LINE THAILAND COVID-19 RESPONSE
In March 2020, the COVID-19 crisis reached Thailand, causing panic among the public and business communities. National lockdown and self-quarantine measures were announced. Thailand’s economy, heavily reliant on tourism, was predicted to be the worst hit in ASEAN. Early predictions were for a GDP of -6% for 2020. There were also predictions of social unrest.
When COVID-19’s impact began to be felt, Thai society looked to digital platforms for solutions. As Thailand’s leading digital platform, LINE took a leadership role, leveraging its unique chat and commerce capabilities to become an all-in-one hub during the pandemic – from providing official channels for brands, to helping the Thai government establish a news and resource center, to facilitating 1:1 connections between businesses and customers, government agencies and citizens.
LINE teamed up with Vero to create a snowball effect of communications to ensure every business in Thailand, no matter its size or industry, could take advantage of LINE solutions. Throughout the initial period of the lockdown, Vero helped LINE to communicate with the public about its platform’s unique capability to help people stay safe at home, and how businesses, non-profits, and government agencies were using it to carry out their missions and improve lives.
Vero’s content strategy was to simplify digital marketing and technology jargon to ensure audience engagement, diversify story angles to best resonate with different target media, formulate thought leadership content, and leverage real customer cases to inspire and drive action.
Meanwhile, we matched target media with target audiences, creating opportunities for both group and one-on-one virtual interactions between key media and LINE spokespeople. Our focus was on media with strong online presences, and we worked closely with journalists to eliminate barriers to virtual media engagement.
To do all of this, we had to understand and finding timely solutions to several major communication challenges during the first initial stages of the COVID-19 economic crisis, including:
- Businesses were trying not to invest, as they understood that consumers were not in the mood for spending.
- 85.6% of businesses in Thailand are micro-businesses with 5 employees or less, and most of them do not have knowledge or experience in digital marketing.
- Some big brands were reluctant to use LINE due to their traditional marketing approach.
- Target audiences lacked sufficient proof points that LINE would be a cost-effective solution for their businesses.
- Media were not familiar with virtual press events – it was unknown how they would react. Vero managed to assist LINE through the following strategies on content and media.
- LIVE EVENT: THAILAND NOW AND NEXT AFTER COVID-19 (April 2020) – Vero invited top-tier media to join this live event in partnership with THE STANDARD, Thailand’s most renowned online publication. This live session gathered gurus and marketers from the most recognized brands together with LINE executives to discuss shifting consumer trends during and after COVID-19 in order to help businesses adapt to the transformation.
- PITCHING CONTENT: Partnership with Peugeot (April 2020) – Vero crafted content about LINE’s partnership with Peugeot, which was offering car sales and test drives at home during social distancing via their LINE Official Account, pioneering chat commerce on LINE for the first time in the automotive industry.
- PITCHING CONTENT: Find Food Community (May 2020) – Thai farmers have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, as they depend on Thailand’s agricultural exports for their livelihoods. A community called ‘Find Food’ had an idea to help local farmers through this crisis using LINE. By connecting farmers with customers, Find Food helped distribute agricultural products at sustainable prices to nationwide customers. Vero helped develop the content by interviewing the owner of the community and came up with an attractive headline: “From Farm to Digital: Thai Famers Use LINE to Embrace New Normal.”
- PITCHING CONTENT: Thai Government Responds to ‘New Normal’, Using LINE to Overcome COVID-19 Crisis (May 2020) – The government and private sectors were adapting to the COVID-19 crisis by using LINE to facilitate necessary assistance for people during the initial outbreak. Vero helped craft the content on how LINE partnered with government agencies to provide digital tools to help minimize risks and effectively prevent further spread.
- PITCHING CONTENT: Business Adopt Growth Mindset to Thrive in the New Normal (June 2020) – Vero helped draft the content on how businesses can adjust to the New Normal, in which use of technology and digital transformation are inevitable. The content was published under the byline of LINE Thailand’s CCO, highlighting that it was important for businesses to adopt a ‘Growth Mindset’ and see difficult challenges as an opportunity rather than an insurmountable obstacle.
- PRESS BRIEFING: Digital Growth Path for Thai Brands in the New Normal (July 2020) – Vero invited key business and marketing media to an online press briefing in which LINE revealed successful strategies to adjust to the “New Normal” for leading Thai brands across industries and advised brands on the importance of a growth strategy in order to thrive in online business.
The campaign was the winner of 2021 PRCA Award for Best Crisis Communications Campaign in Response to COVID-19
Participating journalists: 36 for all media events.