McCann Hong Kong's new ECD reveals plans to reposition the business

Joe Wong has joined McCann & Spencer as executive creative director, effective this August. Wong was most recently the executive creative director at DDB Group Beijing, overseeing the integrated strategy for clients such as Tencent (Division of Internet+), H3C, Wanda Hotel, X-Step and Qualcomm.

Prior to that, he was the executive creative director for Jung Von Matt China, and creative director at Ogilvy & Mather.

Wong is now based in Hong Kong to take charge of several regional accounts, including Mastercard and L'Oreal.

In an interview with Marketing, Wong said he and Spencer Wong have split their roles and responsibilities, with Spencer Wong focusing on local clients, and Joe Wong now handling regional accounts.

"We will start fostering more collaborations with our other offices, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore, to strengthen our network and capabilities. It is therefore essential, at this stage, to define the functionality and characteristics of the Hong Kong team," he explained.

The first initiative would be to leverage the free flow of information that the city enjoys, and partner with more innovative technology companies to strengthen the Hong Kong team as an innovation hub. Internet of Things and live streaming are two of the few things he is currently looking at.

The change also comes amid a tough time for Hong Kong 4As positioning.

"It is getting more challenging for the 4As," Wong admitted, in reference to a disruptive media landscape, as well as the recent development of marketing veterans preferring to launch their own boutique agencies to fill the gap between new client needs and agencies' offerings.

"It's good to have more competition. It means we ourselves have to redefine what we will be working on to have no depreciation in our value. We have to change, from being a creative to being a creator. It's no longer just about an advertisement, but more about an integrated project," he said.

"While clients want more, it's tiring for them to hold so many meetings with different agencies. We can have a role to play by showing them what the big picture looks like," he added.

Wong said his focus now is on nurturing his staff, equipping them with senses and abilities essential in the digital world.

The agency has started mixing staff of different units. For instance a staff previously working in the branding team will collaborate directly with one from the social media team in a project to exchange skill sets, he said.

"The transformation would never work top-down, so we have to launch more eye-opening programmes to motivate change."