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For traveling the digital highway, take the bridge ‘not too far’ – by Sensibly Weird Company’s Subhas Warrier

Brands that are prominent through a strong retail presence may suddenly find themselves losing out on market shares due to the exponential sale that is now taking place over e-commerce platforms. By Subhas Warrier, director – strategic planning, Sensibly Weird Company.

The German company “Hama” has continuously developed pioneering work on the cutting edge of technology and innovation since 1923, almost from a century back. As a leader in the Electronics and Mobile accessories segment, Hama produces 18,000 different products. The core idea being to turn simple accessories into a product experience. Consumers are not aware of this because the company maintained sales focus mainly through retail level ‘push’. Even in markets of Europe, the brand is mainly dependent on big retail chains, such as Media Markt.

Brands that were predominantly pushed through retail needed an alternative channel to reach out to its customers. In a way, the current situation presented a case to catapult brands into the digital highway by adopting a trial and error method of charting new territory.

But an even remarkable case is when the brand temporarily vacates the retail market place and is looking to return to find itself caught between the devil and the sea; the devil in the hitherto unchartered territory of making an entry through digital media and regaining a footing in the sea of retail market place where branded and unbranded products are jostling for space.

To gain back a foothold without a strong presence in the consumer’s mind was a daunting task. The challenge was to build a fresh connection between retailers and consumers in parallel. The convergence point is really the social media platform.

Thanks to the overwhelming reach of digital media (in markets like UAE) the bridge ‘is not too far’ (notably) because the idea can be sown quickly and the benefits reaped almost overnight. This is possible to ride only on the strength of a good idea.

The first task was to bring the consumer-facing brand to the focus. These were identified as Mobile Photography, Wireless & Gaming. Our social media presence through a combination of hard hinting content was driven through FB, Instagram, LinkedIn associate marketing and careful planning on programmatic placement of messaging. This laid the foundation of bringing the Hama name back into the market place. To put speed on the trajectory, 3 aspects of digital user behaviour were taken as ‘X’ factors to help ring in the success register.

  1. Intrigue. Photography was the ‘obvious’ segment that can bring in the intrigue factor
  2. UGC (User Generated Content). Is the concept simple and motivating enough for people to participate?
  3. Community participation

The idea is a concept called the ‘Half-Truth, Full-Truth’ challenge. #HalfTruthFullTruthChallenge. The social media campaign was launched on the occasion of World Photography Day and was promoted for a period of 1 month.


The challenge had an ‘intrigue’ element because It captured a strong subject of topical nature, i.e. fake images, and brought about a positive spin to a trending subject by asking people to showcase how an image can ‘tell a thousand stories’ when taken in different perspectives.

This could easily generate UGC with the use of mobile photography a key segment of the Hama portfolio. Inviting people with a ‘prize’ offer made sure that there was significant interest to participate in the challenge.

Jayakrishnan Poduwal

“The #HalfTruthFullTruthChallenge, launched on World Photography Day, has allowed us to reach a dimension that we had never reached,” says Jayakrishnan Poduwal, regional director – Middle East and Africa, Hama Gulf. “With this campaign, we were able to engage more with end consumers. It was an eye-opener for us in understanding how better engagement tactics in social media  deliver better results in brand building and to be able to measure it quantitatively”

Furthermore, by bringing the UAE Photography club on board, the challenge was well-promoted amongst the community of hardcore photography enthusiasts.

Engagement on Hama’s social media pages surely rose like a phoenix in the desert, but more importantly, it is the case about getting on the digital highway through a bridge that connects the consumer and the community and enthusing the retailers at the same time.

We were able to develop positive ‘Word of Mouth’ (WOM) through new followers, 50% of what was brought in through natural organic growth.

On Facebook, Reach & Engagement increased 100% during the campaign period.

Instagram was the preferred platform of choice with followers increasing 3.3 times.

On Instagram, a high level of engagement was evident as conversations on the feed increased 7.5 times.

So to ride the digital media highway, take an idea that will work as a communication bridge to win back loyalties and build quick awareness. Secondly, community building through influencer marketing will make the case credible as they come in as 3rd party independent entities who have shared interest in the brand and its offering.