As an internationally successful alumni, Ipoh-born Stephen Chan Wen Feng recently graced Advertising & Graphic Design and Multimedia Design students of The One Academy with detailed observations into the nature of China’s digital landscape.
Stephen is responsible for overseeing all creative strategies and team operations for the Shanghai offices and clients as a Group Creative Director for Shanghai-based BlueFocus. He helped develop Phluency Shanghai before being acquired by BlueDigital, one of the biggest companies in Asia.
He compared advertising and digital marketing not to art, but as means to providing clients with ‘creative solutions’ in helping them sell their products and services in the Creative Forum session at The One Academy.
With a population of over 1.3 billion, Stephen asserted that the enormous Chinese market has more potential as it is ever-evolving. For instance, they have moved on from traditional media such as the television and newspaper. Hence, the application of ‘creative solution’ is also different from that of Malaysia that is still popular with traditional media.
According to him, China is in a post-PC era and is more mobile-oriented. A Chinese netizen now spends an average of 25 hours on their mobile phones a week to access sites such as YouTube, Baidu, and Taobao.
Stephen explained that Chinese apps are also more comprehensive and integrated. WeChat, for example, allows users to pay bills and even, as he put it, send out monetary ‘angbaos’ (red packets) during Chinese New Year.
This could be facilitated by the fact that Chinese clients prefer a ‘total creative solution’ for their products, differing from US-based apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp that are more focused in functionality.
In addition, unlike Malaysia, China sees a common surge of fresh and young people in management teams, verifying promising career paths for their younger population.
Nevertheless, one common approach for both markets is “understanding who is your target community, what message or content do you seek to deliver, and from there, create a purchase opportunity”.
“A successful campaign attracts audience attention, retain the interaction and converts them into calls to action”, he advised.
With 9 years of creative digital experience, Stephen has received prestigious awards from PRWeek Asia Awards, Asia-Pacific Sabre Awards, FWA Awards, among many others, from collaborations with top clients – Jeep, Jaguar, Durex, Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen.
Stephen likened advertising agencies to the hit TV Series ‘Mad Men’ that depicts a glorious era in advertising history. He explained that those in his field should be well-versed with the concepts of people and communication in order to execute successful persuasion, change in mindset, conception and eventually the world.
“It is imperative that we act like our clients, live their lifestyle and play them as characters to get handy insights”, urged Stephen Chan to aspiring advertisers and marketers, inspired by one of Shakespeare’s most powerful quotes.
During the introduction, Stephen Chan said that The One Academy is one of the best learning institutes for art and design courses, and felt honored to be able to share his experience.
With his mantra “Make Idea Happen”, Stephen Chan urges students to defend their idea until the end provided that they believe in it.
Stephen Chan was recently presented with the Platinum Achievers Awards (a reward for tremendously successful graduates of The One Academy) by YB P. Kamalanathan, Deputy Minister of Education and Higher Learning II, at Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre.