8 Articles To Help Taiwan Startups Better Understand Branding by Chris W. Hubbard

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Branding. It's one of those words—like creativity, art, or innovation—that feels hard to clearly define. The problem, or perhaps the blessing, is that engaging in conversations on the 'how's-and-why's and the what-to-dos of branding can become tremendously complex, very quickly. This complexity increases when we haven't developed our own definitions to a word that almost always emerges—at some point—and demands a decision to be made. 

At DDG, we've written and shared a lot on the subject of branding. It's good content that can work as a momentum generator for startups looking to gain a deeper understanding on the subject and how it can help, or hurt, their own ambitions for success.

I've compiled a list of 8 articles by DDG, that I feel can help startups—or any business for that matter—begin to form better understandings, and definitions of branding.

1 - What is branding and why should companies care about it?

I started my career as a designer. I never really understood what separated design from branding until a former creative director I worked under showed me a complete brand campaign—with design, packaging, retail, advertising, web, and promotional materials—all pasted up on a wall in our old office. He said, "see, now that's branding." I never forgot that because it was the first time I had a feeling about what branding really was and how design and all these other things worked together to build it. 

The question "what is branding" is where everyone should start. You'll find very quickly, a range of responses, and that's a good thing. 

2 - What is a 'good brand' and how do they use a catalyst?

Again, defining a 'good brand' often feels like defining what is 'creative' or what is 'innovative.' It's not black and white. It does, however, tend to move along a line from worse to better, and it's generally easy for people to place companies and their services somewhere on this line and have a conversation about it. 

One of the first brands I remember making an emotional impression on me was Ocean Pacific. As a kid, I remember really feeling the image and the 'idea' the clothes and the graphics were communicating to me. It resonated with my ten-year-old self. That forever shaped my idea of what a 'good brand' is and could be. 

3 - Brand naming for the global market

My Chinese name is 李悟. (pronounced LeeWu) When said, it sounds like the Chinese word for 'gift.' The spelling, however, is different and contains an even deeper meaning. When I introduce my self to others using this name, it almost always surprises people. That surprise turns to more surprise when I explain the real meaning and the story behind the name itself. It leads to conversation, compliments, and sometimes even more stories. I had some help coming up with this great name, and forever owe that friend a debt, because people never forget it.

The true power of naming for brands continues to rise. Naming used to be simple, now it's complex and extremely competitive. Even Jeff Bezos of Amazon put naming on his top ten list for success.

4 - Power distance: The hidden reason behind Taiwan's scarcity of global brands

This idea would have made no sense to me had I never lived in Taiwan. However, after 8 years of work, for multiple companies and many different clients, I get it, and I understand the role it plays in corporate culture and it's ability to hinder innovation, creativity, and momentum. For startups in Taiwan, the ability to put a label on something they probably intrinsically understand could help them find new solutions that contribute to brand growth.

5 - Why Taiwan's companies should think about culture

Most startups are at ground zero, which gives them an amazing opportunity to build the right type of culture from the get-go. For very large organizations, changing culture is a mission impossible. And yet, culture has such a big impact on brand success, they now invest millions to influence it and nudge it in the right direction. It's possible to change course later, but startups would be wise think about how the culture they foster now, impacts the brand they grow into later.

6 - What can Elon Musk teach Taiwan about chasing orders?

For me personally, Tesla is replacing Apple as my celebrity-crush brand idol. Elon Musk is the new example of how companies and startups CAN think and be built and developed and driven by passion and ideas—as long as there is purpose attached to it all. 

7 - What do you wish more people understood about branding?

I've always wished that people could understand that branding doesn’t have to be about making things up that aren’t true, just to look good. Branding CAN be honest, and authentic and good. And branding can bring something special and meaningful to an otherwise insignificant product. Take Coca-Cola for example. It's sugar water. I don't even like it. And yet, the Coca-Cola brand delivers moments of indisputable inspiration and joy. 'Taste the Feeling' has to be one of the best taglines ever written, and it proves to me the power of branding and good communications to bring a sense of excitement to life—regardless of my beverage preference.

8 - Is your website content hurting your business?

