Course Correction How to Stop China's Maritime Advance

By Ely Ratner

The South China Sea is fast becoming the world’s most important waterway. As the main corridor between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the sea carries one-third of global maritime trade, worth over $5 trillion, each year, $1.2 trillion of it going to or from the United States. The sea’s large oil and gas reserves and its vast fishing grounds, which produce 12 percent of the world’s annual catch, provide energy and food for Southeast Asia’s 620 million people.

But all is not well in the area. Six governments—in Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam—have overlapping claims to hundreds of rocks and reefs that scatter the sea. Sovereignty over these territories not only serves as a source of national pride; it also confers hugely valuable rights to drill for oil, catch fish, and sail warships in the surrounding waters. For decades, therefore, these countries have contested one another’s claims, occasionally even resorting to violence. No single government has managed to dominate the area, and the United States has opted to remain neutral on the sovereignty disputes. In recent years, however, China has begun to assert its claims more vigorously and is now poised to seize control of the sea. Should it succeed, it would deal a devastating blow to the United States’ influence in the region, tilting the balance of power across Asia in China’s favor. 

In early 2014, China’s efforts to assert authority over the South China Sea went from a trot to a gallop.Time is running out to stop China’s advance. With current U.S. policy faltering, the Trump administration needs to take a firmer line. It should supplement diplomacy with deterrence by warning China that if the aggression continues, the United States will abandon its neutrality and help countries in the region defend their claims. Washington should make clear that it can live with an uneasy stalemate in Asia—but not with Chinese hegemony. 

China has asserted “indisputable sovereignty” over all the land features in the South China Sea and claimed maritime rights over the waters within its “nine-dash line,” which snakes along the shores of the other claimants and engulfs almost the entire sea. Although China has long lacked the military power to enforce these claims, that is rapidly changing. After the 2008 financial crisis, moreover, the West’s economic woes convinced Beijing that the time was ripe for China to flex its muscles.

Since then, China has taken a series of actions to exert control over the South China Sea. In 2009, Chinese ships harassed the U.S. ocean surveillance ship Impeccable while it was conducting routine operations in the area. In 2011, Chinese patrol vessels cut the cables of a Vietnamese ship exploring for oil and gas. In 2012, the Chinese navy and coast guard seized and blockaded Scarborough Shoal, a contested reef in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. In 2013, China sent an armed coast guard ship into Indonesian waters to demand the return of a Chinese crew detained by the Indonesian authorities for illegally fishing around Indonesia’s Natuna Islands.

Then, in early 2014, China’s efforts to assert authority over the South China Sea went from a trot to a gallop. Chinese ships began massive dredging projects to reclaim land around seven reefs that China already controlled in the Spratly Islands, an archipelago in the sea’s southern half. In an 18-month period, China reclaimed nearly 3,000 acres of land. (By contrast, over the preceding several decades, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam had reclaimed a combined total of less than 150 acres.) Despite assurances by Chinese President Xi Jinping in September 2015 that China had “no intention to militarize” the South China Sea, it has been rapidly transforming its artificial islands into advanced military bases, replete with airfields, runways, ports, and antiaircraft and antimissile systems. In short order, China has laid the foundation for control of the South China Sea. 

Should China succeed in this endeavor, it will be poised to establish a vast zone of influence off its southern coast, leaving other countries in the region with little choice but to bend to its will. This would hobble U.S. alliances and partnerships, threaten U.S. access to the region’s markets and resources, and limit the United States’ ability to project military power and political influence in Asia.

Despite the enormous stakes, the United States has failed to stop China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea. For the most part, Washington has believed that as China grew more powerful and engaged more with the world, it would naturally come to accept international rules and norms. For over a decade, the lodestar of U.S. policy has been to mold China into what U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick described in 2005 as “a responsible stakeholder”—which would uphold the international system or, at the least, cooperate with established powers to revise the global order. U.S. policymakers argued that they could better address most global challenges with Beijing on board. 
The United States complemented its plan to integrate China into the prevailing system with efforts to reduce the odds of confrontation. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke of the need to “write a new answer to the question of what happens when an established power and a rising power meet.” She was referring to the danger of falling into “the Thucydides trap,” conflict between an existing power and an emerging one. As the Athenian historian wrote, “It was the rise of Athens, and the fear that this inspired in Sparta, that made war inevitable.” Wary of a similar outcome, U.S. policymakers looked for ways to reduce tensions and avoid conflict whenever possible. 

