A Culturally Nuanced Approach to Gaining Brand Loyalty

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Western Union cuts through the noise of a crowded marketplace by tuning in to its customers' values and aspirations.

In an increasingly competitive remittance landscape, Western Union recognizes the importance of staying up-to-date on key technologies; however, it also understands the significance of identifying the main priorities of the consumers who use them. To home in on this consumer mind-set, we have to listen.

We ask questions and collect a great deal of feedback. This insight helps us learn about the needs and lifestyles of the people who use our services every day, and it gives us a guide to help craft our digital strategy.

You could say our strategy is to act like a person. We listen and respond in real time, as if we're a human being talking to someone. Doing so led us to develop marketing endeavors that speak to our customers in a culturally relevant way.

Here are some examples:

U.S.: The American Dream Sweepstakes

After interviewing people across the country, we discovered that our U.S. customers still believe in the power of the American Dream, even if, for many, the journey to achieve it has been a somewhat rocky road recently. We crafted a year-long, campaign that addressed which aspects of the American Dream customers found important, such as education and home ownership. We then highlighted these aspects through videos, which we promoted through several channels. The results were extremely positive. The videos generated two million views on Facebook and YouTube, with 20,000 hours of watch time, and two of them had a 98% video completion rate. What's more, 40% of respondents said they would send money through Western Union after watching one of the spots.

India: Direct from Bollywood

Our insights into this market confirmed our thoughts that pop culture and Bollywood films were a significant part of Indian people's lives. So, it was a natural fit to partner with a big Bollywood star. Our marketing messages targeted to Indian consumers in the U.S. highlighted key traits of these diaspora immigrants, such as starting small and working hard to attain a better status.

Mexico: Music and food

Our research and customer listening pointed to a major point of connection between our Mexican customers and their values: love of music. To tap into this, we were a part of quite a few private performances and regional concerts with artists who are especially relevant to Mexican customers. We also joined in celebrations such as the Tamale Festival in Dallas, Sabor a Mexico Lindo in Los Angeles, and Fiestas Navideñas in Houston.

Our customers' values and aspirations are as important to us as they are to each of them.  So, it's integral to incorporate listening through every step of campaign research, implementation, and measurement.  Our team has built research and assessment tools into every step of our process. For those looking to do the same within their organizations, here are three solid tips to get your campaign on the “listen and respond” track of market community interaction.

1. Consider the big picture:

Think big, small, and smaller. We think of big ideas that connect and are relatable, but ones that also translate well into bite-size content and palm-size screens. SEO is important, too, and we consider that at inception—as every marketer should.

2. Listen.
Conduct primary research and gather feedback from your customers, as well as from target consumers. We constantly conduct research to find out what people want from a money sender, but also what inspires them in their lives.

3. Test, track, and modulate.
Aim for continuous improvement to get the most from your campaigns. We test content to see what resonates, and revise as fast as possible to accommodate new lessons.

Ultimately, a listening-driven campaign strategy focused on customer values and aspirations not only shows higher levels of customer engagement, but it also resonates with consumers and presents opportunities to interact with them in ways that build a relationship and solidify loyalty.

About the author:

Nidhi Gupta is the director of marketing  for Western Union, where she handles marketing for its online and mobile app money transfer services for the Americas region. She has marketing experience in fields spanning from consumer packaged goods to financial services to technology at such organizations as Nestle in India and TiE Silicon Valley, a global nonprofit dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship. 

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