This is a good one to end with, because in all truth, if your website—or social media, or consumer-facing content—is subpar, so is your brand. Content is the not-so-new king, and its power just continues to grow with no end in sight. So, for startups looking to build a brand in the years to come, having a basic understanding of content and communications strategy is the new must-have of the season.

 

 

 

Why Brand Communications Is Key To Taiwan's Startup Success by Chris W. Hubbard

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Ok, so the key to success is NOT actually brand communications—at least not on its own. However, brand communications can play a very critical role, here's why:

The most successful startups are often those that make low-risk moves with big reward opportunities. This is the strategic approach in almost every single financial institution, and it works most of the time when done with intelligence and the right people.

So here's where brand communications come in: Nothing could more of a low-risk move than communications. When working on updating, improving or clarifying your brand messaging, naming, slogans, campaigns or corporate copy, it's almost impossible to make things WORSE. The investment required to analyze, research, and update communications across your entire brand is tiny when compared to the huge investments necessary to keep most startups moving forward with momentum, and yet the reward opportunity is massive. How so, you ask?

Consider this, If potential customers—due to poor brand communications—can't understand what your startup does, why it matters, or what to do about it, then they won't become your customers, period. There's something even more detrimental that won't happen as well—word of mouth. Word of mouth is now invaluable to brands and startups seeking investment and attention. If people aren't talking about you, then nobody cares, and your business won't grow.

Here's something even scarier: If you're brand communications—I'm talking about your website intro copy, company introduction, and sales presentations—is especially bad, then people WILL talk about it. But not in a good way. 

So there you go. If you want a low risk, high reward way to invest in your startup success, start looking into brand communications. Find a professional, not an intern, and begin improving the writing, copy, messaging, communications (or whatever else you want to call it) and watch how much it contributes to your momentum and success. 

Further Reading: Check out the article below by my friend and co-worker Madeleine Work that details some of what goes into extensive communications for large brands—in this case ECOVE, the largest environmental services provider in Taiwan. It's worth Taking a look, to learn more on how very large companies like ECOVE have leveraged communications to completely overhaul their image and shift directions internationally.

How to build
a global brand.

A look at how ECOVE, Taiwan's largest environmental services company rebuilt their brand from the ground up.
By Madeleine Work

How to be really good at something—practice it. by Chris W. Hubbard

We all, to some extent, fantasize about things we wish we could be good at. I find myself fantasizing about all sorts of things I wish I was good at—projects I’d like to lead or businesses I wish I could start. I fantasize about doing extreme backbends like the ones I saw Jared McCann do at the Asia Yoga Conference in Hong Kong—gasps from the crowd echoing throughout the room.

Businesses fantasize in this way all the time. Almost every single brand I’ve had the opportunity to work with wishes they were a brand like Nike or Apple, gracing the covers of Fast Company with millions of admirers around the world. And honestly, I can relate because I want the same thing for myself.

What we usually hear is that being good at something is a just a matter of hard work. That if we work hard enough, we just might turn our fantasies into realities. The problem with this is that “hard work” can be hard to define, and in my opinion, a bit misleading.

There are a few things I feel are important to acknowledge about fantasies of being good at something:

1 - 'Being' something is really easy.
2 - Being 'good' at something isn’t hard it just takes a lot of practice.

For example, If you want to be a piano player, you can simply go out and buy yourself a piano, take it home, bang on it a bit and boom, you’re a piano player. Becoming “good” at the piano isn’t as much about “hard work" as it is about consistent, daily practice. Sit down at your new piano for 15 minutes a day—not hard—and you will move from bad toward good, guaranteed. How long it takes is a different matter, but it’s a far cry from hard.

Same thing for brands. Get yourself a well-thought-out brand name, a logo designed by professionals and a suitable website and you have a brand. Become a good brand, not by exerting a lot of “hard work” but by practicing the art of branding in the same way one might practice the piano. Do it every single day, and commit to it long term. You will move from “basic brand” to "good brand" over time, guaranteed.

The lesson for me? Stop thinking that if I put in 120% effort in a few of my classes I'll suddenly nail that killer backbend, and instead focus on simply doing the practice. Over time—maybe a long time—I'll get there too.


