Bryce Whitwam - How a South Dakotan made it in China


Manage episode 238783395 series 2510319
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Hi. And welcome to the Cao & Chao Show. A podcast where we talk to remarkable creators about how they got here.

Today, I talk with Bryce Whitwam, newly minted Chief Executive Officer at MRM McCann, formerly Chief Executive Officer of Wunderman China.

Both Wunderman and MRM are direct marketing agencies. Wunderman is believed to be the creator of modern-day direct marketing. I am sure others will dispute that characterization. Or not.

For those familiar with the US market, Wunderman is credited with coming up with the 1800 toll free number and the magazine subscription card. Small stuff, big impact.

Back to Bryce.

In just six years, Bryce built up Wunderman from a 20 person agency to a 300 person powerhouse. How was he able to do this? We explore that and more in this unique segment.

We change it up a little bit this week. Rather than one – some might say long - continuous podcast, we cut up the interview into five, let’s call them slices.

In slice one Bryce takes us back to his days as a high school disc jockey in the States, and stresses the importance of acquiring time-honored skills you can fall back on if all else goes to hell.

In slice two Bryce adopts the strategy of fight where you think you can win after realizing competition in the States was too intense and if he wanted to follow his passion he would need to find more fertile ground. Asia called.

In slice three, Bryce leaves for Thailand, a place that pushed him out of his comfort zone and teaches him what it means to be a marketer.

In the fourth and second to last slice, we chat about leadership and influence in China. For the South Dakotan native, leading is all about showing that you can do the work, not just get people to do it for you. To thrive, you need to learn the language. The days of the foreigner discount are over.

In the final session Bryce talks about the changing market in China. Winning will rely more on marketing prowess than distribution. While entering the market is easier than it has ever been winning will be increasingly more difficult. He also sees a correction in the near future and a world where China will become a global leader in services, not just products.

So please come and enjoy.

And remember,

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