Staff Reporters
Jan 27, 2022

Women to Watch Greater China 2022: René Chen, JKR

Chen brings together the value of creativity and business for brands. In the most challenging moment of the pandemic, she led JKR to win new clients and extend existing business while promoting Chinese design and creativity internationally.

Women to Watch Greater China 2022: René Chen, JKR
SEE ALL OF THE 2022 WOMEN TO WATCH GREATER CHINA
30 inspiring and innovative women making their mark in
marketing and communications across Greater China.

René Chen

Chief creative officer
Jones Knowles Ritchie
Shanghai

René Chen was the founder of Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR) Shanghai back in 2015. She supervises all projects from the beginning, and the Shanghai studio has grown from two to almost 30 people as an independent agency. 

Chen comes up with bold ideas for clients both in design value and commercial success. She initiated the Budweiser Chinese New Year marketing campaign, and JKR developed to be a lead agency for the entire marketing program from 2019. The CNY project for Budweiser continues year after year and drives up sales. Her work for the rebranding of Harbin Beer has won Marking Awards and Red Dot Awards. Over the years, her team has also won the Dieline, Pentawards and Transformed Asia Awards.

When the coronavirus spread across the world in 2020, Chen not only led the team to deliver projects for key clients and newborn brands, but also won a new client in Nestlé. At the same time, AB InBev expanded its business cooperation with JKR from China to the Asia-Pacific region. Budweiser APAC CMO Matt Che was impressed by Chen’s deep understanding of brand, business and consumers, and said that her work is  “bold, avant-garde and always one step ahead of the competition”. 

As the chief creative officer of JKR China, Chen works closely in line with the strategy and account-management teams, guiding work throughout projects from creative, design and business to category insights. She encourages the team to “be bold, be fearless, think big" and “always think about whether you're doing the right thing for brands”.

Inside the company, Chen shares her experience with young designers and has sponsored outstanding local designers for overseas exchange with JKR’s global studio. 

Outside the company, Chen has spared no effort in the past few years when it comes to appearing on international platforms, such as Cannes Lions, TEDx and Spikes Asia, sharing Chinese creativity. She has also taught university students through lectures and training programmes in Shanghai. 

Chen started her design career in the 1990s in Toronto, then moved back to Hong Kong. In 2006, she went to Shanghai, where over almost 10 years she worked her way to Interband executive creative director before founding JKR Shanghai. 

SEE ALL OF THE 2022 WOMEN TO WATCH GREATER CHINA
30 inspiring and innovative women making their mark in
marketing and communications across Greater China.

 

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