OgilvyForum: “Hard Talk on Soft Power”

[11 January 2011, Beijing] Ogilvy & Mather China today hosted the inaugural OgilvyForum, themed “Hard Talk on Soft Power”. The half-day event in Beijing brought together more than one hundred clients, Ogilvy executives and staff, industry peers, media and Ms. Hong Huang, editor and publisher of iLook magazine, celebrated blogger and one of the most influential entrepreneurs in China, to explore the compelling case for Cultivating Business Growth with Soft Power.

Panel Discussion
Opening the Forum, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide CEO Miles Young said: “As the [economic] recovery takes hold, we should be cautious about assuming it is business as usual. In fact, my theme this afternoon is that it must not be. And, in particular, that there is a unique congruence of circumstances which should lead us to understand and exploit “soft power” as a means of growing differentially ahead of the recovery – which is, after all, what we should seek to do.”

During the course of the event, Ogilvy executives explained that the concept of soft power is very closely linked to that of nation branding. A brand is a combination of hard and soft attributes. The harder they are, the more rational; the softer they are, the more emotional. And soft power is hugely dependent on emotion and emotion is dependent on creativity.

OgilvyForum 1
Speaking about Ogilvy's approach to applying soft power to branding, Paul Heath, CEO of O&M Asia Pacific, said: “At Ogilvy we believe we have a new way of thinking about brands for the new age of marketing that we are all living in. We call it "The big ideaL".  The big ideaL is a way to connect your brand with the broader agenda that consumers - and societies are looking for. It is a way of reshaping what the brand stands for and in some cases even what the company does around a mission, a belief or a point of view. Ideals require authenticity.”

Ogilvy Executives
Shenan Chuang, CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Greater China, said, “A recent search of the word 'creativity' on Baidu turned up more than 78,400,000 articles, showing that creativity is indeed gathering widespread attention in China. As a creativity driven business we understand that creativity is at the heart of soft power. So we hope this first OgilvyForum will be a catalyst for stimulating further discussions on soft power and how this delicate, powerful art can shelter and grow businesses, brands and destinations in this new decade.”

Ogilvy's Miles Young concluded by saying, “The soft power opportunity is there to be taken, for Chinese brands and for China as a brand. It is fundamental to changing the label “Made in China” from being at best neutral to being a positive advantage. It is about creative power not just engineering power. It is about moving from being the Factory of the World to the Atelier of the World. And it is entirely possible.”

Ogilvy will host the Forum in Shanghai this Thursday, January 13.


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Sarah Guldin
Corporate Communications
e: sarah.guldin@ogilvy.com
t: 86-10-8520-6552
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About Ogilvy & Mather
Ogilvy & Mather (ogilvy.com) is one of the largest marketing communications companies in the world. Through its specialty units, the company provides a comprehensive range of marketing services including: advertising; public relations and public affairs; branding and identity; shopper and retail marketing; healthcare communications; direct, digital, promotion, relationship marketing. Ogilvy & Mather services Fortune Global 500 companies as well as local businesses through its network of more than 450 offices in 120 countries. It is a WPP company (NASDAQ: WPPGY.) For more information, visit www.ogilvy.com.

Contact: Sarah Guldin
Date: January 11, 2011
Office: Beijing