Active understanding and the art of Anglo-Chinese insight

I met the co-founders of an inspiring new agency, Comms8, today.

Sally Maier and Carol Chan have built what they’re calling London’s only integrated communications agency to help brands in the UK and Greater China build business locally and in one another’s markets. The trilingual duo has a powerful and complementary offer, straddling marketing and communications. And they’re as at home with Mandarin and Cantonese as with English; as familiar with Sina and Tencent Weibo as they are with Twitter and Facebook.

Sally and Carol walk a very compelling talk of “active understanding” – taking an evidence-based approach to building more impactful communication, to unlock the infinite possibilities of their clients’ brands. I like the phrase (and will steal it with pride); it makes me think of active listening, and implies effort on the part of their process to bring success to their clients.

They’ve also got a really nice narrative about why they’re called Comms8.

It’s an easy name for Chinese-speakers to say and remember.

8 is the luckiest number in Chinese numerology.

And flip that eight on its side and it becomes … infinity. Back to that infinite possibilities promise.

In a week in which Number 10 served Chinese food to the Chinese Premier to seal a multi-billion trade deal, the political commentariat had fun at the PM’s expense – and particularly at the expense of his aides who suggested this might be a smart move. The Chinese Premier’s entourage had the good grace not to act huffy or offended, though imagine how the British media would react if Beijing served fish and chips, tempura style, to a Dave and Boris trade mission. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Dave could do with the kind of active understanding Comms8 offers. As could British businesses looking to engage in meaningful comms in mainland China; and mainland Chinese businesses looking to move in the opposite direction.

I commend the Comms8 team to you, and encourage active understanding of their unique offer. I think I might just have found my next Special Agents.