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Author: Textappeal

image of view from the top special cannes 2016 podcast with world rugby and lenovo

DAY 2: Brett Gosper and Donna Bedford

  |   News

Today, we continue ‘View From the Top’ Cannes Special Edition. Hosted by Elliot Polak, leaders in the marketing industry are interviewed in ‘long and short’ form. In these podcasts, each guest is prompted with a word and must respond with either ‘long’ or ‘short’ based on their opinion of the concept in relation to international marketing, followed by an explanation regarding the same.


For our first episode of the day, we have Brett Gosper, CEO of World Rugby as well as Rugby World Cup. In the past, he has worked in directorial roles at many advertising agencies such McCann Erickson and TBWA.

Our second podcast features Donna Bedford, Global Digital Manager at Lenovo. An expert in the field of SEO and having won numerous awards, Donna is a regular global conference speaker and also a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.


Do join us tomorrow for our annual Cannes breakfast with attendees from leading brands such as Lenovo, Western Union, Burger King, Allianz, and more. We hope to see you at 8:30 a.m. at IAA Cabana, conveniently located by the Palais Des Festival and nearby The Majestic Hotel, for some authentic French croissants, coffee, valuable insights and discussion!

To RSVP send an email to sergio.arboledas@textappeal.com


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image with the first day of the view from the top podcast series presented by Elliot POlak

DAY 1: John Mollanger and Winnie Palmer

  |   News

Welcome to “View From the Top” Cannes Special Edition. Hosted by Elliot Polak, this is a special series of Masters and Mavericks in which he will interview a select group of 11 top marketers, publishing two episodes per day throughout of the Cannes Lions Festival. These podcasts are in “Long and Short” form, (taken from the concept of long and short in relation to staking your money on stock prices rising or falling).


In these podcasts, the topic of discussion is not stocks, but the future of international marketing. Elliot prompts each guest with a total of 10 words, for instance “TV” or “Trump”. The guest will then respond with either “short” or “long”, and explain their answer in a few sentences.


For our opening episode, we have John Mollanger, Chief Product & Marketing Officer at United Colors of Benetton. In the past, he was a Senior Executive Officer at Asics Corporation, and he has wide experience in strategic planning and product marketing. His responses are thoughtful and detailed, with a great touch of humor.


Next, we have Winnie Palmer, the Director of Digital Marketing and Media for the EMEA region of Hewlett Packard Enterprises. In the past, Winnie has been the Global Digital Marketing Director at Huawei Technologies, as well as Head of Digital Media at Microsoft. She has a track record of driving performance through strategic marketing management.


Don’t forget to attend Elliot Polak’s seminar on Social Media Shocks around the World at Cannes Lions Festival on Wednesday 22 June at 4:30 pm.

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image with different hands simulating global marketing strategies

Global Marketing Strategies in the Sharing Economy. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

  |   CultureShocks Blog

In 2011, TIME Magazine claimed that sharing economies were one of 10 ideas that would change the world, and surely, they were correct. Also known as the collaborative economy or collaborative consumption, the sharing economy refers to ‘the coordination of peer-to-peer sharing of goods and services, usually made possible through digital platforms’. According to Eric Newcomer at Bloomberg, the concept of collaborative consumption was coined back in 1978. It was only in 2008 (the same year Apple launched its App Store) that the sharing economy of today truly came into being. Suddenly, things like finding a place to live while on holiday, or finding someone to mow your lawn, became tasks that could be performed in minutes through digital connections. The global nature of the sharing economy has allowed sharing economy companies such as Airbnb, Uber, Couchsurfing and others to establish a marked presence in international markets. The success of these companies can be largely attributed to the global marketing strategies they implement, appealing to local people and cultures.


Airbnb: A global takeover

global marketing strategy from Airbnb

The global success and recognition of the Airbnb name is something that not too many other companies have. With a market in 190 countries, Airbnb has truly taken over the globe. How did Airbnb dominate the international playing field so quickly? Beyond the great product that the company offers, Airbnb’s success is based on an extremely localised and well-researched marketing strategy.