Other content you might like:


8 Reasons Why Brand Communications In Taiwan Is Suffering—And Causing The World To Look Elsewhere. by Chris W. Hubbard

Examples of well-thought-out brand communications exist in Taiwan, yet much of Taiwan’s international (English) brand communications is appalling. Brand names, website content, advertising, signage, packaging descriptions and social media efforts are often poorly considered. 

Take for example Tricky Taipei’s recent exposure of the dreadful brand communications by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau. Barely legible, and grossly amateur communications being shared with the world. The Taiwan Tourism Bureau in New York has since apologized publicly for the “social media fiasco”, but the damage done will be hard to repair. At best, bad brand communications can result in people ignoring your messages, and at worst, it can cripple your business—driving consumers elsewhere. 

What could cause brand communications to become so bad?
I believe there are 8 contributing factors:

1) Lack of investment—not enough money is spent on good communications.

 

When a brand stops investing in itself, consumers stop investing in its products. Stop investing in product development and the products we sell will eventually lose competitiveness. Stop investing in our facilities and before long our employees will look elsewhere for a job. Brand communications are no different. When brands don’t invest in their content and communications, the wrong messages are sent to the market. 

 

Poorly developed social media messaging, uninspiring brand names, lackluster messaging, and web content completely lacking strategic direction are sending the world a very clear message: Taiwanese brands don’t want to be taken seriously. Good brand communications are much more than proper use of grammar and correct spelling, they’re a fundamental understanding of communication strategy and it’s use as a tool for developing the right messages. 

 

Gogoro is an example of a brand clearly investing in communications by working with professionals in Taiwan as well as prominent international agencies like Cinco Design—and it appears to be paying off. Gogoro is arguably one of the more innovative and desirable brands to come out of Taiwan in decades. They are gaining momentum in Europe as well. Gogoro has an amazing product to sell, but their investment in brand communications has helped to ensure their messaging meets high consumer expectations.

 

2) Low-value perception—not enough value is placed on good communications.

 

Good design is easy to understand. This has helped increase the value of design, particularly in recent decades. These days, the vast majority of companies in Taiwan would likely claim to value good design—in spite of outdated websites. Design is something easy for us to engage with, discuss and evaluate. As our design literacy increases, our perception of the value of design increases as well. This has elevated the status of design in Taiwan.

 

Brand communications are a different story. Unlike design, communications require a much deeper sophistication for us to develop, manage and maintain. Brand communications like messaging, naming, and web content simply requires more work for us to comprehend and differentiate. 

 

Successful brands value both. Take Apple for example. Yes, they have great design, but according to leading marketing expert Marc Globe, it was Apple’s ability to “streamline messages in its advertising” that helped rejuvenate the brand. According to Gobe, Apple has “always been about people.” With whom they create “heartfelt connections using both unique visuals and verbal vocabulary.” 

 

We invest in what we value. Unfortunately, in Taiwan, outstanding brand communications doesn’t seem to be valued. This could be due to communications relative inaccessibility. Especially when compared to design. If we find it difficult to engage in lively discussion regarding brand communications, we won’t place any value in it—and miss out on all the potential communications can bring to our brands.

 

3) Power and hierarchy—people aren’t empowered enough to do their jobs.

 

Most international firms delegate brand decision-making power to a brand management department. Doing so empowers employees and creates leaders—both of which are vital to driving a successful brand. This isn’t as common in Taiwan. Founder of Alibaba Jack Ma highlighted this during a visit to Taipei back in 2014. According to Taiwan Business Topics, “Ma likened Taiwan’s elderly corporate emperors to the aged characters in the works of the Chinese novelist Jin Yong, a leading figure in the Wuxia genre.” The article goes on to state that Ma felt “Taiwanese society needed to empower its younger generations” to create a better future. 

 

Without an empowered employee base, brands are managed by teams that lack passion, and decisions are simply left to the CEO. This time-consuming process kills the brand development momentum. It has the residual effect of discouraging changes or attempts at improving brand communications—fearing the process could be seen as wasted time or result in the unwanted intervention of a busy CEO.

 

4) Subconscious incompetence—the right professionals aren’t sought out for communications.

 

Brand communications link businesses to their target audience and play a fundamental role in persuading that audience to support it. Persuasive communications are both a science and art that, when done effectively helps us mold and shape attitudes directed towards our products, services, and brands. 

