Four strategies to connect with HK’s youth


In a new research report released by DDB Group Hong Kong, the agency turns to youth themselves to ask ‘what can brands to do order to truly matter to YOU’. Following a combination of interviews and surveys, the teams have released a set of strategic recommendations on how to earn young people’s trust based on the eight major aspirations that drive the group’s behaviour.

Here are four strategies to connect with Hong Kong’s youth, formulated as first-person demands:

1. “Sell us memories, not products!”

In a world where brands are not only competing against other brands but basically against any sort of content out there, marketers and advertisers cannot just focus on products. Young Hong Kongers tend to choose memories and experiences over materialistic belongings. 32% of respondents rated travel as their most worthwhile expense. Fashion products and luxury items came in at only 3% and 1.2% respectively.

For example, when Volkswagen in Hong Kong launched the New Polo, they decided to give P-Platers the opportunity to improve their driving skills and gain confidence by test driving the new Polo GP with no obligation to buy – creating a value-added experience relevant to Hong Kong’s probationary drivers.

2. “Show us that you stand for something and also act accordingly!”

Hong Kong’s youth don’t want dull brands that only convey a certain status – they want to identify with brands that have a strong point of view and also put their actions where their mouth is.

A great example is McDonald’s ‘Our Food. Your Questions’ campaign which encouraged consumers to ask questions about the food via social media. The questions were answered in an honest and transparent way, using text, images and videos. The most provocative questions were amplified through television and also out-of-home, demonstrating that McDonald’s took a stance and was not afraid of the answers.

3. “Help us make our voices heard!”

If anything, the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong has shown us that youth here have something to say and are willing to go to any length to have their voice heard by the public. As a natural extension, they are also utilizing digital technology to form social concern groups and bring public attention to matters of their interest. So the big question is, how can brands play a role in this? What can marketers do to amplify the voice of youth even more?

A benchmark case for utilising technology in order to amplify people’s voices is the ‘Push the pin’ mobile and web application by Tata Tea in the lead-up to India’s 2014 elections. The initiative allowed users to submit details of issues they cared about and drop a pin in the location associated with the issue.

4. “Give us digital experiences that help foster & nurture our relationships!”

Hong Kong youth will not turn their backs on digital technology, so brands shouldn’t waste their efforts in trying to convince them to do so and practice more face-to-face communication. Whoever finds a solution for how to ‘connect to truly connect’, will be able to play an important role in young people’s daily routines.

Already back in 2010, Cornetto attempted to get people closer via digital, when the brand launched the ‘Date maker’. Through an online game, teens were able to overcome their shyness, send an invitation via Facebook and hit the virtual town on their first date.

Guest Author DDB Blog