Push and Pull – Winning Strategies for Websites

Companies often use  push and pull marketing strategies in order to reach their target customers, develop their brands and boost their sales. Push marketing refers to companies ‘push’ their products and services to customers using online or offline advertisements – emails, pay-per-click ads, pop-up ads. Meanwhile, pull marketing is a customer focused strategy in which companies and customers interact with each other on social media platforms or through SEO, blogs or whitepapers in which customers will find them intriguing . My client The British Council in Hong Kong and its competitors  The Wall Street English and the TESOL International Association (TESOL) provide English language learning to customers based on demographics such age, English proficiency levels as well as customers’ objectives in learning the language – for work, personal interests, academic use. One point to note is that my client also works on arts, education and society in order to promote the British culture.

Push techniques on websites

E-newsletter

The British Council’s customers or interested parties can fill in contact forms and opt in the bilingual corporate e-newsletters which includes all the events and programs of the organization. The tap ‘Newsletter’ is found in the top right corner of the website.

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The British Council e-newsletter enrollment form

The e-newsletter is available for public. However, the button of the e-newsletter is not conspicuous, at the right side of the ‘Press office’ page.bc-e-newsletter-in-press-office

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Layout of British Council Hong Kong e-newsletter

For specific area of work, for examples Arts will have its e-newsletter targeted their customers.

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Arts newsletter enrollment form

The Wall Street English provides a bilingual, bi-weekly magazine to its customers or interested parties will subscribe it when filling in their brief contact details. However, customers have to look for the page link of the magazine in the pull-down menu of a tab ‘English tips’. I think a subscription button can be placed in the home page for accessibility.

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The Wall Street English Bi-weekly magazine subscription. Visitors do not have full access to the magazine in the website.

TESOL’s monthly e-newsletter is found in the pull-down menu of the first tab ‘Read and Publish’ in the home page.

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Visitors can find the latest and archives of the e-newsletter in the website as well.

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The RSS feed subscription is available in the e-newsletter. I suggest RSS feed also be available in the home page too.

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Call-to-actions

In the British Council’s website, each web banner carousel has a button such as ‘Register now’, ‘Apply now’. Visitors who click through the button will be directed to the event page.

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The ‘Register now’ button in the ‘Education UK Schools and Colleges Exhibition 2016’ banner is directed to the above page

Some promotional buttons are on the home page about events prompting interested parties to click through.

BC_promotional button.jpgThe banner carousels of the English and Chinese websites in the Wall Street English are different. Carousels in both versions are ‘call-to-actions’ of course promotions, discounts, free trial.

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Banner in Chinese website of the Wall Street English
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Banner in English website of the Wall Street English

Visitors who click on the carousel will be directed to page about course details and registration.

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The home page of TESOL has a banner carousel about latest products and event details. A static menu bar is on the right of the carousel. Visitors can choose to subscribe the membership, connect with their staff, visit bookstore or find product or services.

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Push Techniques off-sites

Web banners or pay-per click banners

The British Council use pay-per-click ads to promote the English courses.

Trade shows and conferences

The British Council participated in trade show to promote its International Pre-School.

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TESOL organizes branded forums and conferences.

Pull Techniques on official website

SEO on websites

The article ‘A Simple Guide to SEO for Local Businesses [Infographics] ‘mentions that websites with targeted messaging in their meta title tags, URLs, company descriptions and keywords can be easily identified by search engines and hence, SEO. The British Council uses targeted messaging across all sections in the website. For example, in home page, the meta title and the URL are British Council Hong Kong and these will be updated when moving on to different sections. For example, the page about English courses, the meta title and the URL will change to ‘Learn English British Council’ and ‘English’ respectively. The organization’s introduction is also concise (48 words). The tabs use wordings that are targeted to customers ‘Learn English’, ‘Take an exam’ ‘Study in the UK’.

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The British Council’s home page
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The British Council’s ‘Learn English’ page

The Wall Street English also uses concise messaging in meta title and the URL ‘Wall Street English’ and change them in different sections e.g. ‘MultiMethod’. However, company’s description is not available in the home page but it is under the tab ‘About WSB’. The messaging in the website is not targeted but promotional messages, for example – ‘Course’, ‘Corporate’, ‘Promotions’ in tabs.

