Staff Writer
Apr 18, 2018

Meet China Digital A-List's class of 2018: Motivators

Motivators (激励者) make their mark in this year's selection.

Meet China Digital A-List's class of 2018: Motivators
2018 was a banner year for the China's Digital A-List initiative. With so many fresh faces making their voices heard in China's burgeoning marketplace, it was a tough task whittling down the winner's pool.
Thirty individuals stood out from the crowd, nine of which belong to our Motivators (激励者) category.
This category celebrates individuals whose management capabilities, wisdom and monetary resources cultivated the success of digital products, entities, initiatives, startups, programs, projects or campaigns. They're both digital consultants and transformational strategists, self-starters and masters of collaboration, and through innovation and perseverance they've brought people together beyond a profit motive.
We'll be celebrating our Motivators' achievements, and the entire Digital A-List, in tandem with this year's Digital360 Festival.
Keep in touch over the next several days as we announce the winners in our Achievers (成就者) and Disruptors (颠覆者) categories.

Name: Ennis Wong
Chinese Name: 黄建军
Title: Vice president, operation
Company: Reload

“Ennis has accumulated knowledge and skills that enable him to integrate the humanities and arts into business, particularly when creating unique solutions for emerging local marketing companies.” Jack Gao, vice president, business development, Reload

Ennis Wong believes that equal use of his right and left brain enables him to gain objective market insight in a rational and systematic manner, and at the same time, to be sensitive and empathetic to his clients’ needs. Wong uses this as a guide for project strategy applications, company changes, and team building. By adjusting operating methods, he can enhance the strategic planning capabilities of a project.

In particular, Wong has demonstrated his ability to effectively guide his colleagues via business operations, and in turn his teams have been able to provide innovative solutions for brands. With respect to client solutions, he introduced the “strategic creativity” guideline that emphasises creativity alongside data to drive brand growth. With respect to developing personnel, he launched the “cocktail of talent” concept to encourage the strengthening of his team’s own capabilities in collaboration with the strengths of those in other fields. As a result, he has implemented a logical system of matching relevant talent to the dynamic requirements of the rapidly developing digital industry, all towards providing the appropriate solutions for Reload’s growing roster of clients.

Name: Jerry Clode
Chinese Name: 旷杰瑞
Title: Director of SMART
Company: Resonance China

“Clode led the Social Media Workshop which provided a real eye-opening turning point in the discussion regarding the New Zealand public affairs strategy in China.” – Guergana Guermanoff, consul-general, New Zealand Consulate

Jerry Clode attributes his ability to drive brand success through digital insight to his seamless amalgamation of roles as market researcher, brand consultant and digital marketer, but perhaps his most important role can best be described as a leader and inspirer. At [email protected], he has actively mentored two up-and-coming digital superstars in his team. Michael Norris has become a leading voice on Chinese digital implementation and strategy, while Zoe Zhao has become an expert in how brands can connect with Chinese millennials through social media, in particular with SMART’s unique way of using WeChat as a research tool in understanding behaviour.

Together, under Clode’s leadership, SMART has landed several new clients in the last year, namely: Tiffany, Shell, Bose, Star Alliance, Dubai Tourism, Paul Smith, Etam, Expedia, Miele, and Canali. Of particular note, Jerry led digital workshops that helped guide H&M in their digital and eCommerce strategy for China, and helped the New Zealand government in creating their digital-first national brand in China.

Name: Boson Yang
Chinese Name: 杨潇波
Title: General manager
Company: iProspect

“Boson brings the most cutting-edge perspectives to the traditional SEO business, and continues to innovate in content, knowledge and social platforms to find the best SEO program.” – Tony Chen, CEO, iProspect China

Boson Yang is convinced that anything can be fun, so long as you’re willing to make it so. It is with this motivation that he approaches the subject of SEO, often teaching the subject in the form of freestyle rap at the iProspect SEO Academy. Yang launched the institution shortly after joining the company in early 2017, with the aim of developing talent in the SEO field, of which there is a scarcity. Through interactive games and SEO Wiki100 video lectures Yang has spurred the attendance of more than 600 colleagues, all by word-of-mouth.

