Telling Brand Stories with Performance Media

Jonathan Lau

Sr. Director of Growth at Weee!

Learning Objectives

Most performance marketers do not explore the different ways that organic and/or brand traffic can amplify your paid performance. By reviewing the various channels your brand engages with your users, it is possible to find new ways to leverage your brand to help increase conversion on our paid campaigns. This presentation focuses on how Weee! utilize brand stories to help increase our social/brand awareness, that led to a direct, positive impact on paid marketing.

"Our mission is to be a one stop shop for all your grocery needs, and make fresh food accessible to everyone. "

Jonathan Lau

Sr. Director of Growth at Weee!


Hi, everyone. My name is Jon Lau. Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about how using brand stories can improve performance media. First of all, a little background information about myself. I am, again, Jon Lau. I used to be a banker, and back in 2013, decided that mobile ad tech was a little bit more interesting. I spent some time on the sales side, and had an opportunity to switch over to the buy side where ever since I’ve led mobile growth teams in both gaming and non gaming companies.

My current company at Weee, I was the first growth hire, and I joined them last year. I saw it as an opportunity for me to really build something from the ground up, which is something I’ve never done before. Usually, when you go into a role, there’s an existing system, existing processes in place. This was an opportunity where none of that existed, and I had an opportunity going like, “Okay, this is how I want to build our growth engine.” It was also an opportunity for me to combine my personal passion for performance growth, with my love for food, the histories, the origins, the flavors, the textures, and all of that. Combining all of that into a single role was something that was deeply important to me, which is why chose to join Weee.

Who is Weee? Weee is an online only e-grocer that specializes in Asian groceries. We recently expanded our produce and merchandise to also cover Hispanic groceries serving the Latin population. However, our core business is still Asian groceries, produce, snacks, meat items, and such. We offer fresh and delicious and exciting foods while charging no shopping fees, no subscription fees, and no delivery fees if your order is $35 or more.

On top of that, if you are unsatisfied with any item you received, something’s not fresh enough, something doesn’t look right, we offer a freshness guarantee, which allows you to return an item or submit a refund via our app, and you will be refunded within 24 hours. That’s a very, very solid proposition.

Overall, our mission is to be a one stop shop for all your grocery needs, and make fresh food accessible to everyone. The reason why we don’t charge a bunch of fees is because we also do believe that making fresh food assessable also means making it cost assessable. One of our mantras internally within our team is to serve the underserved, allowing people anywhere to access good food, whoever they may be.

The core value proposition of Weee really falls along the lines of three tenants. The first one is everyday value. We offer the same or lower prices as brick and mortar stores without hidden fees. Many of the things that you do see with Weee, you can find the local Asian supermarket. We are introducing more and more mainstream items like Clover organic milk, or [unintelligible] oat milk, things like that, that more mainstream customers would also buy as a way to expand our offering but also allowing our users to spend more of their wallet share with our company. On that note, it is very important that we keep our price competitive with what our consumers are seeing in brick and mortar stores.

Second is convenient delivery. You can order online or in app for next day delivery or you could schedule for delivery a week out. This makes grocery delivery easy. No more standing in line. No more finding a parking spot. You can order everything with a few taps on your phone, and you’re done. This is perfect if you are trying to buy groceries for your family, trying to buy groceries for yourself. It simply makes the overall shopping experience easier. As I said in previous slide with our freshness guarantee, you don’t have to worry about getting something that is not fresh. We stand by our products. We have a guarantee for it.

Lastly, we offer exciting items. Aside from your day to day grocery staples, we also offer things that you don’t normally see at physical stores. Things such as pink pineapples from Costa Rica or white strawberries from Japan. We also are the first to sometimes get very unique snacks that you would find overseas, like Irving fish chips, or last year, the fan favorite was the Boba ice cream pops. We were one of the few retailers that had it available and was readily selling to our customers when there was this craze about Boba ice cream.

With the combination of everyday value, convenient delivery, and our selection of both essential and exciting items, we believe we have a very strong proposition in terms of reaching our users. With that said, when we first launched our paid growth, we ran into a PR problem. We had no problem reaching users who were interested in our product. We would spend money on Facebook and on Google, and we knew we were getting those impressions, we’re getting those clicks, but people were still reluctant to move forward.

Through our investigation, we realize people were skeptical of our service. We ran into a “Is this too good to be true?” dilemma. We found out that one of the more common search terms of Weee was, “Is Weee legit?” We also found that, in different Facebook groups in the different markets we served, people would say to other people that they see our ads, but they’re wondering if it’s legit. Fundamentally, we need to tell a better brand story, and have social validation of our product in order to convince users to actually convert on our performance media. How do we tackle it using different methodologies?

First, we decided to double down on creating social awareness using our own internal social channels. When I first started, our social channels was pretty barebone. We didn’t really put much effort into growing the audience. The audience was incredibly small. The content we were creating was relatively generic. So there wasn’t a lot of excitement. So we focused on creating really diverse content across multiple social media channels. This includes Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Pinterest. Each channel, we created content that is custom fit and custom suited for that specific channel.

As an example, when we launched our TikTok channel, we made sure that the content we created stayed on top of the TikTok trends in order to be relevant within that ecosystem. With this new content, we were able to drive significant amount of social brand awareness, tripling our follower count on Instagram, using multiple strategies. We engaged with our users using brands stories.

We focus primarily on three themes. First is nostalgia. People who are first generation Asian Americans, and telling stories of food that reminds them of a taste of home. Nostalgia can also be for people like myself, who is a second generation Asian American. Food and flavors that I remember eating in my household cooked by my first generation Asian American parents. So using the power of memory and nostalgia to relate our users to our products, and ergo, to our service.