This approach has had its successes. The Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal were both the direct result of bilateral efforts to solve global problems together. Meanwhile, U.S. and Chinese officials interacted frequently, reducing misperceptions and perhaps even warding off major crises that could have led to outright conflict. 

Applying this playbook to the South China Sea, the Obama administration put diplomatic pressure on all the claimants to resolve their disputes peacefully in accordance with international law. To deter China from using force, the United States augmented its military presence in the region while deepening its alliances and partnerships as part of a larger “rebalance” to Asia. And although Beijing rarely saw it this way, the United States took care not to pick sides in the sovereignty disputes, for example, sending its ships to conduct freedom-of-navigation operations in waters claimed by multiple countries, not just by China.

U.S. risk aversion has allowed China to reach the brink of total control over the South China Sea.
Although this strategy helped the United States avoid major crises, it did not arrest China’s march in the South China Sea. In 2015, repeating a view that U.S. officials have conveyed for well over a decade, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a joint press conference with Xi, “The United States welcomes the rise of a China that is peaceful, stable, prosperous, and a responsible player in global affairs.” Yet Washington never made clear what it would do if Beijing failed to live up to that standard—as it often has in recent years. The United States’ desire to avoid conflict meant that nearly every time China acted assertively or defied international law in the South China Sea, Washington instinctively took steps to reduce tensions, thereby allowing China to make incremental gains. 

This would be a sound strategy if avoiding war were the only challenge posed by China’s rise. But it is not. U.S. military power and alliances continue to deter China from initiating a major military confrontation with the United States, but they have not constrained China’s creeping sphere of influence. Instead, U.S. risk aversion has allowed China to reach the brink of total control over the South China Sea.

U.S. policymakers should recognize that China’s behavior in the sea is based on its perception of how the United States will respond. The lack of U.S. resistance has led Beijing to conclude that the United States will not compromise its relationship with China over the South China Sea. As a result, the biggest threat to the United States today in Asia is Chinese hegemony, not great-power war. U.S. regional leadership is much more likely to go out with a whimper than with a bang.


The good news is that although China has made huge strides toward full control of the South China Sea, it is not there yet. To complete its takeover, it will need to reclaim more land, particularly at Scarborough Shoal, in the eastern part of the sea, where it currently lacks a base of operations. Then, it will need to develop the ability to deny foreign militaries access to the sea and the airspace above it, by deploying a range of advanced military equipment to its bases—fighter aircraft, antiship cruise missiles, long-range air defenses, and more. 

The United States has previously sought to prevent China from taking such steps. In recent years, Washington has encouraged Beijing and the other claimants to adopt a policy of “three halts”: no further land reclamation, no new infrastructure, and no militarization of existing facilities. But it never explained the consequences of defying these requests. On several occasions, the United States, along with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the G-7, and the EU, criticized China’s moves. But each time, Beijing largely ignored the condemnation, and other countries did not press the issue for long.

 ​Consider Beijing’s reaction to the landmark decision handed down in July 2016 by an international tribunal constituted under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which ruled that most of China’s claims in the South China Sea were illegal under international law. The United States and other countries called on China to abide by the decision but took no steps to enforce it. So China simply shrugged it off and continued to militarize the islands and police the waters around them. Although the United States has continued to make significant shows of force in the region through military exercises and patrols, it has never made clear to China what these are meant to signal. U.S. officials have often considered them “demonstrations of resolve.” But they never explained what, exactly, the United States was resolved to do. With that question unanswered, the Chinese leadership has had little reason to reverse course. 

For the same reason, U.S. President Donald Trump’s idea of reviving President Ronald Reagan’s strategy of “peace through strength” by beefing up the U.S. military will not hold China back on its own. The problem has never been that China does not respect U.S. military might. On the contrary, it fears that it would suffer badly in a war with the United States. But China also believes that the United States will impose only small costs for misdeeds that stop short of outright aggression. No matter how many more warships, fighter jets, and nuclear weapons the United States builds, that calculus will not change. 

