Brand Building in the Digital Era

Today’s increasingly digital world demands new ways to build and manage brands. To ensure brand relevance, brand building calls for a new approach to connect and deliver brand behavior and experiences.

On July 27, Simon Koh, founder of Big Data Play Brand, to make a Chinese-language presentation entitled “大數據狂潮下的品牌策略” (Brand Strategies Under the Big Data Frenzy) at the AmCham Taipei’s Lincoln Room. He provided an overview of brand management fundamentals to give attendees a full understanding of how to build a compelling brand and how branding has changed in recent years.

Koh described four types of brands 1) Asset-Driven, 2) Service-Driven, 3) Technology-Driven, and 4) Network-Driven to showcase examples of different business models. A network-driven brand involves brand building through different platforms and ecosystems. In a disruptive era, consumers are exposed to more than 3,500 brands on a daily basis, compared to 2,000 brands just a decade ago. He noted that customers may experience a certain brand through multiple channels and touchpoints, sometimes even in a non-physical world, where machines and algorithms are responsible for deciding the role of the brand.

Koh stressed that in order to transform a brand and build relevance, an organization must understand its market, leverage new tools, generate insights, and measure its success.

From left to right: AmCham Taipei President William Foreman and speaker Simon Koh, founder of Big Data Play Brand.

The Lincoln Room is made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies:

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation. 

Navigating Trade in the Time of Trump

The United States under the Trump administration has dramatically stepped up its use of economic sanctions against nations, firms, and even individuals that it accuses of a wide range of violations of international law. Given Taiwan’s dependency on trade and its close ties with U.S. suppliers and customers, Taiwanese firms are on the frontlines of sanctions risks, and at least nine Taiwanese entities have found themselves on the U.S. “blacklist” of sanctions violators.

Adam Smith, a former U.S. senior sanctions official during the Obama administration, recently visited Taiwan to offer his views on how Taiwan’s businesses can navigate these treacherous waters. At a presentation on “Understanding and Navigating the Risk of Economic Sanctions in the Trump Era,” held at AmCham Taipei’s Lincoln Room on May 17, Smith offered his perspective on why trade sanctions are being deployed so frequently. He noted that sanctions can be wielded under the sole authority of the president, are highly flexible and effective, and “they cost the government nothing,” in contrast to other measures such as military interventions that put people and materiel at risk.

The impact of sanctions by the U.S. can be huge, forcing rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea to the negotiating table and impacting some of the world’s largest companies, such as China tech-behemoth ZTE Co., which found itself on the U.S. “blacklist” by dint of its continued trading with sanctioned nations. Sanctions cut off ZTE from its supply chain of U.S. components and within days of being singled out by Trump, ZTE declared that it could no longer operate.

Only U.S. persons or entities are directly required to act in accordance with U.S. issued sanctions. However, any transaction involving U.S. financial institutions must also comply with such sanctions, and as 87% of global trade occurs in US dollars, this means that the vast majority of global businesses are required to comply. Refusing to comply, or inadvertently violating sanctions, could result in being placed on the blacklist and banned from participating in most global trade. Further, products that contain a minimum of 10% components produced in the United States are also considered to be U.S. goods and their makers are likewise expected to comply.

To avoid falling afoul of U.S. sanctions regime, Smith advises companies to develop “a compliance system, policies, and processes internally, but also figuring out what your exposure looks like.” Smith says that companies need to ask take thorough inventory of their own and their trade partners’ activities. “The more you know… the more you can explain it, if need be,” says Smith.

 Listen to audio clips to learn more: 

From left to right: Adam Smith, former senior sanctions official in the U.S. Government and Partner of Gibson Dunn; AmCham Taipei President William Foreman

 

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Cross Cultural Leadership and Blind Spots

The presentation at an AmCham Special Luncheon on April 18 at Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel focused on the role of effective leadership in enhancing employee engagement. The speaker, Gerard Hei, is CEO of Dale Carnegie Taiwan.

