There is always a lot of talk around the Plannersphere town about different types of planning and new types of planning, I guess it’s a part of our trade to discuss and define what we do and how we’re doing it, which on one side is cool, always interesting thoughts brought to the table, and another side I sometimes find the overuse of often ill defined or even meaningless jargon as well as rehashed conversation themes somewhat tedious.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good conversation and I think it’s a juicy topic for planners, I get into these and I also use quite a bit of jargon, I think it’s inevitable. I typically use lots of jargon as an easy or lazy way out of explaining what I actually mean, to impress in a meeting and/or because we talk so much BS most days that no one will question another jargon word in a meeting and nod as if it makes complete sense. Or they’ll counter BS with another bunch of jargon words. Until the meeting is over and no one is really clear what it was all about or what the next steps are. And of course, I’m exaggerating to make my point, I’m sure you get it.
Regarding planning there’s account planning, brand planning, comms planning, digital planning, PR planning, creative planning, etc. More recently I’ve seen agile planning, micro planning, real time planning, engagement planning, social media planning, innovation planning planning by doing, etc. Then to make things more interesting there’s the conversations about strategy and the difference with planning, if there is one. On top, you can also apply all the previous varieties of planning to strategy, so we get digital strategy, social media strategy, etc. Then we can also blend in order to get strategic planning, or even digital strategic planning, agile strategic planning, etc. I could go on, but you probably get the idea.
However interesting I’ve found many blog posts, articles or presentations on these topics the more terms of the kind I read, the less sense they make at all. And let’s remind ourselves that planning is nebulous for most people to start with, I find adding more varieties and different definitions doesn’t necessarily help.
In a rare attempt at a relatively thoughtful post, I’m now going to go against what I just said and I’ll add a new piece jargon to our ever growing collection of fancy vocabulary. I’m going to tell you what kind of planning I enjoy, give it a name, and tell you what it is. It’s already been said in several other ways by other planners and thinkers out there so it’s not ground breaking or rocket science, it’s just a variation on a theme.
Over the past few years, I’ve been asked a few times what kind of planner I am and just saying I’m a planner doesn’t seem sufficient. The voice of reason and convention says I’m a digital planner because that’s the kind of projects I have the most professional experience with and I enjoy them, but then I also tend to go into a lengthy explanation about the fact that I consider myself a planner and that the digital part of the title is just because some people understand better, or think they do, with that point specified.
I’m now ready to answer this question about what kind of planner I am, and as I previously mentioned I’m lazy so I’m going to give it a jargon name and if people adopt it, then I won’t have to explain anymore, and I’ll save myself a few minutes for every meeting or conversation where I should have explained it otherwise, which would be fantastic.
I call it Making Shit Happen Planning.
Using it as an acronym will also allow everyone to save precious tiny bits of time, avoid potential awkward usage of an excretion type word as well as add to the general nebulous nature of planning altogether, and lastly so other people don’t ask questions in fear of being caught not knowing the latest jargon out there.
You guessed it, now we have MSH Planning. That’s my kind of planning.
So what is MSH Planning?
Excellent question, thanks for asking.
I work in the sort of general marketing and communications industry and sometimes clients need stuff to happen. They tell me what they need happening (or if you’re in an agency sometimes the account manager type people come up and tell the planner what the client said they wanted happening; a meeting might be taking place) and then I ask them some questions about what they need happening, to make sure I really understand what they want / need. I usually find that the more questions I can think of asking them and the more answers I can get, then the better I am at MSH Planning.
The stuff clients need happening of course often involves making sales happen, but the stuff in question can also be extremely varied and different; anything from figuring out what their new brand should be to posting the right kind of content on Twitter (Yes, those two are totally related). I think that’s where all the different types of planning come into play, but let’s put them aside for now. Once I’m happy I understand well enough what the client needs happening, or the client gets bored of my questions – whichever comes first, I go away – and this is the tricky part, pay attention – I develop a plan for how the stuff needed by the client is going to happen.
