Assessment of the project

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1 Assessment of the project International Marketing Offensive for Smart Phones in China 1. Assessment of the project itself In November 2014 we started preparing our project which was an international marketing offensive for smart phones. The end of the project was an international business meeting where different companies from different countries presented their smart phones in order to conclude a contract with China Mobile, a Chinese smart phone provider. This meeting took place on the 23 rd of March in The organizer, China Mobile made their decision after a final negotiation. In our view the topic was well chosen, because everybody of us has a relation to smart phones due to the everyday use. We had a basic knowledge of this topic and that is why we knew how to deal with it, for example we knew where to start searching for information and which ones are important. Thus we were all very interested in this topic; it was easy and enjoyable to keep ourselves busy with it. Besides one can find a lot of information from reliable and good sources. The only problem concerning the choice of the topic was that it was not obvious if the focus of the presentation should be on the smart phone itself or the image, the philosophy, the history, etc. of the company. The whole preparation of this project was all in all a very good one. It started with the formation of the different groups. First we divided the class into different specification groups (leaders, creative persons, IT persons and hard workers). Then we drew lots to form the groups for the project: every group consisted of one person of each specification group. We think this is a fair method and very realistic, because in real life you cannot decide on your group members as well. You have to work with new people or even people you do not like. But because we drew lots from different specification groups it was guaranteed that the individual strengths are balanced. Through helpful materials and effective lessons we were all well prepared for the meeting. Exercises like selling cheap and nearly useless products for a lot of money helped us to learn how to convince people of our products. Sometimes we felt a bit ridiculous during the tasks, but in the end we all profited from it. But also more serious topics like persuasive strategies or conflicts during a negotiation were taught in a practical way. We prepared dialogues and simulated situations that could emerge in a business meeting. Mostly we worked in our groups even during the normal lessons on Thursdays. That was a really good idea because it strengthened the groups and teamwork became easier by the time because we got used to each other and everybody knew his or her role in the team. But one problem with that was that we then only discussed in pairs or our groups. We think that it would have been helpful to simulate a real business meeting with more people more concretely because we did not really know how such a meeting takes place. Moreover the kinds of exercises were always quite similar. We always read a text and then we had to use our knowledge in form of a dialogue or a role play. Although it was a useful and effective method it became a bit boring and monotonous after some time. So we would have liked a bit more variety and alternatives.

2 What we really liked about the structure of our English lessons was that we clearly divided them into group work for the project itself on Mondays and normal lessons with exercises and everything on Thursdays. The time with the group on Mondays was very important for us because we had the chance to exchange ideas and results. Besides the lessons we do not have the time for that and via it is a bit complicated and not possible to explain something. Moreover we could plan the next steps and give ourselves new tasks. Especially in the last weeks this lesson was very important because we could practice our presentation together. Furthermore we think that the given time and datelines were fair and realistic. We definitely had enough time to prepare a good presentation and to work out convincing arguments for our smart phone. However, in the beginning we as a group did not realize how much work it actually is and how much time it takes. So we did not use the first lessons as constructively as we could have used them. The consequence was a lot of work at a time in the end. Of course it is in our response to have a good time management and we have to learn how to deal with it but still we think that one or two more datelines, so that we distribute our work over the four months, would have been helpful. A last point concerning the preparation of the topic is the folder we had to create parallel to our project. The defined components of it were a cover, the invitation of China Mobile, the agenda, the printed presentation and an overview of the business etiquettes and behavior patterns in the different participating countries. We think that it was a very good idea to include the behavior patterns in the folder because on the one hand every group really dealt with that topic through that and on the other hand one had an alternative and another chance to create a good folder. So the behavior patterns were another opportunity to show interest and commitment. However we would like to point out that the guidelines concerning the content of the folder were not precise enough. Some groups included a way more texts and information than other groups but nobody knew what the right extent was. That led to confusion in the class because actually there were some guidelines but the example of the folder from last year was a lot thicker so every group had the feeling they had to write more texts or include more data and statistics. After all preparations were done the meeting took place. It consisted of two parts. First the presentations of all smart phones and companies and then secondly a discussion where everybody could point out again why his or her device is the best one. In our view all presentations were very authentic and worked well. Every group was prepared and organized and everybody tried to be as authentic as possible. The visualization of different information through videos, pictures or graphs worked well in all presentations too. It was enjoyable to listen to every presentation and every group succeeded in gaining the attention of the audience. That also could have been because every group had different emphases. Nokia talked a lot about their company and development. They had a lot of statistics and graphs which showed e.g. the number of sold devices in the last ten years. One plus one on the other hand talked about their aims for the future and went into the collaboration with China Mobile. Apple then again presented mainly their philosophy and ideas of the brand. And we, HTC had our focus mainly on the features of our smart phone.

