In the last March, two of the Weber Shandwick Korea’s members, MiJin Lee and Nicole Kim have gained the opportunity to participate in the global workshop called ‘Hothouse’ hosted by Constituency Management Group(CMG), a unit of Interpublic Group of Companies(IPG) which Weber Shandwick is part of. According to Lee and Kim, they were once thrilled by the scenery of Bali where the workshop was held in for 3 days, and twice by the experience of meeting, sharing and learning insights from a number of experts in various PR fields. Here is their story of this year’s Hothouse.
Q. What is Hothouse?
Hothouse is a global workshop provided by Constituency Management Group(CMG) which is a unit of Interpublic Group of Companies(IPG) that Weber Shandwick is belonged to. IPG has a number of various subsidiary companies specialized in public relations, branding, experience marketing, sports marketing, healthcare communications, digital communications and many more. Every year, Hothouse invites 20 professionals from the companies within the unit of CMG in Asia Pacific region to gather in Indonesia, Bali to engage them in networking, presentation, and seminar. This workshop is Hothouse.
Q. What Takes to Participate in Hothouse?
Hothouse demands for a solid preparation. It is open to employees of the CMG companies of more than a year, and those who wish to participate are asked to submit an application. The application process takes applicants through the theme of workshop. This year’s theme was ‘Disruption’ and there were 5 questions to answer.
Q1. In 2014, which brand changed the way we think about a market, product or service – and why was it successful in doing that?
Q2. What do you believe to be the two most important attributes a ‘disruptive brand’ must demonstrate, and why?
Q3. Over a quarter of the world’s population is now under 15 years old. What do you think might be one significant consequence of this ‘demographic milestone’ to the marketing and communications industry in the next five years, and why?
Q4. What single disruptive event has most changed your approach to the way you work or live your life, and how?
Q5. What is your motivation for applying for a place at the Hothouse?
Q. What kind of experiences can you take away at the HotHouse?
Hothouse’s Program #1- Debate
Hothouse selected 20 participants and divided us into 4 groups. Along with the congratulation email by the host, he throws us a topic for a debate which we were asked to prepare to propose given position as a group. So, the five of group members found time for team meetings and worked over emails, calls, and texts without actually meeting in person. It wasn’t easy at all.
This program was meant to be challenging though. It gave us an opportunity to work and cooperate with people in overseas only virtually. Once we arrived in Bali and finally met team members in person, we got to put our debate materials into a piece and the next morning, Hothouse kicked out with the debate.
“This House Believes that Business and Consumers are Best Served by Brand Revolution, not Brand Evolution.”
HotHouse Program #2 – Seminars
Another great takeaway at the HotHouse are the seminars presented by facilitators from different agencies within the Interpublic Group of Companies’ agencies in Asia Pacific, including Jack Morton, FutureBrand, Golin Harris, R/GA, etc. The facilitators presented their insights and expertise, and challenged us to share our ideas and experiences, engaging in discussions around the theme ‘Disruption.’ It was especially meaningful to be able to carry thought-provoking discussions and debates with the facilitators, whom we would not be able to meet every day.
HotHouse Program #3 – Team Mission
After the seminars were over, we had to prepare for your last presentation, which required us to use our own experience and specialties, combined with the insight we learned through the whole HotHouse experience. Each team was given a brand, ranging from IT, finance, aviation, etc., and was asked to disrupt the brand’s purpose to a reinvented business model that would better service its customers. Every team huddled and gathered around the swimming pool to discuss what we can do to the brand to amplify it, and create a strategic action plan. Time went by much sooner than we had anticipated, as each team member contributed something from their area of expertise. We talked freely about our ideas over dinner, and to the facilitators, who gave us their insights and feedbacks, rearing us in different paths and proposing challenges that we could not see. The presentation went on for the entire morning of the next day. The preparation was both challenging and intriguing because we were met with not only positive responses, but also challenging questions and constructive feedback from other teams and facilitators.
Q. Last thoughts on HotHouse?
The last day of HotHouse was especially bittersweet. Due to the tightly packed schedule, we were able to learn, share, and experience so many things. It was especially very meaningful to be able to meet and form special relationships with all the HotHouse participants. We were able to create a special bond over such a short period of time because although everyone was from different agencies located in different areas, the fundamental fact is that we all continuously strive and work to bring our clients the best possible service that we can offer. We were all pleasantly surprised to see how much our markets were similar, different, and in some instances, going on the same path.
The biggest takeaway from HotHouse was the colleagues that I can now contact any time to ask for both personal and work related advice, including insights on different markets. We all look forward to collaborate in the near future.
HotHouse was without a doubt, on the most inspiring, yet challenging experience on our career. The ‘disruptive’ experience expanded our horizon, as it took us out of our daily routine and comfort zone to explore a whole realm of different angles and possibilities.