This mobile marketing case describes the understanding of global differences and similarities and also discusses partnering with others. Receiving both a Gold and a Silver award in Messaging, Relationship Building/CRM, Social Impactt For Profit, Singapore Red Cross needed to get donors with specific blood types in a population of just under five million people. They created an app following an annual blood donation campaign.
With nearly 15,000 app downloads, they discovered 20,000 new donors, 20% above existing donor base, and that lead to 121,360 blood donations, 21% above their published target of 100,000 per year.
Singapore Red Cross needed to reach the next generation of blood donors while also leveraging existing donors’ social networks. The Red Cross Connection app synced up with donors’ Facebook networks, allowing donors to share alerts with their friends and encourage their networks to donate. The app also helped locate the nearest donation center and provided FAQs to first-time donors.
Singapore Red Cross, with just a $25,000 budget, faced the challenge of raising the required blood supply in this island city-state off southern Malaysia. Despite the support of existing blood donors, the growing demand makes finding new blood donors a critical part of its strategy, with recruiting Singapore youths key to establishing the next generation of blood donors. Objectives (KPIs) for the Singapore Red Cross included:
Increasing total blood donation
Increasing new donor recruitment
Reaching and activating donors for needed blood types
Singapore Red Cross needed an always-on platform to reach youth and existing blood donors, as well as a way to empower youth and donors to help spread the word when specific blood types were needed. This solution needed to be cost-effective and mobile, to keep young people engaged. While the target audience for new donor recruitment included many age groups, the youth were key to recruiting the next generation of regular blood donors. An insight was that some regular donors would often behave as advocates, inviting their friends to accompany them to give blood.
With the objectives and challenges in mind, a mobile app was the right solution. The widespread use of smartphones by Singapore youths, coupled with in-app push messaging and the ability to interact with popular social media platforms such as Facebook made a mobile app the practical, effective choice. The app was built how Facebook is used to crowdsource help from online friends. From asking for prayers to finding owners for pets, and even to asking for blood donors for a loved one in need, the community responds positively when the request is from a friend. The Singapore Red Cross app was designed to enhance this behavior, uniting users as a group that commits their personal networks to spread the call for donors when the need arises. Youths were encouraged to become lifesavers, whereby the act of sharing blood or sharing the cause on social media could help save lives. Every donation could save up to three lives, which the app tracked. Red Cross campaigns had previously used channels such as print and out-of-home, but due to the cost of media, these efforts were seasonal and could not be sustained. The mobile app allows the Singapore Red Cross to have an always-on platform to activate its donor base, recruit new donors, and call for specific blood types as needed.
The Red Cross Connection app was named after the social connections that the app uses to help activate new and existing donors, as well as in tribute to the connection blood donors have to the people they help save. Once installed, app users create their profiles through Facebook Connect and indicate their blood type. When blood supplies run low, users receive “blood alerts” with options to find the nearest blood donation center and a call to action to share the alert with their friends on Facebook, the most commonly used social platform in Singapore.
Donors used the app to register their blood donations by entering a code or scanning a QR code on posters found at blood donation centers and mobile blood drives. Users get rewarded with a short animation thanking them for their selfless and noble action. The app acknowledges user actions on their profiles, tracking the number of potential lives saved with every donation, as well as the number of times users have shared alerts.
All app users benefited from offers from merchant and partner tie-ins (one of the key learning outcomes from this Chapter) sent through the app messages. App functions included a message box for blood alerts and other messages from the Red Cross, a blood donation center locator, FAQs for first-time donors, a QR code scanner for registering their donations at blood centers, and a friend invite plus social share functions for inviting more users and spreading the call for blood on social media, including Facebook and others. As of early 2016, the Singapore Red Cross Facebook page had 55,000 likes and so this campaign for blood has been successful, in part due to MRM/McCann, who also won a Facebook award in the category “Social Technology.”
- Give a 1 paragraph summary of the case
- What other mobile strategies could you consider for this sharing social impact organization?
- How could Red Cross in other countries use this case study? In what ways could they conduct similar campaigns? What about other non-profit organizations that need donations via crowd sourcing?
- What is the market impact of a social impact campaign? Besides the obvious benefits, what other benefits do you identify?