China's creative genius
The leadership secrets of Shenan Chuang, CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Greater China
Shenan Chuang, CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Greater China, began her 25-year tenure with Ogilvy & Mather in Taipei, where she rose to be Chairman, Ogilvy Taiwan Group. In 2003 she arrived in Beijing, where one of her first accomplishments was to transform the company's office - then located in an old carpet factory on the outskirts of town - into something modern where the physical space would be infused with creativity to match her vision for the company's culture and work. She established a "Creative Floor", which integrates creative teams from different disciplines within the company and has become a model all offices in the region now follow. Chuang also set up O-Gallery, a unique art gallery inside the Beijing office, to both support the development of local Chinese artists and further realize her vision of the office as a creative space.
Chuang also knocked down the metaphorical walls between the different disciplines at the company, which include Advertising, OgilvyOne, OgilvyAction
and Ogilvy PR, to foster - and institutionalize - cooperation and teamwork by setting up regular forums for communication among senior and mid-level managers across the different groups. This year Ogilvy & Mather China ranked 66 out of 100 in the Universum Top 100 Ideal Employer Student Survey and was the only communications/marketing agency to make the list.
Co-founder and current chair of the China 4A - Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies of China - her other accomplishments include being named among the Most Influential Female Business Leaders in 2010 by Mulan in Business/China Entrepreneur
. Under her leadership the Ogilvy & Mather Beijing office was awarded "Office of the Year" and she was awarded "Agency Head of the Year" by Media magazine
Chuang sat down with CIB
at the company's Beijing office on Jinbao Street to talk about creativity and teamwork, her leadership style, the importance of training, and what she sees in the future for Ogilvy China.
- How did you get into advertising?
- What attracted you in the decision to move from Ogilvy Taiwan to Ogilvy China and Beijing?
- What were some of the challenges you faced when you arrived in Beijing?
- What are some of the other initiatives you have developed to promote creativity within Ogilvy China?
- And how do you define creativity?
- Why is it so important to put an emphasis on promoting creativity within the company?
- How do you manage creative people while still keeping focus on the bottom line?
- What do you see your role being in the company?
- Why have you stayed at Ogilvy for so long?
- How involved are you in the day-to-day business?
- What is your secret for mobilizing people?
- You mentioned that when you arrived in Beijing, the different disciplines were silo-ed. Why do you think it is important to build cooperation across the disciplines?
- Ogilvy is well-known for its employee training programs. Why is training so important to the company?
- You are the co-founder of the China 4A - Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies of China - and this year you are serving as chair for the third time. What is the focus of this group?
- Where do you think the industry in China is headed?
- And what about the future for Ogilvy China?
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This article originally appeared in China International Business magazine (Issue 271, August 2010)