Friday, January 15, 2010

Interview on China subjects From late Fall 2009

Global Brands from China
10/1/2009 - Part of TCBN's Global Brands Series
Professor Caywood teaches integrated marketing communications at the Medill School at Northwestern University. He is also a speaker at the Global Brands Summit 2009. He has taught Chinese foreign students in his classroom and traveled to China to speak to business professionals abroad. The Global Brand Summit takes place this year in Chicago on October 20-21, 2009, and in addition to Professor Caywood, will feature many notable speakers, including marketing expert Philip Kotler and's Cao Guo Wei.

Interview Transcript
TCBN: Hello and welcome to The China Business Network, I’m Michael McCune and joining me today is Professor Clarke Caywood. Professor Caywood teaches integrated marketing communications at the Medill School at Northwestern University. He is also founder of the US-China Brand Group and chair of the newly established IMCA or Integrated Marketing Communications Association.

The association is organizing the 2009 Global Brand Summit with a special emphasis on the expansion of US and China businesses into each other’s markets.

Professor Caywood, thank you for joining us today.

CAYWOOD: I’m glad to be with you.

TCBN: Now I understand that early in your career you were pretty focused on public policy and politics. When did you have a change of tact that China became more of a professional involvement for yourself?

CAYWOOD: Well as an academic the opportunity to work with the Chinese universities has just grown phenomenally over the last decade really because of – it is almost hard to stop curiosity about American business because of the changes in Chinese policies.

But my first jobs were working for political leaders in Wisconsin. I will say that given the temperament in some parts of the country, they these were men and women who were never indicted nor nearly indicted. They were all very good people. And I helped them run trade missions to China as well as Japan, South America, and other locations when the idea was to see what Wisconsin could offer to the world in terms of trade, and what the world could offer back in exchange.

So that also piques your curiosity when you realize that the economic world does not just revolve around the Midwest or any kind of narrow band of geography.

TCBN: Well you mentioned the academic exchanges. The opportunities have proliferated over the years. There have been a lot of not just academic exchanges, but student groups coming from China to Medill if I am not mistaken.

CAYWOOD: We’ve had a tremendous growth in this area. Maybe due to myself, I suspect a little bit because I travel all over China to speak to college groups as well as executive groups. And another colleague of mine, Don Schultz, who speaks in China extensively as well.

Our message that we both share in terms of IMC, and in my case doing a fair amount of work on crisis management, seems to resonate very well with Chinese guests.

But, as you know, Chinese, the best Chinese students, have been coming to America for 40 years, 35 years, at the very least. Because when I was professor at Northwestern as well as a student (excuse me, at Wisconsin, I apologize) we had many engineering students, science students, directly from China, mainland China-as well as Taiwan.

So this is a long tradition, but at our program recently here in Illinois at Northwestern, we’ve had almost half of our students, in some years more than half of our students, are PRC or Taiwanese.

TCBN: You know, it is interesting that you mentioned what the main focus of early students was, particularly in the hard sciences, and trying to build skill sets either for pursuing opportunities here or back in China. People would have normally thought perhaps in China that marketing was more art than science, but in today’s more sophisticated integrated world, there is a skill set that needs to be learned in order to really get the most out of marketing programs. Do you see this appreciated by the student coming from China?

CAYWOOD: I think that is a great insight. One of the advantages we’ve found with our Chinese students is the discipline of learning to work with statistics and mathematics.

And while this is kind of a well known weakness of the American educational model (although we all as individuals in our own families try to correct this as much as we can) we’ve done some good work in the United States with trying to get young woman in America more mathematically inclined and so forth over the last ten or twenty years, but clearly these young men and women who come here have scored exceptionally well in this area.

And our form of marketing, an integrated marketing communication form, requires a very deep understanding of databases. We track a lot of data about the customer as well as other experts, opinion leaders, the media, and journalists such as yourself, trying to find what thought leaders are saying about a product or a service or a brand of a company.

So that led us to develop more refined kinds of courses that make the students know something that their bosses don’t know, and of course that is reason enough to hire them because bosses want the newest knowledge and I think that’s what we’re providing.

TCBN: And with this conference that you’ve come to put on, really you’re not as much focused on students it seems, as well as looking more broadly at the professional awareness that needs to be facilitated with regard to integrated marketing communications. Can you tell me, what was the genesis of this conference?

CAYWOOD: Yes. Absolutely. Well you know, I am always selling my students. That is my reason for being and my career. But it’s clear to us from travelling all over, and from a seminar series that we did about three years ago with myself, a colleague from Kellogg, and a former of governor of Wisconsin. We all went to China as a team and we presented a branding seminar across several cities in China and my colleague from Kellogg spoke on his specialty which is more product brand at the microlevel, my work has been at the corporate brand, the reputation of the company, the holding company, so we call that corporate brand, and the governor spoke about national branding or province branding.

This is prior to the Olympics, and so we had a great audience for this message. They seemed to realize increasingly, the Chinese business leaders, that they could build all three aspects of their brand, including how can they build a reputation - being a brand that is respected in China and can be respectable all over the world.
So that led us to look at branding more closely and this conference will specialize on all three levels of that branding, where we’ll talk about all three levels of branding, and we think the timing is right to help grow out of this economic doldrums were in.

TCBN: So when you look at the attendees at this conference coming up and you think about what skill sets there trying to buttress, or knowledge there trying to augment, when coming here are they all coming from almost the same angle, because we all have the same channels just maybe with different maturation and usage, or are there really sort of skill sets that pose challenges for one group as opposed to the other.

CAYWOOD: Well I think they’ll all know what these are. These are men and women who are operating at very high levels, for example one of our keynote speakers is the chairman, or CEO, of So we’re talking about very sophisticated business men and women who are leaders in finance as well as manufacturing.

But the Chinese will teach us something about how to build longer-term relationships, and how to manage those, and perhaps not to be quite so paranoid about the quarter-to-quarter performance that our stock market insists on. I think that American businessmen can learn a lot and to their advantage.

But I believe the Chinese are coming also to hear our business leaders. We have Phil Kotler who is the premiere marketing professor in the world. There is something called the Kotler Award which is a major Chinese marketing award in China. Phil is a colleague here at Northwestern and his name is just known everywhere.

So I know they are attracted by Phil’s knowledge. We’re bringing people from many of the top agencies and top corporations. So that is a good exchange,

And for some reasons I doubt it, and sometimes I think maybe we need to keep growing rapidly too. American education is considered superior to other educational models in the rest world. And so they are quite often interested in what the new thinking is here in the States. So as long as we still have that advantage we’ll celebrate it and we’ll make sure we put extra effort into improving our knowledge on important topics.

TCBN: Well we certainly look forward to the outcomes of the conference, and I look forward to attending myself. And I understand that both Phil, who you just mentioned is one of the featured speakers along with Cao Guo Wei, the CEO of Sina Coproation - and a long list of esteemed professionals from both sides of the ocean. So it seems like you’ve pulled together fertile ground for good conversation and insight.

CAYWOOD: I’m as anxious to attend this conference as I hope my guests and invitees are because I know I’ll gain a great deal from it, and it will give me many examples that I can use when I travel back to China and when I teach class. I know business men and women here in the United States and in China that will attend will find great examples of best practices and will build new business relationships and friendships.

TCBN: I’ve been speaking today with Professor Clarke Caywood from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Integrated Marketing Communications.

As the Chair of the IMCA, he is chairing the 2009 Global Brand Summit which will take place in Chicago October 20-21 of this year.

Thank you very much for joining us today Clarke.

CAYWOOD: Thank you.

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