Time flies, and we have been working with Search Light for nearly two years in the field of eye health and vision care. From the first meeting with Sriram, he really impressed me as a foreigner who could speak fluent and authentic Chinese. This is a significant differentiator from many top market consulting companies that Johnson & Johnson could choose from, a key requirement for a partner of an important strategic partnership. The reason is very simple. As the main partner of the company, if you have an international background but at the same time have a 360-degree immersive experience in the Chinese local market, that makes you a very suitable choice as a partner of a foreign-funded enterprise in China. Later events have proved that our choice was correct.
There are two key features of the Searchlight team that stand out for me over our nearly two years of working with them.
1, Global perspective, local focus
This is particularly important for Johnson & Johnson’s strategic choices in the past two years. First of all, we are a Fortune 500 company and a century-old business. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson Group, which focuses on vision care, contact lenses and care solutions, we are the inventors of colored contact lenses and the world’s leading brand. The well-known Chinese phrase “美瞳“ – color contact lens- is actually the registered trademark of Johnson & Johnson Acuvueq. We started out as the leading brand in this category but, in the competitive China market and the environment of VUCA and RUPT, there is no doubt that we have also been severely impacted by local emerging brands in the past two years. We urgently needed a partner with international perspective, knowledge of systems, operations and languages of large international foreign-funded enterprises, but also with a deep knowledge of domestic medical consumer goods. Searchlight has done very well for us in this context. Our collaboration has yielded output in various areas such as “color film” local insight, consumer insight, competitive analysis, market segmentation and competitive strategy, leading to an effective and clear long-term strategy. The value of the outputs of this collaboration are not only strongly recognized by the local team, but also by the Asia-Pacific and global headquarters!
2. Strategy to Execution, great thinking and effective execution
What impressed me throughout the partnership was Searchlight’s ability to execute efficiently. If I am amazed by their deep local insight, I am overjoyed by their efficient execution, their humble and positive approach to partnership. Throughout the project, the team showed a strong sense of ownership and responsibility from top to bottom, systematic process management, agile and efficient execution. They worked with us to overcome one difficulty after another and together we took the project to a successful conclusion. Thoroughly pleased by this result, we soon started a second strategic marketing consulting project with them! I am very honored to have had these cooperation opportunities with Jacquelyn, Sriram and the entire Search light team. I wish them every success on the journey of strategic market consulting, helping more and more brands to serve local consumers well!
When I first met Searchlight we were in the midst of our A round of funding. At that time, the Searchlight team’s understanding of the coffee industry itself and clear analysis of the key points that companies need to pay attention to at different stages of development left a deep impression on me. When our Series A funding round was completed, my very first thought was to have an in-depth discussion with Searchlight to discuss how this financing could be linked to the key indicators of the company’s development, ensuring that the money would be spent wisely. In the process of this discussion, Searchlight presented a very rigorous plan on how they would systematically analyze and define the current business problems, propose steps and solutions in a targeted manner. Our collaboration began from this very solid and comprehensive plan.
Since we started working together in November last year, Searchlight first reviewed our internal data and provided insights on the core problems facing our business, leading to some clarity in our broad strategy as a business.
They then focused on three key areas: brand positioning, organization and culture building, and corporate strategy. Apart from their guidance on strategy, they provided a great deal of support in moving from strategic decisions to execution.
Some of the specific tasks Searchlight undertook include helping us sharpen the brand positioning and value proposition of our brand, setting up the company’s financial budget and market plan in 2022; input on corporate management and organizational building; guidance for implementation, as well as business process and other key preparations for our B round of financing.
In the process of this collaboration, Youxin itself has been completely renewed! For us, Searchlight is not just a strategy and consulting company, their entire team is more like the most trusted business partner in our company’s evolution and development, because of the professional experience and expertise of every member in this team. Their wide, deep and rich experience makes them a super team that can help us excel right from strategy formulation to detailed operational plans to execution review. As a founder, I can clearly feel the development and changes of my company and team over this time. The company itself has a clearer value proposition, the team has a clearer goal, and each department and person has a clearer action guide. This is really a rare and valuable experience on the road of entrepreneurship.
Here, I would like to thank the leaders of Searchlight, Jacquelyn and Sriram. Your energy and wisdom have empowered Youxin, allowing me to lead the team bravely and firmly to meet any challenges in the future. I hope you can accompany us all the way on our journey to become the favorite boutique coffee brand of Chinese white-collar workers!
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