In addition, Yang has launched the “Y-Star Program” to encourage the participation of talent from various professional fields, promoting cross-department communication and enhancing integrated marketing capabilities in the process. As a result, iProspect has seen their SEO staff turnover rate decrease by 30 percent year-on-year, with every one their interns in the SEO Academy’s talent cultivation program being converted into a full-time employee, later moving on to become key project personnel. By alleviating the shortage of SEO talent, iProspect’s SEO business has seen steady growth, winning new clients such as L’Oreal, Chevron, Broad Court, and IELTS.


Name: Fiona Wang
Chinese Name: 王雯
Title: Marketing general manager
Company: Allyes Group

“Full of determination, Fiona works ceaselessly to excel. In the rapidly changing Internet age, she opens market space through new practices and innovation.” – Milo Cao, Vice President of Allyes Group

Fiona Wang’s wealth of experience in brand operation, promotion and media integration has been put to good use during her tenure at Allyes. Her particular expertise in such key areas as brand building, enterprise market positioning, and the maintenance and management of public relations has equipped her to successfully manage clients’ PR activities. Case in point, when the Chinese government banned all products and content from South Korea in early 2017, including Allyes’ clients Samsung and Hyundai, Wang and her team implemented a successful PR strategy that demonstrated the company’s relentless determination to provide client support in times of crisis, which later earned the company a 2017 Golden Mouse Award.

Wang’s crisis management efforts in turn upped Allyes’ brand value with an increased perception of the company’s image as an integrated marketing solution provider, which helped them earn the trust of more international clients. Adding to this recognition of social responsibility, Wang played a big part in furthering the company’s vision of promoting the globalisation of China’s advertising industry. In particular, she and her team were actively involved in the company’s joint launch of Shanghai’s first International Advertising Festival, along with the Shanghai Municipal Government.

Name: Nishtha Mehta
Title: Founder, Lean Innovation coach, executive leadership trainer
Company: CollabCentral Consulting

“Nishtha coached us patiently and modelled the lean process in practical terms; she also challenged us fearlessly and brought out the best in us.” – James Ng, innovation lead, Philips Healthcare

A mentor in China’s startup community and frequent keynote speaker and moderator, Nishtha has become a favourite figure among Fortune 500 companies. Her expertise in the lean innovation process, skills in executive leadership and ability to transfer startup innovation to corporate workplaces have garnered impressive results for companies such as Philips, Bosch, Starbucks, L’Oréal and Microsoft.

Nishtha strives to make open network innovation a norm in big business. She professes the values of learn-by-doing, “fail fast, build right”, “intrapreneurship” and other touchstones of startup culture to companies in beauty, lifestyle, F&B, FMCG, IoT, retail and more.

Outside of her coaching and consultancy work, Nishtha remains one of the most influential figures in China’s tech and startup scenes. She has mentored over 30 startup founders in the past four years for Chinaccelerator, judged and coached at #Startupweekend and #failfaster, organised grassroots events such as Women Who Tech and Coderbunker, run public hackathons and moderated for the China Digital Collective. She has also spoken at numerous industry forums, from the iMedia agency and brand summits to the Effies.

Name: James Yang
Chinese Name: 杨震
Title: Managing director
Company: Isobar Beijing

“James helped differentiate Mamaway from our competitors in the pre-and post-natal industry and developed a logo that perfectly represents our brand.” – Deborah Liu, CEO, Mamaway

After heading Isobar’s brand commerce consultancy unit BCCU in Beijing, James Yang was promoted to managing director of Isobar Beijing in early 2018, and has continued to lead the charge for the company’s data-informed, digitally-driven efforts.

In the year prior, James helped BCCU win over 20 projects and increased revenue by 400 percent. At the same time, he saw his unit grow from 20 to 40 people. Meanwhile, his business thinking, big data analysis and innovation has played a large role in his work for clients.

