Campaign Staff
Apr 18, 2024

Campaign's Spotlight HK 2024: Highlights

The full-day event in Hong Kong on April 18 saw dozens of marketers share insights on disruption, AI, trust, and more. Catch the event highlights here.

Campaign's Spotlight HK 2024: Highlights

On April 18, 2024, at Eaton Club Central in Hong Kong, the Spotlight HK full-day event concluded. Diverse marketing experts from retail, FMCG, food and beverage, hospitality, and banking sectors came together to delve into cutting-edge marketing strategies and transformational insights.

The event featured riveting keynote discussions, engaging panels, and insightful case studies. These sessions addressed critical marketing challenges, including building trust in an era of social media skepticism, navigating disruption, and striking the delicate balance between selling, engaging, and entertaining.

Prominent speakers include HSBC's managing director, head of marketing, Wealth and Personal Banking, Cheuk Shum; Agnes Lung, executive director, group chief marketing & digital officer at Uni-China Group; Samuel Fung, APAC vice president of product and marketing at Starbucks, and more. 

Throughout the day, Campaign’s editorial team captured highlights from panel discussions and relevant keynote sessions.


Cheuk Shum, managing director, head of marketing, Wealth and Personal Banking, HSBC Hong Kong
Moderator: Nikita Mishra, deputy editor, Campaign Asia-Pacific

In today's fast-paced and ever-changing world, businesses and marketers face unprecedented levels of disruption. This session delved into innovative strategies, emerging trends, and cutting-edge technologies that enable marketers to anticipate shifts, embrace change, and stay ahead of the competition. 

Cheuk Shum, managing director, head of marketing, Wealth and Personal Banking, HSBC Hong Kong:

"Marketing begins at the core; it hinges entirely on the quality of your product. If the product falls short, no amount of marketing or budget can compensate for it. Forget about elevating, enhancing, or even making it work. Your product is your hero, and that is the key.

"Now, let’s connect this to the concept of disruptive marketing. There’s a common misconception that disruption requires hefty and fancy budgets. I feel that innovation thrives in limited resources. When you’re cash-strapped, you become more agile and think on your feet. My advice? Start small—don’t wait for a grand budget. And if you’re a manager, loosen the reins on KPIs. Remember, disruption is all about experimentation, which, in turn, is about fun and passion, with some level of accountability." 


Speakers: Sonalie Figueiras, founder and CEO, Green Queen (against the motion), Helene Li, co-founder and CEO, GoImpact (for the motion)
Moderator: Kiri Sinclair, founder CEO, Sinclair

Should marketing play a pivotal role in overseeing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives within organisations? Dive into this dynamic debate and explore how marketing intersects with driving positive change.

Helene Li (for the motion): Sustainability is a complex multi-disciplinary topic, and you drive it effectively, both within the organisation and with your external stakeholders. It's not a matter of whether marketing to overseers is a must; it is a must for both strategic reasons and tactical reasons.

The strategic reasons first: the core aspects of sustainability—advocacy, broadcast, and communications—fall squarely within marketing's domain. Without clarity on these, there is going to be confusion that hinders progress. Secondly, amid increasing climate risks and regulatory pressures, marketing serves as the vital link, aligning diverse functions for actionable results. ESG, being a team effort, demands seamless coordination across internal and external stakeholders, a role naturally assumed by marketing. Tactically, marketing's control over budgets underscores its accountability for ESG initiatives' execution. Moreover, marketing excels in navigating complexities and balancing stakeholders' needs, essential for successful implementation.

In my view, marketing is the prime candidate for ESG oversight, given its strategic alignment, budgetary control, and adeptness at stakeholder management.

Sonalie Figueiras (against the motion): Thank you for your points, but I must respectfully disagree with the idea of placing ESG responsibilities under marketing. Instead, I believe it is a mistake to group sustainability under marketing and communications. Here are three key issues to support my position: the credibility issue, the fiduciary issue, and the skills issue.

