A cute purple monkey has little to do with a major financial institution. However, Siam Commercial Bank has seen success on Line with its playful Nong Easy stickers.
Stickers have helped the Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) accumulate millions of followers on its Line account, enhancing brand engagement through targeted content.
The Korean-Japanese mobile messaging app Line has 33 million users in Thailand, offering everything from e-commerce to taxi bookings to gaming. But brands hoping to reach these users must first set up an account on the Line platform and then wait to be 'followed'. To encourage followers, SCB has developed a series of 'stickers' in the form of a playful, purple monkey called Nong Easy. They're used much like emojis in social media conversations, conveying feeling without words. While many of the cutesy collection of stickers in the Line sticker shop are for purchase, the bank offers a free download of Nong Easy cartoons once the user agrees to follow the bank's account on Line.
While cartoon internet stickers, don't immediately call to mind a bank chain, Line actually helps to promote brands who chose to engage users with stickers, according to Thiti Tantilertanant, social media management officer with SCB’s integrated digital marketing management team.
"For businesses who use stickers, the Line platform will promote the brand via the sticker shop," says Tantilertanant. "If users are interested in those brands, they will follow those official accounts, and after that brands can communicate to their customers directly and [in real time] through users' mobile devices, which are always connected," he says.
The bank has been using stickers since 2012. Over that time they have delivered five sets of cartoons featuring Nong Easy, which has helped to push the number of followers on SCB's Line account to over 17 million.
Return (Read more...) investment (ROI) for the stickers is measured by the number of followers added after launching each new sticker set. And while not all of those users may be active, the bank says the cost per follower for its latest Nong Easy sticker set works out to less than 1 Thai baht (US$ 0.03) per user.
After consumers follow the brand through the sticker shop, the bank then uses a mix of content to reach its target audiences: current SCB customers and newcomers the brand hopes will be interested in more than stickers.
"We normally send financial tips, inspired quotes, new product launches, updates on CSR activities and timely content," says Tantilertanant. "Moreover, we also use a rich menu feature to provide content such as exchange rates, credit card promotions, and available positions in our bank which our members can check for up-to-date information any time they need."
Currently, the same content is sent to all members of the bank's Line account – such as this SCB debit card two-for-one movie ticket promotion (above) – but SCB is hoping Line will allow it to tailor specific content to targeted groups down the track.
Stickers are big business in Asia. In May, Line released its revenue and user figures from sticker sales over the past 12 months, finding its Line Creators Market was worth Japanese yen 8.94 billion (US$73 million). Line says there are currently over 100,000 sticker sets for sale in its sticker shop, so brands passing out stickers for free, like SCB, can often find instant popularity.
"Given the huge penetration of Line in Thailand, using their sticker option can be an innovative way of getting your brand noticed," says Nick Annetts, managing director of Wunderman in Bangkok.
However, he warns that stickers need to fit into everyday conversation and may not be for every brand. For example, brands hoping to market to men might strike out with stickers.
"For stickers, creative should tap into common or trending phrases," says Annetts. "As for brands using stickers in Thailand, we’ve seen all sorts – retailers, food manufacturers and car companies. But if you’re a male-focused brand, or not meant to be cute, I’d probably think twice about using them."
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