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What's keeping me up: AS Watson's Hanks Lee

What's keeping me up: AS Watson's Hanks Lee

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Nowadays, consumers are spoiled with choices. In order to stand out from the crowd, brands need to foster strong relationships with consumers and maintain consumer trust in the customer-centric world. 

Overseeing the corporate communications for AS Watson, with additional roles on Watsons brand and social marketing, Hanks Lee (pictured), director, corporate communications and Watsons brand marketing, AS Watson, believed that trust is the foundation of any successful brand, and by staying true to the brand’s value, he aims to build trust and forge meaningful connections with his customers.  

At Watsons, Lee prioritises authenticity and transparency in his communication and actions. He understands that trust is earned through consistent delivery of the brand promises and by genuinely addressing the needs and concerns of his customers. 

In this episode, Lee shares with us his biggest worry during his time as a marketing leader and what keeps him going.   

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What is the biggest thing you worry about?  

One of the biggest concerns I think for all marketers is the loss of trust. Trust is the foundation of any successful brand, and without it, there will be no brand when the relationship between the brand and its customers is fragile. Maintaining and building trust is becoming more important than ever in today‘s marketing work when there’s no shortage of brands.  

At Watsons, we understand this need for customers nowadays, which is why we launched The New Beautiful movement. It promotes a new kind of beauty centred around kindness, sustainability, and holistic well-being. By staying true to these values in our campaigns, we aim to build trust and forge meaningful connections with our customers.  

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: How do you deal with this worry?  

Rather than viewing it as a worry, I see enhancing brand trust as a core responsibility of marketers. We prioritise authenticity and transparency in our communication and actions.

We understand that trust is earned through consistent delivery of our brand promises and by genuinely addressing the needs and concerns of our customers.

In line with Watsons commitment to wellbeing, we actively support initiatives such as the Consumer Goods Forum's preventative programs and implement various initiatives to promote mental and physical well-being among our customers. From our GetActive campaign which encourages active lifestyle, to raising awareness about mental wellbeing, we strive to demonstrate our dedication to the wellbeing of our customers.  

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: As a leader, how do you deal with it when your staff tells you the work is creating mental pressure and well-being issues?  

A common assumption is that communicators are hired to speak, but actually it’s the opposite and the more I experience this profession, the more I realise how crucial deep listening is for my work.

Everyone has some degree of pressure at work and when it happens, by listening wholeheartedly, I can understand their challenges, empathise with their situations, and provide appropriate support. The mantra "I am here for you" from Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh resonates with me, reminding me of the importance of being present and supportive during difficult times.  

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What keeps you going?  

What keeps me going is the belief in the kindness that exists in each of us and the potential for positive change in the world. As marketers, we need to believe in the fact that we have the power to make a difference and create meaningful impact through our work. 

One particular source of inspiration for me is the medical missions I have participated in with Operation Smile. Witnessing the smiles we help rebuild in these missions reinforces the purpose of our work and energises me to continue making a positive impact.

It is the understanding that our kindness, no matter how small, can contribute to a better world that keeps me motivated and focused.    

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: How do you boost employee morale when facing obstacles/challenges?  

The best solution is in our everyday work – always be supportive and nurture confidence in team members, rather than thinking of ways to boost morale when there’s a challenge.

Open communication, and mutual respect are valued helps foster a sense of unity and shared purpose.   

I believe in encouraging employees to recognise their own strengths and capabilities. It‘s important to let them know that I have faith in them and that they have the resilience and wisdom to overcome difficulties and achieve success amidst adversity. 

Join us this coming 26 June for Content360 Hong Kong, a one-day-two-streams extravaganza under the theme of "Content that captivates". Get together with our fellow marketers to learn about AI in content creation, integration of content with commerce and cross-border targeting, and find the recipe for success within the content marketing world!

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