In Conversation with Cheuk Chiang

Cheuk Chiang, the CEO of Bastion, ANZ, spearheads one of the leading independent marketing and communication agencies in Australasia.

With a career deeply rooted in innovation and leadership across creative, media, data, and technology, Cheuk has consistently pushed boundaries and driven success.

How did you get into advertising – was it by accident or design?

I got into advertising more by design than by accident. From an early age, I was fascinated by the power of media and communications to shape perceptions and influence behaviour. I grew up in a Chinese restaurant (literally) and our babysitter was a TV. I preferred watching the ads more than the shows so my love of creativity came from a very young age. This love led me to pursue a career in advertising where I could blend creativity with strategic thinking.

So far, what’s been the biggest challenge of your career

I’ve had several, taking three businesses from zero to hero – Cummins & Partners, PHD Media or Dentsu Creative. All required an immense amount of work, putting in the right operational approaches, bringing in the best talent, building the strongest cultures and winning the best clients. Leading teams through growth, ensuring we remain innovative while delivering great results for our clients, has been both challenging and immensely rewarding.

Name three essential things someone starting out in advertising should know from day one.

  1. Consumer-centric thinking: Always start with the consumer. Understand their needs, desires, and behaviors. Effective advertising speaks directly to the target audience and resonates with their experiences. Kmowing more about the consumer than your clients is a true super power.
  2. Lifelong learning: The advertising industry is dynamic. Embrace continuous learning and be curious about new trends, technologies, and methodologies. Staying updated is crucial for success. Never stop being a student of the business.
  3. Collaboration is crucial: Building strong relationships and working collaboratively with diverse teams will enhance creativity and lead to better outcomes. Iteration is the key to great creativity and radical collaboration is crucial to that.

How should the mainstream version of the advertising industry meet the challenge of digital marketing?

To meet the challenge of digital marketing, the mainstream advertising industry must embrace a holistic approach that integrates digital and traditional methods. This means investing in digital skills and tools, leveraging data analytics for more targeted and personalised campaigns, and fostering a culture of innovation. It’s also essential to maintain a seamless customer experience across all channels (we live in an experience economy), ensuring that digital efforts complement and enhance traditional advertising strategies. Collaboration between different teams within the organisation can also lead to more cohesive and impactful campaigns.

What do you think the future holds for your industry?

The future of the advertising industry is incredibly promising yet challenging. We will see further integration of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented reality, which will create more personalised and immersive consumer experiences. Data will become even more critical in shaping strategies and measuring success. Think Predictive Marketing. There will also be a heightened focus on ethical advertising and transparency as consumers demand greater accountability from brands. This is so important because being a force for good is critical given the power we have to influence people and culture.

Share it around…