Local Talents Drive Korean Agency Forward
Reported by Dinh Dung
Managing 49 overseas offices in 27 countries, Cheil Worldwide has just launched its subsidiary in Vietnam after nearly 10 years being active as a representative office. The Weekly talked to Phan Huynh Huyen Thoai, managing director of Cheil Vietnam, on the occasion of the Korean advertising company’s business expansion. Excerpts:
Why does Cheil officially enter Vietnam this year?
Cheil Worldwide has carried out its strategic business expansion to Vietnam this year. But we have been here in the country since 2003. In fact, we have been known as an advertising company which has designed marketing campaigns for Samsung. At first, we were just a small representative office serving as an in-house agency. To set up a larger company, it requires different factors. Cheil finds this year a right time to capitalize on long-term development in the potential communications market in Vietnam.
As you have just mentioned the personnel factor, how does Cheil prepare the human resources for the expansion?
Working in Vietnam, Cheil has worked out a strategy to go deep into the local communications market by using local talents. Although Cheil is a Korean company, most employees working here are Vietnamese. The strong point of multinational companies is professional working style, meanwhile local talents are those who directly execute business strategy. We are among few foreign companies setting orientation and investing in developing local talents for long-term business. At Cheil, local employees have been appointed to different positions, including important posts such as managing director and planning director. In short, any Vietnamese talent who can share their knowledge and experiences to develop our company will be on the list of priorities in Cheil’s working environment.
Competitiveness in the local communication market has become fiercer. What do you comment on the trend?
The competition level has become fiercer as communications companies get larger, and thus they need more new clients in Vietnam market. Competition always brings benefits to customers. There are more players, there is tougher competition; and as a result, advertising companies will have to offer better services. Overall, competition will help the local communications market grow healthier, forcing players to work harder to fight for new customers and to better serve their clients.
What would you do to differentiate Cheil from other competitors?
Each advertising company has its own brand, under which there is a difference in working style. For us, there are three main factors that help Cheil differentiate from other competitors in the market.
The first one is the spirit of Tuhon – the Korean relentless drive to succeed. It also means mentality fighting to the end, never giving up, pushing beyond one’s limits, and making the impossible possible. We realize that the spirit is much appropriated to Vietnamese employees as they see themselves in the spirit. That is fighting tirelessly to improve business result and to reach higher target.
The second thing is idea engineering that is considered as instrument to serve the spirit, as a weapon to win. The spirit alone is not enough; it requires suitable means to get success. Luckily, Cheil Vietnam has inherited the spirit from Cheil Worldwide.
The third point is that Cheil has gathered different communications services (fully ATL & BTL) into one agency. Talking about an advertising company, one might think of advertising shots on televisions, printed newspapers and magazines. However, Vietnamese customers have become familiar with digital advertising, gradually accessing the Internet as a channel for information rather than viewing advertisements on traditional channels.
We include everything into one company to offer a fully integrated marketing service to customers. That’s why we have joined hands with a local partner, Mekong Communications, to develop the digital advertising segment.
What is your target development in Vietnam market?
We set a target to grow from 30%-50 % this year, and aim to be one of the top three advertising agencies in Vietnam in the next three years.
How do you foresee the local communications market in the years to come?
It is hard to say in advance how the market will be because it depends on the law of competition. If your business strategy is appropriate to the competition in Vietnam, you will survive and develop, and vice versa. At present, large advertising companies are facing difficulties as their clients have cut budgets for marketing campaigns because of global economic difficulties. Meanwhile mid-sized advertising companies including Cheil, though facing tough competition, are in good operation thanks to having flexible strategy to adapt the market challenges.
In Vietnam, we foresee a bright future for digital advertising in the next five to 10 years.