Book Review: Opening up new ground

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-08-11 14:16
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Sun Tzu, the famous Chinese military strategist, once said: "In the conduct of war, there are no fixed situations and conditions, just like water has no constant shape and configuration." In other words, if we break through the inherent limits, we can see a much larger picture.

Book Review: Opening up new ground

When varied fields overlap, different ideas crash, fuse and mix together and we can sometimes get unexpected innovation.

Take the Renaissance at the end of 13th century in Italy for example. The reason why the Renaissance reflected unprecedented scientific and artistic revolution was because it cut across different subjects. Back then, lots of experts, including poets, sculptors, scientists and philosophers, gathered in Florence. They learned from each other, broke down the barriers between different areas of expertise and cultures and caused human innovation to erupt at an unparalleled level.

In the current business world, there is a new critical character among Chinese enterprises - crossing industrial borders - which revolves around their business development in the future, according to the book by Shen Guoliang and Lu Jia.

There is no new scenery in familiar places. However, if we change a place, change an industry, there may be something strange and fresh and, in fact, that is just the place where business exists, said Shen and Lu in the book Crossing Industrial Borders.

When crossing industrial borders, Chinese companies need good strategies and solutions because it is challenging and needs much courage to put into practice. The book provides many instructive methods as well as some successful examples of Chinese successes.

For example, Yunnan Baiyao Group used to be a one-product pharmaceutical company, thriving on the mystical aura of the "baiyao", or white medicine, a herbal remedy based on an ancient formula for treating wounds. Now, the company has successfully crossed over from the pharmaceutical industry to the fast moving consumer goods sector by adding more products such as adhesive bandages and toothpaste to its arsenal.

The authors pay homage to Don E. Schultz's integrated marketing communication - a management concept that is designed to make all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion and public relations work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation - with their theories. Companies can integrate not only ideas and concepts, but also service modes or cultural elements.

They conclude with the warning that no matter which strategy a business chooses, it should always keep in mind the principle that any integration must be on the basis of deep insights into consumers needs and habits.