With the Philippines having been in lockdown for seven months, longer than anywhere else, brands are having to find new ways to connect with consumers – and the community sphere has become critical.

A new WARC Spotlight series looks at the Philippines, where the notion of community spirit is already deeply engrained as ‘Bayanihan’ and has only become more so as everyone’s world has shrunk.

“While the pandemic and lockdown may not have given birth to this communal spirit, it has certainly stimulated it with communities further evolving and now manifesting in new and non-traditional ways,” writes Josef Montinola, Strategic Planner at TBWA\Santiago Mangada Puno.

“For brands, the challenge is how can they become a part of these different communities, not as an outsider offering help and guidance but as an integral member with an important role that is recognised and appreciated by the other community members.”

These communities range from the obvious neighbourhood ones to those that have developed around the Local Government Units (LGU) that now play a more crucial role in people lives.

“The longer communities remained in lockdown, the more they tuned in and prioritised what their respective LGU was doing as policies and protocols began to differ from place-to-place depending not only on the situation but also on the leadership in each area,” Montinola explains.

And brands, he says, have an opportunity to align themselves with what these LGUs are doing. McDonald’s, for example, didn’t just swab-test their own employees but also worked with the Pasig City mayor to test 1,000 tricycle drivers. In Manila, Acer Philippines partnered with the mayor there to provide better public library facilities and more accessible digital education.

“In both cases, McDonald’s and Acer Philippines were not only able to efficiently engage with communities through the LGUs, but they were also able to leverage the growing popularity of these public officials,” notes Montinola.

“With these partnerships, it is more important and more appropriate for brands to showcase how they can add value to the community instead of simply pushing their products,” he adds.

“And there should also be an added consideration that partnering with leaders in these LGUs may reap similar benefits as to working with a celebrity influencer.”

For more details of how brands can tap the different communities, read Josef Montinola’s article in full: Opportunities and new roles for brands within the many layers of Filipino community.

This article is part of a Spotlight series on how brands can better connect with communities in the Philippines. Read more here

Sourced from WARC