This undated photo shows the Zhuhai section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge in Guangdong province. (ZHANG YOUQIONG / FOR CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong companies should build strong brands in order to take advantage of the business opportunities emerging from the Guangdong- Hong Kong- Macao Greater Bay Area, the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association said.
Consumers in the Greater Bay Area have adopted more-rational purchasing behavior in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the violent protests. In addition, the mandatory quarantine measures that the special administrative region government imposed during the past two years have dampened the image of Hong Kong products, according to research by the association and the Hong Kong Brand Development Council.
Sherrif Luk, Professor of Marketing at Emlyon Business School, who participated in the research, said Hong Kong companies should step up in promoting their products and rebuild their brand images to lure consumers from the Greater Bay Area.
Sherrif Luk, Professor of Marketing at Emlyon Business School, who participated in the research, said Hong Kong companies should step up in promoting their products and rebuild their brand images to lure consumers from the Greater Bay Area
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The research shows that consumers in the Greater Bay Area are no longer motivated by conspicuous consumption but have become more rational. Some consumers, particularly those born between 1995 and 2009, place emphasis on differentiated and emotional benefits but have a lower allegiance to brands.
Most consumers in the Greater Bay Area could identify the differential advantages of Hong Kong brands and are impressed by the “good quality” and “integrity” of Hong Kong brands. However, the deterioration in social relations between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland in recent years together with the violence in 2019 have led to residents of Guangdong province and of Macao having a negative impression of Hong Kong.
Although consumers’ general perception of Hong Kong brands remains neutral with a slight uptick, which suggests that Hong Kong brands still enjoy a relatively favorable reputation in the Greater Bay Area, an imminent risk of “brand erosion” still warrants special attention by Hong Kong industries, according to the research.
The research was conducted in nine cities in Guangdong and in Macao from July to October 2020. Over 1,720 consumers were sampled for face-to-face interviews, and 1,706 completed questionnaires were used for statistical analysis.
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As consumer behavior and business models in the Greater Bay Area market have been changing dramatically, Hong Kong brands should be wary of the risk of brand image decline. Hong Kong companies should enhance the user experience and adopt new technology in brand promotion in order to optimize their brand images, Luk said.
In order to help protect the intellectual property and enhance the recognition of Hong Kong brands, the Hong Kong Brand Development Council and the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association also launched the Hong Kong Brand i-Dictionary platform, which will identify and register Hong Kong brands and provide credible brand identity.
Hong Kong has an irreplaceable role in fostering a “brand economy” in the Greater Bay Area, which means all sectors of the society, especially the SAR government, should work together to reshape and revamp the image of Hong Kong and Hong Kong brands, Luk said.