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By The Drum, Editorial

May 30, 2024 | 8 min read

Winning Retail Gold in The Drum Awards for Marketing APAC is OPPO Singapore with its 'Hitting the Best Sales Achievement Worldwide'. Here is the award-winning case study.

Background – Non-Existence in Premium & Hi-Tech Segments

OPPO was the market leader in Singapore’s affordable smartphone sector but had a 0% market share in the premium sector, priced at SGD 1,700+. Therefore, OPPO’s launch of the high-end foldable phone flagships (Find N3, Find N3 Flip) was a repositioning to elevate the affordable mass brand to a high-end tech brand.

Challenges – Launching into a New Territory

  • New Hi-Tech Positioning – Stepping into the competitors’ territories.
  • Premium Sector (High Price) – Lacked the premium sector’s customer base and the new model was even more expensive than the newest iPhone.
  • Niche Products – The new foldable phones were comparatively niche in the market, and Samsung dominated the product category.
  • Cluttered Competition – In the wake of Covid-19, other giant global mobile brands launched upgraded products in the same period.
  • Lower Budget – OPPO’s launch budget was less than half of what Samsung allocated for its new product during the same period.

Redefined the Targets

OPPO’s challenge was to convert the current “majority” (64% of the market’s customers) through upgrades and to extend aggressively into “early adopters” for fast expansion:

  1. Business Professionals – who were willing to pay more for quality while still insisting on value for money, eg, CEOs and industry leaders.
  2. Practical Tech Influencers – who prioritized the practicability of technology and were influential in endorsing OPPO’s technology, eg, university professors and CIOs of international brands.
  3. Photographers and Style Trend Leaders – whose endorsement could highlight OPPO’s competitive advantage in camera and photography functions.

Strategy

Sharpen the Blade with One Proposition

OPPO brought an industry breakthrough and broke the belief that foldable phones’ photographic functions were less ideal. It proposed a bold and aspirational proposition to challenge the market: “Foldables Reimagined.”

3-Dimensional Marketing Strategy to Achieve Three Objectives

  1. Awareness on OPPO’s technology – Expanding audience reach to amplify OPPO’s share of voice in the premium mobile market. KPI: exposure to tech-related media and social media.
  2. Acceptance of the new brand proposition – Penetrating specific “early adopters” with the highest possibilities to shift from market leaders to OPPO. KPI: Media awareness on “Foldables Reimagined” and brand consideration.
  3. Conversion to sales – Consumers took longer to consider when purchasing expensive products. Therefore, the launch campaign had to sustain a longer sales momentum to absorb the conversion. KPI: New products’ sales and market share in the premium sector.

Media Strategy and Affiliate Marketing for Best Persuasion

  1. Creating Stories for Media Exposure – Besides the product stories, OPPO brilliantly created a wide range of topics to attract different media, eg, inviting the famous soccer star Kaka to the launch, featuring the Chinese brand’s global expansion, and hosting the OPPO Inspiration Challenge competition on rewarding enterprises’ ideas.
  2. Inter-Brand Partnerships for Engagement – Incorporated the widest cross-brand partnerships for OPPO in Singapore to create different experiential occasions, eg, owning the male audience with the presence of a soccer star in launch events, soccer fan club gathering with telecommunications operator Starhub, and a free viewing of Premier League for new buyers.
  3. KOL and KOC Micro-Influencers – Besides celebrity endorsers to grab eyeballs, most of the media budget was invested in micro-KOCs for deep penetration into selected targets. OPPO facilitated product trials and provided photo skill sharing from professionals to empower the KOC to experience breakthroughs in real-life applications.

Execution

Stage 1: To Go Wide for General Awareness

First Global Product Launch in Singapore – To grab the maximum attention from distributors to expand distribution channels into premium segments. The presence of hi-tech speakers and famous soccer star Kaka intensified media exposure.

