Our fourth Pop-Up Presentation was a massive success. We had over 50 people stuffed into our Sanlitun store to see three of Beijing’s Branding Maestros dish on differentiating your brand and standing out of the crowd. For those of you who didn’t make it (and those of us who had a little too much beer) here’s a recap of the marketing tips. Stay tuned for the next event coming soon!
Think big. Whatever you’re thinking, think bigger. Beijing is a crowded city and all the marketing channels are even more so. We’re all creative people, we all have creative ideas. But if no one sees them then… it’s a waste. More than the event itself, think about how you can push it to more people, to more channels.
Plan. Plan. Plan. Everyone knows that things can go wrong so plan ahead. Plan deep. Think about the eventualities and figure out how to deal with them beforehand. Believe me, just pulling off a smooth event is success enough. But more than that, a good plan will allow you to take a step back, see other promotion angles and seize sudden opportunities on the day.
Make friends. I don’t think you’ll find a more interesting and diverse collection of people anywhere else in the world than Beijing. Everyone has different backgrounds and are doing different things. These people are your best brand ambassadors. Also, forget big PR events. Invite media out one on one, spend some time with them and you’ll get a much better result.
Think Outside Your Product (Box). Get crazy. Just because an idea or program doesn’t have anything to do with your product at first blush doesn’t mean you can’t do it. If you’re into it and you think it’s amusing or viral or you’re passionate about it, go for it. We look at everything and think “how can we do this differently?”. The Feeding Starving Artist campaign is a perfect example of this. We took something that everyone does, and made it our own.
Be Passionate. Don’t fake it. Especially with things that might be seen as ‘trendy’ such as our Green program. We’re sure some people rolled their eyes with this, but we like to think proved ourselves in the long run. We launched the program after a long gestation period nearly a year and a half ago. And just six months ago we published our first GRI report. Staying true to your passions will give you the gas to outlast your critics, and earn you genuine kudos.
Run Towards Problems, Not Away. People who leave comments generally do not expect replies. Even more so for complaints. Of all of our most loyal customers, probably about half of them initially made a complaint. We try to keep a 24 hour customer reply and resolution policy. It’s tough sometimes, but even a simple apology gives people a surprising and lasting impression.
Treat your customer like your wife. Always be looking for new ways to surprise her and put a smile on her face. Recently I sent some North Korean artists a picture of Beijing’s CCTV tower and asked them to paint a “beautiful future”. The resulting artwork was forwarded over 400,000 times on Weibo! Not that I consider this a success as no-one bothered to tag me. So, treat your customer like your wife – but don’t forget to tag yourself.
Get distracted. This doesn’t exactly help in the wife department but I’ll come back to that. Marketing and creativity rewards a breadth of knowledge and a wide range of experiences. If you get too focused, you get boring. And too much planning means your marketing loses its heart and soul. So get distracted! Follow new ideas and new trends. It’s in the process of being distracted that I find my creative ideas – though it can be trying for my wife when I forget to pick up the kids. Which leads me to my next point:
Keep reinventing yourself. A relationship – like any good business – needs to be continually reinvented. You need to be in a constant state of revolution. We used to say “80 hou” or “90 hou” [post-80's or post-90's generation] but now I say “81 hou”, “82 hou”. Each generation is completely different from the one that precedes it. If I was still selling the t-shirts I was selling even 5 years ago I’d be out of business. Keep changing for the market, keep reinventing yourself and you’ll keep your business going strong – as well as your marriage.