Reflective Essay

Introduction

                In the competitive world, there is a large number of emergent businesses and also a great amount of closing down companies. Apart from my background working in architectural industry for several years, common achievement for architect is having own company, and usual failure is a lack of doing-business knowledge. Although technical skills in architecture design is crucial, starting a business knowhow and management skill in creative field are necessary.

                In the course of Managing in the Creative Economy, it consists of several modules, such as Mapping in the Creative Economy, Re-imaging Leadership and Designing a Business, which significantly support my goal of establishing own company in the creative economy. First two modules grant overview, direction and consciousness of dynamic change in the creative economy. And, Designing a Business give an opportunity of small business practice which illustrating a deeper and broader understanding of realistic entrepreneurship which significantly needed in every business.

                To start my own architectural business, there are four major parts which similar to a practice project of the designing business module. Product design, product development, production and presentation parts are included in the project. In these four parts, there are 5 lessons learnt from the practice project; leadership and teamwork, product and service design, branding, corporate social responsibility and storytelling, that can adapt and apply to my future achievement for the better potential in the business. This essay will illustrate the key topics from the modules which are crucial for business owner, and how it could apply to my future career.

Leadership and Teamwork

                Leadership and team work is the first lesson learnt in the module. It is undeniable that achievement of a business is sale and profit. Therefore, a leadership in the business is the first thing to concern in order to succeed in every business. The leadership is a process of influencing people to achieve a common goal. In my view, there are two major parts which leadership is associated. Firstly, internal scale, because business consist of several people or parties, leadership plays an important role in teamwork and cooperation. Especially for creative process such as brainstorming and product development, transformational leadership may be an encouraged environment that support creativity emergence as Von Stamm (2008) stated “Encouragement of creativity-encompassing open information flow and support for new ideas at all level of the organization is a potential environment for creativity augmentation”. Creativity can be performed by diversified ideas and experimental. Therefore, business owner needs to create this environment for its opportunity of innovative product and service. However, in this process, attitude of participants is need to be open-minded and respectful each other for positive productivity. Hence, leadership skill may need to be trained and cultivated in my future company in order to increase productivity and decrease conflict in the company.

Secondly, leadership in the business. Because, nowadays, people demand more creativity and innovation, distinction by creative and innovative outcome is a key to be competitive in today’s business (Puccio, Mance, and Zacko-Smith, 2013). Therefore, for a successful business, it is essential for business owner to lead the market and customer in order to avoid intensive competition in Red Ocean Market. To lead the market and customer, there are four key elements that can distinguish one company from others; Product and service, Branding, Corporate Social Responsibility and Storytelling.

Product and service

                Distinction of product and service lead to unrivaled in a market. It is undoubted that, for a new business, going to existing market means competing with experience competitors. In contrast, creating new product and service means challenging new opportunity with less competitors. However, although the less competitor can result in a large market share and high margin, there is high risk in failure of customer acceptance. In the module, we were assigned to design a product and deliver to a real market. The challenge was how to draw attention from customers to the product. This is the most important initial process that we had to identify a vision which led us to the achievement of sale. To bring forth the vision, observation and research had to be done. After had ideas from brainstorming, several prototypes had to be experimented. To reduce the risk of failure, product test needed to be verified by target customer. These processes conform to the Lean Startup Method of Eric Ries (2011). In his book, he suggests that innovation and successful business can perform by the startup process which focuses on validated learning (loops of idea-prototyping-experimental-evaluation). The main lesson learnt from this process is not only failure of product launch can be reduced by repeatedly prototyping, testing and developing before official launch, but more creative outcome can emerge by combination of this process and insightful vision. Therefore, it can be said that distinction product and service can be generated by insightful vision from observation and product experimental through the lean startup. However, in architecture working process, there is some differences in context. Designer normally develops product together with the client before construction. Hence, the useful of this process can significantly benefit to an integrity of the construction through the collaborative prototyping among producers; designers, engineer, supplier and contractor. The more experimental in design and the more validation by collaborators, result in the more innovative and less failure in the construction.

