Marketing Featured East Asia

PR and comms association PRHK kicks off competition for young professionals in HK

Hong Kong – Hong Kong’s association for public relations and communications professionals, PRHK, has announced the launch of its 2023 PR Young Lions Competition. The competition is open to young professionals in Hong Kong aged 30 and below.

The competition will select a winning team of two to represent Hong Kong at the Global Young Lions Competition which will take place during the Cannes International Festival of Creativity in June. This will be the first competition to take place in person at Cannes in 3 years. 

PR Young Lions Competition will occur from 14 to 15 April this year. The format will follow that of the global Young Lions competition, where entrants will be asked to devise a campaign in response to a brief in 24 hours using their creative and strategic thinking. 

The competition brief will be set in partnership with a local NGO to be revealed at the competition. Criteria include creativity (40%), strategy and insight (30%), tactics and execution (20%), and relevance to the brief (10%)

The winning team will be granted their Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity experience that includes sponsorship on travel, accommodations and passes in-person in June 2023.

Previously, the association launched a 27-page toolkit to help promote work-life balance amongst industry teams.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Global community The Marketing Society announces new leadership roles for Hong Kong

Hong Kong The Marketing Society, a global community for marketers, has announced new leadership appointments for Hong Kong which include Natalie Truong as its chair and Hina Wainwright being the new vice chair. The appointments aim to accelerate marketing leadership in the city and across the Asia-Pacific region upon entering the post-pandemic era. 

In their new roles, Truong and Wainwright will lead the society in Hong Kong by curating programme of events, conducting trainings, and mentoring marketing leaders and teams which is aimed to be a step for them to perform well for brands, business, partners and wider society.

They will be working with the non-executive board which includes Edward Bell, general brand manager at Cathay Pacific Airways; Nellie Chan, director of customer solutions at Google; Karl Gregory, head of digital channel, sales and customer engagement at HSBC Asia; Kiri Sinclair, founder and CEO at communications agency Sinclair; Seraphina Wong, co-founder and CMO at Women Workplace Index; and environmental service The ESG Consortium.

Truong brings with her experience in leading B2C and B2B organisations from various industries including professional services, financial services, superannuation and telecommunications across Australia, New Zealand and Asia whilst Wainwright also carries with her leadership experience working at global organisations in Asia from various industries including marketing services, life sciences, engineering and the arts.

Whilst serving the organisation, Truong is simultaneously the current chief marketing officer and partner at consulting firm Mercer. Meanwhile, Wainwright is concurrently with independent marketing service adm Group, similarly holding a chief marketing officer position.

Darren Chuckry, outgoing chair of the society said that it is an honour to serve the society in Hong Kong, knowing that they became connected with inspirational marketers.

Sophie Devonshire, chief executive officer at The Marketing Society, added, “As we look towards exciting times ahead, we are delighted to have two formidable marketing leaders at the helm. Natalie and Hina each have a wealth of rich experience, and are ready to steer new energy into our community.”

Founded in 1959, The Marketing Society is a non-profit organisation that builds community of marketing leaders around the world, with its hubs in England, Scotland, Hong Kong, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and New York.

Marketing Featured East Asia

EssenceMediacom announces new appointments in HK office

Hong Kong – GroupM’s agency EssenceMediacom has announced new appointments for its Hong Kong office, namely Silas Ho as managing director and Anthony Lau as managing partner. Ho was previously the head of digital for the agency, while Lau formerly held the position of head of strategy at Mediacom HK.

Reporting to both EssenceMediacom APAC CEO Rupert McPetrie and GroupM Hong Kong CEO Alice Chow, Ho will draw the roadmap for the new agency in the market. Ho began his career as an integrated planner, and evolved into a digital specialist in data, digital technology and performance marketing.

Speaking on his appointment, he said, “It is my honour to lead the EssenceMediacom Hong Kong office and serve the employees. It is time to change the way we see and handle advertising and marketing, as the way to effective communications is evolving rapidly every day.” 

He added, “We aim to help marketers build a comprehensive data ecosystem to facilitate business decisions and communicate more effectively with their audiences. Also leveraging Essence’s industry-leading know-how, the leadership team and I are committed to bringing breakthrough thinking and services to our clients with a data and analytics-led approach.”

