Tania Lau
Jul 7, 2014

Building brand stickiness in Hong Kong

Tania Lau, director of marketing for Yahoo Hong Kong, discusses the confluence of mobile users, analytics, personalization and native advertising.

Tania Lau
Tania Lau

Building a brand that connects with customers may seem tricky in today’s digital milieu. A vast amount of information reaches individuals on a daily basis and only select and highly relevant information impresses and sticks with them. With the surging influence of mobile, especially in Hong Kong’s always-on society, advertisers should address the opportunities arising from the digital transformations occurring in the way we live, communicate, and conduct business as opportunity.

A recent Yahoo study on mobile behavior (Emerging Market Mobile Report: Hong Kong, with Mindshare) revealed that 85 per cent of Hong Kong people use their smart devices for pre-purchase research. It also showed mobile devices are a companion for the morning commute in the city, mostly between 6 am and 9 am, for communication, entertainment, reading, content downloading and shopping.

Marketers should keep a close eye on changing consumer behavior, and all the more if influencing change is on their agenda. Making good use of consumer insights and staying ahead of the latest digital trends will be the key to gaining a business advantage in a crowded and competitive market like Hong Kong, or anywhere around the region.

Big data analytics

As data-collection, processing and analysis technologies rapidly advance, along with the mobile internet’s popularity, a huge volume of valuable data flows from a growing variety of sources. Data from mobile apps and social media platforms offer new opportunities for marketers to uncover insights into consumer preferences, their buying decisions and post-purchase behavior. That’s universally true. But in Hong Kong, where mobile penetration is so high, there are unique prospects for optimization.

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At the same time, brands face greater complexity with converting all this data into meaningful information. Advanced analytics and measurements, consisting of both on- and offline components, can help. Typically, this involves four key stages: real-time pre-campaign planning of audience strategy using predictive analytics; offline sales measurements to quantify the impact of an online campaign; cross-media analytics to understand how the campaign affects other media including search and video; and lastly, mid- and post-campaign reporting where a campaign summary highlights key metrics.

Companies looking to access Hong Kong’s highly mobile populace should also draw on as much information as possible from sources including first-party, business partner and other market-intelligence data sources. Then, leveraging the latest big data analytics and the analytical skills of marketing professionals can help fully optimize the insights gained from good data. The whole process can in turn help improve the user experience as well as customer engagement and satisfaction levels.


Companies should consider using comprehensive data analytics to bring timely information to users based on their personal preference and daily habits.

Today, round-the-clock internet access via mobile devices drives consumer desire for real-time, to-the-minute updates of the world’s happenings, making frequent searches for breaking news and hot topics a growing Hong Kong habit, while “soft information” may be more read and accepted during an afternoon coffee break. Desired messages could become an integral part of a story for each individual.

Indeed, a product survey conducted by ShairView in Q1 2014 revealed that content personalized to a user’s wants and needs, with richer graphics and photos (useful for brand storytelling), increases the popularity of interactive advertising and native advertising for brands.

Native advertising

When advertising is a seamless part of the stories, photos and videos around it, that placement enhances the way people discover and share. At the same time we find it can also increase engagement, recall, intent and favorability for advertisers. And when provided with more personalized, immersive advertising that is more visually stunning and effortless for a targeted audience, customers are encouraged to react positively to brand storytelling via their mobile and, importantly, to develop a positive impression toward the brand.

According to eMarketer, native / social media advertising spend saw strong growth of 44 per cent in 2013. And Yahoo! has made this integral to its platform for reaching Hong Kong consumers.

These hot trends in digital marketing provide brands a cornucopia of business opportunity that should deliver the best experience with messages tailored to the customer. Winning brands have the ability to forecast users’ interests and behavior, providing insights into the design of different business strategies and identifying the best channels for maximum return of investment for branding purposes.

Hongkongers in particular are really up-to-speed with local happenings, and brands there should put extra effort into keeping up with the fast pace of change, leveraging local hot topics in the composition of their branding strategies and messages, in order to heighten readers’ interest with a view to cultivating regular users who will stick with the brand as a daily partner.


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