4 June 2014

Create an experiential ecosystem for success

Think out of the box to get more people to take notice of your product or service. If you build an ecosystem around it that appeals to your target audience, the customers will come. This was the message from Big BirdCreative Company (BBCC), an integrated media company based in Taiwan which has built a name for itself in Taiwan and beyond through offering a slew of content-related services for children including education consulting, production & distribution, and brand development.

Cathy Han, President, BBCC provided a number of success stories during the Media Summit at the Asian Festival of Children's Content 2014 in Singapore this June. “As digital technology and globalisation trends continue, even end users become content creators. To excel in this field and deliver content to the end user, it is important to think about how to do it effectively,” said Han.

The company raised the perception of its partner Disney as a cut-rate content producer whose products are sold at night markets into a premium brand whose bilingual books are sold at almost twice the price of similar content from other publishers, said Han. The key to the Disney transformation was developing a professional performance troupe to conduct community outreach as well as investing in transforming Disney content into activities that could be conducted in class.

“We linked what you read and what you can do with the content,” Han explained. “We combined education with entertainment to make it edutainment. Kids love our content as it's a more interactive way to understand the content.”

BBCC also worked with McDonald's to provide live entertainment that would bring customers back to the restaurants again and again. The company trained McDonald's employees to perform content from its partners, including locally produced content as well as acts based on Disney and Marvel. Some 20,000 events were performed over two years in over 300 McDonald's restaurants in the country. “Content is (no longer) something you read but something you experience,” Han said.

BBCC's rights to Old Master Q (老夫子, OMQ), a fixture in Chinese comics in Greater China for over 50 years, was successfully turned into revenue generation by transforming the public's impression that it is too old fashioned. BBCC animated the comics, some as interactive content, and leveraged the 50th anniversary of OMQ to develop a successful exhibition tour built around explaining Chinese humour.

It's content that people can experience, and pay to go to. It's a very different approach to just reading the comics,” Han said.

A similar integrated ecosystem was built around a simple traditional nursery rhyme about building planes, Han shared. BBC created a bilingual picture book with a CD, sold e-book rights to different countries, tied up with McDonald's on publicity, and worked with a local TV channel to create animated programmes around the theme.

When entering a new market, a local partner is critical, Han added. “You can read a lot about market analysis about the country but you can't learn about the country unless you work with someone who really grew up there, and understands the day to day changes, the business needs. It's about operating in today's environment and not about something you read two to three years ago,” she advised.