For the love of language

For starters, the company made it a priority to expand into many languages. One of their many steps towards localisation is creative translation. Airbnb is today available in 26 different languages, all running in real-time with constantly updated content. Furthermore, Airbnb has gone the extra mile by paying attention to the variants in languages, with websites that cater to specific forms of the same language. Depending on your language of preference, Airbnb translates spellings (for example, American English versus British English) and colloquial terms and usages (changing, for example, ‘vacation’ to ‘holiday’) depending on the country specific version of the site. This results in a truly customised, locally appealing experience for the customer.


It’s all in the detail

The translation strategy that Airbnb has followed thus far has also yielded fantastic results. Considering the diversity of people and cultures around the globe, it makes sense that a marketing campaign that works in one country might be completely unsuitable for another audience. Simply put by Dennis Goedegebuure, former head of Global SEO at Airbnb, “The real challenge of global strategy isn’t how big you can get, but how small you can get.” Airbnb got really ‘small’ in many ways including using local social media stars to promote their website which brought in thousands of signups. They also used localized voiceovers for people on country-specific Airbnb sites, so that cultural nuances were retained in creative translation. To cater specifically to East Asian audiences, Airbnb made sure that their referral programme was available for mobile users, since people in East Asia tend to browse more through their mobile devices. Rather than implementing a centralised marketing strategy, Airbnb, in lieu of the nature of its service, is truly a successful global player.


Uber: It’s going to be a bumpy ride

global marketing strategy from Uber

Uber’s expansion, although massive, has come with, and continues to  have, its fair share of hiccups. Unlike an Uber ride, their dip into international markets has been far from smooth. In 2014, Uber was launching at a rate of almost a city aday. Austin Geidt, Uber’s head of global expansion told Businessweek, “If we’re not there now, we’ll be there in a week”. But is this really the way to go?


One size doesn’t fit all

In terms of cross-cultural marketing, the answer is a resounding NO. The figures speak for themselves. Very recently, Uber revealed that they are losing more than $1 billion per year in China. How? Well, very aptly put by Robert Salomon of Entrepreneur, “The young tech company has committed a classic globalisation mistake: it naively assumed that its business model and market approach, which ultimately solidified its market-leading position in the US, could translate just as seamlessly to other countries. It severely underestimated the challenges of operating in countries that embody totally different economic, political, and cultural environments”. For example, Uber failed to recognise that the common culture within the US is markedly different from that in other foreign countries. The US, has a strong penchant for individualism. This cultural nuance differs from the behavioural norm in Asia, where often social community and harmony are emphasised over individual interests. In China for instance, there is a great emphasis on personal relationships, an everlasting sense of family and community and all round kinship. These values permeate into the country’s very being, thus shaping the opinions of the people. With this in mind, Uber’s very aggressive entry tactics into the Chinese market (based on their US approach of ‘enter first, legalities later’), and its difficulty in forming trusting local relationships, would obviously not be appreciated by Chinese consumers who would much rather choose a local and trusted competitor service. This is why, ‘In large foreign markets like China and India, locally grown competitors say they hold a much bigger market share than Uber because they have a deeper understanding of the culture’.


A brighter future?

Apart from its problems garnering appeal in Asia, Uber has faced a backlash in European countries too due to its disregard for the civil law system (as opposed to US common law) that is followed in most of continental Europe. In France, Uber is regarded as an ‘American invader’ and has not been assimilated locally. Due to this, future marketing plans involve a major advertorial campaign in France, starting with a massive takeover of billboards around French transit hubs, showing local French people riding in Ubers, with taglines that play on Uber’s name. Hopefully this time around, their message won’t get lost in creative translation.


As part of their new campaign, Uber has decided to broaden its target audience, showing the app as one that safely allows women to travel home late at night, or one that enables older couple to attend weddings. It will also highlight the economic benefits of Uber, showing that Uber is helping increase employment, especially in rural areas. Thibaud Simphal, general manager of Uber France, who admitted that it was foolish to think that the same strategies used in the US would translate seamlessly into France also stated that, “It has been a mistake not to talk about the benefits of the product”.  In a country where people are concerned with unemployment rates, including positive data about the same to promote a brand is a good marketing strategy – one that is more likely to appeal to locals. Uber seems to have considered local social issues, using these as leverage to promote positive brand image.


