Mob-Ex 2020 judge Kelvin Hong: The unanticipated speed at which mobile hit us

Kelvin Hong, director of marketing and communications for A&W Restaurants oversees the strategic brand efforts across Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Japan. Currently based out of Jakarta, he is known to deliver brand results based on his insights for consumer needs on a DNA level and his marketing foresights and vision.

Prior to A&W Restaurants, Hong worked over 10 years as the marketing director for KFC’s chain of restaurants across Malaysia, Brunei and Myanmar. Following this, he took on the leadership position into KFC Myanmar, where he set up marketing and digital strategies and innovations to drive sales and generate brand love with consumers within Myanmar as a late market QSR entrant. The earlier part of Hong’s career was spent with global blue-chip companies such as Philip Morris, Nestle, Kimberly Clark and Sara Lee SEA with APAC accountabilities.

In a conversation with Marketing, Hong said change was never an easy thing, however, if people were aware of the positive changes it could bring towards business in elevating business growth, then they should embrace it openly. 

To enter the Mobex 2020 awards, click here.

How do you think the use of mobile has changed for your consumer base?

Mobile is a lifestyle today. The recent global COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated its growth exponentially, especially in the areas of eCommerce shopping and has inched a perpetual seat in shifting the consumers’ buying and lifestyle behaviours; whether from shopping for daily necessities to food deliveries, or online learning; the paradigm shift has happened and will only continue to shift in coming months.

We definitely saw the mobile coming, but what nobody anticipated was how fast it had hit us.

What are some of the strategies you are exploring in mobile marketing?

Without going into too much confidential details, on a broader digital level, we are making sure that we are digitally seen where our consumers go. This literally means where and when you are being seen online is dependent on whether you know where your consumers “hang-out” in their digital world (mobile is only a tool that activates that sphere if you were to think of it in that scientific way) be it on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or gaming. We need to ensure that we are staying relevant and that we continue to build on accessibility whether through our own digital channels or co-affiliating with partners that can add value to our entire digital ecosystem.

What are you looking for in the submissions/categories you are judging?

I will be looking for these attributes and qualities:

- Originality of idea. Ideas need not be complex. Ideas can be simple yet insightful and connect with consumers.

- Creativity of execution. How well the idea is fluidly carried into the mobile/digital arena,

- Convenience. How easily the consumers get engaged by the campaign/marketing messaging and respond or convert accordingly.

- Virality. Is this something that will raise an eyebrow or two and inspire sharing, memorability.

What are some of the future trends you are keeping your eyes on when it comes to mobile marketing? 

Artificial Intelligence, for one. With how rapidly the world has changed in the last six months, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit across the world, I will not be surprised if some apps or builders would speed up the A.I. track to enable a more seamless consumer journey. We already have mobile-enabled helpers like Siri and Google Assistant, what is stopping us is only our imagination. This reality is not too far away.

The eighth edition of Mob-Ex Awards will celebrate the most effective, creative and innovative mobile marketing campaigns / efforts designed to make complex interactivity becoming accessible to all and the success on the mobile platform for business growth. To find out more about the awards, click here.

Related articles:
Mobile a key strategy to customers coming first, says Mob-Ex 2020 judge Andrew Tan
Mob-Ex Awards 2020 Singapore
Mob-Ex Awards 2019 Singapore - Video Highlights