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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.

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.

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.

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.

Labor Inspection Enforcement Seminar

The latest amendments to the Labor Standards Act went into effect on March 1, 2018. This regulation has sparked a great deal of controversy and uncertainty. In order to protect the interests of both companies and employees, corporate HR departments need to be equipped with a full knowledge of the new labor rules and how they will be implemented.

To help provide that information, on February 26 AmCham Taipei’s Human Resources Committee invited Chiang Ming-chih, director of the Taipei City Labor Inspection Office, and Hu Hua-tai, director of the New Taipei City Labor Standards Inspection Office, to explain how the labor inspection system will be carried out and to take questions from the audience. Over one hundred Chamber members and guests gathered at The Sherwood Taipei for this event.

The two directors specified that organizations with the following conditions will be placed at the top of the list for inspection:

  • Having been previously reported for violation of labor laws
  • Using a shift system
  • Having non-standard working hours
  • Hiring hourly-rate or part-time workers

During the panel discussion, the majority of the questions focused on practical issues that arose from past experiences, ranging from the calculation of working hours to wage payment deadlines.

Chiang and Hu strongly urged HR managers to establish an effective internal communication channel and to reinforce employee management as the key to resolution of workplace disputes.

From left to right: AmCham HR Committee Co-chair Seraphim Ma, Senior Partner, Baker & McKenzie; Hu Hua-Tai, director of the New Taipei City Labor Standards Inspection Office; Chiang Ming-chih, director of the Taipei City Labor Inspection Office; AmCham HR Committee Co-chair Vicky Chen, Head of Human Resources, Standard Chartered Bank (Taiwan) Ltd.; and AmCham Taipei President William Foreman.

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.

The Future of Adaptive Marketing

The average attention span has declined significantly in recent decades. In 2000, our concentration could still last for 12 seconds. In 2015, the number dropped to eight seconds. Owning multiple communications devices and using them simultaneously have become an integral part of our lives. Plus, today’s consumers are no longer satisfied to stay on the receiving end of the information flow. Consumer engagement is customarily expected when it comes to marketing.

Due to all these changes, marketing has become extremely complicated. There seem to be no rules to follow anymore.

From left to right: AmCham President Andrea Wu; Geese Niu, Business Director, MindShare Communications Taiwan; Speaker Susan Chao, Managing Director of Mindshare Communications Taiwan; Travel and Tourism Committee Co-Chair Achim v. Hake, General Manager, The Sherwood Taipei.

To map out a path for the future of marketing, Susan Chao, Managing Director of Mindshare Communications Taiwan, was invited to speak on “The Future of Adaptive Marketing” at an AmCham Taipei special luncheon at The Sherwood Taipei on December 7. Chao’s presentation outlined three strategies to successful marketing today:

  • Involve multiple media channels to generate a more powerful information flow.
  • Capture and interact with consumers.
  • Utilize adaptive marketing – tailoring advertising approaches based on individual data – for greater effectiveness and efficiency than traditional marketing.

Adaptive marketing involves the collection of user data, customization of the advertising content according to personal preferences, and delivery of the content through the channels guaranteed to reach the target audience. Customized information increases the opportunity to seize the attention of the desired targets within a short period of time, before their focus drifts to another device.

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.

The Dismal Science Got a Bit Cheerier at AmCham’s Economic Outlook Event

While economics might be called “the dismal science,” on November 17 AmCham Taipei members were treated to a lively presentation and discussion by a decidedly charming economist – Chen Shin-hui, assistant research fellow at the Center for Economic Forecasting, part of the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER). Chen’s major role at CIER is to compile the monthly Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a monthly survey of Taiwan’s major industries that is widely viewed as a leading indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector.

From left to right: AmCham Capital Markets Committee Co-Chair Chung-Ping Liu, Executive Vice President, Fubon Financial Holding Co., Ltd.; Speaker Shin-Hui Chen; and Governor & AmCham HR Committee Co-Chair Seraphim Ma, Senior Partner, Baker & McKenzie

In her presentation entitled, “Taiwan’s Economic Situation and Outlook,” she was therefore able to offer unparalleled insights into Taiwan’s economy.

Chen started with an overview of the global economy and how Taiwan has benefited from the recent upturn in growth and trade. The global economy is looking to post higher growth rates in 2017 in the vicinity of 3.6% on the strength of modest growth in the United States (2.17%), the Eurozone (2.22%), and China (6.8%), according to the Global Insights website, as reported in late October. Chen noted that Global Insights remains particularly bullish on anticipated tax cuts and business growth in the United States. The OECD, meanwhile, though more cautious, likewise sees broad-based recovery throughout the economies it tracks.

