large following on Instagram and was known for her helpful fashion tips and beauty advice. Both parties figured that this collaboration could mutually benefit both sides, resulting in a much larger reach for Brand C.

Brand C is one of Singapore’s fastest growing online fashion brands. The brand is well known for its vibrant and stylish approach targeted at females between the ages of 18-28. The brand is already successful; however, the team is always looking for new and innovative ways to grow their audience and customer base.

Brand D: Live Q&A Sessions

This brand-consumer interaction is vital for a brand looking to analyze the overall reception of their live stream. The ability to answer direct feedback and criticism is a hugely beneficial tool and ensures that no mixed messages are sent between broadcasting the stream and addressing public concerns. This is especially vital for a service product like Chope’s, as it ensures that they acknowledge and guarantee customer satisfaction. A live Q&A session is essentially a more proficient and useful way of soliciting feedback and is incomparable to the comments section for a recorded stream. This interaction embodies the value of how direct consumer feedback can be for yielding insights on service improvements.

Another way brands connect with their customers is to run a live Q&A session right after a stream. Brands like Chope, having a relatively large following on Facebook (30,000 likes), benefit from answering questions directly from concerned customers about their product. Chope ran a live stream promoting their voucher sales with Qoo10 over a 2-day period, where the first 50 customers received a $100 dining voucher. After their first stream, Chope ran another live stream to review any concerns and questions customers may have about the promotion. During this session, Chope staff spoke to a Qoo10 representative regarding issues and questions brought up by customers from the chat.

Tips for Effective Live Streaming Marketing in Singapore

Plan and promote in advance Effective live streaming marketing begins before the broadcast takes place. Brands must first choose the live streaming platform that best suits their content. Once this decision has been made, it is important to begin promoting the broadcast at least a week in advance. This can be done through all marketing channels. For example, sharing teasers on Instagram and Facebook, writing a blog post, and creating an email marketing campaign. Encourage interaction by informing the audience on how the stream can benefit them and ask them what they’re hoping to gain from it. Get their opinions on the topic of the live stream. For example, if it’s an interview, then questions they want answering. This can be an opportunity to create polls, giving the audience a sense of input and power on the broadcast and its content. All of these elements will serve to maximize the subsequent streaming audience and, eventually, its consumer base.

Plan and Promote in Advance

Remember that some of your viewers might not use Facebook or Twitter, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t want to catch your stream. For fans that might not use social media as much, a promotional video on your channel a week or so before the stream can inform them. A more personalized approach is to directly contact your subscribers through a website posting or email. This not only alerts your subscribers of the event but will also lead to a higher attendance rate as opposed to random visitors. Always remember, no matter how you promote your live stream, be sure that you haven’t forgotten your regular upload in the process.

The platform you are streaming on is not going to be enough to attract viewers. It’s important to notify viewers on other platforms or through other forms of media that you’ll be live at a certain time. A mistake that is typically made is that people simply just won’t know about the stream. You should begin your live streaming promotion a few weeks beforehand to build some hype. A good place to start is social media, whether it’s a Facebook post or a tweet. It is important that you have a link or a specific time and date your audience can expect you. Creating a teaser is an effective way to spark interest. This can be done with just a simple image or a short video about your stream. Email is another essential tool that is overlooked.

Engage with the Audience in Real-time

Creating an environment for communication and interaction is the best way to engage with the audience. This can be done through many forms such as holding a lucky draw during the live stream, where winners will be announced and able to receive consolation prizes from the brand, or getting an influencer/celebrity to endorse the live stream and interact with fans. Haresh explains how the best way to engage with your audience would be to give them a task, where there will be a benefit or reward at the end. Something as simple as sharing the live stream video can be beneficial for the brand.

This kind of breakthrough “commercial media” can offer a fascinating window on the genuine interaction between the brand and customer, and takes marketing to an entirely new level in doing so. The audience is able to comment on live-stream video and receive responses from the brand in real time – this is a highly valuable opportunity to build rapport and customer loyalty. Lim notes that this can be an effective way of taking questions and receiving feedback on the brand’s services and products. Thus, it is a possibility for the brand to make on-the-spot changes to the products according to the feedback received, showing and telling the customers that their thoughts are valuable to the brand.

Maintain High Production Quality

High production quality live streaming may also end up saving the brand money in the future. Director and co-founder of Reactive, Tim Fougen, claims that the digital content created by live streaming can also be used as on-demand video post streaming. This video-on-demand or VOD can be edited, branded, and then used as a video ad in the future. This is additional content at no additional cost.

Smith also states that “Authentic high-quality video content and brand experiences can create competitive separation in the minds of consumers.” This statement is true in most marketing themes within this digital advertising era. Authentic high-quality content is what separates the market leaders and the rest of the market. This separation will be set into the consumer’s mind as a positive image and thus potentially increasing brand favorability and sales.

Gerard Smith, director of Group M Asia-Pacific, agrees with Ng-Ferguson and claims that high production quality will reflect positively on the brand. With serious investment from the brand into the live streaming, the high production quality will portray the brand as more professional.

High production quality is vital for every video, especially a live stream. Senior marketing and communications manager of Essence Digital Singapore, Germaine Ng Ferguson, discusses the importance of high production quality in live streaming. She compares the production quality to TV quality and says that the live stream must have a TV feel to it. Low production quality might lead the audience to question the credibility of the brand and the content of the live stream. This is an important point, as we always want to maintain or enhance the credibility of the brand and the product.

Analyze and Learn from Analytics

A few additional points to keep in mind while working on acquiring data are that data from multiple sources, such as the live streaming platform, company website, and social media platforms, should all be consolidated for analysis, as data from one source may not be sufficient to provide all the required insights. Also, it may be helpful to seek out experts in data analysis so that the data can be effectively translated into useful insights.

In addition, comparing overall sales figures and website traffic during the duration of the live stream to typical averages would also help determine if the live stream was effective in terms of driving sales.

Take note of the comments from viewers; some might be useful and provide insights on what consumers are looking for. Other than that, looking at data such as the number of viewers at different points in the stream and when viewers dropped off might provide useful insights into the overall reception of the live stream.

Success and failure are both important. Companies shouldn’t be disheartened even if their live stream marketing attempt did not bring in the desired results. The best thing to do is to study and gain insights on what went right and what went wrong so that firms can effectively learn from mistakes and improve on their next live stream marketing attempt.

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