For a quick reminder I just checked planning with my trusty Google Dictionary:
Once I’m confident I have a good plan that is going to make that shit the client wants actually happen, I can go back and present it. Some negotiations may be involved at this stage, in order to come to an agreement on the plan. Then the plan goes ahead and if the shit intended happens, it was a good plan.
That’s pretty much it. I’ll recap:
- A client wants something to happen
- I ask a few questions to make sure I understand what they want
- I go and develop a plan to make the something happen
- We agree on the plan
- Plan goes ahead
- The something intended happened, the plan was successful
- The something intended did not happen, the plan unsuccessful
Hello London planners! It turns out I am unexpectedly coming back to Europe for a few months, and just before leaving I will be meeting with a bunch of Singapore planners for a Beersphere (the first official Beersphere Singapore, I believe) the week before coming to London, so I thought it would be fun to follow it straight away with a Beersphere London and catch up with my planner friends there!
I am hoping to make a sort of soft launch announcement for the very exciting secret project I have been working on these past few weeks at Beersphere Singapore, and will be talking about it some more at Beersphere London as well if all goes to plan. I’m also thinking of a cool way to bring word of the Singapore planners directly in the hands of the London planners (ideas welcome!).
In the usual fashion of Beersphere, it will be a casual meetup of planners over a few drinks – and given I’ve been in Asia so long and missing fine British ales, I’ve for now decided on having it at The Harp in Covent Garden – hoping the weather won’t be too bad as it’s a small pub and most people usually end up hanging out on the sidewalk, we’ll see how it is weather wise and how many people can make it, if needed we can always change the location.
So if you’re free, join us for a few beers from 6:30pm!
47 Chandos Place, Covent Garden
London, WC2N 4HS
In the grandest of Beersphere traditions initiated by Faris, come and meet other Singapore planners for a drink or three on Friday 7th October at Mulligan’s in Clarke Quay, Singapore! We’ll be discussing plannery type stuff, having fun, and of course it’s an opportunity for close ethnographic observation of the Clarke Quay fauna (credits to Sushobhan for the expression).
Beersphere is an event very close to my heart, it’s at a Christmas Beersphere in London that I made my first forays into officially becoming a planner, Neil and Faris are the first planners I met there, had cool conversations with them and they accepted me as one of them. After that, I was definitely a planner, even though I hadn’t found a job as one just yet. I also enjoy beer and chatting with interesting people, so that’s a big plus for the event.
If you’re a planner in Singapore, I hope to see at Mulligan’s in Clarke Quay that evening and count on you to spread the news – I don’t know that many planners there myself! Let’s make it a big one!
See you there, I’m looking forward to it!
This is the second email I receive from this gentleman, here is his email and my reply. Just one question, am I being unnecessarily mean? Or is it relatively measured?
Subject: http://www.willemvdh.com/ – Did you receive this email sent to you last week ?
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2011 00:46:35 +0300
Did you receive the e-mail which we sent to you recently (copied here-below)?
Please confirm since I have had problems lately with emails intercepted by spam-filters set too high.
I am Dr. Martin and I work for Multilingual Search Engine Optimization Inc. in Washington DC (Tel:) – I would like to speak with the person in charge of your international clientele. Who is my contact? Who should I speak to??
In fact, after visiting http://www.willemvdh.com/ , I have noticed that your website cannot be found on foreign search engines (I tested it on Hispanic search engines, German search engines, Asian search engines, etc.) Our company is specialized in multilingual search engine promotions in 28 languages . From the Japanese Google to the German Yahoo, from the AOL in Spanish to the MSN in Chinese, we can show you how to develop a true international online presence by promoting your website on foreign search engines.
