Mandarin Oriental: social-first content

Engaging ‘future fans’ for a luxury brand

How do you encourage a young, affluent audience to engage with a global luxury travel brand that’s been around for decades?  
Since 2017, Cedar has been working with Mandarin Oriental on digital transformation, supporting customers through the pandemic with a new kind of ROI: Return On Inspiration. But as the world reopened, we needed to grow Mandarin Oriental’s virtual footprint.  
Our proprietary research pointed towards a new travel-hungry audience of affluent 25- to 35-year-olds. But this new generation of high spenders came with a new set of expectations – so we set about reaching them on social media with a modern take on luxury. 

Bespoke social strategy

The attitude of these ‘Future Fans’ to luxury is significantly different to the hotel’s core audience. Our research revealed that these younger travellers need less reassurance, and value in-the-moment authenticity over airbrushed luxury. And, above all, they look to social channels for inspiration, connection – and even big purchases. 

In order to grow this audience and turn them into brand advocates, we developed a new creative manifesto with a refreshed content filter and a more inclusive, playful tone of voice fit for platform. A new design aesthetic would cast a fresh, lifestyle-focused light on MO luxury: simple, stand-out imagery inviting users into this elevated world. 

Movement was crucial – from animated stills to full-video Reels. Optimisation tests revealed the perfect length (seven seconds), and suggested that a less polished, more spontaneous creative approach and the use of audio would increase impact. In response, we developed a new set of content franchises.

Local influencer marketing

We worked with individual hotels to generate Instagrammable scenes, with a popular ‘Postcards from…’ series combining customer UGC with our own, more polished video to create first-person travelogues. And to grow reach and boost engagement on Instagram, we partnered with local influencers aligned to our target audience’s interests. 
Post-pandemic, follower growth has accelerated across channels, and we have actively engaged the audience with social-first formats.

Sources: Instagram Analytics, Hootsuite, Adobe Analytics, Infegy social listening tool.


growth in Instagram audience


Increase in video views from previous period


positive sentiment score with ‘joy’ emotion up 3pp YOY

‘Cedar ensured Mandarin Oriental remained ahead of the curve, delivering a revitalised social media strategy and growing our world of fans. Their creative and strategic approach has been integral to achieving the business’s long-term goals’

Shevaun Leach, Group VP Marketing Communications