The United States’ six New England states, with Greater Boston as its major financial, commercial, transportation, education and population centre, was faced with a promotional issue within the People’s Republic of China. Specific institutions (Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Boston Symphony, etc.) and companies (Fidelity Investments, State Street, Bain Capital, etc.) were individually well known and respected within key growth cities of China including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. However, the individual institutions’ renown were not linked in the minds of key Chinese decision makers with the New England region. The consultant’s role was to change that perception and to build the region’s reputation and promote the region as an entity.
To meet this challenge, the consultant developed and executed a two-pronged strategy. The first strategy was internal to the New England region.
In this component, the consultant identified and brought together various stakeholders, the institutions and companies that were already known, as well as those not known in China, to form a very active and supportive public-private partnership with the recognition that for all individuals to succeed and continue to build, even those with current name recognition, in the quickly changing China market, promotion needed to be integrated with the common mantra that “the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts”.
Working with these stakeholders, the consultant identified what was the region’s integrated USP for the China market. The consultant identified that the New England USP was that the region was America’s historic and current transformative region. It provided the Chinese, who were going through massive commercial and social transformation events, with the knowledge that by dealing with New Englanders, particularly Bostonians, they were dealing with the one group of Americans that has successfully negotiated, adapted to, led and weathered downturns in each stage of America’s new period of innovation including its earliest global trade (China Trade), the industrial revolution, the information technology boom, the transformative venture capital industry and the biomed R/D and commercialization revolution.
From that identification, the consultant was able to promote to Chinese key decision makers the region as a national and global centre for high-technology industries, multi-media, biotechnology, healthcare, alternative energy, venture capital/financial services, education, smart tourism development, regional restructuring and management systems/training.
The effort’s second component was targeted at taking the message to the key Chinese decision makers. In this component, the consultant used his own network of personal and professional contacts in China to identify appropriate individuals that both would be receptive to the message and could act as key multipliers to get that message out to as many potential decision makers as possible.
Within 20 months of hire and beginning of the promotion effort, the consultant realized the following deliverables from this promotion effort:
- Organising and managing 15 inbound high-level trade and investment missions for senior Chinese corporate and government leaders. In addition, cultivating for the Authority’s board of directors, senior executive management, Massachusetts government officials and commercial leaders a network of senior level contacts in the PRC including the former Chinese Minister of Commerce, the vice mayors of Beijing and Shanghai (equivalent to lieutenant governor rank in provinces), senior economic development leaders in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Dalian and senior executives from state-owned and private sector corporations.
- Statement by senior political leaders in Shanghai urging all Shanghainese outbound business and government groups to ensure that Boston was included in any business development related trips to the United States.
- Working with over 100 New England manufacturers, advanced technology and financial service firms to identify and pursue export sales, import and strategic alliances and investment opportunities in China.
- Managing efforts for 65 New England SMEs to establish effective marketing and sales channels through agent, distributors and strategic alliance partners.
- Recruiting and managing, on behalf of the Shanghai-Pudong Economic Zone’s economic regeneration organizations, a consortium of Massachusetts engineering, telecommunications, high-technology industry management consultants and environmental companies to pursue infrastructure, call center/corporate shared service center and tourism infrastructure projects in Shanghai and other key areas in Southern China.
The consultants knowledge and experience of the Chinese culture combined with a clear understanding of the regions USP made targeting a successful regional promotion much more efficient, cost effective and timely results for the client.