Case study: Raising Alibaba.com's profile among Western consumer

Hub recall their work with Alibaba.com, which helped to increase the portal's profile.

Alibaba.com wanted to expand its reach and attract Western consumers while also boosting its global brand awareness.

The brand enlisted Hub to lead a new campaign activation, in which it released TV and online assets as well as various product explainer animations.

Background

Alibaba.com, the B2B e-commerce portal that enables global trade amongst small and medium sized business, wanted to crack the Western market following its huge commercial success in Asia.

The team wanted to raise the brand's global awareness by 20%. Following the same model that brought them success in Asia’s emerging markets, Alibaba wanted to reach existing SME’s and would-be entrepreneurs, particularly those eager to launch a business but not knowing where to start, identifying itself as a trusted partner to the start-up generation.

Strategy

Building on the global trends of start-up accelerators and pop-up retail, Hub created a television format and integrated TV and online campaign that focused on 12 individuals competing against each other as they started out on their own unique business journeys. The competing, head-to-head narrative of the series created a powerful emotional connection with the brand for viewers in 108 countries. Audiences could see the transformative power of Alibaba.com as both an instrumental day to day tool and a guiding hand in the long-term growth of each individual’s business.

Hub chose CNBC as the place to launch a branded entertainment series, and accompanying microsite, called Pop Up Start Up – an informative and entertaining look at the experience of 12 entrepreneurs, guided on their journey by some of the best business and retail brains around. CNBC’s huge global reach seemed like the perfect chance for a brand aiming to engage western consumers with new ideas and ways of working. The TV broadcast series was supported by brand spots and promotions across the CNBC network in Europe, Middle East, Africa, US and Asia Pacific. A supporting online campaign across CNBC.com and a global PR campaign was simultaneously launched.

A series of case studies were created, featuring the real world business stories of the Alibaba.com customer base. They were sourced to highlight some of the most popular product categories in order for potential customers to be able to both empathise with their stories and feel enabled by seeing their success in their business and the support that Alibaba.com provided them.

A suite of product explainer animations were created to showcase some of the products available on Alibaba.com to assist both buyers and suppliers.

Process

The overall campaign received 653m cross platform impressions with 110m unique viewers reached on air (content 63m, commercial 47m) and Alibaba.com's brand awareness increased by 31%.

David Hunstone, CEO and director of content at Hub.

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