Winners make huge progress

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 October, 2011, 12:00am

The Excellence Awards in the campaign category are conferred on Citibank (Hong Kong), Ma Belle Jewellery and McDonald's Restaurants (Hong Kong).

Citibank's 'Banks on New Standards to Break Banking Inertia' campaign aims to explore the business growth potential in the 'emerging affluent' (EA) segment in Hong Kong. The EA segment comprises 1.7 million people, each with liquid assets of HK$100,000 to HK$990,000. They make up one-third of the city's banking population, according to Maggie Yung, director of Hong Kong country marketing at Citibank.

People in the EA segment have 'diverse banking needs and typically have multiple accounts', she says. 'Citibank would like to be their main bank by offering them superior banking products and services.'

Citibank conveyed the message about its new standards through multiple strategies. The bank has provided more customer-centric services. It was the first bank to extend closing hours to 7pm, waive deposit and custodian fees for stock accounts, and provide a 24-hour hotline. Citibank used its branches and ATM networks to communicate with customers. 'We understand that Hong Kong people want their banks to be where they work, entertain and shop,' Yung adds. 'Therefore, we have set up branches and ATMs in these key areas. It gives the impression that Citibank is everywhere and is perfectly suited to be their main bank.'

Within three months of the launch, Citibank increased the number of new customers opening payroll accounts by 238 per cent and new retail banking customer acquisitions by 126 per cent. 'We also saw a 93 per cent increase in unaided brand awareness within one year and a 150 per cent growth in brand awareness, compared with the 10 per cent shift in past years,' Yung says.

Ma Belle's 'Free Golden Bangle' campaign attracted customers by offering a loan service for those wanting to buy gold bangles. The campaign was developed to help bridal couples, who purchase wedding jewellery at Ma Belle, and ease the financial burden of purchasing traditional gold bangles, as the price of the precious metal has skyrocketed. The price of a pair of gold bangles weighing 3 taels (4.5 troy ounces) doubled to HK$50,000 over the past two years. In traditional Chinese wedding ceremonies, brides wear gold bangles, symbolising wealth and care from the family.

'Some customers said they had a difficult time putting together an ideal wedding,' says Theodore Ma, a director at Ma Belle. 'Most couples who have bought these bangles just store them in the bank vaults [after their weddings].'

Ma Belle launched a promotional campaign highlighting the 'free' aspect and has ensured the loan service is executed properly through its retail network. The company has enhanced awareness of the gold-bangle loan service, Ma notes. 'Our social media reach has increased by 40 times to 70,000 [potential customers] in less than a year. The number of new customers has gone up by 23 per cent and wedding-band sales have increased 33 per cent.'

McDonald's raised sales of its burgers through innovation and marketing.

To go beyond competing on prices alone, it launched the M Selections of premium burgers targeting professionals from 20 to 30 years of age last year. These burgers feature culinary characteristics found in France, New York and Japan.

McDonald's Diane Chiu says the most innovative component in the campaign was the conversion of a car fleet to look like New York yellow cabs for the Chicken Burger Deluxe promotion (CBD).

By ordering the premium burgers through a dedicated hotline, customers could enjoy a free ride to designated restaurants in the yellow cabs to try the burgers for free.

'The iconic yellow cabs were made a focal point of the promotion, supported by tasting sessions to achieve word-of-mouth [promotion], television commercials to build awareness, and traditional public relations to create buzz,' says the vice-president and chief marketing officer of McDonald's Restaurants (Hong Kong).

The results exceeded the expectations of McDonald's. The company sold 2.2 million burgers in the M Selections. Among them, 800,000 CBDs were sold.