Standing out from the crowd

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 October, 2008, 12:00am

The winners of the top three campaign honours in this year's HKMA/TVB Awards for Marketing Excellence have all incorporated innovative strategies into their marketing campaigns to differentiate their products from the competition and they have achieved impressive results.

The Gold Prize winner Harbour City is probably the longest running upscale shopping mall in Hong Kong. Despite the keen competition from other shopping malls, Harbour City has scaled new heights in its business, partly thanks to its 'Continuous One-up Breakthrough' strategy. Foot traffic in the mall exceeded 75 million in 2007, a 10 per cent increase over the previous year. Total sales of tenants were estimated to reach HK$11.4 billion and extensive media coverage of its activities resulted in an estimated annual media value of HK$100 million.

The strategy was designed to help Harbour City anticipate the needs of shoppers and exceed their expectations, said Canis Lee, assistant general manager for leasing at Harbour City Estates. 'We aim to create a one-stop shopping experience where shoppers can satisfy all their wants and needs.'

Formulating its strategy by adopting the shopper's perspective, Harbour City pioneered the clustering of product categories, including cosmetics, sportswear, and consumer electronics, which has successfully drawn shoppers. It is the mall where many international brands have made their debut in Hong Kong. In its drive to attract shoppers of all age groups, Harbour City had also introduced brands catering to the teenage market, Ms Lee said.

Meanwhile the opening of street-level outlets of top international brands in Harbour City's section on Canton Road has ushered in the complete upgrade of the shopping experience on the street and made it one of the main attractions in Hong Kong.

Harbour City frequently upgrades its interior design to present a fresh impression to shoppers. Capitalising on its harbour-front location, the shopping centre has brought more natural sunlight indoors by opening up the sea views, Ms Lee said.

To create a distinguished shopping experience, Harbour City is one of the first local malls to blend an appreciation of the arts with shopping by opening an art gallery in a premium location. The gallery has staged exhibitions of works from several galleries and renowned artists, such as Japan's Yayoi Kusama, according to Karen Tam, senior manager for promotions and advertising of Harbour City Estates.

Thematic promotional activities are an integral part of Harbour City's marketing campaign. Apart from setting the trend with creative festive decorations and the annual Christmas lighting ceremony officiated by celebrities, the centre has organised such activities as a chocolate tasting tour in tandem with its tenants and donated the proceeds to charities.

Pizza Hut's focused campaign, which aimed to stimulate the customer's desire to 'interact' with its products and transform this interaction into a joyful sharing experience, helped the company win the Silver Award.

Along with the campaign 'Cheesy Bites - Release the Child in you' launched in June 2007 came a product that linked the restaurant's branding strategy, which aimed to position it as the ideal place 'for get-togethers with friends and family and sharing a good time', and consumer insight, said a spokesman for the marketing department of Pizza Hut Hong Kong Management.

Judges' comments highlighted the restaurant's excellent product service delivery that helped ensure consistent product quality. The spokesman attributed the campaign's success partially to its adoption of an internal marketing strategy to motivate its frontline staff at the restaurant and kitchen.

'Ten days before the product launch, we organised a contest for various kitchen teams called 'Cheesy Bites Mania Programme', in which they competed to finish the best quality Cheesy Bites pizza in the shortest time,' the spokesman said. 'This event has proved to be effective in further building up their enthusiasm for the new product.'

Pizza Hut's determination and efforts have paid off handsomely. Sales last year broke all records in the past 10 years. The Cheesy Bites product launch also marked the first time in the past decade that the sales of a product introduced in the summer surpassed sales of products launched in the traditionally strong Christmas period. According to findings from an ACNielsen poll of consumers, Pizza Hut was rated the No1 preferred brand in the catering sector, beating other well-known fast food chains .

Cited for its 'Manhattan Hill - Magic Happens in West Kowloon' campaign, Bronze prize winner Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency pulled off an impressive transformation of a former bus depot site into a desirable community of premium living for 'high fliers'.

Allen Woo, senior sales and marketing manager of Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency, said the campaign helped to overcome a psychological barrier in the average price per square foot commanded by residential projects in West Kowloon. 'Basically the further a project is from the MTR's Kowloon station, the lower the average price per square foot. Our challenge was to overcome this barrier and set a premium price for Manhattan Hill, which is right next to Mei Foo.'

Aligning its campaign components with the transformation theme, Sun Hung Kai made innovative use of a jaguar, which is transformed from a beauty in a magic show, throughout the different stages of the campaign roll-out. 'The jaguar embodies the qualities of the elite. We aimed to make our target market associate our project with this elite transformation,' Mr Woo continued. 'We have incorporated an art gallery into our sales office that features jaguar-themed installation art pieces.'

The premium living environment in this five-block project was reflected in the use of upscale building materials and comprehensive clubhouse facilities, top-notch management and hospitality services. But the main attractions of Manhattan Hill included the Signature Twin Towers which have larger units and superior sea views than those in the other three blocks. They also feature their own grand private lobby and clubhouse facilities complete with swimming pool, gym and function rooms.

Launched in April last year, Mr Woo said the company was able to sell 800 out of 1,100 units in the first three weeks. It also achieved average price per square foot much higher than the other residential projects in the neighbourhood.

'We have successfully reinforced our brand as a premium project developer. We are encouraged to see that some former homeowners at MTR's Kowloon station and Olympic Station have moved to Manhattan Hill. It shows that they recognise our ability to create a premium living environment,' Mr Woo said.