Staff Reporters
Feb 3, 2021

Women to Watch Greater China 2021: Heidi Zhang, Publicis Communications

From 20,000-kilometer road trips in China to writing a book to winning numerous awards, Heidi Zhang has demonstrated that great work starts with empathetic understanding.

Women to Watch Greater China 2021: Heidi Zhang, Publicis Communications
SEE ALL OF THE 2021 WOMEN TO WATCH GREATER CHINA
Celebrating the women making their mark on the marketing and communications industry.

Heidi Zhang

Chief strategy officer
Publicis Communications 
Shanghai

Joining the advertising industry at the age of 22, Heidi Zhang ventured to Europe for her MBA with a full scholarship three years later. When she came back, she restarted her career at Saatchi &Saatchi Hong Kong. In 2006, she led a series of well-known road trips, traveling 20,000 kilometers in China in a van, gathering observations that she later published a book called One in a Billion relating her experiences. After that, she headed planning at Ogilvy Hong Kong, where her customer insights helped win numerous Hong Kong Effie awards for consecutive years from 2007 to 2009. In 2008, Zhang was honored as the top-performing talent of the agency globally. 

Zhang continued her adventure and went to Publicis China in 2010. From 2015 to 2018, she kept a 90% pitch winning rate, contributing to a continuous annual business growth rate of 20% year by year. She is now the CSO for Publicis Groupe China. She led the agency’s transformation, melding three agency brands, eight separate planning teams into one holistic team using a common platform for cross-mobilisation, knowledge sharing and skill training. A China-oriented brand vision helped Publicis win a major global pitch for Nivea. “She is one of the precious few who really gets the client and their business,” commented a representative of another Fortune 500 brand. 

Zhang’s team sees her not only as a working woman with compassion and inspiration, but as a mother, big sister, BFF, coach and ally, as well as Santa at Christmas time. 

As an industry leader, Zhang initiated APG, a Chinese planning community with an online and offline platform for knowledge sharing, guest speeches, and skills training for mid-junior planners. In 2020, she also served on the jury for Effies China and AME APAC.

SEE ALL OF THE 2021 WOMEN TO WATCH GREATER CHINA
Celebrating the women making their mark on the marketing and communications industry.

 

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