Digital Transformation

How KFC and Shein are creating success in a complex digital world

By David Fairfull |

January 20, 2022 | 6 min read

Even as digital takes centre stage as the future of marketing, the basic tenets of marketing remain critical. Only then will the brand unlock the potential of the new way of marketing backed by the many new tools at its disposal. Competition is fierce in the digital world as well, points out David Fairfull, CEO and co-founder of Metigy.

In the post-pandemic world, digital advertising has emerged as one of the strongest forms of marketing across the globe. Australia has been no different. With Australians spending more than six hours a day online, many brands are rubbing their hands in glee to make the most of this captive audience via digital spending.

The flip side of this shift has been the rise in prices. As the demand for digital advertising options has skyrocketed, so too has the price, with the cost-per-click on Google and Facebook soaring over the past few years.

Digital world is getting competitive too

Digital world is getting competitive

For big brands, adding a few extra zeros to their budgets might not be a make or break, but for SMEs, many who are already struggling after a difficult 18 months, it can be costly.

Here is how brands can stretch their digital budgets and invest their marketing resources better

Broaden the marketing horizons for best ROI

Brands must now invest in all the tools at their disposal - and the biggest ally in this fight is social media.

Between TikTok, Instagram, and even LinkedIn, choosing the right platform is crucial. While you’re unlikely to reach executives at a legal company through a TikTok dance (feel free to prove me wrong), each platform has its unique points and audience. For brands, knowing their customer’s key demographics and understanding their brand voice will help decipher which platform will work best.

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Well-known fast-food chain KFC has harnessed the knowledge of its customers to build a strong social campaign. As sponsors of Cricket Australia, KFC’s iconic chicken bucket has become a symbol of support over the years, with fans donning the empty bucket as a hat, in a trend neither fashionable nor practical. In 2020, with Australia in lockdown over cricket season, KFC launched a #buckethead TikTok campaign, asking creators and fans to don their bucket (as a filter) and make their dances to show support for the Aussie cricketers.

By involving customers, KFC maintained a close relationship with fans, and capitalized on the trend from afar, building organic mentions which stayed true to their brand voice and resulting in a successful campaign on the platform with over 77.5 million views.

KFC’s campaign leveraged the capabilities that TikTok is well known for. Concentrating its efforts on one platform helped the brand build targeted content relevant to their audience which resonated because of the historical knowledge fans have - even Aussie cricketer David Warner got involved!

Make the media plan truly integrated

You’ve put in the work, written the copy, drawn the ad, (and all other bits that go into producing an advert), and uploaded it online for the world to see. Great, you think, job well done! But you’ve forgotten one of the most important parts of the process.

Despite all the work that goes into creating the advertisement, when it comes to the next steps, it can be easy for marketers to set and forget. But evaluating advertising efforts is crucial to maximizing ad spend budget.

By comparing performance over time, brands can create organic content which resonates with the audience. Because the reality is that if you don’t know where you’ve come from, it’s hard to know where to go.

Get ready to hook the customer beyond just clickbait

Investing time in optimizing CTR will increase digital traffic. But with the increased competition online, this isn’t always easy.

Ads should have an engaging and relevant copy, a strong call to action, and keywords for SEO. One form of SEO used by both Amazon and Netflix is long-tail SEO, where they use long sentence keywords to attract users. Unusual, but if two of the biggest companies in the world are using it, who are we to judge?

Using long-tail keywords, brands can find highly motivated and targeted customers who know what they’re looking for. If your customer is Googling ‘Danny DeVito Nacho Cheese Flavor 3D Print T-Shirt Trendy Pullover T-Shirt Top 2019 Men/Ladies’ they know what they’re after, and you can be waiting for them with open arms.

Competition is fierce in the digital world and getting people to commit can be difficult. One tactic to consider is adding countdowns to your adverts or EDMs, encouraging clicks to avoid the dreaded FOMO. As an example, fast fashion brands Shein and Fashion Nova often have banners at the top of their websites with bold timers threatening the disappearance of sales. And with Shein’s 250% year-on-year increase in revenue, it’s clear to see it’s a tactic that works.

It’s a rough time for many brands out there right now. But by being smart with the time and resources being invested, brands can develop strategic and effective digital marketing strategies. With digital ad costs only expected to rise, it is time to start getting the best bang for your buck.

David Fairfull is CEO and co-founder of Australian integrated marketing agency Metigy.

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