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The Wall Street English’s home page

 

I think TESOL has done a good job in SEO. Although the organization does not have a company’s description on the home page. There’s a tag line which is the organization’s value at the top of the web page ‘Advancing Excellence in English Language Teaching’. The messaging in the website is targeted such as in the tabs – ‘Read & Publish’, ‘Enhance Your Career’.tesol_seo-in-website

Blogs/ Whitepapers/ Resources

The British Council put their press releases, annual reports, e-newsletters and blog posts available in the same page under ‘Press office’ but the link of the page is found near the bottom of the home page. Visitors may not be able to locate it easily.

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The British Council’s ‘Press office’ page

The Wall Street English has a page ‘English tips’ which contain blogs and e-newsletters. Visitors can locate the link of the page in its home page.

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TESOL on the contrary provides a variety of publications for visitors including journals, bulletins, e-newsletters for members and non-members, annual reports, white papers. Experts of the organization’s bulletins and blogs are available on the home page.

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TESOL’s home page
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Navigator of list of resources near the bottom of the home page
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All the resources are available in the page ‘Read & Publish’

Visitors can also login the site to submit resources about teaching, planning activities etc.

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Companies having original content and customers’ voices in their websites will immensely improve their SEO performances, according to articles in Forbes.com, ‘The Top 7 SEO Trends That Will Dominate 2016’ and American Marketing Association, ‘Six SEO Rules for 2016’.

Pull Techniques off-site

Search engines SEO and advertisements

All three organizations’ names are on the top of the search in Google and Yahoo. The British Council and the Wall Street English place advertisements on search engines.

 

 

But for The Wall Street English in Yahoo search, the company’s website is on the top of the search and the rest of the results are irrelevant.

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The Wall Street English in Google search
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The Wall Street English in Yahoo search

Mobile Friendliness

All three organization’s websites are mobile friendly. The British Council and the Wall Street English have tailored sites for mobile devices.

 

 

Sharing/ social share buttons

Web pages of the three organizations are sharable on social media channels.

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The British Council
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The Wall Street English
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TESOL

Improvements of the British Council’s website from branding perspectives

  • Improving the brand positioning

The British Council is a registered charity organization in the UK to promote English language and culture of the country. However, the messaging of the organization’s Hong Kong site focuses on learning English and taking IELTS exams. Promotional buttons  of these segments are conspicuous and constantly updated in the home page while content relevant to UK culture – arts, education and society are only found in static text boxes with no promotional buttons. I think the tab ‘Our works in arts, education and society’ in the header should be placed towards to left side of the page, alongside ‘Learn English’, ‘Take an exam’, ‘Study in the UK’.Visitors will be aware that the organization’s culture works are as important as other segments.

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The sections should change static text boxes to promotional buttons of latest events and programs.

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  • Engaging with customers to build brand loyalty

With customers’ voices such as testimonials, comments and feedbacks as well as interactions between companies and customers, companies can build the bonds with customers and cultivate brand loyalty. In British Council’s website, majority of the content in the website is organizational focused. The organization should create more content of customers’ interests. Its competitor TESOL International Association is doing well in this respect through publishing white papers, blogs and creating a forum for members to upload their resources. This will help improve customers’ online search experiences and develop the brand loyalty in the long run.

References:

Marketing-schools.org, ‘What is Push Marketing?’

Marketing-schools.org, ‘What is Pull Marketing?’

