Evidence driven air-conditioning branding

  • Commission research
  • Develop brand communications strategy
  • Revisit brand identity and storytelling
  • Key message development
  • English copywriting
  • Chinese copywriting
  • Website design
  • TV, print, interactive and outdoor campaign, POS and collaterals
  • Design language and brand guidelines
  • weibo

General air-conditioners have long been popular in Hong Kong. The brand pioneered many air-conditioning innovations.

Opportunity

Air-conditioning launched a revolution in Hong Kong’s architecture when it became popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The innovation led to taller buildings with lower ceiling heights.

Japanese brand General was among the first to serve the domestic market. Over the years, the brand’s distributor, Alpha Appliances built great loyalty in Hong Kong. Its products have been widely adopted by property developers, government buildings, hospitals and many residential homes.

Going forward, the company aims to increase market share for high quality, General air-conditioning technology and its outstanding customer support.

Challenge

In recent years General has encountered pressure from rival brands. Some deploy global advertising campaigns with big production budgets. General needed to reinforce its strengths with a message that would resonate with Hong Kongers.

But what do contemporary Hong Kong people really care about when they choose an air-conditioner? Each of the various brands focus on a different aspect of the air-conditioning experience.... What should General be saying?

1
Define
Define

The project began by conducting market research to understand the profile, buying patterns and preferences of key individuals involved in local air-conditioning purchase decisions.

It also gauged attitudes to the General brand and its messages.

The research results enabled benchmarks to be established against which the success of future campaigns were to be measured.

2
Design
Design

After scoping out the competitive landscape, Stepworks refreshed the General brand identity and developed the brand’s new local positioning phrase Care-conditioning to highlight the brand’s dedication and emphasis in customer support.

Overall, the brand language was given a more contemporary and distinctive look.

3
Communications
Communications

A focused set of key messages was developed to give more power to advertising and marketing campaigns.

All messages highlight how General air-conditioning cares for the family, and how General cares for the family’s air-conditioning.

The first campaign starred a precocious boy and his pal, a fluffy cute chow chow dog that talks. The breed was chosen because a very hairy dog needs extra air-conditioning to stay cool. As well as attracting attention, the dog underscored General’s power and ability to cool a room down fast.

4
Marketing
Marketing

The brand’s new direction was launched with a comprehensive seasonal campaign timed to coincide with the peak period of air-conditioner buying.

The campaign was rolled out via multiple channels including television, print, outdoor and online.

A new brand-centric website was developed for General air-conditioning in Hong Kong, which was previously housed in a section of the distributor’s site.

5
Document and enhance
Document and enhance

The research conducted during the defining stage of the project became a blueprint against which subsequent activities were measured. Campaign components were monitored for awareness and effectiveness and clarity of message.

Three initial creative directions were subject to research through audience testing.

After the initial campaign was launched, the results were evaluated and the brand strategy calibrated in accordance with the data.

Results

With research results showing that the relaunch advertising campaign achieved a record high awareness, there are plans to extend the campaign for the coming year.

Point
of sale

Customer-facing dealers reported that the POS campaign stood out in the cluttered retail environment. The ice cream truck promotion further encouraged involvement with the brand.



Validation

The initial campaign confirmed the value of the collaboration and both team are building on the strong partnership.