Branding and Success
- Please could you tell me a little bit about yourself and your career in the world of branding?
Brand Manager – ZEITWINKEL Montres SA, Switzerland – (Currently, Hong Kong)
Founder – Petit Musee – September 2009 – (Hong Kong)
Brand Manager – Quinting Montres SA, Switzerland – (Mai 2012 – Mai 2013 Hong Kong)
University of Perpignan Via Domitia `10
MBA, Luxury Industries 2009 – 2010
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
MBA specialized in fashion and luxury industry, BA (hons) in Industrial Design 2001 – 2004
About: the branding luxury:
As a person working in the luxury field, we strongly need to observe our customer`s behaviour in our daily life, different from FMCG or other brands. Luxury industries consider every single detail as important in connection with marketing and investment, which are the intangible brand values that would be embed in a customer`s mind.
2. Can you share an experience or specific moment that made you gain confidence regarding working in this industry?
Whenever customers tell me that they appreciate the brand that I am working on, it gives me confidence.
3. In what areas do you think nowadays schools/universities around the world could improve when teaching students in terms of self-marketing and branding? What advice would you give them?
I think there are so many schools teaching branding and luxury brand management in the world including a few famous schools such as Harvard, HEC and other top brand management schools in Switzerland. Besides school work and the content they teach, it would be of importance for schools and universities building networks to as many international companies as possible. Thus, they could offer and increase opportunities to help their students getting into well-known companies later on. Networks really can support a student`s career development.
However, regarding self-marketing and branding, I believe no one can teach how to make it perfect. However, having a keen eye, a proper attitude, and scope could make an outstanding brand happen.
4. What guidelines/specific steps would you give teachers and coaches to help building up student´s skills in creating a successful image at school or university in order to stand out from the crowd?
I don’t agree with the way of seeing and building up a successful image nowadays, as if you are not considered a success when not achieving it. OK, let’s get back to what is an image. When you are having your personal opinion, which is reasonable, logical, practical and feasible for one’s business, it is already good and outstanding from the crowd. There are some ideas feasible in the international market some are not. Certain ideas can be adapted only in a specific area, country, region, industry or even just within a company/person.
Reading more and paying attention to international and local news always helps understanding different cultural backgrounds. When you be able to see the scope of what`s happening and have gained the ability to differentiate, it’s time for you finding your own scope (Expertise?). By the time you have accumulated valuable information, having your own scope will make you realize that you already built up something to add to your own image.
5. Many people are struggling with keeping themselves in other people`s minds. Could you share with pupils, students, and young professionals a few presentation techniques in order to brand themselves?
There is a wide misunderstanding between branding and with putting on a label. Branding is putting yourself in a certain direction, which has to do with building something. Many people print name cards without solid background or expertise and professionalism. This is the issues between label and branding. Branding oneself is the effort to focus on expertise in a specific direction, taking certain amount of time. Branding is doing something professional and people will start recognizing you. A brand represents expertise. Do not build a brand, become an expert!
6. What would you say are success factors when it comes to effective self-marketing and branding?
I believe that if you think out of the box, you are going to have exceptional decision-making. That`s why so many tycoons make money, as it is about decision making. Strangely, people trying crazy and exceptional things e.g. design school students try to be too outstanding by wearing weird clothes in order to show their difference to others. Branding is something in deep, more than a label or sticker. Wearing branded apparel alone does not work.
Focus on certain field and directions. Try getting more exposure to a special expertise or customers. In addition, expose yourself to different kinds of marketing, digital, printing, viral marketing. I consider viral and digital marketing most suitable for personal marketing. Many go through that channel, however only a few become successful, because of the social environment they are in. For instance, in the USA it is easier to do branding through digital marketing due to the people, who are more used to sales or digital marketing.
7. How do you define success?
Set your goals and reach them, that`s success! I never consider how others think of me, as long as I know that I really do what I want.
8. What personal life principles made you become successful and “outstanding” from the crowd?
I am reminding myself that there is too much information in the market. No matter whether news, entertainment, art, etc..! There is a trend. If you want to have success and be the first in the trend, you have to be objective when you digest information. Think out of the box, make a prediction, and be one step ahead of others. At that specific time, you already will have fewer competitors. Try being a few steps ahead of the mass market, and then you will get your chance being successful.
I personally try avoiding direct competition with others and never negotiate pricing when I have too many competitors. I keep my own prices stable, and then I have big bargaining power, as I do not have to compete with others. I leave a negotiation when I do not get my price or an even a better price.
If someone sells the same product next door, I will start working on the intangible value and shopping experience to enhance the value of my product. I never reduce my price without a reason when I am the only one in the market. Luxury goods never compete by lowering prices; however, the opposite is the case.
9. What advice would you give to students and young adults in order for them to achieve what they want?
It really depends! To me I enjoy my life by reaching my every-year-goal or even 5-20 year goals. As long as I reach it, I am happy. I hate the feeling of having no goal and direction. I believe that I live for a reason to help people, friends, and myself. Life can be very colourful. I never consider money is an evil thing. It is neutral. It depends how we use it.
It depends on everyone themselves. Some want the feeling of success, some others find success when helping someone else by contributing their time and effort, others definition of success is to retire early. Generally, most want to live in a good way without working.
Thank you very much for the interview, Ms Ng.
Interview conducted by Nicholas Sebastian Chan
The Interpretation of Momentum ®