Name: Chloe Neo
Role: Singapore CEO, Omnicom Media Group
Chloe Neo of Omnicom Media Group has been in the media industry for over a decade, and is a versatile leader who has led many in both the Singapore and China markets. She prides herself on being “people-first” and has steered media agencies to garner “Best Companies To Work For In Asia” awards. Down-to-earth and with a passion for empowering women, we get to know this powerhouse a little better.
What are your hobbies?
I love to read, connect with people and get in touch with nature and the outdoors. I also enjoy exploring walking and biking trails with friends and partners, be it morning walks-and-coffees or a bike-and-lunch session. Some of my go-to trails are the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the Rail Corridor and Punggol Waterway for the variety of flora and fauna – lots of interesting animal encounters!
What is your favourite quote and why?
These days I’m going back to basics, to be more intentional: To Master, To Grow, To Serve.
Not a quote but a school motto from my alma mater Methodist Girls’ School, that has its subconscious influence on my personal growth and leadership.
Where’s your top foodie spot and favourite dish there?
My mum and mum-in-law’s cooking. I know it sounds cliché but the best food is home-cooked food prepared with love. In our traditional Asian family culture, our parents express their love and care through these everyday things in life. I can’t choose one favourite dish, there are just too many. I love everything from Hokkien ngo hiang to Teochew braised dishes!
Home-cooked food like Sambal Petai, Ngo Hiang and ABC soup. Image credit: Chloe Neo.
Last good Netflix show you watched?
I’ve just watched Gangubai Kathiawadi over the weekend. The film draws from the real-life story of Gangubai Kathiawadi, who was raised in a well-educated family but sold into prostitution by her husband. She eventually rose to become a powerful voice of women empowerment, despite the many trials and challenges she faced in her journey.
I’m in awe of Gangubai’s fearlessness and unwavering tenacity, and despite being a victim of the sex trade herself, took charge of her own fate and served other women who were in the same plight. Plus, their children and other orphaned children. Her empathetic belief and self-sacrificial fight for equality, protection and access to fair education for the discriminated communities were truly inspiring.
It has certainly intrigued me to pick up the book next.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
That superpower would be omnilingualism. “Everything is language. I am language. I am everything”, this was said by Doug Ramsey/Cypher in the Marvel Comics. To me, language opens the door to diversity in knowledge, arts, culture, and experiences and creates better connections. Language transcends platforms.
6. Three words people use to describe you:
Easy-going, confident, determined.
Three words you’d use to describe yourself:
Steadfast, purposeful, thriving.
People who inspire and influence you?
“Five years from today, you will be the same person that you are today, except for the books you read and the people you meet.”
It’s not just in one person that I find my inspiration and growth. I’m blessed that over the years, and in different life situations, inspirations and guidance come readily, sometimes from unexpected encounters and strangers.
What’s a personal or professional goal you have most don’t know about?
To be a better version of myself, and along the way, be of good influence and support others in their growth journey.
What was the most memorable moment in your career?
Receiving a lovely bouquet with an appreciative note from one of my clients after turning around an annual media proposal. It was memorable as it was unexpected and I was a junior planner on the team.
Campaign done by others that most inspired you:
One campaign that has inspired me would be “Please Arrest Me” done by Ogilvy Singapore.
It’s a powerful and thought-provoking campaign that has raised awareness of rape inside marriage and paved the way to criminalising marital rape in India. There’s strong strategic thinking that led to this highly controversial campaign.
Even though the Delhi High Court had a split verdict, leaving the law unchanged, but the issue now sits with the Supreme Court.
It’s truly amazing work with a big impact.
Campaign done by you that you’re most proud of:
Singtel’s #PowerUpwithSingtel5G campaign, which is a collaboration between OMD and Hogarth.
It’s a year-long campaign activation where Singaporeans could go on an experiential journey in Sentosa. They’ll take part in a “Hidden Gem” treasure hunt around the island’s most popular attractions in Sentosa – all while easily learning the benefits of Singtel 5G .
The Instagram Story hints for the locations in the “Hidden Gem” treasure hunt. Can you guess them?
They even got to race with remote-controlled model race cars via 5G!
The racing track at Sentosa.
Introducing new technology is not easy. And using jargon is not the answer because when it comes to good advertising you don’t sell features, you showcase the benefits. So, the real stand-out for this campaign was how technology was paired up with immersive, hands-on experiences to give folks a chance to try out everyday applications of Singtel 5G.
The campaign was also recently recognised in a prominent awards show for “Most Effective Use of Experiential Marketing” and several other categories.
Tell us a fun fact that most of your employees don’t know about you
I’m somewhat tone-deaf but I used to play the hammered dulcimer in an orchestra.
What do you look for in employees when hiring?
Someone with a growth mindset.
Advice for people to become more creative?
Stay curious, be open and seek to be inspired; explore, experience and evolve. Repeat the process.
Advice for students thinking of starting a career in an agency?
Take the leap and absorb learnings like a sponge to get the best experience.
What do you think makes a good CEO / leader?
I believe a good leader has these traits – being empathetic, reflective, open, communicative, adaptable, decisive and follows through with plans and initiatives.
With greater power comes greater responsibility. A leader sees the potential in others, believes in leading by example and inspiring others towards a vision or a collective goal through respect, empowerment and enablement.
On the other hand, the traditional meaning and general assumption of a boss is one who is top-down, task-oriented instead of being people-oriented. Having said that, in some organisations and cultures, “Boss” is an affectionate term for a well-respected leader.
Any shout-outs you want to give or interesting projects you’re working on?
Special shout out to our amazing “People” team for the incredible efforts and effervescent enthusiasm. Kudos for making the employee experience a priority and for making Omnicom Media Group Singapore one of the “Best Companies to Work for in Asia”!
What do you hope to accomplish at Omnicom Media Group within the next year or so?
We kicked off 2022 with our leadership theme of being intentional.
Being intentional is about bringing back our focus to prioritise fewer but bigger and bolder projects.
Be even more present for our people and create an environment for them to thrive.
Be anticipative and help our clients to unlock growth and our joint ambitions.
Any exciting agency developments (projects, new hires, expansion plans) you’d like to draw our attention to?
We live by our vision to build powerful brands and a sustainable business. Our vision has seen continual investments in our people, product and capabilities.
We have brought on board Jourdan Tan (Head of Digital Capabilities and Transformation, OMG Singapore), and Daler Kendzhaev (Head of Annalect, Malaysia & Singapore), to head up and drive our digital capabilities, and expand our data and analytics bench respectively.
We are partnering with clients in data consultancy projects and working on solutions that would help them stay abreast in the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world of communications and marketing.
Additionally, we have grown our group services across digital, data and analytics, eCommerce and performance hub to power global and regional clients out of Singapore.
In the recent quarter, we have also rolled out market-leading and differentiated investment products and performance solutions to the delight of many of our clients.
This post is part of our Media Industry Leaders series. If you’d like to be featured, or have a nominee in mind, please drop us a note at [email protected]