Five minutes with the ACBCDecember 1, 2017
Five minutes with The Australia China Business Council (ACBC).
Acknowledgement to the NSW branch for presenting this Member Spotlight.
Tell us about your business and how you’ve leveraged your Australia-China connections to build your success in China?
Even before living in Hong Kong throughout the nineties, I had a strong interest in China and first visited in 1986. Since then I have worked for large privately owned Chinese enterprises and foreign owned manufacturers in China, as well as banks, energy and hospitality brands. Recently I lived in Shanghai for four months while working as Creative Director on a major capital-raising project.
The benefits of membership of the ACBC (and for expats: AustCham chapters in Beijing, Hong Kong & Macau, and Shanghai), are the opportunities to attain current expert insights into business, finance, governmental and legal aspects of bilateral trade; and networking with other individuals working in Australia and China. My approach has always been to develop close personal connections and offer introductions when I see opportunities for companies to mutually benefit. While the foundation of ‘guanxi‘ has always been personal shared experience and trust, communication can now be almost instant, through the platforms of LinkedIn and WeChat.
What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?
Throughout the last 21 years at Digital Tsunami, there has never been a ‘typical’ day! (laughs).
Because I am an old-school generalist exploiting cutting-edge specialist technology for clients across extensive sectors and around the globe, no day is the same. The company philosophy has always been agile and agnostic, in order to ensure that we meet the specific marketing objectives of our client with the most effective and evocative tools available.
Today I am preparing a digital presentation to a South American government for a Chinese modular home fabricator; copywriting for a five-star hotel in Beijing; preparing for video production for an Australian defence contractor; and planning to launch a new identity for a global logistics brand.
What would you say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business in/with China?
How do you go about marketing your business in Australia/China and what has contributed to this success?
I have been extremely fortunate to have had a high proportion of ‘serial clients’ and referrals, who have ensured a source of ongoing projects. With a heritage of 21 years online, Digital Tsunami has built a reputation based on many hundreds of successful projects.
Most marketing is generated online via client websites and videos, but we also exploit LinkedIn and increasingly WeChat for regular communications with clients, suppliers, prospects and professionals.
The term ‘authority’ reflects the presence of a brand (or an individual) in the consciousness of a target audience. It is gradually achieved as an accumulation of projects, public statements, online writings and ‘validation’ by external publications and organisations, in industry and online media. We help clients build this authority and constantly devote time to building it for the Digital Tsunami brand.
You have been very successful to date, but there have no doubt been challenges – what’s been your biggest challenge that you have overcome in your business journey with China?
Despite studying Chinese calligraphy many years ago, I consider a lack of fluency in Mandarin and simplified Chinese characters has been my greatest single challenge.
While I have been supported by brilliant professional translators, the ability to speak directly and understand nuance is invaluable.
What’s your motto/mantra?
Over three decades of working in China, Digital Tsunami has created visual assets including:
- aerials of manufacturing and energy generation facilities
- brand style guides
- branded USB sticks, embedded with video content
- computer animation and virtual reality
- HD time lapse sequences
- identity development and brand animations
- print collaterals from a double page press ad to a 248 pp hardbound book
- responsive websites
- television commercials for consumer products
- videos for American, Chinese, German, Japanese and Swiss manufacturing plants
The vast majority of these assets have been bilingual or multi-lingual, in the following spoken and written languages: Chinese (simplified and traditional characters, Cantonese and Mandarin), English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
Source: ACBC Member Spotlight
Photo credit: Derryck Menere, Shanghai
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