Sherwin Fernandes
Jul 7, 2014

No 'off' switch: Reaching Hong Kong's always-on crowds

Sherwin Fernandes, regional director and Hong Kong lead for SapientNitro APAC, discusses Campaign saturation and the increasing pervasiveness of storytelling.

Sherwin Fernandes
Sherwin Fernandes

Digital disruption brought about by ubiquitous technology advances has changed consumer behavior. The always-on and digitally empowered consumer now interacts, chooses, engages and buys in increments, forcing brands to redefine how they connect with consumers.

This is even more prevalent in Hong Kong due to the dynamic consumer landscape: a melting pot of diverse culture comprised of locals with a strong national identity, mainland Chinese visitors and expatriates.

Brands in Hong Kong are reacting to this change by investing more in technology capabilities and interactive marketing campaigns aimed at attracting and transacting with customers. While these initiatives are important, the “isolated” use of technology solutions is resulting in disconnected and point-in-time consumer interactions.

Companies are delivering personalization, loyalty and rewards, content and consumer acquisition primarily through siloed technology projects versus integrated business- and marketing-led programs.

  • Luxury brands are embarking on the omni-channel journey but struggling to navigate the path to seamless experiences between their retail and online channels to enable click-to-bricks behavior
  • Retailers are launching e-commerce offerings but failing to supplement with relevant marketing and customer-acquisition tactics.
  • Several brands are leveraging their operations in Hong Kong as the “quick” gateway to the China market without assessing the specific nuances of technology roadblocks when engaging with the consumer.

True success lies in repeatedly invoking meaning for the consumer, resulting in behavioural change that ultimately delivers commercial results for the business.

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Brands harnessing human behavior to create interactive, immersive experiences for the consumer in the physical and virtual space will leapfrog ahead of the competition.

Leading brands must define a complete ecosystem with the consumer at the center of all interactions and experiences. Technology’s ultimate objective is to scale these experiences seamlessly. Ensure that business transformation roadmaps span intelligent deployment of capabilities and marketing to drive ongoing consumer engagement.

Great campaigns do not (necessarily) lead to successful branding.

It's undeniable that some campaigns produce much excitement. Even so, campaigns create one-off moments in the minds of the consumer, and this merely creates momentary value in their lives. Successful marketing efforts are not siloed into single great campaigns. Rather, successful marketing lies in creating genuine long-term relationships with the consumer. Many brands in Hong Kong are still trying to crack the code of continuous engagement. To do this well, brands will need to focus on the macro and create an experiential journey that consumers will seek out, instead of creating moments of experiences that seek out consumers.

Telling stories to draw consumers in is not a new concept. And, the brands that have found success ensure that consumers are constantly engaged through personalised messaging in stories. They do so by embracing the value of technology, interaction and data orientation in an omnichannel ecosystem. They create 'Storyscapes'—panoramas of experience with no ‘off’ switch.

Ultimately, well-thought-out, personalised experiences that are based on deep insights lead to loyal brand advocates, so brands can turn the consumer into a customer—the common goal.


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