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Company’s brand or… personal brand?


Author: Hoang Thi Tra My

Snumber: s3393385

To survive in business competitions, let alone thrive, you must sell personal branding first, and then company’s brand and services.

As you are a rookie with a small network of colleagues, clients and consumers, industry is a fierce battlefield for you. Thus, you need an exclusive weapon to defeat a thousand of enemies. It called personal branding. In the article “The brand called you”, Peter (1997) claims that personal branding describes who you are and make you different from your competitors. It is built by your own powers which are characteristics, intelligence and knowledge. Linking to client management, personal branding is often used as word – of – mouth sell to attract clients and make them remember you at the first meeting, then your company.

So, how do we practice personal branding in a right way? The question is solved in my interview with Ms. Phan, she friendly shares her own experience of building long – term relationships with client by applying personal branding.

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Figure 1: Ms. Phan Bich Ngoc (left) . Photo taken by the author (2013)

Ms. Phan Bich Ngoc is a 16 – years – experienced sale managers in Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) – a science – led global Healthcare and Medicines Company (GSK 2013). Although it is reputed brand in the world, it appears in Vietnam for only 18 years. GSK needs to enhance the awareness of its brand among Vietnamese people through doctors. Therefore, her mission is to introduce GSK pharmaceuticals to Vietnamese doctors and build a strong relationship with them.

According to Payne et al (1998) (cited in Little & Marandi 2003), building client relationship is a process as we climb a ladder. This includes three major phases which are prospect, developing and establish. In developing phase, client managers will demonstrate the distinctive and needed products and its benefits to client (Little & Marandi 2003). This mostly depends on the quality of goods. In contrast, prospective phase need communication skills and personal branding to catch clients; and establish is to maintain the relationship by offering much higher rewards.

Agreeing with ladder concept, Ms. Phan states that establish is a main mission; but for her, prospect phase is most important to create a satisfied impression to client. “I think the most challenge is client catching. In the first meeting, I must ensure that I create interest and attraction when I sell who I am. This makes doctors intend to talk with me every next times. Therefore, I have chance to introduce pharmaceuticals and its advances” she said.

She continually shares her experiences to build strong relationships with client through personal branding.

You are the face of the company

In very early times, clients do not know about company’s brand or product quality; however, they know client managers who communicate with them firstly. So, managers’ performance represents their companies. If clients are lured by them, they will appreciate the companies. “Clients can like your voices, your characteristics or even your smile; so you have to maintain your image because you are the face of the company” Ms. Phan assumed. This tip is for prospect step.

Remember your clients are human beings

Going to the highest steps, the clients need higher rewards. Ms. Phan claims that the rewards may not necessarily profit; it can be care.  She explains that although GSK do not have much incentive for doctors, she concerns little things in their daily lives such as birthday cards and New Year messages. All of small care makes them be happy because they are human beings. As a result, to maintain a close relationship, client managers have to treat their clients as similar as their lovers.

(596 words)

References:

GSK 2013, ‘Vietnam’, posted 6 August, viewed 30th December 2013, <http://www.gsk.com/worldwide/vietnam.html>.

Little .E & Marandi .E 2003, Relationship marketing management, Thomson Learning, London.

Peters .T 1997, ‘The brand called you’, Fast Company, 31 August, viewed 30th December 2013, <http://www.fastcompany.com/28905/brand-called-you>.

Phan, Bich Ngoc 2013, interview, 21st December 2013.

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What clients seek

“I understand most agencies have their own guidelines for dealing with clients. They tell their client managers how to speak, what gestures to make and what to say, etc. This is all perfectly reasonable because at the end of the day, they need to have their services approved by their clients. How else are they going to make ends meet? Unfortunately, from my point of view, things start to get quite repetitive after a while and it turns out most pitches are similar to a certain extent. This makes them predictable and, I don’t mean to be rude, also rather boring. Thus, the ideas and pitches that stand out is the winner. Naturally, they have to be of, at the very least, decent quality, but as a rule of thumb, I’d say if you can dazzle, you will most likely win.”

Figure 1. Ms. Chi Tran (right). Photo taken by author.

Figure 1. Ms. Chi Tran (left). Photo taken by author.

Figure 2. Colgate-Palmolive Logo. Reproduced from Career Builder Vietnam.

