In conjunction with this year’s WARC Awards for Asian Strategy, this series aims to showcase perspectives from young strategists across Asia, highlighting their take on strategy as a marketing discipline and career path. This time, we chat with Taiwan’s emerging bright minds.

Taiwan has fared better than most in navigating the upheaval brought about by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Its economy is expected to grow 5.46% in 2021, on the back of a strong rebound in exports.

In a market known for its progressive approach to technology, it’s no wonder that its young strategists are tech-savvy and focused on leveraging the benefits of AI, data and other emerging technologies to augment their strategist skillsets. This will be the market to watch for impactful and cutting-edge work.

Name: Paula Chen

Job Title: Supervisor

Company: UM Taiwan

Age: 30

How did you find your way into strategy work?

The journey started when I was in college. I took the Advertising Strategy course and the teacher was well-known in the industry and worked for many leading companies as a consultant. He taught us the key to integrate market insight, consumer insight and product analysis for a logical and practical strategy that can solve a brand's pain points. The course kindled my interest in strategy and made me want to do strategy work in the future.

After graduation, I entered a digital media company and faced the brand by myself, dealing with its demands and expectations. I remember receiving a brief from a local brand where the key target audience group was the elderly. To get more consumer insight, I interviewed almost every elder around me and finally came up with a media strategy for the brand. In the end, my strategy successfully won recognition from the brand contact and became the first annual contract I earned in my life. That made me more confident in strategy work and I was determined to move toward strategy work in the future.

How do you personally define the discipline of marketing strategy?

In my opinion, the marketing strategy is made for solving brand problems and the crucial method for formulating a market strategy is to find out the resonance point.

To find out the resonance point of the group, we can dig into the cultural background and consumer behaviour. In a media agency, we can discover more about local market trends and media behaviour through the data tools. As the resonance may differ by country, there may be different marketing strategies in different markets even if it is for the same brand. This is also the most enjoyable part for me.

According to my experience serving foreign brand representatives, due to the fact that they're not Taiwanese and not located in Taiwan either, analysing the local cultural background and consumer insight are more critical for planning the strategy. That is to say, the brand can deploy in the Taiwan market efficiently and engage in the local audience’s daily life smoothly through our tailor-made local market strategy.

What’s on your wish list in terms of strategic thinking/work?

I expect that I could focus more on strategy work, including interviewing consumers or analysing data to find out more tactic views. On the other hand, I have participated in several regional projects in our company and I frequently have discussions with foreign colleagues and clients. Thus, through sharing different cultural backgrounds and life experiences, we have stimulated more diversified strategies and ideas. I learned a lot from this process and I hope I can participate in more international large-scale projects in the future to improve my international outlook and strategic skills.

How do you see your career developing?

In 5-10 years, I think I will still be in strategy work. Hopefully, with more strategy experiences, I will be able to observe the market and consumer trends more keenly then.

In addition, I expect to accumulate diverse industry experiences by serving all kinds of brands all around the world and gaining more practical knowledge, upgraded strategic skills and an international vision to guide the brand to the next level.

Where do you see strategy going in the next 10-15 years?

Due to the constant changes in the market and consumers, I think strategic work will still be as valued by brands in the next 10-15 years. The most important thing is whether the strategist can keenly observe the possibilities from current trends and find out the group's resonance point for the most suitable solution.

Name: Farah Chang 張瓊方

Job Title: Senior Manager

Company: Mediabrands Taiwan

Age: 33

How did you find your way into strategy work?

I studied economics in college and originally wanted to work in the finance field but after taking on jobs in banking and accounting, I realised that sort of work is not really for me. During my long hunt for new opportunities, I chanced across a digital marketing vacancy for a Google Certified Partner’s supply side platform. I found that I was much more curious about the world of digital advertising, so I went for it.

In my new job, I was the accounts manager and responsible for communicating with the media, helping the company plan its website content and creating marketing strategies. I learned a lot of new skills, such as dealing with the media covering different industries, website architecture syntax and user experience optimisation. This job also built the foundation for my subsequent work in digital strategy.

How would you define the discipline of marketing strategy?

In addition to constantly learning about new technologies or new advertising platforms for digital advertising, every time we receive a new brief or take on a new client, we need to research and generate insights from the data of various industries. We then need to define our audience and develop a strategic plan according to specific communication goals.

Of course, the most important aspects are communication with teams internally and with customers, identifying the real needs of customers and using the right strategy to meet their needs. This all forms the basis of finding different technical solutions to help customers achieve their marketing objectives.

What is on your wish list in terms of strategic thinking/work?