On a more visual level, Uber is set to launch 65 new color palettes and patterns for its app, creatively translated and based on a country’s local colour preference. These new colour schemes take into consideration the various meanings of colours in different countries and are meant to represent ‘authentic expressions of  real world diversity’.


Small is the new big

Considering both Airbnb and Uber, it’s easy to see who takes the cake in terms of global marketing strategy. Increased digital connectivity and high demand for cheaper peer-to-peer services such as housing, taxi rides, chore completion and more has contributed to, and will continue to contribute to, the immediate acceptance of companies such as  Airbnb, Uber, TaskRabbit, DogVacay, etc. However, for these companies to expand internationally in an effective manner, their global marketing strategies must be carefully formulated. Due to the nature of sharing economies, it’s very easy for these companies to get ahead of themselves. The key here is to not direct efforts solely on rapid and general expansion, but rather, in Goedegebuure’s words, focus on “getting small”.

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giuseppe Caltabiano quote for Masters and Mavericks in Global Marketing on global content marketing

Global Content Marketing for B2B w/ Giuseppe Caltabiano

  |   News

The Masters and Mavericks podcast, hosted by Textappeal and Newsroom founder Elliot Polak, is a dedicated portal for discussing global content marketing, global social media strategies, and other means of propagating a company’s message across the world. The monthly discussion focuses on highlighting organisations and individuals who are disrupting the natural order of things and bringing new concepts, strategies, and ideas to the market.


On this month’s programme, Elliot sat down with Giuseppe Caltabiano, the Vice President of Marketing Integration at Schneider Electric. His expertise in marketing stretches back nearly 20 years and is built upon a background in engineering. During his career, Giuseppe has managed various teams in the fields of energy, technology, software, and more, making his knowledge and experience rich and ripe for deep sharing and insights.



Elliot Polak and Giuseppe Caltabiano at the Masters and Mavericks podcast on global content marketing


It can be argued that social media and global content marketing are more geared towards B2C companies, and B2B businesses are really still figuring out how to use these tactics. Giuseppe explained that these strategies have driven massive growth for B2B business in the social and global content marketing arenas and B2B companies are actually now adopting these methods faster than the B2C sector. The main difference between the two models is that B2C messaging is more emotionally driven, whereas B2B focuses on the value provided.


As for the sector that Giuseppe serves, he has found that Twitter and Linkedin are powerful platforms for B2B global content marketing and social media engagement. Additionally, resources like SlideShare and podcasts are fantastic platforms for driving traffic.


While the materials developed for these platforms are generated in English by a global team, packages are put together and localised for other countries. Currently, his company’s blog is marketed in seven different languages and reaches about 15 different countries. As conversations emerge from this content, his team does not try to control the dialogue as that is best handled at the local level. Giuseppe’s company merely facilitates content which is handled as an 80/20 model. Eighty percent of content is generated at a global level and 20% is local. The reason for this, as Giuseppe explained, is that, “Not all the content generated at a global level will work. Different sectors [and] different customers need different approaches and even different social media platforms.”


Since this model has been quite successful for Schneider, Giuseppe offered up some words of wisdom to fellow marketers on what to keep in mind to replicate similar results. First is to document every aspect of a marketing strategy; this means putting on paper the content marketing strategy, social media plans, marketing blueprints, and every other component. While B2B marketers say they are adopting global content marketing, only about half are actually documenting their plans. “Without documentation you will simply fail.”


Giuseppe generously shared a lot more advice for marketers entering into content marketing, including metrics that will resonate with management, how to optimize global content marketing efforts, and various other insights. Check out the full podcast for this valuable guidance and recommendations.


Elliot and Giuseppe Caltabiano at Schneider Electric after recording a podcast on global content marketing


Don’t forget to acquire the knowledge shared by Steph Hamill in our last podcast on The Current Role of Women in the Advertising Industry.


Follow Masters & Mavericks on Soundcloud and iTunes!

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leftover women china, textappeal, cross cultural translation

SK-II: Successful Marketing Through Social Adversity in China

  |   CultureShocks Blog


Skincare brand SK-II entered the Chinese market nearly 20 years ago. Targeting this colossal growing market, the Japanese company has invested lots of creative translation in advertisements and marketing campaigns so as to spread awareness and gain loyal customers. SK-II has leveraged the popularity of actors like Jianhua Huo (who has over 20 million followers on social media), not only to promote its products, but also to spread awareness of relevant social and economic issues.

