Hutchison Whampoa

Firm's chief preaches his gospel of building a brand

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 February, 2010, 12:00am

The first floor of the 1010 Tsim Sha Tsui flagship store was packed with an audience hoping to learn the secrets of success and pick up advice on brand building from G.O.D co-founder and chief executive Douglas Young. He was the guest speaker at the first Networking with the Best seminar, jointly presented by the South China Morning Post and 1010 Next G of telecommunication company CSL.

Penny Lam, general manager of brand management and marketing communications at CSL, said the event was aimed at engaging its target customers and creating a networking platform.

'The target customer group of 1010 is premium business customers such as Douglas who enjoy business and their personal lives. When we were thinking of initiating a series of seminars and using our Tsim Sha Tsui flagship store to engage different audiences, we thought Douglas was the ideal speaker to kick off the series,' Lam said.

'Both of us seek differentiations in the market by offering something original to customers. With a range of special services, we strive to stand out from the rest.'

Young, who established furniture and household products joint venture G.O.D (Goods of Desire) with partner Benjamin Lau in 1996, told how he tackled the challenges of starting up his brand. He also related compelling stories of how he turned his innovative and funny ideas into best-selling products. The designer and artist also talked about the obstacles to developing the local brand, which is now a well-recognised representation of Hong Kong culture.

The organisers hoped to create networking opportunities for their customers and South China Morning Post readers through the seminar. 'Besides selling our products and special mobile services, we would like to build up a closer relationship with our customers with this networking opportunity and gradually form a community,' Lam said.

The telecommunications firm has also recently collaborated with G.O.D on designing a series of headset protective skins customised for the new Blackberry Bold 9700 smartphone, exclusively for 1010 customers. The device is the perfect match for 1010 Next G, the city's high-performance mobile broadband network.

Thanks to the connectivity of today's mobile network technology, Young said he was able to connect with his staff and control his business while enjoying a vacation overseas. 'Without the mobile network connection, I can't even think of having a holiday,' said the designer, who impressed the audience with his sense of humour.

Among the crowd was information technology consultant Franklin Ng Chi-sing, who appreciates the passion and originality of Young and his brand. 'I've read some of his interviews before. I would like to meet him in person to know more about the reasons behind his success,' said Ng, who was one of three people at the seminar who received an autographed coffee-table book featuring a collection of photographs by Young.

'Now I can study his perspective deeper with the book.'

Aspiring to set up his own business, Ng said he was inspired and benefited from what Young shared in the seminar. 'He is doing something he loves, so he can keep doing it every day. I think it's of utmost importance for me to find out my passion,' he said.

Another seminar participant was Frederic Ngo, an entrepreneur from France who is based in Hong Kong.

'G.O.D is a very local brand up to now. I discovered the brand when I came to Hong Kong four years ago. I found the brand quite creative. I think it's a good idea for the brand to keep the Chinese inspiration even if his brand goes international,' Ngo said.