Meanwhile Lau will report to Ho and will focus on formulating EssenceMediacom’s business development strategy, while continuing to oversee its strategic output in Hong Kong. With over 10 years of experience at creative and media agencies, Lau will be working with Ho to strengthen EssenceMediacom’s data and analytics offering to clients in the area of strategic application.

Speaking on his new role, Lau said, “Building EssenceMediacom is by far the most exciting project I have ever been involved in. While we are part of a global media agency, in Hong Kong, we also represent a brand new agency concept that is for and by digital natives. We strive for breakthrough thinking not bound by conventional marketing mindsets or planning philosophies to deliver business growth for our clients.” 

He added, “To achieve this, our people-first mentality has never been so important. We are committed to empowering our employees to shape the agency for the next generation, creating a platform for them to learn, flourish and be inspired.”

EssenceMediacom APAC CEO Rupert McPetrie said, “Congratulations to both Silas and Anthony on their richly deserved promotions. At EssenceMediacom, our people are the heart of our breakthrough mission, and we are committed to building an agency that supports employees and creates opportunity for all. Our culture of continuous learning means our people are always growing and pushing the boundaries of what is possible for our clients.” 

He added, “With such strong homegrown talent and capabilities, I am confident that EssenceMediacom Hong Kong will create and deliver the marketing breakthroughs that brands need to grow and succeed, and set a transformative pace in the industry.”

Lastly, GroupM Hong Kong CEO Alice Chow, commented, “Silas and Anthony are two of the brightest stars in GroupM. They epitomise how modern agency leadership should be – hungry for new ideas with an eagerness to achieve the impossible with their respective expertise. Their ability to uncover opportunities not seen by many will enable them to elevate EssenceMediacom to a totally new stage.”

Platforms Featured East Asia

HK-based industry body for PR PRHK launches toolkit to help promote work-life balance amongst industry teams

Hong Kong Taking overtime at the workplace is sometimes inevitable, most especially now that the work-from-home set up has blurred the lines between work and rest – this practice can be a challenge for most. PRHK, an industry organisation for public relations and communications professionals in Hong Kong, has come up with a solution to this problem by launching a toolkit called ‘Working Smarter for the Future’ which aims to help industry leaders and working teams to practice better workflow processes and combat overtime. 

Initiated by the next-gen sub-committee of PRHK, the 27-page toolkit gives ample recommendations on planning tools, policy updates, and working tips that industry leaders can use to facilitate a healthy working environment amongst team members, whilst making the work-life balance possible. Meanwhile, resource planning and additional support are also presented for individuals and working teams.

The committee that initiated the toolkit includes Karolis Adomaitis of Fleishman Hillard, Carol Yeung of Golin, Penn Leung and Jesa Amparo of Creative Consulting Group and Sara Cheung of Edelman. 

The said toolkit is also an answer to PRHK’s latest research data which revealed that the top three causes of overtime are tight deadlines and last-minute requests, lack of manpower, and various meetings. The same survey also showed that 75% of respondents from the industry perceive overtime as normal with another 70% having experienced physical or mental health issues, considering overtime as a factor.

Carol Yeung, co-chair of the PRHK’s next gen sub-committee said, “The launch of our ‘Working Smarter for the Future’ toolkit is another step in moving towards making work-life balance a reality for Hong Kong PR and communications professionals. We especially want the profession to overcome its inertia on the issue of unreasonable overtime.” 

Meanwhile, Carbo Yu, chairperson of PRHK added, “PRHK’s mission is to represent, champion, promote and grow the PR and communications profession in Hong Kong. This project has achieved just that, gaining significant positive response from professionals across the industry. PRHK will continue to be an enabler for working smarter as we help people navigate Hong Kong’s dynamic communications landscape.”

With the toolkit launch, PRHK said it commits to delivering more resources such as conducting workshops to help in drawing boundaries, managing hybrid work, and time management. 

Marketing Featured East Asia

Ex-Carousell Kevin Huang appointed as SCMP’s new COO

Hong Kong – Kevin Huang, formerly the managing director for Hong Kong at Carousell, has been appointed by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) as its newest chief operating officer. In his new role, Huang will be leading the media company’s advertising and marketing solutions unit.

He brings with him over 25 years of experience from Hong Kong and the APAC region. Amongst his many career achievements is a persistent track record of spearheading digital, mobile, and advertising businesses through high growth and profitability. 

During his stint at Carousell, Huang has driven the development of the overall business strategy whilst overseeing its operations, marketing, branding, and community engagement. 

