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Vincent Tsui on the value-driven Marketing 3.0

Vincent Tsui (徐緣) has two very different public profiles. On one hand he’s the marketing director of skincare brand Mentholatum. The other is an outspoken columnist for Apple Daily, Sky Post and House News.

A year ago, Tsui was like any other marketing director juggling in the industry.

Then something changed when he decided to contribute to House News as a columnist.

His fame is inseparable from House News, Tsui confided, as the platform allows him to raise his voice against what he views as injustice issues on marketing, social, and even politics.

“I don’t hold back just because my political comments may bring consequences. I have been very vocal about social issues such as Occupy Central and ads being withdrawn on mainstream newspapers.”

He said this attitude marks the stand of his personal branding that he has been crafting – being outspoken.

“Most opinion leaders and powerful influencers have chosen to keep silent. This is a big problem,” he says.

Crafting personal characteristics is valuable for Tsui, as personal branding and corporate branding share common elements.

Kotler says marketing has gone through three distinct eras:

Marketing 1.0: The “Product centric” era
Marketing 2.0: The “Customer centric” era
Marketing 3.0: The “Value-driven” era

Value-driven marketing is a force to be reckoned with following the emergence of social media, he said.

“Brands need to abide by certain values to engage with consumers. It should be an attitude, brands taking a stand on societal matters.”

An example of this approach was Starbucks and its support for gay marriage.

“When Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz expressed the brand’s support for same-sex marriage at the company’s shareholder meeting, it humanised the brand.”

Tsui said the recent Wong Wai Kay HKTV stunt is another demonstration of the powerful impact for value-driven marketing.

“Why the public are sticking up for Wong Wai Kay? Have they all seen his TV shows? I doubt it. But people support him for the value his represents, a voice against the dominance of mainstream television.”

On the flip side, chain restaurant Fairwood has some lessons to learn, regarding the blast associating controversial actor Chapman To (杜汶澤).

Web users called for a boycott of Fairwood following its endorsement of To, who was labeled a threat to peace.

In response to the attack, Fairwood drew a clear line between the brand and the actor to ease the tension.

“This is an act of bullying,” he said forcefully.

“Brands should be in touch with humanity and speak out against injustice. Just like Starbucks.”

As a marketer, Tsui believes his role holds the responsibility to perfect the products before putting the blames on ad agencies when campaigns don’t sell.

“Every marketer should ask themselves if they have fulfilled their duties to make sure their products are strong enough before challenging the capabilities of ad agencies.”

He stressed advertising agencies can only spread their wings when marketers and the public are also tasteful enough to embrace news ideas.

The primary task of building a creative culture in Hong Kong, he added, is to first improve the public acceptance of creativity.

“Audiences need to develop their own tastes to become more appreciative to something creative. Otherwise no matter how brilliant your creative work is, it just won’t work.”

Jennifer Chan
Marketing Magazine Hong Kong
Jennifer Chan covers daily online news and monthly features for Marketing magazine. She began her journalism career in London as a fashion writer and food reporter, where her interest in writing was sparked. Now based in Hong Kong, she most recently discovered the fun of reporting about the creative industry, uncovering marketing trends and hanging out with marketing and agency insiders.

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