Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production
Jesse Lin: “Don’t Stay in the Comfort Zone, Go Out and Learn New Stuff. You Won’t Come Back Empty-Handed”
Advertising Agency
Shanghai, China
Geometry APAC’s newly-appointed CEO tells LBB’s Adam Bennett how the agency is moving into a new decade
In Jesse Lin, Geometry APAC is bringing in one of the region’s best-experienced leaders. 

The CEO comes with two and a half decades of experience, including most recently at Edelman, where he transformed the PR agency into a modern communications agency, with a focus on digital and brand capabilities.

At Geometry, the focus for the future is on innovation. To discuss his plans to do so, and the state of play in the region right now, Jesse spoke to LBB’s Adam Bennett. 

LBB> Congratulations on the new role! Where do you see Geometry in the APAC region right now, and how does that affect your work? 
Jesse> Asia has such potential in many areas. Digital enables nations to leapfrog and transform at incredible speeds. The industry environment is unique, particularly in retail. Mobile empowers billions of people to have access to more variety and opportunities to do business online. This provides an immense opportunity for Geometry APAC to be the preferred partner for our global and local clients who want to connect with the next billion consumers and Asia’s fast-growing middle class.

LBB> Looking to the year ahead, what trends are you anticipating to see in the industry?

Jesse> MarTech [marketing technology] will be widely embraced by brands. The demand on speed and ROI will continue given the impact of social, eCommerce and data. For retail, online/offline integration will accelerate. The increasing cost of customer acquisition will perhaps drive brands to further optimise every engagement with consumers throughout the consumer journey.  

LBB> With that in mind, what advice would you give to brands looking to market themselves in the year ahead? 
Jesse> Despite short term pressure on conversion and ROI, I would advise brands to continue to optimise their consumer experience for brand-building. Eventually, in most categories, consumers still buy brands they trust or like. That preference could be earned through branding and product experience.

LBB> What do you feel are the greatest challenges facing creative businesses in the region at the moment? 
Jesse> I think the key challenges are the increasing impact of tech and AI, the budget shift to digital channels with direct content capability (for example KOC in China and talent shortage for agencies (particularly at intermediate and senior levels).

LBB> Looking at your own career, you have such a wealth of experience across the industry in Asia. Is there a piece of advice that you wish you had heard sooner?
Jesse> “From point A to point B is never a straight line, explore more and enjoy the journey.” I always appreciate the spirit of this sentence, but perhaps not encouraging enough young people to practice it. In today’s digital era, some boundaries have disappeared and it’s easier to explore territories. Don’t stay in the comfort zone, go out and learn new stuff. You won’t come back empty-handed.

LBB> Geometry is a huge global network - what's distinctive about what you guys do in the APAC region? 
Jesse> Our offering is about the seamless end-to-end brand experience that can penetrate complex Asian markets. It consists of strong offline retail expertise and online/offline creative strategy and content. We have local forces to ensure coverage all the way to the last mile, and the consistency of experience is ensured by our eleven markets across the region.  

LBB> When it comes to hiring new creatives at Geometry, what skills do you guys keep in mind? 

Jesse> It is about the attitude, not skills. We are looking for the new breed of creatives who have an open mind to think about impact across entire consumer journey, and stay close with technology and data. It is about building a relationship with consumers in the fragmented, fast-changing world. It is not an easy challenge, but could be done with the right attitude.

LBB> Finally, what does the future hold for Geometry in APAC? Where do you see yourselves in five years' time? 
Jesse> We want to fully deploy our end-to-end commerce agency proposition in all markets. It is about continuously strengthening our creative offerings backed by strong technology and data capabilities, as well as being faster and more effective to our clients. Ultimately, we want to become the most valuable marketing partner to our clients.