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The outdoor lighting industry faced a brutal transition, which is primarily due to new technologies. Consequently, Schreder was forced to adapt its production and commercial activities in China so as to meet the new challenges in the sector. As a marketing manager, Jerome Vandegeerde’s assignment was to transform the existing marketing department into a more efficient one.
Jerome had to work in a subsidiary that was undergoing numerous changes: new factory under construction, new business environment, new technology (LED)… He took on a lot of responsibilities both in the strategic and operational fields. Making the business more efficient meant assuming all the functions of the marketing department: creating marketing messages and tools for the sales teams, reviewing the product mapping, market knowledge, pricing and much more.
“Changes also mean resistance”, says Jerome, “so I had to gain the trust of my marketing and sales colleagues which was quite challenging”. Communication was key. He organised frequent meetings in order to explain and follow up on those shifts.
Even though he fluently speaks Chinese mandarin, Jerome learned a lot about Chinese culture by working and living in mainland China. “Speaking the language doesn’t always mean that you can effectively communicate with others”, he says. In order to change an organisation of more than 200 people in one year, Jerome learned how to proactively assume responsibilities but also learnt a lot about teamwork, motivation, perseverance and leadership.
Schreder is an outdoor lighting company, supplying high-quality lighting products since 1977. Since then it has grown into one of the largest suppliers of street lighting and exterior decorative lighting equipment. An international group of 48 companies worldwide, Schreder has had a successful presence in the Chinese market for over 25 years.
“The introduction of a new marketing concept to the Chinese market required a never-ending commitment. Thanks to his persistency, academic and Asian background, Jerome has been a major factor in helping us face transition.”
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