The Negotiation

In this episode of The Negotiation we speak with Ashley Galina Dudarenok, also knows as “The China Watcher”. Ashley is the founder of Chozan, a “Harvard Business School for China”, and Alarice, a digital marketing agency focused on China, and she is also a 3x best selling author and successful vlogger on YouTube.

On today’s show, we focus quite a bit on the impact of COVID-19. We talk about some of the biggest shifts she’s seeing from a brand positioning point of view, as well as some of the biggest shifts she’s seeing from a consumer purchasing point of view. We talk about how brands hove to adjust their relationship-building strategies with their consumers, and the lessons learned from Chinese companies that have been successful so far as China is one of the first economies to start their engines post-pandemic. We also dig into what product verticals will recover quickly against a bleak backdrop for most, and what unique opportunities there might be for foreign brands given most global economies are only going to get worse before they get better. Enjoy!

Show Notes

Today on The Negotiation, Todd speaks with Ashley Galina, a bestselling author, global speaker, and founder of two companies: the social media agency Alarice, and the marketing training organization ChoZan. She discusses how Chinese businesses will approach brand strategy as the world starts to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and move towards the new normal.
Ashley says that first and second-tier cities in mainland China have already shown signs of recovery, as people are now back out on the streets, socializing, and shopping. However, many other lower-tier cities will be slower to recover. An air of uncertainty still grips many of these smaller businesses and their employees. As a result, they are more intent on holding on to their savings rather than looking to invest.
With this context in mind, Ashley recommends that brands ask themselves the question: “Who am I serving?” This includes going all-in on one target consumer with a particular set of wants and needs. At least in the short-term, brands cannot afford to serve everyone. Instead, brands should go all-in on a single message that they will base the entirety of their marketing around moving forward. “In China, there are so many consumer groups,” says Ashley. “There are 1.4 billion people and they all have different journeys. You need to investigate what the revised journey for your consumer group is, and then react.”
The economy is going to recover slowly in the wake of the pandemic. Companies who have a “boots on the ground” presence in China will always have an edge over those who simply observe trends from the outside. But even if a company is unable to be physically present to witness consumer behavior day-by-day, they can continue to thrive in the market as long as they act fast on the trends they are observing.
In order to hone in on your target customer’s new journey, it helps to do three things: In the short-term, focus on what matters to people today and exercise authentic compassion as a brand. In the medium-term, make up for lost ground by looking for which new channels and platforms to invest in. In the long-term, observe how the whole landscape has shifted. That is, “How has China, as a whole, changed?”

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.