Tech in check: L'Oréal Singapore digital and media director Regina Chan

When it comes to the digital transformation process, Regina Chan (pictured), currently digital and media director at L'Oréal Singapore saw the evolution of brands transitioning from a deep focus on traditional media to digital.

For her past six years in L'Oréal Singapore, she has focused on digital and media management, thought leadership, and transitioning the portfolio of 23 brands with strategic digital initiatives, and development and management of eCommerce channels.

With a career spanning nearly 20 years, Chan started her journey with digital in agencies such as Zenith, Mindshare and Initiative, overseeing strategic media and integrated communications planning. In this edition of Tech in Check, she shares her view on overcoming challenges with tech.

Marketing: What was your first digital role like?

My first digital role was an extension of my then-role as a media planner in an agency. As the media world started to evolve with the advent of digital, it was natural curiosity to explore and understand that realm: from a basic understanding of technology and IT, to what Yahoo, Facebook and social sites were about. I came in-house to L'Oréal in 2012, and expanded from traditional media to digital, websites and social; differentiating owned versus earned assets; as well as drive learning on how it would impact consumers.

Marketing: What was your biggest tech blunder?

Social listening first started in 2012, when it was still early days in digital. A fraction of our media investment was in digital, but as widespread usage was not there in the market, the investment with no real learning was a setback to everyone including marketers, as they had put their hard-earned marketing dollar into it.

Marketing: How did you overcome it and what did you learn from it?

It can be daunting when you think about the inevitable loss of time, investment and knowledge due to an unknown new world. Instead, it was up to us to break barriers over that mindset, and focus on believing in the vision and impact of what digital can achieve as we continue to harness its potential.

Marketing: What are some of the common challenges you face with digital today?

It is about digital transformation. Everybody knows it is necessary, but the landscape is changing daily, and adoption is not necessarily easy or cheap, when you are looking at more sophisticated ways to harness data in real-time; do data integration from various sources such as Google and Facebook; make sense of metric performances for real-life impact on business ROI, and more.

Marketing: Are there any digital trends which excite you or that you are wary of? 

Artificial Intelligence. As the technology develops to become human-like, it can also become a question of ethics.

For now, a machine is also only as good as what we teach it. To give an example, the potential of chatbots are interesting as we explore machine learning. But if a consumer asks questions about Vitamin C for skin clarity and the machine glitches, or it does not ask follow-up questions about skin sensitivity, it could potentially provide insufficient advice.

Another one is the threat of digital security and fraud.

Marketing: Any top tips for marketers and brands embracing digital?

It is now impossible to separate marketing and brands from digital.

A good marketer needs to have a good balance of creativity and logic, and importantly, be data-driven with attention to detail. Digital is about data (even testing and bench-marking which creatives work or do not work with consumers is about data), and if you have the love for understanding and interpreting data, you will go far.