In order to alter China’s incentives, the United States should issue a clear warning: that if China continues to construct artificial islands or stations powerful military assets, such as long-range missiles or combat aircraft, on those it has already built, the United States will fundamentally change its policy toward the South China Sea. Shedding its position of neutrality, Washington would stop calling for restraint and instead increase its efforts to help the region’s countries defend themselves against Chinese coercion. 

In this scenario, the United States would work with the other countries with claims in the sea to reclaim land around their occupied territories and to fortify their bases. It would also conduct joint exercises with their militaries and sell them the type of weapons that are known to military specialists as “counterintervention” capabilities, to give them affordable tools to deter Chinese military coercion in and around the area. These weapons should include surveillance drones, sea mines, land-based antiship missiles, fast-attack missile boats, and mobile air defenses.
A program like this would make China’s efforts to dominate the sea and the airspace above it considerably riskier for Beijing. The United States would not aim to amass enough collective firepower to defeat the People’s Liberation Army, or even to control large swaths of the sea; instead, the goal would be for partners in the region to have the ability to deny China access to important waterways, nearby coastlines, and maritime choke points. 

Beijing will not compromise as long as it finds itself pushing on an open door.
The United States should turn to allies and partners that already have close security ties in Southeast Asia for help. Japan could prove especially valuable, since it already sees China as a threat, works closely with several countries around the South China Sea, and is currently developing its own defenses against Chinese encroachment on its outer islands in the East China Sea. Australia, meanwhile, enjoys closer relations with Indonesia and Malaysia than does the United States, as does India with Vietnam—ties that would allow Australia and India to give these countries significantly more military heft than Washington could provide on its own.

Should Beijing refuse to change course, Washington should also negotiate new agreements with countries in the region to allow U.S. and other friendly forces to visit or, in some cases, be permanently stationed on their bases in the South China Sea. It should consider seeking access to Itu Aba Island (occupied by Taiwan), Thitu Island (occupied by the Philippines), and Spratly Island (occupied by Vietnam)—members of the Spratly Islands archipelago and the first-, second-, and fourth-largest naturally occurring islands in the sea, respectively. In addition to making it easier for the United States and its partners to train together, having forces on these islands would create new tripwires for China, increasing the risks associated with military coercion.

This new deterrent would present Beijing with a stark choice: on the one hand, it can further militarize the South China Sea and face off against countries with increasingly advanced bases and militaries, backed by U.S. power, or, on the other hand, it can stop militarizing the islands, abandon plans for further land reclamation, and start working seriously to find a diplomatic solution. 
Ritchie B. Tongo / Reuters Chinese land reclamation activity on Subi reef in the Spratly Islands, May 2015.


For this strategy to succeed, countries in the region will need to invest in stronger militaries and work more closely with the United States. Fortunately, this is already happening. Vietnam has purchased an expensive submarine fleet from Russia to deter China; Taiwan recently announced plans to build its own. Indonesia has stepped up military exercises near its resource-rich Natuna Islands. And despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s hostile rhetoric, the Philippines has not canceled plans to eventually allow the United States to station more warships and planes at Philippine ports and airfields along the eastern edge of the South China Sea.

But significant barriers remain. Many countries in the region fear that China will retaliate with economic penalties if they partner with the United States. In the wake of Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, Southeast Asian countries are increasingly convinced that it is inevitable that China will dominate the economic order in the region, even as many are concerned by that prospect. This growing perception will make countries in the region reluctant to enter into new military activities with the United States for fear of Chinese retribution. The only way for Washington to prevent this dangerous trend is to offer a viable alternative to economic dependence on China. That could mean reviving a version of the TPP or proposing a new and equally ambitious initiative on regional trade and investment. The United States cannot beat something with nothing. 

