Record company empowers album with consumer feedback Silver prize Warner Music Hong Kong It was the power of marketing, as much as The Power Of Love, that won Warner Music Hong Kong a sterling prize. The company's best-selling CD album, The Power of Love - The Power Of Music, released last year, has earned the Silver Award at the HKMA/TVB Awards For Marketing Excellence. The love songs collection topped Hong Kong's list of all-time best selling albums, which includes albums produced in Cantonese, English and Mandarin. Unique to the collection was the popular choice element. Hong Kong consumers were invited to select love songs for the album through a database set up by Warner Music. Mark Lankester, Warner Music's managing director, says the marketing campaign for The Power of Love - The Power of Music was a step away from Warner's usual music projects. Breaking with tradition, the record company took a back seat and allowed consumers in the target market to choose what they wanted. 'Not only did consumers tell us what they wanted the product to be about, they also let us know what it should contain, and where they would most likely be happy to buy it,' he says. The company ran the marketing campaign for several reasons. The Asian economic downturn had shrunk the Hong Kong music market by 65 per cent over four years, and free internet downloads and pirated CDs had also affected the industry, forcing business practices to look for other ways to promote healthy growth. The campaign involved compiling a database of 50,000 individuals willing to fill in questionnaires and state their music preferences. 'We decided on the concept of a love compilation because consumers told us they were open to buying CDs with songs of that nature, and that there was little in the market worth buying [along those lines],' Mr Lankester says. Developing the project took longer than it took to come up with a concept. The company had to first set up a database. The project was conceptualised and developed in-house, while third parties were hired to design the TV commercial briefs. Various media organisations were asked to join in the project in a profitable partnership and provide marketing expertise. 'With the help of consumers and a clever use of the media in designing the product, we sought to inject a much-needed excitement back into the music industry,' Mr Lankester says. The approach enabled Warner Music to cater to the broadest market possible, he added, and even made consumers out of non-consumers. 'The feedback in terms of sales has been fantastic. The Power Of Love became the best-selling single CD album of music in Cantonese, English and Mandarin.' Many music industry companies, together with Warner Music's original media partner, are now using the same marketing concept. Mr Lankester believes Warner Music is the first record company to be nominated for a marketing award in Asia. 'We are delighted,' Mr Lankester says. 'With all the recent gloomy news surrounding the music industry, it is good for us to be recognised as running our business well.'