Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Method To My Marketing Madness? Humanity

Every once in awhile something nice happens for which one has maybe no explanation. Today was one of those days. It started at lunch with a very nice man named Tom Vovers who had found me on LinkedIn and enjoyed a film I had put up called "The Job". It's a pretty damn funny take on what otherwise is a very serious situation in the job market for executives today. Tom runs HR2B, an executive recruitment firm here in Vietnam and the film certainly makes light of his business. We talked about general things, backgrounds, business and such but I made a point, quite seriously, that humour was a vital component in business discussions today and that an over-reliance on analysis and statistics sometimes just doesn't solve the problem - can comedy? Is there a human element that transends logic?

Later on I returned to my computer to get through the standard 83 emails of the morning and general blog maintenance and there, in my mail, was a note from a name I did not immediately recognize, a Ms.
Amy Anh Dao Nguyen. She went on to explain that she had been a student of mine two years ago at Vietnam National University and had participated in our Brand Management class and BrandMasters social networking group. She's now in Singapore and anticipating graduation from Nottingham University with an offer of a full scholarship for a Ph.D. Having stuck her toe in the job market and realising that's it's a bit of a tough go at the moment, she penned the following to me:

"Just until now I realize that lectures in school sometimes doesn't help much, but networking, as you used to teach us, will decide a lot."

She had directed me to her profile on LinkedIn and I encouraged her to join our group,
Vietnam Marketing Pros. We continued for a few mails and she returned:

"Networking is the most successful door for business. Now I know why you did not much focus on academic lecture but giving us more advice and chance in networking (such as BrandMaster network, Big Show, guest speakers, etc ...)

There are days in working, and certainly in teaching, where you wonder if anything you say or do is hitting any paydirt. Today was two years in the making and to have Amy recognize the core concept or our Brand Management course - that Brand Management is truely, Networking with your customers - was a real joy. Or in her words:

"Yeah, and agree with you about the nerdy stuff, the more I go, the more I know that business school focus sometimes were too irrelevant to real life. While marketing and advertising is about breaking the rule and setting a new trend, business school focus on academic aspects with journals and method, which in fact does not develop the most important and core concept for students: Creativity."

Jeez. My English is ever so slightly better than hers, but I couldn't have said it any better. Thanks for a very nice day, Amy & Tom. You two should get together - There I go, Networking again - being one of those
Brand Provocateurs!

I was told once by a recruiter that I should never send my portfolio to a job without me accompanying it. "You're the product, David", she professed, "It only comes alive when you're there" - because I could shed light on the problem and why the solution worked the way it did. Recently a blog reader commented on my Post-It Notes business cards - "I think there is something in particular about your charm, delivery, and Fortune 500 company (irony), that enabled you to pull this off."

There's another element that lives hand-in-hand with business, crisis, comedy, irony and logic - That element is humanity. The minute we forget that in our teaching, or our learning, we have truely lost the point. Amy & Tom helped me to understand that today.

1 comment:

  1. Hi David,

    Im also a student of yours, Amy's classmates. Trust me! All of our friends who studied these 2 courses were impressed with your teaching style. I myself found another whole of marketing and advertising definitions. I am now working for a UK advertising agency though I'm still finishing my last semester in the Internation University.I am taking care of Client Service department, working with 20 different projects at a time, i.e Indochina Land, VinaCapital, Apple Tree, etc The outside world is much much different from classes/courses in school. That explains why lots of students continue focusing on their study efforts without acknowledging about these whole new world diferences outside. The more they study, of course helps much in their knowlegde, the more difficult they have to adapt from the real "marketing and advertising" world cuz out there we're talking about experiences, real knowledge, not theories in school.

    Chloe Vy Le


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