Washington should also do more to shape the domestic politics of countries with claims in the South China Sea by publicly disseminating more information about China’s activities in the sea. Journalists and defense specialists currently have to rely on sporadic and incomplete commercial satellite images to understand China’s actions. The U.S. government should supplement these with regular reports and images of China’s weapons deployments, as well as of Chinese navy and coast guard ships and Chinese state-backed fishing vessels illegally operating in other countries’ exclusive economic zones and territorial waters. 

Countries in the region will also be more likely to cooperate with Washington if they can count on the United States to uphold international law. To that end, the U.S. Navy should conduct freedom-of-navigation patrols in the South China Sea regularly, not just when Washington wants to make a diplomatic point. 

Critics of a more muscular deterrent argue that it would only encourage China to double down on militarization. But over the last few years, the United States has proved that by communicating credible consequences, it can change China’s behavior. In 2015, when the Obama administration threatened to impose sanctions in response to Chinese state-sponsored theft of U.S. commercial secrets, the Chinese government quickly curbed its illicit cyber-activities. And in the waning months of the Obama administration, Beijing finally began to crack down on Chinese firms illegally doing business with North Korea after Washington said that it would otherwise impose financial penalties on Chinese companies that were evading the sanctions against North Korea. 

Moreover, greater pushback by the United States will not, as some have asserted, embolden the hawks in the Chinese leadership. In fact, those in Beijing advocating more militarization of the South China Sea have done so on the grounds that the United States is irresolute, not that it is belligerent. The only real chance for a peaceful solution to the disputes lies in stopping China’s momentum. Beijing will not compromise as long as it finds itself pushing on an open door. 

And in the event that China failed to back down from its revisionist path, the United States could live with a more militarized South China Sea, as long as the balance of power did not tilt excessively in China’s favor. This is why China would find a U.S. threat to ratchet up military support for other countries with claims in the sea credible. Ensuring that countries in the region can contribute to deterring Chinese aggression would provide more stability than relying solely on Chinese goodwill or the U.S. military to keep the peace. Admittedly, with so many armed forces operating in such a tense environment, the countries would need to develop new mechanisms to manage crises and avoid unintended escalation. But in recent years, ASEAN has made significant progress on this front by devising new measures to build confidence among the region’s militaries, efforts that the United States should support.

Finally, some critics of a more robust U.S. strategy claim that the South China Sea simply isn’t worth the trouble, since a Chinese sphere of influence would likely prove benign. But given Beijing’s increasing willingness to use economic and military pressure for political ends, this bet is growing riskier by the day. And even if Chinese control began peacefully, there would be no guarantee that it would stay peaceful. The best way to keep the sea conflict free is for the United States to do what has served it so well for over a century: prevent any other power from commanding it.

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Books Review

Competitive Intelligence

TRobert Dover, Huw Dylan, Michael Goodman (editors)
Now available for pre-ordering. To be published May 2017.
This handbook provides a detailed analysis of threats and risk in the international system and of how governments and their intelligence services must adapt and function in order to manage the evolving security environment. The book includes a full chapter on competitive / corporate intelligence written by Arthur Weiss, AWARE’s managing director. This is the text to purchase if you want to know more about the intelligence discipline overall, and the book examines the changing nature of conflict and the security, risk & intelligence disciplines including intelligence and organised crime; cyber security; social media intelligence; intelligence ethics, etc. Overall, 26 topics are considered – with each having their own chapter or section.