This global recovery has resulted in a 20-month long expansion in Taiwan’s exports, up 13% in year-to-date annual comparisons as of October, according to the Bureau of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

The PMI tracked by Chen reflects this upward trend, coming in at 57.7, although it fell a slight 1.7% from September’s 58.7. Anything over 50 is considered expansion. Chen noted that both New Export Orders and Industrial Production Indexes also recorded healthy scores of 58.6 and 57.9, respectively, although both were down slightly from the previous month. What’s more, this expansion was seen in all of Taiwan’s major industrial sectors.

However, Chen reminded attendees that despite these rosy numbers, Taiwan’s economy remains fragile and so far incapable of meeting its potential.

She noted that despite the massive contraction Taiwan experienced in the recession of 2009, it failed to diversify its trade partners to reduce its overreliance on cross-Strait trade, resulting in a downturn in exports whenever China’s economy slows, and leaving it vulnerable to trade declines as China’s domestic supply chain upgrades and gains competitiveness on Taiwanese manufacturers. Taiwan experienced this situation in 2015-2016 when it saw 17 months of export contractions.

Even more significantly, Taiwan’s non-export sectors remain underdeveloped and sluggish. More than two-thirds of Taiwan’s economy is comprised of service-related industries, but more than two-thirds of the economic growth results from its exports, pointing to weakness in the service economy and an overreliance on trade.

Taiwan’s Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI) which tracks the service economy, is likewise up, to 53.6, with growth seen in several major components, including Finance and Insurance, Transportation and Storage, and Education. But costs have also risen this year by 2 percentage points, indicating upward pressure, causing a decline in activity in several categories, including Construction and Real Estate. Cross-Strait tensions are also playing a role, with Chinese tourism down significantly. Chen noted that while many have observed that the drop in Chinese tourism numbers has been offset by visitors from other countries, the Chinese tourists are particularly lucrative for the Taiwan market, as they tend to stay longer and spend more.

She also noted that recent legislation, particularly the newly amended Labor Standards Act, is also impacting costs across the economy in both manufacturing and service industries.

Chen’s diagnosis of the problems facing Taiwan came complete with some suggestions for how to improve its prospects. Liberalizing the financial sector was one, as well as encouraging the government to consult more with industry on how to improve conditions.

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.

Ramifications of the New Southbound Policy

Since taking office in 2016, the Tsai administration has promoted its New Southbound Policy as a key element in stimulating the Taiwan economy and providing Taiwan with more international space. What does the policy entail? Will this new direction compromise business investment in China? How will the government assist Taiwan’s corporates to expand their business to Southeast Asia and South Asia?

At a special AmCham Taipei luncheon meeting held at the Grand Hyatt Taipei on November 1, Tsai Chi-Chang, Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Yuan, gave a Chinese-language presentation explaining the basic framework of the policy and how it relates to current conditions in cross-Strait relations.

Form left to right: AmCham Governor & Telecom & Media Committee Co-Chair Joanne Tsai, Executive Vice President & Managing Director of Taiwan and China, Fox Networks Group; Tsai Chi-Chang, Deputy Speaker of Legislative Yuan; AmCham President Andrea Wu; AmCham Telecommunications & Media Committee Co-Chair Thomas Ee, Chairman, Taiwan Broadband Communications, Co., Ltd.

Tsai’s main points included:

  • Stable Relationship with China – Maintaining stable cross-Strait relations remains the government’s top priority. Promoting the New Southbound Policy is not meant to discourage Taiwanese companies from investing in China.
  • Additional Business Opportunities – The primary purpose of this policy is to increase investment options for Taiwan’s businesses.
  • Leveraging Taiwan’s Advantages – Taiwan continues to be one of the top investors in Southeast Asia, while the number of workers, students, and tourists from Southeast Asia has been growing steadily over the years. Taiwan should seize the chance to turn these relationships into a business advantage.

Economic growth remains the core goal for the government. Although there are many obstacles, the government is determined to keep improving investment environment for Taiwan’s companies.

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.

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.

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.

How to Be a Creative Leader and Empower Your Staff to Innovate

Truly great leaders create truly innovative organizations. A prerequisite to becoming a great leader is self-knowledge and a practical understanding of the science of innovation.

AmCham Taipei’s Human Resources Committee invited Stewart Desson, Founder and CEO of Lumina Learning, to hold a half-day seminar on “How to Be a Creative Leader and Empower Your Staff to Innovate.” The interactive workshop was held at the Chamber’s Lincoln Room on September 26.

Through group and brainstorming exercises, attendees learned about their own personalities and how to use that knowledge to their advantage in the innovation process. Desson also presented a four-stage creativity model and gave attendees a chance to explore ways on quickly understanding personalities. Learning about personalities will enable leaders to be able to maximize the innovative potential of others to generate ideas and improve productivity and personal effectiveness.

Stewart Desson, Founder and CEO of Lumina Learning with Lumina Learning staff and AmCham Taipei staff

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.