Career Path

A showcase of creativity

by Ada Ng

Teresa Fung
deputy managing director
POAD Group Limited
Photo: Lewis Wong

Few careers give people leeway to flex their creativity muscles. This however is not true in the advertising industry. Over the past 15 years, Teresa Fung has seen many of her innovative ideas come into life.

Currently deputy managing director of media specialist POAD Group Limited, Ms Fung says out-of-home (OHH) advertising nowadays comprises more than simply static displays such as billboards and posters. "Interaction has become a popular option," she says. "Digital display panels, electronic kiosks and 3D icons also complement these communication channels for reaching target consumers."

Ms Fung notes that this trend has brought a new wave of excitement to consumers; it also offers greater flexibility and ample opportunity for people in the field to take their imagination to new heights.

Active audience

Regardless of recent explosion of new online marketing tools and social media platforms, outdoor advertising continues to be an advertiser favourite and the industry at large shows a steady growth in terms of both revenue and frequency of use, Ms Fung reveals, adding that the physical constraint of outdoor advertising has been broken. "Unlike online media which involve the audience first making the connection, an OHH advertisement actively offers our clients millions of effective touch points everyday. For this reason alone, I'm confident that outdoor advertising will remain an advertising mainstay for many years to come."

She stresses that as a service provider, the key to advertising success is a thorough understanding of a client's business development objectives. "Only then can we tailor audience-specific solutions that provide exposure and impact aligned with the client's promotional efforts," she remarks.

Today's increasingly sophisticated and mobile consumers exhibit spending patterns that shape the landscape of the OOH advertising industry. "In turn, an effective advertisement can influence buying decision and change brand perception," Ms Fung says.

During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Ms Fung sent a shockwave across Hong Kong by launching an innovative outdoor advertising campaign that involved the entire Hong Kong population in a real-time quiz. The formula was thoroughly thought out. "We posted soccer-related questions on POAD billboards and displays, and invited people to text us the answers for a chance to win daily prizes and enter a lucky draw," she explains.

Her more recent project—the city's first tram shelter advertising creative contest, followed a similar audience-led approach. "We invited entries from the general public and industry professionals to portray their ideal Hong Kong," she points out. "This can be seen as an unconventional channel for OOH advertising."

Good exposure

Media sales personnel interact primarily with clients but in many cases they are also required to liaise with people from all walks of life. These may range from designers to contractors, the media, regulatory bodies and landlords. Interpersonal skills and a friendly disposition can come in handy. "Learning how to manage your emotion quotient helps create all-win situations," Ms Fung remarks. "As in every profession, people should always maintain good will and allow time and space for a relationship to flourish."

The fast-paced industry requires of practitioners not only increased sophisticated and market savvy but also dexterity, resilience and determination. Ms Fung says it is also vital that they keep abreast of change in different industries. "You've got to understand the industry dynamics and exercise flexibility in order to formulate the best solutions for optimal customer reach and impact," she adds.

Ms Fung's career has offered her diverse industry exposure. Over the years, she has held key responsibilities towards various aspects in the business including liaison management, sales management, product development, market research, marketing as well as publicity management.

In her current role as leader of the pack, Ms Fung is more than happy to help her staff to build up their confidence and acumen via a wide range of training and development initiatives. "At this stage of my career, I do take great pleasure in bringing my junior colleagues up to speed with industry development," she says.

Aside from this, she also takes pride in contributing to the future development of the industry by passing on her expertise to university students and sharing industry insights and best practice with her fellow practitioners in the field by taking part in seminars and high-level symposiums.

Ms Fung cautions however that a career in advertising is definitely not for the faint hearted. She advises young people looking to break into the industry to set and work hard towards achieving specific career goals. "It is important that you hang on to it despite the change and challenge," she concludes.

Taken from Career Times 8 October 2010, B12

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