Let us show you how to develop a presence on the multilingual web without having to translate your website: It is not necessary to translate your website in order to submit to foreign search engines, however, you need to have at least 1 page in Japanese optimized with Japanese keywords and meta tags in order to submit to Japanese search engines, at least 1 page in Spanish optimized with Spanish keywords in order to submit to Hispanic search engines and so on…
I strongly suggest that you watch our online presentation which explains clearly how to get top rankings on foreign search engines with only 1 entry page per language (click on the following link or copy-paste it into your web browser): http://www.languageseo.net/demoFrom the Japanese Google to the German Yahoo, from the AOL in Spanish to the MSN in Chinese, get users to find your website when searching with YOUR KEYWORDS in their Native language.
Please call me at xx or email me and let’s work on giving your website the true international exposure which it deserves to have with foreign native online users!!
Subject: RE: http://www.willemvdh.com/ – Did you receive this email sent to you last week ?
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2011 03:05:21 +0000
It has a been a pretty intense week for me, a lot has happened and I think it’s all turning out for the best.
In no particular order:
I have finished two pieces of work I’m pretty happy with; after 7 months traveling (5 of those with no working whatsoever) I had forgotten the kind of intensity and frenzy sometimes involved in finishing work to a deadline when everything suddenly goes wrong. Like those times when you are working on a pitch (plus all your normal work load) and whoever is leading – sometimes yourself – declares 24 or 48h before the pitch presentation that everything is wrong and that the whole thing needs to go back to the drawing board. Don’t we all love those moments! And wouldn’t you [secretly] agree that some of your best work was born in that weird natural high that takes hold of you beyond exhaustion, when your mind and body are pumped full of adrenalin, serotonin, dopamin, and all sorts of other hormones? This week was a bit like that for me.
You guessed it, I can’t sleep. It has never happened to me like this before. I’ve been operating on an average of 1-3 hours sleep for the past 5 nights or so. it’s really weird, I’m alternating between moments of intense inspired creativity / productivity, and moments of total exhaustion. I am slightly worried about my health, I know it’s not a good thing to not sleep and I usually love sleeping, though I also think I’m OK and there’s something going on demanding I give it attention (more on that further down). Today I felt I’d reached my physical limits, I had a really hard time concentrating on the deck I was writing and progress was very slow. Fortunately the topic was very familiar so I was wrote a lot from instinct, and triple checking everything I wrote. I finally finished the deck at 8pm, had a quick bite to eat as I hadn’t eaten since the muffin in the morning. I was in bed before 9pm, feeling like I was ready to sleep all night. I woke up [good sign] certain I must have slept several hours, and it was 10pm. I stayed in a bed a while, then decided to get back up and write this.
My friend JB and I have known each other since we were 6 years old, a long friendship indeed. Him and his wife Marion have asked me to be the godfather of their newborn son Marcus, very exciting stuff and I’m really looking forward to meeting him. Nothing religious about it in case you’re wondering (and interestingly the word in French is ‘parrain’ derived from the latin word patruus meaning paternal uncle, so the etymology itself isn’t directly related to god; unlike the English word), I’m an atheist and they aren’t particularly religious. I don’t have godparents so it’s a brand new experience and I know my friends see it as an important responsibility in their family as a different adult figure to the parents for their son. I was honoured to have been asked and I’ve of course accepted.
I’ve had a great time in Kuala Lumpur this week, I find it a city that really grows on you if you give it a bit of patience. It’s really not pretty, that’s true. On the other hand, the food is just phenomenal and as I’m meeting local friends it only gets better because they know the best places to eat. The people here are unbelievably friendly – I seriously can’t get over it. You know the long face syndrome in the tube / bus / metro in all sorts of capital cities? Totally non-existent here. People smile, say hi, strike conversation randomly, with no ulterior motives than being curious and friendly. That’s another reason I’m really loving spending time in Malaysia and I’m in no hurry to leave. And KL is also a big modern place with wifi everywhere which makes my life as a laptop hobo easier.
I’ve had this crazy day helping my friend out with changing her flights. Still not exactly over, though she’s got back home in Paris as planned and Qatar Airways contacted her. I’ll update the blog separately when I have a conclusion to report about it.
