On this episode of The Negotiation we have Doug Pearce, the CEO of Doohken Network, based in Shanghai China, a company driving change and digitization in the China outdoor advertising industry. Doug is the former CEO of Omnicom Media Group for Greater China and is likely the only person to have run a creative agency (Leo Burnett), Media Agency (at a brand level with Starcom MediaVest Group and holding company level with Omnicom) plus a Consultancy business with Accenture, and now a start-up in the ad tech media owner space. He’s been in China since the mid-2000s and has an absolute wealth of ad and marketing experience to share so we hope you enjoy it!
Today on The Negotiation, Doug Pearce discusses the rapid transformation in recent years of the media and advertising landscape in China.
Doug says that the media scene in China “is like nowhere else”. In place of Google, Facebook, and Amazon, the country has BAT, Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and now TikTok creator ByteDance. The difference between these Chinese companies and their Western “counterparts” is that investments made by megabrands in China give them a huge number of platforms for advertisers to buy into. “They leverage everything to secure as much investment as they can from advertisers.”
Any company looking to succeed in China needs to be nimble. Consumer culture in the country is ever-changing, and the Chinese are known to expect speedy and efficient processes. They are also not brand conscious. Agencies can no longer rely on traditional media to do their marketing. Data and eCommerce are two other important factors to focus on. So is making use of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and social marketing.
Because today’s Chinese market is driven largely by eCommerce, social networking is an incredibly important tool for brands to leverage. Trends come and go quickly in China, so focusing on network effects versus corporate advertising is paramount.
When it comes to pitching in China, Doug notes that the market is highly competitive and price-conscious. Keys to a successful pitch include having a deep understanding of both local partners and consumer habits, as well as focusing on business outcomes and long-term results instead of just listing features and budget plans. Todd aptly summarizes this with: “Don’t just give me a design for a better mousetrap. Draw me a line to where the cheese is.”
Doug says that his number one “secret to success” is partnering with the right agency; particularly one which has a senior leader who really understands the brand’s vision-mission. In addition, “Have deep pockets, and go big, go bold, and go fast.” Brands thinking of entering the market will drown if they start small and slow. Achieving massive scale early on will keep a company afloat. “If you can crack it, the price is big.”
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.