The presentation, “Uncovering Leadership Blind Spots and Discovering the Pathway to Motivating Your Employees,” first established why engagement is so important. It significantly impacts absenteeism, turnover, productivity, profitability, sales, and quality. There are three kinds of employees: fully engaged, partially engaged, and disengaged. According to a global study, in Taiwan only 8% of employees are rated as fully engaged, compared to 29% globally, while 44% are disengaged, much more than the 24% globally.

The way to increase employee motivation and business results is to provide employees with more effective leaders, said Hei. When employees are very satisfied with their immediate supervisor and with senior leaders, many more are fully engaged and very few are disengaged.

Leaders need to do four key things to inspire and motivate their employees:

  • Express sincere praise and appreciation
  • Demonstrate honesty and integrity
  • Freely admit when they are wrong
  • Listen to and value employees’ opinions

From left to right: AmCham’s Public Health Committee Co-Chair Joyce Lee, General Manager, Bristol-Myers Squibb (Taiwan) Ltd.; AmCham Taipei President William Foreman; Speaker Gerard Hei, CEO of Dale Carnegie Taiwan; AmCham’s HR Committee Co-Chair Monica Han, Country HR Leader, 3M Taiwan Ltd.

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

The Subtle Arts of Persuasion and Negotiation

Whatever your position, the ability to communicate, connect, and influence others to achieve your desired outcomes is essential to being successful.

Nick Coburn-Palo, a member of the Taipei American School faculty and Consulting Trainer at UNITAR, held a workshop at the Chamber’s Lincoln Room, entitled “The Subtle Arts of Persuasion and Negotiation” on March 8. The program was aimed at helping individuals develop core skills necessary to persuade and negotiate across a wide variety of potentially contentious situations.

During the session, Coburn-Palo shared with AmCham members and guests the techniques leaders use, in speaking and writing, to influence and persuade others for win-win outcomes. Through different case studies from the worlds of politics, business, and family life, he gave participants a chance to understand human behaviors, how people process information, and when and why negotiations may breakdown.

The session concluded with three key takeaways:

  • Embrace soft variables:  pay attention to personality traits, characteristics, physical space, and time
  • Maintain flexibility: the desired outcome may not be the most advantageous; win-win outcomes sometimes mean getting 50%
  • Remember your audience: negotiations and debates have different audiences – make sure the approach taken is based the audience and context.

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Albert Chang Re-elected AmCham Taipei Chairman

At the first meeting of the 2018 Board of Governors, held December 12 at the W Hotel, Albert Chang was elected by acclamation to a second term as AmCham Taipei Chairman.  Chang, Managing Partner of the Taiwan Office of consulting firm McKinsey & Company, is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and holds degrees from Stanford University and Harvard Law School.

Chang nominated and the Board approved the following standing officers for the coming year:

  • Standing Vice Chairman – Leo Seewald, Chairman & Managing Director of BlackRock Investment Management (Taiwan) Ltd.
  • Vice Chairman – Vincent Shih, Assistant General Counsel and General Manager for Corporate, External & Legal Affairs at Microsoft Taiwan Corp.
  • Secretary – Fupei Wang, Managing Director of Ogilvy Public Relations Taiwan.
  • Treasurer – C.W. Chin, Managing Director of Corporate Development for Micron Asia Pacific.

For the full list of AmCham Board of Governors, please go to Board Structure.

“Chicago”: The 2017 American Ball

The 2017 edition of the always much-anticipated American Ball, co-organized by AmCham Taipei and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), took place October 28 in the beautiful Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei. Guests enjoyed the room’s dazzling Chicago-themed décor provided by the Feng Ze Design Center, crowd-pleasing entertainment routines devised by the VMJ dance group, and the choice of music by energetic vocalist Dooley and his band, as well as DJ Rick Kraft.

The Master of Ceremonies was Mark Lewis, taking a break from his day job at the AIT Commercial Section. AmCham Chairman Albert Chang and President Andrea Wu, accompanied by AIT Director Kin Moy and Deputy Director Rob Forden, greeted the attendees on behalf of the host organizations.

View the full photo gallery here.

