Consumers come first for companies in China

by | Aug 12, 2013

A consumer-centric attitude to innovation is being embraced by corporations such as Visa and Phillips in China.

This insight came from consulting 17 leading companies for a new book China CMO: Best Practices in Marketing Effectiveness and Efficiency in the Middle Kingdom.

Beijing at night

Warc reports that Marie Han Silloway, chief marketing officer for Starbucks, said there was a lot of “noise” when competing in the Chinese market.

"For us, there may be global initiatives we must consider - a new food regulation, or a government changeover - so we have to be very agile in that respect. But we also have to be very focused by asking, 'What is our North Star that we are ultimately working towards?” she said.

A spokesperson for Phillips said that a consumer-led approach to answering this question, rather than letting technology do the talking, would lead to “innovation that matters”.

Rex Wong, marketing VP for brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev China, said, "When we came here, we looked at the research to decipher what the value sets in China are, and what Chinese people think.”

With supertrends such as increased urbanisation and an ageing population that are reshaping the world’s biggest marketplace, it’s vital to keep long-term perspectives in mind.

Vivian Phan, chief marketing officer at Visa, said people from all levels of the organisation were thinking about how it could be the leader for next 100 years.

However, new habits in China are creating opportunities, as Nestle discovered. The brand opened coffee-growing operations in the nation 20 years ago and has reaped considerable benefits since, beating its competitors by two decades.

Jeffrey Tobias

About Jeffrey Tobias

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well-known startups.

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Managing Director, The Strategy Group

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well known startups. Jeffrey’s corporate background includes leading global innovation strategy at Cisco, working with large corporates such as Adobe, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, and Perpetual.

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