The name “BrainMark” and its slogan “Bringing the market to the classroom” has accompanied the growth and development of the business team for many years, from the beginning of the market to today, when the learning process has become an integral part of your business life.
Having graduated from Ho Chi Minh City University of Economics in 1998, having a promising job at Thai Tuan Textile Company, why did you decide to start his career at 25, consulting and training in marketing, rental marketers (marketing experts), when the market competition is still primitive ?
Even when I was in school, I already worked in Thai Tuan. Thai Tuan did not have any brand at the time at all. My job was to set up marketing department, bringing Thai Tuan brand into market. I used to participate in sales to understand the market, learning how to conquer the target customers, I understood beside the value of the product was also the value of emotion. In the third quarter of 1998, we introduced Thai Tuan brand to the market, and received very well. Since then I understood the brand is the thing that Vietnamese businesses need to pay attention
Having participated in training courses in Singapore, Australia … on building personal brand, local brand, corporate brand. How to make customers pay more for a brand with positive values: be more satisfied, happier, it is the responsibility of the marketing department. But at that time, very few businesses focused on brand development, finding out potential demand in the consumer, in which the emotional value is the most important. Studying, researching, participating in brand conferences … from there finding needs a consulting company to help businesses develop their brand. With John Martino, a brand expert and 22 associates including marketing directors and corporate brand managers of multinational corporations, we created BrainMark
At that time there were so many things to do. We replaced a lot of executives, this year one teaches, others to work. Understanding that Vietnamese business purpose is great but the team capacity, finance, vision is limited, from which we offer business solutions to them. Making money first and then making famousness.
When consulting and suggesting business solutions, the problem is who stays to develop that solution. If there is no permanent person to stay with company to maintain the solution, the solution will die out, from which BrainMark has a new field: marketer rental. When the market booming, there is a great shortage of marketers, sustainable solution for this shortage is to open the training center. In 2006, we co-operated with Singapore’s VSIC, they took care of physical facilities, and we took care of trainers and training cirriculum to train Vietnam for a new generation of marketers who understand the market characteristics of the business. At that time, this model developed very well by combining knowledge from Singapore, Australia and Canada, with a view to the reality of Vietnam to form a training program. The founding team and trainers 90% studying abroad, working in multinational companies and Vietnamese companies for at least 5 years, understanding the market with good thinking … We deployed 16 marketing classes, PR, sales at the same time … BrainMark is proud to be a pioneer in bringing the real- world market into practical classes early including modeling, product shelves, specific case studies for professional training.
But the cooperation with VSIC lasted only three years, then broke up. Did this separation cause you to lose too much?
Because of our strategic partner withdrew from the Vietnamese market, moving to China, making the situation difficult for us, taking us a lot of efforts. But what we retained from that coorporation is management methods, training materials from Singapore which are very good, especially the method of operating business in a gentle, professional, effective manner. And the biggest is the trust of the customer, our market segment is harmless after our partner withdrawal. We continue developing BrainMark and the business continues growing
In 2009, that is exactly 10 years later, Did you start your second business with BMG International Joint Stock Company?
I went to study abroad again to get more knowledge, starting a new game with BMG. Studying digital marketing training programs according to new trends, taking part in a series of short courses to attain more knowledge of training services. When I started this business, I was doing by myself so it was so hard. It is interesting because of the high level of operations, quick decision making, but lack of cooperation of the team, I must take advantage of external resources. That is also advice for young people who want to start up their business. If you feel you are lacking of something, you can go abroad to learn more, communicate, backup your missing such as management skills, solfskills from experts.
In this way, BMG has shifted towards broader training to support business such as personnel training, finance. Being known as “the most practical marketking training place in Vietnam”, I corrected it as “the most practical business knowledge training place”. 100% of trainers are business people, trainees after being trained become trainers, people learn each other … When training program finished, excellent trainees will be asked to cooperate with our counseling projects to give advice, resolve corporate problems. By now, BMG’s certification has become so familiar to business, becoming a bridge between business and training.
