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11/09/01

Grey Worldwide: Strategic Repositioning Through CRM

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Chaotic media and communications market conditions and downward industry pressure on commission margins forced Grey Worldwide Hong Kong and China (Grey WW-HK/China) to conceive a CRM philosophy called Grey Relationship Management (GRM) in 2001, to reposition itself through defined e-marketing and CRM strategies for the Asian market, particularly China.1 Facing threats from a changing and fiercely competitive communication industry, Grey WW-HK/China did not want to compete on cost. Instead, it needed a differentiation strategy to leverage the growing Asian CRM market and compete with other players such as management consultants, traditional agencies and pure on-line players who were also building a CRM business focus.

Although communications agency Grey Worldwide had very strong umbrella brand equity, the brand capital needed to be invigorated through a renewed e-marketing focus. In particular, Grey WW-HK/China needed to re-evaluate its market environment and redefine its value proposition to its clients.

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Background

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Viveca Chan, CEO of Grey Hong Kong and China, was questioning to what extent the GRM concept should merge technology with traditional marketing philosophy to develop a CRM proposition for its local clients. She asked her core strategy team to deliver a proposal outlining which CRM tools Grey WW-HK/China should engage in to reposition the Company’s brand and build customer loyalty. She wanted to know how the Company could build an Asia-specific CRM process blueprint for their internal customer management process and transfer that knowledge to its clients. The strategy team had a four-week deadline to present its solutions.

Grey Global Group was a full communications enterprise with 16 global partner companies focused on distinct communications disciplines and engaged in a wide range of marketing and communications activities (refer to Exhibit 1 for details of each partner company).

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CRM can be defined as a comprehensive set of processes and technologies for managing the relationships with potential and current customers and business partners across marketing, sales and service, regardless of the communications channel.

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Shamza Khan and Marissa McCauley prepared this case under the supervision of Prof. Julie H. Yu and Dr. Ali Farhoomand for class discussion. This case is not intended to show effective or ineffective handling of decision or business processes.

This case is part of a project funded by a teaching development grant from the University Grants Committee (UGC) of Hong Kong.
Copyright© 2001 The University of Hong Kong. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise (including the Internet) - without the permission of The University of Hong Kong.

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9 November, 2001
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This document is authorized for use only by Nadeem Mustafa until March 2013. Copying or posting is an infringement of copyright. Permissions@hbsp.harvard.edu or 617.783.7860.

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Grey Worldwide: Strategic Repositioning Through C RM

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Grey Worldwide Hong Kong and China

Grey Worldwide Hong Kong and China was established in 1978 as part of the Grey Global network, focusing on “communications” as its core business and following eight principles to provide client services (refer to Exhibit 2). Grey Worldwide’s (or Grey) Asia strategy focused on building partnerships with local agencies and developing local management talent to allow quick recognition of indigenous opportunities. This communications strategy proved successful for Grey WW-HK/China; its billings have grown steadily since 1986 (refer to Exhibit 3 ).

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Grey Hong Kong started as a small agency, and delivering integrated marketing expertise was its core strategy. Integrated marketing was...
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