I discovered a great band playing in a bar close by. Travel in Southeast Asia long enough and good live bands quickly become very noteworthy as there aren’t many and the majority of people around the region prefer going to dance to some cheesy popular club classics than live bands. I’ve posted a few songs on Audioboo if you want to check them out.
I thank the reader who has had the patience to come to this point and must by now be wondering what is so top secret when I’m basically laying out my life on my public blog.
Well, here’s the top secret part: I’m pretty sure I now know the main reason I can’t sleep. I have a new project I’m extremely excited and terribly inspired about. I just started working on it and I’m keeping under top secret wraps until it is ready to be properly revealed. I’m hoping for the reveal to take place as fast as possible, realistically probably in a month’s time, around early to mid October. In any case I will announce the date of the official reveal as soon as possible. Until then, as my photographer friend Vish knows well, Shh!
As I am writing this late at night in Kuala Lumpur and it is already September 12th; so it is early afternoon on 9/11 in New York and memorials of the 10th anniversary must be taking place as I’m writing this. I’ve decided to publish this post tomorrow, I just wanted to write it now as I can’t sleep. I remember 9/11. I was a designer at the time, in a small agency in the suburbs west of Paris. I was shocked beyond belief; actually I hadn’t really thought about it in a long time and my eyes are watering with emotion at the memory.
My elder brother Björn who is a chef was supposed to open his first restaurant in Mid-town New York that day and he told me this story. He had been working in the kitchen from really early morning getting everything ready for his opening. His food suppliers weren’t showing up. He’s stressing out, this is his big day. He picks up the phone and starts shouting at his fish supplier, who says something along the lines of ‘You’re not going to get your fucking fish today, man. Haven’t you seen? Go to your roof!’ My brother runs up to the roof of the mid-town Manhattan building, drops the phone to the floor when he sees the giant column of smoke. The first plane had just hit the tower minutes before.
I remember, and my thoughts go to all New Yorkers and Americans on this day.
PPS: After I finished writing this post during the night I was able to sleep again so it’s all good. I’m now finishing to amend this post from a super luxury VIP bus on my way from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. I’m the only passenger! It has super comfy huge seats, electricity for my laptop, onboard wifi, had a breakfast, personal video screens, it’s unbelievable!! So I’m working from my bus.
I love my life, I’m the king of the laptop hobos!
UPDATE (8th September 2011): The E-marketing manager for Qatar Airways just contacted me directly by email and is going to take care of contacting my friend in order to resolve her complaint. I’m very happy about that and will update again once it’s all done with news.
I haven’t blogged in a while and never have I gone to such lengths to publicize a company’s customer service failings but this is what has been happening to a friend I have just been helping out and I find it so ridiculously outrageous that my friend and I feel the need to spread the news.
If you happen to read this and feel the same way, please spread and share these news far and wide, I’m sure this kind of experiences happen to a lot of people and I’m also pretty sure not everyone complains about it or receives satisfaction from their complaint(s). As a spoiler for anyone looking for real excitement, go watch a movie or something, this isn’t anything to do with horror, thriller or action genres. That said, I do believe it’s interesting and valuable.
Below is a copy of the email sent by my friend to Qatar Airways feedback and customer service email address, I just wish to add that the intention is not to accuse any one individual employee of Qatar Airways, nor to have anything bad happen to them, rather it is an official complaint to be lodged with the airline company as a whole. My friend had to run to the airport to catch their flight so I’m helping spread the news.
Qatar Airways claims to be ‘the World’s Best Airline’. My friend and I certainly don’t feel this claim to be true right now. I am interested in corporations and organisations providing excellent customer service and what I’ve experienced today is probably the furthest from excellence I’ve ever seen.
The way I see it, they have messed up with one of their customers and now have the chance to make it up to them. If they’re fast they have several hours to meet them for their layover in Doha in a few hours, or perhaps more realistically they hopefully contact my friend as soon as possible. We’ll see.
