How Apps Are Evolving Panasonic’s Digital Marketing Strategy

Enter­ing the world of apps has helped Pana­son­ic reach new audi­ences, focus its social media mar­ket­ing, and gain con­ver­sions.

Steve Safier By Steve Safier. Join the discussion » 0 comments

To pro­mote its new Home­Team app, which con­nects chil­dren with far-away grand­par­ents, Pana­son­ic launched the #Mak­eRead­in­g­LessS­cary cam­paign, aimed at cre­at­ing dia­logue around social health across gen­er­a­tions on social media. The cam­paign suc­cess­ful­ly expand­ed Panasonic’s reach, and showed how a brand can piv­ot its mar­ket­ing towards an app and less tra­di­tion­al audi­ences.

Although seniors aren’t the first mar­ket one would think of for social media, old­er con­sumers are out there lis­ten­ing. A Pew Research Cen­ter study released ear­li­er this month found that while only 35 per­cent of Amer­i­cans over 65 use social net­work­ing sites like Face­book, these users tend to use the sites more than oth­er users. More impor­tant­ly, 27 per­cent of old­er adults own either an eBook read­er or a tablet. Our team at Pana­son­ic has devel­oped a unique project: Help­ing seniors bet­ter con­nect with their loved ones through tech­nol­o­gy, and we’re using social media to reach out and spread our mes­sage. While our strat­e­gy start­ed off with some exper­i­men­ta­tion, it’s evolv­ing into high­ly suc­cess­ful cam­paign, with high engage­ment rates.

Evolving Consumer Marketing Strategies For The App Space

In the spir­it of Hal­loween, last month our team launched #Mak­eRead­in­g­LessS­cary, a cam­paign cen­tered around our app, Home­Team. Our goal was to reach fam­i­lies – and for many fam­i­lies, Hal­loween means trick or treat­ing, cos­tumes, par­ties, and oth­er things that are a lot of fun, but not nec­es­sar­i­ly edu­ca­tion­al or ben­e­fi­cial to old­er fam­i­ly mem­bers social health. There are count­less grand­par­ents or mil­i­tary par­ents who would love to share in Hal­loween tra­di­tions with their fam­i­lies, but are phys­i­cal­ly far away. So we built a Hal­loween well­ness cam­paign that encour­aged healthy activ­i­ties like read­ing or play­ing togeth­er – learn­ing togeth­er being the expe­ri­ence we want to fos­ter for our end users.

Enabling Special Family Moments

Many peo­ple think of Pana­son­ic only as a con­sumer elec­tron­ics com­pa­ny, but about 85 per­cent of our busi­ness is in the B2B mar­ket and our com­pa­ny is now expand­ing into apps. Home­Team is a prod­uct we launched in 2015 as part of our company’s Health and Well­ness divi­sion. It tar­gets a mar­ket of fam­i­lies that are geo­graph­i­cal­ly dis­tant from their grand­par­ents, and allows grand­par­ents to read books and play games with their grand­chil­dren across the coun­try or any­where around the world. As a grand­par­ent (or any­one else) turns a page on the app, their loved one hun­dreds or thou­sands miles away sees the page flip and their face on video chat. The ser­vice has either an annu­al or month­ly sub­scrip­tion fee (and includes a free tri­al month so fam­i­lies can see if it’s the right fit) and can be used on the web or through our iOS and Android apps. Our launch was some­what of a soft one, which helped our mar­ket­ing con­sid­er­ably. One of the great advan­tages of apps is that you can rapid­ly update and improve your func­tion­al­i­ty. After launch­ing, we enhanced our com­mu­ni­ca­tions func­tion­al­i­ty, added con­tent from pop­u­lar pub­lish­ers like Dis­ney, Pixar, and Mar­vel, and improved our UI, among oth­er things.

Marketing For Nontraditional Audiences

For us, cre­at­ing an app and viable mar­ket­ing cam­paigns to sup­port new audi­ences was a sim­ple exer­cise of find­ing the most under­served cohorts. Pew research also found that the num­ber of Amer­i­cans over the age of 65 using social media jumped from 19 per­cent in 2012 to 35 per­cent today. One thing we learned quick­ly in mar­ket­ing Home­Team is that we need­ed to under­stand the dif­fer­ent audi­ences of grand­par­ents, grand­chil­dren, and even par­ents as the con­nec­tors of the two, but grand­par­ents and grand­kids could be treat­ed as one tar­get mar­ket based on their social media behav­ior. We dis­cov­ered there are fam­i­lies in all sorts of cir­cum­stances, where chil­dren are geo­graph­i­cal­ly far away from one par­ent or anoth­er – or even have aunts, uncles, or fam­i­ly friends in far-away cities. When we launched Home­Team, it cat­a­pult­ed us direct­ly into the worlds of con­sumer app devel­op­ment and social health and well­ness. This meant quick­ly mas­ter­ing audi­ence seg­men­ta­tion for the app world and con­duct­ing in-depth research of a spe­cif­ic slice of social media users. Pana­son­ic has a robust social media pres­ence, but con­duct­ing cam­paigns for iPad apps is quite dif­fer­ent than con­duct­ing a cam­paign for a Blu-ray play­er. We had to test, test again, and iter­ate quick­ly to accom­plish the results we achieved. It also meant con­tin­u­ing how we lever­age social media across all our busi­ness­es. Rather than just get­ting our mes­sage out to cus­tomers, we also lis­ten to cus­tomer feed­back online and hear what they say back to us. This ends up influ­enc­ing the design of our prod­uct, and has helped us gauge the cor­rect approach for this cam­paign.

Engaging With Family From A Distance

We found many of our old­er users want­ed solu­tions to help them engage social­ly, and that informed our mar­ket­ing for this prod­uct. Your world can start to shrink as you get old. It’s hard to have a mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tion at a long dis­tance with a child, and grand­par­ents don’t want video chat sit­u­a­tions where you ask how their day was, and you get a one-word reac­tion that it was “Fine.” This made us real­ize the back­bone of our cam­paign was pro­vid­ing a way to engage with chil­dren from a dis­tance – and empha­siz­ing the idea of books, games, and video chats to pro­vide an expe­ri­ence that they would have in real life, all through a com­put­er or tablet. Our mes­sag­ing for this cam­paign and oth­ers tells grand­par­ents that this is “Their Love, Our Con­nec­tion.” Our ini­tial results showed that this mes­sage test­ed well. Most impor­tant­ly, it pro­vid­ed Home­Team with the ammu­ni­tion for our first sea­son­al cam­paign for Home­Team and a suc­cess­ful base for fur­ther exper­i­ment with time-spe­cif­ic mar­ket­ing activ­i­ties. With the suc­cess of this cam­paign, and reach­ing new audi­ences, we plan to explore the pos­si­bil­i­ties of sea­son­al-themed con­tent for geo­graph­i­cal­ly dis­persed audi­ences.

Steve Safier

Written by Steve Safier

President of Health and Wellness

Steve Safier is the President of Health and Wellness at Panasonic North America. In his current post, Safier leads management and development of innovative products in the B2B and B2C health and wellness sectors.

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