We also create a content like the one that you see in the middle that reminds people of the love of food. This past year, food is something that people has been consciously thinking about, especially because they are staying at home. With that in mind, we created content of [unintelligible] of different things you can create easy recipes you could create here at home, utilizing our produce, using our products along with an easy recipe that we would show to them.

The last image you see here is an example of a TikTok story that we filmed ourselves. What you can’t hear is the audio behind it, but we made sure that when we create these videos we’re using sounds, either existing sounds that TikTok provides or we create our own sounds to make it suitable for the TikTok environment.

Through these three ways of creating diverse content, engaging users with brand story, and driving social brand awareness, we’re able to really elevate our social presence. At the same time, utilizing that presence to engage with our users, whether it’s with promotions or with other types of contents, which I’ll go into later. As I said earlier, we were creating a lot of different types of content, one of which I’m featuring here, is creating content to showcase our knowledge of our products. We call it the Know Your Food segment by Weee. Know Your Food is a feature that focuses on the origins of products, the history, the cultural significance, the tastes, and differences. Sometimes, we follow it up with different recipes.

As you can see in these images, we created one for matcha. We created one for Tong Yoon, which is eaten during the lantern festival for Chinese people. We had to create one for Bunmi, the incredibly famous and renowned Vietnamese sandwich that you see in a lot of cities where Vietnamese restaurants are. We also created Know Your Food segments about various fruits to showcase the uniqueness, the flavors, the differentiation of these food and flavors. We did this because we knew none of our competitors were doing this. It also allowed us to create content that was uniquely shareable. What we saw is that once we started creating these segments of our Know Your Food, we saw an uptick in sharing of our posts to friends or tagging our posts with other people.

The whole goal here is to drive legitimacy, that not only do we provide this wonderful service, we are a service that allows people to access great food easily, but we are also experts in our domain. We know what we’re talking about. We know what we’re selling. We know what we’re selling is damn good. That’s why we felt that this was the direction we want to go, and we were proven right b the level of engagement with these posts.

We also utilize social influence. Now, this is something that is like, how do you measure? But we’ll talk a little bit about that later. When we embarked on this project, we also started running influencer and giveaway campaigns to engage with prospect users. As I said earlier, there wasn’t a shortage of demand. People were really interested in our services, but they weren’t sure. So we thought, why not create a giveaway, so that people can try our products, so that they can ensure that our products are truly legit, and our services truly legit?

We were using the power of social awareness to validate our brand. We engage with influencers by market, and have them create content for us that they would share on their channel. They would, in turn, give us the ability to share on ours. It created a ripple effect of awareness of our brand, which is key. At the same time, it gave our brand the legitimacy it needs so that the next time a user sees our ads on, whether it be on Facebook or on Google or any other platform that we’re spending on, it becomes immediately recognizable.We also utilize our products to tell different stories about our food, of our knowledge, and our value proposition.

On the right hand side, you can see on the first screen, we started getting users who would go out there and advocate for us in comments in Facebook groups. When people question or asked a question about our services, they were quick to tell people how wonderful our services are. Most of these are very honest. They would say, “We love them because of this”, “We don’t like them as much because of this.” Usually, when this happens, we also reach out to said users so that we could say, “Hey, if there’s any way we can improve our service, please let us know because we actively take that feedback and fold that into our operations so that we can ensure that the customer experience is always amazing.” I’m going to show of quick video of an unboxing that an influencer did that was very popular.

How does this impact paid performance overall? In the timeframe in which we started this brand engagement and social awareness project, we saw a whopping 35% increase in our purchase conversion for paid media. Now, of course, part of it is our audience targeting got better as we matured as a company. When you initially launch, you’re not quite sure what audiences are going to perform really well. Over time, you were able to get better with your audience targeting, get better with your understanding of the user ad journey, and working with product to also improve the onboarding process to increase the chance of getting people to do same session purchases.

With that said, we still saw a very fundamental increase in our purchase conversion funnel after we embarked into social engagement project. These brand and social efforts led to drops in our CPA and our CPIs. They also led an increases in our CTR impressions installed. Most importantly, we saw huge increases in ad engagement and sharing of our content.

What’s interesting is that not only would we see an uptick in tagging and sharing of our organic content, we saw an uptick in our tagging and sharing of our ad content. On Facebook, you would see people say, tag a friend and say, “Hey, this is what I saw on IG, check this out, this looks legit,” or someone saying, “This is amazing. My mom uses this. You guys should check this out. The food you get is really, really good.”

As I said earlier, by creating and embarking on this social awareness and brand story project, we created a really deep circle of our own advocates that are our own customers, who, when engaging with our content, will amplify our message within their respective circles. We knew, fundamentally, that this was a worthwhile project. This is not the way that you would approach it if this was gaming. With e-commerce, the barrier of entry to convince a user to actually utilize your services is significantly higher. They need more of an understanding of what you provide. They need a better reason of why they should try you over the dozens of other similar services that are out there.

We know that our unique propositions makes us very different. The no hidden fees, the exciting items, everyday value, and convenience is something that most other companies cannot match. The whole “too good to be true” dilemma made it really hard for us to convince people that this is real. So with this project, with this effort, we saw this fundamental change. Moving forward, we continue to see our users and their circles amplify every single message, amplify every single content that we put out. That, overall, positively impacts our internal performance paid efforts.

Hopefully, you find this useful. If you have any questions. Again, my name is Jon Lau. Feel free to hit me up on LinkedIn. I’m happy to chat. Thank you.

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