‘I find consumer trends fascinating’ – 24 hours with…Rakuten Marketing’s Leo Wang

Rakuten Marketing’s Asia network development director Leo Wang spends a hectic day managing business and mentoring his team, only to unwind over Lego sessions with his young son

6.00am: My alarm goes off and I’m out for my morning run. I like to start each day focused and find that going for a run first thing is the perfect way to do this.

8.00am: I catch the train to work and pass time by listening to a podcast. This morning, I’m hearing the Wall Street Journal’s Tech News Briefing. The podcast is the latest in technology news and great for a weekday commute. 

Some of the topics I enjoy hearing about are opinions from industry leaders, updates about new gadgets, consumer trends and cyber issues. I find consumer trends extremely fascinating. Another podcast I enjoy listening to is Analyst insight from Euromonitor International.

9.00am: I arrive at the Rakuten Asia office and start my morning by going through emails that have come in from our UK and US teams overnight. I respond to anything urgent and set my to-do list for the day.

9.30am: It’s time for another coffee and my first meeting of the day. I like to use this time each morning to check-in with my team, scheduling a one-on-one first thing, to see how they are doing and if there are any challenges I can work with them to overcome. 

My current role is to not only lead but to guide and support the Rakuten Marketing affiliate team. To help them grow and develop both in the business and in a professional sense.  

I value the feedback my team provides. It’s important that employees identify challenges and opportunities, as well as personal goals and aspirations. This also aligns with Rakuten Marketing’s goals and values to build a culture of inspiration and innovation, while charting a course for positive change.

10.00am: The first international meeting of the day. Our Asia-Pacific team includes offices in Sydney and Melbourne and this morning we have our weekly management video conference where we discuss progress, plans for our teams and any major client or business updates.

11.00am: Each week, all the Asia-Pacific business units across the Rakuten group get together for our weekly Asakai – which is Japanese for ‘morning meeting’. 

This is a great time for us to hear from our sister companies, along with important group updates from Rakuten founder Hiroshi Mikitani (Mickey as we call him). 

Rakuten is on the Forbes list of the world’s most innovative companies. Our weekly Asakai is always full of excitement as we receive briefings about the broader Rakuten business and our sister companies. I personally love listening to Rakuten Technology updates and knowing more about the innovation the company is driving. 

12.00pm: One of the perks of working for Rakuten is the complimentary lunch that the company puts on each day.We have a huge cafeteria and it’s a nice chance to catch up with people in the office. Today is our network development specialist Johanna’s birthday, so along with lunch, we are having cake to celebrate.Rakuten Crimson House Singapore has its very own Foosball Tournament which Rakuten Marketing is actively involved in. Whenever I can, I join the team to play against other Rakuten companies in a friendly competition.

2.00pm: With my morning meetings done and dusted, it’s time to start tackling the to-do list. A large part of my role is working with our Australian, UK and US clients who are looking to expand into the Asian market. I help the teams strategise and create plans for their clients based on their individual needs and the market they’re aiming to enter.

For my clients, the foundation for building a successful strategy is to determine the target audience that they’ll be focusing on. I help my clients solidify a picture of their consumer, then work with them to create a strategy that both meets the client’s needs and reaches consumers in a relevant and engaging way. A successful business market expansion strategy relies on truly understanding the buyer persona.

3.00pm: My team and I are charged with recruiting new publishers to the Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Network. Today, I have a call with our new recruits to discuss their progress and brainstorm how we can continue ramping activity with our advertisers.

4.30pm: The UK team are now coming online and I have a call with our client services director to discuss the expansion plans for one of our luxury merchants wanting to break into the Asia-Pacific market. 

6.00pm: It is time to wrap up work for the day and head home for dinner with the family. My wife enjoys cooking Korean cuisine at home, which is great because I’m of Korean heritage and I love to eat Korean food. Tonight’s dinner is bulgogi (marinated beef), a favourite of ours.

7.00pm: After helping with dinner, I like to spend time with my son Noah. He’s really into Lego at the moment so we spend some time playing before it’s time for him to brush his teeth and get ready for bed.

As a kid, I never really liked Lego. It wasn’t until my son was old enough to play, that I started to appreciate Lego and how it gave me something to bond with Noah over. I enjoy seeing my son’s imagination coming to life and watching him construct things from different pieces.

9.30pm: With Noah in bed, my wife and I enjoy a cup of tea together. It’s our time to catch up on each other’s day. I believe communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship. For my family, we always make a point to set aside time to be together.

10.30pm: After busy a day, I check my email and tomorrow’s calendar one last time before nodding off to sleep.

Leo Wang is the Asia network development director at Rakuten Marketing, based in Singapore


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