International Vista

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How important is Integrity for brand marketing in China?

By Lara Pan

Editor: Phil Lower

Integrity is in a crisis now all over the world! But I will illustrate how important it is for brand marketing here in China.

Some of us may have known that Steve Jobs, the former founder of Apple, once had an integrity problem with his first child Lisa Jobs. After finding this out, many people may have had issues with Apple itself, simply because of the founder. But, it also came full-circle when he admitted Lisa was his daughter and started cultivating her, as every father should do. He regained his integrity. So a personal brand can be related to the brand of the whole company.

Is that integrity just about “being faithful to tell the truth?” What about skipping all the negative impacts instead of telling the dark side of the brand by “keep the flaws to ourselves?” No.

Let’s look at Haier’s example. When Haier’s refrigerators had quality problems in 1985, instead of covering them up, they decided to smash all the unqualified (second level) refrigerators. And, it was indeed a smashing moment at Haier. After that the quality was upgraded to be in accordance with their stated level of integrity. Any company that wants to be a brand, needs to focus on quality.  It speaks for itself. http://video.sina.com.cn/v/b/8104253-1323559443.html (This short video is in Chinese, but well worth watching to the end if only for the body language and symbolism.)

Integrity also happens with promises that we give. We may have integrity issues with our brands in cases like the following.

Many times when customers want to work with us for some features/products that we currently do not have, we may have given customers a “word” like we would have these features/products in November etc. But, as November approaches, we may not be able to accomplish it. Then we end up having an embarrassing conversation with our customers. So, the voice will come to you “you should never give any promise to the customers, as our engineers cannot always be as punctual as you imagine. You really just need to tell customers about our plan rather than giving any promise that we may not later fulfill.”

Also you may have customers’ demand certain features/products in December.  If you agree to it, then you should by all means strive to keep your promise by working hard toward such goals.

Evaluate carefully before you give any promise to your customers, otherwise you lose credibility by not keeping your promise.

This also relates to customers’ faulty requests.  I had a bad experience while working at a previous company. A South American customer wanted me to make an invoice for him with a lower actual price than what he would later pay.

I said no to his face, but the Sales Manager was extremely angry with me. He told me that “the customer is God, we cannot offend him, if you do not want to do this invoice, I will arrange for someone else to.” I knew this company would not be a place for integrity branding, therefore I had to leave. Today if customers want you to make a fake invoice, tomorrow they may ask you to make a fake product or misstate product qualities and benefits.

But how many of us now are just being lazy, not upgrading our promise of time, promise of quality, or promise of delivery to the end users to cope with a brand? We have no less labor, work, or resources, but we really lack INTEGRITY.  For the upright will inhabit the land, and those with integrity will remain in it.

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Lara Pan is Head of the Brand Marketing Center at Devline Limited in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.  She has experience in brand development, strategic planning & sales strategy, and training development in both Chinese and South American markets.  She’s worked in manufacturing and software industries.

In 2009, Devline Limited founded their international Head Office in Shenzhen, China, and began offering their products worldwide in 2012. Over NINE years of experience in the security sector has enabled LINE to develop world-class video surveillance products.  Line supports over 1000 different models from more than 50 camera manufacturers through over 200 distributors.  Line is an international brand of VMS (video management software), ranking one of the TOP three best selling software in Russia last year.

To Reach Lara Pan contact:

Line Product Brand Marketing Centre, DevLine Limited

Email: lara@devline.net

Skype: devline.sales     Website: www.devline.net

Demo:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G39p-az8Bk

Address: 12F, Xinbaohui Building, Nanhai Avenue, Nanshan, Shenzhen 518054, China

Photo by: ©[Buchachon Petthanya]/123RF.COM

 

Compass and pen on money background 21887857_s

Africa – The Last Investment Frontier

By: Jolly Mokorosi

There is a fable I have heard a number of times. This tale is one of 2 shoe salesmen who are sent by their employer to scout a distant land. There they come across a people who did not wear shoes. The first phoned the boss disappointed and informed him that there is no market as no one wears shoes. The second phones elated and declares send reinforcements the market is huge, no one has heard of shoes!

Although Africa has yet to completely shed it’s image as the dark continent (or country to some), investors cannot deny that Africa is in a sense the last of the major under invested regions of the world, therefore making it ripe for abnormally high returns. Spurred by flat and dwindling returns in their own countries and the prospect of exciting private equity deals, large well-respected international institutional investors are landing in droves on African soil.  They search for the elusive holy grail of institutional investments – alpha. Today it is difficult to be in any major African airport without bumping into a ‘scout’ or two for one of these large investors.

Is Africa for everyone?