Amongst his team, James is credited for creating a learning culture. He has encouraged team members to publish point-of-view articles on digital trends, new technology and new methodologies on WeChat.

James himself writes a regular column in Business Management Review to share his perspective on branding. Through seminars and speeches, he has drawn upon his background in branding consultancy to establish his expertise on the topic, a tactic that has secured the trust of clients such as Mamaway and CITIC.

Name: Shirley King
Chinese Name: 金霞
Title: President and founder
Company: @comm

“Shirley has built @comm into a dream agency that any international communication group should want to acquire and learn from.” – Barry Leung, CEO, @comm

Since forming @comm in 1999, Shirley King has acquired a who’s who of top clients, including Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, Mars, HSBC, Pfizer and Yili, all while maintaining her agency’s independence.

Shirley has constantly pushed @comm forward. What started as a PR agency has adapted digital, social marketing and content-driven, integrated communication elements over the years. Believing that the IMCs of today should be immersive, authentic and without boundaries, she has since incorporated data into her work, from strategy planning to sales conversions.

Shirley has formed partnerships with a number of leading groups in China. For GroupM, @comm has provided integrated content marketing services. For Master Kong, Shirley built the country’s first innovation content lab for the brand’s sports marketing campaigns with the NBA.

In 2017, Shirley was honoured at the Effie Awards, shortlisted for the Greater China Agency Head of the Year Awards and appointed mentor/coach of a journalism masterclass at FuDan University. Meanwhile, some of her campaigns, including Procter & Gamble’s “Thanks Mom” campaign for the Rio Olympics and Yili’s “Family Vitality” campaign, were recognised at the ROI Festival.

Name: Ian Gao
Chinese Name: 高雅
Title: Vice-president of technology
Company: Miaozhen Systems

“Ian has won the trust of everyone at Miaozhen thanks to his excellent technical skills and outstanding work performance.” – Wu Minghui, founder, president & CEO, Miaozhen Systems

Since joining Miaozhen Systems in 2011, Ian Gao has contributed greatly not just to the growth of the company, but also to the advertising industry as a whole in China.

At Miaozhen, Ian has taken charge of overall planning, technology research and development, as well as innovative research on programmatic advertising and big data management. His technical work has proven fruitful for the company, as he helped form a new set of abnormal traffic identification methodologies and designed a product system to curb abnormal traffic.

Ian’s technical skill set and work ethic have earned the trust of multinational corporations such as Procter & Gamble, YUM! and BMW as well. For Nestlé and BSH, he developed complete sets of DMP solutions to establish increasingly thorough customer-centred value management systems. Some of his greatest successes have landed on the national level, however. These include conducting research and development on a leading third-party advertising measurement SDK.

Ian also helped form the first national interactive advertising standards in China, and drafted an “Ad Visibility Standard” for interactive advertising.

Name: Paul Coffey
Chinese Name: 高飞
Title: General manager of data and analytical services
Company: Mindshare

“Paul has a will and work ethic that knows no match. He has won the hearts and minds of clients and staff alike.”– Amrita Randhawa, CEO, Mindshare APAC

After making his mark on the Chinese digital landscape with his Kungfu English app, the fourth-highest grossing app on the iOS China AppStore in 2010, Paul Coffey transferred his Chinese language skills, business acumen and technological savvy to his work at Mindshare.

Foremost amongst his achievements has been the delivery of a process called Baseline Digital Reporting, which revealed the need for a centralised ad operations team to ensure consistency in data. This process opened up a new revenue stream for Mindshare. Paul has also championed BAV (brand safety, anti-fraud and viewability) pushing his company to the front of the industry for BAV analysis.

A team leader with a thirst for knowledge, Paul is praised for his hands-on approach with staff and clients. One of his trademark developments, a computer grid installation called The Loop, has enabled faster decision-making through enhanced visualisation, better communication and streamlined data analysis. It has proven so popular in-house that it is perpetually booked for presentations by teams across the agency, and he has installed similar Loops for three clients.

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