Dear Sir / Madam,I am writing this email today in order to register an official complaint to Qatar Airways as I am extremely disappointed so far with the level of service you have provided me as a paying customer with a problem to solve. As a global airline company wishing to promote world class service I would expect much better, particularly as I see that you are advertising yourself as ‘the world’s best airline’ on this site (http://www.qatarairwaysmelbourne.com) and have won several prizes I can see listed here: http://www.qatarairways.com/global/en/newsroom/archive/PressRelease1_22June11.html.Unfortunately I haven’t found anyone who could help me directly and I find myself feeling forced to not only write you this email, but also to copy and send it to all the relevant people and organisations whom I feel may either be able to help me or would be interested in hearing about my current situation.I will start at the beginning and explain to you the series of circumstances I have been faced with and the troubles I have had to deal with as a result of them, both on financial and emotional Ievels.I booked a flight from Paris to Kuala Lumpur for my summer holidays, departing the 31st July 2011.My return was planned for the 21st of August, and I decided to postpone my flight and extend my holidays which is where you presented a first barrier to me: the cost to change my booking was 433 RM which could only be paid via a Malaysian bank account or an international bank transfer, no major credit cards accepted whatsoever. I did not have time to process an International bank transfer and being a French tourist on holidays, I obviously do not have a Malaysian bank account. Fortunately, I managed to ask a Malaysian friend to help me with the transfer; my friend was forced to take time out of their working day to visit the Kuala Lumpur Qatar Airways office in order to pay for my flight change fees and of this I am extremely grateful to them, a new friend in Malaysia had already been ten times more helpful than Qatar Airways to whom I had already paid 1,100 Euros for my original flight, plus the flight change fees.At this point, I am not even mentioning the 25 phone calls and time on the phone and emails looking to reach the Kuala Lumpur Qatar Airways office in order to organise this flight change, which is already unbelievable for an international company of the size of Qatar Airways.Unfortunately for me, the National holiday celebrations in Malaysia on the weekend of the 3rd of September meant that I have had to change my flight again because I found myself unable to get to Kuala Lumpur in time for my flight. Again, I had to call the Qatar Airways Kuala Lumpur office over 20 times and send three emails to change my flight as well as find another Malaysian friend who would be able to help me transfer the new 435RM flight change fee. My understanding was that my flight had been changed for the 7th September and I arrived here in Kuala Lumpur yesterday morning on the 6th September.I checked my emails upon arriving in order to make sure the new booking was confirmed, though having no news I managed to reach the Kuala Lumpur office by phone and found out that my booking had been cancelled and that the only flight now available to me would be on Sunday 11th September. At that point, I really want to you to understand that I literally broke down in tears on the telephone.The stress I’ve been under over the weekend knowing I wouldn’t be able to make my flight on the 5th was already taxing enough, meaning 2 days of unpaid leave from work. The fact that my booking had been cancelled even though the flight change fee had been paid 3 days before for the 7th September meant that because of Qatar Airways’ poor service and/or mistakes, I would have to call back my employer and explain to them that I would have to take an additional 4 days of unpaid leave.I spent Tuesday afternoon calling the Kuala Lumpur office pleading them to find the bank transfer that had been made and confirm my flight for Sunday 11th September given that still hadn’t been done yet, again more tears and fear of not being able to return to Paris even as late as the 11th. I had to give my Malaysian friend’s number to the Qatar office so they could ask my friend to send the bank transfer confirmation, even though I had already provided all the required banking transfer information several days ago. I don’t even know what words to write now for you to really understand the pain I’ve been through to do something as seemingly simple as changing a flight booking. For me to say it’s completely outrageous is an understatement.This morning, still having had no confirmation that my flight was booked for Sunday 11th I called again and went to the Kuala Lumpur office in person and after having waited 2 hours, found out it