I choose to answer by way of 2 famous proverbs. The first being: The early bird catches the fat worm. The second proverb paraphrased slightly states that: Great inefficiency presents great opportunities. In Africa there still exists much opportunity for abnormal returns through first mover advantage and the ability to harness the opportunities created as a consequence of the existing inefficiencies and access to stable capital inflows. Africa demands that conventional thinking is put aside and her opportunities are considered in the current context.

What about……?

As a professional retirement fund trustee I am sometimes asked about the risks of investing in the continent.  I am aware that the money we manage must take many into their retirement they can reasonably expect to enjoy. This has to be kept in mind when any investment related decision is contemplated. However, investment considerations or processes should remain the same irrespective of geographical location or the type of investment.  This is just plain good governance and, contrary to popular belief, should not ever be suspended. The difference comes in the relative weighting or importance of the constituents for consideration in light of the geographical location of the investment.

Expanding on the theme of risk. Risks need to be weighed against the rewards and the unique requirements of the investor. Different types of risks are apparent in this environment. Consider the legislative environment.

Navigating the legislation impacting investments presents varying degrees of complexity. Investors, in particular institutional investors, are heavily dependent on experts for successful outcomes to endeavors. In the larger and more developed world economies the impact of legislation frequently needs to be approached from a completely different angle to that of many African countries. Whereas in the first world navigating the complex and web-like legislative framework is a major consideration when looking at an investment opportunity, in many African countries the absence of legislation or court cases to test the interpretation of legislation, that is somewhat ambiguous in some instances, is the greater area of exposure. Therefore the investment consideration process should be no different in Africa than anywhere other world region.

So returning to our proverbs and earlier question my answer is Africa is not for everyone but in general for those who are prepared to take on the challenge, think and do differently, as well as remain for the long haul.  Specifically the final choice remains a unique one for each investor.

_________________________

About Jolly Mokorosi

jollyJolly Mokorosi is a Certified Director, Registered Person, professional retirement fund trustee, trainer, speaker and managing director of Mokorosi Financial Consulting (Pty) Ltd (www.mfinconsult.com).

She has previously served as Executive Principal Officer and Acting CEO of the Municipal Councillors Pension Fund (MCPF) and currently serves as a non-executive director on the boards of Cubisol Holdings Limited and Rebecca’s Well Projects.

Jolly is an independent trustee on the boards of commercial umbrella retirement funds sponsored by Moriting Wealth Management Pty (Ltd) (Chairman) and MMI Holdings, as well as on a number of standalone retirement fund boards. She is Chairman of the Road Freight and Logistics Industry Provident Fund Investment Subcommittee.

Jolly is a member of the Business Women’s Association, the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals as well as the Institute of Directors South Africa.

She can be contacted through info@mfinconsult.com and Website is www.mfinconsult.com.

Her business phone number is 002711 057 1701.

Linked In:  za.linkedin.com/pub/jolly-mokorosi/12/a4a/162

Photo by: ©[Phoom Phuengphra]/123RF.COM

Marketing and hand 11746352_s

Author:  Lara Pan

Edited by:  Phil Lower

The golden rule in Western culture is KISS or “Keep It Simple Stupid.”  How do we apply this rule to our brand marketing practices? Here are some illustrations for enterprises to concern about:

In my article “6 TIPS TO BRAND MARKETING” I stated that “every mind matters!” For seizing the mind of your customers, you must think of your core value for your brand.  The brand of Volvo is simply “Safety.”  Mercedes-Benz is “Honor.”  Likewise, we have to think of the simplest way to illustrate our brand, LINE, and it is “online broadcasting!” The simplest way to get your brand marketing into effect is to make all the rest of your material in accordance with this simple concept.

Volvo is safety, so they should never have tried its production line of sports car, as it’s not safe for anybody to drive a sports car. Therefore, Volvo was purchased by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in 2010 with 1.8 billion US dollars. GEELY then had to rethink the production line, they replaced quickly the sports car production with “Volvo School Bus,” and the concept of safety is a perfect match for a school bus.

Marketing materials:  website, brochure, YouTube video, TV advertisement all must be in accordance with this single concept of your brand recognition. Mercedes-Benz is “Honor,” therefore, they are not going to release a car made with low quality materials. Website, brochure and videos will have to show what Mercedes-Benz quality really stands for.

Your concept not only reflects in your marketing. It should also be executed by every single staff member! LINE for example, is video surveillance management software with an Online Broadcasting concept.  Our website Home page is always showing ongoing live videos. By clicking on it, people can watch the company’s show room, school classrooms, kindergarten’s security, or TV programs with our end user’s home page. Therefore, LINE staff know that wherever their product is there needs to be a good showing.  And, they know that wherever someone is broadcasting online, they need LINE.

