How a product is presented to the public can have a dramatic effect on its popularity.
As individuals' purchasing power and the availability of every product imaginable increases, consumers' expectations also rise and therefore effective branding strategies and creative promotions must be utilised for a product to stand out from its challengers.
"Our profession plays an important role in the success of a product," says Sharon Pang, brand manager at Neonlite Electronic and Lighting (Hong Kong) Limited, which carries Megaman Energy Saving Lamp products globally.
An essential part of Ms Pang's job is to assist in designing concepts and implementing branding strategies to promote the company's products to the public. "This is what branding is all about — creating an innovative concept to effectively promote our product. This first step is essential, because once an impression is created it is extremely difficult to change it," she notes.
When Ms Pang began her career with Neonlite she was responsible for a range of duties in customer service, human resources and marketing. "The company was in its infancy and I had the opportunity to rotate between departments and understand their functions. As our scope of business began to expand, the departments became more diversified and new members were required to take on the various extra positions," she recalls. She then became more focused, specialising in the branding for the company's products, but the experience she gained in the other departments has been invaluable in her role as brand manager. "Being familiar with the products is one thing but understanding your company and your customers' needs are the real prerequisites for successful branding," she adds.
Besides that, Ms Pang believes brand managers ought to master certain skills. "Communication skills are one of the absolute essentials. Every day I interact with people from different backgrounds as our clientele spans across more than 80 countries worldwide."
To complement deft communication, Ms Pang says leadership and management skills are also needed. "In marketing we lead through concept development, always staying ahead of the curve. Also within the general office environment, it is my duty to ensure our team is performing according to the company's business strategies, which are essential for achieving our goals," she stresses.
A brand manager spends a lot of time cooperating with public relations and promotion companies to create brand awareness in an industry or among a wider audience such as the general public. Ms Pang says this includes arranging advertisements, commercials and press conferences. "The public relations agencies are a great help when it comes to marketing our products and their side of it seems very glamorous. However, the strategic direction of branding is mainly planned by us and we are the ones to carry out most of the project, which usually means a lot of hard work."
This hard work involves dealing with several of the company's internal departments to increase her team's product knowledge. Ms Pang also consults customers to understand their impressions of the company's products and areas they would like to see improved. "Understanding our customers and their needs can effectively help to improve our next marketing campaign," she notes.
Ms Pang is currently involved with marketing Neonlite's new dimmable series — DIMMERABLE Megaman lamps. "For the first time ever we have energy saving lamps that can be adjusted through a dimmable range of 10 to 100 per cent," she says. "This product has the technology to break new ground in the industry. With effective marketing and branding strategies, we hope to alter the traditional belief that energy saving light bulbs are unattractive and bulky."
Dedication certainly sheds light on Ms Pang's career but she emphasises that a great passion is all it takes to go the extra mile. She often finds herself thinking about how to enhance the company's business even when she is not at work. "I am an extremely inquisitive person who enjoys observing my surroundings and I believe this is important for a brand manager. When a product is capable of demonstrating its unique personality, leaving a profound impression with the public, then we have achieved our goal," Ms Pang says.