Learn from Hong Kong’s business leaders: Insights and lessons

Hong Kong has been experiencing protests and a pandemic for more than a decade. Leonie Valentine is the managing director of sales operations at Google Hong Kong. She shares her observations about local businesses’ resilience as they work towards recovery. She shares notable examples of businesses that are ahead of the curve and ready to respond to future challenges as businesses think about what’s next.

The new normal. What is new and normal? Leaders of Hong Kong’s most prestigious businesses, Prudential and Casetify, CSL and Mentholatum said that COVID-19 has changed the world. They also stated that they believe businesses will continue to innovate to adapt to this sudden shift in consumer behavior.

The full collection contains the most insightful insights from all these interviews. You can find the complete collection . Each interview is worth reading in detail. It was an incredible opportunity to meet with such a wide range of industry leaders. Before you get into the details of each conversation in this book, I want to share the common lessons I learned from these top executives.

Spoiler alert! The common thread in all interviews is digital’s importance, especially in these difficult times.

How did these businesses respond to the loss of a significant share of their offline audience?


Online business is not only for businesses. The purchasing habits of consumers have changed dramatically in a matter of minutes. COVID-19 spread around the globe, and consumers still fear physical contact. Businesses in Hong Kong were forced to rethink physical retail strategies and move their business online.

Prudential Hong Kong and Mentholatum were quick to adapt their marketing strategies to reach their target audience. Despite the economic downturn, they saw higher engagement and conversion rates. Mentholatum joined the work-from-home bandwagon and produced relevant content that was entertaining, even though they were at home. They were not only entertaining but also because they fully adopted the agile approach by using Google Analytics 360 for testing, testing, and more testing until they found the winning formula.

The average screen time in Hong Kong was also higher when people were in lockdown mode. Prudential was quick and effective to capitalize on this. The app for managing your health, which was scheduled to launch later this year, was modified to make it more relevant. Prudential was able to prove itself to be an innovator in this area by posting content and expert opinions on COVID-19. Prudential also moved the launch date to coincide with lockdowns, and received over 200,000 app downloads within the first 24 hours.

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How does digitalization affect business operations?


According to all of the leaders I spoke with, digital has elevated marketing’s role to protect the bottom line. Casetify has digital tools that allow them to run campaigns with confidence in their ROI. Prudential can attract qualified leads through its sales funnel. This proves the importance of digital marketing to the executive team and secures even larger budgets for future marketing. CSL’s massive blast campaign generated an unprecedented amount of qualified leads that could be shared with other business units.

The ability to experiment at low costs is crucial for all of the businesses mentioned above. Prudential was able to use Google Analytics 360 to determine the most effective messages and combinations of channels that would achieve their business goals through multiple testing. Another key benefit of digital is automation. Casetify completely automated their supply chain, production and management department, allowing their employees to do more creative work.

Although automation may seem small, it had a significant impact on Casetify’s employee satisfaction. Automation allowed employees to focus on strategic work and the mundane tasks, while automating them made their jobs easier. The business saw a happier workforce and a better performance in all departments. Employees who are happier are more willing to do the extra work to achieve their KPIs.

Why should businesses go digital?

Traditional companies that have operated within a particular structure for decades are likely to be digitally transformed. However, the challenge is similar to moving a mountain.

Digital can be a powerful tool if you are willing to learn and to try new things. Digital experiments are also more affordable than traditional media. If a business uses controlled, systematic methods to find the right digital marketing formula, it can reap long-term profits.

This magic formula is based on testing, experimentation, and machine learning. This allows businesses to optimize campaigns while they are still running and even discover new opportunities in the midst COVID-19. Mentholatum, for example, has taken advantage of this unique opportunity to better understand the local population, and without having to worry about the impact tourism data might have on their experiments.

This is only the tip of an iceberg. In a digital world there are endless possibilities. Only the future will reveal more solutions and new ideas.

You can read my interviews with Casetify, CSL and Prudential to get more insight into digital marketing’s impact on Mentholatum, CSL, Prudential, Prudential and Prudential.