Every year, devout Apple fans and scalpers all around the world camp outside Apple stores in anticipation of the new iPhones. This year, Huawei decides to join in the fun outside Apple Store Singapore.
The queue for the latest iPhones began as early as 7 am on Thursday, but that’s more than 24 hours before the official sales on Friday at 8 am. No iPhone and its owner are going to survive the wait without a power point nearby or a power bank, and Huawei knows that. So the genius phone maker decided to give out its 10,000 mAh power banks, worth $98 each, to the first 200 people in line on Thursday night, along with a note that says “Here’s a power bank. You’ll need it.”
The next day, the Internet was lauding Huawei for its brilliance.
Why Huawei is a genius
Huawei understands its competitor and their customers well. It knows that the iPhone’s battery life is short and there will be people queuing overnight for the latest iPhones, which means that people in the queue would need to recharge their phones at some point. Giving out power banks to these people in line is a fantastic goodwill gesture that is also highly relevant. While these Apple customers are quite unlikely to turn into Huawei’s customers (their willingness to queue speaks volumes of their loyalty to Apple), the gesture became a talking point.
The note that came along with the power banks also served as a jab, highlighting the iPhone’s poor battery performance. Again, they are probably not going to convert people in the queue, but it elicited praises and sniggers that are amplified throughout social media.
Huawei got all the attention it deserved almost effortlessly just by taking part in an existing conversation. It leveraged on Apple’s limelight to help themselves shine a little brighter.
What Huawei did is known as ambush marketing. Such a marketing activity hijacks a competitor’s event or marketing effort, capitalising on their large audience to gain more exposure. This saves them the time and money to build some hype of their own.
To do it well, marketers need to keep up with what’s trending and have a deep understanding of the competition and their customers. Once an opportunity is identified, marketers must also be able to creatively work their brand into the conversation to capitalise on the gap between the competition’s weak points and their customers’ desires.
As Sun Tzu would say, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”