Summary: How can a market leader possibly grow twice as fast as the dynamic young challenger brands chasing it? In Theraflu’s case, we did it by creating an extraordinarily accurate “weather map’ predicting the progress of cold and flu viruses through the world’s biggest nation. Sales +11%!
Objective: increase sales
RUSSIA IS A HOT BED FOR COLDS AND FLU
Russia can be cold – fantastically cold, below –50C at times. And then it can be wet, cold and grey for months.
It’s the perfect place for flu and colds to thrive. Each winter the flu and cold season can last for up to nine months (September to April).
Fortunately, help is at hand. Theraflu is Russia’s biggest anti-flu medicine, with a 30% market share and 100% awareness.
Rivals, however, wanted Theraflu to catch a cold. Brands like Kagocel were rewriting category rules by claiming to work for longer. Previously loyal Theraflu users were being tempted.
Theraflu wanted to retain its leadership position. To do that, we realized that we had to do the unthinkable: predict when colds and flu where coming to their town or city.
This is massively complex. Russia is a big country. Each virus travels through the country in different ways and its arrival in any given city or region is hard to predict.
Experience also told us that our messages were more effective if we could reach consumers as or just before the epidemic arrived. That way not only would be top of mind – in an increasingly cluttered messaging environment – but we could also persuade consumers to stock up.
Our business targets and our consumer needs coincided – we had to predict how flu and colds would travel through Russia.
WE WOULD PREDICT THE LIKELIHOOD OF CATCHING A COLD IN THE WORLD’S BIGGEST COUNTRY
Consumers needed to know when they might need Theraflu and our modelling demonstrated that our messages were also much more effective when they arrived just before or as illness first struck.
Our idea was to create a unique service based on real-time data that allows consumers to be ready for a burst of cold in advance and help to improve their quality of life or at least reduce the severity of any illness during long flu season protect themselves.
Our strategy would revolve around a unique resource: “The Theraflu Map” – a 2-week forecast for each of the 82 regions across the country with real-time updates to encourage repeat visits to our website.
Based on multiple sources of data for greater accuracy, our innovative approach incorporated: weather, category sales, social mentions and search requests. The first model was developed manually and then improved using artificial intelligence and historical data to further improve the prediction rate.
The benefits would be seen not just by consumers but also by the Theraflu trade team, who would be able to use our in four-week forecast to enhance stock management on a regional basis.
This map would also become our key content source, providing not just information to consumers but also determining when and where we should deliver that message. The flu index data that powered our map would also tell us when and where warnings to stock up on Theraflu should be distributed.
We would work with content specialists, mathematicians, media planners, web developers and media partners to create a flu map of unprecedented accuracy.
POWERED BY ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, WE USED MEDIA TO TELL RUSSIANS THEY NEED TO BUY THERAFLU
We created a flu prediction map of previously unimaginable accuracy. Our first manual model was 85% accurate and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning based on historical data boosted this to 93-95% over any 10-day period.
This data was then applied both as content and to use for targeting across digital, TV and out of home.
In digital, customized ads were launched only in regions where the flu index was high or increasing, boosting efficiency as we only paid to reach cold and flu sufferers in their most receptive moments.
Creatives were customized message based on location so that consumers in each city saw bespoke forecasts on Russia’s biggest digital portals (mail.ru, yandex.ru), and via mobile wi-fi home screens at airports and stations. Similar messages were also targeted as special widgets in popular weather services such as Weather.Mail.ru and WeatherRambler.
On TV we partnered with TNT, one of Russia’s largest entertainment channels and a must-view for Theraflu’s target audience. Hosts flagged up our Flu Index data in key cities and our data also appeared on screen.
Finally, Digital OOH in Moscow displayed our Flu Index in real time and guided people to get more information about their city online.