Chief strategy officer, Greater China
Abby Wong has all the qualities it takes to be a good strategist, but her ingenuity coupled with ferocity is what makes her an asset for Initiative China. In Karen Ho’s, her CEO, words, “Her way to push the team to go beyond delivering stereotyped proposals is sometimes harsh, but effective. She might not be everyone’s favourite CSO, but she’s mine!”
It’s not just her team who she pushes. She negotiates equally hard with the global counterparts to get the agency’s proprietary planning products localised for the unique China market. Wong has an intuitive understanding of how the market works and what can give a brand the required competitive advantage, and will go all out to achieve that. This has come from being a self starter and tackling projects from scratch.
She has worked across agencies and media houses starting out as an early media innovator, but her transformation into a master strategist truly began when she landed in Shanghai in 2012, just when the Internet giants were about to embark upon their journey. An intuitive learner, Wong joined Mindshare China in 2014 as a general manager and became an industry pioneer in bringing path-breaking digital end-to-end solutions to clients. It changed the way media positioned itself in China.
Just before moving to Initiative, Wong was with Ogilvy where she carved out a ‘connection planning’ function, that opened-up the creative agency’s horizon to be a consumer-centric solution provider.
She joined Initiative in 2020 just as Covid threw the world into a tizzy but with astute planning and far-sightedness, Wong helped the agency emerge on top amidst stiff competition.
Wong understands that a CSO at times has to function as a ‘mini-CEO’, with an ability to have a bird’s eye view of issues confronting the company. From Q1 2021, Wong pulled her strength to refocus on bringing ‘cultural velocity’ to life. Under her aegis, the agency developed a 90% new business strike-rate, brought home 33 local and regional awards, and built a team of planners that are well-known within the IPG Mediabrands global network.