still hadn’t been done. I confirmed the ticket in person, asked again if there was any way to be on an earlier flight with no success and asked to speak to the manager in order to lodge an official complaint.The first thing that upset me even more if that’s even possible is that the manager told me almost immediately that he could contact headquarters and find an earlier flight for me, and after a few minutes confirmed I could in fact be on a flight to Paris tonight, with an 8 hours layover in Doha. Why this wasn’t possible for the past two days I spent calling and emailing the office I have no idea.I then asked the manager to register an official complaint with Qatar Airways for all the trouble I had to go through to get the flight changed, to which he told me there is nothing they could do and that my sole recourse was to send an email to email@example.com.I am extremely upset about this whole situation; I am relieved to finally leave for Paris in a few hours even though I will not be looking forward to spending 8 hours in Doha airport. I will finish this email by saying that I unfortunately do not feel I have the luxury of waiting for a reply from the customer service department so I have decided to try and make this as widely known as possible, sending copies of this complaint to the people and organisations listed below.I am landing in Doha for my layover at __:__ local time with the flight from Kuala Lumpur and will be hoping that a Qatar Airways representative will be waiting for me so my complaint can be solved to my satisfaction.My name is G. M. and my flight booking reference is ______.Kind regards,G. M.This complaint is copied and sent to:Regional Marketing Manager Europe Qatar Airwaysvia Linkedin InmailVP Commercial Europe Qatar Airwaysvia Linkedin InmailManager – Brand Communications Qatar Airwaysvia Linkedin InmailHead of Corporate Communications Qatar Airwaysvia Linkedin InmailBrand RepublicMarketing MagazineBusiness WeekStrategiesSeveral blogs
Consumer organisations in France:· ASSECO-CFDT (Association études et consommation)· FNAUT (Fédération nationale des associations d’usagers des transports)· ORGECO (Organisation générale des consommateurs)· UFC-Que Choisir (Union fédérale des consommateurs-Que Choisir)
While I was in Kuala Lumpur a few weeks ago, I had wifi connection and thought I’d fire up Foursquare and check in. I was slightly surprised to see the Specials yellow icon show up with 15 Specials in my area, though I checked it out as I usually do, out of curiosity for how location owners are promoting their services via Foursquare.
I have no idea how many people use Foursquare in Malaysia, I’m guessing not that many, and the amount of people using a phone with a Foursquare application (Android or iPhone – even though, yes I know one can use Foursquare via any old phone, but that requires more commitment than I suspect the average user has). The interesting thing is that’s it was the first time I see pretty luxury brands / companies advertising on Foursquare.
In London I’d see either chains of eateries (Domino’s, Pho, Pret, etc) or independent small businesses (local pub or sandwich shop). In Kuala Lumpur, it’s the Sheraton. I may have missed the fact that Sheraton has signed some sort of deal to advertise on Foursquare worldwide, though I thought it’s an interesting point. What kind of advertisers to do see Foursquare Specials from in your area?
I’ve caught occasional glimpses into youth in the different countries I’ve visited and as I know it’s often a fascinating group of people to many brands and marketers, so here are a few observations that may be useful and/or interesting. I was thinking of writing a post about several countries and observations at once, but after thought that would be way too long and would probably lose focus. In many ways, some of the things I noticed or thought about while traveling have been like looking through a keyhole without getting the full picture, and that’s often where I find the most interesting pieces of insight, even if sometimes I don’t know what it all means, I have more of an idea where to look next if I’d like to find out more about a topic.
As for the previous post, we are still in Kunming, City of Eternal Spring and capital of Yunnan Province, in Southwestern China, a few months ago. For a bit more background, Kunming is a lovely city, not very large by Chinese standards with about 5 million inhabitants. Similarly to many Chinese cities, the old town has mostly been destroyed to make way for modern roads and buildings, though it seems to have been done particularly well, giving the centre of town an airy and agreeable feel. The people seem rather laid-back and friendly, not moving at the same kind of frenetic pace one can notice towards the large urban areas of the eastern side of the country.