Hubspot.com, Lindsay Kolowich, ‘A Simple Guide to SEO for Local Businesses

American Marketing Association, Christine Birkner, ‘Six SEO Rules for 2016

Forbes.com, Jayson DeMers, ‘The Top 7 SEO Trends That Will Dominate 2016

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British Council MyFoundation English Course – Customer Profiles

The British Council in Hong Kong offers myFoundation English course for adults who want to develop their English skills from basic levels upwards. I have developed three profiles of customers from the Royal Hotel, a 5-star hotel in Hong Kong who are interested in the course. They are: Man Keung, a cook who wants to make advancement in his career; Eddy Wong, the executive chef who supports his colleagues in further studies, allowing him to recommend potential and qualified colleagues for promotion and Cherry Leung, Human Resources Director who is keen on developing a sustainable talent management policy in the company such as planning budgets in order to support staff who want to pursue further studies. Through analyzing customers’ profiles based on their demographic, psychographic, behavioral and environment, The British Council in Hong Kong will be able to formulate IMC plans to reach targeted customers.

Demographics of customers from the Royal Hotels

  • Man Keung Chan is a cook working in a Chinese restaurant of the Royal Hotel, a 5-star hotel in Hong Kong. He is 35 years old and has about 7 years of experience in Cantonese cuisine. He is named as an emerging chef in Cantonese cuisine.
  • Eddy Wong is the Executive Chef of a Chinese restaurant of the Royal Hotel. He leads a team of 10 people including Man Keung. He is 45 years old and he has been working in the position for 8 years. He is an acclaimed chef with 20 years of experience in Cantonese cuisine.
  • Cherry Leung is the Human Resources Director of the Royal Hotel. She is 36 years old and she has about 13 years of experience in human resources management.

Customers’ thinking processes

  • Man Keung decided to become a cook apprentice after he finished junior school. He obtained a certificate in Guangdong cuisine before he worked in the hotel. His English level is basic, which he finds it difficult to compose sentences in English and pronounce English words. He does not have opportunities to practice English at work. He is interested in learning English from the basics in order to get promoted to the post of the Sous Chef. He is a relaxed person who always makes decisions following advices from his senior and peers.
  • Eddy is a high school graduate and he obtained a Diploma in Chinese Culinary Art. He always told his teams that being an outstanding chef not only has excellent cooking skills, but also communications skills in order to interact with customers. He always talks to VIP customers and senior management who are native English speakers. He is a quick decision maker and he is cost conscious. He encourages his teammates to improve the quality of cuisines within budget. He wants colleagues to follow guidelines of food production to ensure food hygiene and safety working environment.
  • Cherry evaluates the effectiveness of talent development strategies in the hotel. She will discuss with department heads to understand colleagues’ needs in performing duties so that the company can support colleagues to pursue further studies. She will also talk to the senior management and persuade them to provide adequate support for further studies including subsides. She analyzes the ROI of training programs in relations to colleague’s performance in daily operations.

Behaviors of customers

  • Man Keung reads news and research cooking related articles and columns online. He is interested in learning new cuisines and cooking techniques from popular chefs such as Jamie Oliver online. Due to his limited knowledge of English, he can barely understand the videos. He also visits restaurants and hotels in Hong Kong to learn about their menu and dishes.
  • Eddy subscribes a couple of online magazines of culinary and hotel management. He will research for menu and ingredients through talking to other chefs about vendors, discuss with Food & Beverage Director and Marketing Director for trends and development of the market as well as promotion of new menu. He has strong management skills, being able to assign duties of his teammates based on strengths and weaknesses. He also travels to different countries to learn new trends and development of food and hotel industry. He also talks to local food suppliers and visit restaurants and hotels.
  • Cherry reads daily news and Human Resources magazines both online and print. She also gets information from social media. She has been with the company for over 10 years and she is very familiar with company’s values and culture. She is meticulous and possesses strong negotiation skills. She will discuss with all department heads of the hotel and senior management in order to enhance the hotel’s talent management. She will also talk to other Human Resources professionals in the industry to learn the industry trends and development.

