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Archive for the category “Effective Teamwork”

“If the creative work fails, the account fails, If the account fails, the creative fails.”

Interview by Elaine Calibara – s3461778 – Group 1

Within an advertising communications agency, one would know that there is a strong difference between the creative team and the accounts team. On one hand there are the creative thinkers, the innovators, the artistic brain behind the work, and on the other hand there are the analytical, result-oriented, logical thinkers. In such a parallel atmosphere, does the “us vs. them” concept exist?

“It shouldn’t be considered like that, why does one have to be either of the two?” Ramon Calibara, Executive Creative Director of Chuo Senko Vietnam responds to my question in asking whether he thought his company is account driven or creative driven. From the outset I was taken back hearing this after only the third question of the interview as expectations led me to think there were two opposing sides within an agency.

IMG_4428

Proof of Life photo: Ramon Calibara, ECD, Chuo Senko

Upon hearing that a key member of the creative team could view the relationship between his own team and the accounts team as not a notion of differences, there is now a desire to learn how Chuo Senko Vietnam demonstrates effective teamwork. When discussing his team, there is a drive and passion in his voice, “There is an existing team spirit that everyone has, motivating each team member to commit to every job that is received by the agency. Every job is a common task. Each member is responsible for the job ensuring that we are doing the best work at its highest potential”. This is a clear depiction of a strong corporate culture.

Following the discussion of effective teamwork, Mr.Calibara offered to share insight to when the accounts team and his own team illustrated, in his opinion, one of the better successes of the agency. This success is at the root of his creative team, the accounts team and the client’s leap to help the agency. In 2013, Century pacific group hired Chuo Senko to create a campaign for them, “the client gave us a reasonable amount of time to work the campaign out and so the client service team came to the creative with a brief form the client that was so clear and well understood simply because the client side brought Vietnamese counterparts. The brief was written in Vietnamese and was only translated back to English for me to understand it.” After hearing how language barriers were no longer an obstacle he further added, “this translated in perfect harmony with the client service team and of course us, the creative team. It was very successful, the creative images were created a year ago and are still being used as we speak.”

This display of harmony between the accounts team and the creative team solidify Darryl Ohrt’s view that “there is a clear difference between the two cultures. And it’s not that creative-driven agencies don’t care about their clients, or that account-driven agencies can’t conceptualize. They do, and they can.” (Ohrt 2010)

After learning more about the internal environment of Chuo Senko Vietnam, I wanted to know how the practice of effective teamwork contributes to the external environment – their clients. In building their relationships with their clients “The quality of service needs to be taken into account and giving the client the best quality possible at the lowest price.” What Chuo Senko offers is the most ideal for their clients and displays the concept of the quality-price-time triumvirate model:

 

qualitytriumvirate

(Morelos, 2012)

Although Mr.Calibara does not mention time as a factor to provide the best for their clients, he does point out in his example that client’s give them an honest timeline of when the work is needed.

Mr.Calibara shared valuable opinions and knowledge on how the creative team and the accounts team work harmoniously to achieve the best work for their agency. His last remark as the interview ended he said, “There will always be disputes between the creative team and account team. It is all a process. It is a metamorphosis of the work. We are one voice, one name, and one team. If the creative work fails, the account fails, If the account fails, the creative fails.”

Word count: 688

References:

Darryl Ohrt, (Oct 12 2010) Advertising Age, http://adage.com/article/small-agency-diary/advertising-agency-account-driven-creative-driven/146361/, 02/05/2014

Monica Morelos, (22 March 2012 ) ClientManagementvn, https://clientmanagementvn.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/quality-vs-price-triumvirate-model/, 01/05/2014

 

A game of smarts: Client versus or not versus agencies

Written by Nguyen Tran Huong Thao – s3411918 – G1 (SGS) 

Talking about the client – agency relationship, for the past three months, I have been exposed to lessons, information and stories from the agencies’ account side. ‘Every story should to be heard from both sides’, they say. Therefore, I decided to have a chat with Ms. Sohpie Lam, Marketing Coordinator and Commercial Academy at Mead Johnson Nutrition to see how it is like from the client site. With her background of 5-year experiences working in the Marketing and Commercial industry, what I have gained from the chat is totally worth it for my new try from the other site. For me, this is real a game of smarts when doing business between clients and agencies. 