Before the reception, guests were greeted with a lively cocktail reception drink of Robert Mondavi Winery’s Woodbridge Sparkling Brut courtesy of Sergio Valente Inc. The gourmet five-course meal that followed featured smoked salmon tartare, lentil soup with papadum chip and sour cream, Tarocco Orange sorbet, roasted U.S. beef tenderloin with polenta cake and crispy carrot, and for dessert a Red “C” chocolate-origin mousse with raspberry sorbet and sea salt sable. The dinner was accompanied by Robert Mondavi Winery Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay (from Sergio Valente) and Johnnie Walker Double Black (from Diageo). Cocktails and Guinness stout were available at the bar.

The event was made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies. These included Grand Prize Sponsors United Airlines and Grand Hyatt; Wine & Liquor Sponsors Diageo and Sergio Valente; Gold Sponsors HSBC, Grand Hyatt Taipei, and Versum Materials; Décor Sponsor Standard Chartered Bank; Silver Sponsors Bristol-Myers Squibb, BlackRock, Corning, and Prospect Hospitality Co. Ltd. (McDonald’s Restaurants); and General Sponsor The Tobacco Institute of the Republic of China (TIROC).

Substantial raffle prizes added to the excitement of the evening. This year’s grand prize, an “Ultimate Dream Vacation” package, included two round-trip Taipei to Chicago business-class tickets by United Airlines, plus a three-night stay at the Park Hyatt Chicago. Other gift sponsors were 3M, eslite hotel, Ever Rich, Grand Hyatt, Hotel Eclat Taipei, Howard Plaza, The Landis Taipei, Mandarin Oriental Taipei, Mellow Fields Taipei, Palais de Chine, The Place Tainan, Procter & Gamble, Regent Taipei, Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, The Sherwood Taipei, Westin Taipei, The Westin Tashee Resort Taoyuan, and W Taipei.

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Making Corporate Transformation Happen

What happens when a large, well-established, global corporation finds its market leadership position threated by seismic changes taking place in its industry? Microsoft recently undertook the largest and most significant transformation in its 42-year history, one that impacted every one of its 120,000 employees in more than 200 locations worldwide.

On October 19, AmCham Taipei invited Andrew Pickup, Senior Director of Communications from Microsoft Asia, to give a presentation on “Making Corporate Transformation Happen.” The session was held at the Shangri-la’s Far Eastern Plaza.

From left to right: AmCham Secretary Vincent, Assistant General Counsel, GM, Corporate, External & Legal Affairs at Microsoft Taiwan Corp.; AmCham President Andrea Wu; Speaker Andrew Pickup, Senior Director of Communications at Microsoft Asia AmCham; and AmCham Supervisor Nadia Chen, Country Executive, The Bank of New York Mellon Taipei Branch

Pickup shared with the audience the challenges (and opportunities) Microsoft saw as worldwide PC shipments and sales figures continued to decline over the last decade. In transforming the business to deal with that trend, he said, Microsoft focused on the following priorities:

  • Organizational Design–ensuring that business units, including engineering teams, are fully aligned with business outcomes.
  • Outcomes and Incentives – making sure desired outcomes are clearly communicated and understood, and that a reward system is in place to provide incentives.
  • Training and Readiness – providing guidance so that employees feel fully confident and supported throughout the transformation process.
  • Culture and Values – making sure employees understand the behaviors expected from them so that there is a shared sense of responsibility.

While it can be a challenge to get employees excited and working together in support of a transformational strategy, Pickup stressed that it can lead to positive outcomes for long-term success.

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

AmCham Taipei Marks 66th Anniversary

With a gala reception attended by nearly 100 members and guests, the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei on September 14 celebrated the 66th anniversary of its establishment. The event was held at The Penthouse located on the 16th floor of the Eslite Hotel, where attendees enjoyed a light buffet dinner and spectacular night views of Taipei City.

The event was sponsored by Abbott Laboratories Services Corp., Taiwan Branch.

2017 Anniversary Cocktail – AmCham Taipei Acting Chairman Dan Silver, President Andrea Wu, AIT Directory Kin Moy

In brief remarks, AmCham Taipei Acting Chairman Dan Silver highlighted some of the Chamber’s key achievements over the past year, including this year’s June 26-30 Doorknock trip to Washington, D.C. to better understand the current thinking in the American capital about U.S.-Taiwan relations.