Ms. Chi Tran is a Human Resources (HR) Director at Colgate-Palmolive Vietnam (Colgate). The paragraph above is a small portion of her answer when I asked her  how she would recommend communication agencies to approach the pitching phrase and also how to deal with their client afterwards. As an HR Manager, Ms. Chi and her team has held many internal events for the company’s staff and employees. These events are usually not very large and although I initially assumed Colgate can plan and execute them by themselves, it turned out the company actually has been recruiting the services of many domestic communication agencies to assist them in making these events as special as possible for the staff and employees.

Figure 3. Made to Stick. Reproduced from Amazon.

Surprisingly, Ms. Chi mentioned the book Made to Stick (Heath & Heath 2007) as soon as I asked her for advice on how to communicate effectively with my future clients. As part of my studies in Client Management at RMIT, Made to Stick was used as a reference point on many aspects of the task of managing a client, or many clients for that matter. Although she recommended the book because it contains many valuable lessons, she disapproves of how many people seem to think of it as the go-to guide for professional communication behavior and etiquette. To a certain extent, the book can even be considered the definition of effective communication, but in no way is it universally applicable.

“Made to Stick isn’t actually unique. There was Tipping Point in 2000 and just recently there was Contagious. These books are reference points, not guidelines. It is a given that you would want to be, most ideally, in the service of large multinational companies and giant conglomerates when you graduate. Keep in mind, however, that your clients, the ones you will be interacting with for most of the time, are individuals. Yes, you can read all about how to deal with people and how to persuade or appeal to them, but at the end of the day, there is no sure-fire way to anticipate human reasoning and behavior, at least not that I’m aware of.”

Figure 4. The Tipping Point. Reproduced from Wikipedia.

Figure 5. Contagious. Reproduced from New York Times.

It would appear, then, that the success of these books has become the downfall of whoever sticks to them too closely. They are so widely read and their instructions so commonly applied that clients have become “immune” to them. So if not even the critically applauded and best-selling Made to Stick, its spiritual predecessor The Tipping Point (Gladwell 2000) as well as its spiritual successor Contagious (Berger 2013) can reliably provide a to-do list that can guarantee a high level of success, what can agencies in general and, more specifically, client managers do to be in sync with their clients?

“Just leave out all the rest and focus on the now and next.”

Ms. Chi’s biggest gripe with most agencies is that sometimes they tend to focus too much on brandishing their past accomplishments and do not pay enough attention to the details that will get them the contract. Past accomplishments, achievements and awards are great to look back upon at the end of a tiring work day, but they play no part in guaranteeing a high quality project in the present and future. A vivid example for this line of reasoning can be observed in professional sports in which a team winning the title the previous year does not necessarily mean they will repeat as champions the coming year. Ms. Chi humorously called agencies who focused too much on what they have achieved in the past “shiners” because they tend to “shine” their trophies instead of looking forward to acquiring new trophies. In other words, they spend their time presenting to her and her colleagues why they are qualified for the job but not why the project will be a success in their hands. And no company is willing to commit a budget to a project without a clear picture of what it will actually be like.

“Try to do the presentation at our pace, not yours and keep it steady. Drive slow.”

In psychology, there is a theoretical basis for several cognitive biases called naive realism (Ross & Ward 1995). The social cognitive bias that Ms. Chi is most concerned of is the Curse of Knowledge coined by Robin Hogarth (Camerer, Loewenstein & Weber 1989), according to which better-informed individuals have difficulty thinking about certain matters from the perspective of lesser-informed people. When giving presentations, it is important to determine how much the client know about the subject matter being discussed and walk them through all the details step by step. This might sound simple enough but in reality, it is anything but. Over the course of her career, Ms. Chi has not had much problems with this but she said some of her colleagues (she did not reveal their names and positions) can easily be put off by phrases such as “obviously” or “as everyone knows”. Beware of the Curse of Knowledge, she said, because while we communication abstract terms and jargons for granted, the uninitiated will only be hearing opaque phrases (Heath & Heath 2006).

“Be presentable. It’s not good if your presentation looks better than yourself.”