In 2008-2009 I was a marketing director for Phat Dat Real Estate Company, seeing the real estate market growing very fast, but the marketing on this field was very simple, I felt this market very potential, I decided to found Innoland, serving PR and marketing, sales to real estate companies. Innoland immediately had big customers such as Phu My Hung, Nam Long, Phat Dat, Phuoc Textile, Linh Dam…
Actually it’s a new field. Each real estate project launched into the market investors usually ask what should they do? Cutting plots for sale or constructing high-rise buildings? How much is selling? How to make a communication strategy? Innoland will respond to all questions, from market research, distribution policies, media … if companies have no HR, We directly provide training. Each contract lasts from 6 months to a year. Consultant fee depends on each case, size of business, desire of each leader.
According to you, are Vietnamese enterprises willing to pay for training fees, consulting, and consider it an investment?
Currently, companies are aware of the money spent to train the development team, but only stop at large companies, while small and medium companies are not aware that it is investment. Foreign companies have annual training budgets, how many training programs each quarter. Vietnamese companies mainly perform consultanting, not training, not designing their own training programs, but mainly sending their staffs to attend training programs.
Difficulties in management, in providing business solutions to develop effective systems. Leaders often fall into the dealing problems more, each employee does not understand what the boss wants, that is the biggest weakness of small and medium enterprises.
All the thoughts of the leader must be written to form policies, regulations, work instructions for each employee, each department. If there is a specific goals, strategies, it is easy for staffs to follow. The leader also feel at ease in management.
At this time, the training market, business consulting is becoming saturated, advertising is not accompanied by quality, copyright is stolen overwhelmingly … how do you insist on the way yourself selected?
The copyright of the training program is the issue I am very interested. Duplication of programs, companies copying each other, many places absolutely violated copyright laws that government agencies can not control.
My view is that reputation or many people know about me personally I do not care. Although my clients are numerous, but I always appear on behalf of a organization. Live in the company, taking care of many people, my KPI is , in a year, to bring so much knowledge to as many students, consulting projects to businesses as possible that is achievement for personal objectives.
The growth rate of BrainMark is very fast, with 70 experts, 18,920 trainees trained, more than 500 consultancy projects, the average growth rate of 50-70% per year. I kept working silently, just companies CEO understands me. CEOs are my friends, making them unhappy, their projects un developed that is my fault. It means I will be unemployed. As long as the business does not need to develop strategy, I’m unemployed.
Consulting is not an easy carrer to do. The first difficulty is the method of consultancy company, is its method capable of meeting Vietnamese enterprises? Because of the adaptability, the management capacity of Vietnamese enterprises is different from other countries.. The first issue is to have the appropriate solution in each stage of development. Amending, adjustment first, then applying solutions into system
Second understanding the customer needs is the main target. The hidden demand may be different from what customers says, which is the responsibility of the consultant, which needs experience.
The third is to understand Vietnamese culture and corporate culture, living in one culture, you need to understand that culture for the best advisement
Our consulting firm has its own tools, resources, surveys, research, and an objective view, usually brighter because we stand outside. Consulting to the CEO if ” they can not do it, then outsourcing”, the mindset “don’t touch it, if you can do it” is a great barrier to its development. Many solutions from the consulting firm without extra charge can also be provided to companies.
By this time, it seems that he still has a great passion for entrepreneurial training?
Like I was born to do this job. Being fascinated by the brand that the consultant is desperate to revive when he makes it a new shirt, pushes the market, it is the greatest joy in the world. For 10 years I have been attending meetings with many different businesses every week, after the consultation period, the business grew up a lot. Each week I just sit at the company one time, in the morning in Phu My Hung, afternoon in Saigon Food, tomorrow in Coteccons … After hours spending time with businesses, I go to training center, sharing with school member.
I run the business, both consulting and training, entrepreneurial training club founded by me with the message “sharing is happiness”. Many business leaders are extremely busy but in the evening they still attend our meetings. The last joy is sharing, sharing money for society, also sharing knowledge for teammates.