Colleges team up to offer digital strategy

By Paul Welitzkin in New York | China Daily USA | Updated: 2016-10-21 11:52

Gathering explores ways to use media to optimize performance in US, China markets

Colleges team up to offer digital strategy

The 2016 CKGSB Global Branding participants and faculty members pose for a photo at the Google New York offi ce. Provided To China Daily

As the digital era rewrites the rules of competition and forces companies to rethink their marketing and branding strategies, two of the leading colleges in the US and China teamed up on a program to deal with the changes.

Global Branding in the Digital Era is the title of the program from Yale University and the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) held Monday through Friday this week on the Yale campus and in New York City.

Digital refers to social media and mobile channels, the utilization of big data and customer relationship management (CRM) tools, and e-commerce.

"We want to demonstrate how US companies that want to enter China and Chinese companies that want to come to the US can use a digital strategy to build a global brand," Baohong Sun, professor and associate dean of global programs at CKGSB, said in an interview.

"How consumers learn about products and services and how they shop has profound implications for all types of businesses. However, this does not mean that consumers learn, react or respond in similar ways," said Ravi Dhar, a professor and director of the center for Customer Insights at Yale, in an email.

"China and the US are the leading regions of the world where companies have to learn to deal with rapid changes in consumer behavior. By partnering with CKGSB, we are able to highlight case studies from the US and China to help managers learn the best practices," Dhar said.

Social media, mobile channels and e-commerce are relatively young tools, but they have become an essential element of any company with global ambitions.

"While IT (information technology) people have been making the biggest breakthroughs, bigger brands are shifting more focus to a digital strategy," Sun said.

Digital has become a disruptive force in marketing in which companies, particularly those that have been slow to recognize the change, risk losing substantial market share.

"Consumers around the world are spending more time online before making purchase decisions," noted Sun. "Companies need to have a plan to engage those consumers."

"Digital for most companies is no longer a separate department, as it is integrated into the main functions, whether it is advertising, customer experience and retail. Companies who can manage the organizational challenges of integrating digital will succeed in the new era," Dhar said.

In the program, participants are shown how to leverage social media and mobile channels across different geographies.

Although larger companies may have more resources to devote to a digital strategy, Sun said smaller firms can benefit as well.

"Digital technology enables smaller companies to become successful in a short period of time," she said.

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