An open mind and an innovative approach help Leo Burnett Hong Kong creative director Connie Lo through days packed with meetings MY TYPICAL DAY involves lots of meetings - with clients, with my creative team, the account servicing people, and maybe the production house. You could say that the first meeting, the point where an advertising job begins, is when we go to a client and pick up the brief - the background to whatever product the company wants us to help advertise. Then the account servicing department develops it before handing it back to the creative department - that is my team. We then have to discuss how to approach the project. We do lots of brainstorming and some market research to help fine-tune our ideas. Eventually we go back to the client with our suggestions, which are usually rejected at this stage. So we come back with the second brief - the debrief - and work on it again. That is how a single client account develops but, on any given day, my team and I are working on various accounts at different stages of development. I also have a management role, which means lots of meetings. This includes sessions with managing partners. And although we are the creative department, we still need to discuss projects with other departments - they might have their own ideas about a job. I have been in advertising for 15 years, and with Leo Burnett a little over five years. I did not study advertising. I studied Chinese literature at Baptist University and, at the time of graduation, I did not know anything about advertising or what I would do. One of my lecturers suggested I take a look at working for an advertising agency as a copywriter because my Chinese handwriting was good. So I started as a copywriter with a small agency. I soon realised that I loved the work, and since then I have worked my way up through a few agencies to Leo Burnett. I have to travel a lot. We have offices and clients in the mainland. Also, we shoot our commercials in Shanghai and Beijing. Probably the most satisfying part of the job is when you get good feedback about a successful commercial from another agency or, best of all, from the public or press. It is a tough job when the economy is not doing well as clients cut back on advertising budgets. The challenge is also to persuade them to stick with bold ideas. It is true that advertisers in Hong Kong are a little conservative, which makes it difficult to sell innovative ideas. In advertising, you have to keep up with the trends. You cannot relax because you have just won an award or completed a great contract. People do not remember what you did yesterday - they want to know what you are doing today. So you must keep pushing yourself. You need to be able to focus on one task at any given time, even though you have other projects in hand. You need to produce advertisements which touch a consumer's heart - which keep the viewer in his seat during a commercial break. A good creative director needs to be patient and understanding. He might think a certain idea is the best, but others might think differently. He must listen to all, whether clients or team members. In advertising, people are changing jobs all the time, but at Leo Burnett the turnover is very low. Staff morale is high and there is a sense of togetherness. I am getting promoted to executive creative director. My responsibilities will include managing all creative teams. So I am sure I will be busy.