Joe Peng | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2018
Charting the future of public relations
Innovator 25 AP Joe Peng

Joe Peng

Managing Director, Head of Digital Innovation Group, APAC

Burson Cohn & Wolfe
Hong Kong

“Go against traditional structures and strategies that upset clients and consumers in the past”

Joe Peng has helped to chart a new vision and strategy for Burson Cohn & Wolfe’s digital business, currently leading the development and expansion of the agency’s digital and social media business in the region. Since joining Cohn & Wolfe in August 2017, Peng has overseen a new wave of digitally driven integrated communications solutions and growth for existing clients, both within and outside of APAC, resulting in a surge of regional business for the agency for clients like Lenzing and Siemens. Peng was also the co-founder and COO of an e-commerce start-up called @t, a premium tea brand business in Asia, and previously served in senior roles at Burson-Marsteller and Shunya.

How do you define innovation?
Innovation is a new way to make a meaningful impact, and innovation in the communications industry is the same. We are in an industry delivering the art and science of changing the perception and behavior of certain audiences. There are always new requirements and unarticulated needs, thus innovation is always important for us to get to a relevant audience and to persuade this audience. More media outlets, different lifestyles, different attitudes, new social pressures, and a digital context – all are creating opportunities for innovation. 

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
"Save Water by Colgate" Reminds Alexa Users that Every Drop Counts

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
As I define innovation in this industry as a new way to make a meaningful impact, I believe that innovation can happen every day, and there are many very innovative brands and agencies.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
Four years ago, I set out to design a unique mapping program to deliver a deeper evaluation and inform more meaningful relationships with KOLs for a brand. Beyond just pulling out data on social media, I worked with my team to explore the real meaning behind the data and relevance for social media impact. The innovative idea was embedded in an optimized and scientific ranking formula, combining data-driven insights, industry analysis, and deep qualitative analysis of influencer impact; and it became an award-winning analytics
project. Today, facing the declining traditional media consumption among hard-to-reach segments, fake followers and incidents of fraud on social media platforms, I’m still enthusiastic in working with our global networks to roll out our new Trufluence methodology, which serves to design authentic and engaging influencer programs that create true value for brands, influencers and their audiences.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
Chad Latz, BCW Global Chief Innovation Officer

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Stay up-to-date on innovation topics beyond our industry — including news, trends and best practices in R&D, process improvement and product development. Majoring in Computer Science years ago keeps me excited about such topics.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Go against traditional structures and strategies that upset clients and consumers in the past, while honoring the tradition of exploring how little things can make a big difference.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
Singer

Favorite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business?
Brief History of Humankind

What's your favourite time of day and why?
The early morning is my favorite. It’s the time when I can feel the endless possibilities of what the day could bring. It’s also a good timing to form a certain consistent habit when I need it.