StarHub's Chong: Talent churn could be good

Oliver Chong, AVP of brand and marketing communications, StarHub, has a fourfold mantra when it comes to client-agency relationships - and trust comes first. Trust that everyone believes every other person is giving 100%, to hand over assets of the company such as research findings and access to information to the agency, and so on.

He also applauds openness about problems each other are facing and to be able to talk through them; a willingness to invest time in building talent, both in the agency as well as the client-side and lastly, perhaps most importantly, commitment to not only deliver what is promised but doing so on time.

"And this applies to both client and the agency."

Despite all of that there is one issue which has the capacity to rock client-agency ties - the high attrition rate in the agency world.

How does Chong tackle such a situation?

He looks at it the other way around. When the old boys go and fresh blood comes in there are new ideas which may be good for the brand.

"If the same team works on my TVC for years, chances are we might see repetitive work. There are two sides to the coin."

But he adds the risk one runs in having a new team very often is that its lack of experience of working on the particular brand may disrupt the brand's journey towards its goal.

While having fresh ideas is good, Chong says it's very important to have a stable top management which understands the client's business.

"In any relationship the honeymoon period will be over and there will be a phase when differences will crop up, in which case, a senior person on the agency side who understands the pain-points of the clients and the little things that affect business is important."

In StarHub's case, in its seven years with DDB, the key members of the top management have remained constant, "so I have a senior team that understands the business and the direction in which we are headed".

Read the full interview in Marketing Magazine's August issue.