Telum Talks To… Kris Leung, Associate Director, Corporate Communications & Client Relations, Vigers Appraisal and Consulting
Telum caught up with Kris Leung to hear about his experience managing corp comms, client relations and events at the Hong Kong real estate and surveyor group. He also shared what he learnt in his past roles and what to expect of him in the near future.
You head up both corp comms and client relations, are there any challenges in juggling these functions?
I was employed as a corp comms staff in my first few years at Vigers and back then I had a chance to take up the role of client relations. I was happy to take up this role since I had more chances to contact our customers around customer relationship management. This is all about communications I believe, but just to different stakeholders. Challenges are always there! In the modern business world, customers become demanding which is understandable. Complaints will come when the services do not meet their expectations. And in recent years, the rise of viral content on social media puts service provider in an alert position if something goes awry. However, with proper communications, customers’ enquiry or complaint can usually be handled “peacefully”.
Having handled corp comms at Vigers for almost a decade, how have the group’s PR and comms strategies evolved?
We have changed our strategies for this dynamic market. For example, we used to have our publications or papers published in magazines which you can read in coffee shops or buy in stores. Columns of our professional views on the property market could be read in various newspapers, but now they go to the internet. You hardly find a property magazine in cafés, alternatively you can scan the QR code to read or simply visit their e-magazine. Several years ago, we started to reach online platforms, both local and international, to publish our views and analysis so they can be delivered instantly to readers. And recently, we started joining webinars held by other organisations to promote our brand image to the public.
What is the most important element in doing comms for a real estate and surveyor group?
Be professional! We are providing services and so I believe professionalism is conducive to solidifying your brand to different parties. It’s all about the professional messages you deliver to the customers or even the public. For example, how you dress gives the first impression of your company to clients. That’s why we have a dress code in the office. You also need to be prepared to meet “potential clients” at any time and anywhere. For me, I always bring some business cards in my wallet during my trips to promote my company brand to different people I meet in other countries, especially when we speak about business and my works. You never know if the one you are talking to is your potential client, especially as the topic of real estate is hot everywhere in the world and we are capable to assist customers globally.
What are some learnings from your earlier marketing experiences that benefited you in your current role?
Marketing products is totally different from marketing services. This is what I have learned over my marketing career. Service marketing is about the level of professionalism you deliver to clients and also more about the perception of your brand. Relationship management is crucial as well through excellent communications between parties. How to build a good relationship between you and other companies becomes the most important issue when you are marketing your services to others. And for brand awareness, it is always good to make sure your brand is stuck in customers’ minds.
You have managed corporate events, what is your take on hybrid events and future trends on events?
In events, you can directly communicate with customers about your products and services which always provides an excellent brand image and interaction to them. However, due to the pandemic we can see the number of events reducing. Therefore, we prefer online platforms to physical events because of the travel bans and restrictions. Still, you can see the effectiveness of online events to boost business and brand awareness. I believe in the future more and more corporates will turn to engage in online events and webinars, especially for the service industry. But for the companies selling visible products, large-scale events and exhibitions are preferable since they need more mutual interactions with potential clients. And you can see the recent Canton Fair in Guangzhou is still one of the prominent international exhibitions for the trading industry.
What is your expectation for yourself in five years' time?
Both marketing and corp comms have been my favourite areas, during my university and career time. Recently I started getting interested in legal studies and I have completed a related elementary course. What I am thinking is going ahead for the LLB to further acquire some legal knowledge. I believe such legal sense would add value to my corp comms / marketing tasks even they seem unrelated. Hopefully I would be a true veteran of corp comms when you come to me next time in five years’ time.