evelynchou

Posts Tagged ‘business’

Dear Google, stop acting like a spoiled American kid

In Business, Strategy, Tech & Trend on 2010/11/19 at 3:56 PM

Google earlier this week pleaded the United States, the European Union and other governments to take “concrete steps to ensure that rules in the next generation of trade agreements reflect new challenges of Internet trade.” We all know Google has been fighting with Chinese government against censorship for a year and there is no doubt Google’s act is targeted at their market share in China against another search engine company, Baidu. Even censorship and limited access to certain types of content does affect freedom of speech and information flow, Google, in my opinion, is just like a spoiled kid in this matter. (Reuters)

Don’t get me wrong, I am not supporting any governments’ interference of information nor do I want to work in a country where I have no access to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. I simply believe there’s a better way of resolving the issue without using “free trade” excuses. And if Google can’t put itself in Chinese Internet users’ perspective to adjust its business model, Google should take its own responsibility, not urging other forces to make everything more complicated.

Is censorship the only reason causing Google’s failure in China? No. I think Google ignores the fact that Chinese searcher behavior is very different from Americans’. According to China Internet Watch, the first Internet application Chinese searcher use is online music. Unlike American use Internet to gather information, users in China go online more for music, gaming, and entertaining purposes. And when it comes to information sharing, chat rooms and forum dominate the majority of searches in China while Americans like to go to blogs and individual websites to gather information.

With such a difference in searcher behavior, I still believe Google should look at the whole situation as an opportunity to collaborate than to compete with other Chinese language search engine provider, like Baidu. I don’t appreciate Baidu’s CEO, Robin Li’s comments about Google leaving China in Web 2.0 Summit and I believe web users, whether being Chinese or Americans, should have equal opportunities to use different channels for information. My hope is that big companies like Google and Baidu will consider partnership rather than buy-out, and focus more on understanding and respecting the market difference rather than forcing the other party to change.

What is your thought on this? Do you think Google is being reasonable asking for government interference? Do you think Google still have a change in Chinese search market?

Resource:

 

  1. Fast Company “Google calls on the west to tackle Chinese web censorship”
  2. Baidu’s market share
  3. TechCrunch 420M people in China have Internet access, 99% use Baidu for search”

 

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The Gap Between Exclamation Marks and Period

In Business, Communication on 2010/10/28 at 11:25 AM
Dear fast & furious companies, executives, customers, and vendors, I genuinely think we over-use exclamation marks and the verbiage “as soon as possible”.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a multi-tasking maniac, to-do-list addict, prioritize expert just like many other professionals in business world, but really, an seemingly unnecessary exclamation marks (from my own perspective) in an email isn’t going to push up this specific project.

An exclamation mark, according to Wikipedia, is “a punctuation mark usually used after an interjection or exclamation to indicate strong feelings or high volume, and often marks the end of a sentence.”

So a sentence like this, “Please see so and so’s comment on darkness!” the exclamation mark seems unnecessary. Just in case the person who sends this email doesn’t know how important he/she is to me, maybe I should wear my two pair glasses and hold a magnifier to read that so and so’s comment on darkness.

In today’s business, everyone wants their projects to be prioritized and people seem to get less and less patient due to advanced technology and information overflow. But to make things more effective, in my opinion, is about better communication, not about exclamation marks or “ASAP”.

  • Start each project with detailed phase plan & action item
    Everyone can be filled with great ideas and we all can spend the entire day at conference room talking about brilliant thoughts & genius ideas. But ideas aren’t good enough, and sometimes they even consume too much time and dilute the fundamental purpose of the project. I usually break projects down in to pieces, lay out all the action items and estimate archive time based on the importance of each action item. Don’t over-think, just do it.
  • Ask “how many I help you” or “what can I get you” while discussing projects
    Some of you might disagree with me on this, but I am not much of a conversationalist when it comes to getting things done. Cutting straight to the point of getting things cleared out makes much more sense than relying on fuzzy “relationship” with the person then hoping they will expedite the project because of that.
  • Constantly review project plan with the team
    Needless to say, project scope changes from time to time and people’s expectation does as well. I tend to review few action items with the team whenever a small milestone is accomplished; that really helps each team member share his/her own perception and adjust pace.

What tactics you use to expedite your workflow?

Where’s your social gold mine? Facebook or Twitter?

