Content marketing is a growing trend in Singapore, and a legacy publisher like Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) is well-placed to utilise its expertise in co-creating content with brands to produce readable and entertaining content, packaged into an exciting campaign bundle that leverages the interactivity of an online platform to engage and delight audiences.

Furniture and electronics retailer COURTS is a long-time advertiser with SPH that has always bought into a single media channel. At the end of 2016, the retailer wanted to reach out to Millennials who are also digital natives and woo them in their own space.

Our BrandInsider team had only a couple of days to propose a campaign that would stand out from the scores of other online content fighting for attention. The solution had to deliver two primary objectives:

The first objective was to drive footfall to the COURTS Tampines Megastore. 

The Straits Times BrandInsider team developed a wide-ranging digital marketing strategy aimed at Millennials that struck a delicate balance to avoid stepping on the toes of its client’s other traditional media advertising.
The Straits Times BrandInsider team developed a wide-ranging digital marketing strategy aimed at Millennials that struck a delicate balance to avoid stepping on the toes of its client’s other traditional media advertising.

The advertiser already had a series of tactical campaigns on print and radio to promote the store’s 10th anniversary, and plenty of deals and bargains lined up to drive consumer interest for this event. The company wanted a digital campaign that would complement the media campaigns running in print and on radio, but did not rehash the same tactical messaging.

The second objective was to increase consumer awareness about the in-house services that COURTS provided as a value add in its retail operations without letting this information be drowned out by scores of other content available online.

Both objectives had to keep in mind the online consumption pattern of Millennial readers — digital natives who are more open to content discovery when their digital experiences are an authentic reflection of their daily experiences. The team wanted to replicate this experience for readers when they were directed to the retailer’s content.

The BrandInsider team had to be mindful about balancing these two objectives without being overly aggressive in pushing across advertising messages that were too tactical in nature, but still craft content that was palatable for audiences.

The team’s aim was to deliver content that would engage audiences, while executing a branding campaign that was exciting for readers to discover. The team proposed building a microsite to offer dedicated content that would be entertaining and helpful for audiences looking for home appliances and electronic consumer goods.

The Straits Times BrandInsider microsite offered COURTS a content hub housed within a brand-safe environment where the client could reach quality audiences familiar with the news and lifestyle content offerings from Singapore’s largest and most-established publisher and news provider.

Armed with insights specific to The Straits Times, the BrandInsider content team tapped its experience in engaging this audience to create and curate content around two key pillars:

1. The first focused on content that entertained. With a local spin that Singapore audiences could identify with, the team conceptualised a video story that addressed local audiences who were either homeowners or househunting.

Tapping into the psyche of home-proud but pragmatic Singaporeans, the video was a humorous insight into the retailer’s key messaging. Audiences discovered COURTS’ value-added services and its anniversary celebrations via a tongue-in-cheek story of a couple on the hunt for a perfect bed for their new home.

To drive awareness for the retailer’s anniversary promotions, the video concluded with a plug for the event itself, written into the story for a comical effect.

The video was part of a multi-pronged storytelling strategy, incorporating interactive video technology, to showcase the retailer’s products and services, and was complemented by a host of feature articles.

2. To educate readers on COURTS offerings, the second initiative centered around articles designed to address homeowner needs and challenges, and allow readers to discover the retailer’s one-stop destination for comprehensive home and furnishing solutions, as well as IT products and gadgets.

These ranged from maintenance for home-furnishing items, home-interior decoration services that were available in-store, and trade-in schemes and repair services for electrical appliances — written in short, snappy articles that were easy to digest. To drive reader interest back to the retailer’s ecommerce site, each article ended with a short quiz that rewarded readers with a US$7.50 e-voucher redeemable at the online store.

Combining brand awareness with a tactical approach, the integrated marketing campaign was based on design-centred thinking to target new families, resulting in an approach that put the needs of the COURTS consumers front and centre. This messaging was amplified across various media, using SPH’s wide network of print, digital, radio, and out-of-home solutions.

The approach added new money to the COURTS ad spend, spread across new channels like digital, radio, and out-of-home (US$163,460 in total), adding to its print spend of US$473,300. More importantly, the campaign successfully converted a traditionally single-media advertiser into an omni-channel one.