Archive for the '*Bernd Schmitt' Category

The Changing Face of the Asian Consumer

December 10, 2013

The Changing Face of the Asian ConsumerAs Asia continues its economic growth, Asian consumers and branding in Asia are becoming the focal points of business and commerce.

How do Asian consumers shop? What kind of brands do they prefer? And how can you grow your business with Asian consumers?

Our Faculty Director Professor Bernd Schmitt launched a new book titled “The Changing Face of the Asian Consumer,” to help companies navigate and maneuver the complex and diverse landscape that is Asia.  Schmitt has more than twenty years of experience in Asia as a professor, researcher and consultant. He wrote the book while he lived in Singapore for the last two years, on a special leave from Columbia Business School, as the Executive Director of ACI, the new Institute on Asian Consumer Insight.

In his book, Schmitt presents key insights about the Asian marketplace, which together with his strategies will help you grow your business in Asia:

  • Find out what middle-class consumers want—and what they buy—when their incomes rise.
  • Learn why Asians are collectivists who are becoming increasingly individualistic.
  • Discover that Asian consumers are driven by contradictory desires; they are, at the same time, Value Shopaholics, Functional Hedonists, and Traditional Futurists.

The book also includes useful tools such as a strategy map to plan market entry, a lifestyle tool to analyze consumer motivations and trends, and an omni-channel metric to assess the right mix of online and offline media.  Finally, he presents benchmarks and best practices from multinational and local companies for various industries and markets in Asia—including consumer electronics, fashion and lifestyle, food and beverage, airline, hotel, skincare and e-commerce.

Enjoy Prof. Schmitt speaking at our BRITE ’13 conference on many of the concepts he was developing in the course of writing the book.


Do consumers view technology as magic?

February 7, 2011

More than a hundred years ago, sociologist Max Weber wrote that secularization—or the “disenchantment of the world”—lay at the heart of modern society. He argued that due to the industrial revolution and advances in science, the modern world had become less mysterious and more predictable to individuals, and society as a whole had become more rational and bureaucratic.

Last week, in a talk here at Columbia, Russ Belk, professor at York University in Toronto and a leading consumer culture researcher, argued that consumers view new technologies—computers, the internet, and nowadays social media—at first, before they get used to the technology, as magic.   His argument is quite intriguing. As evidence, just watch the resurrected video of Steve Jobs introducing the Macintosh—appropriately dubbed “the magic moment” by TextLab, the discoverers and restorers of that film.

Belk points to the possibility that our modern world never fully rationalized, that there was always an emotional and magical undercurrent, and that the “theme of magic” now, paradoxically, manifests itself in consumers’ admiration of the very device that was supposed to erase it—technology.


Encounters in the Global Experience Economy: Matsuhisa Athens

September 24, 2010

The two blonde hostesses are Greek and well practiced in “Irasshaimase!” I am having a seat at the sushi counter. The sushi chef is Japanese by way of California.

I order an espresso martini. The chef recommends the local sea bass and also the local sea urchin—from Crete, from a special supplier which he personally selected, all natural, without any preservatives, and thus better than the one from Japan. I am asking for both the bass and the urchin as sushi, and also order an eel-and-cucumber roll.

The sushi chef tells me that his daughter just graduated from UC Berkeley. She now lives in LA. He came to Greece two years ago. Not a great time for working at a trendy Japanese restaurant right now. But he says most of the customers are locals, and business is better this year than last.

I am reading excerpts from a new book in German, “Deutschboden.” The section I am reading is about a “Super Kleinstadt,” Oberhavel in Brandenburg, where life still seems local. Where people at the Stammtisch talk about third league soccer and eat Schnitzel and Currywurst.

My main dish tonight is one of those signature “Nobu” dishes: Chilean sea bass with jalapeno sauce. We all know, from the web, that Mr. Matsuhisa grew up in South America where he learned to mix cuisines … I am wondering if this is the endangered species fish for which he got bad press online.

The waitress forgot my water order and when it finally arrives, it is the sushi-chef who comes around the counter to pour me the water. A Japanese way of apologizing, I recognize. He introduces his sous-chef. “Where is he from?”, I ask. “From a special place,” he answers, “Blue Island, Quingdao.” Thus, we converse on Quingdao beer, and Löwenbräu, and Super Dryyyyyyyy.

I am wondering how to finish the meal tonight. Earlier we had talked about how the Japanese drink a lot of coffee. I decide that blueberry and chocolate mochi ice cream may turn out to be a great complement to the espresso martini.

When I exit the restaurant and walk past the bungalows of the resort back to my room, looking up to the trees and the starry night, I feel as if I am in Bali.


This post originally posted by SCHMITT on the MeetSCHMITT blog at:

Haircuts as Inspiration

February 12, 2010

Bernd SchmittIn the fall of 2009, our Faculty Director, Bernd Schmitt, was interviewed by McGraw Hill as part of its “Thinkers 50” global ranking of business thinkers.

At one point, Schmitt discusses an enlightening haircut experience when a barber inspired him to rethink the way he had always parted his hair. Such challenges to historic thinking represent the importance for business leaders to be bold enough to “kill their sacred cows”–those ingrained methods of doing business that they never even consider rethinking.

The interview, conducted in three parts, provides more thoughts from Schmitt on:

To hear Bernd Schmitt speak at BRITE ’10, register now.

Innovation in Curation

January 21, 2010

For decades, curating a show in a museum meant putting the works of art together and displaying them (for example, hanging the paintings on the wall with some consideration on where they should hang and perhaps putting some introductory note at the beginning of the show, written in “high brow” art-history lingo). There are still too many shows like that. But the really good ones today are quite different.

Like the brilliant show on Spanish Painting & Sculpture 1600-1700 in the National Gallery in London, which I attended yesterday. The show is titled “The Sacred Made Real.” For innovation in curation starts with the name: “Spanish Painting …” is the subtitle; the “Sacred Made Real” is the main title, providing a theme for watching the show. The audio guide, rather “audio program,” is superbly done and really enriches the experience. It is easy to use, includes interviews with the curator and others; allows you to play music of the time, and so on. What else is on? Not only the usual lunchtime talks but also “The Making of a Spanish Polychrome Sculpture,” which reveals the technical process in creating such sculptures.

All of this is experiential and customer oriented. That’s why I ask my EMBA students in the Munich program to go to the museums there. As museums have adopted a customer orientation and are wiping off the old dust, managers can learn a few lessons from them about how to innovate in a business in which there had been little change for too long.


This post originally posted by Schmitt on the MeetSCHMITT blog at:

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