Personal hygiene brand, Lifebuoy, found that many Chinese parents experienced stress and long wait times when trying to get medical attention for their children at area hospitals. The brand worked with a social platform popular among parents to create a connection between doctors and patients via mobile device. The 24/7 service was supplemented by co-authored articles about common ailments. Access to the service and content helped minimize time parents spent waiting at hospitals and helped the Lifebuoy brand assert itself as an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
Objective and Context:
Healthcare in China often involves long wait time and navigating a complicated bureaucratic system. The healthcare system is overcrowded, and for rural families, it is often very challenging to access basic care facilities. Unfortunately millions of Chinese families face this reality every day. Additionally, the category was very homogeneous, so personal hygiene brand Lifebuoy wanted to find a way to affect change and stand out among competitors.
The brand’s goals were to generate 10 percent growth in sales and brand metrics, stake a claim for Lifebuoy within the anti-bacterial personal care category, and explore untapped sales channels to bypass competition.
The target was Chinese parents, especially mothers.
Mobile penetration was at 92 percent in China, and it is the primary channel for people, especially parents, to easily find medical information. However, credible medical information is extremely hard to come by. There was a gap in the market, and Lifebuoy could be the brand to connect Chinese parents with medical professionals in a convenient and accessible way.
To boost sales and raise Lifebuoy’s brand awareness, the brand needed to develop an unconventional, high-impact initiative that would provide value to target customers while asserting Lifebuoy’s germ-killing efficacy. Lifebuoy took up the mantle of trying to reduce waiting times in hospitals by offering an alternative and immediate way for Chinese parents to access medical professionals.
Overall Campaign Execution:
Lifebuoy created “24-Hour Doctor,” a free mobile service to connect Chinese parents with medical professionals. The brand partnered with China’s most trusted social platform for parents, LaMaBang (translated – Mama’s Club) and linked Chinese parents to a pool of carefully selected pediatricians, gastroenterologists, immunologists, and other specialists.
The doctors took shifts and were available whenever parents needed support. A typical consult involved an initial diagnosis of the child’s ailment. This likely saved a time-consuming trip to the hospital for the family.
Lifebuoy then took the most frequently asked questions about illnesses and infections, co-published branded articles with the doctors. The articles were available via LaMaBang, and they served educate parents on how to prevent common ailments.
Lifebuoy’s team of doctors also visited kindergartens, early childhood clinics, and maternity wards in hospitals to educate Chinese families about simple and easy bacteria preventative habits such as hand washing. Each engagement ended with an opportunity to buy Lifebuoy products from either ecommerce or retail outlets.
The campaign was completely executed on mobile because Chinese mothers and their social networks are highly active on mobile devices. Additionally, mobile allows the service to be accessible at any time and in any place. Convenience and relevance were important components of the campaign.
This was the first-year Lifebuoy went against a commercial video distribution media investment model and delved into a media partnership. This approach has been adopted as an always-on, long-term initiative for the brand.
Lifebuoy co-created over 350 articles which were viewed 35 million times so far. Mobile search around Lifebuoy increased 38 percent after the initial launch.
The serviced provided by the 24-Hour Doctor initiative has saved Chinese families more than seven years’ worth of waiting times in hospitals.
In business terms, year-over-year retail sales increased 46 percent and ecommerce sales increased 131 percent, outperforming a category that only grew by only 30 percent. It is important to note that 24-Hour Doctor was the only campaign Lifebuoy ran in 2017.