Ms. Sophie Lam Commercial Academy at Mead Johnson Nutrition

Figure 1. Ms. Sophie Lam
Commercial Academy at Mead Johnson Nutrition Reproduced from Linkedin, 2014

1. They are on the same boat, but each has their own expertise

Client planning, according to Ms. Sophie Lam, is about having insights into launching products, making marketing strategies and product supporting programs. In other words, client planning people are navigators to lead the boat towards the land of brand equity and business objectives from beginning to the end of every product launching voyage, a.k.a campaign.

Agencies are sailors in this game with strategic promotion and execution plans. Each agency have their own expertise to lead the boat towards the destined harbor. For example, with Mead Johnson, Saatchi – Saatchi is chosen for a creative advertising and Awareness for their professional practice. Each agency has their own strength and contribution to the final brand and business objectives. What challenges Mead Johnson here is that how to get these puzzles smoothly combine together. Vice versa, what also challenges the agencies is how to make good collaboration with Mead Johnson as their client since differences in expertise may lead to different expectations and obstacles in a B2B relationship.

Therefore, the game is all about how to make ends meet from both sides: Mead Johnson and agencies, the client and the services, the navigators and the sailors. What makes this game special is that, if the crew cannot work well together, they already create storms and rains for themselves to suffer.

Figure 2. Produced by the author.

Figure 2. Produced by the author

2. Unwanted storms avoidance

So, back to the point where the conflicts can happen among the crew, normally, it starts with different expectations (Edmondson 2012). When being asked about this, Ms. Lam agreed: ‘Yes, it is important to have common expectations, or at least, mutual understanding between the client and the service providers (agencies) in order to achieve the goals that we are aiming to. Both have to respect and follow them as basic guidelines’ and the effective work is one of the most basic yet important expectation to be mutually defined and understood. From the client site, ‘effective work’ here includes timing, confidential information sensitivity and agencies’ ability to bring out the uniqueness of their client in comparison to other competitors.

Figure 3. Produced by the author.

Figure 3. Produced by the author.

‘Some agencies nowadays are too confident about their product that forget to look out for what their competitors are doing for our competitors. We know that sometimes we are such demanding client but your agencies are hired to bring out the best of our brand equity, being overconfident is dangerous that they will blind you from competitors. If we have inputs, or complaints, they are inputs to make us different. We might not be experts in your fields, but we understand our product’ – Ms. Lam shared.

This reminds me of Solomon and his statement on ‘live the Client’s Brand’ (Solomon, pp.8): Agencies should be the costumers of the client, to understand about their product as well and to make the breakthrough of positioning it in the market with expertise. This, in my agreement with Ramsey (2005), is the core idea of effective teamwork expectation between the client and the agencies: Complaints can be real good inputs and teachers to show us where to fix, how to understand the product right and to not pass by unnoticed mistakes. If we understand the product, we see where it should be as brand equity. By then, we know how to make it there. It is a collaborative game of the navigators and the sailors for a bon voyage to the destined harbor.

Proof of Life photo: Skype conversation taken by the author

Proof of Life photo: Skype conversation taken by the author

Word count: 660 words (not includes title and reference list)

REFERENCES: 

Edminson, AC 2012, ‘Teamwork on the fly: How to master the new art of teaming’ in Spotlight on the Secrets of great team, Harvard Business Review, April, pp.3 – 10.

LinkedIn 2014, ‘Sophie Lam’, Profile image, LinkedIn, viewed on May 2, 2014, <http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=77410097&authType=NAME_SEARCH&authToken=B8Gx&locale=en_US&srchid=2984338761399214526005&srchindex=1&srchtotal=43&trk=vsrp_people_res_name&trkInfo=VSRPsearchId%3A2984338761399214526005%2CVSRPtargetId%3A77410097%2CVSRPcmpt%3Aprimary&gt;.

Ramsey, RD, 2005, ‘Handling Customer Complaints’, American Salesman, Vol. 50, Issue 10, pp.15 – 20.

Salomon, R 2008, The Art of Client Service, Kaplan Publishing, New York.