Christopher Murphy
Before writing this review, I was curious to see if there were any positive synonyms for the word "critic" - but found none. Synonyms given were detractor, opponent, enemy and censor. The single antonym given, fan, is a better word for my feelings on this book.
So what is it that I like about the book? Well, the first thing is that I appreciate the welcome change of reading a book explaining competitive intelligence from a British perspective. Most "how to" competitive intelligence books are American, and reflect US conditions. Second, the book is well written, following a logical path covering why companies need to do competitive intelligence; competitive intelligence theory and industry analysis; ethical issues; data collection; analysis; to communicating the intelligence and protecting the organisation from others with "intelligence counter-steps". I also liked that the book was not afraid to slay some sacred cows. For example, instead of the simplistic "competitive intelligence cycle" normally shown as the CI process model, Murphy presents a sequential model, with feedback steps. I have often felt that the traditional cyclical model was weak - especially as, in its normal presentation, it ignores feedback steps, present in Murphy's version. The copious use of footnotes giving sources used, along with interesting and sometimes amusing case examples, are other plus points.
The book is particularly strong in its discussion of financial analysis of company accounts - giving a comprehensive coverage of UK legal forms, company filings and how the same can be interpreted. I know of no other competitive intelligence book that is as thorough in this area, making Murphy's book a unique reference to a topic that will not be covered in US competitive intelligence books and, hitherto, could only be learnt through financial and accounting texts. The book also includes good sections on: forecasting; business environmental monitoring; the assessment of information quality; and analysing corporate cultures, describing a number of approaches to this oft-ignored subject.
Could the book be improved? Possibly, but with almost 250 pages before four appendices giving resources and terminology, it would be difficult. Two chapters that should be extended in any future edition are those on human-source intelligence and foreign sources. In comparison with the depth of coverage afforded some other topics, especially financial analysis, these two sections seem weak and incomplete. The latter, especially, is a drawback, as it means that the book is really only relevant for those with a specific interest in competitive intelligence on UK companies. With many companies now competing in a global marketplace, the ability to be able to research across borders is a crucial skill for competitive intelligence professionals.
The rationale of a business textbook is to teach the reader new concepts and give ideas for better practice. However, the ultimate purpose is to be readable. If a book is not readable it doesn't matter how many great ideas are in it. Studies have suggested that most business book purchasers never read beyond the first few chapters. You won't find "Competitive Intelligence" un-put-downable. If you want that then Jackie Collins or JK Rowling or ... (tick the box for the fiction writer of your choice) ... would be a better bet. However it is also not difficult to read, and is written in clear and precise language.
I have worked in competitive intelligence for many years and have a good understanding of its theory and practice, to the extent that often when I read a book on CI, I groan as I've seen it all before. With Murphy's book, I did not need to groan; I learnt things I'd forgotten and a few things I don't think I ever knew. If UK competitive intelligence is your bag, then this book should be in it!

Win/Loss Analysis: How to Capture and Keep the Business You Want

Ellen Naylor
If  I asked to name one technique for gathering intelligence on customer requirements, marketplace needs and competitors, win-loss analysis would be at the top of the list. Effective win-loss analysis can tell you why customers choose you in preference to competitors or vice versa – and so allow you to tailor your product development, pricing and sales strategies to maximise customer purchase. Ellen Naylor is known as the foremost expert on the technique and this book tells you what to do and what to avoid – so that you get it right.

Seena Sharp
Competitive Intelligence Advantage starts from a marketing perspective and emphasises that successful competitive intelligence results in success marketing. The book explains the difference between data and intelligence, and the importance of looking at the whole business environment. Competitive Intelligence should not be viewed as a cost that has to be borne – but as an investment in the future that saves money and provides immediate value – that when done consistently will lead to competitive advantage.

Kirk W M Tyson
As the title suggests, Kirk Tyson’s book aims to be a comprehensive manual to competitive intelligence techniques. Although there have been, so far, 5 editions of this book, it is expensive although well worth the money as it covers the topic in depth. Although each edition was updated, the older editions are still mostly valid as as an initial primer to competitive intelligence. The SCIP edition was a special update at a lower price.

