Digital Day 2024

Speaker interview with Carol Chan

Founder, Comms8

Carol is Founder of Comms8, an award-winning marketing agency known for bridging global brands with Asian and Chinese audiences. 

With high-profile clients including Estee Lauder, This Works, Nestle, Montblanc, Schneider Electric, and Air China, Carol has skilfully leveraged data to cultivate meaningful relationships between brands and consumers.

We caught up with her ahead of her appearance at Digital Day Scotland, where she'll be doing a deep dive into the digital media landscape in Asia and sharing how media consumption are different in these markets compared with the UK and the rest of the world.

Can you tell us a little about what your day-to-day job looks like as Founder of award-winning marketing agency Comms8?

As the founder of Comms8, every day is a vibrant tapestry woven from diverse cultures and constant learning. My primary role involves bridging cultural gaps to create marketing strategies that resonate across borders. This means I’m often liaising with teams across time zones, staying abreast of global market trends, and ensuring our campaigns are culturally nuanced and impactful. The role is as much about fostering relationships and building networks as it is about innovating and strategising. It's a dynamic balancing act that requires both a macro and micro view of the marketing ecosystem.

Comms8 specialises in cross-border marketing, helping international brands enter the Asian markets. When did you discover a gap in the market for this offering, and what made you bite the bullet to start up on your own?

The realisation dawned during my tenure at large network agencies, where I saw emerging brands with immense potential often being overlooked. They struggled to receive the tailored support necessary for successful market entry. Recognising that no market is too challenging to enter with the right approach, I was compelled to establish Comms8. Our aim is to be the conduit that aligns a brand's vision with the market's pulse, driving their growth in new and often daunting territories. Starting Comms8 was about fulfilling that unmet need and being the strategic partner that ambitious brands deserve.

What has been the biggest challenge in starting your own marketing agency?

The most significant challenge in the entrepreneurial journey of Comms8 has been maintaining a laser focus amidst a sea of constant innovation. The marketing landscape is incredibly fast-paced, and there’s always a new technology, platform, or method that could potentially distract you. Staying true to our core mission while remaining adaptable has been the key to navigating these waters and delivering consistent value to our clients.

What do you think are the biggest trends we’re seeing in the digital marketing space in Asian markets? How do these compare to the UK markets?

Asian digital marketing trends are characterised by rapid adoption of new technologies and platforms, with mobile marketing and e-commerce integration at the forefront. There's also a strong emphasis on influencer marketing and social commerce, particularly in China, where platforms like WeChat and Douyin are pioneering innovative ways to engage consumers. Compared to the UK, where the approach is more measured and privacy-focused, Asia's digital marketing space is highly dynamic, with a willingness to experiment and iterate quickly. This reflects broader cultural attitudes towards technology and consumption. More will be shared at my talk.

On a personal level, where do you draw inspiration from?

My sources of inspiration are as varied as they are profound. The serenity of kayaking, where each stroke in the water teaches me about resilience and adaptability. The dynamism of basketball, which instils in me the importance of strategy, agility, and teamwork. In the quiet corners of my life, I find solace and a burst of creativity in watercolour and life painting. These arts require a meticulous attention to detail and a celebration of the moment that often reflect in my approach to marketing — focusing on the nuances that turn good campaigns into great ones. And then, there's the joy and fresh perspective that I gain from my daughter, who reminds me that sometimes the smallest things in life can spark the most creative ideas. Together, these passions keep me grounded and enrich my professional ethos, infusing Comms8’s strategies with creativity, precision, and a deep appreciation for the little things that make a big difference.

You’re on the board of Women in Advertising and Communications Leadership. What made you join the board?

Joining the board of Women in Advertising and Communications Leadership was driven by my commitment to drive progressive change within the industry. It's an opportunity to shape a more equitable future and support other women leaders embarking on this journey. Through my role, I aim to champion diversity, inclusivity, and empowerment, creating a ripple effect of positive change across our profession.

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