Bar-B-Q Plaza’s Deputy Chief Executive, Bunyanuch Boonbumrungsup, talks about how a small regional brand has won a big place in consumers’ hearts.
Bar-B-Q Plaza, a restaurant chain in Thailand, has been winning the hearts of Thais with its YouTube videos. One video, “The Waiter’s Mom,” was the fourth most-watched brand video in Thailand in 2015.
Bar-B-Q Plaza’s first online video success was “Moment of Now.” It told the story of a young couple dining at the restaurant. The video reached a million people by using humor to communicate how critical timing and freshness are to great barbecuing. “The idea was to appreciate the present and make the most of it. The video received very good feedback,” said Boonbumrungsup.
A strategic decision pays off
Following the success of “Moment of Now,” Bar-B-Q Plaza started thinking about how to sustain the momentum. As a small company with a limited budget, the brand faced a strategic dilemma: Should it boost short-term sales and reach targets through tactical promotions or invest in long-term brand-building?
Boonbumrungsup said, “We had a meeting in which we debated for five or six hours over which route to take. With our limited budget, we had to choose between branding or promotion, while keeping our high sales target in mind. It was a stressful and tough decision.”
"“With our limited budget, we had to choose between branding or promotion, while keeping our high sales target in mind.” - Bunyanuch Boonbumrungsup, Deputy Chief Executive, Bar-B-Q Plaza"
Under Boonbumrungsup’s leadership, Bar-B-Q Plaza decided to take a risk by foregoing promotion in favor of brand-building. “The Waiter’s Mom” told the story of Bar-B-Q Plaza arranging a Mother’s Day meal for its employees to share with their mothers. The way Boonbumrungsup saw it, “The Waiter’s Mom” was a way to recognize their employees while creating video content that showed the human side of the brand.
“At that time, I trusted my instinct and believed that it was going to be very successful. And even if not, it was still a way to give back to a very important group of people,” said Boonbumrungsup.
Not only did the video endear Bar-B-Q Plaza to more Thai fans, it also drove a sales uplift of 24%, exceeding sales targets. Boonbumrungsup pointed out that even with a very small marketing budget, the investment produced results beyond her expectations.
Driving business with online video
For Bar-B-Q Plaza, the success of the videos reinforced the importance of online video in establishing a small, homegrown brand in the hearts of consumers.
According to Boonbumrungsup, online video is the best platform to tell stories to a broad audience. “Sometimes, we find that a minute isn’t enough to tell a compelling story. We find it easier to engage the audience if we have three to five minutes. We can’t afford that sort of airtime on TV.”
"“Learn about what people are interested in, tell it in your brand’s voice, and create something they want to watch.” - Bunyanuch Boonbumrungsup, Deputy Chief Executive, Bar-B-Q Plaza"
In addition, online video allows the brand to capitalize on the way viewing habits have changed. “Another important factor is that audiences are consuming media on mobile devices. Their attention is on their phones and tablets, not the TV. Our content needs to be interesting enough to grab people’s attention, or else ads are easily ignored or skipped.”
Boonbumrungsup makes it clear that for online videos to work, viewers must want to watch them. “When brands focus only on what they want to say, it’s a waste of time. Learn about what people are interested in, tell it in your brand’s voice, and create something they want to watch.” In this regard, Bar-B-Q Plaza’s approach is what Boonbumrungsup calls “positive marketing,” or telling stories to effect positive change in society.
Video advertising helps small brands do big things
Online video has indeed paid off for Bar-B-Q Plaza. Boonbumrungsup revealed that in Thailand, Bar-B-Q Plaza has earned a return of about 20-30 million baht on an 8-9 million investment. The brand’s positive standing in consumers’ hearts has also made it an attractive business partner for other brands. Not forgetting, of course, the intangible benefit of instilling pride in its workforce.
“Platforms like YouTube help SME brands with small budgets like ours to reach a wide audience. Our position on the YouTube Ads Leaderboard shows that a small brand like us can shine on the same stage as big global brands. The internet has empowered us to stand strong in the market and in the hearts of our customers.”