Written by Deborah C. Sawyer Reviewed by Arthur Weiss The front cover of "Smart Services" includes a quote from Andrew Garvin, the CEO of Find/SVP saying: "Finally a book that nails down what every service business needs to know about competition and competitive intelligence. 'Smart Services' offers competitive information strategies that firms can put to immediate use." I wanted to stop this review here, as I don't think that I could have given a better summary and description of this excellent book. However my brief for doing this review included an approximate word count, and I'm not brave enough to upset the Free Pint management by not adding a few words of my own. Smart Services is divided into three parts, of which the first, "The Competitive Landscape", and the second, "The Competitive Issues", occupy the bulk of the book. The final part, "The Competitive Game", summarises the previous sections with suggestions on ways of implementing the advice and processes described in the first two sections. "The Competitive Landscape" gives a comprehensive description of where competition can come from for a service business. The section describes the challenges facing service businesses and the types of competition faced. Of importance, the book does not just focus on traditional competitors but includes discussion on competition from service businesses that appear to be in completely different sectors, government and internal competition, and other types of indirect competition. This section is also good on how problems facing service businesses differ from those offering tangible products. The second section looks at the issues of collecting information on competitors, with chapters on how to find out who is competing, competitor strategies, sales and marketing, assessing performance and looking at who actually runs the competitor business. As with the first section, the end of each chapter includes a brief summary giving the key points mentioned in the chapter as well as suggestions on how information gathered can be fed back and used in company strategies and action plans. This is key, as there is no point collecting information on competitors that is ignored or filed away "for later"; such information is not competitive intelligence, as it has no impact on company actions. Having said all this, was there anything about this book I disliked? I have to answer yes - reluctantly, as my dislikes are fairly minor, and possibly reflect the fact that I am not new to CI or to service businesses. My first complaint is that the examples in the book are almost entirely from the USA or Canada. All suggested sources for information except one (the European Case Study clearinghouse at Cranfield - a unique global source) are North American. Thus the book cannot be used for specific advice on business sources outside the US and Canada. This is a minor quibble though, as the book does not claim to be a guide to sources. A second complaint is actually addressed in the book's introduction. Sawyer states, "the book is very light on models". I believe that this was a mistake, as there are analysis tools that can and should be used when examining service businesses. Good CI involves knowing how to interpret information just as much as finding and collecting it. I think that several chapters would have benefited from more examination of how to interpret available information and less discussion of the problems involved in doing CI on service businesses. However maybe I'm unfair in expecting this in a book that does cover so much in just over 200 pages.

John Nolan
John Nolan is a master at uncovering competitive intelligence from primary sources. Nolan shows some of his techniques – who to ask, what to ask, when to ask and how to ask. An essential book on how to get intelligence through interviewing and elicitation and also how to protect your organisation’s intelligence secrets. It shows how to legally obtain competitor business secrets without crossing the line into industrial espionage and illegality.

Jerry P Miller
Millennium Intelligence is a "how-to" type book on Competitive Intelligence (CI) written by some of the leading figures in the CI world. Unfortunately, the problem with any book written by a committee (even one that calls itself a Business Intelligence Brainstrust) is that it becomes a hotchpotch of different styles and quality. Some of Millennium Intelligence is excellent ­ and well worth reading; other chapters, however, are too academic for the average business reader while a few sections are too basic except for novices to the subject. This may be intentional as in the Introduction, Jerry Miller the book's editor, states "I don't presume that you'll read the entire book. I've organised the material so you can poke through it, reading the sections that are of most concern to you". Nevertheless, I found the inconsistencies in both style and depth of content irritating. For example, some chapters conclude with a summary of the major points covered ­ others just stop. Then, there are chapters that go into tremendous detail ­ citing several research studies, while others only scratched the surface of their subject or gave, in my view, inadequate explanation of key techniques. Additionally, there is a strong US bias ­ most examples and case studies focus on American companies. The book's subtitle implies that its focus will be on aspects of competitive intelligence that are applicable for a wired world. Indeed, about a third of the book covers such areas in depth ­ with sections on information technology for CI, knowledge management and information resources. These, and related areas, are also mentioned elsewhere in the book as relevant. The remainder, however, correctly covers traditional approaches ­ starting with an analysis of the structural, cultural and educational requirements for successful CI. Other sections look at legal and ethical considerations, analysis techniques, counter intelligence and small business intelligence. As such, Millennium Intelligence provides a comprehensive coverage of the various aspects of competitive intelligence practices and processes today. In this, it is a useful addition to the literature, especially for those who want or need to know more about establishing efficient and effective CI in their organisations. It is just a shame that there was not a greater consistency in the coverage and a more global approach to the subject.