The working environment of Royal Hotel

  • Man Keung uses Cantonese for daily conversation with colleagues. He does not have confidence in writing and speaking English. He will turn away when he meets foreigners in the hotel area. He does not have buying power at work. He will help source and recommend food products for Sous Chef and Executive Chef and obtain quotations from vendors. He will purchase training materials or courses at his own expense. He may request for education subsidies from the company only upon approval from Executive Chef, Food & Beverage Director and Human Resources Director.
  • Eddy is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and proficient in English. He is confident in conversational English and he is able to read materials in English. He can approve any purchases up to $8,000 before acquiring approval from Food & Beverage Director. He will evaluate the proposal of menu from cooks and chef together with the quotations and adopt menu which are high-quality and low production costs. He will talk to the vendors for production costs.
  • Cherry is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and she has native-speaker proficiency of English. She can approve any purchases up to $15,000 before acquiring approval from CFO. She will evaluate the effectiveness of training programs or courses which are enrolled by staff in benefitting the company based on performance KPI and ROI analysis.

 

References:

The Balance, What is Talent Management? https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-talent-management-really-1919221

Hong Kong Hotels Association, Hotel Career Guide  http://hkha.org/files/download/396

Convince & Convert, How to Create Customer Profiles to Reach Your Target Audience http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-strategy/how-to-create-customer-profiles-to-reach-your-target-audience/

The Muse, 3 Steps to Defining Your Company’s Audience https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-steps-to-defining-your-companys-audience

 

 

 

 

 

Nutella, Take it Personally

Integrated Multimedia Communications (IMC) is a strategy of combining online and offline multimedia channels in order to maximize brand’s communication impact. Through well-crafted IMC strategies, brands can establish emotional ties with their customers resulting in brand loyalty. A recent example is Nutella Hong Kong’s marketing and branding campaign ‘Take it Personally’. The campaign enables the brand to communicate its personalities – ‘happiness’, ‘sharing’, ‘family-oriented’ to customers in Hong Kong – a developing market for Nutella.

Nutella and I

Nutella is a food product in reminiscence about my fond memories in Australia.  I had been in Australia as an exchange student in my undergraduate study. Nutella has been popular in Australia. My roommate asked me to spread Nutella on a piece of bread instead of putting a piece of cheese on it as I always did. In Hong Kong, Nutella is not a popular food item because majority of people think it is just an ordinary bottle of chocolate which tastes extremely sweet and unhealthy. To be frank, I haven’t had Nutella for years because I don’t have a habit of making breakfast in the morning. I prefer to have ready-made bread before going to work to save time.

Nutella Fanatics in Hong Kong

Nutella utilizes both online and offline communication channels globally. On the contrary, communications and branding of Nutella Hong Kong are still developing. It has a an official Facebook fan page only. But Nutella wants to turn things around. In August, the company launched ‘Take it Personally’ marketing and branding campaign first time in Hong Kong and it had successfully utilized both online and offline communication channels. I often saw long queues during lunch period in the store when I walked passed on my way to office after lunch.

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People are queueing up their personalized Nutella on Sunday. Credit: @JullianaChan

Bloomberg.com found the phenomenon interesting. It was reported that Nutella sold 17,000 jars, each costed HK$80 (approx. $10), during the campaign.

“I rarely go to the mall because I need to take a one-hour bus ride to get here,” said Lam, a 21-year-old university student. “But this time it’s worth coming.”

(Source: Bloomberg.com)

Meanwhile, Nutellar only costs HK$40 (approx. $5) per jar in supermarket.

The total gross sales of the campaign were approximately HK$1.36 million (approx. $163,000). After counting in expenses, the profit was not that lucrative. Nevertheless, the campaign generated positive brand impact, translating to a huge success of brand communications in Hong Kong.

Key for Success 1: Creating emotional associations with Customers

Nutella is aware of the changing consumption behaviors contributed by social media. Customers prefer tailored-made products and services. They will look up for comments through online channels or ‘word-of mouth’ from friends and relatives before consumption. In other words, brands can communicate with their target customers through a number of ‘touchpoints‘, suggested by Mr. Drew Boyd on Lynda. com.

The ‘Take it Personally’ campaign in Hong Kong encouraged customers to create self-branded products and shared them with their friends and families using social media. The concept was similar to that of Coca-Cola personalized bottles.

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Coca-Cola personalised bottles and cans with names and descriptions.

For Nutella, customers can queue up for personalized Nutella in a pop-up store, gaining sense of achievement and ownership.

