East meets west


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East meets west

  1. 1. s IN IGHT East Sharing ‘Glocal’ Business PracticeV Meets W MCI: What are the key features that define improve efficiency, increase quality and consistency and business practice in your region? optimize both return on investment and return on objective Milo Vergucht: Much like its rich history, busi- for meetings. ness practice in Europe is very diversified. Local culture, habits, laws and regulations mean that MCI: Do we learn and share business practices between doing business can be very different from one regions? country to another. M.V.: As a truly global organization, our 1200+ talents at MCI And while political leaders are trying to unite the represent over 50 nationalities and speak over 60 languages. European region, we see a regionalized ap- Many are used to working in cross-functional, cross-cultural proach evident in the business world. The free and even virtual environments. Our teams consist of people movement of goods and services within the with experience in a variety of industries. While all our teams European Union’s internal market requires work according to Standard Operating Procedures that guar- more consistency in interactions and antee the same qualitative client experience through an entire communication with customers across region (local/regional/global), each team member brings his/her countries and allows for larger economies of scale through cultural experiences, heritage and professional skills to the ta-consolidation of suppliers. MCI recently started working with ble. MCI has created a platform that encourages and facilitatesa multinational for local-to-local event support in 12 European our global teams to exchange ideas, experiences, knowledgecountries. Through consolidation of its supply base, the com- and know-how. For instance, the MCI Account Manager forpany was able to reduce the number of agencies for meetings the European branch of a global financial services firm sharedand events by 60%. This enabled them to work with fewer with our MCI Australia team the methodology, procedurescontacts, increase efficiency and gain more visibility on their and tools to be more efficient and pro-active in helping thespend across Europe. Australian branch become aligned to the global brand strategy. Clients can be assured of a globally consistent approach.MCI: How do client expectations differ from one region toanother? MCI: Why has MCI been successful in the “West”?M.V.: Despite positive indications in Europe, the risk of a return M.V.: MCI was founded 25 years ago in Geneva, Switzerland.to recessionary times is never too far away. As such, no one in From here, we started our growth and expansion.Europe is operating with full certainty anymore. Organizations Through a series of mergers and acquisitions with strong localincreasingly want to do more with less. As a result, we expe- players and start-ups in key markets, we now cover the entirerience a higher demand to prove return on investment and European region. As such, we were the 1st Eventjustify spend. Lead times are becoming shorter than ever due Management Company to have a truly regional reach ofto a “wait and see” attitude. Flexibility, innovation and diversi- wholly-owned offices.fication are key for organizations like MCI to be successful intoday’s European marketplace. MCI: How do we use MCI’s own journey to help clients grow their organizations globally?MCI: How do we keep the MCI offer relevant for clients in M.V.: MCI has grown globally and is often present in manythis region? locations where clients already operate or wish to develop aM.V.: MCI’s Strategic Account Management Programme presence. Our story and organizational structure can serve asfocuses on building close relationships with our clients and a blueprint and give us the understanding to help them growmaking sure we help them achieve their strategic business their organizations in the same way. One of our offices willobjectives. Thanks to our vast network of offices in Europe, we usually act as a regional hub, working closely together withcan be present in the locations where our clients’ organizations the client’s regional headquarters. The MCI hub team super-are. We provide them with a central, regional hub office (stra- vises and supports local offices around the globe in terms oftegic alignment), along with a range of offices that take care of customer expectations, guidelines and policies. We provide thelocal delivery. At the moment of publication of this client with reliable and homogeneous meeting managementmagazine, we will be halfway through a series of national, throughout the globe, safeguarding their brand in terms ofone day customer events in 27 destinations across the EMEA identity, helping them strengthen their communities andregion, where MCI is providing a fully integrated, full-service allowing a more consistent positioning across markets.solution, ensuring a consistent “on brand” experience for our Last year MCI supported a leading global petro-chemicalclient’s customers, partners and prospects. The project is cen- company to disseminate their corporate rebranding and thetrally coordinated and managed by a “hub office”, combined new five-year business plan, simultaneously and in a consist-with “in country” execution by local MCI offices in partnership ent way throughout their entire workforce across 139 locationswith the client’s local marketing teams who own the event worldwide.locally. By taking a more strategic approach to meetings andevents management, we work hand in hand with our clients to
