Jacquelien Brussee

Smart Horticulture Asia, which brings together leading players from the region's fresh produce supply chain to discuss technology and horticulture from around the world, takes place alongside Asia Fruit Logistica 2019 in Hong Kong on 4-6 September.

Much like the first three successful editions, the programme delivers top-notch speakers from leading companies at the crossroads of global technology and horticulture.

Jacquelien Brussee, vice general manager at Labbrand Brand innovations, the leading China-originated global brand consultancy, will speak on Thursday 5 September – a day dedicated to the subject of smart marketing in a digital era.

What can we expect from your talk on ‘Smart marketing in a digital arena?’

JB: In my session I am going to give a deeper insight on the new branding paradigms which we at Labbrand have defined. China, as a front-runner in ‘the digital arena’ showcases very well these new paradigms that are valuable for brands in general to take note of and see how they can best capitalise on them.

Moving from a category brand towards becoming a platform brand is such an example. Along with the other paradigms, I will be using some online/o2o brands in food as major examples.

What do you hope delegates take away from your talk?

JB: I hope to ensure that everyone has a good understanding of the new paradigms and with that a clear introduction about platform branding; what it is and what it is not; through some inspiring examples of strong platform brands across industries.

While I am going to state that per principle any brand or company can become a platform brand, it does however require a clear, defined strategy rooted in a deep understanding of the market and a sharp understanding of how to address untapped needs through an ecosystem.

What is the impact of online/o-to-o for brands in food? Could a fresh produce brand become strong enough to be a Platform Brand?

JB: In general, the impact of online to offline is about turning the transactional into integrated and immersive experiences, for consumers to interact with the product and brand universe. Digital and technology allow for augmenting and amplifying physical/offline interactions, which for produce brands, for example, enhances transparency in terms of the origin of the product, the process through which it reaches the shelf and places the product into the consumption moment.

For the brand itself, it increases visibility for the end consumers, through information on their shopping habits and even collecting feedback from them.

Regarding the potential of becoming a platform brand, of course, as with any brand, they can turn themselves into a platform brand by thinking from an ecosystem point of view – going from focusing on what you offer to what the platform offers to make the full experience better. This means target audiences are the centre of your brand positioning; while the platform brand aims to comfort, facilitate, and empower your consumers.

When we talk about fresh produce, it is imperative that we look at the supply chain. The truth is, delivering fresh produce is hard. Re-engineering your entire supply chain to support cold chain rather than apparel or consumer electronics is hard. You also have to look at the needs of the target audience and identify whether they have the inclination for an ordinary brand to become a platform brand. Scaling an audience in general is hard and you would need to factor in the cultural nuances – for example in China, people want to pick their fruit and vegetables by themselves – that are basic necessities and without the need to get fancy.

What are you personally looking to take away from this year’s event?

JB: I’m looking forward to seeing and being inspired by the brands that are present and the innovations that will be showcased by the industry. Additionally, being quite engaged on the topic of blockchain, I have an interest in further engaging on this and the opportunities arising from where blockchain and branding intersect.