Marc Fong
Jul 31, 2013

The view from Hong Kong: Mobile addiction drives quest for big ideas

As part of the Asia's Top 1000 Brands report, we asked experts from around the region to share in-country expertise on the factors driving branding in their markets. Marc Fong, head of business planning with Mindshare, shares the view from Hong Kong.

The view from Hong Kong: Mobile addiction drives quest for big ideas

Not unlike other developed countries in Asia, consumers in Hong Kong are seeking and sharing information every minute of every day. Crowds of people peering into their iDevices are constantly bustling through the busy streets of Central. This puts a lot of pressure on brands to come up with engaging content. The Hong Kong consumer is very demanding when it comes to the quality of products and services and will take nothing but the best.

Over the past 12 months there has been an evident increase in mobile advertising and online video viewing – in the past year, mobile advertising spend increased by 481 per cent. Many also brands appear to be devoting more attention to below-the-line events in Hong Kong. For Abercrombie & Fitch’s launch, a group of half-naked male models paraded around the city. No one complained, of course.

The continually changing landscape demands agencies to be alert 24/7. It demands two-way communication and engagement between the brand and the consumer.  The strong technology infrastructure allows every brand and product experience to be searched and shared anytime, anywhere and in multiple languages (including English, traditional and simplified Chinese).

Brands in Hong Kong are now looking for ‘an integrated big idea’ that resonates with consumers across platforms, but, more importantly, entices them to. When brands enjoy a high level of talkability in Hong Kong they are able to predict similar success in China as well. News of products that do well in the milk powder, skincare and cosmetic categories reaches consumers living in mainland China – consumers that spend heavily on these products when they travel to Hong Kong.

ASIA's TOP 1000 BRANDS 2013

View Hong Kong's top 100 brands

Moving forward, it is clear that agencies and brands will have to be more adaptive: they will have to be quick on their feet to respond to the changing digitally savvy consumer and media landscape, and be prepared to divert from their original plans to create relevant experiences.

The now-famous giant Rubber Duck in Hong Kong was a creation by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. It floated along the harbour and started a Rubber Duck trend that rippled across the island - and then across the oceans.

The duck stole attention in social media and a place in the people’s hearts. Restaurants were themed after it, teenagers wore duck costumes on the streets, and there was not a person on the island who did not know of its existence. When the balloon sculpture was deflated for maintenance, it prompted panic (particularly on Twitter), with a particularly disappointed fan tweeting: “ I took time off from work just to see the duck, now it is just a blob”. This is an excellent example of how owned and earned media could far surpass paid media. Or even launch a communications plan.

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