The Hong Kong Brand Development Council broached a host of policy suggestions through submissions to the Government and publications on media:
1. The business environment in the Pearl River Delta has been undergoing sea-changes in the recent years, which has in turn highlighted the importance of branding as an important strategy for Hong Kong manufacturers to ride out the current difficulties and move up the value chain. No matter in the light of enhancing Hong Kong’s competitiveness in the long term or for enhancing supports to Hong Kong manufacturers’ operations in the Mainland in the short term, the Government should assume a more significant role in helping local companies go branding. Inter alia, it is suggested that the Government should join hands with the industries to create an environment conducive to brand-building by starting with a full range of groundwork, such as institutional arrangement, policy orientation, financial support, human reserve, establishment of a social supporting system as well as cross-border cooperation.
2. It is imperative to set up a high-level standing institution, which will be responsible for advocating, studying, formulating and implementing the overall strategies for brand development in Hong Kong on the one hand, and acting as a coordinator for the various branding activities organized by different sectors especially the industries on the other hand.
3. The recent years has witnessed the mushrooming of brand recognition schemes in Hong Kong, many of which are for profit-making purpose and are sub-standard in quality. Such rampant phenomena has not only resulted in the waste of social resources, but also given rise to chaos in the market. By making reference to Mainland China’s experience, it is suggested that the Government should establish one or two brand awards as the champion schemes representative of Hong Kong, through joint efforts with the industries or giving endorsement to selected existing programs.
4. To foster a branding-friendly environment in Hong Kong, a multi-pronged approach should be adopted. For example, a specialized funding scheme could be set up or the scope of SME Supporting Fund should be extended so as to provide sponsorship for the branding initiatives of local companies or the related industrial organizations; the Government could consider hosting some branding-related landmark events to raise Hong Kong’s profile in the international arena; a “Brand Research Institute” could be established by a local university as the implementation arm for brand research, education and training. Also, Hong Kong needs to promote its location brand in a more strategic way and step up the interaction and cooperation with the Mainland in the field of brand certification, incubation, research, promotion and protection.
5. With full panoply of favorable factors, Hong Kong is well-positioned to become an International Branding Centre (IBC) that is capable of congregating worldwide brands, nurturing original brands and adding value to brands from different places. It is suggested that the Government should take a lead in conducting an in-depth study on the concepts and practices of IBC, setting out a blueprint and action agenda in a forward-looking and systematic way, and pooling together resources of our society based on a tripartite model of “market leads, government facilitates, community supports”.