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A Conversation with Chief Learning Officer Susan Peters

In recent years, GE has faced severe business challenges the company $200 billion market cap is half of what it used to be. Still, an area of enormous strength is the way the company identifies and builds leaders, as the large number of CEOs who once worked for GE testifies.

An edited transcript of the conversation appears below:

Susan Peters: At GE, we have been involved in learning and development for more than 60 years. GE purchased the property in the mid 1950s and we started teaching management there at that time in courses that were 13 weeks long. I know that a bit hard to believe. Of course, we have evolved; today the longest course we teach there is three weeks long. But the truth is that if you think about education, it is a fundamental and very deeply rooted part of our corporate culture.

To give you an overview of what we do, we have an umbrella approach that we call GE Global Learning. We break it up into three buckets. The first is leadership. The second is skills, which is driven by function finance skills, marketing skills, etc. The third bucket is business. What we are trying to teach there is the knowledge that is specific and needed for a business or industry. As you know, GE is in a wide range of industries from aviation to healthcare to financial services so we have to teach specifics within each of those industries. If you look at those three buckets and aggregate them all, including all the training and programs, we spend about $1 billion a year in training at GE. That is our objective. We seek to do this through the Crotonville experience. If we do a good job with the people who come through the Crotonville classes, there is a huge multiplier effect. They go back and hopefully do the same thing inspire, connect, and develop the people who work for them, and who might not be able to physically attend a course in New York. Let me segment the GE population for you. We have about 290,000 employees. A little less than half of them are professionals; the others are folks who work in the factories. The effort I talking wholesale nhl jerseys about applies almost exclusively to our professional population. So let assume we are talking about 150,000 people half of whom are located outside the United States. Those 150,000 professionals around the world are our audience.

We take a stair step approach to leadership learning at GE. First, we have a suite of on demand courses that are available 24/7 through your computer. We have an enterprise wide license with several vendors to provide material. We ensure that this content covers a wide range of topics from management skills to project skills we use a lot of video, material with downloading capability, etc. We have encouraged people to use those avenues for one off or on demand or lunch and learn programs. But I wouldn say this is the essential part of our leadership learning. It foundational and it is available.

The next group up consists of essential skills. We have 13 offerings involving leadership skills that everybody should have, including presentation skills, project management skills, understanding finance in a generic way, and so on. These courses are managed through the Crotonville staff but are delivered at GE businesses around the world. This is done through a TTT Train the Trainer concept. The integrity of the course is maintained because the Crotonville staff ensures that the person teaching it has been trained and certified.

One step above that, we have what we call cornerstone courses. These are programs where individuals physically come to a GE facility and spend time there. These courses are one week long and are offered around the world. There are four key courses. We have a Foundations of Leadership course that would happen early in somebody career, let say, during the first one to three years. Then there is a Leadership Development Course, a New Manager Development Course, and an Advanced Manager Course. Those courses span the first 10 years of your career, so you would be going to them maybe every other year or every third year.

Then we get to the executive level courses. These courses are all three weeks long and they are offered only at Crotonville there is a Manager Development Course, Business Management Course, and the Executive Development Course. Those titles of MDC, BMC, and EDC have been in GE since the 1960s, so they have quite a historical aspect to them and quite an internal brand.

The final course we offer is for teams. So we offer leadership courses to everyone and at all levels. Can you give me a sense of scale?

Peters: The usage of the on demand programs varies from year to year. You might find 50,000 to 60,000 people a year do some sort of on demand learning. The essential skills course involves 35,000 people. As for the rest, about 9,000 people a year go through courses in which you physically stay at the GE facility. or to Munich, Germany, or Shanghai, China or wherever we are offering the course. As you said, it has been the hub of GE educational activities since cheap jerseys outlet the 1950s. How many other centers has GE developed around the world to be focal points of learning for the company?

Peters: We have leveraged the fact that we have global research centers in Shanghai, China, in Munich, Germany and in Bangalore, India. We teach often at those places. They have become our home away from home, if you will. We do a lot of our Crotonville leadership teaching at Munich, Shanghai, and Bangalore, but also at other places around the world. In those cases it is often at a hotel facility. The Crotonville facility in New York is the only one that is residential. We have 188 rooms on the property. In the other locations we would have the participants staying in a local hotel. Have you found that as you develop content for teaching leadership that the cultural context changes? In other words, are some things lost in translation or are you able to use the same content in different parts of the world?

Peters: The first thing, as we design or update courses, is that this is done by a global team. The team would typically get together in either Crotonville or Munich or, recently, Bangalore to do this sort of design or redesign. Often it is a redesign you have to always tweak these classes to ensure that they include the most contemporary content and curriculum. So they start with global input.

The second element is that I have somebody on my team who is headquartered in Munich and another who covers Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Somebody on my team is headquartered in New Delhi and she covers the Asia Pacific region. Their job is to ensure that as the course content is taught in the local environment, it is taught with the appropriate cultural overtone. The essence of leadership, we believe, is the same around the world, so we don change the fundamentals or the content. But there is always the cultural aspect and those local leaders ensure that it is embedded in the course. There is an element of our teaching that we recognize will always be face to face and, therefore, probably less technology sensitive. I don suspect that cheap jerseys from china we will ever go to a place where we have only technology based learning or e learning. We really believe that the connect, and develop happens with real impact when people are physically together. A tremendous amount of sharing happens across functions and geographies when people are physically together. participants from multiple businesses and industries, across multiple functions.