In Business, Marketing, Social Media on 2010/10/15 at 2:00 AM

Nowadays there are a lot of articles discussing the value of your audience in social media sites. Even though Scott Stratten in his latest book claimed “social media isn’t for ROI, it’s for relationship & conversation,” the demand of numbers, return on investment, or even “how much we can cash out of social media” will forever and ever be an ongoing process for digital marketers or those who want to combine their business with online presence.

Forbes recently posted an article comparing social networking value between Facebook Fans versus Twitter Followers. The finding is that your Twitter followers are more likely to buy from brands (37% versus 21% Facebook friends) and recommend brands to others (33% versus 21%) than your Facebook friends. Interestingly enough, Advertising Age, around the same time, featured Eventbrite’s eCommerce result nurturing social networks to drive sales leads. According to the case study, Facebook share generates far more dollar value than the same action on Twitter (Facebook $2.52 versus Twitter $0.43).
Social Commerce
Based on Forbes article & AdAge case studies, I came to this conclusion:
When it comes to possibility of recipient action: Twitter > Facebook 
When it comes to the value per recipient action: Facebook > Twitter

Most of us agree social network has tremendous potential whether promoting brands or driving sales. (not just a bunch of geeks connecting with each other in cyberspace and give those platforms some fancy names. But if you do, you can stop reading now :P) The challenge is, it’s still new for marketers or digital strategist to develop some metrics measuring the value & the cost or each platform.

So which platform is better than the other? To answer this question, I don’t think we should merely look at individual case studies or numbers just because there are way too many variables. I suggest that you ask yourself these questions first:

  • Who is your target audience?
    If you can confidently give me an answer, then ask yourself:
  • Where are your they? Are they only use social networks to complain about bad customer service or are they avid adopters of the technology or applications?
  •  

In my opinion, Facebook and Twitter are two vary different network with very different types of users. To tackle your promotional campaign successfully, you have to at least understand who those users are. While Facebook may have dozens of games & applications to use entertaining or attracting visitors, your customers may not use Facebook for entertainment purpose or simply have no interest “liking” a brand via Facebook over a Farmville reward.

After figuring out your customer behavior & properly segmenting them, you can then look at your offer to see if that would be a relevant draw to the customers.
Personally I like to keep a list separating Facebook & Twitter and matching my strategy towards the uniqueness of each platform. You can try making one yourself.

comparison between Facebook & Twitter

Strategy-wise, I do believe whichever platform you end up using (or both), your campaign has to be connected with your brand.
If your business is about fundraising or nonprofit activities, don’t create a game and ask users to play to win some awards. If your customers don’t even know what a retweet is, don’t tweet about your weekly promotion and put a “please RT!” verbiage at the end of each tweet.
Also, utilizing visual icons or images is always a good action applicable anywhere. People in general like to be pleased in their eyes and I do believe Facebook, in this circumstances, stands a better chance than Twitter. But you can still discover various ways to make your brand “pop,” like NewTwitter’s video functionality.
 
To sum up, discovering your social network gold mine requires sophisticated customer segmentation and relevant campaign. Patrick Vogt, chairman and chief executive of Datran Media also a constant contributor of Forbes article said, “Perhaps a successful social media strategy is not about figuring out the monetary value of a Facebook fan vs. a Twitter follower, but instead involves understanding each social channel and the native advantages of both.”
 
But personally, whether you are my Facebook friends or Twitter follower, you all mean a lot to me.
 
Now, what’s your value assessment for your social network and how do you measure the effectiveness? 

 

“American Dream”? No, it’s “Chinese Legend” right now

In Marketing on 2010/04/01 at 11:34 AM

I was recently asked to do a preliminary screening about potential Chinese suppliers. And when I mentioned the research be done after work because only my personal laptops have Chinese keyboard, I get this response, “if those Chinese companies want to do business with Americans, they should have an English websites.” As much as I agree on communication and language being the key factor of cross-country business, I, however, disagree with the mindset behind all these “Americanism.” While it might be the attitude to have 20-30 years ago, (American dreams, right?) it will surely sink your boat as you sailing towards Chinese market.