  2. 2. sWest Milo Vergucht (Regional Sales Director - Europe) and Nisha Mullatti (Regional Sales Director - Asia Pacific) discuss the importance of understanding business cultures to operate successfully in a regional market. MCI: What are the key features that define business prac- MCI: How do we share business practices between tice in your region? regions? Nisha Mullatti: At times the challenges can be immense, but so N.M.: Today MCI is in the unique position to be able to too are the rewards. A dynamic and entrepreneurial region, it is bring solutions and services to corporate clients which a booming marketplace for many industries. Taking an example are not available or are rare in the Asian market, but for from MCI’s own expansion in the region, some key challenges which we already possess the knowledge and experience of doing business in Asia-Pacific include that company reputa- having successfully implemented them for our clients in tion and the quality of talent it attracts are intrinsically linked. Europe. This enables us to respond and react to our client In Asia, the war for talent is very real. Because of the rapid needs in Asia better and faster by bringing in our Subject pace of change in Asia, clients and governments prefer to work Matter Experts and expertise in specialized services such with “reputable” companies. Employees seek the same. In this as Strategic Meetings Management (SMM), Creative environment, a trusted, respected brand is key to attracting communication and BCOM event management technol- top talent. MCI has been successful in this regard because of ogy. We recently launched Peer-to-Peer programmes for its solid reputation and legacy. There are shorter timelines for our healthcare clients in Asia which had been delivered by RFP/proposal submissions and delivery in order to match the MCI in Europe successfully for over 2 years. We brought fast-paced growth plans of corporate clients within Asia. Very Subject Matter Experts from Europe to our client’s office in few event agencies today can design and deliver solutions and Asia using virtual meeting technology. The expertise and events for their clients within these short timelines due to lack of knowledge that was shared was put into practice to help an local market knowledge/local presence and global processes. Asian healthcare client build faster speed to market for MCI combats this with its large footprint in the region a new product. (16 offices), local market knowledge and strong partner network. MCI: Why has MCI been successful in this region? MCI: How do client expectations differ from one region to N.M.: MCI’s “Global-Local” or “Glocal” approach, combining another? global knowledge with local expertise, helps us to be success- N.M.: The challenges of corporate clients, their expectations ful. Today we have 16 offices across 9 countries in Asia-Pacific and issues are usually universal. Clients want consistent delivery and the Middle East (Japan, Korea, India, China, Hong Kong, and delegate experience wherever their event may be, timely Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Dubai & Australia). One of the key and seamless delivery within budget, Group/Global policies and reasons for our success in this region is that we understood process to be followed to safeguard brand identity and most early on that Asian cultures share a variety of characteristics, important they want their business and meeting objectives to each distinct in its specific cultural elements and accepted be met. While core fundamentals are the same, often there are business norms. We knew that we had to build ‘local to local’ situations where managing relationships and service offerings relationships. We have demonstrated for clients that using local require a different approach in Asia Pacific. MCI has demonstrat- leaders and teams has advantages way beyond empowering ed nimbleness for clients who sometimes want messaging to be our Asian businesses. Our clients value the diversity of this adapted in local languages in tune with local culture. They seek “Glocal” approach which makes MCI a key partner in their local account managers to service them locally. growth plans in Asia. MCI: How do we keep the MCI offer relevant for clients in MCI: How do we use MCI’s own journey to help clients the “East”? grow their organizations globally? N.M.: We constantly adapt the way that we do business. There N.M.: We mirror our client’s organization or where they aspire is a common misconception that all Asian countries share the to be. Multinational corporations, associations and institutions same “Asian” values, attitudes and mind set. MCI had to adapt are facing massive human capital and human connections to the cultural nuances of each country while retaining some issues in Asia while approaching this new market. MCI has global consistencies to meet our clients’ global and local ex- been able to help, making connections between East and West pectations as they too grow their businesses in this region. For for multinational organizations faster with our global thinking example, earning respect and trust are considered the first step and local relevance. We are often present where clients already to business interaction. The development of close personal ties are or where they would like to be. This helps us support their with business associates are necessary for success in business growth in this region. We help Asian companies grow globally. in China - very different from the European/Western way where Today many Asian companies desire to grow globally by form- business discussions take the lead and relationship investment ing joint ventures with American and European companies or done at a later stage. We adhere to corporate governance. by buying Western companies. This leads to substantial Although Asia is a complex market place, we at MCI understand pressure from their business partners and from Western gov- that the fundamentals of business don’t change. There are differ- ernments for these companies to exhibit “Western” affinities ences in the way business is done, but we make sure we adhere and an understanding of the western way of doing business. to our client’s corporate policies. The fact that we refuse to MCI has partnered with many Asian clients in this reverse compromise can sometimes make business slower. However, we growth process. believe that companies with strong governance and a reputation for compliance will do better over the long-term as Asia matures. Contact: nisha.mullatti@mci-group.com, milo.vergucht@mci-group.com |19