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Data-driven business insight, or mining the rivers of data that consumers leave behind every day, is termed ‘Business Analytics & Optimisation’ (BAO). Its an exciting opportunity with huge potential, yet remained an obscure and ambiguous concept in China’s marketing lexicon. It even sounds pretty dry B2B stuff for tech PR media.

Our ambition was to demystify BAO, making it highly appealing to business leaders to drive new leads, while simultaneously helping to unite IBMers around the power of BAO for growth.

An insight into the human impact of BAO shaped our idea to personify BAO as the new celebrity to follow on Weibo (Chinese Twitter). We launched “Mr. Bao” with a personality that was humorous, intelligent, and a little quirky, with a ‘personal’ belief that technology can change China for the better. Mr. Bao became a virtual brand ambassador for BAO.

The success of this campaign generated Validated Leads Revenue Created (VLRC, an IBM valid metric) of US$10.9 million, exceeding target by 36%. New LEADS also reached US$3.2 million, exceeding the target by 34%. All from a fictional Weibo guy created to educate and excite the target audience through social media.