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Career Path

Qu'ils mangent de la brioche

by Charles Mak

Eve Leung
senior marketing manager
Cakes & Bakery
Maxim's Caterers Ltd
Photo: Dickie Tam

Crowned queen of marketing Eve Leung has plenty of tricks up her sleeve and her background in advertising has everything to do with the success in her current role as senior marketing manager, Cakes & Bakery, Maxim's Caterers Ltd.

After completing her communications (public relations and advertising) study at the Hong Kong Baptist University, Ms Leung followed the typical path into a 4A (The Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies of Hong Kong) firm. In a span of six years, she ran errands and learnt the ins and outs of the trade, thanks to the booming economy as well as the firm's international clientele. The job gave her a head start but failed to quench her thirst for product ownership. "I desired a more strategic role," she concedes.

Stepping up

Lucky for Eve Leung, her shift into marketing was swift. "At the time I thought I'd work for a brand that would give me a bigger personal involvement and reach a wider segment of society," she notes. "I am a Maxim's customer and this allows me to see the company's products from a different perspective."

Ms Leung initially became an assistant marketing manager of Maxim's Cakes & Bakery, a role that kept her fingers in many pies from branding to pricing, sales and distribution, promotion and visual merchandising, with tasting being an important first step. "We work closely with our pastry chefs and members of the R&D team," Ms Leung says. "Every Maxim's product carries our brand attributes so we must all contribute to its success. This is what makes the job challenging, fun and gastronomically enjoyable."

Now managing a team of five and a packed daily schedule, keeping ahead of the competition constitutes part of Ms Leung's responsibility. "We strive to offer our customers the best quality for their money," she emphasises.

A bigger slice

A strategically sound product name, whether it is in Chinese, English or both, can create a gimmick, an identity, and ultimately a life of its own. The suggestive Angel Cake by Maxim's, which implies a soft and sweet sensation, was destined to become a smashing triumph.

Ms Leung points out however that the naming decision was only the icing on the cake. "Everything in marketing comes with a calculated risk," she says. "The Angel Cake is a product of a lengthy series of meticulous research."

The marketing campaign for the Angel Cake came out tops in the 2010 HKMA/TVB Awards for Marketing Excellence. "We build our success on quality, teamwork and creativity," Ms Leung stresses. "Trust and support from the management team are also key ingredients."

Quality remains a priority, she adds. For this reason, Ms Leung and her team share an Angel Cake every other week to ensure consistency. It has been more than a year since the Angel Cake first hit the market but a recent market research show that its popularity remains on a 90-per cent high.

Despite this, Ms Leung was not ready to sit on her laurels. "To sustain product leadership, we keep the Angel Cake's image fresh," she explains. Over the past 12 months, special editions for special occasions and festive seasons like Halloween and Christmas were launched. Its spin-off Devil Cake helped to boost sales. Customers also receive a complimentary chocolate decoration pen so that they could customise their cakes, eat and have fun. To go a step further, Ms Leung forged a partnership with local artist Carrie Chau for a series of crossover promotions including premium gift redemption.

To date, the Angel and Devil Cake series has achieved five times the total revenue of Maxim's signature mango cake. "We must challenge this record," Ms Leung states. "This is what a career in marketing is all about."


Key attributes

  • A sound academic foundation
  • Market sensitivity
  • Language ability
  • Resourcefulness and perseverance
  • An eye for detail
  • Intuition, flexibility and creativity
  • An adventurous frame of mind
  • Team spirit

Taken from Career Times 14 January 2011, B14


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