LOS ANGELES: Western Union, the money-transfer company, has driven a significant increase in awareness for its digital services through content based around consumer passions, as well as rigorous testing.

Bobby Fan, Director of Marketing at WesternUnion.com, discussed this subject at the Asian American Advertising Federation's (3AF) 2016 Asian Marketing Summit in Los Angeles.

When Fan assumed his role at Western Union four years ago, awareness of its online product offering stood at only 6% – a total obviously representing a "huge, huge issue" for the brand.

Now, however, that figure stands at 60% – a shift attributable both to heightened marketing support and to creating relevant content.

"A lot of that is a higher level of investment. But a lot of that is also content … Content is important. If it's not relevant to folks, they're going to be blind to it," said Fan. (For more, including further details of the brand's strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: How Western Union used digital marketing to refresh its brand.)

One example of this strategy in action involved partnering with Shah Rukh Khan, a Bollywood superstar who has starred in content promoting WesternUnion.com, including its fast-growing mobile app.

"As marketers," Fan said, "rather than creating passions, I think our job is really to capture the passions that people have and to ride off of that, because the consumer can relate to that."

Behind the scenes, considerable time and energy has been spent gauging which digital platforms work best to deliver such messages – with Google, for instance, making a greater impact than Facebook.

"When people say that social is hot, well, it might work for you," said Fan. "It might not … I think running a digital business has really taught me to test and test and test."

And this testing, combined with some star power, helped ensure the content featuring Shah Rukh Khan translated into tangible results for the brand.

"What we try to do here is really try to funnel awareness with Shah Rukh Khan, but what we saw was that, at the bottom of the funnel, this was driving transactions – which a YouTube [ad] almost never does," Fan said.

Data sourced from Warc