  • Skills issue: Sustainability is a complex, multi-layered field that touches every aspect of a business. It involves reducing waste, ensuring ethical supply chains, and setting Net Zero targets, among other things. These tasks demand diverse expertise and collaboration across multiple teams. In an ideal world, sustainability should be ingrained across all functions and report directly to the C-suite, given its importance in addressing the ongoing climate crisis.
  • Fiduciary issue: Sustainability is not just about operations; it encompasses reporting and responsibility towards the community, the city, the country, and stakeholders. It should be treated as a core commitment, separate from promoting sales or a brand. This commitment must rest at the highest levels of the company, under the direct supervision of the chief executive and operational leadership.
  • Credibility issue: Parking sustainability under marketing and communications could harm the company's credibility and transparency. Marketing's role is to present the brand positively, which may pressure sustainability professionals to highlight only positive aspects and overlook challenges. All companies are works in progress regarding sustainability, and it is crucial to maintain independence to ensure honest and transparent reporting.

To sum up, for credibility, responsibility, and skills alignment, ESG should remain independent of marketing and directly report to the highest level of the organisation. 


Agnes Lung, executive director & group chief marketing & digital officer, Uni-China Group
Alice Au, group director digital marketing, Wharf Hotels
Mei Mei Song, director of Global Brand and Transformation, Plaza Premium Group, and
Samuel Fung, vice president of product and marketing, Starbucks Asia Pacific
Moderator: Alison Yung, Content director, Campaign Asia-Pacific 

How can brand marketers create authentic human connections on social media in an era of skepticism? What strategies can they employ to build trust through warm, transparent, and empathetic messaging, positioning their brand as a trusted partner rather than a pushy seller?

Agenes Lung, executive director & group chief marketing & digital officer, Uni-China Group: 

"When I joined the group a year ago, our data sets weren’t in the best shape. There were duplicate customers and that made it challenging to get clear insights on who the real customers are, separating them from the loyalists to the one-time consumers and others. My rule of thumb to create and win trust in the age of scepticism is to hinge on transparency. It is our compass. It means we have to tell our customers how the data is collected, it’s usage and its purpose. Transparency and permission-based marketing are key. For marketers, the secret sauce is permission-based marketing and colourful CRM strategies."

Mei Mei Song, director of global brand and transformation, Plaza Premium Group:

"Our strategy at the Plaza Premium Group centers around sustainability, people, and technology. Sustainability is vital for our company’s longevity and the next generation. We are a family business and we have to prioritise both business success and well-being. People are at the heart of what we do and travel, though we plan it for fun and experiences can be stressful. That is why at PPG we put wellness at the forefront. We leverage social media and have expanded our influencer marketing programme to carefully select authentic voices across regions. Social listening guides our choices, and that ensures trust and relevance."

Samuel Fung, vice president, product and marketing, Asia Pacific, Starbucks Asia Pacific:

"Brand reputation is built and rests on truth. To maintain trust, we must distinguish fact from fiction and combat misinformation. Sharing accurate information empowers customers to correct misconceptions. Public engagement with third parties also sustains trust. Our recent $3 million donation for food aid to the World Central Kitchen, which lost seven of its staff members in an Israeli airstrike reinforces our commitment and long-term impact."

Alice Au, group director digital marketing, Wharf Hotels:

As brand marketers, our challenge lies in navigating diverse environments and establishing trust with our audiences. For this, empathy must be the cornerstone of effective marketing. It involves putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes, understanding their needs, and responding with genuine care. Active listening and monitoring social media  conversations related to our brand is integral in building a rapport with our customers. We promptly respond to customer feedback, whether positive or negative. Understand how our audience prefers to engage. Whether it’s opting in for personalied content, participating in surveys, or choosing communication channels, respecting their preferences fosters trust."


Speaker: Yu Quan Hee, senior. customer success manager client services division, Greater China Similarweb

The presentation explores brand scenarios that defy market trends and demonstrate resilience, such as changes in search behaviour with the rise of artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency rebound, both in Hong Kong and globally, and its implications and interest in the local marketing community.  

“Understanding the shifting digital landscape helps shape your future strategy. We analyse AI reasoning, identify key channels, and assess the total addressable market based on online traffic. For fintech and cryptocurrency, we’ve closely monitored growth. Our goal is to empower marketers with informed strategies and enhance digital transformation efforts. If you’re part of the digital world, you’ll appreciate the vivid picture we paint for better decision-making."

Campaign Asia

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