We received an email from a company that does trend spotting and learning experience tours for executives. They were about to bring 30 European execs to Asia for a program–and their keynote speaker in Hong Kong had just dropped out. They urgently needed a high quality replacement to orient the executives to Hong Kong and to the theme of their seminar, Social Media in Asia. They had only three days before arrival. Could we help? Yes indeed. Here’s what we did.
Listening to the Client. Initially, our client wanted us to simply to engage a replacement keynote speaker. However, after reviewing the client’s planned program we came up with an alternative plan the client liked even better than their original one.
Tailoring the Program Event. Hong Kong was our client’s first stop on a planned multi city immersive tour of China. They requested a program that would both orient the executives to the distinctive economic, cultural and political situation in our city, but also set them up with reference points for the rest of their regional visit.
Three heads are better than one! We suggested that a targeted panel discussion with three experts would match the client’s objectives better than a single talking head, and be a wiser use of their budget. Thanks to our extensive network of Hong Kong experts in the media, NGOs and business, we were able within 24 hours to engage several excellent panelists, including a former social media reporter with the Wall Street Journal.
By the following day, we had created a discussion outline, briefed our expert panelists on the client portfolio, sent panelist CVs to their editing department for the itineraries, and we were ready to roll.
Result: Our extremely satisfied client has returned and engaged us to create a similar program less than six months later.
The agricultural ministry of a mid-sized country well-known for its food exports had a problem: export demand for its products in Hong Kong had plummeted. They sent a industry delegation to research our market, and fortunately they called on the Local Intelligence team to assist. Here’s the program we created for them–along with the extraordinary results.
First, we got them into the field. A customized tour introduced our clients to every aspect of Hong Kong food culture, from open-air neighborhood food markets to upscale fancy shopping mall supermarkets. Led by both a chef and a food scholar, the program allowed our clients to see, taste and understand what types of food and flavors Hong Kong people preferred, and what products were currently popular. Additionally our expert hosts provided critical information on consumer preferences for organic meats and produce, and the local belief that food is medicinal as well as nutritional.
Meeting key players. To give an added dimension to this program we organized a focus group dinner that brought together the clients with leading food writers, industry insiders and restaurateurs. This allowed the clients access to a freewheeling and informative dialogue about food trends that might be leveraged to their advantage.
Successful takeaway: With the valuable information gathered on this learning expedition, our clients could tailor their product marketing to Hong Kong preferences. They realized their national reputation for fresh, organic and clean products could be used to position themselves advantageously with consumers concerned with contamination of food coming from mainland China. They also realized that niche vitamin and nutritional products in their country could be successfully marketed in our culture. The ministry later added these key insights to their “Doing business in Hong Kong” country informational packets.
Results: About sixteen months after visiting us, the country’s exports to Hong Kong had gone from historic lows to an historic high of over 70m USD per annum.
A worldwide online meal-delivery service with 600m capitalization was about to launch its product in Hong Kong, a market already dominated by a deep-pocketed competitor. How could they grab market share in a fierce environment? Seeking local contacts and inside intelligence, they called on us –and we delivered.
Our client came to us with three objectives. 1. They wanted local insight into the Hong Kong food and beverage scene and a look at how their competition operated. 2.They wanted our expert advice on which restaurants and food outlets would be suitable for them to approach with their business model, and which would be most attractive from the point of view of a Hong Kong consumer. 3.Finally, they wanted introductions to key restaurateurs and other people who could help them get that crucial first foot in the door.
We jumped into action. First we set up an expert-hosted immersion/intelligence field-trip and we took the company’s representatives to visit our selection of eateries from noodle and burger joints to upscale restaurants. Along the way, we were able to have the client speak directly with restaurant managers about their experiences with the competitor’s delivery service–was it working well for them?
After meeting with and discussing the client’s objectives, we drew on our local knowledge to create a custom priority list of restaurants and outlets for their sales reps. Because one of our team members is a chef, we were able to add professional considerations such as which types of Hong Kong food might deliver better than others, and what foods would require special packaging. We also set up informational interviews with the client and some key restaurateurs in our network, all of whom became early-adopters of the client’s service.
Results: Within six months, this online delivery service had grown its client base to 1,500 restaurants and grabbed nearly half of Hong Kong’s food delivery market share, valued at 55m USD and growing.
A large delegation of Silicon Valley intellectual property lawyers planned to come to Hong Kong for a convention. They were eager to set up team-building activities, and to sample Hong Kong’s famous Chinese cuisine. But their firm’s California-based event planners had never been to Hong Kong, and felt out of their depth. Until they found us.
Getting to know the Event Planners The law firm’s Events Team was 7,000 miles and 9 times zones away from Hong Kong. Additionally, theirs is a extremely structured corporate environment and even the slightest plan changes needed to be vetted by several layers of management, including a firm Partner who was a demanding food and wine connoisseur!
Personal Attention: We recognized immediately that the U.S. based Events Coordinator needed a high comfort level and maximum attention from us, and we arranged several online Skype conferences to achieve client confidence and learn more about the group and its tastes.
The Event Once we had the required information, we suggested an immersive walking tour program in an old working-class Hong Kong neighborhood would be an excellent team building activity for the group’s first day in Hong Kong. We broke the group of 25 into smaller units and deployed 5 members of our expert team to lead them.
Utilizing the resources of our sister company, Little Adventures in Hong Kong we organized and curated a fine dining Cantonese banquet with wine pairings reviewed by the discerning firm partner.
Result: Satisfied clients, fun and enlightening program and a most gratifying review from the Events Planner: “Planning events thousands of miles away can be nerve-racking, but I felt like I was sending my clients off with a close friend.”