Continuing efforts to engage esteemed industry professionals with its students through master sharing sessions, The One Academy invited Joey Khor, Executive Creative Director of George P. Johnson (Greater China Region), for a live presentation on “Integration: Creativity on Steroids” via Zoom. An alumnus of The One Academy who graduated in 2001 and majored in Multimedia, he shared his life’s story and wisdom from his 20 years of working experience in the industry.
Joey started his career by doing interactive web design. He moved on to motion design and animation, having co-founded Hue Visualab and later joined Naga DDB in 2011 to work on integrated marketing and branding. He has also worked for VLT Kuala Lumpur where he did digital branding and solutions. In 2016, he took a chance on a career opportunity at George P. Johnson (GPJ), and relocated to Beijing, China. GPJ is an independent global network, ranked No.1 as the world’s leading experiential marketing agency.
Despite coming from a background with no understanding of the Chinese language and culture, he persevered against all odds, and the rest is history. His life’s story and experience served as an inspiration to the audience that nothing is too great to overcome. He has worked for some of the largest brands in China such as Tencent, OPPO, Huawei and Alibaba. He has led the expansion of the agency’s capabilities and services, leading to numerous award wins.
For his sharing, he spoke on why integrating creative disciplines is so important and how it impacts our work moving forward. The three objectives were to – Inspire (with his experience), Educate (on the nuts and bolts of creativity), and to Disrupt (make a little uncomfortable in a positive way). A warmup exercise before starting, he asked the student audience to take 15 seconds to close their eyes and reflect on the past 3 years of their studies and what had led them there, and to hold onto that thought.
“The only thing that is constant in the world today is change,” he said that to stay relevant, one needs to constantly rethink the value of their work and integrate a wider set of principles to further understand how to make it work for their clients. He showed an interesting clip on how the biggest and most successful brands that have changed the world today had listened to what the world wanted even before the world knew it.
He also delivered some hard truths: “Don’t syok sendiri. Designing an image and writing some copy isn’t going to help sell more.” He urged to think more cohesively, as the basis of advertising such as print ads and billboards is just a small component of a much bigger ecosystem in today’s world. The connected world of today has changed how people behave as consumers – how we pay for stuff, how we don’t have to wait for anything anymore and how we form opinions on the Internet.
He shared that his inspiration comes from everyday life and everyday people, urging the audience to imagine ideas as unfolding stories, a stream of inclusive engagement and interactions. By applying creativity around humanity, magic happens. It means that having ideas around deep human insights will result in effectiveness of the work we deliver.
He discussed the skill sets that a creative practitioner should have. Most start out with functional disciplinary skills but soon realise that those are not enough in the working industry today. He advised students to improve their skill sets and acquire as many diverse skills as they can to be a jack-of-all-trades, to gain a bit of understanding on everything such as marketing, strategizing, planning and the ability to apply knowledge across situations.
In response to a question posed by the audience on what qualities to have to be successful, Joey said that, “one of the key qualities is the ability to be flexible and balance everything. You need to have enough confidence and enough self-doubt to be able to blend into different environments. Admitting to one’s own shortcomings is the way to improve, so adopt new skill and adapt into new times.”