Meet The Team
  1. Jennifer Roberts
    Jennifer Roberts, PhD. She currently serves as the Managing Director for National Strategic Intelligence, where she is primarily responsible for covering global affairs and opportunities. Jennifer started her career as nuclear proliferation and arms control analyst.
  2. Jason Parker
    Jason Parker is the founder and president of Strategic Intelligence and cofounder of the Competitive Intelligence Section. His articles have been published in leading publications.
  3. Jonquil Wu
    Jonquil Wu is one of the world's leading authorities on competitive strategy and international competitiveness. He serves as an advisor to CEOs throughout the world.
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I hope to have another opportunity to work together with you in the near future. — Jaean Jung, Vice President, Access Bio Thank you again for the great branding study you’ve completed on our behalf. It is clear from recent staff correspondence that you have raised our brand awareness to an all-time high and have “primed” us for development of a new marketing plan. Mission accomplished! — Alyson Miller-Greenfield, Associate State Director, New Jersey Small Business Development Center As part of the process of updating our website and marketing materials, Pacesetter Management Consulting engaged Loraine Kasprzak of Advantage Marketing & Associates to work with our clients to develop testimonials that supported our brand message. Given the nature of the assignment, we trusted Loraine with some very sensitive client relationships and she treated them very professionally. As a result of her efforts, our website and marketing materials will be significantly strengthened. However, we also experienced another benefit from the process that we hadn’t really expected — the testimonial process she designed has helped us to enhance our current client relationships. In particular, the results of the interviews she conducted gave us new insight into what our clients perceived were the benefits of working with Pacesetter and some areas where we could improve. I would certainly recommend Advantage Marketing to those who need an experienced consultant to execute marketing tactics effectively. — Michael Hierl, President, Pacesetter Management Consulting …As president of Monarch Electric Company, I would like to thank you for the excellent work you have done for my company over the past year and a half. In working with us to set up our first marketing department, you gave us your expertise on a wide variety of marketing issues we faced, from strategy development to implementation projects. You helped us move along the learning curve so much faster! I personally appreciated your helping me clarify my thinking on the direction of our electrical distributorship and what we need to do to get to the next level. I benefited from your keen sense of realism and your ability to apply your education and experience to our company’s real life challenges. — Steven M. Perlman, President, Monarch Electric Company …We have had three excellent experiences with Loraine beginning in 2001 with two large projects, and a small one done very recently. In 2001 Loraine played a very important role in helping our state incubation association develop a CD ROM-based promotional program which introduced business incubation and our NJ incubators to various constituencies. She was brought in after we had had a bad start with an original supplier and quickly identified another group who could handle the Flash-based technology as well as having experience in producing AV programs. Loraine acted as both a project manager, coordinating this new AV supplier with us at the EDC, as well as acting as a copy writer of the AV script. Her experience in writing sales oriented copy was very valuable, not to mention her direct, no wasted effort approach to getting things done on time and on budget. Loraine helped the EDC develop our new “green” brochure. She took a ton of EDC/NJIT information we gave her and reduced it down to an understandable, clean summary selling the benefits of the EDC program for new start-up companies. She also managed the graphic component, bringing in an individual who worked very well with all of us. Recently Loraine helped us produce an ad promoting the availability of the new EDC III incubator building. Overall we are very satisfied with the work Loraine has done for us. — Louis Gaburo, Assistant Director, NJIT Enterprise Development Center Here are some testimonials for our work. “Growth Nation helped B2B CFO® create a strong messaging platform needed for our next round of growth. Our firm highly recommends the services of Growth Nation.” Jerry L. Mills – Founder and CEO, B2B CFO® “We began working with Growth Nation in 2010 to help develop brand positioning and growth planning for Real Time Optical. That helped us deliver a strong pitch to investors and sharpened our market approach to attract new global customers. Since then we’ve been using the growth services of Growth Nation in 5 more related companies, and that has been instrumental in accelerating growth. Their team is creative, professional and flexible – working well with us from strategy through execution. I highly recommend the global marketing and growth services of Growth Nation.” Ken Varga – CEO of Real Time Companies “Working across continents with our global