The ingredient cannot be missed in client retention and teamwork

Interviewed by Luong Tran Anh Phuong, s3426518, Group 1, RMIT SGS Campus.

Met Mr. Ho Hai Dang under hot temperature of summer afternoon at his house, he was so kind to share interesting experiences in working as a leader in balancing the relationship with clients and his team.

Mr. Ho Hai Dang has been working at Bao Minh Insurance Corporation since 2005 and now he is a General Manager of Agriculture Insurance Division. Bao Minh Insurance Corporation was established in 1994, that was a 100% state-owned enterprise under the Ministry of Finance. In 2004, it turned into joint-stock insurance enterprise and now it ranks the third place in non-life insurance in Vietnam. It aims to provide non-life insurances and consultancy as well as carry out financial investment in 20 different types of group of insurance commercial product such as maritime, aviation, casualty, automobile, agriculture and business activities in Vietnam.

Figure 1: Mr. Ho Hai Dang at work. (Photo taken by his colleague)

Figure 1: Mr. Ho Hai Dang at work. (Photo taken by his colleague)

The power of teammates in client retention

According to Mr. Dang, there are two main factors to acquiring new clients. Firstly, clients come to an agency because of its brand and reputation. Another factor is the ability to acquire new clients from particular team. Furthermore, he also pointed out the role of team members in building and maintaining relationship with clients.

“Normally, people think that the role and relationships of leaders in building relationship with clients is very important. But in my opinion, team members and employees are the one that play a key role to the success of each projects as well as building relationship with clients.” Dang said.

He explained that, when two leaders, managers or CEO have a meeting to discuss about the project that they are going to do, they are apt to focus on the policy, strategy, and signing contracts. But how they collaborate, how the project work out and the success of the collaboration that depends on implement of the staffs and employees. To elaborate, in order to bring the best result for the project, staffs and team members have to work hard in research information about clients and their competitors, understand client’s SWOT and markets.

In business, it is essential to maintain relationship with clients. As Solomon (2008) stated that “Great Work Wins Business; a Great Relationship Keeps It”.

“It is better if you show clients see how you care for them. For example, making a call to ask clients about their jobs and health, or ask them going to quan nhau. Be proactive and don’t let your client do this before you.” Mr. Dang said.

He also mentioned about the CRM (Client relationship management) in insurance industry and take CRM at Bao Minh Insurance Corporation as an example. He said that CRM in life insurance work better than non-life insurance. Moreover, in Bao Minh, each department would take responsible for its customers and clients. As a result, it cannot provide the best care services for customers. He hopes that Bao Minh Insurance Corporation will establish a CRM department that specializes in customer caring service for all departments’ clients.

 

Effective teamwork

Mr. Dang claimed that, in order to have best result in work, a leader should consider the division of work that make sure all his team are happy with the job offer.

“A good leader means he knows and understands clearly about his team member,” Dang said.

“In my opinion, a leader should base on team members‘ personalities and abilities to divide suitable tasks for them. Besides that, a leader must have ability to evaluate fairly team members’ contributions and show them what they do well and not well. Help them to face the difficulties and encourage learning from mistakes.”

In addition, he divides the tasks in public with the purpose of building team spirit in his members, give them chances to support and help colleagues and more importantly they enhance knowledge as well as gain experiences from each others.

Figure 2: Proof of life: Me and Mr. Ho Hai Dang (Photo taken by me)

Figure 2: Proof of life: Me and Mr. Ho Hai Dang
(Photo taken by me)

 Word count: 623

Reference:

Solomon, R 2008, The art of client service, Kaplan Publishing, New York.

Baominh, 2012, ‘About Us’, Baominh, viewed on 29 April 2014, <http://www.baominh.com.vn/en-us/category-637-about-us.aspx>.

 

“Excuse me, Mr.Client, but I have a better offer”

Written by Thinh Dat Duong – s3411886. Group 1 – SGS campus

 

Mr. Leon Shears is currently in charge of the marketing department of Grant Thornton, the world’s 6th biggest professional service firm, they provideassurance, tax and advisory services to privately held businesses, public interest entities, and public sector entities. With experience in the industry, he has shared his insight about client acquisition as well as client retention.