I’ve observed that the communication industry requires less stringent dress codes. However, as Mark Twain once said, “Clothes make the man” (Atkins 2012). True, what we wear affects how we perceive ourselves, and how others perceive us as well. As future client managers, we will one day be representing our entire agency as we should make ourselves look as appealing to the client’s eyes as possible. Many people mistake being well-dressed for being dressed in expensive clothes. Nothing can be further from the truth. A dress from NEM will look just as good as one from Margiela if the wearer knows how to adorn it.

Although our interview was brief, it contained much useful information. Ms. Chi did not gave me many suggestions to take into the workplace, she only gave me the most relevant ones. I will end this blog with another of her gems.

“You should dazzle your client by working with purpose. Don’t be fancy. Simply and truthfully show your client who you really are and what you can really do because if they cannot be convinced by the real you, all the fancy extras in the world will not help you succeed.”

References:

Atkins, A 2012, “Clothes Make the Man”, Atkin’s Bookshelf, posted March 2012, viewed 5 September 2013, http://atkinsbookshelf.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/clothes-make-the-man/.

Camerer, C, Loewenstein, G & Weber, M 1989, “The Curse of Knowledge in Economic Settings: An Experimental Analysis”, Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 97, No. 5, pp. 1232-1254.

Heath, C & Heath, D 2006, “The Curse of Knowledge”, Harvard Business Review, posted December 2006, viewed 5 September 2013, http://hbr.org/2006/12/the-curse-of-knowledge/ar/1.

Kakutani, M 2013, “Mapping Out the Path to Viral Fame”, New York Times, posted February 2013, viewed 5 September 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/books/contagious-why-things-catch-on-by-jonah-berger.html.

Ross, L & Ward, A 1996, “Naive Realism in everyday life: Implications for social conflict and misunderstanding”, in T Brown, ES Reed & E Turiel (eds), Values and knowledge, Taylor & Francis, New Jersey, USA, pp. 103-105.

Bibliography:

Berger, J 2013, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Simon & Schuster, New York, USA.

Gladwell, M 2000, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Little Brown, New York, USA.

Heath, C & Heath, D 2007, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, Random House, New York, USA.

Advertising agency, do I need them? From the point of view of a small business

“I’m still stuck in the traffic jam. Will be there in 10 minutes”, Christina texted to me after I sent her a message about my arrival in her store on Pasteur Street. Wandering in Ipa-Nima store, my eyes were totally attracted by this brochure placed on the receptionist desk. I approached the receptionist to ask about the brochure and acknowledged that this actually belongs to the advertising postcards of the new collection of Ipa Nima namely the Gatsby Glamorous.

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One picture in the Gatsby Glamorous Photo shoot, reproduced from Ipa Nima’s Facebook page (I wish I remembered to bring the one that I saw in store to took photo and posted here)

“I’m so sorry to let you wait so long, Khanh”, Christina came in with a warm smile. After a few greetings, I took the brochure I had just seen and followed Christina to her office. Right after sitting down, I took the brochure out and questioned Christina which advertising agency did this postcards for them since I could not hold my curiosity any more. Surprisingly, “actually we didn’t hire any agency to do advertising for us. It’s our own idea to advertise for this new collection”, Christina gently answered. Suddenly, questions about advertising direction for a small business is full of my mind and it soon became the main topic in my interview with Mrs. Christina Yu, Creative Director from Ipa-Nima.

Is advertising on magazine is really effective for small fashion brand?

Showing my curiosity towards advertising tools used by Ipa-Nima, Christina paused in a moment and said “Actually, in terms of advertising for new collection, I usually hire professional photographers and models to do a photo shoot, then pitch the editors of some fashion magazines to get a publish page.” Normally, after doing the photo shoot, Christina would make these photos on postcards, point-of-sale artworks in her shops and send to their customers in order to enable them have visual experience towards the concept of the new collection.  According to Vaccaro & Kassaye (1988), advertising on newspaper or magazine is considered as the greatest advertising expenditure to most small retail business. Nevertheless, when sharing her thoughts relating using this advertising tool, Christina actually showed her doubt towards the effectiveness of that tool. When open a magazine, you normally see hundreds of advertisements of various brands and when reading the magazine, readers tend to skip through the advertisement pages so it’s really difficult to attract the attention of our target audience even if our ideas used to advertise for new collection is great. Adding to her perception about advertising on magazine, Christina explained that to most Vietnamese magazines, they really concern about who they advertise on their magazines so choosing models to present my products is extremely important.

