CO-CHAIRMAN & CEO OF HAVAS GROUP GREATER CHINA KARL WU REFLECTS ON A HISTORIC YEAR AND THE LESSONS HE’S TAKING INTO 2021.
As the agency celebrates a bundle of award wins including the Campaign Asia 2020 China Media Agency of the Year Bronze Award, Karl shares this year’s learnings and what is in store for the agency as we approach 2021.
Congrats on all your recent wins! How important are these recognitions for the agency this year?
We’re celebrating a number of awards! Havas Group Greater China was recognised with a Campaign Asia 2020 China Media Agency of the Year Bronze Award, despite this year’s challenges and difficulties. Then, Havas Events Shanghai won the Greater China Event Marketing Agency of the Year Bronze Award for the first time. In addition to the industry awards, we also won a Better Workplace Award presented by CCI FRANCE CHINE.
Throughout a difficult year, Havas as a Group not only protected our people but also continuously created outstanding work for our clients. The awards recognised both our business outperformance and our corporate cultures and behaviours. It is not only an award that we deserve but also an encouragement to inspire us go further. It draws an end to 2020 amid the global battle against the pandemic and economic downturn and heralds a promising 2021 when we will continue to promote fruitful performance growth.
How has Havas China approached 2020?
Regardless of this year’s ups and downs, we have always adhered to the spirit of people first, encouraging all employees and their families to put health and safety first while implementing the business continuity plan. We have never ceased learning, improving, and sharing, demonstrating Havas’ exemplary thought leadership in the industry.
Havas China efficiently responded at the beginning of the epidemic, taking the initiative to communicate with the wider Group, to share our health and safety materials and to provide facilities and mental health tips support to keep our employees safe.
During the pandemic, Havas Group including the China team, has created the Havas Market Pulse report to provide market insights to global clients and our Havas fellows. This was even featured in the Thinktank at 10 Downing Street.
Although the epidemic has eased, a balance between home and office will continue being part of our work life. As a result, easier, more convenient, and effective information technology and infrastructure will double, encouraging us to further master information technology.
The advertising industry is unique in that it still calls for us to physically connect to inspire great ideas. Therefore, the visual effects and atmosphere of our workplace have become more relaxing and inspiring. Havas China has also realised digital transformation to quickly adapt to market challenges.
What do you think was the agency’s biggest accomplishment(s) in 2020?
All of our employees are safe, healthy and happy, without any layoffs or any pay cuts. And our business growth keeps going steady and strong. We have gained several industrial awards and we’ve been strengthening industry leadership by attending festivals, awarding evaluations, and sharing knowledge.
What does 2021 look like for the agency?
Havas China will continue our set vision and mission, promoting business growth while building a cohesive and inclusive corporate culture. We bear in mind the spirit of people first and work hard to protect the safety and health of our employees and their families. The sense of security nurtured for the employees helps to increase their creativity and positive mentality, achieving the common growth of their career and the business.
With the rapid development of the advertising industry, we will continue to recruit talents from diverse cultural backgrounds to further refresh the inclusive corporate culture, leverage the rich resources of the Group and different Villages to create high-quality and innovative products and services. As always, we will capture the latest trends to promote business growth and the common progress of the industry, and value the key needs and benefits of our employees, clients, and shareholders to make a meaningful difference.
What have you learned about yourself this year?
Leadership during crisis is key. Be caring, supportive and visible. Put people first and always make the employees’ benefits and values your priority. I’ve learned that from a crisis comes opportunity.