 

Despite this, brands still fail to value and invest in the people who develop communications. What should be viewed as major brand decisions are reduced to insignificant marketing tasks and delegated to people with little to no professional experience in either branding or communications. This results in ineffective communications and poor brand perception— undesirable attitudes toward our products and services.  

 

5) Fear—going out on a limb is seen as far too risky.

 

Fear can hold us back from progression and improvement. Fear can prevent brands from making better choices—fear of trying something new, fear of standing out, fear of failure. In Taiwan, where business success has historically been achieved by providing what is asked for (OEM) or replicating those things which already exist in a market, many are reluctant to make meaningful advancements to their brand. They fear going out on a limb and developing truly meaningful brand communications—a barrier to greater success.

 

What we regularly see, especially when it comes to brand communications, is a persistent clinging to cut-and-paste messages. Brand communications in Taiwan are often little more than boilerplate jargon, more concerned with communicating a sense of status and me-too-isms than in being authentic to brand values. Blending in is always easier, and takes little courage. However, in terms of business success, the rewards are much greater when brands embrace their fear and invest in transformational communications.

 

6) Politics—too much energy is put into making sure nobody is offended.

 

Nobody wants to lose face, especially in Taiwan where the concept of face is still extremely important and impacts how things are done within most organizations. Very few people are willing to point out bad communications because they fear losing face—their own or others. With no one willing to point out the problem, there is little movement towards developing effective communication tools and strategies, and firms continue to rely on the same old ineffective communications practices—eliminating any chance of creating meaningful impact or improving brand perception. 

 

7) Misaligned expectations—communications goals aren’t clear enough.

 

Goals should always drive brands communications. However, brand communications in Taiwan are still perceived as low-value. Taiwanese organizations invest minimal time and effort into them. Without strategic planning or professional support, clear goals to drive brand communications are often completely absent from the communications development effort.

 

The problem with a lack of clearly defined goals is ultimately an inability to measure effectiveness. For example, a brand may claim their goal is to “raise brand awareness”, but from where to where? The answer to this type of question often requires much more work than many companies are willing to invest in.

 

The goal with most brand communications in Taiwan appears to be about getting things done quickly while spending the least amount of money, rather than about creating brand communications that are right for the brand. Brand communications developed with corner-cutting objectives rarely make a measurable impact beyond the doors of the meeting room where they were created, and in turn do little more than create confusion for consumers.

 

8) Chàbuduō—too often ‘ok’ is good enough.

 

Many companies in Taiwan appear to be putting in the bare minimum when it comes to investing in their brands. Very few brands in Taiwan seem to be aware of strategic brand communications, let alone possess the ambition necessary to develop rock-solid plans for entering international marketplaces. In fact, it seems as if most brands in Taiwan are just fine with things the way they are, and actually, there’s a common saying for that in Chinese—Chàbuduō.

 

Much of Taiwan’s brand communications are simply awful and perpetuate a stereotype that Taiwan brands aren’t to be taken seriously. In return, global consumers may be finding it more valuable to look elsewhere—to other emerging nations with stronger brand momentum. 

 

All hope is not lost.

If Taiwan has any serious ambitions in regards to building internationally recognized and respected brands, then their value perception of communications—including copywriting, messaging, content, naming, and internal communications—needs to transform dramatically. For example, take a look at what ECOVE has done over the past year. This ambitious brand has radically rebuilt its brand communications to reflect a modern day environmental services company. The positive impact on the brand is strikingly evident.

 

Brands like ECOVE and Gogoro understand the need to invest more in good brand communications and ensure that the right professionals are doing the job. Fear needs to be replaced with a sense of optimism and a realization that a certain amount of risk needs to be taken when pursuing greatness.

 

Taiwan brands have everything they need to improve their communications. The right people and the right ideas are here and waiting to be put to work. Doing so will take honest time and effort along with a willingness to invest more in smart brand strategies and effective communications. Taiwan and its innovating brands are ready to be noticed by global consumers—it simply starts with the right brand communications. 

Question or comments? Please share them with me below and I will respond. 

And be sure to follow my other social networks and sign up for my newsletter!

