Metaverse Social Media Media Planning and Buying

‘No one-off activations’: Ogilvy China’s experience lead on using the metaverse for brands


By Shawn Lim, Reporter, Asia Pacific

April 7, 2022 | 7 min read

The Drum speaks to Tom Wan, the president of experience at Ogilvy China to find out how the agency is building an experience offering for its clients and how it is leveraging the metaverse.


Today’s main challenge for brands is not a lack of customer data / Ogilvy

As brands in China increase their investment and efforts in using customer data across public and private domain platforms to improve engagement and create better loyalty experiences, Ogilvy is building an end-to-end experience offering that generates value for its clients.

It recently hired Kent Lee as its head of experience, where he will lead a team of e-commerce, CRM, loyalty, and data specialists. Lee joined Ogilvy from TippingPoint, a cross-border design and innovation-based incubator, where he led the brand marketing capability, helping US brands devise go-to-market strategies to bring their products to Chinese consumers.

What are Ogilvy’s clients’ needs in China at the moment and how will your role help them address their needs?

Today our clients’ top priority is to drive growth through customer value, and I’d say the two most common business challenges we help them with are building private domain traffic and creating brand-owned hubs where data, technology, and content are seamlessly integrated. The main reason behind this is the increasingly fierce competition for shoppers’ attention and bandwidth on China’s large e-commerce platforms. Customer acquisition costs are at an all-time high and brands are feeling the urgency to limit their reliance on platforms like Tmall and, and progressively regain ownership over customer data to build stickier relationships and personalized experiences that generate value and impact.

Now, if we look at things on a more micro-level, there are plenty of questions clients come to us for guidance when it comes to navigating the Chinese digital and e-commerce landscape: How to design a loyalty program that leads to increased customers’ lifetime value? How to drive Tmall customers to our WeChat ecosystem, and leverage community word-of-mouth to get referrals?

How to integrate data from different channels and marketplaces to form a single customer view and where does my tech stack fit into that? How to increase the ROI of content creation to boost conversion and expand our customer pool?

Day-to-day, that means our teams work at the intersection of UX/UI design, data & technology implementation, CRM and loyalty program design, digital asset creation, and deployment, all to ensure long-term customer value growth.

With the rise of the metaverse, how will your role help clients understand their place in the metaverse?

Our role is to help them assess how to leverage the metaverse in a way that is relevant to their audience and their industry. We like to start with the why, working with brands on identifying their long-term goals as part of the broader consumer experience umbrella and see where the metaverse fits into that, rather than riding on the hype through sporadic one-off activations.

There are plenty of opportunities and exciting developments ahead:

  • Brands can leverage the metaverse to reach younger cohorts and rejuvenate perception around their products – this could be a boon for auto brands, whose core customer pool is typically more mature

  • The metaverse offers a canvas for a new world of creative possibilities, where brands can create new narratives, and virtual characters, and bring their already-recognizable distinctive assets to life in novel ways. For this past Chinese New Year, Coca-Cola introduced an NFT art piece offered to consumers through lucky draws and interactive games as limited-edition artwork, an extension of the physical limited-edition festive bottle and cans.

  • We also shouldn’t forget the potential of NFTs to add value to existing digital ecosystems. Digital tokens can be used to enhance users’ digital personality in a game or virtual platform or could be leveraged to build close-knit, exclusive communities that enhance loyalty

What does an end-to-end experience look like for Ogilvy’s clients in China?

When we talk about end-to-end experiences, we refer to a customer value growth framework that encompasses multiples channels and touchpoints. The way Chinese consumers engage with brands through digital is very diversified and fragmented today. Building an end-to-end branded customer experience includes:

  • driving brand awareness based on a media integration strategy that relies on public traffic generation, KOL content nurturing, and private domain re-targeting;

  • generating purchase interest through social customer engagement within the WeChat ecosystem with data-powered, personalized content;

  • converting for purchase through DTC mechanisms to foster real-time engagement and generate higher customer lifetime value

  • ultimately creating loyalty bonding with a segmented membership program.

By leveraging this framework, we helped an international coffee brand deploy a full-funnel strategy that saw their WeChat fan base and achieve an engagement rate above 40%. A similar approach was used for a fast-growing cosmetics brand, resulting in over 60% of their business coming from their registered members.

How will customer data improve engagement and create a better loyalty experience?

Data-driven insights are a must-have to deliver personalized customer engagement. Today’s main challenge for brands is not a lack of customer data but conversely, an overwhelmingly large amount of it often scattered across various touchpoints. By structuring data using user behavior tags, we can achieve a single customer view, where data from different channels is aggregated to enable the delivery of precise content through marketing automation across the customer's lifetime journey.

At Ogilvy China we have the chance to work with a solid network of leading data and marketing technology partners to deploy data-powered solutions, resulting in accelerated activation conversion and operational excellence for our clients, as well as delivery of a digital ecosystem customized journey for their customers.

For an international fast fashion brand, for example, we designed and managed a digital interaction framework for their 10+ million fans, using an intelligent algorithm that analyzed millions of multi-channel data points in real-time and translated customer insights into recommended content and product suggestions.

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