 

Branding

                 Branding is one of the most important representative of our product and service which we want to propose to customers. It does not only associate with company name and logo, but also places of company, distributed channel, advertising and employee’s image. To be distinct, the more unification and consistent of the images, is the more powerful of the brand that can communicate to customer, and the more value of our product and service, is the more attractive for the client. As stated by Gallulo (2013) , CEO of Rapt Studio, “Business today doesn’t come down to what you sell or what you do. It’s about who you are and what you stand for…They both want purpose, they want to believe, and they want to feel like they’re part of something larger than themselves”, successful company is required to  influence customer by its quality product and also valuable vision. Therefore, for architectural newly firm, style and concept of the firm has to be defined explicitly. Then, the concept can be firmly introduced by a company name, logo, story, website, product packaging, presentation theme, office decoration and employee fig. The unified theme would strongly communicate to client that we are an expert in this thing, and ready to offer this product to the client. Furthermore, some researches indicate that the branding is vastly essential for success of newly established firm, and should consider at the beginning to decrease cost of subsequent changes of corporate identity as well as create trustworthiness (Bresciani and Eppler, 2010). Hence, it is a great direction to prepare the main concept of the company before establishing. Foster&Partners is a good example of architectural firm which introduce a brand of integrated design through all working process and projects including competition prizes (Design Museum + British Council, 2007). It can be said that, corporate social responsibility through environmental concerning is one of the company concept that effectively creates its strong brand image. Therefore, to create my branding, my expertise is green architectural design, I would decorate an office in the way of environmental concerning and energy-saving, propose green architectural design through design competition and involve in public green campaign in order to solidly promote a clear position and my expertise through this contexts.

 

Corporate social responsibility                                                           

                Corporate social responsibility, nowadays, plays a key role as value-added to the branding. It also can be a tool to increase brand awareness and differentiate the brand from competitors. In the past, I only knew an eco-friendly trend that can affect customer perception. However, after more research and practice in the module, I found that there are several issues, such as human right and employee welfare, involved in the CSR which become extremely important in term of brand image as stated by Allirajah (2013), group chairman of Lycamobile, “CSR is an important way to increase a business’ competitive advantage, protect and raise brand awareness and build trust with customers and employee”. There are several business models that success by CSR such as TOMS Shoes which successfully promote its brand through charity, and this good work can be a powerful profit engine, said by Binkley (The Wall Street Journal, 2010). Although this method could increase cost for business operation, effect of the goodness incredibly raises the brand awareness result in the reputation and profitability. Furthermore, there is an important issue about environmental concerning which could be legitimated in the near future. Some organizations are now proposing for eco-friendly standard which will not allow under standard architecture to be publicly promoted. This illustrates a rapid growth in the importance of CSR in shortly. Therefore, at least, environmental concerning should be a criteria for my architectural business, and ethical issue such as supporting child education, one of important social problem in my country, can be a surplus that raises brand image and also engage people heart by its goodwill story.

 

Storytelling

                One of the key tools that we were advised in the class is storytelling. In business, people normally focuses on demand of the customer, and provide supply respond to that demand. However, considering to stimulant of the demand, trustworthiness can be a key to motivate purchasing decision. Trustworthiness can emerge by belief. Therefore, storytelling which can engage audience heart would be pivot to succeed in the business as Denning (Forbes, 2011), Leadership guru, indicated “Storytelling is more than an essential set of tools to get things done: it’s a way for leaders” and “Persuasion is the centerpiece of business activity” stated in Harvard Business Review (Mackee and Flyer, 2003). TOMS Shoes is a significant instance which use CSR, as a tool, for the storytelling to engage people. One more important thing, not only the company that gain a goodwill by helping the society, customers will also gain this benefit to their image as well. Even in my tiny experience, selling of my group product proved that the sales increased after customer knew that it was student hand-made product. From this example and experience, I realized that this art of communication is extremely crucial not only for the business, but also during every working process especially for creative industry which trades intellectual property. Therefore, for my future business, green story of product and company, such as portfolios and contribution to green organization, must be attentively provide in order to engage clients as well as offer the value-added story for them. Moreover, storytelling would be cultivated as organizational culture for more diversified and depth story from the bottom of organization through the top.