Just earlier I was reading How to Do Business with Chinese Companies by Golden Hints, British Embassy in Beijing, Google, at the meantime, was pulling out of China because of Internet censorship and unsuccessful negotiation with Chinese government. Many research and newspaper then jumping into the analysis game trying to figure out why and how to win the battle over this mysterious wonderland called China. Articles like Washington Post and Forbes “The Panda Has Two Faces” make valid points about how Chinese people think and how their business is like. Needless to say, even with all the tumble & fumble expanding business in China, Western companies still crave for the enormous opportunities (400 M Internet users in China versus 240 M in America, are you kidding me?) But instead of watching kung-fu panda or any Bruce Lee’s film to think you get a taste of Chinese, dear world, listen to what I have to say:

– We like to be “In-control”: If we think Westerns are “macro-managing,” then read this: according to China Digital Times, a publication based in Berkeley, Calif., “the Chinese government maintains a list of hundreds, if not thousands, of banned search terms, with new ones added periodically.” And if a foreigner tries to jump in thinking he/she can run the game? You are outta here.

– We are hospitable, “selectively”: Many foreign countries’ first impression about Chinese companies is they are very, very friendly. They wear smiles, escort all the way, and serve you the most exotic Chinese food they can ever imagine, but it is another story after the contract is signed. Chinese have their own mechanism and their own pace, as much as we complain about the bureaucracy and inefficiency ourselves, Chinese allow no interruption of the way we do things. So fight, work your way around, but make adjustable expectations.

– We are humble, but you’d better kiss our butt too: Companies need to show an almost exaggerated respect for China’s traditions: the Chinese are simultaneously immensely proud of their history. Getting close to Chinese companies, one needs more than standard courtesy as smiles and hand-shakes. It’s all about”guanxi,” a concept very similar to professional relationship for American companies but not exactly the same as professional & personal relationship are frequently mixed when it comes to the final deal in China. Here’s a joke from my college professional who frequently fly to China and do research with locals. “Chinese like to “”research”” (pronounced “yian-jo” in Chinese, very close to cigarette (pronounced “yian”) & alcohol (pronounced “jo”) In short it means unless you give them cigarettes & alcohol, they will not even bother looking at your proposal) You might call it “bribery,” but it’s the way relationship in Chinese culture works for thousands of years.

What I said above may not reflect the whole picture but at least it is an outlook from an Asian working and living almost 4 years in America. China may seem a vibrant community with a lot of unknown issues and short of clear channel or public voice, it is, still, the next superstar that any business can’t afford to miss.

I would love to hear any feedback and thoughts if you have done business in China 🙂

Outshine, with an implementation mindset

In Uncategorized on 2009/11/05 at 3:53 PM

Prime Your Mind for Action

Step 1 – Pick a project
Step 2 – Set up 5 implementation steps
Step 3 – Identify when, where, and how

Doing biz sometimes feels building legos. No shortcut. Yet it requires constant brainstorming and persistance to finish your masterpiece.
Nowadays so many people focus on job security rather than giving a second thought what makes sense or does not make sense in their business.
Give yourself a second chance, to rethink, to readjust, to develop this implementation mindset.

What kind of swag would you prefer?

In Marketing on 2009/09/28 at 10:21 AM

“Evelyn, this is your package.”

“What?” I have no idea what this rectangular paper box come from.

Unwrapping the box as excited as a little kid, I am, partially, eager to find out what presents I get from this “creative marketing solutions,” but more desiring to know what this creative promotional swag can surprise me.

And here it is, under the bed of the box is a pile of shredded recycle paper, hid a diamond green digging trowel.

“We send them for three reasons:

First, to bring xxx company to your attention.

Second, to make clear our interest in working with you.

And third, to symbolize the business philosophy by which we operate: Digging Deeper, Working Smarter.”

Honestly speaking, the novelty of this digging trowel didn’t inspire me as much as this cute memo, but it’s definitely something new for my food of thought in regards to the true meaning of promotional products.

Everyone likes gifts, but marketers like you & I definitely look at these swag (something we all get) at a different angle. We focus on not only how impressive these catchy these promotional items are, we also dig beyond these gifts to find out its creative ideas & how we can relate the idea to branding.

In a recent blog post from Article Feeder titled “Choosing your promotional products,” the writer made some great points about promotional products. The rationale behind choosing a certain promotional item consists three factors: your own company image, your customer profile, and whether the product adding any value to the person’s practical uses.

I’m sure everyone has received promotional pens, mouse pad, t-shirts…etc, and it is true even these simple items deliver different messages based on its quality and deliver method (whether you receive it in mail or handed by a sales person). A female, 20 something marketer like me, is always looking for more inspiring creative ideas in all marketing channel. I remember receiving a bundle of flowers made by Cheryl Co. cookies from a PR company, a wolf claw shaped rice crispy from a hotel, and many other simply & lovely, yet outstanding swags that outshine many other buzz I get throughout the day.

What are some impressive swag you’ve gotten today?