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The video (Chinese only) by Fanny @fatfannnn recorded her experiences of purchasing a personalized Nutella. She said she spent about 2 hours for the whole processes, including 1.5 hours in the queue and 45 minutes of production time. The video also tells how patience Hong Kong people are for products they are fond of.

Since established in World War II, Nutella has developed its persona – positive, happiness, optimism, family bonding and communicated consistent brand identities through IMC.

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One of the brand slogans found in Nutella US official website

The brand also promoted these values to target audience in Hong Kong through organizing interactive games in the store for children and ‘kidults’ as well as free workshops for children and parents to make Nutella snacks.

Key for Success 2: Prominent Pop-up Store & Offline Communications

Nutella set up a pop-up store located at the center of the shopping mall where there’re a stand-alone Nutella jar and transparent shelves containing rows of jars of Nutella.

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These photos show the look and feel of the pop-up store at the shopping mall. Credits: @nutellaHK

An advertisement was placed lightboxes on the wall of passage led through the metro to the shopping mall. The advertisement also functioned as a sign for directions.

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The passage led directly through the metro to the shopping mall. The lightbox advertisement was placed on the walls. Credits: Daphne Ho

The campaign was promoted through print media including magazines, newspapers .

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I found about 12 pieces of news or advertorials about the campaign in August using the key word search of ‘nutella’ on an online news search portal.

Key for Success 3: Creative Use of Social Media Channels

Social media encourage people to share their personal daily encounters with others. It could help create a swirling effect of the campaign. Facebook and Instagram are two popular social media channels in Hong Kong. Nutella engage their customers in the campaign on both channels. Customers could enjoy a free Nutella waffle or pancake by uploading their photos with hashtags #GoNuts, #Nutella, #PPFoodies and @PacificPlaceHK.

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This Facebook post @nutellaHK about the launch of ‘Take it Personally’ campaign generated 1,500 ‘Likes’ and 169 ‘shares.
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On Instagram, almost half of 600 posts with a hastag #PPFoodies were about Nutella. The spiral effect of the social media posts could reach over tens and thousands of customers on social media.

Customers could upload some interesting stories on a website dedicated to the campaign in order to win a jar of Nutella.

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Customers create their photo tags using personalized Nutella and upload them to dedicated campaign website.

Paid advertisements were found on some online portals including online magazine, websites, blogs.

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This blog post generated 427 ‘shares’

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I hope the success of use of IMC in Nutella Hong Kong can help sustain and grow. Let’s ‘Spread Optimism’ in Hong Kong!

References:

Boundless. “Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communications.” Boundless Marketing. Boundless, 08 Aug. 2016.

Official website of Nutella Global. http://www.nutella.com/en/int Grey Healthcare scoops

Nutella PR duties in Hong Kong. http://www.campaignasia.com/ article/grey-healthcare-scoops-nutella-pr-duties-in-hong-kong/237198

Nutella Hong Kong Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/nutellaHK

Bloomberg.com Why Nutella and Nike Have Hong Kong Shoppers Lining Up For Hours.http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-23/why-nutella-and-nike-have-hong-kong-shoppers-lining-up-for-hours?utm_content=business&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&cmpid%3D=socialflow-twitter-business

Branding Fundamentals. Lynda.com.https://www.lynda.com/Enterprise-Marketing-tutorials/Creating-brand-promise-touchpoints/171053/372382-4.html How Coca-Cola cans are printed with names. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUW1IcoFNbQ

Instagram #fatfannnn, #ppfoodies Nutella

US website. http://www.nutella.com/en/us

News search: http://wisenews.wisers.net/

‘Take it Personally’ Nutella Hong Kong campaign website. http://pplovesnutella.com/gallery.html

Blog post: http://www.kennechu.info/2016/08/x-nutella-take-it-personally.html

Littlestepasia.com. http://www.littlestepsasia.com/hong-kong/articles/play/personalized-nutella-lands-hk

New Monday online portal. http://www.nmplus.hk/lifestyle/%E5%80%8B%E4%BA%BA%E5%8C%96nutella%E6%8A%B5%E6%B8%AF/