While walking around on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I came across several fairly large groups of young people and teenagers practicing their hip hop dance moves and routines on one side of a pedestrian square, and some dancing to more dance / vaguely electronic music on another (Mostly girls, with what seemed to me like emo or gothic looks, though they probably weren’t at all – different references).
Check here for a quick Audioboo sound snippet of the scene (embed didn’t seem to work, weirdly).
It was nice to see them express themselves and be quite at ease with dancing or singing in front of all their peers as well as passing strangers, if you think about it, it’s not usual characteristics one would associate with teens. The classic stereotypes would probably include being self-conscious, worrying what others think of you and wanting to be part of the right kind of group. I’m not saying they don’t have these concerns though they didn’t seem to have them as I was observing so perhaps they show up differently.
The closest scene I could imagine elsewhere, and mostly coming from hearsay or movies rather than personal experience, is in the US, kids gathering close to outdoors basketball courts with the boom boxes or car stereos, hanging out and some dancing. It’s completely cliché, but that’s how this scene in Kunming felt. I wonder if that’s where these kids got their cues from to start gathering like that..?
Another thought is about the fact that concepts of personal space or privacy are also completely different in China (perhaps Asia) than they are in the west (I’m generalising). This point alone can easily be the main focus of an all nighter conversation with friends, alongside some wine and/or drinks so I’m not going to go much into it aside from saying that people all over China practice dancing, tai chi and various other physical activities in large groups everyday, interior spaces are often crowded so the streets and public areas are naturally places where people meet and hang out so perhaps what these teens are going it all normal and nothing to do with American culture – apart from the music itself perhaps.
To finish on a different note about Kunming, a few days later I visited a trendy bar / club type of place and noticed this poster in the entrance:
Is it a party for white people? Do white blond girls on the poster attract more Chinese customers? Or the promise of white blond girls? Is it a party where are you are supposed to come dressed in white?
Same for the Yunnan Hotel, which at the time I saw it was a pile of rubble of the old hotel. When it is rebuilt, it will be over 1,000 years old AND brand new at the same time for Chinese people visiting. The pride of the history for the building is there, as well as being able to enjoy all sorts of clean and modern amenities I imagine. For me that’s a paradox, for Chinese people it may well be completely natural.
These are my own observations, I might be completely wrong. Does anyone else have similar experiences about new and old in China or in Asia?
Now that I’ve pretty much finished on the ‘reporting’ part of my travels in my blog, I am up picking on a few random notes I made while on the road with half baked thoughts about my experiences; the countries, people and cultures I traveled in. That is going to give me content for a few blog posts at least, though I also thought I would open up the playing field and see if anyone out there may have questions for me as well. Things I haven’t necessarily thought but that might be interesting. Of course, none of my answers will be anything close to proper market research, though you never know when the next interesting piece of insight may come from.
We all know Asia is booming in many ways, even just spending a few days in China was awe-inspiring considering how it was when I had visited about 4 years before and how fast things are changing. It is also mind-boggling as one thing I’m sure of is that for anything new I discover while in China I also know I’m not even scratching the surface. Things are moving so fast and based in cultures so different from occidental / Judeo-christian points of views that everything is fascinating and I doubt there is a single straightforward answer to any questions someone doing business in Asia may have about their market and audience.
At the same time for all the differences, everything seems to be moving towards ‘Occidentalising’ Asia if that makes any sense – the same fashion brands, giant shopping malls, Hollywood cinema, fast food joints, etc. Though I believe assuming these things make Asian cultures and occidental ones the same (or soon to be the same) is a mistake, as the context they are coming from is completely different.
As I said, I only have my own glimpses and experiences, though I’m certain it’s a worthwhile topic and I’m sure I can learn from others as well as some may be able to learn from my experiences out here.
Here are the countries I have visited so far and about which I may be able to share stories, experiences and insights:
- Hong Kong (technically part of China, though still sort of independent)