leadership team, Growth Nation led the creation of a strong brand positioning and growth plan for our EHR business. Then they worked with the internal and external teams in the U.S. and Asia to integrate the growth positioning and plan into our sales, marketing and customer service processes, with metrics. They supported all aspects of marketing in an important transitional year for the company. The growth services of Growth Nation are highly recommended.” Colin Christie – CEO of MxSecure “My father designed our previous logo and so we knew a rebranding could be difficult. On the contrary, the Growth Nation 30-day growth positioning and planning got our leadership team where we needed to be, making all that followed a lot easier. Our relaunch was highly successful. Our ongoing check-ins with Growth Nation are positive and productive. We have already realized concrete returns on our marketing investment through increased sales from our targeted customer bases. We recommend the marketing services of Growth Nation if you’re looking to refresh your brand, prioritize growth initiatives, revitalize existing prospects and successfully connect to new opportunities.” Anthony Conyers – VP of ARC Traders “The marketing process was thorough, robust and creative. The extensive connections in the marketing community enable them to pull in talented local resources.” Jim Morand - Founder, DataPreserve “They brought a marketing expertise to the business that had not previously existed within the company.” Pete Faur – Vice President, Phelps Dodge and Climax Molybdenum Metals “Growth Nation provides leadership in strategic planning and fosters a working environment in which people succeed.” Leonard Yip – Director, ProModel Solutions and Hot Topic “Growth Nation did a masterful job of leading us to create a crystal-clear brand image and core message. He has helped us prepare marketing materials and identify ways to put our message in front of the right people. I highly recommend Growth Nation to any company that is looking to grow their business.” Scott Klopfenstein – Director, PADT Medical “He has an extremely rare combination of skills and abilities that allows very thoughtful and practical strategic and marketing direction for firms at all levels of maturity.” Brad Tritle – Director of Strategic Initiatives, State of Arizona “A true project leader, taking complex projects, assembling powerful teams and making things happen.” Pascal Ferrandez – Director, DuPont Company “They’ve gone way above our expectations. Growth Nation has been by far our best hire.” Ken Scheer – EVP, Calsaway “He worked his magic around developing compelling materials and messaging.” Barry Draskovich – Director, Honeywell “I have greatly appreciated his marketing acumen, combined with international business view and focus on growth opportunities.” Marco Rigamonti – Project Manager, Dow-Europe “A high energy sales and marketing executive with global vision.” Rick Mandahl – Director, Brain Institute, University of Utah “Rare in Phoenix – a global marketer of technology for every size of firm who thinks strategically and tactically.” Mike Dunham – Director, Motorola “Growth Nation focuses on client success instead of a particular marketing technique.” Mike Garland – Director, DataPreserve “A smart, strategic thinker and a savvy businessman who knows how to achieve results. I strongly recommend Growth Nation to any entrepreneur looking to strategically grow their business.” Mary Garrett – President, MG Communications “Growth Nation has greatly contributed to our growth in several ways. They are highly recommended for technology businesses looking to grow.” Phil Harrington, President – Founder and CEO, ICM Document Solutions “You’ve found a person you can count on.” Frank Gartland – Vice President, iLinc Communications “Growth Nation has helped us understand our market and brand our company in a way that differentiates us and communicates with our customers. I would recommend Growth Nation to any company that is initiating a market campaign and needs branding, differentiation, market clarification, and strategic guidance.” Mark Johnson – Partner, Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies “Growth Nation worked with our team to develop a strong regional brand positioning and marketing plan to attract more clients, counselors, sponsors and community connections. The marketing and growth services of Growth Nation are highly recommended to grow your organization.” Charlie Higgins – Chairperson of Southern Arizona SCORE “A great market analyst and marketing strategist. Working for big companies in different countries gave him an international perception and a structure-centered view. Working with him is a pleasure – even over a such a big distance (USA – Germany).” Klaus Schube - Owner, K.S. Marketing- & Werbeberatung “I am honored to know Doug and call him my friend and colleague. Doug is one of the most intelligent and personable professionals I have had the pleasure of working with. Doug is an innovator, entrepreneur, problem solver, and team builder. I have seen him develop extraordinary teams of experts to provide solutions for client problems. Please feel free to contact me anytime for my personal recommendation.” Lon Safko – President/CEO of Paper Models and Innovative Thinking; Author The Social Media Bible
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