Encouraging Singaporeans in the South West to Own Their Community
The South West District encompasses around one-third of Singapore’s land area, and is home to over 750,000 residents in 220,000 households. Among the five regions of Singapore, the District is also proudly recognised as the city-state’s most eco-friendly and nature-rich area, a refreshing contrast against its history and reputation as an industrial zone.
However, it is also this very impression that stands out in the minds of Singaporeans, resulting in the District being commonly branded with stereotypes such as ‘industrial’, ‘boring’ and even ‘kampong’ (a Malay term to imply that the area is rural or backward).
The South West Community Development Council (SWCDC), which oversees the District’s community programmes and initiatives, knew that these stereotypes are far from the truth. To counter this, they wanted to foster a deeper sense of loyalty and pride for the South West among residents, because each resident is an important ambassador of the community. They also wanted to further strengthen community bonds by increasing the awareness of its region-only initiatives and programmes.
Rethinking the SouthWest
As the first social media agency to be awarded a CDC account, it was important for us to understand the perception and role of a CDC to a resident as well as the meaning people ascribe to the South West.
With this in mind, we delved deeper into the reason behind the challenge faced by SWCDC. Through research and human-centered/design thinking brainstorms, we realised that the South West District was lacking a strong identity. While the East of Singapore is known for its Peranakan roots, the South for its island beaches, and Central for its mix of modern luxury and cultural heritage, citizens at the South West often found themselves being overshadowed by the district’s stereotypes.
Building #SouthWest Pride
To portray the South West in a more personable light, we refreshed SWCDC’s Facebook editorial strategy by introducing a new series of content pillars.
We curated ground-up stories that celebrated all that makes SouthWest special and different, and accompanied it with hashtags such as #PlacesofSouthWest, #FoodofSouthWest, #PeopleofSouthWest. This was to encourage residents to share their own South West stories with the rest of the nation and foster greater pride for their community.
With no prior digital branding in place, we created a new brand visual guideline to help SWCDC stand out from the clutter and improve its visual consistency. By putting actual South West residents at the forefront of our visuals, this gave the District a human touch that made them more relatable to the community at large. While previous content was focused more on reporting events and initiatives that took place within the District, the revamped writing style created conversations with readers, and encouraged them to engage with SWCDC via social media.
Our social media efforts included activation campaigns to promote the CDC’s ECo Day Out, an annual programme to promote recycling and sustainable practices, encouraging residents to do their part for the environment.
The result was a 90% increase of total interactions on the page, a 30% increase in the fan page, a 700% increase in average reach per Facebook post, and over 500 submissions for ECO Day Out – far exceeding any of their previous campaigns.