3 The final negotiation was very interesting and nearly the opposite of what we had expected. We thought that we will discuss about all the details of the phones and a lot of statistics and figures. But then the topics were actually limited to the philosophy of the company and especially the price of the phone and an explanation for it. In the beginning China Mobile led the discussion a lot. They asked a question and then the other groups answered and then the next question came. Through that the discussion was organized and had a clear structure but it was not a real discussion because one could not react to what other companies said. But then that changed by the time and that was very good because so they had a clear introduction with statements from every group and then the actual discussion began. There China Mobile paid attention that we did not get off the subject and that there was still a certain order. They also tried to manage the contributions by picking the person that is then allowed to talk. After some time the discussion ran by itself. There was no time were nobody wanted to say something and no statement stayed without comment. We think that one could really see how we became more relaxed and felt more and more comfortable in our roles. In the beginning everybody was a bit tensed and did not know what to say but that changed into a better atmosphere and a good discussion in which the majority was able to participate actively. That was definitely a positive development. But also China Mobile did a good job during the whole discussion. When we got off the subject or went into too many details or especially in the end when we started to repeat arguments they reminded us to think of the actual topic and purpose. As already in the presentations everybody tried to be very authentic and play the role as a business man or woman as good as possible. Nobody used colloquial language, quite the opposite everybody used his or her most formal English and a lot of technical terms. Mostly we were very polite and respectful but there were some situations where someone was not that professional and maybe too emotional for a business meeting. But in the end every company had the chance to give a good account of their selves and every group tried to show the best sides of their smart phone. At this point we want to highlight the performance of One plus because they did not have a really good starting point with their device but still they stayed in competition for the contract with China Mobile. One thing that has to work better next time is the participation of everybody. The distribution of the amount of speech was very unequal and we are sure that there was a real team behind every company but the next time everybody must be able to show that. Altogether it was a successful and effective discussion where every group gave its best to convince China Mobile. All in all the whole meeting was very organized and well prepared. Responsible for that is mainly the group China Mobile, a group that performed very well in terms of organization throughout the whole meeting. But all the other groups did a good job as participants of the meeting as well. We think that we have all learned a lot through this project. We saw a completely different and new side of lessons and although it was a lot of work it was worth it and a great experience.

4 2. Assessment of our group Our group was representing the brand HTC and our device was the HTC One M8. Representing the HTC Cooperation meant at the same time representing the country Taiwan because HTC has its origin and central office there. During the preparation time we always separated the work that has to be done. We used the Monday lessons for the exchange of information and results and to plan and give ourselves the next tasks. This method means at the same time quite a lot of work at home but that was alright for us as long as we can use the Mondays for planning, discussing and practicing our presentation. When one uses such a method one always depends on one or two persons and they have to be reliable and have the results or finished tasks in time. In the first weeks this did not work very well. There was always someone who did not do his or her work or forgot it. However we kept this method in the hope that it becomes better because we thought that it is very important to have the feeling that one can rely on the group members. And it became better and worked really well. Everybody did something at home but nobody had to do too much. In the end we were running out of time what meant that we had to work a lot at home because we wanted to use the time in school to practice our presentation. We know that the main cause for this was that we did not start working in school constructively early enough. So time management and the distribution of work over the whole given time is something we have to improve for the next time. In the meeting our presentation went quite well, everybody knew what to do, we were in time and our focus was on our device. We gave a wide overview of the features of our smart phone and tried to adapt our presentation to our target group what means giving information that are relevant and important for a good smart phone. We think that everybody of our group played a part in the presentation and had a good knowledge of what he or she was explaining. In the negotiation we had some good points but also some which were not that good and have to work better next time. First of all we tried to pay attention to our persuasive strategies what worked quite well so we did not attack other companies and did not name disadvantages of other smart phones. Moreover we stayed in our price ceiling so our final offer was a price that was still realistic and profitable. From the middle of the negotiation we started to participate actively, before we only answered to questions. We made more and more offers, showed alternatives, commented on contributions from other groups and tried to mention new topics and new advantages of our phone. But actually it should have been like that from the beginning on because we only said something in the first half when someone, mostly China Mobile asked a question. During the negotiation we worked as a group quite well because we always tried to communicate and when someone did not know what to say someone else stood in for him. We were able to react to the questions from China Mobile after a quick agreement in the group spontaneously. Negative about our performance in the discussion was that to the contrary to our presentation one could not see this teamwork from the outside. Some of us said the amount of speech was unequally distributed.