 

Conclusion

                From the lecture classes and real business practice I n the modules, two factors which affect to the customer’s purchase decision are value of and believe in the brand. These two factors can be augmented by the leadership in the business which can be performed by four elements. Firstly, product and service is a tangible substance that client can measure by usage and satisfaction. Secondly, branding is a position and purpose of the company which communicate with the client. Thirdly, CSR is a tool that produce value-added to the company by helping social or environment. Lastly, storytelling is an art of communication to apply story to activities to engage customer heart. These elements are facilitated to create distinction, value, and belief in the brand in order to effectively lead the market and make profit at the end. This lesson realizes me the importance of strategic business plan by using these element effectively, as a tool, to avoid sunken in the red ocean strategy-high competitive market. Preparation of the right product by lean startup, creating distinct stand and valuable offer with a robust theme, adding meaningful responsibility and affiliating with impressive story would create the leadership in the market. All of there could be a key to the success of newly company. Last but not least, networking is another essential key to success which is emphasized in the module but not mentioned in this article because limitation in space. Therefore, it is beneficial to research for further argument.

 

Bibliography

Bresciani, S., & Eppler, M. J. (2010). Brand new ventures? Insights on start-ups’ branding practices. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 19(5), 356-366.

Galluolo, D. (2013). Everything You Know About Branding Is Wrong. On Marketing. Forbes. [Online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2013/12/03/everything-you-know-about-branding-is-wrong/ Accessed on: 21 Apr 2014

Allirajai, S. (2013). The importance of corporate social responsibility. Growth Business. [Online] Available at: http://www.growthbusiness.co.uk/the-entrepreneur/best-business-decisions/2403537/the-importance-of-corporate-social-responsibility.thtml Accessed on: 21 Apr 2014

Binkley, C. (2010). Charity Gives Shoe Brand Extra Shine. Wall Street Journal. [Online] Available at: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304252704575155903198032336 Accessed on: 21 Apr 2014

Mackee, R. and Flyer, B. (2003). Storytelling That Moves People. Harvard Business Review. [Online] Available at: http://hbr.org/web/special-collections/insight/communication/storytelling-that-moves-people Accessed:  21 Apr 2014

Denning, S. (2011). Why Leadership Storytelling Is Important. Forbes. [Online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/06/08/why-leadership-storytelling-is-important/ Accessed:  21 Apr 2014

Von Stamm, B. (2008). Managing innovation, design and creativity. John Wiley & Sons.

Puccio, G., Mance, M., & Zacko-Smith, J. (2013). Creative Leadership 11.Creativity and Leadership in Science, Technology, and Innovation, 287. [Online] Available at: http://www.academia.edu/1958027/CREATIVE_LEADERSHIP_ITS_MEANING_AND_VALUE_FOR_SCIENCE_TECHNOLOGY_AND_INNOVATION Accessed:  21 Apr 2014

The Lean Startup. (2012). The Lean Startup Methodology. [Online] Available at: http://theleanstartup.com/principles Accessed:  21 Apr 2014

Reis, E. (2011). The Lean Startup. New York: Crown Business.

Design Museum + British Council. (2007). Norman Foster. Design Museum. [Online] Available at: http://designmuseum.org/design/norman-foster Accessed:  21 Apr 2014

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Thai 24-year-old millionaire

Tao Kae Noi; Fried seaweed snack business

3dca56b99cd815ef469c395d04b4af6dThai young millionaire, name Ittiphat Kulaphongvanich, is one of the most successful entrepreneur who started business since he was 18 years old. Generally, he had four own businesses which could be said that they had both success and failure during the 6-year period.

Firstly, he accidentally found a business in online game, named Everquest, which he could change his asset in the game into real money around £2,000 a month. Although it was not really a business because it was an illegal and short-term business, it inspired him to be a businessman.

Secondly, there was a difficulty in his life with nearly £1 million debt (family financial). Hence, he quit studying, first decision making and risk taking, and decided to start business seriously as his inspiration to do a business. By finding opportunity in margin of trading Chinese product, he purchased cheap Chinese Dvd player and sold in Thailand. However, it was a failure business because uncontrollable product quality. Then, he quit and started food business.

