Meet the CEOs: Jeffrey Hau of Prizm Group

Prizm Group co-founder and director Jeffrey Hau first dipped his toes in the adland like a founder of a digital agency start-up with a team of three, where he had to perform several tasks in the areas of sales, account management, copywriting and design.

Hau believed that ffostering openness and being accessible are key to leadership,thenbeing now the leader of the Prizm group, he always encourages his coworkers knock at his door to raise any issues Where perhaps just chatting.

Having entered the adland out of curiosity about human preferences and behaviors, Hau said he would likely end up in psychology-related research. In his spare time, Hau likes to prepare a meal for his family and friends as he considers it a perfect remedy to relieve the stress of work.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What was your first job?

Fresh out of college, I worked as an “SEO quality assurance” at Google. It was the most repetitive job ever. I was tasked with crawling hundreds of websites daily and determining if webmasters were trying to cheat the system by inserting keywords into a website, such as placing white text on a white colored background.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What was your first role in advertising?

My first meeting was already at the head of a digital agency start-up with a team of three people. To be exact, it wasn’t a single role, but rather multiple “roles” including Salesperson, Account Manager, Writer, and Designer.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What was your first impression of the ad?

TV advertising is the biggest thing about advertising at the time, and I understood that advertising was about iconic slogans and celebrities.

Another memory was that I was “encouraged” to enter a drawing contest sponsored by a cooking oil brand, and I guess that’s because my mom was the marketing manager at the time.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: Who is the mentor who influenced you the most and how?

Since I started my own business at an early age, there weren’t many supervisors. All the partners and teammates who have been with me throughout the journey have been my mentors, especially my business partner Kenneth and our senior account manager Kelvin who have always been by my side since day one.

I guess it’s still true to say that two minds are better than one.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What is the harshest criticism you have received and how did you deal with it?

I don’t recall receiving any particularly harsh reviews, but I see that the review does more good than harm. If you lead a great team and regularly receive constructive criticism from your team, that’s probably the biggest positive sign you can get.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: Describe your own management style now as a leader

Being in marketing is not like working in manufacturing because there is no unified standard. I was given a lot of autonomy and freedom growing up, and I really appreciate that; the same goes for managing a team, and perhaps success becomes more valuable and also more enduring. Of course, the key is knowing how to give the right amount of advice, so that they are able to solve problems, but not enough to sit around and wait for instructions.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What is one thing you would like employees to understand about being a leader?

I encourage younger colleagues to take responsibility and lead early in their careers because I believe the best learning comes from mentoring.

Facilitating openness and being accessible are qualities that I would like to pass on to the team.

I encourage any co-worker to knock on my door to raise an issue or maybe just for a chat. As a leader, it’s important to work with the team, not the team working for you.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What do you do in your free time?

For me, cooking a meal for family and friends is a perfect remedy to relieve the stress of work. I enjoy the whole process, from visiting the market to preparing the ingredients. It’s a good few therapeutic hours to clear your head, and perhaps similar to advertising, the fulfillment comes from the public appreciating your work. So don’t be surprised if you meet me in the wet market.

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MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: Where do you find your inspiration?

The cliche answer will be while traveling, but it probably happens a few times a year at most, not to mention we’ve all been stuck in our hometown for a few years.

So, I’ll actually say binge watch YouTube, and don’t choose what you like, rather watch anything from kids’ channels, niche enthusiasts to vloggers all over the world. You will be amazed at the hearing on many of them.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: If not in advertising, where would you be?

I’ll probably end up in some kind of research work related to psychology, which is what I studied in college. In retrospect, I entered the advertising field because I was curious about human preferences and behaviors. Academic research could possibly consist of removing the commercial part while going deeper into the subject.

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MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a career in the industry?

Over the years, working with hundreds of new grads, I’ve come up with my own version of the 4Ps in marketing: patience, perseverance, passion, and playfulness. I believe that throughout our careers, each of us has kept a trash can for discarded ideas, and ultimately your success depends on how full your trash can is.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What issue would you like to see evolve in the industry in 2022?

I look forward to seeing brand builders and martechs working hand in hand in times to come. Many times, the two departments still work in silos, perhaps due to internal marketing team structure or agency misalignments. I believe martech and Creative are the two partners that make a happy marriage.

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