In its latest campaign, SK- II decided to tackle the prominent and controversial issue of China’s “leftover women” or “sheng nu” by showcasing normal women in their advertisements.


In China, traditions dictate that women should be married by the age of 25. China’s one child policy has created an extreme gender imbalance in China with around 20 million more men under 30 than women under 30. Due to sons being preferred, many “would-be” daughters would be aborted. All this makes finding a match even more difficult despite the implementation of the two-child policy in January, 2016. Also, due to the increasing urbanisation of the country, combined with a highly competitive job market, many women are now choosing careers first, and marriage second. This shift in women’s priorities has given the Chinese government cause for concern, due to an increasingly aging population, and has resulted in them deeming these career driven women, as “leftover” and undesirable to potential husbands. The social repercussions of this are numerous, and include the pressure of parental and familial disappointment, social stigma and fear of being alone.


The SK-II campaign brings to light the injustices that affect these women by portraying females who choose to be independent. This issue resonates strongly with SK-II’s young female target audience who, in the prime of their lives, will greatly benefit from positive and encouraging advertising that opposes the governmental messages that ridicule them.


This campaign departs from SK-II’s previous strategies, which involved heavy celebrity endorsement, and portrays a clear and important message. The new brand ambassadors are easy to relate to, and face the same issues as many young women in China. This emotive use of advertising ensures that SK- II’s target consumers feel that the brand understands them. The raw emotion and honesty shown, as opposed to a pre-written script, support China’s “leftover” women in their independence, and demonstrate a positive step towards mobilising them to embrace single life at 25 and beyond.


On the other side of the spectrum, there are critics that remain opposed to aspects of the campaign, namely the very quick change of attitude on the parents’ behalf as seen in the video. They claim that a more logical result would be the overall dismissal of the age-old customs that surround marriage, showing truly independent women in both mind and actions.  Nonetheless, SK-II has successfully engaged in a marketing campaign that addresses more than simply an advertorial purpose. As put by Patrick Kulp (a journalist from Mashable), the campaign is “a heart-wrenching commercial that empowers the single ‘leftover women’ of China” and indeed, it does exactly that.

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global marketing, translation, translate business, transcreation, translate website, translate your marketing campaign

The Best Languages to Target for International Marketing

  |   CultureShocks Blog

Having a marketing campaign translated into different languages is a great way to reach audiences who may not be well versed with the primary language of your campaign. However, choosing the right languages to translate your campaign into can be quite challenging, especially considering there are so many options out there. That’s why we’ve compiled a handy list of the top 10 languages to translate your campaign into, with the facts and figures on why these languages are your best bet:


1. Spanish


Around 427 million people across 31 countries speak Spanish, making it the second most widely spoken language worldwide! This isn’t surprising, considering that Spanish is the second most popular language in Europe and the fourth in the world. In the United States alone, there are already 36 million Spanish speakers. The Hispanic population in the US is projected to double by 2050, meaning that Hispanic people will make up 30% of the population in America. As a language for websites, Spanish makes up about 4.9% of online content. Ultimately, in terms of native speakers around the globe, Spanish precedes English too, making it a crucial language to translate your campaign into!


2. English


English is spoken in 106 countries, making it a very widespread language. There are 339 million English speakers, and 27% of Internet users prefer English. English is the most used language on the Internet by far, dominating with more than half (53.6%) of content languages for websites in English, followed by Russian (6.4%), German (5.6%) and Japanese (5.1%). E-commerce sales in 2015 were booming in English speaking countries with $349.06bn in the US, $93.8bn in the UK and $28.7bn in Canada.