B2C Integrated Communications – OPPO ran the first naked-eye 3D mobile phone outdoor advertising to stir the talk-of-the-town. Its 360° media plan also included product placement in TV, featured stories in print and digital media, interviews by radio, outdoor ads from office lifts to giant billboards, and a huge volume of social content to cover different touch points of both business and leisure users.

Stage 2: To Go Deep on Specific Targets

OPPO Pop-Up Studio to Attract Early Adopters – To raise OPPO’s visibility in CBD and capture immediate sales, OPPO built a huge pop-up studio with giant outdoor billboard in the upscaled shopping and commercial district. It was presented as a photography exhibition, with tailored set-ups of portrait and selfie zones to highlight the proposition and provide a creative trial experience.

Partnership and Micro KOLs for Engagement with Specific Targets – The cross-branded partnership created experiential occasions highlighting OPPO’s value-added functions, eg, the photography exhibition with Nylon Magazine, soccer fans club gathering with Starhub, mobile phone case production with Ambush Design, anniversary party with ELLE, fashion summit with Vogue, and business seminars with Forbes, etc.

Stage 3: To Go Long for Sustaining Endorsement & Leadership

“Unfolding Opportunities” Tech Summits – OPPO employed regular tech summits to interact with tech and business leaders. Tech speakers were invited to share their insights to attract premium attendants. The careful selection of attendants became a semi-business networking occasion to build bonds with high-end users.

Forbes 30 Under 30 Summits – OPPO hosted the largest co-op summit with Forbes in Singapore to engage young entrepreneurs. The summits shared professional insights from expert speakers. They established a continuous dialogue with young business executives, which helped to differentiate OPPO further from Samsung’s hard-core tech and Apple’s creative equities.

Road to Paris – To sustain the “Foldables Reimagined” momentum, OPPO launched an eye-catching travel-to-reimagine tour covering Europe’s most photogenic locations and participated as the only smartphone brand in Paris Photo 2023, the largest international art fair dedicated to the photographic medium, which generated a vast volume of photo content and stirred user-generated content.

Results

Sharp Sales Increase to Become Market Leader

  • Singapore’s new product sales KPI achievement rate topped all OPPO’s markets worldwide.
  • 2023 launch sales were five times the last launch of the same series.
  • Premium market share surged from 0% to 18% in two months.
  • Top-three in total sales of smartphones in Singapore with traditional giants Samsung and Apple.

Higher Share of Voice at a Lower Budget Than Key Competitors

  • 50+ million news views in Singapore, equivalent to 10 times exposure per Singaporean, 333% of the standard average media exposure per campaign (source: GroupM).
  • OPPO was Google Daily Trend’s top-ten search on the launch day.
  • 40 mass media/tech media reported the Singapore launch, one of the few tech product launches featured in top-three trend media (ELLE, Vogue, Viu), and the only mobile brand that partnered with Forbes on its regional summit.
  • 73.2% share of voice in technology media.
  • YoY earned media exposure increased in Singapore’s top two social media, Facebook (548%) and Instagram (2,000%).
  • Over 2m views on OPPO’s official launch on LinkedIn & YouTube in the first two weeks after launch.

Consumers’ Acceptance of the New Positioning

  • 79% of visitors to OPPO Pop-up Studio spent 20+ minutes, with a record-breaking conversion rate of 74% engaged in sales activities and 31% on product trials.
  • The top three brand equities quoted by participants in the post-campaign survey were “camera capabilities” (54%), “OPPO’s technology” (51%), and “for professional” (44%).
  • Facebook engagement increased by 155% in the launch period.

Exceptional Success Over Samsung and Apple

  • 54% buyers of new products were shifted from Samsung and Apple.
  • The budget was less than half of Samsung’s new product launch in the same period, while the sales return was higher than Samsung.
  • After engaging in OPPO’s launch events, 74% of participants felt inspired or more creative, which used to be Apple’s territory.

Ready to get your work recognized on a global stage? Enter The Drum Awards today. Need more inspiration, read our Award Winning Case Studies.

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