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Josephine Cheung presented at SmartHK Conference in Cheungdu, China on 13th May 2016.

[Contents adapted from her presentation] These are changing times that we are facing. As a creative production professional for brands based in Hong Kong, I witnessed how consumers and the market transformed against the backdrop of the rapid rise of the economic power of China in the past 10 years.

In the world of brands, there are three realities that are happening right before our eyes. Allow me to draw your attention to them.

1. Attention span is shortening to split second - nowadays, customers are exposed to 3,000 advertising by day. In a world invaded by advertising, brands have to be innovative and creative to be seen. Advertising and communication are considered visual pollution.

2. Brand is consumed digitally and on-the-go - 93.3% of consumers search online before purchasing. In China, almost two thirds of Chinese consumers, 62.7%, reported that they follow brands on social media. Therefore, it is inevitable that brands need to understand who these people are and why and how interaction takes place on social media, so brands can effectively manage their digital reputation. What people miss is that reputation, digital or not, starts from the street, ie. the physical presence.

3. Brands are thinking global - All brands need to think global to connect with even the local customers. For example, the fast emerging middle class of Chinese consumers are the biggest travellers in the world with rapidly growing sophistication through international exposure and extensive travel. They are experiencing more and expect lifestyle upgrade even when back in home towns. Chinese brands are competing with imports bought locally or whilst travelling at the same time. A report by Global Blue says that 73% of luxury purchases made in 2013 amongst the Chinese were overseas emphasising the scope of importance of engaging Chinese consumers.

So what can brands do differently to face these realities? Here are three tips:

1. Strong story-telling visuals to be used cross media for making impression in a split second

2. Strong brand statement that allows consumers snap work for you through their social media circle of influence

3. Global brand strategy - using colours, visuals and aesthetics that can translate globally and yet be culture sensitive

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