Christina strongly believes that opening an in-store event is a more effective way to advertise for my collections because customers have chance to have actual experience towards my collection. Additionally, Christina also prefers to promote for her brand by using one of the phenomenon in advertising, which is social media. If you buy my bag and you really like it then you tell your friend on Facebook of how much you love it as well as the recommendations for my friends to visit the store. That would be an effective personal communication level.

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Mrs. Christina Yu at the launch of Gatsby Glamorous Collection 2013, reproduced from Ipa Nima’s Facebook

Hiring an advertising agency: is it a NEED?

Yes. I think hiring an agency to do an advertising plan is such a great ideas, at least for corporate companies or business that opens around 40 to 50 stores globally. Unfortunately, Ipa-Nima is still a small business and I don’t think hiring advertisers is feasible for my brand at this time. Asking for further reasons why she thought hiring advertising agency is not necessary, Christina shared with me her experience when working with an agency once. Although having no experience in working with Vietnamese agencies, Christina used to hire an agency to advertise for her collection in Japan and USA. After working with them, she realized what they did actually could be done by employees in her company. Being more specific, they represent for my company to pitch ideas of our photo shoot to the editors, approach event organizers to have a showcase for our new collection. Ultimately, she figured out that hiring advertisers might not make any significant influence towards decision of magazine editors or event organizers whether they accept her advertisement for the new collection published on magazines. She added to her point that her employees can win an acceptance of the editors if they effectively utilized people in their network. More importantly, for small fashion business as Ipa-Nima, there is no need for too many advertising activities to hire advertising agency. Even though magazine advertising is not effective as she supposes, however, it is actually the mainstream advertising tool for her business.

Since Ipa-Nima is still a small business, which does not allow the company to allocate staffs into different department so basically, my Sale Manager is in charge of both boosting sale and preparing promotional activities when launching new collection so sometimes I seriously consider hiring an agency to help her with advertising and marketing stuffs unless the expenditure on hiring them is less expensive. Relating to financial issues of small business in desire of hiring an agency, Cookson (2013) declares that some agencies tend not to prefer signing contract with small business. He explains that lower financial investment from small business might be the core reason why big agencies unlikely to work with them. Cookson suggests that working with marketing consultant is also a great idea than working with advertising agencies.

After all, Christina admitted that she did hire an agency to do branding for Ipa-Nima because developing brand is indeed a complex task that requires deep research about phenomenon in the industry (Magloff 2013). For any fashion-related business, branding is an extremely activity to position your brand in customer’s mind as well as in the market. Normally, branding is no need to happen every year but after each 3 to 4 year, updating brand image is necessary. Although Christina provided several reasons of not necessary to work with advertising agency, however, branding is not an easy thing that any small business can do effectively. For that reason, she has to ask for support from advertising agency to ensure the process is run smoothly and effectively.

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(Mrs. Christina Yu and me, taken by her staff)

Word count: 1094

Author: Do Huynh Phuong Khanh – s3324406

References

Cookson, P 2013, “Advertising agency for small business”, Ad Army Group, viewed 12th May 2013, < http://www.hirethebestmarketingconsultant.com/advertising-business.php>.

Magloff, L 2013, “The advantages of using an advertising agency”, Houston Chronicle, viewed 12th May 2013, < http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-using-advertising-agency-3596.html >.

Vaccaro, J.P & Kassaye, W.W 1988, “Increasing the advertising effectiveness of small retail business”, Entrepreneur: Practice & Theory, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 41 – 47.

Post-sales in maintaining client relationships

 “Communication with clients after the business deal is never waste of time. It helps to keep the clients coming back to me; sometimes, they even come back with their friends. In other words, ‘Once a client, always a client’ is my philosophy for success in this communication industry.”

Nguyen Minh Lam is a young 25-years-old man working for Clone Production – one of the fastest growing TVC production companies in Vietnam. Mr. Lam works as a client service expert by currently holding Senior Account Executives position in the company. I have had an interesting interview with him about after-sales service and its role in client relationship management from the agency’s perspective. After two years working for Clone, to his bosses and colleagues, Lam may be not the most handsome man in the world; but he is the most attractive guy in the clients’ eyes.

