The Negotiation

In this episode of The Negotiation, we bring back a previous guest with some exciting new news. Charles Lavoie, who was our 8th guest almost two years ago, has recently been named the new Director of Creative Labs at WPIC, which was a great opportunity to discuss the creative landscape when doing business in China. We ask Charles for his definition of creativity, and why he believes it's important to maintain a certain amount of creativity in-house vs externalizing it to KOLs and KOCs to gain a long-term edge in the market. We discuss economic factors at play as well, discussing what a KOL might charge you for the creative assets and attention, and how brands can do better than market avg ROI on that spend. We also discuss how to manage or teach creativity, and how to deliver creativity through a consistent framework. Enjoy!

Show Notes

Topics Discussed and Key Points:
●      Charles’s history doing business with China and his current role at WPIC
●      How Charles defines “creativity”
●      Maintaining creativity in-house versus outsourcing creativity to KOLs and KOCs
●      How brands should go about looking for KOLs or KOCs in order to maximize ROI
●      Teaching creativity
●      Differences in creative processes between the West and the East
●      How brands can stay creatively consistent in different markets
●      How foreign brands can cut through the noise in the Chinese market
Episode Summary:
Today on The Negotiation, we speak with Charles Lavoie, who leads and manages WPIC Creative Labs.
Prior to joining WPIC in April 2021, Charles had served as the Marketing Director at BIOTWIN, the Director of Strategy and Business Development at PBB Creative, and China advisor to both Can Life Sports and CareerUp. He is also the co-founder of Beijing-based Infina Vodka and is responsible for the growth of the company from the ground-up to distribution across 10 different cities in China, Hong Kong, and the Northwest of Africa.
Charles’s career so far has seen him developing brands, design thinking strategies, and advertising campaigns for clients such as Acura, Uber, Daimler, Tencent, Tourism Vancouver, World Bank, as well as the Quebec and Canada Governments.
According to Charles, the challenge of the creative professional is to bridge the “gap between invention and commercialization”, which requires innovation, and not necessarily about creating something new but looking instead at the existing brand and their existing resources, and from that fashion an idea that benefits the business by being both profitable and relevant.
Listen in as Charles compares the strengths of in-house creative control to those of outsourcing creative to KOLs and KOCs. He also gives his thoughts on how to “teach” creativity to your team, navigating differences in creative processes between the West and the East, and delivering creativity through a consistent brand framework in different markets.
Key Quotes:
“[Creativity] to me is bringing past or existing concepts or inspirations together to create something new.”
“The gap between invention and commercialization is innovation. [...] We can be creative as much as we can, but the big challenge is to be creative and relevant.”
“China is way stronger in anything that is technical and the West is stronger in everything that is strategic.”

What is The Negotiation?

Despite being the world’s most potent economic area, Asia can be one of the most challenging regions to navigate and manage well for foreign brands. However, plenty of positive stories exist and more are emerging every day as brands start to see success in engaging and deploying appropriate market growth strategies – with the help of specialists.

The Negotiation is an interview show that showcases those hard-to-find success stories and chats with the incredible leaders behind them, teasing out the nuances and digging into the details that can make market growth in APAC a winning proposition.