เกาลัด2Thirdly, he found an opportunity of using technology, instead of human labour, to produce roasted chestnut. He rented roasted machine and started selling roasted chestnut in shopping malls in Bangkok. It was not successful at the beginning. Nevertheless, by learning and acknowledging about location and target, the business grew rapidly expanding to 30 branches around the city with almost £20,000 revenue a month. Although it was successful and made a large benefit for him, he was still looking for opportunity in the food business.

980px-CT1Lastly, he again found a new snack, fried seaweed that was not a local product which had opportunity to do a business. He studied and successfully produced it by himself but, later on, an obstacle in selling was a market channel with its unknown brand name. After considering, he tried to sale the product through 7-11 convenient store which sale consuming product and had easy-accessed for common people. At this time, because of distribution system of 7-11 company, he confronted several obstacles such as product quality, packaging, manufacturing standard and ordering supply. He made a decision to sale his roasted chestnut business (2nd gambling) for factory investment, and continue solved the problems one by one. Afterwards, he succeeded getting into the channel and archived his goal by expanding his business. From roasted chestnut until now it take 4 years, and his business earns more than £42 million sale revenue a year.

From this case study, key factors leading him to the success can be;

  • Realizing ambition and going directly to the achievement
  • Insight learning the market; product, target and channel
  • Seize the opportunity and then learning by doing without fear of mistake
  • Confronting problems, analyzing situation and suddenly solving the problem one by one
  • Decision making and risk taking, but minimum the risk by questioning and researching
  • Being realistic

Last but not lease, although some people are not born to be an entrepreneur, these essential traits can be practiced and improved.

So…. have you prepared yourself to start the business journey?

 

Referencing:

Audi, Vorsprung durch Technik

Video

Controversial Advertising

Brand slogan and advertising technique are crucial for advertisement. This video clip is a good example of, Audi, using controversial advertising technic on branding slogan to make an impact on English people. Although, during the proposal of advertisement, there was controversy of language using in design team and negative feedback research, it was incredible successful at the end.
John Hegarty, a creative director of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, accidentally saw a German word “Vorsprung durch Technik” (progress through technology) in Audi factory, and proposed it to use as Audi slogan. In his team, there is a disagreement because of a using of foreign language in English country. By believing in his intuition, he proposed it to client directly. Nevertheless, though client accepted it, research was required. Afterward, research showed the negative feedback as referring to German may affect to English people emotion. However, they trusted in its controversial impact and decided to use the German language slogan. At the end, this slogan was significantly successful in term of re-branding company image and also aspect of Germany.
What I learn from this story is;

  • Creativity can emerge by being observant; looking, watching, hearing and thinking
  • Sometimes trustful of intuition is needed
  • Leading client is important to achieve the goal
  • Controversial technique can make the impact
  • Taking risk is a part of creative job

So, are you ready to challenge the risk!!

Referencing:

Rice-Oxley, M. (2012). Vorsprung durch Technik – ad slogan that changed how we saw Germany. The Guardian.

Blacksheep. (2014). Great Client. Blacksheep Company

Unsung Hero..

Video

Branding: Value of Life

This is an advertising of Thai Life Insurance Company in Thailand, which is one of the most popular advertisement recently. It started launching on YouTube on 8th of April, and now its view exceeds 10 million views, only in 2 weeks. Even though there is nothing about the company product, why it is so famous? Storytelling….

The Unsung Hero was created by Ogilvy & Mather with the concept of “Creation of Inspiration through Love and Value of Life” by Thai Life Insurance. There are several advertisements from this company that are significantly successful in term of branding by leveraging human morality. An interesting point of this advertising is the way it presents. In the story, there is nothing about its product, except its logo shown at the end. However, by the way it engages people heart, it impacts audience emotion leading to talk of the town phenomenon and brand awareness. There are many approaches to engage people through storytelling. The reason why this advertising becoming so famous is because it touches people heart through storytelling with reflecting social morality deterioration, reviving Thai culture and promoting virtue and spiritual worth. Some details that assist the successful engagement are;

  • Reflecting the problem in society, which people deeply perceives, but do nothing because of competitiveness and isolation by flow of capitalism. People knows but hard to resist.
  • Reviving Thai culture, which used to value generousness and dependence. It recalls older generation experience and stimulates the new generation to do something valuable that different from present circumstance.
  • Differentiation approach; Approach to value of life, which separates itself from present advertising that normally approaching to physical benefit and funny.
  • Insightful marketing strategy; using internet channel (YouTube), which can extremely easy-spread through social network.