 

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Nguyen Minh Lam – Senior Account Executives of Clone Production

In today’s world, almost salespeople are aware that providing high-quality products to clients is no longer enough. In many academic books and journals, we can easily find the idea that selling is a thing but achieving customer retention and purchase repetition is another different thing. This is why post-sales service is born to facilitate client relationship management as well as earn customer loyalty to keep companies’ business surviving (Biggs 2010; Freeman 1997; Chedley 2001).

Similarly, Mr. Lam also has the same attitude towards the importance of post-sales in maintaining relationship with the client. He believes that showing the client further help and care after the business deal is a key to increase customer retention, not only selling products.

“Nowadays selling is not the end of the process of sales. You will fail to build a long-term relationship with the client if you say “goodbye!” after he paid the bill even though you have done a good job. We have to be aware that clients nowadays respond to us based on what is happening, not what happened few months ago.”    

sales process

Sales Process

Figure 1. Reproduced by Cartoonstock 2012

After-sales service refers to a process in which several technical service of managing product sold are offered to clients, attempting to ensure that their demand are meet after the purchase. There are already various research papers suggest that companies need to develop a strong after-sales service system to build a long-term relationship with their clients, such as ‘keep in touch’, feedback system and repair services system, etc. (‘After-Sales service’ n.d.; Muhlbacher, Dahringer & Leihs 2006). However, have we ever wondered that how do small companies, especially who do not have large budget to develop a strong after-sales system, improve their after-sales service?

Clone Production is a small local company established in 2009; therefore, they currently lack of budget to develop their own post-sales service system. Meanwhile, maintaining client relationship is still considered one of their concerns. As an Account Executives, Mr. Lam has a belief that salespeople should have their own techniques to ‘take care’ of the client after the purchase, especially when their company do not have a strong post-sales’ strategy. To him, the term ‘care’ is considered an open-door towards the world of post-sales activities. That’s why he prefers using the term ‘Customer-care’ service to describe his own techniques of post-sales, which is much more emotional and friendly.

“’Customer-care’ from salespeople is a crucial part contributing for customer satisfaction because clients often appreciate and feel happy when they receive highly personal care after the business deal. A happy customer is a loyal customer. To make my client happy as maintain a long-term relationship with them, my weapon is to use my own post-sales techniques, which is called ‘3 Ways of Customer-care’.” 

customer_loyalty

Figure 2. Reproduced by Salon Voice Blog

Mr. Lam has successfully maintained relationship with several big clients, including Masan and Vifon. His ‘3 Ways of Customer-care’ has been created based on his three-years-working experience in communication industry.

‘Be a friend’ – Several academic sources suggest ‘keep in touch’ with clients as the most common post-sales’ technique, for example, making monthly client telephone list to ask about the use of product/service sold (Ma’arif n.d.; Freeman 1997). However, Mr. Lam believes that simply ‘keep is touch’ with the client is not enough; instead, salespeople should truly treat the client as a friend. For instance, besides asking about products’ use, salespeople should make phone calls for clients’ birthday and sing them a song; or sending a hand-written card for special days, which have potential to achieve great personal touch. Furthermore, salespeople should not be hesitated to invite past clients to have lunch or coffee sometimes. These friend-to-friend activities help to narrow down the distance between clients and the agency; hence, the client relationship can be effectively maintained.  

‘Social Media – a relationship killer’– Social networking sites are considered an effective tool to maintain client relationships after business deal through regular interaction. Social media offers salespeople an opportunity to put extra effort of showing further care towards the clients (Muhlbacher, Dahringer & Leihs 2006; Asugman, Johnson & McCullough 1997). However, to Lam Nguyen, some social media sites, including Facebook, blog, etc., have potential threats to client relationship management if salespeople lack of control towards managing their image on these social media sites. People often share their personal thoughts and feelings as habit without much consideration on social media, especially Facebook; therefore, their image can be negatively influenced. As Mr. Lam’s advice, salespeople should connect with clients on LinkedIn (more formal platform) or use their ‘working’ Facebook account as a better way to maintain a strong client relationship through interacting and updating information between two sides.

facebook-privacy-settings

Figure 3. Reproduced by tom2network

‘Don’t be selfish’ – Clients will be happy if they see your concern as satisfying their needs. Therefore, it is important to show that you truly care about the clients rather than their money. Mr. Lam is known as a generous salesperson with advice whenever the client mentioned problems with him after their purchase. To him, salespeople sometimes do not need to conduct a full section of consultancy; instead, if the salespeople have ability to handle the problems, they just need to have a coffee with the client and then giving advice as friend-to-friend. The more time that salespeople invest in helping their client, the more they are rewarded – achieving client repetition or clients’ recommendation.

