In the late 2006, the Hong Kong Brand Development Council dispatched representatives to the Sub-group on “Hong Kong Brand” of the Focus Group on Trade and Business under the Economic Summit on “China’s 11th Five-Year Plan and the Development of Hong Kong”.
In the brainstorming meetings, the BDC pointed out that the lack of resources and the insufficiency in branding-related talents had posed barricades to the development of Hong Kong brands. Besides, the absence of coordination and supervision in the branding arena was also note-worthy. The recent mushrooming of branding awards or similar programs hosted by different organizations had resulted in the waste of social resources, giving rise to chaos in the market and throwing the public into confusion. On the cultivation of a branding culture in Hong Kong, the BDC suggested as follows:
1. Branding Hong Kong should be a multi-pronged undertaking that proceeds along three dimensions, i.e. product/service branding, corporate branding and city branding, and the success of this branding cause is predicated on a tripartite partnership that involves government, business and the community in general. Foremost, Hong Kong needs to set up a high-level institution to champion our branding initiatives.
2. More resources should be directed towards the incubation of SME brands. For example, the scope of the existing SME Supporting Fund or the DesignSmart Initiative should be broaden or fine-tuned such that a specific amount of funding can be earmarked to support the branding activities of SMEs.
3. Hong Kong should leverage on its unique position and strive to develop into a brands hub, serving as a stepping-stone for local and international brands to tap into Mainland’s immense market as well as a bridgehead for China brands to go global.
4. Hong Kong needs to further sharpen and better leverage on our location brand— “Made in Hong Kong”. This “County-of-Origin effect” needs to be further defined, articulated and promoted so as to make it a strategic selling point for Hong Kong to retain and attract high value-added manufacturing industries.