Campaign title: Unleashing the New Retail Experience

Client/Entering Company: Harbour City Estates Ltd

Company Name: Isentia


Hong Kong’s Harbour City shopping mall engaged Isentia to help with a new livestream social media marketing strategy to engage mainstream Chinese consumers and reinforce its “Beauty Kingdom” reputation. Through innovative social media research and measurement before, during and after the campaign, Isentia helped both design the campaign’s strategy and demonstrate its success.


Harbour City is the largest shopping mall in Hong Kong, with more than 320 brands featured across three beauty stores – Lane Crawford, FACESSS, Joyce Beauty – and other standalone beauty boutiques. It is renowned as the “Beauty Kingdom” for offering the largest number of beauty brands in Hong Kong and across the region. Beyond major beauty brands, Harbour City houses many unique offerings that are not available in China and are highly desirable among Chinese customers, one of the most important target segments.

Key Challenges
With the rapid development of China’s retail industry, shopping malls with a similar trade-mix and scale of Harbour City are available in other major cities, while Korea, Singapore, Thailand and other countries in the region play an active role in tourist promotion. Together with the rise of e-commerce that offers more competitive product pricing, Hong Kong and Harbour City face the threat of losing their “Shopping Paradise” appeal to mainland shoppers. To reaffirm Harbour City as a shopping destination across Asia, Harbour City decided to launch an interesting 90-minute livestream onsite in May 2017 and appointed Isentia to help measure its success.

Isentia’s principal objectives were to:

  • Understand the effectiveness of the campaign and clearly identify Harbour City’s position by gauging changes in the share of social media buzz versus its competitors
  • Track fast-changing sentiment online
  • Access consumers’ level of purchase intention before and after the campaign launch
  • Measure brand awareness and product perception across influential social media channels

Business Objectives

  • 3-5 percent increment in average daily traffic, with 200,000 visitors
  • 5 percent increase in beauty sales

Marketing Objectives

  • Further strengthen Harbour City’s leadership position and “Beauty Kingdom” reputation, substantiated by new product interest leads
  • Promote Harbour City locally and internationally through creative use of social media


Facing the large scale of data in China, and the rate of opinion and sentiment change online, effectively measuring the campaign’s objectives represented a challenge. Isentia and Harbour City’s marketing team adopted a customised social media research plan before agreeing on their strategy to ensure that outcomes were measurable and attainable, and would determine the campaign’s contribution of the overall results.

The measurement strategy was anchored through three key angles:

  1. PLATFORM STUDY – Target the most influential
    At the start of the campaign plan, Harbour City conducted a social media landscape study among the top live streaming platforms in China, in order to select the one with the highest influencer level and event applications, including Yizibo (一直播) and Sina Weibo’s live-streaming service
  2. INFLUENCER RESEARCH – Scout for celebrities using analytics
    Based on the platforms identified, a Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) list was evaluated using social index scores by filtering the top performing influencers using engagement levels, number of followers and posts. Celebrity stylist Perry (小P老師), the number one Beauty KOL in Sina Microblog in 2016, has over 36 million followers on Sina Weibo and Yizibo and more than two million in WeChat public. He has a strong presence across social platforms and was selected as the livestream’s host (see Appendix 1)
  3. SOCIAL CONTENT RESEARCH – Product discovery pairing with the master
    For the live content, Isentia, Harbour City and Perry brainstormed a list of beauty brands and collected responses about buzz drivers such as product knowledge, usage tips and frequently asked questions. Six beauty brands were strategically handpicked which are either exclusive to the mall like Lipstick Queen, a unique brand used by singer Madonna, or a popular brand to attract customers’ interests (see Appendix 2).
    To provide timely insights, Isentia designed a reporting approach with qualitative and quantitative metrics using Isentia’s 1-Social social monitoring system for planning, tracking and evaluating the communication messages before and after the live streaming campaign. Reporting mechanisms undertaken included:
  • Flash Report – to report on buzz and sentiment changes with potential issues on a daily basis
  • Bi-Weekly Report – to analyse trending awareness levels and topic associations with a week-on-week comparison for determining the campaign’s sustainability


Harbour City built an O2O (online to offline) approach to connect the social media research findings (online) and execution elements (offline) that would enable Perry and team to engage audiences in each stage of the livestream.

The key findings of the research were:

Teaser entices fans – Consumers did not always relate easily to a cross-border campaign, but they were more likely to engage after being exposed to pre-event news on social media. One day ahead, Perry posted a dessert photo taken at Harbour City on Sina Weibo, immediately drawing attention to his Hong Kong trip.

Delivering value through professionalism and charisma– Consumers wanted strong editorial content focusing on authenticity and substance. Perry successfully interacted with fans with his charming personality, showing them a “real beauty shopping experience” and answering questions during the livestream.

Further enhancing reach after live streaming – Consumers like live interaction, but can be reluctant to take action if they do not retain information about the brand or product. With the insights observed, Perry encouraged fans to select three favourite brands to win gifts by replaying the video after the livestream, resulting in more than three million additional playback views. Perry leveraged the potential of cross-platform influence to encourage purchases by publishing beauty product details on WeChat, gaining 200,000 views and a wider reach. This increased potential customers’ sentiment towards shopping during the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holidays, which occurred right after the livestream.

Measuring Influencer identity – Isentia monitored Perry’s social media performance to allow Harbour City to better understand how his audience responded to content and how it matched with the positioning of the mall. This research revealed that Perry was a consistent influencer, not only in social media discussions relating to beauty brands, but also in discussions associated with usage tips and expertise, which made his followers an important target audience. New audiences would be open to Perry’s profile.

Set KPI for influencer performance – Harbour City raised a question about whether the top ranked influencers were the most effective in driving consumer purchases. Isentia designed a “purchase intention” measurement model to identify those who were able to make consumers act, by applying keywords such as “buy” and “desire” as a filter in the analysis.

Effectiveness of Assignment

Through incorporating social media measurement into the live streaming campaign, Harbour City successfully boosted quantifiable business and marketing results compared with the same period in 2016.

Business Achievements

  • 20 percent increase in total sales of the six selected feature brands
  • 10 percent increase in total sales in the beauty category
  • 5 percent increase in average daily traffic, with more than 210,000 visitors

Marketing Achievements

  • Record-breaking views, with over 28.5 million
  • New Sina Weibo Hong Kong livestream record
  • Perry broke his highest livestream view record
  • Generated local media publicity in both online and traditional channels
  • Received global media exposure (600+ mentions) by circulating the release in 10 countries and seven languages
  • Case featured in Bloomberg Business week (China Edition) and by the World Global Style Network
  • Potential audience reach of 100 million

The overall results were remarkable for Harbour City and showed. The company’s buzz shares boosted, as did customers’ favourability towards beauty products, showcasing how further engagement with its “Beauty Kingdom” reputation was gained by innovative use of social media measurement (see Appendices 3 and 4).


From an Isentia perspective, the key highlights were:

  • We helped design Harbour City’s campaign strategy and measurement objectives
  • Provided both daily and bi-weekly reports to Harbour City measuring immediate social media activities and changes in social buzz
  • Designed a specific measurement model to discover consumers’ intention to purchase to identify which influencers encourage followers to act
  • Demonstrated the strength of the influencer hired for the campaign, Perry
  • Innovative use of social media measurement before, during and after the campaign helped Harbour City improve its business and marketing results compared to the same period the year before.