3. Chinese


There are a total of 1.3 billion Chinese speakers in the world with Chinese spoken in about 35 countries, making it the most widely spoken language worldwide. It has a 2% usage of content language for websites, with about 674 million Internet users in China. The number of Chinese Internet users far outweighs Hindi speaking users (375 million), Spanish speaking Internet users (222 million) and Portuguese speaking users (117 million).  In 2015, China and the US were by far the world’s leading e-commerce markets with sales of $562bn and $349bn respectively, followed by the UK ($93bn), Japan ($79bn) and Germany ($73bn). China’s growth over the next five years will widen the gap between the two countries and will exceed $1 trillion in retail e-commerce sales by 2018. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the country’s economy is 7 times larger today than it was 15 years ago. Chinese businesses are spreading all over the globe, and thus the spread of Chinese as a language is also far reaching. With its steadily growing economy, China is definitely not a country to be ignored.


4. Arabic


Arabic is spoken in 58 countries, by a total of 267 million people, making it the fourth most spoken language worldwide. Egypt and Iran make up the majority of Arabic users on the Internet, with 95.1 million users from these two countries alone. The Middle East and Africa are among the fastest growing regions in terms of Internet news, and 0.8% of the usage of content for websites is Arabic. As Gulf economies bring down their trade and investment barriers, the Middle East seems to be a promising destination for economic growth. In a report from the British Council, which lists the top 10 languages of the future, Arabic ranks as the second most important language of the future.


5. French


With a total of 75.8 million speakers in 53 countries, French is a very popular language today. In fact, it is estimated that around 100–200 million people also speak French as a second language. 4.1% of content on the Internet is French, and this number is increasing. In countries like Algeria, Morocco, Vietnam and Cambodia, where there is a low proficiency in English, French is particularly useful as a lingua franca.


A study by investment bank Natixis even suggests that, by 2050, French could be the most-spoken language in the world, ahead of English and even Mandarin.


6. German


German is spoken in 26 countries with a total of 76.9 million speakers and it’s the third most used language online. Among European countries, Germany has a very promising future. It is the largest single export market for British goods apart from the United States, and is Europe’s largest economy with a GDP of more than $3.9bn.


7. Portuguese


Even though Portuguese is spoken in only 12 countries, a very large number of people – 206 million – speak it fluently. Portuguese is 2.6% of content language for websites. In Brazil itself, there are at least 182 million Portuguese speakers. In the African continent, 13.7 million people speak Portuguese, and in Europe too, Portuguese speakers are widespread (and not just in Portugal). Portuguese is also gaining popularity in Asia due to the region’s great diplomatic and economic relations with Portugal and Lusophone countries. According to an estimate by UNESCO, Portuguese and Spanish are the most rapidly growing European languages after English.


8. Russian


Russian is spoken in 17 countries, with 103 million Internet users in Russia alone, not to mention the millions more in post-Soviet states where Russian is still widely spoken. It’s the second most used language online, displacing German. Russia is also famous for its great engineering minds and brilliant IT community, and is definitely growing in terms of global business reach and influence.


9. Japanese


Japanese is only spoken commonly in 2 countries, but the sheer numbers of people who speak it – 128 million – make it a language that should be considered for advertising campaigns. There are 114 million Internet users in Japan, having e-commerce sales in 2015 of $79.33bn; this is not surprising, considering that Japan is one of the most technologically advanced and connected nations in the world.


10. Hindi


Similar to Japanese, Hindi is only spoken commonly in 4 countries. However, due to the vast and steadily growing population, there are more than 260 million Hindi speakers worldwide. India is the second most populous country in the world and as a growing economic power and part of the BRICS countries, India is a great target market for any marketing campaign.


The list above should give a brief overview on which markets are experiencing tremendous growth, and which languages will benefit your campaign should you consider tapping into these markets. Remember that your own market research should come first, and your target audience should heavily influence what markets you look to break into. If you’re interested in effectively translating your marketing campaign and adapting your message to different markets, contact Textappeal, the leaders in marketing translation and transcreation.

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Asa caap, founder of Our vodka quote

Masters & Mavericks in Global Marketing – Ep. 1 with Åsa Caap

  |   News

Masters and Mavericks is an exclusive podcast dedicated to innovation in global marketing. Hosted by Textappeal and Newsroom founder Elliot Polak, Masters and Mavericks is a monthly program designed to highlight individuals as well as organisations that are disrupting tried-and-true brand ideologies and social media challenges with fresh concepts and new business ideas for today’s digital marketplace.

