The Reality Behind Global Expansion

On Wednesday, February 19th, Jim Thompson came to speak to our members about his experience in corporate. Mr. Thompson graduated from Temple University with a degree in Marketing. Upon graduation, he began his career at Quaker Oats in the sales and brand management department. Years later, he became the global CEO for IPsos ASI where they focused on communications research and advertisement. Today, Jim Thompson is a full time professor at Temple University teaching Intro to Marketing. 

Leading a global company can present challenges when expanding overseas into three regions and twelve countries. This expansion was driven by local company acquisitions, making it more difficult to do business with unfamiliar people. They wanted the same quality of service and expertise in each country which would be a challenge in itself. Maintaining a high level of product quality and fast service overseas was a hurdle to overcome. Not only did it become harder to satisfy the consumers’ needs overseas, but it became more difficult to satisfy the needs of consumers from different backgrounds and cultures. Growing international comes with its challenges and rewards. 

Not only was it physically difficult to grow overseas, but it was difficult to expand logistically. Marketing challenges presented due to the vast differences in cultures and traditions. Since geographically it was large, IPsos needed to place representatives around the world to have close resources at hand and meet with any concerns and objectives. In order to do this, IPsos created a strong, cohesive client-based team across all regions and countries who participated in weekly conference calls. The goal was to successfully expand and maintain high quality service and products. 

When IPsos decided to grow, it paved the path for many employees who desired international experience outside their home country. These employees had the opportunity to work on live projects while working in countries for six months at a time. They received priceless experience and became regional experts. Their success correlated with their own personal attributes. IPsos employees had curiosity, interest, and openness to cultural differences. 

When reflecting on this experience, what were the positives and success factors? 

Not only did the challenges come with hardships, but it brought successes and learning from mistakes. IPsos was able to successfully expand due to their strong team of employees on all levels. Their dedication and hard work led to meeting their goals and objectives. They maintained contact with countries overseas through close communication and monthly visits. With this, IPsos consistently recognized and rewarded employees to maintain that driven spirit.