Hongqiao and Silk Street are famous for their wide selection of goods and their ‘seasoned’ vendors, as The Wall Street Journal’s Andy Jordan captures in this video.
My first visit to both markets resulted in success: I found four pairs of shoes and received a valuable lesson in strategic planning.
Shopping in Beijing and developing a strategic plan are very similar. Here’s how:
- Goal Setting: Every good strategic plan starts with a goal or objective. Before you start brainstorming, ask yourself and your client what success looks like. For example, do you want to change public behaviour, increase sales or just buy a specific shoe? You need to first know where you want to go before making a plan to get there.
- Strategy Development: After identifying your goal, you need to figure out how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). Your strategy needs to be thoughtful and shaped by research about your audience, the landscape and other factors. Heading to the market, I knew my audience was smart, savvy and unfazed by tough talkers. Based on this, I decided to go after my shoes by being friendly and polite.
- Execution: After identifying your goal and developing a strategy, you need to execute tactics that will take you there. This can be anything from an event, media relations, a public education campaign or stakeholder outreach. In line with my shoe strategy, I used the following tactics: bargaining in Chinese (as much as I could), smiling at the vendors, and politely walking away when the price was too high – this always got me my preferred offer.
- Results: At Edelman, we believe in Public Engagement and work towards outcomes, not just outputs. Depending on what you’ve identified as success with your client, you can measure your results by an increase in sales, a change in behavior or an increase in awareness around a certain issue. My sign of success? Walking away with four pairs of shoes in my size and style, all within my budget.
New shoes and a refresher on strategy – turns out my first Beijing shopping experience was not just good for me, it was also good for my clients.
Marissa Bushe is a Global Fellow for Edelman in Beijing, China, and is in her third year with Edelman Vancouver. You can also follow her on Twitter: @Mbushe