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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Collins

Secrets to Mailman Success

Having spent the best part of 7 years in China striving to be a global media giant – and we’re certainly on our way –  I was asked recently to reflect on what made the business work.  I hadn’t thought about it too much, as it seemed like our past few years had simply run on adrenaline and hard work, but after some reflection, I discovered that there were 6 principles that appeared over and over again that stood out.  I share them below.

1. Make People Proud

This goes without saying, but we’ve really taken this to heart at Mailman.  Do things you really are proud of and reward those people around it.  We’re lucky that we’ve had the opportunity to create so many cool projects: from working with China Branding Group to develop a Celebrity Social Network and promoting the biggest football teams in the world in China, to sponsoring Shanghai’s white collar boxing events, and now, KAWO opening China to the world.  With each project, we strive to create not only something we’re proud of, but also foster an environment of creativity and communication.  By doing this, we’ve able to have workers, clients, and a culture of which we’re proud.

2. Be Everywhere

We literally mean be in as many places as you can.  Our brand was founded on the principle, ‘To Serve the People,’ so any chance we have to support a local cause, an event or better yet, to create our own (T13, Boxing) we’ll do it.  As a public brand, we’re constantly looking for public feedback, not only for our own improvement, but also for the value of giving back to the wider community. This helps keep us on our toes and impacting the community creates a ripple effect that helps tie us closely together to the community in terms of referrals and people introductions. We’ve never been satisfied with simply delivering a product- it’s impossible for us to sit too long without trying to jump into making an impact on the city in which we live.

3. Never Settle

This is a mindset that we are constantly aiming for.  It’s a philosophy that has to spread throughout our entire business, from the people to the products to even our community involvement. Common words in our office include innovation, passion, winning against the odds, and never settling.  We’ve had great success in clients, new products and more, but our desire to grow has never waned. Rather, each success only adds fuel to our fire to create something bigger each time.  The Transition China event is a great example of trying something new; we had a lot of moving parts to manage in a new territory, but our hunger for improvement and belief that we could do it made it possible.  Each successful venture or project gives us the confidence to take on bigger challenges, and so we are continually trying to reach higher.

4. Brands With fans

We made a decision early in our business to only take on ‘fun clients’ with brands that ‘don’t disrupt’ the lives of others. This has made all areas of our business easier to develop, from the people, motivation, brand awareness and more.  We’ve taken on global clients with brands worth sharing, often football teams with millions of fans, or a celebrity with a cult following.  When we do decide to take on a consumer brand, we put a lot of thought into considering ‘how do we fit in the consumers life’ and ‘how can we offer value’ before taking it on.  We never want to push dull brands, but ones that we think add value to customers’ lives. And from a client’s perspective, by creating interesting content and implementing smart local strategies, we help invigorate these brands to gain more customers and fans.

5. Passionately Committed

We may not be the biggest company in the room, but we sure are the most energetic. We’re all about maximizing our assets, and for us, that’s our people, so if we have an opportunity to show that off, well, we’ll take it. We win business 95% of the time when we’re in the room and the recipients can hear our passion and commitment in what we do. Because we’re excited about our company and being involved in a cutting-edge industry, they, too, feel the desire to challenge industry norms and try new things. Our successful work history is a clear indication that a passionate lover will always trump a dull intellect.

6. No Experience, No Sweat

The first time we decided to move into digital for good,  I was worried, given our lack of online experience; we’d never built, designed, conceptualized a website, let alone ran a social media strategy for a major brand.  We got a lucky break with an early client in American Airlines, who had been dealing with some trouble from its incumbent agency, because of a good preexisting relationship, but from there we needed more.  So instead of looking for new business and starting small, we jumped right into making our own. We started mapping out our own company projects, which would give us the experience we needed to talk at a high level on new pitches.  In fact, this philosophy hasn’t stalled, and we’re still dreaming up new business and now investing all our future in fueling entrepreneurs under our brand.  Since going all digital, we’ve created a sports network with over 600 public writers, iphone applications, and our infamous celebrity network with Kawo, and have a new project in the pipeline, MVIP- all pioneered by our great team.

And so, our journey in some ways is just beginning. We have a long road ahead, but I’m looking forward to continuing our traditions into this digital future.

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