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Creative

BBH Teaches China British Ettiquette with BA Campaign

BBH China has golf, housing & business experts do live Q&A's with Chinese businessmen

BBH Teaches China British Ettiquette with BA Campaign

Over the last decade, the number of Chinese business-people visiting Britain has tripled. With China now being the third largest investor in the UK, this comes as no surprise.

BBH China's task was to develop a digital campaign for British Airways to tap into this growing audience opportunity and become the choice of airline for Chinese business-people flying to Britain. 

Britain is a very different business environment to China and the agency identified the opportunity to leverage this interest in Britain in a uniquely British Airways way to provide practical support to the audience in their British Business activity.

Whilst this audience may have profiles on some social networks, their engagement levels are relatively low. BBH knew how hard it can be to truly engage them with branded communications online. The starting point was therefore to consider what it is that they are passionate about regarding Britain.

Based on four passion points (Business, Property, Education & Golf), the agency created a social community on Ushi.com (professional Chinese network, similar to Linkedin).

BBH used these passion points to engage our audience and bring to life the overall campaign idea: British Airways: Ambassadors of British Etiquette.

In China, airline carriers are fighting a price war. With many local players and British Airways being a premium service carrier, this is a challenging sector to gain market share. They needed to change the conversation and give our audience another reason to choose British Airways when booking trips to Britain. 

BBH's audience, Chinese business people, are time-poor and it can be challenging to engage them online 

What they do make time for and spend hours researching online is the things they are passionate about. With the growing interest in Britain amongst this audience BBH identified four areas of British interest that British Airways could tap into and add value to.

BBH decided to invite interesting experts in each of the fields around the identified passion points, to join the conversation and further drive interest.


The partners we brought in were:

1. Doing business with British companies

- Keith Williams, CEO, British Airways

- China Britain Business Council 


2. Buying property in the UK

- Colliers International (Global Property Company)

- Link Property London (Boutique London Property Agency)


3. Sending children to be educated in Britain

- Emma Vanbergen (BE Education Consultant)


4. Playing golf with British people

- World #3 Golfer – Justine Rose


By focusing on these passion points and bringing in expert opinion leaders for each, the agency could credibly engage their audience around topics they truly cared about. 

Most importantly BBH could bring to life the British Airways brand and use the above to tie back to the overall campaign idea: British Airways: Ambassadors of British Etiquette. And do it all in a way that was truly British.

With this in mind, a deal was brokered with Ushi.com, a professional Chinese networking site (equivalent to Linkedin.com), which gave  access to a high-quality environment in which Chinese business-people regularly engage with each other.

BBH created short content pieces that shared tips on dealing with the British. The aim was for these to be informative but always with a British twist, bringing to life the brand’s personality. British humor guided the tonality, and delivered the message in an authentically light hearted, tongue-in-cheek manner that was distinctive as Britishnessness itself.

The films became conversation starters for interactive Q&A sessions, which the experts led and participated in by asking and answering questions. 

The answers and comments were shared externally to Weibo.com (China’s twitter) where wider social sharing took place. Weibo comments by non-Ushi users also synced with the campaign forums on Ushi.com, and fuelled the debates. 

Starting from zero, the agency managed to build an active community on Ushi.com for British Airways. Within 1 month the community grew to 100,000 targeted business-people in China.

A further 800,000 business-people were reached via Ushi member channels.

Business-people who asked the experts questions on topics had the opportunity to share these on Weibo. Further 3.5 million people were reached via this channel with earned media.

In terms of website traffic during the campaign period (from China), traffic was up 64% versus the previous month.

On top of this, British Airways sold 18% more tickets during the campaign period than versus the previous year.

Finally, British Airways generated 2.5 times more revenue during the peak period of the campaign versus the same period before the campaign started.

Whilst the numbers achieved were significant, especially considering the modest budget that was invested, what is most impressive is the targeted nature of the approach. The campaign idea would not be relevant to a mass audience and BBH did not want to waste time or money reaching people who would not be interested.

By surgically reaching business-people interested in Britain on a professional social-network, the agency ensured that the right people were reached and they shared content with peers in a way that was relevant and remained targeted.

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