From a shipping agency more than a century ago, Jebsen Group today represents more than 200 leading worldwide brands and is known for realising many legendary brand stories in the Greater China market. I see this as a result of Jebsen’s unique gift for identifying hidden gems among brands, and eventually transforming them into household names.
When I joined Jebsen in 2012, I was in charge of marketing for Dyson, a British home appliance brand. Sensing that Dyson products would become a hit among Chinese consumers, we facilitated a few marketing projects with the Brand, including several large-scale product launch events and brand roadshows, and launched a number of marketing campaigns to promote the Brand. Today, Dyson is an uncontested leader in home appliances and its popularity continues to grow.
In January 2018, I was promoted to Senior Marketing Manager in China, overseeing J SELECT’s offline consumer product business across Greater China. J SELECT is Jebsen’s retail business, bringing to the market a wide selection of products from international brands, from smart home appliances, kitchen appliances, lifestyle gadgets, health and beauty products, and luxury watches.
Part of my job is to replicate the process that Jebsen as a company has mastered –developing lesser-known brands into household names. Since we had limited resources, we relied on our own promotional channels, and cross-promoted with shopping malls and other brands. One successful launch was for Dr. Arrivo the Zeus home beauty appliance, which went on to become our bestseller in a few months. We also tried to upgrade our stores by training our salespeople, and matched our store prices with what is being offered online. By focusing relentlessly on service quality, we successfully won loyalty and advocacy from our customers – and turned a profit across some of our stores within a short period of time.
There are now 14 J SELECT stores operating within luxury department stores and shopping malls in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Sales at the Wang Fu Central store in Beijing alone exceeded 1 million yuan within one year. J SELECT has since become synonymous with high-end beauty electronics, gaining recognition as a one-stop shopping haven for Greater China’s most fashionable consumers.
For the brand builder, a knack for discovering and nurturing potential is essential, but not the whole story. I now understand how important it is to continue exploring and learning, in order to be more in tune with consumers’ needs. This critical process is the most effective way of sharpening one’s market sense. My role challenges me to continuously improve and uncover better versions of myself. At the end of the day, retail is a people business; the brand stories we tell must first appeal to people, as well as build connection between brands and customers. I suppose ultimately what consumers are willing to spend money on are not only the products themselves, but brands with stories they like and trust.