Empower the Future of Marketing



Illuminera x Suntory | Convert

Annie was going to buy some drinks for a weekend gathering with friends, while she saw the poster of “逢三得利”(Special offer of Suntory on Wednesday) at the entrance of convenience store. Then she registered as a member of Suntory Group on Alipay mini program. Through combining and stacking up various coupons, she went back satisfyingly with a large bag of beverages and drinks, including oolong tea, which is a must for healthy white-collar workers, Liqu coffee, which is mellow and smooth, Horoyoi, which is girls' favorite pre-mixed wine, and Jim Beam, which is a classic Japanese whiskey. She also stocked up 3 boxes of Suntory drip bag coffee and some Brand’s essence of chicken as daily backups. This weekend, she also planned to check in at Sun with AQUA, the Suntory's premium Japanese cuisine restaurant. Annie, who started with oolong tea of Suntory, was successfully upgraded as a loyal fan of Suntory Group through the  group membership system.

Like Annie in the story, many Chinese consumers’ impression of Suntory’s products are still on traditional best-sellers, such as oolong tea, beer, and etc. However, this international giant, which has a history of 100 years and has been rooted in Chinese market for more than 30 years, actually owns a variety of product categories and sub-brands. In order to give full play to the uniqueness of multiple categories in China, to improve consumers' awareness of the brand, and to coordinate with various sub-brands to drive business growth, Suntory Digital Promotion department has joined up with GrowthX, the growth strategy boutique of Illuminera, and STORiE, the brand and creative communication boutique of Illuminera. Together a group membership strategy based was devised, and successfully landed with zero friction on Alipay. In only 1.5 months, the Suntory Group membership mini program (乐享会,Suntory Member Hub) recruited 50,000 members and sold more than 30,000 products.

‘As one of the most important projects in 2022, Illuminera assisted us to understand consumers clearly, plan the business model successfully, and build a complete set of fully-landed group membership system from strategy to creativity, which finally realized a successful launch from 0 to 1 and achieved an excellent result. This is another highly important milestone in our four-year cooperation with Illuminera, from strategy development to project implementation.’

---Jerry Yu Yasuoka
Division COO, Group Digital Transformation Div.

Position the group membership and build a new business growth engine for multi-category giant

In addition to familiar beverages (oolong tea, Qin series, Liqu) and beer, Suntory's product line also covers pre-mixed wine (Horoyoi), drip bag coffee (JUSTIN COFFEE), imported liquor(whiskey, brandy, plum wine), red wine, supplements and other categories. Suntory’s product line even covers premium restaurant and decorative plants business pipelines, which are all daily needs of consumers. However, the uniqueness of Suntory Group’ s multi-category has not been fully activated in China, and the synergy of cross-business division and cross-category division has not yet achieved sustainability and a large scale. Illuminera found in consumer insights that consumers had very limited and vague perception of Suntory Group, while the promotion of multi-category combination would make a great contribution to driving business growth. Therefore, Illuminera focused on solutions that through building group membership, help more consumers to understand and try Suntory's multi-category products, and ultimately cultivate them to lovers and "diehard fans" of Suntory Group.

However, compared with pure fan operation and construction of single-brand membership system, how could Suntory Group increase consumers' willingness to join the member hub, bring stronger consumer perception, increase the business value of consumers' entire life cycle, and ultimately empower business growth of the whole group? Illuminera found that many FMCGs are layouting group membership, but each group has its own playing style with different maturity. However, the synergy effect of multi-category, which is very important for group membership, has not been fully utilized, since most membership system is just a collection of multiple products. Suntory needs to develop a unique membership pathway that suits its own characteristics and has tighter category synergy.

Combining consumer insights and scanning of industry practices, Illuminera comprehensively sorted out Suntory's internal business plan and business needs, and provided a group membership positioning strategy covering three levels: objective, value, and execution.

Promote operational synergy and create a multi-scenario marketing closed loop

There are various forms of group membership. However, actually building a membership plan suitable for the group will face multiple challenges. It is necessary to fully consider the deployment of group resources, personnel and time investment, the coordination and connection of various channels or departments, and etc.

So how can we make everyone collaborate efficiently so as to ensure that group membership play its own value?

Illuminera believes that the most important thing is to understand the needs priority from the group and business departments of different categories, and on this basis, focus on the purpose of membership building and which platform to choose. In the Suntory project, the group hoped to scale up consumer assets, while attracting new customers was the general primary demand of all business departments. Therefore, the core of the project launch was focusing on consumer preferences and category combinations, selecting different benefits and resources, with the help of different life scenes under the two general directions, which were "到店"(go to store) and "到家"(go to home), creating a hook) for business improvement of multi-category products, and finally realizing consumer distribution and business closed-loop between group members and various business departments.

The group membership system has already been implemented in offline channels, and more scenario linkage building and product matching strategies are continuously being expanded.

A full set of design and planning, empower implementation of membership strategy with zero friction

By virtue of the end-to-end marketing services from strategy formulation to creative communication of Illuminera, we first helped the client to determine the KV of the group membership and the core creative messages including visual guidance, and then assisted the client in planning Suntory Member Club(乐享会), which is a complete set of landing operation including UI, functional modules, benefit design, derivatives, daily campaigns, and new product launch, etc..
LOGO design of Suntory Group membership

Thanks to the efficient collaboration between the Group's digital promotion department and various business departments, in November 2022, the Suntory Group membership mini program (乐享会,Suntory Member Club) was officially launched on the Alipay platform, and the campaign of “逢三得利”(Special offer of Suntory on Wednesday) in many convenience stores like Lawson and FamilyMart, including the online coupon offer and in-store coupon usage, which alone helped our client recruit over 50,000 members in less than two months and bring the sales of more than 30,000 units.
Search "三得利乐享会"(Suntory Member Club)  in Alipay to directly reach the group membership platform

As a brand-new exploration of membership marketing, group membership is a growth engine that can gather resources of the group and business departments, jointly accumulate large-scale consumer assets, realize from traffic attraction to delicate TA operations, and ultimately drive business performance.

The launch of the Alipay mini program is only the first step of Suntory Group’s membership building. In the future, Illuminera will continue to assist Suntory Group and its different sub-brands further consolidate the group membership system. Through in-depth content engagement and brand promotion, Illuminera will strive to help Suntory build a tight bond between consumers and brands, as well as creating Suntory's grassroots spokesperson and ecological co-creator in the future.

For more information about the construction of membership system, brand growth, brand strategy, and other services related to creative communication, please send email to: marketing@illuminera.com