Leading the way

Seven strategies from brands leading the conversation on Twitter in Southeast Asia.

In a time of upheaval, many brands are asking themselves the hard questions: Is now a good time to launch a new product? Can we use messaging that’s lighthearted and playful at a time when people are neither? What’s the best way to stay agile in the face of uncertainty?

At Twitter, we’ve seen how conversations can make a difference. 

We’ve been humbled and inspired by the brands across Southeast Asia who have stepped up over the past few months to lead the way for others. 

We’ve also seen that conversations can drive business results for your brand.

According to a recent Twitter study, a 10% increase in brand conversation could increase brand sales revenue by up to 3%.1

For brands considering how to take action during this time, we’ve got you.

Here are seven strategies and insights that draw on the best practices from the most effective brand activations on Twitter so far this year. 

These strategies draw from the recent success of leading brands across Southeast Asia who understood the customers’ mindset and today’s new landscape before taking action. 

So, how did these brands succeed? 

1. Lead by listening. 

The brands that have thrived understood that people want brands to be communicative, supportive, and people-first.

In APAC, 83% of people on Twitter think that brands should be pledging money/aid/supplies to help people.2

People also want brands to be supportive — one of the things people are looking for during this challenging time is payment or financial terms support. In APAC, 88% of people on Twitter users in APAC think that brands should be offering flexible payment terms (e.g. instalments, payment plans, etc.).3

Leading brands take the time to understand their customers’ mindset first, before jumping in to help.

2. Lead with purpose.

Because now, more than ever, brands need to show their ideals — 82% say brands should use their position to affect positive change in society.4

You can identify your brand’s place in this moment by clarifying your three Ps: purpose (what guides your brand), people (how you are supporting those most impacted by a crisis) and pledge (how you plan on giving back).

In APAC, 84% of people on Twitter want brands to think and act in a more sustainable way to protect the earth and the environment post-pandemic.5

3. Lead by example.

In APAC, 79% of people on Twitter think that brands should show how they are responding to COVID-19 or helping customers.6 Conversation leaders also tend to follow a common set of rules:


  • Provide useful information to help people navigate uncertainty and remain calm. 
  • Broadcast any initiatives you’ve launched that address issues customers have raised.


  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep. 
  • Don’t view misfortune as a marketing opportunity. 
  • Don’t shun interactions with frustrated customers.

4. Lead with something new. 

Successful brands lead by launching new products or services or introducing new messaging during a downturn. In fact, brands that launch (or relaunch) in a downturn experienced 15-25% greater excessive share of voice growth than the general average growth.7

5. Lead by connecting.

Leading brands connect with their audience and maintain relevance by turning live events into virtual ones, connecting to virtual celebrations of occasions, and leaning into what people care about.

6. Lead with agility.

Leading brands use creative ideas to solve existing limitations. They evolve their content strategy by transforming old assets into new ones, creating new content with creators and influencers, and rethinking their live events.

7. Lead with positivity. 

At a time when people are hungry for lighthearted content, successful brands lead with positivity by sharing moments of humanity and levity with their followers, creating unique experiences, and engaging people around their interests.

70% of people on Twitter think it’s important for brands to help boost positivity and promote positive stories.8

This is especially true for Thai consumers, as 56% want ads that are inspiring (56%), heartwarming (42%), and amusing (30%).9

Trang Hoang (‎‎@tranghoang) is the head of the Business Marketing team at Twitter Southeast Asia.

1. Twitter Meta Analysis: Measuring the impact of Earned Conversation, Neustar MMM (2019). Note: This represents Max value per 10% increase = 2.6%; Min value = 0.02%
2. GlobalWebIndex, Coronavirus multi-market study, Wave 3 amongst Twitter visitors/users in APAC, Apr. 22-27, 2020
3. GlobalWebIndex, Coronavirus multi-market study, Wave 4 amongst Twitter visitors/users in APAC, May 19-26, 2020
4. Firefish, The Numbers Lab & Twitter, Brand purpose, US Q: Thinking about brand purpose campaigns overall, how much do you agree or disagree with the following statements? Twitter users n=742
5. GlobalWebIndex, Coronavirus multi-market study, Wave 4 amongst Twitter visitors/users in APAC, May 19-26, 2020
6. GlobalWebIndex, Coronavirus multi-market study, Wave 4 amongst Twitter visitors/users in APAC, May 19-26, 2020
7. Nielsen. Global. Budgeting for the upturn — Does share of voice matter.
8. Twitter Insiders, US Only, March 25-30, 2020, n=826
9. Study by Video Ad Tech Company Unruly amongst 4,800 consumers around the world

September 11, 2020
  • Asia Pacific
  • Perspective

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