Imagine that you run a Manitoba business and you see a growing segment of the market buying homes, cars and insurance, and hiring lawyers, contractors and accountants. You want to get your message across to them, but you don't speak their language and many of them are just learning yours. So where do you turn?
Fisher Wang, founder and general manager of IDO Media, has the answer. The 30-year-old entrepreneur's full service agency uses social media, print publications, event organizing and other techniques to connect advertisers with the province's rapidly growing Chinese community. And with the recent opening of a Calgary office, the company is on the way to its goal of reaching the Chinese community from Vancouver to Toronto. Though he launched the company in 2013, its roots are in the challenges Wang faced as a 17-year-old student when he first came to Winnipeg to study at the University of Manitoba. "I didn't know where to find a bottled drink. I didn't know where to buy furniture. I saw Canadian Tire and I thought they just sold tires." He realized that newcomers from China needed a way to access information and communicate with each other online, so he built a website to do just that - one that preceded Facebook and Twitter. Wang's university studies were in applied mathematics and economics, disciplines that involve "using logic to solve real-world problems." In time, he saw that he had the solution to the real-world problem of businesses seeking to reach customers who couldn't be reached by existing local media. He maintained the website after graduating, while working as a business analyst, and as it grew, businesses began advertising on the site.
Soon, he began to get requests for other services. "They would ask, 'Fisher, can you do a graphic design for us? Can you build us a website site?' I didn't think I could keep this as a side business." Quitting his job to launch his own business was a big step, but Wang felt it was too promising an opportunity to turn down, and he was right. Today, he employs 11 people at his new office on south Pembina Highway and at the Calgary office. Graphic designers, web developers, writers, translators, event organizers and other professionals at IDO Media now offer a full range of services. Some clients advertise in IDO Media's print publications, such as the monthly Winnipeg Chinese Post magazine or the annual Manitoba Chinese Information Handbook. Others advertise on IDO Media's social media channels, which run on the Chinese-language Weibo and WeChat platforms and may draw as many as 12,000 views in one day. IDO Media also helps create face-to-face communication, organizing community, political and business events, such as a recent seminar by Pitblado Law that helped the law firm land several new clients. Events like these demonstrate the value of working with a firm that can provide a direct connection to the community, Wang says.
Though Manitoba's Chinese community is relatively small, at around 30,000 members, "it's a unique, wealthy, niche market." And it is part of a growing nation-wide community of about two million people, many of whom arrive in Canada with money to invest in homes and businesses. "A newcomer has to buy a house, a car, when they come to Canada," Wang notes. And many place a high value on quality. He says Chinese customers buy a disproportionate number of Mercedes Benz cars - and it's no surprise that the local Mercedes Benz dealership is a client.
For more information on IDO Media, visit: http://idomedia.ca
Want to meet Fisher? You'll find him at a TEN Event