He was also previously the head of Birdie Mobile, a local digital-only mobile operator and was the CEO of co-founded adtech Pixels between 2002 and 2018. 

Speaking on his new role, he said, “I am honoured and excited to join the South China Morning Post, a premier English news source on Hong Kong, China and Asia affairs for readers worldwide, and a trusted content and marketing solutions partner for business enterprises across the APAC region. In my new role, I look forward to deepening SCMP’s relationships with prospective and existing partners across industries.” 

Huang added, “Building on The Post’s loyal following from a worldwide audience base, I also look forward to scaling the award-winning content studio and advancing the ad tech stack at SCMP as part of the Post’s full suite marketing and branding solutions offering.”

Meanwhile, Catherine So, who was appointed as the chief executive officer for SCMP in 2022, commented, “Kevin brings with him a wealth of strategic, commercial and operational expertise, as well as an extensive local and regional network across industries. His appointment underscores our ambitions to further scale our tech capabilities to offer innovative marketing solutions to our partners. I am confident Kevin’s skill sets will help take us to new heights as we embark on the next phase of our tech-forward strategy.”

Marketing Featured East Asia

This AR campaign by HSBC invites Hongkongers to make a wish and move forward

Hong Kong – Financial services company HSBC has launched an augmented reality (AR) campaign alongside Wunderman Thompson Hong Kong to empower Hongkongers to move towards their goals this new year and open up a world of opportunity.

The campaign depicts a virtual wishing tree that carries the wishes of seven million Hongkongers. The wish-making tradition was gamified together with a lucky draw to incentivise city-wide participation. This is all supported by a full suite of product offers including payment, account opening, and investments, amongst others.

Hongkongers can participate by pointing their phone towards the HSBC Main Building, selecting the seed that befits their wish and tossing it towards the building to add their ‘blossom’ to the ‘HSBC Wishing Tree for 7,000,000.’ 

Participants are then prompted to register for the Lucky Draw with a total prize pool of $1,230,000 RewardCash.

“Each seed of the Wishing Tree for 7,000,000 is a visual representation of the wishes that people make, which then blossoms into an auspicious flower to symbolise how their dreams would come true with the support of HSBC. The words of blessings were creatively crafted to be witty and culturally relevant to engage with local audience in an entertaining and resonating way,” HSBC explained in a press statement.

HSBC also recently launched a campaign alongside MSL Hong Kong, which turned Hong Kong into an ‘open canvas’, coinciding with the launch of HSBC’s Metaverse Gallery, targeted at giving local emerging artists more exposure.

Main Feature Marketing East Asia

Innovation of the Year: Hang Seng Bank’s virtual influencer Hazel

When brands are about to launch a campaign, oftentimes, enlisting a celebrity or social media influencer to be its face is the no-brainer next step. Earlier in 2022, we saw one banking brand turn this reality on its head. What would happen if a brand takes matters into its own hands and launch its very own influencer instead? 

This was the case for Hong Kong-based Hang Seng Bank through the introduction of ‘Hazel’. Unveiled in January 2022, the virtual influencer embodied both the impressive technology of digital and the power of data to create a persona that would resonate well with consumers. Such direction has led them to become MARKETECH APAC’s ‘Innovation of the Year’ for 2022. 

We spoke with Jordan Cheung, chief marketing officer at Hang Seng Bank, to better understand how ‘Hazel’ was conceptualised, and how, since her launch a year after, she’s remained relevant in the digital world.

Embodying the brand’s goals in a ‘red sea’ of advertising

Whilst banking used to have a bad rap as a complex endeavour saved only for smart and cerebral individuals, contemporary times now show otherwise–the youth are now considerably interested in taking ownership of their finances. This is where Hazel comes in. 

In a bid to connect with the younger consumers and keep the brand’s persona fresh and interesting, Hazel was brought forth. Cheung said she represents a unique way of driving digital engagement. 

The campaign launch video of Hang Seng Bank’s virtual influencer Hazel.

“The launch of Hazel aims at helping Hang Seng to [break through] from the advertising red ocean to secure the brand with top-of-mind awareness [showcase] our advantages on our online capabilities and offline networks, and [create] lasting impressions among our customers,” he said.

But before Hazel could be launched, Hang Seng Bank revealed that there had been a more intricate process which involved conducting a study amongst its consumer base – the 18 to 30 year-old bracket. Therefore, the Hazel we now have is the culmination of today’s youth’s unique values and persona.

