Helen Fu Thomas
Helen F. Thomas is an executive consultant with a background of results-driven executive general management and entrepreneurship. With 18 years of experience and a track record of growing businesses worldwide, she has brought cutting-edge, technology-based consumer products to market and leveraged many strategic partnerships in the global environment. She specializes in building new markets and leading companies with full-fledged business planning, marketing strategies, and sales initiatives to meet growth objectives. learn more
I’ve started the “What’s your Brand” series by saying each of us has his or her own identity and it takes great insights to build it into a great brand. So let’s start with the name itself. I came to the United States in 1992 with my Chinese passport showing my Chinese name 符海京 （Fu Haijing）. In the past 13 years, I have been traveling the world with my American passport showing my name Helen Fu Thomas. Interestingly all my friends across the globe call me Helen (or even Miss Helen). Helen has become an old fashioned name in the US. All of the Helens I have met except for one are either Asian or English. The most distinguished Helen Thomas, of course, is the retired White House correspondent. It turned out she and I were both born under the sign of Leo, but 48 years apart. It was all coincidence as my first name and last name were both given not by choice. The point is that whether you are aware or not, all names have meanings and connections.
I was first introduced to LinkedIn in 2005. Soon after a reduction in force at my company, one of my laid-off subordinates asked for my endorsement. In order to do her this well-deserved favor, I had to sign-up and create my account on LinkedIn; then I pretty much forgot about it. I had a one-track mind in my career, and I felt that LinkedIn was just a “distractAion”. If I wasn’t looking for a job, why did I need it? And then my perception changed as I realized it’s a great professional network where creditable information and mutual respect can be shared.
What I liked about LinkedIn as a useful tool was its starting profile template with an output looking like a well-designed document. Once I discovered that, I did an experiment and pulled together a presentable PDF to use as curriculum vitae(CV) with endorsements from people with whom I had worked. It was fun getting in touch with people with whom I had not spoken for a while, and learning their perspectives. It brought tears and laughs.
It is reported that the US presidential campaign cost $6 billion, with over a million ads. And the election came down to county-by-county results that showed the demographics and votes (blue vs. red) in fine detail.
The question that came to my mind was this: What corporate brand would run a commercial campaign like the ones in this election, with the massive scale of spending and coverage? Would any Chief Executive travel through 4 states per day, meeting people and shaking their hands? And behind the scenes, would analysts look at all points of sales in stores of each county, tune the messaging to the targeted audience, and have forecasts of sales down to the hundreds, tens or single units?