Brand conversations at DDG by Chris W. Hubbard

At DDG we recently launched a new series on our journal to share our thoughts on branding-related topics. Over the coming weeks—and potentially months if reception is positive—we plan to release these conversational videos on our website journal as well as through our Facebook page. I'm sharing the videos here as well, but please go check out the additional interview content for each of the videos—What is branding and why should companies care about it, What is a good brand and how do they use Brand Catalyst, and What we wish more people knew about branding. 

I've included our short promo video as well because I think it's absolutely great!

Q&A - What branding means to me and how it's different in Taiwan by Chris W. Hubbard

Soon, DDG will be launching a new series of Q&A articles, and video interviews focused on the subject of branding. We're hoping to share a variety of the brand thinking that takes place within our company as well as the unique connections people make between their specific role and branding as a whole. 

I decided to share my own Q&A on branding here as a way to kick off the conversation and encourage those of you who stumble upon my journal to also tune into what we have going on over at DDG— follow us via our Facebook or journal

Q: What does branding mean to you?

A brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what other people say it is. It’s peoples perception of you—your company or your business. 

This means that—as a company—you can put a lot of effort into painting the type of picture you want people to see, and say a lot of nice things about who you are and what you think you do. You can even have internal agreement on those things. But if people outside your company don’t believe it, it means nothing. Perception is reality.

For example, if you’re not innovative, then don’t say you’re innovative because people won’t believe you anyways. It used to be easy to get away with saying whatever you wanted to people. But everyone has instant access to information now. And newer generations grew up in a world filled with marketing and branding and advertising so they’re more savvy and they know the tricks.

So yes, branding is about understanding who you are and what you want to stand for, but it’s also about knowing what you CAN stand for—authentically—and how this will impact peoples perception of your brand. 

Q: Why should businesses care about branding?

A lot of people will say companies should care about branding because it helps other people understand who you are, and what you stand for—which is true—but the real value of a strong brand is its ability to help a company understand themselves and make choices that align with that reality. 

When you understand who you actually are—and not who you think you should be—you have a valuable tool for knowing where to go, and what to do on the way. History is made up of choices, and making the right choices is what good business is all about. 

Q: What does it mean to be a good brand?

A good brand is honest—they know who they, what makes them special, and they use tools like marketing, design and advertising as ways to authentically connect with others and share what’s so special about themselves. 

A good brand isn’t a marketing gimmick. A good brand walks the walk and lives and breathes the perceptions they desire from others.

Q: Are their differences in the ways companies in Asia vs. the west see branding?

Companies in the west are very brand savvy. They’ve been doing it forever. They know what branding is and how to do it. They have smart people with lots of brand experience on their teams. They have brand managers who work with brand agencies and ad agencies that all speak the same brand language and have a deep understanding of what needs to be done and why it’s important. 

In Taiwan, it still seems that a lot of companies are struggling to understand what branding is in the first place, let alone why it matters. They are realizing that it does matter, but aren’t sure why, and they have very few people on their teams who can help them with that so they just do the best they can on their own.

The common perception here is that branding is marketing or advertising, and it has something to do with having a nice logo. And everyone thinks they are right. So telling someone that no, that’s not what branding is, can be hard. You’re telling someone they’re wrong and are going to face some resistance. So there’s resistance here.

This is changing in places like China. They’re becoming as brand savvy as the west now because the leaders of their companies are bringing on talented people who can help them do it right. And they’re willing to let go a little bit. 

Q: What is a Brand Catalyst?

It’s a focal point for your brand. It’s easy to be distracted in life, and in business so a brand needs a point of focus that can guide them.

In yoga, there is the concept of drishti—a visual focal point while in a posture. Where the gaze is directed is where the attention naturally follows, and the quality of the gaze—meaning how concentrated it is—impacts the quality of the pose and the benefit received from that pose, both mentally and physically. A Brand Catalyst is a drishti for brands.

Q: How does communications impact branding?

Communication is about transferring meaning and understanding to others. If you have a great idea but aren’t able to communicate it in a way other people understand then it’s meaningless. 

There’s a lot of great brand ideas that are meaningless to people outside of the company because they’re unable to communicate it well. 

Q: What challenging situations do you find yourself in?

I think one of the biggest challenges I face, at least here in Taiwan, is getting companies to understand the importance of good brand communications. 

