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Natasha Yong

Published on

August 22, 2022


Brand communications, consumer marketing, marketing

What pops into mind when we talk about successful branding? Branding is more than just a logo, colour themes and tagline. These days, values and experience are becoming key components of a brand. We share 3 essential elements for a powerful branding activation.

Exceptional brand marketing is like an excellent meal – it has the power to transform your audience into loyal fans, or even become brand advocates in the long term. A nicely orchestrated marketing campaign will help recruit new audiences, boost return buyers and enhance brand loyalty.   

To succeed in a crowded market like Hong Kong, brands have to bear an international vision while taking a hyper-local activation approach. Being targeted is critical for brands to communicate their key differences in a way that not only appeals to but also resonates well with the target audience, subsequently maximising the commercial impact of marketing efforts. It is the same as preparing an amazing dining experience. The secret recipe is all about understanding what your customers want, how they want to be served, and what brings the most value to them—an accurate balance of all these factors will be able to create an amazing brand experience for your audience.   

We don’t have to look very far to seek branding inspiration. One of the very best examples in the city is an everyday restaurant brand that you may have heard of, or grown up with, Tam Jai International, a well-known household name in Hong Kong. 

Tam Jai International is operating two sister brands in the city, TamJai Yunan Mixian and TamJai SamGor which are both known for their rice noodles and customised toppings. Since the acquisition by Toridoll in 2017, both brands have been rolling out an integrated marketing strategy to keep consumers engaged. Here are the 3 key takeaways from their marketing strategies: 

#1 Generate resonance with emotional appeal 

Intending to curate how TamJai SamGor is being front and center in the city, TamJai SamGor creates a video commercial themed “There’s no place like homefeaturing Ian from the most popular local pop group MIRROR who shared his story of coming back to Hong Kong after studying abroad, and how the tastes of the signature spicy noodles brought back his memories of the good old days.

The video successfully has made a huge splash with consumers and went viral with over 317K views on YouTube. The beauty of the video not only successfully positioned TamJai SamGor as a Hong Kong homegrown brand that has been bringing and creating memories for young people but also leverages the opportunity to highlight some of the signature tastes and toppings of their noodles.   

#2 Turning mockery into endearment

Language is a critical element in connecting with the target audience. Even within Hong Kong, slangs are different from generation to generation. For example, millennials and Gen Z in Hong Kong love communicating in Martian language which means typing Chinese characters in unconventional ways using homophones or acronyms based on how the phrases are romanised.  

A few years ago, netizens mocked the waitress’s “Tam Jai Jeh Jeh” and their accent-ridden Cantonese, the “Tam Jai dialect”. Tamjai International also rolled out several campaigns to keep consumers engaged in Hong Kong, leveraging on their waitresses’ infamous accents. Tamjai right on spot created culturally relevant content by turning the mockery into a brand DNA.  

One of the campaigns themed “Tamjai x Master 7 Mother’s Day Special” campaign, featuring Master 7, one of the local TV celebrities to market its new offering launched during Mother’s Day. Tamjai decided to turn Master 7 into a Tamjai waitress who boasted a similar accent (thanks to her overseas experience) associating how Tamjai Yunnan Mixian offers heart-warming and caring services to Hong Kongers. The campaign also successfully reinforces its down-to-earth local roots.  

The brand has also been working on various marketing campaigns over the years. For example, it established a girl group “譚仔女聲合唱團last year, consisting of four waitresses and one regional manager from different stores in the city, and collaborated with singer Terence Lam to roll out a song (廿五載情如初見) which have had more than 1.3 million views since its launch. After last year’s success, the brand co-launched another song “夢想成真 2022” in collaboration with rap duo MC $oHo & KidNey on 14 April. 

#3 Marketing without boundaries

Good branding initiatives come in different formats, so does spreading a message. When it comes to marketing, we often think of traditional ways like TV commercials and billboards or digital content on social media. However, creativity has no boundaries.  

With an aim to engage with their target audience and the local Hong Kong community, Tamjai International has decided to go a different route. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Tamjai Yunnam Mixian launched a campaign featuring a collection of umbrellas. In Cantonese, the pronunciation of umbrella is like “Jeh Jeh”. It played a rhyme for this brand merchandise to recognise and celebrate the efforts of the Tam Jai Jeh Jehs who have been growing with the brand with their audience over the years. The campaign successfully set TamJai Yunnan Mixian apart from its competitors. 


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A post shared by 譚仔雲南米線 (@tamjai_hk)

As interest in the metaverse continues to grow, Tamjai International is also expanding their reach to the virtual space. Earlier in May, they announced its own “edutainment hub” in The Sandbox metaverse and roll out its first-ever NFT collections Souper Hero together with 4 branded avatars. The hub will serve as an interactive virtual showroom for exhibitions and a platform where its Souper Hero NFT holders exchange insights and have fun with the noodle-themed games. With creativity and the help of technology, communications can be done through different channels in different dimensions. 

Related content: Today’s Fan Economy: High Risk, High Returns?

There is no single formula or recipe for successful branding campaigns. Are you serving up tasty, satisfying marketing content and campaigns for the Hong Kong audience? 

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