Dylan Yu joined Chinese smartphone maker OPPO in 2018, before becoming its head of marketing in Singapore in 2020. Since then Yu has worked to develop a more innovative marketing presence for the company in the country, perhaps best illustrated by last year's initiative to launch the Find N3 smartphone, which garnered significant share of voice.

In an interview with PRovoke Media, Yu discusses the thinking behind the Find N3 campaign, along with his broader approach to innovation and localisation. The exchange below has been edited for length and clarity. 

Can you share insights into how the Find N3 campaign's success was measured? Beyond the significant share of voice, what other metrics or KPIs were pivotal in evaluating the campaign's impact?

Firstly, the abundance of positive reviews and comments regarding the Find N3 from our consumers serves as a tangible measure of the campaign's effectiveness in capturing and retaining audience attention. As reflected in the sentiments expressed by our consumers, it signifies a successful entry into the premium smartphone segment for OPPO with the launch of Find N3. Additionally, the integrated Find N3 campaign was instrumental in yielding a substantial increase in OPPO's market share. This outcome underscores the campaign's impact in not only garnering attention but also in effectively converting it into tangible customer engagement and loyalty. In the meantime, we also conduct user revisits to verify whether the increase in commercial activity corresponds with the growth of the target audience identified through the aforementioned various precise exposure touchpoints.

What innovative marketing techniques or digital tools did you employ in the Find N3 campaign that set it apart from previous campaigns? How did these contribute to the campaign's success?

We prioritise innovative and precise marketing exposure to effectively reach our target audience. Our approach to innovative exposure involves utilising cutting-edge 3D out-of-home OOH (out-of-home advertising). For precise exposure, we collaborate with Focus Media to ensure coverage of our target audience at major office buildings in Singapore. Additionally, we employ online targeting strategies to reach technology elites on social platforms like LinkedIn.

With this ground-breaking 3D OOH billboard in Singapore, it established us as the first tech brand to utilise this cutting-edge digital tool in the country. The impact was immediate and profound, with the billboard sparking widespread conversation across social media platforms and intrigue among consumers to such advanced marketing innovations. This strategic approach enabled us to connect with consumers effectively, capturing audience engagement and amplifying brand and product visibility.

The tailor-made photography masterclasses for the My OPPO community in Singapore seem like a unique approach to brand engagement. How did this idea come about, and what objectives were you aiming to achieve?

With a decade-long presence in Singapore, OPPO has consistently delivered unique experiences to our local customers through the My OPPO community in Singapore, providing them with exclusive opportunities to explore our latest product innovations first-hand. Recognising the abundance of photography enthusiasts in Singapore, coupled with a desire to enhance their smartphone photography skills, we embarked on a series of photography masterclasses. In fact, OPPO Singapore has always been engaging local photography enthusiasts through various creative initiatives over the past few years. These include hosting pop-up photography exhibitions, ‘Golden Times’ at Orchard Road, and collaborating with photography talents on advertising campaigns.

Through these initiatives, we not only conveyed OPPO's commitment to enhancing user experiences but also provided our customers in Singapore with a tailored and exclusive opportunity to engage with our brand on a deeper level. By fostering a sense of community and offering enriching experiences, OPPO Singapore strengthened its bond with customers while enhancing our ethos of technology, fostering inspiring creativity. 

In terms of local marketing initiatives, how do you measure their impact on OPPO's brand presence and customer loyalty in Singapore? Are there any success stories you can share?

OPPO has built a strong brand presence in Singapore over the past decade. We evaluate the impact of our local initiatives through a comprehensive and well-established measurement system. This includes a brand health index, which allows us to verify and validate our continuous engagement with existing customers. In addition, we closely monitor repeat purchase rates as a key indicator of customer loyalty. Higher retention rates indicate greater loyalty among our consumers toward the OPPO brand. Based on these metrics, we have observed a steady increase in brand consideration and preference for OPPO.

Our My OPPO community program offers exclusive experiences, events, and rewards to our loyal customers in Singapore. For example, the "Breathing Architecture" photography masterclasses featuring the OPPO Find N3 received continuous sign-ups from our My OPPO community, showcasing their positive response. Similarly, exclusive spin classes led by local celebrities to launch the OPPO Watch X were warmly welcomed by our customers. These successes illustrate our initiatives' effectiveness in deepening brand engagement and strengthening customer loyalty in Singapore.

How do you balance global marketing strategies with local initiatives to ensure they resonate with the Singaporean audience while maintaining OPPO's global brand identity?

Our approach entails aligning OPPO's global brand identity of user-led innovation with localised marketing strategies tailored to the Singaporean market. We prioritise giving local consumers the chance to experience OPPO's innovative technology firsthand through personalised experiences that cater to their preferences. For instance, during the Find N3 campaign, we strategically partnered with local emerging photographers, showcasing their creative artworks captured with Find N3’s innovative camera technology. To broaden the reach among the Singaporean audience, we hosted the photography exhibition at a prominent location in the heart of Singapore. These initiatives not only better engage with Singaporean customers but also reinforce OPPO's global brand values of innovation and customer-centricity.

Looking ahead, how do you envision the evolution of OPPO's marketing strategy in Singapore over the next few years? Are there any particular areas or technologies you're keen to explore further?

The future of OPPO's marketing strategy in Singapore will remain firmly rooted in localisation to cater to the unique needs of the Singaporean market. We are committed to engaging with local communities and society, emphasising OPPO's distinctive product strengths while fostering a stronger brand identity and connection with our local consumer base.

In the coming years, OPPO Singapore will continue to leverage technological advancements, with a particular focus on AI technology and photography innovations. These areas will remain central to our marketing strategy as we strive to maintain our position at the forefront of the industry. Moreover, we will stay open and explore further integration of emerging technologies such as 6G and AI to enhance customer experiences and engagement. In February, OPPOunveiled two new white papers during the MWC Barcelona this year, unveiling its vision for the transformational role that 6G will play in the future communications industry. The two new white papers look ahead to the new possibilities represented by a new era of intelligent connectivity and outline a tangible blueprint for the future of 6G. OPPO has also recently announced the establishment of AI centre to further strengthen our AI capabilities and explore a broader range of user-centric AI products and features.

OPPO has been at the forefront of adopting emerging tech trends. How do you see these trends influencing future marketing strategies, particularly with advancements in AI and other technologies?

The advancement of AI holds profound implications for future marketing strategies, particularly for companies like OPPO that have been at the forefront of adopting emerging tech trends. With the integration of AI into our products, OPPO Singapore have already witnessed the transformative potential of this technology. As leaders in technological innovation, OPPO Singapore will continue to leverage AI and other advanced technologies to shape our marketing strategies. It will allow us to better understand and anticipate consumer preferences, enabling us to deliver more relevant and engaging content tailored to individual preferences and needs. 

As someone deeply entrenched in the tech industry, what major trends do you predict will shape the future of smartphone marketing? How is OPPO preparing to leverage these trends?

The future of smartphone marketing will be shaped by innovative trends such as AI and AR. These technologies will enable personalised experiences and immersive interactions, reaching a wider audience and stimulating conversations among digitally savvy consumers. OPPO Singapore has been capitalizing on these trends by actively exploring AI-driven insights to craft compelling brand experiences. Moving forward, we will further integrate these trends into our marketing strategy, with a focus on showcasing our proficiency in generative AI functionality.