ASB has announced that it will be launching a new account on the popular Chinese social media website Sina Weibo (Weibo) in a move aimed at diversifying ASB’s means of communication with one of New Zealand's fastest growing demographics.
The launch of the account coincides with the annual Chinese New Year celebrations in New Zealand of which ASB is the principal sponsor. The announcement featured ASB’s newly created logo in Mandarin to better brand the bank in Weibo to its Chinese customer base.
The newly created logo is comprised of mandarin symbols that mean “winning and success” in English.
After Twitter and Facebook were blocked under China's censorship policies, some local companies launched similar social media platforms—and, of those, Sina Weibo, founded in 2009, quickly became the most popular, having swelled to over 500 million accounts, 176 million active users, and approximately 81 million active users each day by 2014.
Weibo offers ASB a new means by which to contact its Chinese customer base. Although ASB’s customer base that is of Chinese origin can use Facebook, many are also active on Weibo as it provides the best link to family and friends back in China.
ASB already has a strong social media following (with over 141,000 likes on Facebook), and with this move they look to expand their presence even further while this time in a new language. The new account “will be used to converse with Chinese immigrants, providing updates of important ASB news and information".
While the Weibo move is novel in the banking industry, ASB isn't the only local organisation to join the network, with Air New Zealand and NZ Tourism also running accounts on the social network for the past two years.
According to ASB General Manager, Logan Munro, the move to open a Weibo account makes complete sense, as “New Zealand is a wonderfully diverse multi-cultural nation, with growing migrant population. A growing number of ASB’s customers are Chinese or are of Chinese origin, and it makes sense to connect with our customers in their own language”.
And this isn't the bank's only attempt to connect with growing demographic groups. In addition to sponsoring Chinese New Year and running a Weibo account, the bank also lends its sponsorship support to Diwali and Matariki events.
“ASB committed to embracing and celebrating diversity and engages in many activities to promote inclusion and diversity within the bank," a spokesperson from the bank said. [Also] it’s important that we understand and reflect both the diverse range of people who bank with us and also the communities which we operate”
The changing face of New Zealand
According to Stats NZ, the Asian demographic is forecasted to rise significantly in the coming years. The Asian demographic in New Zealand consisted of half a million in 2013, with a forecasted increase to around 920,0000 by by 2025 and between 1.1 million and 1.26 million by 2038.
The figures show a significant rise in the Asian demographic, as the marketing campaigns that ASB is running seem to acknowledge the changes and work towards attracting the market for new migrants.
Nick Siu, director of The Agency 88, a consultancy agency that focuses on Asia-West relations, recently told NZ Marketing that brands need to take active steps to engage with growing Asian population.
“Brands should be brave enough to really truly understand who their audience is in terms of that Asia consumer segment and then how their brand can make a genuine connection with those people and their communities”.
And this means being where those consumers are, regardless of whether that's at a significant annual event for the community, in one of the local Chinese community papers or on a gargantuan Chinese social media network.