Media Champion Attributes Success to Curiosity
Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than you are to your comfort zones. Such belief is well reflected in the story of Jiao Long, winner of the “Media Person of Year 2017” award in China.
Jiao Long was trained as a mechanical engineer, but driven by his curiosity, he chose a different path and joined the media and communications business after he graduated. After 16 years, he has grown and become a high flyer in the burgeoning marketing and advertising industry in China.
An HKUST EMBA graduate, Jiao is currently the CEO of BlueDigital, the flagship digital marketing arm of BlueFocus Communication Group -- China’s leading PR agency, with clients ranging from Lenovo and BMW to PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble.
Challenges inspire growth
China’s marketing communications industry started more slowly compared to other parts of the world. Jiao describes it as “a baby who has been forced to accelerate growth for two decades”, and the need for mature management and operations is obvious. “As a management person, I believe the best way to stay sharp is to keep challenging myself,” Jiao says.
Nowadays, the success of a digital marketing campaign boils down to the ability to adapt to the ever-changing media landscape. Today’s PR agencies, whose focus is more on digital platforms and revolves around social media, big data and ecommerce, are required to help clients navigate complex and dynamic digital spaces, by providing consultation, content and technology services.
“Advances in technology have brought forth new media such as social media and mobile phones, thus changing the rules of product branding and marketing communications,” says Jiao.
“For instance, the interconnection of data has shortened marketing links and speeded up buying decisions. Consumers demand more personalized content at the right time, in the right manner. Such is the rule of nature that only the fittest survive. We have to remain sensitive and adaptive to changes while keeping up the pace of innovation so as to create more practical digital marketing solutions for clients.”
After all, Jiao believes that content is king. “As long as we are able to produce appealing angles and attractive content, we will win in the marketing communications game, whatever the media environment looks like.”
Curiosity drives learning and innovation
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious, and curiosity leads us to new paths,” says Jiao. He believes that curiosity is a source of intrinsic motivation that fosters learning and exploration of new ideas, and that is particularly important in the marketing communications world. “Small things can lead to big success, so we have to always seek perfection, in everything we do.”
This positive character is definitely one of the main reasons for Jiao being named the “Media Person of Year 2017” award by the Suqin Club, the most influential marketing association in China. Fifteen of the most influential contributors in the fields of advertising, public relations, event management, interactive media and marketing were nominated by the Suqin Club for public voting on WeChat. Every person nominated has at least 16 years of experience in the industry.
“Having worked for only 16 years in the marketing communications sector, I’m happy that I have met the minimum entry requirement,” says Jiao. “Most encouraging of all, I have also been lucky to become the youngest winner of the award in its history. My heartfelt gratitude goes to BlueFocus which has driven me to keep moving and challenging myself in such a rapidly evolving industry throughout the years.”
When Jiao joined BlueFocus in 2003, it only had 200 employees. The company has become a listed company with nearly 6,000 employees today. It is also among the top ten marketing communications groups in the world. Under Jiao’s leadership, BlueDigital has already become the largest PR agency in Asia, and is ranked number nine in the world.
In the last two years, BlueDigital has also won a number of major honors, including the China Advertising Great-Wall Awards, the Effie Awards Greater China (Top 10 Agencies), the SABRE Award and the “Most Innovative Advertising Agency” Award at AD STARS -- the world’s first advertising festival convergence of both the online and offline advertising worlds.
Despite the many factors behind his success, Jiao also attributes his achievements to his studies at HKUST. “I’m proud to have been an EMBA student at HKUST, where I received quality executive education giving me the enhanced ability to manage today’s increasingly dynamic world, especially in the industry I serve.”