On client acquisition and retention

Client acquisition is the most important because without client, you have no business. But retention is obviously important. The cost of acquisition is very high. Achieving a new client takes a lot of time, a lot of preparation, a lot of men management and discussion, communication until you get that new client. Once you have that new client, you have to make sure your service is good, you provide exactly what he wants the way he wants it, to make sure when you ask him to come to sign the contract next year and he would say “Of course”. It should be a seamless transition from one year to the next.

You have to find out what the client wants. Quite often, the client will not know exactly what he wants, he thinks there is a problem, he thinks there is something going on that he wants to solve. It’s the supplier’s responsibility to extract and ask the questions, keep asking questions: “Do you think this is where the problem lies?” so the client, not only tell the supplier what is the problem, but the client feels comfortable, satisfied that he has explained the problem properly.

“The extra you do will show the interest you have with the client’s business”, he said.

He mentioned an example of the extra. You’ve got 2 warehouses. Both of them have 5 members of staff, and both are about 40% full. In a regular audit, you would say you’ve got 2 warehouses, exact number, exact staff. Tick. Correct. That’s what you’ve told me, that’s what I can see. Perfect. But wouldn’t it be sensible for the audit to say, “Excuse me Mr.Client, there are 2 warehouses, with each only 5 employees and only 40% full, you could perhaps take the goods out of this warehouse, out them into that warehouse, and that one will be 80% full. You still got the flexibility. And you can have the entire building, which you can either sell, leased for money, or you can knock down, build something else”.

It’s about getting involved in the business. You’re no longer a client supplier, you get to build a team. ‘If you don’t pay attention to building a strong relationship with your client, you run the risk of being shown the door, no matter how terrific the work’ (Solomon 2008, p.97).

Communication with client

One of the most important aspects of a client-supplier relationship is communication, by getting to know each other. (Reproduced from adrianejolly.com)

One of the most important aspects of a client-supplier relationship is communication, by getting to know each other. (Reproduced from adrianejolly.com)

The secret of any relationship is communication. The only reason you argue with your mother is because she does not understand you, ad you don’t understand her. The reason you argue with your girlfriend, is because you’ve said something, and she has taken it a different way what you meant.

Know what you want to say, so you really know yourself. You want to know who you’re saying it to, and get to know them as the best you can. You want to know the language they understand (the sort of words you can use). And of course, the channel that you use to communicate, is it verbal, written, pictures, tvc, a movie, a book?

Put yourself in the other person’s shoe. What do you want to hear from the supplier when you buy a motorbike? Are you interested in it has 125cc engine? Not really. Are you interested that it has double coil suspension? Maybe, maybe not. Are you interested that it can run 100 miles on a gallon? Yes. That’s important, that affects my pocket. Is it important that the brakes are double-disks? Yes. That’s my safety.

“The manufacturer/supplier must always know what the client wants to hear”, he concluded.

Word Count: 658

The author and Mr. Leon Shears from Grant Thornton. (Photo taken by the hotel’s receptionist)

The author and Mr. Leon Shears from Grant Thornton. (Photo taken by the hotel’s receptionist)

 

References:

Solomon, R 2008, The art of client service: 58 things every advertising and marketing professional should know, Kaplan publishing, viewed 28th April 2014

Image references:

Adriane Jolly 2013, ‘Improving communication with prospects and customers’, viewed April 30th 2014, < http://adrianejolly.com/improving-communication-with-prospects-and-customers/&gt;

The coin of success: Leadership & organizational culture

Interviewed by Hang Ngoc Tran-s3426291, group 2, RMIT SGS Campus

You may have experienced in feeling like an outsider of unfamiliar culture. The awkward feeling appears as you have just landed in another planet. It is difficult if the employees cannot feel like the insiders of an organization. In fact, each organization shapes its own culture. Organizational culture is “shared belief, values, customs held by the organization’s members” (Prentice Hall 2007). The leader will be the one who brings the culture to the members of the organization. Interestingly, leadership and culture are two sides of the same coin (Schein 2004, p.1).

