UK can be 'China's springboard for growth'

Tom Knox 600px

(Above: Ex IPA President makes the case for Chinese brands to work with UK agencies. Image::IPA)

The following speech was delivered by Tom Knox, UK Chairman of MullenLowe and IPA President 2016-2017, at the China International Advertising Festival in Shanghai in October 2017.

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) represents the brightest and best advertising and marketing agencies in the UK.

Only 10% of UK advertising agencies make the grade for membership.

In this, our centenary year, we have also been awarded Chartered status from the Privy Council of the Queen of England.

So now, in the UK, advertising is truly regarded as a profession, on a par with accountancy or law, for example.

Why is this? We think it is because over the last 35 years and more, the IPA has been able to show how we add value to the UK economy.

The UK advertising market is the biggest in Europe and fourth in the world – but still small compared to China.

UK advertising drives economic growth in the UK. When advertising investment goes up so does the economy.

The mission of IPA member agencies is to ‘help clients to create and develop brands which deliver profitable growth for their corporate owners’.

All consumer-facing brands in the FTSE 100 employ IPA member agencies.

The top 100 US brands globally all employ IPA member agencies to help take their brands global beyond the continent of the US.

Since 2009 the IPA has been coming to China. The IPA attended the China International Advertising Festival in Nanning in 2008 with Sir John Hegarty, and brought a delegation to the 2011 Festival in Shenyang with Lady Nicola Mendelsohn, the first female IPA President.

The IPA has always supported the view that China brands have the potential to go global.

In 2008 just 8 China brands were in the Global 500. Now there are 50 China brands in the Global 500.

Chinese companies have demonstrated that they are not just the factory of the world but also brand builders in the world.

In the most recent (2017) Brand Finance Nation Brands League Table, announced in London last week, China came second after the US, with +44% growth Year on Year.

By 2030 it is predicted that China will become again the number 1 economy in the world.

The IPA is here to help Chinese consumer brands achieve their global ambition.

We have the history, the know-how and the skills to help.

No longer will it be necessary for Chinese companies to buy Western brands like Weetabix, Hamleys, Sunseeker, Club Med and Pizza Express.

China will be able to compete on its own terms with its own brands.

LeNovo and Huawei are showing the way with over 50% of their branded business now being generated outside of China.

Ali Baba and Haier are beginning to make their mark. Chinese banks are already big players on the global scene.

As our Centenary Exhibition at the China International Advertising Festival shows, the UK invented ‘advertising planning’, and it is ‘planning’ that makes the difference when it comes to brand-building.

The discipline of planning helps brand owners decide:

-      how to invest in marketing for optimum return on investment,

-      how to get the right balance between building brand reputation and encouraging sales

-      how to deliver brand communications that appeal to the heart as well as to the head through their creativity

-      how to get results in the short and the long-term.

The UK was the first economy in the world where digital advertising exceeded 50% of total advertising investment – in 2015.

The UK is the biggest online advertising market in Europe.

Over one third of UK advertising is on mobile; over double that of its nearest European competitor.

As China develops its Belt and Road strategy, we would like to collaborate with China to develop a strategy for China brands to go global.

The UK is the gateway to the rest of the world when it comes to branding. We know how great global brands are built through a combination of quality product or service at the right price, supported by long-term brand-building advertising.

We invite China brands to use the UK as a springboard for international growth.

The CAA and the IPA are trusted allies. We invite CAA to work with IPA on a joint programme of education, promotion and cultural exchange in this important area of economic growth for both of our nations.

We have a centuries old tradition but a modern outlook, just like China.  With the support of UK Government, we can make it happen.