We chatted with Mark Wang, Managing Director in our Beijing office, to learn more about how he uses his deep roots in IT to help bring our clients into the digital age.

How do you describe what you do for a living to your family and friends?

I manage a company providing marketing services to clients. Most of them know I am good at leading a team to achieve something together and I have skills in digital marketing, so here at Edelman I am doing a job which it’s a perfect combination of these two things.

What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on at Edelman?

One of key reasons I enjoy working on the agency side is that you have the luxury to work for different clients from different industries and tackle different challenges. But sometimes they have the same brief, for example, the anniversary campaign. Recently we got a brief from an insurance company to develop the communication strategy for their 100-year anniversary. We went through the key messages different brands sent out during their anniversary and found out a pattern that young brands usually talk about “changes” the over years while brands with history usually talk about what has not changed the over years. Then we went deep into this company’s history and brand spirits, looking for one thing that didn’t change in the past century. Finally, we locked down on their “continually pursuing the solution to improve their customers’ life.” The clients all liked the idea and we got the greenlight for the campaign strategy. Now for other brands asking for our advice on campaign strategy of their anniversary, we will have the same question to ask – “what has changed and what has not?”

What are three things you read/access every day?

WeChat Moment is a good place to know what your friends (hundreds of them) are doing and reading, and it makes you feel connected with them while you focus on your part of the world. It also exposes you to what your clients are reading and sharing, be prepared for the discussion next or the questions related. Toutiao is the second one I read every day for general news, about the market, industries, government policies and also our clients. You also see more and more brands building their presence on the Toutiao platform to tell their own news and stories, some in very good ways that we can learn from.

What’s on your nightstand/playlist/Netflix queue?

I am a huge fan of jazz. Favorite artists are Bill Evans, Chet Baker, Coltrane and Miles. I collect LPs of classic albums, books of cover arts, and photography books featuring performing artists. I have two sets of speakers, a number of headphones and systems, and I actually have one system setup right on my nightstand, so I can fall asleep to the jazz music I like.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I will give NO advice to him, as I really want him to experience everything by himself, be it good or bad, happy or sad, exciting or boring. I want him to learn along the way, from the success, from the failure, from the setback, from hard lessons. I don’t want him to take short-cuts, I don’t want him to lose the fun or suffering, I don’t want him to change his life because someone else already experienced it.

What is your personal mantra?

“Live the life to your fullest.” It means a lot to me – always try new things, challenge traditional, dare to explore unchartered areas, break some rules, make impulse decisions (when you buy something) and get to know different people. It also means to make your life colorful and meaningful, and I am still working on the second part. :)

What is your biggest achievement to date - personal or professional?

I think switching to the agency side after working in the IT industry for 17 years is the biggest achievement I made so far. It really opened up a whole new world to me. I’ve had opportunities working for many clients from various industries. I work with super talented people with diverse backgrounds, who are also the core asset of the company that I am managing. I also adjusted my mentality of working from the client side to the agency side, winning clients’ trust and respect with our professional skills and intelligence. My journey in the agency world extended to Edelman, where I have already worked for more than a year. The experience here at Edelman made me even more confident that I made a right decision to switch industries and proudly claim “this is where I belong after all.”

What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?

I used to play golf quite often, even when I was traveling. But after getting into the agency world, I found that basketball is a more common language that you can speak with young people. We have a small team of people who gather on Friday evening to play basketball. Now I hope I can bring more people from the Edelman office to join us.

What do you like most about working at Edelman?

Definitely the people. Leaders at Edelman, like Jeffery Yu and Jesse Lin know how to empower you and challenge you at the same time. I am blessed to have a strong team of leaders in Beijing office as well, all dedicated and energetic, driven but caring, holding high standard for work yet fun to work with. Over 50 percent of employees in Beijing office are “post-90’s”, who are full of energy and creative ideas, eager to learn and experience new things, willing to stand up for the brands they service, sometimes even more than our clients do. Whenever I get a chance to work with them on a project, the vibe I get from them makes me feel even younger than I actually am.

Inside Edelman is an ongoing series that spotlights our colleagues who are doing extraordinary work across our network.

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Farzad Nazifi