I'm not talking about good spelling or good grammar—I'm horrible at both—I'm talking about the name you choose to give your company or products, the slogan you put on your website and brand messages you share with your customers. These decisions have a massive impact on the perception people have towards you and your brand. Do communication wrong, and even the best logo won’t save you. 

Q: What lessons have you learned over the years working with clients?

There are three important lessons I’ve learned over the years:

1 - Everything communicates something

Everything from what you wear, to what you say, to where you live, and how you eat, says something to other people about who you are and what you believe in. The more a company understands this the easier branding becomes.

2 - Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb, that’s where the fruit is

People can be so afraid to fail that they make no moves at all, but no great success ever came from taking no risk at all. In twenty years you’ll care more about the things you didn’t do, so, just do it. 

3 - Everyone is doing their best from their level of awareness

When I was working in advertising in the states, my boss at the time gave me the book “7 habits of highly successful people.” I was totally uninterested in this book but read it anyways. The chapter on empathy changed the way I was viewing other people—especially our clients—forever. I learned to put myself in other peoples position for a moment and try to imagine what they were seeing, or what thing they needed to accomplish that sat outside of my own thinking.

I learned that every single person is doing their best and trying to accomplish something according to their current awareness and understanding. People can be unaware of something, and while that can be frustrating for those who are aware, it doesn’t mean they aren’t trying. 

Q: What are some interesting situations you’ve experienced with clients?

Memorable moments working with clients always happen when I feel we’re on the same side. When we respect each other as people who are all doing our best to accomplish something together, the experience is more positive. Getting to this kind of place usually starts with empathy, compassion and the ability to listen and appreciate what others have to offer. 

 

2 paragraphs on - Infinite Content by Chris W. Hubbard

There's a song on the new Arcade Fire album called "Infinite_Content." Without even listening to the song I felt I understood the expression. What used to be the "information age" seems to have transmorphed into an age where even the most obscure bits of "information" has been written about and argued about in an infinite number of ways. The most popular topics are written about and posted so frequently that they need a never ending stream of variations applied just to help them remain relevant; which article should I click on? 10, 20, 30, or 75 ways to make life more awesome?

There's way too much content out there now. Most of it is garbage, a lot of it is marketing nonsense, some of it is marketing but at least entertaining, but very little of it is thought provoking or educating in any truly valuable way. I feel there needs to be a shift from content to something more like conversation, perhaps. Maybe this is already happening. A book like Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss may be a good example. We want comparisons and multiple points of view from people we feel might be authentic and knowledgeable, not self-aggrandizing marketing pitches masked as content. Our new world of infinite content has taught us that the internet is filled with fake guru's and carbon copy marketers all hellbent on tricking us into something. Only authenticity and a move away from trying to be the loudest one on the corner will save us.

Enjoy:

Gogoro - The new Gogoro2 goes 110% farther, now do the same with innovation by Chris W. Hubbard

This article is also available in Chinese

On May 25th Gogoro—the Taiwanese electric scooter brand—hosted a live press event to make some "big announcements.” I had been looking forward to this event. As a Gogoro owner, early adopter, and fan, I feel an intimate interest in the brand and their ability to innovate.

I can honestly say that, up till now, I’ve enjoyed most of my Gogoro experience. I wrote an article encouraging people to buy one. It’s a great scooter. In terms of design and overall quality, they didn’t cut corners. I’ve also enjoyed the feeling that, by riding a Gogoro, I’ve been doing something good for the environment. I also discussed this in my Gogoro owners review as well.  Unfortunately, I have to admit I've experienced a fair amount of frustration as well.

I was desperately hoping that some of my frustrations would be addressed during the event and that I would see some innovative updates involving the brand, business model, and scooters. I was hoping they could renew my belief in the brand. I was hoping to see signs they were listening to people like me.

What I heard instead was the launch of a new lower priced, economically designed Gogoro 2. In many ways, it’s better than the original Gogoro. They gave it a bigger, more comfortable two person seat. It has a more compact touchscreen display. It can be serviced at any scooter shop in Taiwan—as opposed to mine which can only be serviced at a very expensive Gogoro store. It goes as fast as the original but "110%" farther on a single charge. While it costs me $300nt per month for a measly 100 kilometers of battery (My actual bill averages around $1000nt each month), the new Gogoro 2 owners will get unlimited kilometers for $500 per month—a much fairer deal.

