Chief Marketing Officer & Senior Counsel
An international communicator and a marketing leader, Adrian Heng, Founder and Senior Counsel of Merlot Consulting, mentors young professionals in the global marketing industry. He is an influential and passionate professional who started leading global teams at the young age of 28. His successes from 20+ years in this profession have been according to him, the result of 'more than a bit of luck', some creativity, lots of learning, patient mentors, and often times long hours. A pragmatic creative trailblazer, Adrian has been at the forefront of multiple companies & taken up several leadership positions. To mention a few, he has been the Director & SEA Head of Digital for H+K Strategies, Vice-President Communications & Marketing for Booqed, Group Marketing Director for Asia Plantation Capital, and most recently as CMO for Real Estate Analytics.
Frequently invited to speak at various universities and events around the region on various topics, Adrian also mentors undergraduates. He has lectured at the National University of Singapore as an Adjunct Associate Professor as well as chairing its Industry Advisory Board for the Communications & New Media department. As the senior counsel of Merlot Consulting, he is helping startups, SMEs, MNCs, and NPOs build their brands effectively along with their growth strategies. He is also the chairperson for the communications committee for Action Community of Entrepreneurship. Adrian is recognized for his skills in Marketing, Corporate Communications, Crisis Communications & Management, Strategy Management, and Startup Management. CEOInsights exclusive team rendezvous with the industry leader where he gives out valuable insights for our readers. Let's hear it from him.
Being a global leader with 20+ years of rich experience, what are the things that keep you driving? My early career saw me in several amazing PR consultancies, during which I had opportunities to work with multiple clients and many inspiring colleagues who I've been fortunate to count as friends and mentors. Several of them even now, continue to approach me to help them with various projects and issues they face. Their, and all the companies I work for, success is what motivates me to do a good job. What drives me is the challenge of finding and applying creative solutions to bring brands to life. Helping my company's, or my clients', engage positively with the audience is very satisfying for me. Also, as a leader, being able to help my team grow and watch them progress is something that gives me enormous fulfilment.
How do you keep your team motivated despite obstacles? What would you say is the uniqueness in your style of leadership? My belief has always been to create a comfortable environment for my team where everybody can share their ideas and work towards common goals. A leader fails to be a leader when his team members feel undervalued and disrespected. When the team feels that they are contributing not just as executors but also as creative strategists they usually will have a greater sense of ownership toward the company, which in return helps them to work better, contribute more, collaborate effectively, and be motivated to see a successful result.
What has been the success mantra that constantly helps you arrive at positive outcomes? give a lot of importance when it comes to listening to my clients, my team, and understanding the target audience and what they want. For every situation, I consider all aspects very seriously and then work on marrying them effectively. It's not just about what the brand wants to say, we have to respect what the customer expects and how they want to be engaged. And that has been my mantra for the last 20 years, knowing what the customer wants from brands, and delivering it to them in a way that makes them excited and happy.
What are some of the most recent marketing insights you have adopted? nalytics is one of the latest amazing tools for the marketing industry. But the profession cannot rely on it blindly. Companies are rushing toward analytics, digital outreach, & content creation based on what they, the company, wants to say only, leaving behind human insights. For instance, early touch screen phones were not at all popular with users. So if basing purely off analytics of if people liked touch screen phones, we would never have the smartphones we have today, because the numbers then would have then said it was a bad idea. Today, 99 percent of us carry touch screen smartphones. Hence, we need to find a way to balance both analytics and human insight, as you can't be effective in marketing, one without the other.
Adrian Heng, Chief Marketing Officer & Senior Counsel, Merlot Consulting Having studied at the University of Massachusetts, Adrian, has extensive PR and marketing communications experience, both in-house and agency, he accumulated wide experience across different sectors including technology, finance and investment, luxury, real estate and more. He is a recognized leader who helps organizations to grow successfully.
·Favorite Cuisine: Seafood & Steak ·Favorite Book: Nightwatch series by Terry Pratchett ·Hobbies: Photography, Tae Kwon Do & Ballroom Dancing Favorite Travel Destinations: Bali, Israel, New England (US), Europe
·Awards & Recognition: Recognized twice as one of the 50 Most Influential Global Marketing Leaders, IPRS PRISM Outstanding Mentor 2017, Tigers Leadership Award for Excellence in Marketing & Brand Leadership 2015