As true to her slogan #AllOfTheAbove, she aspires to be independent, not wasting time to lead a life full of excitement; and is able to explore at will, try new ideas and experiences, and always ready to take on new opportunities. 

“From a [post-campaign] research tracking, we got [around] 69% of positive verbatim from [the] young generation, with 59% [of] frequent digital users showed liking towards the campaign and 68% of [the] interviewees saying they will consider Hang Seng digital banking,” shared Cheung. 

How Hazel built and retained her relevance 

In the wide world of the Internet, influencers will always rise–and then some will fall. In order to stay relevant within social media, Cheung explained that they never stopped at Hazel appearing in one video, but instead took on multiple collaborations and launched new projects over time.

When Hazel was first introduced in January 2022, she already had a dedicated Instagram account, plus a song collaboration with Hong Kong-Canadian singer Jay Fung, ‘Always By My Side’. This was then followed by another partnership with actress-singer Laiying, which further got the attention of the music industry. 

Hazel, as she appears on a collaboration with The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

But what would be the biggest one would be the tie up with The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), which featured Hazel donning concept sustainable costumes made by the institute’s graduates in Textiles & Clothing. 

Among the highlighted collections are designs which symbolised the beauty and independence of modern-day women and the ‘beauty’ created by eco-friendly materials.

At present, Cheung revealed that Hazel is set to appear this 2023 at the bank’s metaverse branch in the virtual world, made in partnership with The Sandbox.

When asked about how they are able to manage to keep up with the trends while handling a virtual influencer, he noted that continuously understanding its fanbase helps keep them relatable. 

“Understanding the trend (like how consumers are following authentic & relatable influencers

than those offering picture-perfect lifestyles), leveraging data & result to draw [insights,] and [to] keep exploring the newest technology is all what we have been focusing on,” Cheung said.

So, what’s next for Hazel?

With the launch of Hazel, Cheung said they have observed the market’s positive reception of virtual influencers, seen through the wide traction on Hazel’s Instagram page, with people voicing out that they want to see more of her. 

“From YouTube Brand Lift Survey (BLS), we also [saw] a 10.7% increase in relative lift for ad recall, which is higher than industry average of 7 – 8%,” he noted. 

As of this writing, she has garnered around 3,000 followers on Instagram, with contentincorporating a combination of her adventures and amplification towards the bank’s latest offerings, from promos to their services.

Cheung later said that for the foreseeable future, they are looking forward to combining the best of technology in AI and analytics to further improve Hazel’s digital reach. 

“We’re working on bringing Hazel to the next level through latest technology like motion capture and AI that allows virtual and augmented interactions with customers – by then, Hazel can attend live interviews and offer live unboxing experience to audiences. We’re also actively looking at other collaboration ideas that can bring to live Hazel’s character and personality more,” he concluded.

This recognition is based on Google Analytics results on the most-read stories of 2022, along with editorial validation on the significance of a leader’s contribution, campaign results, and overall impact.

Marketing Featured East Asia

HSBC transforms HK into an open canvas, launches metaverse gallery for local artists

Hong Kong Aimed at transforming and modernising people’s access to art and the way they experience various forms of art and culture, financial services HSBC has launched its year-long ‘Open to Art’ initiative in Hong Kong.

The initiative will be done via turning Hong Kong into an ‘open canvas’, plus the launch of HSBC’s Metaverse Gallery, which is targeted at giving local emerging artists more exposure.

Kicking off the campaign, HSBC has transformed a 3D digital billboard in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier into an immersive art experience. The art piece was done in collaboration with MSL Hong Kong and new media creator Henry Chu.

Meanwhile, the Metaverse Gallery is a new platform where local artists can showcase their work and transform traditional art into immersive digital experiences. Local artists showcasing their work include Flyingpig, Wong Ping, and Yeung Hok Tak.

“Stemming from our HSBC brand promise of ‘Open up a world of opportunity’, this will also serve as a long-term platform where HSBC aims to open up the community to more things, like Open to Sports, Open to Tech, and beyond,” said Brian Hui, head of customer propositions and marketing at HSBC.

Alexis Chiu, group managing director at MSL Hong Kong, also explained that the initiative was done to show the company’s support for the city’s local art scene and to make contemporary visual culture more accessible.

“This installation is part of the bigger picture of transforming the city into a canvas for people to access and appreciate art in a new way,” he added.

