The Drum Awards Festival - Official Deadline

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By Charlotte McEleny

March 12, 2021 | 7 min read

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Key trends for this year include marketing with purpose, tapping into the culture at the speed of life and being personalised, according to Southeast Asia’s top brands on Twitter.

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According to Cisco, the use of digital platforms, like Twitter, helped drive the biggest virtual audience the brand had ever had

The Drum and Twitter have brought together three of the winners of last year’s #BestOfTweets to share lessons and tips about how to become a successful brand and create campaigns worth remembering and talking about, as well as what they think will be the biggest marketing trends for 2021.

Twitter’s managing director for Southeast Asia, Arvinder Gujral, joins The Drum’s APAC publisher Charlotte McEleny in speaking to marketers from McDonald’s Philippines, Shopee and Cisco about their advice for marketers this year.

McDonald’s on purpose and playing a role in consumer’s lives

McDonald’s Philippines (@McDo_PH) won “Best Campaign for Driving Positive Change in Society” in the #BestOfTweets Southeast Asia Awards for its National Heroes Day campaign, which aimed to recognise and celebrate the hard work of frontline workers during the pandemic. The campaign promoted the brand partnering with Coca-Cola to donate free products to the unsung heroes of 2020 - the frontline workers, as a way of saying thank you, without requiring any purchase.

According to Ada Almendras-Lazaro, marketing manager at McDonald’s Philippines, despite the altruistic aims of the campaign, it did drive business results.

“The free item was redeemable in all McDonald’s stores upon presentation of a coupon downloadable through the McDonald’s app. The initiative was not only successful in celebrating the occasion but also drove the highest app downloads and highest coupon redemption since the McDonald’s app was launched,” she explains.

In terms of how the brand uses Twitter to enact purpose-driven marketing, she says it’s about reaching consumers at the right moment.

“We apply the strategy of Moment Marketing on Twitter. This is where we put in significant support for identified moments in the lives of our consumers, big or small. Twitter is an effective platform for running promos and occasion-based offers, as well as product launches. Aside from these big occasions, Twitter also plays a role in engaging with our target audience during micro-moments, such as paydays. Or even the last few days before a payday where consumer budget is at its tightest and it, therefore, becomes an opportunity for us to push for a relevant message like value offers,” she adds.

Cisco on how virtual gave its events its biggest audience ever

Cisco (@ciscoapac) won the #BestOfTweets regional award for “Best Virtual Event” for Cisco Live, which normally takes place as a physical event, with some virtual amplification but was moved entirely online in 2020, with two-way interaction, due to the pandemic.

Nesrene O’Connell, head of ANZ event marketing and APJC event strategy at Cisco, explains, “Under normal circumstances, Cisco Live is held in early March as a physical event and amplified to a virtual audience. However, as COVID-19 quickly advanced in late February, we made the decision to pivot Cisco Live APJC in-person event – typically a destination for approximately 10,000 customers, partners, press, and analysts – into a two-day digital experience, April 1-2, 2020. With only a few weeks to plan, the team quickly built the first-ever fully virtual Cisco Live.”

According to Cisco, the use of digital platforms, like Twitter, helped drive the biggest virtual audience the brand had ever had.

One of her key pieces of advice in doing virtual events is to create the best content, keeping in mind the context of what people are doing at that moment.

“Content really is key. We need to always be current and mindful of what's happening now - what is the current situation of your viewing audience? What is their work environment? What are their working hours? The current news topics? What do people want to know today?” she says.

Shopee on bringing a personalised, social touch to e-commerce

Southeast Asian e-commerce giant Shopee took home three awards during last year’s #BestOfTweets, bagging Most Tweeted About Brand in Southeast Asia, Malaysia (@shopeemy) and Indonesia (@shopeeid). Shopee attributes several tactics to this win, including tapping into important cultural themes on Twitter, such as K-pop.

Huiyan Pan, regional content and community lead from Shopee said its mission is to humanize shopping and make it more sociable. They have been using cultural and entertainment channels, like gaming and music, to also connect with customers.

Knowing Twitter was a core platform for the K-Pop community, Shopee used the platform to promote exclusive live streams.

“In June, we brought KCON, the world’s largest Korean culture festival online by streaming it on Shopee Live. We created content and activations across social platforms like Twitter, to drive awareness and engagement before, during and after these Livestream sessions,” she says.

Her second piece of advice to brands that want to become the most Tweeted about it to think local.

“When it comes to social engagement for multinational brands, a hyper localised approach can help to generate high conversation on social media where there are no borders between you and your followers. Interaction between different local teams shows a fun side to your brand. It also shows that your brand has an authentic voice, rather than a brand-centric spokesperson,” she adds.

Her final piece of advice is for brands to get back to basics: creating a seamless customer experience across their own channels, as well as when using platforms like Twitter to expand their reach.

To learn more about brands that have been leading the way on Twitter, check out all the #BestofTweets winners at or follow @TwitterMktgSG on Twitter.

APAC Digital Marketing Social Media Marketing

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