5 Furthermore we had some struggles with showing our nationality so behaving like a Taiwanese man or woman or showing the behavior patterns in Taiwan during a business meeting. Taiwanese people in general but especially during business meeting are very respectful because business is based on respect there. We tried to show that by keeping calm in the discussion and not interfering into conflicts between competitors. When we had to criticize something we tried to do it as polite as possible. All in all we were a very good functioning group and everybody of us gave his or her best to reach a good group result. We think that one could not always see our teamwork from the outside but inside the group we worked as a team what can be seen in our folder or our presentation where everybody contributed something to. 3. Assessment of the teacher and other groups In the following we would like to assess the presentation of Apple, the behaviour of Nokia during the negotiation and the performance of our teacher Mr. Salge. The Apple group started their presentation with a video which was not very informative. The video presented the main ideas of the brand in a very creative and appealing way, but it was too long for the information it offered. Another thing, we want to criticize is the choice of data they gave the listeners. The iphone 6 is the most sold smart phone of the last months, but they left this information out and gave unnecessary information about some apps. Apart from this criticism the Apple group gave a very well structured presentation, which was designed in the style of Apple and it was obvious that they put a lot of work in the design of their presentation. There were actually only pictures that underlined the given information and everybody of them was able to speak as freely as if it is really their own device. Their way of presenting was very appealing and professional. Some details like the fact that they always introduced themselves when they started to speak for the first time, made the whole presentation very realistic and authentic. In the negotiation we really liked the performance of the Nokia group. They made the best out of a smart phone which was not very well known and probably not a very good smart phone. Nokia was very well prepared and that was why they succeeded in presenting their device so good. They knew what China Mobile wanted and what they were searching. They could react to every question or point concerning China Mobile. They already had a contract with them and knew how to use this advantage in a clever way. Besides they did not participate in any conflicts. They were always very polite and calm and fully concentrated on themselves and their smart phone. And due to the fact that they had a lot of convincing and different arguments they could react to everything that was said without repeating the same arguments.

6 Concerning the performance of Mr. Salge there is only one thing we want to criticize. This is that the information he gave us was often not concrete enough. One example we already mentioned is the folder we had to create. Sometimes one has the feeling that one has to ask a thousand times what the actual task is. The exercises he gave us to learn how we are convincing and the way of teaching us important topics was very good. English lessons with Mr. Salge are sometimes really funny, sometimes one feels simply ridiculous and sometimes they are hard and very exhausting but in the end one always has the feeling that one learned something. One year ago without the knowledge we all have now we would have never been able to simulate such a business meeting. But also the fact that he gave us the chance to work independently without a lot of advice was very good for us. If one had a question or needed some help he was always willing to answer or help us but everything we did was really done by us. All in all we can say that we wanted to highlight the design of the Apple presentation because it looked like a real Apple design and the authenticity of the whole group. One could see that the Nokia group put a lot of work in this project and that was worth it because they had the best arguments in the end. And Mr. Salge always supported us and helped us when we needed some advice but still we worked independently and had a lot of freedom in the completion of our tasks. Lea Brückner, Lenhart Ehl, Ronja Baumann, David Hommers

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