In the past, clients and agencies used to work together in a one-sided way but more and more, clients and agencies are working together in more than just one direction. In addition to media and creativity, we also need to act as marketing consultants who can provide a full range of services, including solutions to developments in commerce and digital technology, and provide clients with strategy-based integrated marketing solutions.

How do you see your career developing?

Because of the pandemic, the digital, creative, media and commerce fields will over the next 5-10 years become progressively more inseparable. I hope to use digital as a foundation to increase my experience in other areas. I have an understanding of AI, cloud applications and model building.

In my opinion, data-driven insight/strategy will continue to evolve and interact with the creative, media and commerce fields. I am very happy to have had the opportunity to familiarise myself with these new concepts at Mediabrands. I hope to quickly grasp these technologies in order to present new solutions to my clients. I want to become a true expert in this field.

Where do you see strategy going in the next 10-15 years?

Strategy is no longer a one-sided job in terms of serving clients. The job requires you to become more like a consultant, meaning that you need to learn a lot of things that might not have been essential before.

After learning various new skills and concepts, you then need to find insights based on data to develop effective strategies. I am fortunate at Mediabrands to have a lot of data analysis tools at my disposal that allow us as consultants to build closer relationships with our clients.

Name: Chaoss Huang 黃昭綺

Job Title: Senior Planner, Group Planning Center

Company: Ogilvy Taiwan

Age: 28

How did you find your way into strategy work?

I started with accountancy and business in college, and devoted myself to integrated marketing as an account in my first job; left for the art industry as a PR supervisor for a little while, then finally went back to Ogilvy and focused on strategy.

There were indeed moments of confusion but everything also seemed spontaneous.

I think it's inevitable for any person eager to create influence to fall in love with strategy work and strive to put it into practice. People with the Ogilvy spirit would not reject a job to present perspectives on brands, consumers and culture.

As a strategist, how do you spend your time at work? 

I spend a lot of time nesting in an office chair like a lone bird, just to figure out a precise and unique point of view.

And finally, when something gorgeous comes out of our minds, the bittersweet process rolls out again.


How do you personally define the discipline of marketing strategy?

I believe that marketing strategy is to influence the future of the brand and drive creativity, execution, experience and even more. There are always beautiful insights behind all great creative work. And I also believe that the best work belongs to those brands dedicated not only to creating business growth but also inspiring the next generation.

As a modern strategist, I am always excited to work at the forefront of trends, decode complex business challenges, explore technology and humanity, and activate the extraordinary within the ordinary.

I personally think there are four basics of strategy work:

Live in the era. Have an eye for the zeitgeist and bring forward topical ideas proactively.

Analyse anything flexibly. Be able to shrink tons of data into just the right bits that help bring people up to speed quickly.

Actively cooperate across teams. Bring fresh stimulation to diverse creative partners of communication, interaction, social content, experience, etc, and never stop responding to and helping to improve creative work.

Pursue meaningful output. Stimulate the creativity of the team to create wonderful work and bring outstanding practical results for the client's business and the society.

What’s on your wish list in terms of strategic thinking/work?

Make the people we want to influence feel truthfully powerful. The people include our clients, our teams, consumers and all the real humans in our society and our era.

Our daily work is so intense and fast-paced that sometimes, we might overlook the impact of "the work".

I wish there is more work that make the best of creativity to fulfil the purpose of kindness.

In our jargon, "inspiration of good deeds" should be always part of our "what to say".

How do you see your career developing?

The strategy will always be the core issue of the brand, so I think I will still focus on this role in the foreseeable future.

At the same time, I believe that my work will become livelier and cover more diverse fields. Interactive design, experience design, immersive and sensory content, and so on, will gradually dominate my work output and I am glad to see such a vast and challenging change.

It is exciting for me that there are so many opportunities for agencies nowadays to empower brands with multiple platforms and forms.

Where do you see strategy going in the next 10-15 years?

The forms and mediums are always changing, while the strategic spirit remains the same.

We will need to spend more time immersing ourselves in the social communities and spaces that the new-gen loves. But this is not only to familiarise ourselves with the tools or apps they use but also to put ourselves in and understand their world more quickly and to be adaptable.

"Creating culture" will be our important goal and agencies will also take on the role of cultural magicians, fabricating spiritual touches through sensory surprises.

In this era, we may be more like crazy nerds but the kind that is sexy and charming.

The WARC Awards for Asian Strategy is now closed for entries and the judging phase has now commenced. Do stay tuned as the shortlisted papers will be announced on 15 September 2021.