HSBC has also previously launched its duo real-world and metaverse music show experience titled ‘DuoVerse’, which featured two Hong Kong artists Tyson Yoshi and Serrini.

SME Featured East Asia

DBS, CLP Power partner to make sustainable financing solutions accessible to SMEs in Hong Kong

Hong Kong – In line with their commitment to providing sustainable financing solutions to SMEs, consumer bank DBS in Hong Kong and investor-owned power business company CLP Power Hong Kong have partnered to help companies, regardless of their scale, transition to more sustainable business models.

Both companies have recognised the need to make sustainable financing solutions more accessible to SMEs, as sustainable financing tends to be rarer amongst SMEs, who are often constrained by the lack of resources, time, expertise, and funds. This also applies to energy audits, which often require expertise and additional funding.

To help alleviate these challenges, DBS Hong Kong and CLP Power will be offering flexible and innovative financing loan solutions to businesses. These solutions are pegged to CLP Power’s energy-saving services, which include sustainability performance targets (SPTs). SPT performance is measured with reference to the assessment methodologies under CLP Power’s present energy-saving funding schemes. 

By combining CLP Power’s comprehensive energy expertise with DBS’ extensive experience in strategic green advisory and financing, the two companies will be able to deliver comprehensive support and capital for clients, allowing them to invest in enhancing energy efficiency and expanding their businesses sustainably.

Jolynn Wong, head of business banking at DBS Bank Hong Kong, noted, “This marks DBS Hong Kong’s first SME banking package that comes with a pricing discount upon the completion of [an] energy audit with CLP Power.”

Meanwhile, Lena Low, senior director of customer success and experience of CLP Power, commented that as a trusted energy partner for business customers, CLP Power has introduced different energy management solutions such as energy audit service and offers different subsidy schemes to assist their customers to enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. 

“We are excited that these initiatives are being recognised to support the assessment of the sustainability performance for customers which we believe will further motivate our customers to save energy and help Hong Kong achieve carbon neutrality by 2050,” said Low.

Platforms Featured East Asia

Lalamove HK mounts indoor ‘CAR-nival’ to promote cross-district food delivery

Hong Kong – On-demand delivery platform Lalamove in Hong Kong has launched an indoor ‘carnival’ called ‘Lalalicious CAR-nival’ which aims to showcase four top Lalamove F&B merchants and promote the platform’s cross-district food delivery. The on-ground activation is slated to run for seven days at the K11 Art Mall in Hong Kong,

Lalamove has teamed up with four popular online businesses and transformed them into a Lalamove Food Van. The line-up includes Monsoon Baking Atelier, a popular online bagel store, Nuttie B, a healthy handcrafted nut butter specialist, Heng Fook Bakery, an artisanal cookie baker specialising in home-backed chewy cookies, and Hong Kong Whistle, a Hong Kong-style craft beer brewer. 

To make the event more memorable, Hong Kong Whistle, Nuttie B, and Heng Fook Bakery will also be offering exclusive crossover products at the ‘CAR-nival’, including a passion fruit flavoured ‘CAR-nival’ NEIPA wrapped in a poster design of a vintage local movie, a brand-new Genmaicha Pistachio Butter, and limited-edition Orange Earl Grey Mochi Soft Cookie.

Meanwhile, the Lalamove Food Van is painted in the bright orange colour of the brand and adorned with ‘CAR’ elements. It features a 2-meter-tall truck photo frame where guests can instantly transform into a Lalamove driver-partner to take photos with fun handheld props for the gram. The ‘CAR-nival’ also offers fabulous prizes, as participants are invited to download the Lalamove app, and become Lalamove Rewards members, to redeem coupons with designated promotion codes for the lucky draw at the mega capsule toy machine.

“Through our curation of the ‘Lalalicious CAR-nival’, we are set to usher in a new delivery trend for the local F&B industry by encouraging Hong Kongers to break through the geographical barriers of traditional food delivery and take advantage of Lalamove’s service for cross-district delicacy delivery. Moreover, our merchant partners could enjoy free promotion opportunities to expand their customer base at the CAR-nival,” said Kristie Cheung, head of marketing communications at Lalamove.

She added, “We also hope to continue to elevate the user experience for our loyal users, especially members of the Lalamove Rewards Program, by providing prizes and perks at the CAR-nival. Currently, one in every four users on the platform is already a member of the program.”