Q&A with Singapore University of Technology and Design marketing chief Corinna Choong

Corinna ChoongCorinna Choong is the senior director of marketing and communications at Singapore’s newest university, the Singapore University of Technology and Design, which was set up in collaboration with MIT in 2010. 

In this Q&A with Mumbrella’s Asia editor Robin Hicks, the former SingTel and Procter & Gamble marketer, who judged at the APPIES last week, talks about what defines her as a marketer, the toughest thing about marketing in Singapore, and why she values creative above all other disciplines.

Tell us a bit about your background as a marketer.

I spent the first half of my career at Procter & Gamble, from a brand assistant to the head of the marketing department, managing the entire brand portfolio in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore is small, so we combined both markets. I also managed haircare brands Rejoice and Head & Shoulders in Taiwan, which was an R&D centre for P&G. I later moved to SingTel and a role in corporate marketing and communications.

What would you say the main differences are between the marketing culture at SingTel and P&G?

They’re vastly different. P&G is a much more end consumers driven organisation, whereas SingTel is much broader. As Singtel started as the telco authority of Singapore, there are other parts of Singtel business that are infrastructure and hardware related, since it has different customers like corporate, end consumers as well as provide an essential public service, its culture is very different from a consumer goods company like P&G.

How would you define yourself as a marketer?

I would define myself as target-audience driven, and have been able to switch from corporate to consumer lifestyle in my career.

Tell us about your current role running marketing at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

When we started we didn’t even have a name. The education minister decided it would be called the Singapore University of Technology and Design. From that, we created brand from scratch – everything from the strategic brand framework to the logo and corporate ID.

Watch a TV ad for SUTD, which suggests that “When we harness the power of technology and design, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.”

To see the full range of SUTD ads, click here.

SUTD print ad

SUTD print ad

If you had to choose to work with just one type of agency, would it be media, PR, creative or digital?

Creative. Because we can do the rest in-house, even though we have a small team of eight people. Once you have the creative [which is handled by independent creative agency Goodfellas], that can translate across the rest of the media quite easily. We’ve always done PR in-house.

What’s the biggest challenge for marketers in Singapore right now?

The market is so small. If you calculate any ROI, you’ll cry. Media costs are prohibitively high in Singapore, because the target audiences are much smaller.


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