w2fm visits Hong Kong & Beijing

September 22, 2010 — Leave a comment

Last week was a busy one for the w2fm team: racking up both the miles and the smiles with quick visits to the Ogilvy teams in Hong Kong and Beijing.

It was the first run for the workshop outside of native English-speaking markets and so we were concerned, at first, that some of the references to advertising & culture, not to mention some of the metaphors, might not translate easily or have as much relevance. We modified a few of the obvious references (swapping Baidu for Google, for example, in Beijing) and tuned the material slightly away from the “theoretical” examples, giving more room for the local teams to identify the practical issues and goals in their markets.

And that’s where the workshops really started to hum, as we discovered that there is indeed an important job to be done translating what are often global product features into relevant local benefits.

This can really only be done by people with real local knowledge and insights into the motivation and behaviour of the immediate, front-line audience. It’s an easy thing to say – and we generally accept it to be true in marketing circles – but it was fascinating to watch these teams tease out the insights, match them to the product’s abilities and then position that as a relevant and original benefit.

We had a larger group and a little more time in Beijing, so we got to play “What’s My Motivation In This Scene?” which is quickly becoming one of my favourites – particularly for products that have a long & complex sales cycle and a relatively large group of purchase influencers. It really is proving to be a very quick way to model and understand the internal dynamics of a local market.

The other opportunity we took hold of was in running a quick training session with Ogilvy Beijing to get them up to speed on The Bomb Squad, our new strategy and ideation product.

We actually learned a lot, as well, during the delivery of this training, particularly about the role of creativity in developing strategic thinking for local markets. We’re looking forward to hearing how these sessions roll out in China.

It wasn’t all work and no play: Hong Kong and Beijing are both brilliant eating towns and we want to say thanks for the generous hospitality we were shown at some truly fabulous restaurants. As soon as we hear of some updates and results from these sessions, we’ll share them right here.

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