IABC International Conference – Shelly Lazarus

Shelly LazarusShelly Lazarus, the Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather addressed the issue of Building brands in China: Challenges and opportunities.

Highlights:“This is not your parents’ China” China is emerging as a world force.

60 million downloads of a Motorola viral marketing video clip by the BackDorm boys

James McGregor: China is the largest startup and the largest turnaround the world has known.

“You must read your history if you want to have an effective China strategy.”

China is building a modern economy from scratch.

“In China it’s happening all at once. … What would take 50 years in other places happens in China in 20 years. … This is the economic equivalent of Formula 1 racing.”

Of Ogilvy’s 1,000 employees in China, 90% are Chinese.

50% of the work that Ogilvy does in China is for local brands.

Ogilvy also does work for global brands. “But the work is a very delicate balance. You have to take the global brand and make it relevant for China and Chinese culture. Lazarus showed a KFC commercial produced in China and directed to a Chinese audience that echoed themes of family and social responsibility – with very western music.

Ogilvy operates as an integrated communications company in China. This fits both the company’s desired 360 degree positioning and the Chinese condition. The Chinese did not have a history of advertising and PR and other marketing disciplines working in isolation. So, it made sense to integrate them.

Ogilvy’s PR discipline in China represents a proportionately larger share of the company’s revenue than in any other part of the world.

“The best advice I can give you for your China strategy? Focus on your brand.”

“We are the new. We are the future. We are Lenovo. That might be the message for all Chinese brands.”

China Mobile has 250 million subscribers. It has been ranked as the fourth most valuable brand in the world by Milward Brown.

“The 2008 Beijing Olympics will be the biggest coming out party the world has ever seen.”

“Talent is the number one issue in China. … There are not enough experienced people for all the growth. … Ogilvy conducted over 3,000 interviews to hire 345 people. … We’ve had to be very creative and aggressive in our outreach. … Outreach is only a start. Retention is the really hard thing. It’s the biggest problem we face. … We train them. And they they’re stolen for twice the salary. … You have to promise them a career path.”

Interesting presentation from a razar sharp mind.