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Background to Brand Hong Kong

发表时间: 2007-12-30
Why Brand Hong Kong?

The idea of ‘branding’ Hong Kong was first explored in 1996. At that time, much attention was focused on the return of Hong Kong to China, and there was concern in some quarters that Hong Kong might vanish from the international stage after reunification. The Government’s Information Services Department undertook the task of making sure such a scenario would never take place, and ways were sought to define Hong Kong’s role as a Special Administrative Region of China, as well as an international services centre for finance, trade, investment, tourism, transport and communications.

Various strategies were considered, and the decision to develop Brand Hong Kong was finally taken in 2000. The new millennium had begun, the worst of the Asian financial crisis was over and Hong Kong was beginning to enjoy a new lease of life under Chinese sovereignty. The time was right to forge a new image for the city.

The Commission on Strategic Development, set up to advise the Chief Executive on Hong Kong's long-term development needs and goals, made a number of recommendations.

Among other things, it stated:

"...Hong Kong needs to promote its unique position as one of the most cosmopolitan and vibrant cities in Asia to a wide range of international audiences. A successful external promotion programme can have a significant positive impact on Hong Kong's ability to achieve a number of key economic, social, and cultural objectives."

Acting on this recommendation, the Government commissioned a team of international communications firms to conduct research and develop a strategy to position the city. This became the launch pad for the Brand Hong Kong programme.

How the Brand was developed?

Brand Hong Kong evolved rapidly following extensive research and consultation in Hong Kong and overseas.

The findings demonstrated that while Hong Kong was held in high regard internationally, some quarters had not fully grasped the dramatic changes that had made Hong Kong one of the world's most modern and dynamic cities.

Promotion and branding programmes for other international locations were carefully scrutinized. The research uncovered a few examples of strong integrated ‘location brands’, and that most brand-building initiatives were tourism led. The most successful programmes were found to be ongoing, using a multi-media approach with a consistent underlying message. They were also under stringent quality control, well managed and well coordinated.

To launch the branding programme, a positioning platform and visual identity were developed through research. Numerous design options for the visual identity were considered, and following initial reviews , five final designs were shortlisted and subjected to rigorous tests in Hong Kong, North America, Australia and Europe. The tests clearly demonstrated that the visual identity finally selected – a dragon image incorporating the letters H K and the Chinese characters for Hong Kong - was extremely well received and understood by both Hong Kong and international groups.

The Brand’s dragon image represents Hong Kong's continuing link with a historical and cultural icon. The flowing lines of the dragon also mirror Chinese calligraphy. The dual expression of the dragon image – a combination of modernity and antiquity – also symbolises the meeting of East and West that makes Hong Kong so special.

In addition, the dragon's smooth, fluid shape imparts a sense of movement and speed, recognising that Hong Kong is ever-changing. The dragon image’s dynamic and contemporary artwork suggests Hong Kong's passion for the daring and innovative, incorporating a can-do spirit which brings visionary ideas to life.

International focus groups also reviewed a number of tagline options from copywriting teams in Hong Kong and overseas. The final choice – Asia's world city – was seen as reflecting the city's unique position in Asia and around the world. While some see this positioning as Hong Kong’s vision, most agreed that Hong Kong is Asia's world city, a natural and multicultural gateway not only to opportunities in Mainland China but also in the rest of Asia.

Global launch for ‘Asia's world city’

Brand Hong Kong was launched in 2001 before an international audience at the FORTUNE Global Forum in Hong Kong. Since then, Hong Kong's Economic and Trade Offices have carried the Brand Hong Kong message to key business and government audiences overseas and in the Mainland. Brand Hong Kong is now recognised as representing Hong Kong at home and around the world.

Who manages the Brand?
Management of Brand Hong Kong is co-ordinated by the Government’s Information Services Department (ISD), in accordance with the following strategic objectives:

To create initiatives that communicate Hong Kong's competitive positioning
Associate the Brand with activities that represent the Brand values
Build an understanding of Hong Kong's position as Asia's world city
Strengthen the Brand culture within the private and public sectors
A host of domestic and international promotional activities have been carried out under the Brand Hong Kong umbrella. The visual identity can be seen across Hong Kong, from the skyline to the airport. The expression ‘Asia’s world city’ has become part of the regional lexicon and every day new requests are received from organizations and individuals wishing to use the Brand.

The Government works closely with the public and private sectors to ensure that the Brand is used effectively to promote Hong Kong worldwide, and strives to safeguard Hong Kong’s position as Asia's world city.
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