He also mentioned that this year the annual Taiwan White Paper received wide media and government attention, especially when it became known that no issues from the 2016 White Paper had yet been completely resolved. In response, the Taiwan government set up quarterly review meetings with AmCham Taipei over the coming year, to monitor progress on the issues and help ensure better results in the current advocacy cycle.

2017 Anniversary Cocktail – AmCham Taipei Acting Chairman, Dan Silver

Silver also reported that the utilization of the AmCham Taipei Lincoln Room, the multifunctional meeting space on the 6th floor of the Chamber’s office building, has been growing at a very encouraging rate and has increased its revenue by 60% from last year. The Lincoln Room has served more than 60 Chamber events this year, including press conferences, government visits, luncheons, workshops, seminars, happy hours, and marketplace sessions, and it is also available for rental by member companies and others.

Further, Silver called attention to the efforts to increase the digital presence of the main AmCham website and Taiwan Business TOPICS Online, as the traffic of both websites has grown steadily, doubling compared to a year earlier.

Representing the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Director Kin Moy expressed appreciation for AmCham’s longstanding, continuous efforts to strengthen bilateral economic relations between Taiwan and the United States. He cited the Chamber’s annual Taiwan White Paper as providing excellent reference for both the Taiwan and U.S. governments regarding the needs of multinational businesses operating in Taiwan.

2017 Anniversary Cocktail – the American Institute in Taiwan Directory Kin Moy

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Delegating to Robots: Document Automation for Lawyers

As the cost of office rent and salaries continues to increase while in-house budgets continue to shrink, how can law firms and in-house legal departments cope with the financial squeeze and enhance profitability? The answer – according to a recent presentation at an AmCham Taipei workshop – may be automation of the preparation of legal documents.

On July 13, Peter Davies of Thomson Reuters gave a presentation in AmCham Taipei’s Lincoln Room on “Delegating to Robots: Document Automation for Lawyers.” A former private equity lawyer, Davies now works with corporates in North Asia to determine how new technological models can assist in bringing efficiencies to the legal profession.

From left to right: Speaker Peter Davies with Don Shapiro, Chamber’s Senior Director

Davies stressed that several preconditions are necessary for documentation automation to be feasible:

  • The existence of a good set of templates that computers can draw on to compile a document
  • Sufficient volume for each type of document to create economies of scale
  • A willingness to invest the money and especially the time to create an effective automation system
  • The market power to devise documents based on the office’s own determination (not possible, for example, if a law firm must work on the client’s own template)

Given the right conditions, however, automation brings the advantages of faster speed – manual preparation takes 80% longer on average – and greater accuracy, reducing the incidence of typos and other errors. Davies asserted that automation does not mean robots taking away lawyers’ jobs. Rather, it should free up lawyers’ time for more productive activity.

From attendees’ comments during the interactive presentation, it appears that the automation of legal documents in Taiwan is far less common than in markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore. The main reason may be the lesser volume here of any given standard document.

2017 AmCham Membership Satisfaction Survey

At AmCham Taipei, we are constantly working to deliver a great experience for our members and looking for ways to further improve our services. Between May 18 and June 23, we conducted a Membership Satisfaction Survey consisting of 12 questions. A total of 111 AmCham Taipei members responded to the survey with their feedback.

“The Membership Satisfaction Survey provides valuable insight into the needs of our members,” said Andrea Wu, president of the Chamber. “It serves as a benchmark for our performance and provides a comparative measure of our success from year to year.”

AmCham Taipei is grateful to all members who participated in the survey. As a token of our appreciation, a lucky draw contest was held, with prizes to three participants.

The Membership Satisfaction Survey not only reflects areas of success and needed improvement but also helps inform future AmCham Taipei initiatives and priorities. Future surveys will enable us to track the results of our member satisfaction efforts over time.

Here are the results of the 2017 Membership Survey (click images to enlarge):