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June 5 2021

PHD Hong Kong CEO Clement Chung talks ad spend, new talent and ambitious clients

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The city of Hong Kong is the financial hub of Asia; however, in recent years, the once British-owned colony has made global headlines due to the political tensions it now faces with China. 

In a conversation with Marketing-Interactive, PHD Hong Kong CEO Clement Chung explained that many industries are leading the growth charge even against the backdrop of recent political turmoil and the current global pandemic.

Marketing spend for core industries closely intertwined with consumers’ daily lives, such as household and toiletries, banking and finance, and retail (supermarkets), remains resilient. “We have even seen major in-market launches from these industries during the height of COVID-19, such as the launch of retail giant Dairy Farm Group’s unified CRM platform and as well as its yuu Rewards Club, the biggest rewards club in Hong Kong,” said Chung.

One industry the agency saw growth emerge from unexpectedly was the pet care industry which saw explosive year on year growth in marketing spend of 186% (May 2020 to 2021 versus May 2019 to 2020), according to PHD data.

“One would expect that pets are considered a part of the non-essential category, a borderline luxury even, given the living conditions of Hong Kong that are said to remain flat during COVID-19. We hypothesise that this growth could be partially due to an increase in Hongkongers’ disposable income as a result of travel and social distancing regulations,” Chung explained. As a consequence, consumers are now spending more on pampering their beloved companions at home.

PHD Hong Kong’s formula for growth has been relatively simple: work with ambitious clients who are not content with the pre-pandemic status quo and partner with them to turn their ambition into reality. While PHD has been involved in a similar number of pitches this year compared to pre-pandemic years, what has changed, according to Chung, is the demand for more diverse agency capabilities and integrated solutions. For example, more clients are now actively asking for eCommerce and data solutions to marry into their holistic marketing plans.

Change is at the heart of the agency business, and growth needs to be anchored where change was and will be. PHD’s Chung explains: “Advertisers and agencies that don’t pivot to meet the demands of the new normal will be left to bite the dust.”

Fuelled by its vision to “Make the Leap”, PHD Hong Kong has embraced this change through accelerating many of its capabilities and hiring a new breed of talent with the skill sets to lead change. 

For the full Marketing-Interactive interview with Clement Chung and other industry executives, click here.

 

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