Brainstorm your concepts. Try the KISS rule in your marketing, skip the useless ones and keep the best one, then “GO!”  Some concepts may sound good, some might be used by others one step ahead you. As the human mind can only remember the first or the second thing, not the seventh. We can always remember Liwei Yang as the first Chinese who orbited the Earth, but we cannot remember the second except for astronomers. So make something apart from the existing ones, you then can stand out as No. 1. Therefore whenever your simple concept has an owner, make a difference right away.


Lara Pan is Head of the Brand Marketing Center at Devline Limited in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.  She has experience in brand development, strategic planning & sales strategy, and training development in both Chinese and South American markets.  She’s worked in manufacturing and software industries.

In 2009, Devline Limited founded their international Head Office in Shenzhen, China, and began offering their products worldwide in 2012. Over NINE years of experience in the security sector has enabled LINE to develop world-class video surveillance products.  Line supports over 1000 different models from more than 50 camera manufacturers through over 200 distributors.  Line is an international brand of VMS (video management software), ranking one of the TOP three best selling software in Russia last year.

To Reach Lara Pan contact:

Line Product Brand Marketing Centre

DevLine Limited

Email: lara@devline.net

Skype: devline.sales

Website: www.devline.net

Demo:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G39p-az8Bk

Address: 12F, Xinbaohui Building, Nanhai Avenue,

Nanshan, Shenzhen 518054, China

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Multiracial group of happy business people

6 Tips to Brand Marketing in China

Author:  Lara Pan

Editor:  Philip Lower

As China’s economy is booming, the creativity and innovation have now improved to a certain level, which enables us to some good product branding!

After some study of the brand marketing, I have six tips for you to succeed:

1) Stick to the current good strategies and get rid of the false ones right away: Chinese consumers are getting more and more focused on the quality of the products, therefore price is not any more an issue as before. When it comes to a brand, it equals to solid quality in consistence. So skip all the plans that will harm your quality, stick to everything that increases it. Line is a software brand, during the last 9 years, we stuck to increasing of our “user friendly” strategy instead of “making it affordable.”  When many Chinese software companies have tried to do the opposite, Line stayed to what is proven to be right and our sales have increased.

2) Let professionals do their profession, focusing on self-development and improvement for each individual as well as cooperation in between. Any company that wants to brand their products must first make each staff member a representative of his brand. For example, Gree Electrical Appliances’ Director Ms Dong once said, “we will value every worker’s contribution to our air conditioner, as for our AC, each single screw matters!” For sure, the crew member at Gree should be very proud of their job when their brand is on top of the market now!

3) Avoid following suit.  In China people have a great passion of following suit. That is really a big risk for branding! I experienced my father’s failure personally.  I was being provoked to think that “following suit is almost equal to wasting life”. My father followed a great pattern of my grandfather as a carpenter. His chairs and desks are always the same ways as my grandfather’s. While his apprentice changed his way to “machinery”, now my father has to work for his apprentice because he is out of his job.

4) Sales comes before Marketing: NO!, no marketing, no sales! This is the golden rule in any business practice.  We have a saying, “If you haven’t talked with the monks about their pilgrims’ number, you can never persuade them to buy a brand of combs.” This works the same in any other brand marketing strategy.

5) Every mind matters! Nowadays, marketing is not anymore a job conducted in the market, but a job of seizing customers’ minds. Any brand that comes to its targeting customers’ mind first, it wins first. When Coca cola came into the mind of the consumers in 1886, Pepsi could only be the second in 1898, as it came after Coca cola. When consumers’ minds change, brand strategy also needs to cope with it. Nokia has been one of the first companies making mobile phones, but facing today’s competition, when its customers’ minds have been updated to be younger, Nokia is facing a great challenge of innovation.

6) So the best tip at last is “keep learning.” Cope with the new era with a self-taught habit.  As always, humility comes before honor, learn from every resource that you have or you can reach to.  These are just my tips of working in my young age of brand marketing.  There will be more and better guidelines we ought to learn.


Lara Pan is Head of the Brand Marketing Center at Devline Limited in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.  She has experience in brand development, strategic planning & sales strategy, and training development in both Chinese and South American markets.  She’s worked in manufacturing and software industries.

In 2009, Devline Limited founded their international Head Office in Shenzhen, China, and began offering their products worldwide in 2012. Over NINE years of experience in the security sector has enabled LINE to develop world-class video surveillance products.  Line supports over 1000 different models from more than 50 camera manufacturers through over 200 distributors.  Line is an international brand of VMS (video management software), ranking one of the TOP three best selling software in Russia last year.

To Reach Lara Pan contact:

Line Product Brand Marketing Centre

DevLine Limited

Email: lara@devline.net

Skype: devline.sales

Website: www.devline.net

Demo:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G39p-az8Bk

Address: 12F, Xinbaohui Building, Nanhai Avenue,

Nanshan, Shenzhen 518054, China

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