Competition no longer confined to regions as markets go global World-class experts will be at the Third International Conference on Brand Management offering their insight into how companies can enhance consumer experience in an era when business performance relies on brand strength. 'Competition between companies is no longer regionalised,' said Professor Judy Tsui, Dean of the Faculty of Business at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and director of its Graduate School of Business. 'Local companies are looking to break into international territories and compete on a global scale.' The competition is immense, with US companies long having established a strong brand presence, but Hong Kong is taking significant steps in updating its business practices. The annual conference, one of the key events during Business of Design Week, provides local companies with the latest information on future trends and branding methods. The conference is jointly organised by the Asian Centre for Brand Management (ACBM) and the Hong Kong Design Centre, and will feature keynote presentations by several world-renowned experts on brand management. Among them are Professor Rajendra K. Srivastava from Emory University, Professor Bernd Schmitt from Columbia Business School and Professor Srinivas Reddy from the University of Georgia. One of the major sections in the conference is the Green Branding Forum, which focuses on the concept of environmentally friendly brands and how to build them. The forum will touch on everything from product ingredients to manufacturing methods. 'We are trying to raise awareness on these global environmental issues,' Professor Tsui said. 'Companies have a responsibility in maintaining ethical values as well as fulfilling their corporate-social duties, ensuring that they do not contribute to the development of climate change and unethical wastage.' The forum will feature Jocelyn Leung, the general manager of the cosmetics division of ImagineX Group. She will address the merits of a green brand by talking about Aveda, the environmentally friendly cosmetics and skincare brand. The second speaker in the forum is Josephine Ng, the marketing director of GPI International, the company that produces recyclable GP batteries. She will be giving advice on how to build a green brand. 'It is essential that companies in Hong Kong are equipped with this knowledge in order to compete,' Professor Tsui said. 'Customer brand experience is now an entire chain that links together the product, service, design and the brand itself. Companies must know how to adequately address all these areas in order to enhance their brand value.' Hong Kong is experiencing the increasing trend of 'concept stores' that provide the customer with not just a purchasing opportunity, but an environment that enhances the consumer experience and understanding of the brand itself, rather than simply the product. This is seen as just one of the many ways of strengthening brand value. Professor Tsui said the overall theme of Brand Experience would provide companies with innovative approaches.