Staff Reporters
May 16, 2024

Asia-Pacific Power List 2024: Hanks Lee, AS Watson Group

A marketing tour de force with a gift for crafting resonant campaigns, Hanks Lee inspires positive change through strategic and purposeful marketing

Asia-Pacific Power List 2024: Hanks Lee, AS Watson Group
SEE THE FULL 2024 POWER LIST
Asia-Pacific’s 50 most influential and purposeful marketers
#AuthenticLeaders 

Hanks Lee 

Director, corporate communications and Watsons brand marketing
AS Watson Group
Hong Kong
Member since 2023

Having joined AS Watson Group in 2011, Hanks Lee has spent over a decade elevating brands and transforming industries with his innovative and purpose-driven marketing approach. Most notably, he pioneered Watsons' entry into the derma-cosmetics space in Hong Kong, thrusting household names like Vichy, La Roche-Posay, and Skinceuticals into the beauty industry’s limelight.

Lee's marketing acumen quickly propelled him to greater heights within the organization. In 2023, he took on the role of director of corporate communications and brand marketing. He now manages brand marketing for 12 retail brands across 28 markets in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, while also handling corporate communications for the larger AS Watson Group. By the end of 2023, the group was reported to have earned a revenue of HKD 180 billion ($23 billion). Some of the sales success was attributed to the New Beautiful Watsons brand campaign in Asia, an initiative that advocates holistic beauty and aims to bring out women's inner beauty. This led Watsons to rise to the number one spot in health and beauty across two-thirds of its markets.

Lee is also a champion for gender equity. His commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident throughout his over two-decade career. He spearheaded impactful programmes including ‘For Women in Medicine’, a programme to train 30 female surgeons in 2023 towards a much greater aim of reaching many more by 2030. The campaign is in partnership with Operation Smile, with whom the group also launched its award-winning global initiative ‘Give a Smile’, which funded surgery for over 5,000 children with cleft palate or cleft lip. Additionally, Lee made AS Watson the first health and beauty retailer in Asia to sign the Women's Empowerment Principles with UN Women.

Under Lee's leadership the group has also advocated for youth, launched initiatives like the AS Watson Group Hong Kong Student Sports Awards to recognize nearly 1,000 student-athletes in 2023. The innovative use of technology to motivate Hong Kong's rising stars earned industry-wide accolades.

However, perhaps Lee's most ambitious undertaking was refreshing AS Watson's 180-year heritage brand with a refreshed identity balancing tradition and modernity. Under his stewardship, the brand transitioned seamlessly into the modern era while staying true to its roots.

Apart from Watsons' brand work, Lee also sits on global industry organisations, like the Consumer Goods Forum, to advocate preventative health measures with marketing awareness campaigns by leveraging technology to promote self-care. He has also contributed to non-profit organisations in Hong Kong including the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) to help women join the workforce, while his support for youth is also reflected in his lectures, mentorship and talks at various universities and community outreach programmes.

Earlier this year, Lee was invited to speak at the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong's Olympic Academy, a seminar to share his experience and knowledge of social media marketing and branding with national sports associations and Olympic committee representatives.

SEE THE FULL 2024 POWER LIST
Asia-Pacific’s 50 most influential and purposeful marketers
#AuthenticLeaders

 

Source:
Campaign Asia

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