Figure 1: Flipping the coin (Adapted from the Mojo Company 2012)

Figure 1: Flipping the coin (Adapted from the Mojo Company 2012)

“Leadership is the art. It requires a strong passion of heading to achieve the best success together with the team”, Ms. Pham Kim Phung says. Ms. Phung is a corporate communication and public relations manager for more than 7 years at New Markets Pte Ltd. New Market is 100% foreign-owned company since 1994. It invests in distributorship of heavy industrial equipment and marine engine in Vietnam. Their major clients are state-owned enterprises and private companies. As Ms. Phung points out that being a good leader and getting your team mates involved in the organization’s culture are never easy tasks. “What you have learnt from theories are just the basic steps, you have to prepare yourself for larger waves of reality”, Ms. Phung says.

Climbing the organizational pyramid 

Figure 2: Adapted from Global Recognition Inc. n.d

Figure 2: Adapted from Global Recognition Inc. n.d

At New Market, employees receive bonus no less than their three-month salary. For long-term employees, they will receive suitable bonus for their long-term contribution. For working hours and condition, “we follow the government’s labor laws, our working hours is from 8am to 5pm”, she says. At the “involvement” stage, getting employees or teammates involved in the project or organization is also important. “You have to make they feel the organization is their home, they are the pieces of the project”, Ms. Phung says. Solomon (2008) also believes that “we are smarter together than we are alone”. Reaching the top of the pyramid is one of the difficult tasks to complete. At leader position, Ms. Phung believes that a good leader is also the one that gives the employees chances to grow with their skills. “A great leader will produce more good leaders who are better than him or her”, she says.

Four requirements of leadership

Ms. Phung explains that these requirements are essential for effective teamwork. Firstly, “we should understand and share targets to the team and make sure all team members will play each assignment, which is related tightly to the others”, Ms.Phung says. Kotter (1990, p.7) suggests that the idea of getting people going in the same direction is “not organize people but align them”. If they receive suitable task, they will push the speed of the project. Secondly, when the project is on its way, leader should track all team members’ results on a basic schedule and discussing very often methods of achieving targets. Thirdly, rewarding is very important to maintain the motivation of the whole team. Her mindset is similar with Kotter (1990, pp.9-11). The teammates will feel their efforts are recognized. This is one of essential stages in organizational pyramid. This will also help increase the quality of the work. However, remember to reward on suitable time for every good result. We have to recognize the team members’ efforts at the right time. Last but not least, evaluating every target including evaluation of method, timeline, investment on human resources that were achieved. We should keep all team members updating the latest success of the whole team.

Figure 3: Adapted from Kanketa Systems n.d

Figure 3: Adapted from Kanketa Systems n.d

To achieve the targets, team members are the crucial pieces and the leader is the one knows which pieces will fit with each part of the project. Organizational culture and leadership support each other and stick together like the two sides of the same coin. We have to hold this coin tightly like holding our success.

Figure 4: (Proof of life) Me  & Ms. Phung

Figure 4: (Proof of life) Me & Ms. Phung (Photo taken by the author)

Figure 5: Ms. Phung & her V team

Figure 5: Ms. Phung & her V team

Word count: 668 words

References: 

Kotter, JP 1990, ‘What leaders really do?’, Havard Business Review, pp. 1-11.

Prentice Hall 2007, ‘Organizational culture’, course notes for COMM2384 Client management, RMIT University, Vietnam.

Schein, EH 2004, ‘Organizational culture and leadership’, 3rd edn, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, p.1.

Solomon, R 2008, ‘We are smarter together than we are alone’, The art of client service: 58 things every advertising & marketing professional should know, Kaplan, New York, pp.100-101.

Images references:

Global Recognition Inc. 2012, ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the organizational pyramid’, image, Global Recognition Inc., viewed 27 April 2014, <http://globalrecognition.award-search.com/pl/why-use-recognition/Basics-to-Motivating-People>.

Kanketa Systems n.d, ‘Business growth for continued success’, image, Kanketa Systems, viewed 3 May 2014, <http://www.kanketasystems.com/business-growth/>.

The Mojo company 2012, ‘Flipping the coin’, image, the Mojo company, 9 May, viewed 26 April 2014, <http://themojocompany.com/2012/05/culture_and_marketing/>.

 

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