It is true to say every company needs after-sales service to maintain a long-term relationship with their clients. Lam Nguyen has shared us his own tips ‘3 Ways of Customer-care’ as the useful post-sales tips for a salesperson, including ‘be a friend’, the danger of social media and be generous in giving advice. These techniques may be not the best ones in after-sales area; however, they are probably effective for salespeople who work in small companies in term of client relationship management.

References:

 ‘After sales service’ n.d. , Management Study Guide, viewed 22 March 2012, <http://managementstudyguide.com/after-sales-service.htm&gt;.

 Asugman, G, Johnson, J & McCullough, J 1997, The role of After-sales service in international marketing, Journal of international marketing, vol.5, no.4, pp.11-28.

Biggs, D 2010, Management consulting: a guide for students, South-Western Cengage Learning, UK, pp. 237-238.

Chedley, D 2001, Client relationship management, Human Resource Department, Canada, pp.15-16.

Freeman, J 1997, Client management for solicitors, Cavendish, Britain.

Ma’arif, N n.d., The power of marketing, Salemba Empat, Philippines.

Muhlbacher, H, Dahringer, L & Leihs, H 2006, International marketing : a global perspective, 3rd edn, Thomas Learning, London, pp.568-576.

Proof of  life
IMG_0390

Posted by Le Thi Van An (s3260612)

Word count: 1111

“Quality” will persuade Big Clients

Quality” is the most important factor which Miss Nguyen Thi Tu Anh, an account manager in Publicis Company, always kept reminds me when she shared her experiences, knowledge and opinions. That will help an agency persuade and get the job from big clients. In this case, a big client means companies which are usually global companies have a good and long-term experiences in advertising; have a big budget for a campaign and a big brand in the world.

 

Vietnam is the potential market for global companies to invest in (Capital land inside 2010), so there are more global companies come to Vietnam and open their business. However, following the statistic of A.T. Kearney Global Retail Development Index (A.T. Kearney Global Retail Development Index 2011 and 2008), Vietnam felled down from the 1st country on the global retail markets in 2008 to the 23th country in 2011. One of the reasons for that failure may be the working process of global companies with Vietnamese advertising agencies. Vietnamese agencies have the strength is the understanding of local culture and society, however, they also meet a lot of challenges including lack of professional working style, confidences or skill to deal with these global clients. Therefore, I chose to interview Tu Anh because she is young, enthusiastic, talent and has 4 years working experience in global advertising agencies, she can help future advertising practitioners in the process to persuade big clients. My article follows Tu Anh’s recommendation and experience to some cases and suggests people how to deal with it to persuade big clients.

1. Confidence:

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Figure 1. Reproduced from: Fuaidy 2010

The most important thing is your outcome, concentrate on that and do not distract by big clients will help you to have confidence (Zainzinger 2012). “To build your confidences, the preparation will help you”, Tu Anh shared with me. To be more specific, preparation will make you understand deeply and clearly client’s vision and mission and that bring confidence to you. Tu Anh’s team had to think a lot of ideas and spent a long time to discuss some appropriate ideas and come up with the best one for client. Thus, when her team went to pitching, they have confidence and gain more success. As a consequence, you will stay with your confidence in front of your big client. “When you prepared, you can answers most of the questions, the other questions you might not because they are in another topic”, Tu Anh remarked and smiled.
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Figure 2. Reproduced from: Mickelson 2011

2. Building relationship:
Tu Anh shared with me one of her stories that happend when she was working for a telephone company. Client provided a complicated guideline for her agency to work, so when everything was in the final process and the agency would publish their print advertising. Unfortunately, client changed the ideas and it was not the similar with what her agency was doing. This is a huge problem, and her agency can lose a big money. However, because of the good relationship between her agency and that client, the client understood, trusted and accepted agency’s reasons. As a result, her agency was not sued and both client and agency worked together to handle this problem. Relationship is one of the powerful factors in the workplace, it can bring to you opportunities and understanding from clients (Zainzinger 2012).