For the inaugural Masters and Mavericks podcast, Elliot sat down with Åsa Caap, Pernod Ricard executive and Our/Vodka CEO & global director. Åsa explained what it takes to be an entrepreneur as well as an “intrapreneur” — a manager within a company who promotes innovate product development.  Self-described herself as a “warrior who gets things done”, Åsa is a consummate self-starter who made a name for herself by founding and growing a number of small businesses in Sweden.

Her innovative approach to start-ups caught the eye of Pernod Ricard, who brought her onboard to manage the company’s signature Absolut Vodka brand. Åsa, however, had ideas about how Pernod Ricard could add a unique intrapreneurship to its business portfolio. Leveraging the corporate resources availed to her by Pernod Ricard, she founded Our/Vodka — a global local brand that is currently empowering entrepreneurs in nine cities around the globe, including Berlin, Detroit, Seattle, and now London.

Join us and listen as Åsa explains what it takes to bridge the gap between the corporate and start-up world and offers insight on her compelling new strategy to bring in-demand authenticity to consumers through cross-marketing global local brands such as Our/Vodka.

You can listen in on Elliot’s full interview with Åsa  in the embedded player below. Be sure to check back for Masters and Mavericks #2 in early January with more on innovative approaches to cross marketing, global social media, and social media challenges.

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modern advertising magazine on digital across cultures

Textappeal: The Advantage of Talents

  |   CultureShocks Blog

Beijing, August 2010 – “Textappeal: the Advantage of Talents” – Interview to Elliot Polak published on Modern Advertising Magazine.


In China, even people who work in Advertising industry might not know the name of this company. They hosted a seminar in Cannes this year featuring the topic: Digital Across Cultures. When Elliot, the founder and CEO, introduced the company he highlighted a word “transcreation”. We can’t find a concise and corresponding Chinese word to explain it as the need of this kind of service might only start to grow rapidly in the future due to the late start of Chinese economy and advertising industry.


Actually, majority operation of this company is from global brands or their creative agencies as their creative ideas and communication will unavoidably face difference countries, regions, ethnic groups and cultural backgrounds and their marketing will have to transfer accordingly. As we mentioned previously the example of Coke Cola, this refers to complicated and subtle details like strategy, creative illustration and text etc. Therefore, Elliot doesn’t like the idea of describing their work as “translation”.


VERTU phone launched a global campaign in 2007. In the unified creative draft for all markets around the world, the model is wearing a slightly wrinkled white casual suit to illustrate the target is high-end frequent travellers. VERTU phone, which plays the main role in the ad, is held in one hand of the model. However, the final version of the campaign had changed white colour to beige, casual suit to formal and even the hand of the model had been trimmed as neat and smooth as possible. The reason behind it is just because Textappeal had provided 3 suggestions on the original creative draft: in china, firstly, a successful man should have wore formal and sleek suit; secondly, white colour is related to Chinese funerals; thirdly, the hair on the model’s hand might be considered as masculine charm in western world, while in China a pair of clean and smooth skin hands will be preferred.


cross cultural vertu ad transcreated by Textappeal 1           cross cultural vertu ad transcreated by Textappeal


Similar cultural differences exist almost in all cross-border communications and advertisements. For example, in one of the print ads of Barclays Wealth, a classic “vintage” car in the European version of the ad had been changed in China to a brand new car which is fashionable and modern. As Chinese, we believe everyone understands this.


Barclays Wealth 1         Barclays Wealth 2


We are very curious that facing such a huge number of countries and regions around the world how can Textappeal conduct such a service which seems “there is nothing they don’t understand”. “Talents are the core. It consists of multilingual project managers in the London headquarters and 1470 partners all round the world covering 151 countries”, Elliot said. Not too long after the interview, we found exclusive introduction of their talents’ structure and concept on their newly renovated websites.


In the party in Cannes, there is a girl called Masie showed up together with him. She is from China and is one of the London team members. When Masie started to talk about this team, enthusiasm came up naturally: “it is because we all have different backgrounds and from different countries that it’s fun to work together. Our over 1000 partners are again from different countries. You can experience the brilliance of the whole world with vivid details through them.” Of course, according to Elliot’s standard of talent selecting, apart from language and culture this team has to be experts of marketing and advertising as well. In the past 3 years, projects about China have been the major increase of the operation.

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