Gordon explained that regional chief executive Alan Couldrey had acted as “de-facto” managing director, but given his travel schedule, it had become necessary to have someone in place permanently to oversee the market.
The Brand Union is aiming for closer integration of its Greater China offices, which comprise Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.
A former lawyer, Gordon has been with the company for five years, having started out in London. He moved to Hong Kong last year and has worked with clients such as GSK, Bank of America and Alibaba.
Couldrey said Gordon ”brings energy, strategic know-how and a real enthusiasm for branding”.
In the new role, Gordon said he would be looking to move away from the traditional branding agency focus of corporate identity design, which he described as “quite restrictive and not suited to the modern world”. Instead, he said it was important to think of branding in terms of the overall customer experience.
“As a consumer, your image of a brand is based on all the interactions you have with that brand,” he said. “It is important to position the customer at the centre and think of all the touchpoints that inform the perception of the brand. The world we are living in is much more about general brand experience. That is a much more exciting space to be playing in.”
To illustrate this approach, he drew on the analogy of chef Fergus Henderson’s renowned London restaurant St John, the tagline of which is ‘Nose to tail eating’. “Nose to tail branding is much more interesting than focusing on one part of the animal,” he said.
Gordon noted that the agency would look to broaden its skill set to meet this change through developing the abilities of existing staff, working closely with network companies such as Ogilvy, and hiring from outside. He said the ideal staff would consist of “T-shaped people”—those with a broad understanding of branding but also with specialised abilities.