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Figure 3. Reproduced from: You Wall n.d.

3. Keep updating:
Tu Anh shared with me a story that her colleague forgot a campaign because she did not update so nobody remembered that campaign and it brought to her really bad consequence. To solve that, people need to set up meetings to present the schedule and timeline. Then receive the feedback from client to find the final timeline which client agrees with. Tu Anh said that for every campaign, in every week, her team needed to have a meeting with client to update the information, presented the process of campaign to make agreements and comments of new changes. Then the agency will write call report to update the changing including new decisions and agreements. Updating is importance because it will help you remember what you are doing and receive the new changing from clients.

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Figure 4. Reproduced from: Maltoni 2012

4. Listening is first:
Tu Anh shared with me that at very first beginning to work with big client, the agency will have the briefing from client about the objectives of campaign which follows company’s vision and mission. “If you want to understand them, you need to listen them first”, Tu Anh said. Listening is one of the necessary skills for people to work better in workplace (Exforsys Inc 2007). Moreover, Exforsys Inc (2007) cited that when you listen well, people will respond effectively and clearly. Therefore, listening will help agency can understand what client’s wants and requires; and they will minimize the percentage of unexpected situations.

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Figure 5. Reproduced from: McDowell 2012

5. Not every client is good to work with:
Making decision is not just from client; Tu Anh said to me that agency also can choose the client to work with. To clarify, more clients is not mean more benefits will come to agency because if agency receive more jobs, but they cannot do well the current job, everything will be failed. Moreover, not all the client can bring profitable benefit to your agency, because if the job is too much work with small money, the agency cannot earn money from that. In addition, there still have potential opportunities for agency, why they need to care just one and forget other potential ones. “Be careful in choosing the client to work with, even they are big clients”, Tu Anh suggested.

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Figure 5. Reproduced from: Quality one clean 2012

6. Quality is everything:
What help you to win in the pitching competition? What help you make your client trust you? What help you to keep the long-term relationship with client? There is one answer for these questions, “Quality”. Tu Anh said that, quality is the most important thing for you to get the trust from client while prove your agency’s values. “Gifts and money under table sometimes can work in making people like you, but your agency do not have any quality, everything mean nothing”, Tu Anh shared.

Big clients are opportunities and challenges for advertising agency. Tu Anh helps to give some advices for future-advertisers can understand the clients’ wants and expects. I hope my article will assist new advertising practitioners will give some points for them to think about and apply in their future jobs.

About: Nguyen Thi Tu Anh is an account manager for Publicis Company. She graduated Bachelor of Commerce in Rmit Vietnam University in 2008 and the course, namely “graduated diploma marketing” in Singapore to discover more about the advertising world. She worked for Leo Burnett, JWT, Colgate-Palmolive Company and now is Publicis Company.
Publicis Company (finding more at http://www.publicis.com/) is the largest global network within the Publicis Groupe which is one of the world’s three largest advertising holding companies, with more than 200 offices, in 82 countries and over 9,000 communication experts. Publicis in Vietnam work for some clients such as Kinh Do Bakery, Nestly and Diana.

Posted by Nguyen Thanh Luan

References:
A.T. Kearney Global Retail Development Index 2008, Emerging Opportunities For Global Retailers, A.T. Kearney, USA.

A.T. Kearney Global Retail Development Index 2011, “Retail Global Expansion: A Portfolio of Opportunities”, A.T. Kearney Global Retail Development Index, viewed 5 May, <http://www.atkearney.com/index.php/Publications/retail-global-expansion-a-portfolio-of-opportunities2011-global-retail-development-index.html&gt;.

Capital land inside 2010, “Vast Potential in Vietnam Retail Market”, Capital land inside, March, viewed 6 May 2012, <http://www.capitalandinside.com/index.php/investment/409-vast-potential-in-vietnam-retail-market&gt;.

Exforsys Inc 2007, “Listening skills: Why listening is important”, Exforsys Inc, 16 November, viewed 4 May 2012, <http://www.exforsys.com/career-center/listening-skills/why-listening-is-important.html&gt;.

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