All in all, the interesting point of this advertising is using irrelevant story among the company product and the story. Although it seems that virtue is not relevant to insurance, some points, taking care intimate; family and friend by life insurance, can be one of giving in charity. However, by its touch-heart story, this point seems not to be a big deal because the story has a significant impact to audience heart and create an extreme positive brand awareness.

Referencing: Brandbuffet Team (2014), Behind the Scene; Unsung Hero

Daddy and Son, The Storytelling by Google

Video

Story is an experience of something or someone. Everybody has different experience, so the stories are different. Because people is curious, interesting story can be a different experience which expand people imagination. However, some experiences that similar to someone can create shared space between the people. Therefore, some emotional shared experience seem to create impressionable relationship leading to engagement between the people.

In this way, storytelling is applied to several activities which aim to encourage or engage people for a particular purpose such as in transformational leadership theory that places important to a heart engagement. When people feels impressive to the story, there is an opportunity of leading someone to the teller’s objective.
This method is now commonly used in every part of our life, significantly seen in an advertising. It is an art of communication for engaging, influencing and cultivating belief into the audience. However, because it is about emotion, there is no instant formula to touch people heart. But what I have seen is that insight of culture is a key to communicate with particular people, and emotional relationship as well as humour are the key to impact people heart.

The first advertisement can be a great example of touching people heart with relationship between parent and child. At the beginning, characters, ambience and story connect people to an intimated child and dad experience, which happening to everybody, and effectively impact to audience’s heart. Afterwards, more detail dialogue is introduced to make a question; how he can do?, in audience’s mind. Then, an answer is appeared as a cheating by its product. Humour is used, again, to change the feeling of the audience pulling back to the present. The content is only an ability to search information by google. The key is “How would you do, when you become a daddy” which much more impact to audience heart.

Overall, storytelling is the most important skill for the people who associates with creativity. Because creativity is something about new or original, belief and engagement are extremely crucial in order to influence audience to the way we lead.

A-Z of dance

Video

Commercial, Art, Culture and Encouragement

This is a campaign by Diesel Jeans Company, name “JOGGYJEANS”. The project aims to collect unique dancing arranging by names’ alphabet from A-Z, and publish on social media of the company. It proposes opportunity for people to be included in this video by submit their unique dancing performance to the company. In my view, this campaign is so creative and benefit to all people, not only for advertising and business purpose, but also performing art promotion, creative skill encouragement and community support. The benefits are;

  • Brand recognition and image by the story of dance and performance, as well as CSR credit.
  • Opportunity for people to promote their creativity and skills
  • Dancing community and network
  • Art and culture encouragement

What I learnt from this campaign is, there is a place where art, culture and commercial can join together and create the wonderful thing, and colourful  world.

The Making of Unnumbered Sparks

Video

Art & Technology, enjoyment and remembrance

“Art, can be something that makes us [human] more thoughtful and well-rounded human.” said by Esaak. In my view, art can also be something that stimulates human emotion in some ways. In this video clip, this is one of my favorite artworks. In fact, I am not really an artist person but I feel that this art work is so valuable. Although it may have a particular meaning it itself, the important value of this workpiece, in my view, is the effects on the audience’s emotion and commemoration. Key effects that are so valuable for me is;

  • It invites several people to participate and do something together.
  • It encourages people to get close to art.
  • It makes delightful and enjoyment to the audiences.
  • It connects people.
  • It create remembrance value for the place, people and community.

It is an interactive art which integrates art and technology in order to engage people to the art work and digital technology. Although it may not deep-impress into people heart in the sense of art philosophy, it creates remembrance of place, happening and relationship that people co-creates something playful, gorgeous and fulfilment together.

Referencing : Esaak, Shelly (2011)