It was 166 years since operations began, and Hongkong Post today offers a portfolio of 20-plus products and services. According to Allen Mok, director, product development, marketing and sales, Hongkong Post, that figure will only increase.
"As society evolves and competition grows, the range and quality of our products and services must follow suit," Mr Mok says. "Globalisation has also focused our perspective, widening our business angle beyond the local market and encouraging constant reflection on our brand strengths and potential."
In order to gain a stronger competitive foothold, Hongkong Post has adopted a proactive approach to increase its marketing strengths. In line with its aim of becoming a one-stop business solutions provider, a wide range of marketing and promotion initiatives have been launched over the years. These include the Speedpost monthly lucky draw, brand leverage from popular cartoon character McDull, and still more in the sorting room.
Despite its well-established reputation for quality, the organisation faces challenges from all directions. "The marketing of Speedpost and Local CourierPost services is a real challenge," Mr Mok says. "In the local market, these two business lines have less than 10 per cent penetration. Currently, the bulk of courier business is dominated by multinationals while more than 400 smaller local couriers also offer a wide range of services. Our role as a trading fund and a competitor in the open marketplace makes it more challenging."
Meticulous planning helps ensure marketing results, Mr Mok emphasises. First and foremost however, market demand is analysed using an in-depth customer survey. The dedicated sales team and customer relationship management (CRM) team are responsible for collecting customer feedback which forms the basis of customer behaviour analyses.
"Our sales team applies the 80:20 rule (the Pareto principle) to identify customer demography and other key issues," Mr Mok says. "In a nutshell, it's dedicated account management."
Meanwhile, analysis of additional competition and customer demand is carried out. "We compare research findings from external consultants and our in-house teams. A SWOT analysis can offer reference for potential future developments," he adds.
After consolidating all the relevant data and information, an impact analysis is conducted to compare existing products and services with anticipated demand. Significant items in such comparisons are identified and a range of meetings and brainstorming sessions follow. "All critical success factors are considered before devising action plans and setting priorities," Mr Mok explains.
Branding is considered key in Hongkong Post's marketing mix and any branding exercises must be conceived with the very business core in mind — people and their perceptions.
A successful re-branding exercise was implemented in 1996. Visible changes include Hongkong Post's corporate colour, which transformed from "colonial" red to green. Its logo now incorporates the silhouette of a hummingbird representing efficiency and diligence. A slogan "Linking People, Delivering Business" also aligns products and services with Hong Kong daily life. "Part of our success has been the results of these well-timed and bold brand elements," Mr Mok says.
In essence, all Hongkong Post products and promotional materials carry these distinguished brand elements, creating potential business opportunities through advertising and brand awareness.
Efforts in branding and marketing pay dividends. Earlier in September, Hongkong Post was presented the PRIME award for brand excellence in the express services category by PRIME Magazine for the second consecutive year. Previous advertising campaigns for Speedpost also brought home an award of merit from the XII Hong Kong Print Awards, a bronze award from the TV Commercial Campaign and an excellent award for TV commercial in the Design 2000 Show by the Hong Kong Designers Association. "We must maintain a forward-looking mentality and a pragmatic approach in order to achieve future goals in branding and marketing as well as business development," Mr Mok stresses.