The new Gogoro 2 appears to be a smart business move. I assume they will sell a lot more of this version. While many of my friends think the new design is less than attractive, I don’t actually hate it myself. I think it looks fine. It’s just more average looking and cheaper, and in the end that’s what most people seem to prefer these days anyways—average and cheap. Something about that just brings me down though.

After the presentation wrapped up, I felt four things concerning the brand and relationship with Gogoro:

  1. Let down that my concerns as an owner were overlooked
  2. That my expensive scooter had been devalued
  3. That Gogoro is doing what they need to do to stay in business
  4. Curious as to why companies like Gogoro can’t fully realize innovation

I’ll skip the first three and discuss the fourth, more important topic—innovation—because it pertains to more than just Gogoro, but to all brands in Taiwan who are looking to innovate.

There are generally six things that any company, brand or organisation needs in order to genuinely innovative.

  1. An unorthodox, distinctive approach
  2. An ability to embrace diversity
  3. A diverse, open and creative culture
  4. Empathy for the consumer or customer
  5. The ability to execute and practically take action
  6. The ability to be confident and bold

Gogoro is doing two of these really well. First, they are clearly taking an unorthodox and distinctive approach to their product, design, and communications. Their design thinking and presentation of the product is as good and compelling as any of the most admired brands in the world, including Apple. Second, they are confident and bold. It takes confidence and a bold set of thinking and determination to do what they’ve done so far.

What I feel they probably aren’t doing very well, is the rest. If Gogoro can increase the range of the Gogoro2 up to 110% then why can't they do this with their innovation as well?

I could be wrong about this, but I’m going to assume that as a Taiwanese company their workplace isn’t a champion of diversity. There may be one or two foreigners working in their marketing department, but I’ll assume that over 98% of the workplace is Taiwanese. I can understand this, Taiwan isn't America, and having mostly Taiwanese in a Taiwanese company sounds reasonable. But It’s hard to innovate when you only have one type of thinking taking place in your organisation. Some people in government are trying to change this (read about it here) because they know that If you want to innovate, you need different types of people, with diverse mindsets, ideas, lifestyle and attitudes populating your environments and sharing their ideas. 

Second, I’ve heard Gogoro has tried to build a creative workplace environment for it’s employees. But I’ve also heard that while it appears creative, the culture lacks creative authenticity. You can create the best-looking offices in the world, but if your people don’t participate, and you don’t encourage actual creative culture, then it’s just advertising and it won’t translate into innovation.

Gogoro is partially listening to it’s customers. But since—I feel—they are still looking at us as customers instead of a community of users, it hasn’t been able to develop real empathy for us, which means they don’t understand what’s really driving our needs and feelings about the brand. If a brand can’t understand, then it can’t innovate.

Gogoro is taking actions, but perhaps not the right ones. my opinion of course. 

Gogoro is a great product, and I still recommend it. However, these days my recommendation simply comes from my desire for cleaner air, and quieter neighborhoods than it does from my love of the brand.

Currently there's no other scooter quite like it on the market. If you want a good, fast, reliable electric scooter, the only choice is Gogoro—but that could change.

Let me be clear about something. I'm not trying being "negative." In fact, most of what I've said here is fairly positive. I'm trying to be constructive by voicing my own concerns. Like many others, I love Gororo and care about their success. 

I'm also not saying that Gogoro isn't innovative—they are. I feel they are the most genuinely innovative brand in Taiwan right now. They've created a good product that's unlike anything else. I'm just trying to express my feelings that their innovation could—like the new Gogoro2—go a bit further.

I have hope for the brand: I hope they made the right decision with the Gogoro2 and that they sell enough to keep the business alive and thriving. I hope their success enables them to take better care of, and listen more attentively to the needs of it’s users. I hope in the next coming years they are able to take their innovation 110% farther as well. 

Enjoy this nice photo of me and my dad preparing for our Gogoro trip in Taiwan:

Let's go! #gogoro #electricscooter #李悟爸爸 #李悟 #李悟gogoro

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