The other bimodal piece is that we really are trying to leverage and embed technology into learning. I mentioned earlier the availability of on demand materials and how we are trying to get people to download podcasts or other kinds of content that people can access and listen to in the car, etc. Some of that is just educating people on what is available and how to do it and making learning a part of everybody day all the time.

We have built at our Crotonville facility several technical tools that are very helpful. We use TelePresence, which enables us to have a leader from another part of the world speak to a class in real time. We also have a virtual collaboration room, which enables people to work with teams in Crotonville simultaneously with a room that is structured the same way anywhere else in the world. We encourage people to learn and use new tools when they come to Crotonville or take classes, and to that end it is things like we actually wholesale nfl jerseys have them do their report using Webex or WebCams on their laptops so that they are comfortable using those tools not only in the learning setting, but also in their business setting when they go home.

We have Kindles. We have global newspapers available on portals around the place so that people can with touch screens open the China Daily Times as they are sitting in the lobby of our education building. A lot of this is to demonstrate that these tools are now a part of our lives and that learning isn just about leadership but it about the use of new technology.

Peters: That is a course about which we feel really confident. We started the program in the spring of 2006 and piloted it that year. It was the first time that GE really pushed the senior level leadership team training. By that, I mean the general manager of a P unit and his or her entire team came to the training. It is a one week class. We call it LIG, which stands for Leadership, Innovation and Growth. It basically is the team taking time to learn about current environmental or business issues and building their ongoing strategy for their growth playbook, which is really their three year strategy outlook. It is an enabler for business teams to build their strategy.

What might some of the content be? When we first did it in the 2006, 2007, and 2008 time frame we were doing things like market segmentation, innovation and building adjacencies. The content that we are building for these teams now is much more reflective of today environment. We are focusing on themes like seeing around corners, scenario planning, and peripheral vision. We always have some innovation and globalization element to it. We always teach leadership. This enables people to get current thinking from thought leaders around the world. Then they go into a break out and say, do we apply this to our environment? Where do we want to be in the next year or two or three? Because they are doing it as a leadership team, we have found it to be very impactful.Articles Connexes:

Shoemaker Christian Louboutin dealt a setback in ‘red sole’ lawsuit

NEW YORK In a court case that has all sides seeing red, a judge said Wednesday that a French maker of luxury shoes worn by stars such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Scarlett Johansson red bottom pumps and Halle Berry will likely fail in its effort to stop other shoemakers from producing high heeled women’s shoes with red soles. Though the ruling came at an early stage of consideration of a lawsuit Louboutin brought in April, the judge said it will probably be tossed out. Patent and Trademark Office. The judge said the office was “perhaps swayed in part by the widespread recognition the red sole had already attained” as the shoes became a favorite of well heeled famous clients. The trademark notes that the color red is claimed as a feature of the mark, which consists of a lacquered red sole on footwear.

“Awarding one participant in the designer shoe market a monopoly on the color red would impermissibly hinder competition among other participants,” Marrero wrote.

“Louboutin’s claim would cast a red cloud over replica christian louboutin the whole industry, cramping what other designers do, while allowing Louboutin to paint with a full palette,” he said.

Harley louboutin replica Irwin Lewin, a lawyer for Louboutin, said he was replica louboutin disappointed red bottom shoes with the ruling and believes it was contrary to trademark law.

“He has decided that in the fashion industry, people shouldn’t own a trademark that consists of a single color regardless of its use and red bottoms regardless of the fact the trademark has achieved trademark status with the public,” Lewin said. “We made a point of saying it isn’t on an article of fashion. It’s on the bottom of a shoe.”

Lewin said he believes he can appeal the ruling prior to trial but will not decide until speaking with the company.

At the appeals level, he added: “I think we win hands down.”

Jyotin Hamid, a lawyer for Yves Saint Laurent, said the company was pleased with the ruling.

“No designer should be able to monopolize a color in fashion,” he said. He said the company looks forward to continuing to manufacture red soled shoes, which it has been doing since the 1970s.

Marrero rejected claims by lawyers for Louboutin that the footwear designer only plans to enforce the red bottom boots trademark on high heeled shoes and only in regard to specific shades of red, saying to do so would invite endless legal challenges and force judges to become “an arbiter of fashion design.”

He said upholding the trademark could also red bottom heels set off “imperial color wars in women’s high fashion footwear.” He suggested Yves Saint Laurent might act on its claim christian louboutin replica that it pioneered the monochrome shoe design and asserting rights to the single color shoe concept in all shades.

Marrero added: “What about hostile color grabs in the markets for low fashion shoes? Or for sports shoes? Or expanding beyond footwear, what about inner linings, collars, or buttons on coats, jackets, or dresses in both women’s and men’s apparel?”

The judge said the trademark was unlikely to survive legal challenges “because in the fashion industry color serves ornamental and aesthetic functions vital to robust competition.”

Marrero acknowledged the enormous success Louboutin has achieved since the designer began in 1992 to apply glossy vivid red to the outsoles of his fancy women’s shoes, beginning with red nail polish he applied to the black soles of a pair of women’s shoes.

At prices up to $1,000 a pair, the shoes became a favorite of celebrities, causing the red outsole to become closely associated with the Louboutin name and leading even Yves Saint Laurent to acknowledge its success, “however begrudgingly,” Marrero wrote. alone and envious competitors and black market shoe makers are eager to capitalize on the success, the judge said.Articles Connexes: