As part of an ongoing series highlighting young talent in the industry, Branding in Asia presents “One Under 30” – a special feature that focuses on up-and-coming talent in the ad world, one person at a time.
This week we talk to Alex Yap, Senior Strategic Planning Manager at Wavemaker Philippines.
Over the course of our conversation, she talks about how she got her first break in the industry, what she loves about the work, what she doesn’t like about it, and more.
Name: Alex Yap
Agency: Wavemaker Philippines
Position: Senior Strategic Planning Manager
Hometown: Metro Manila, Philippines
Current Location: Metro Manila, Philippines
Education: Ateneo de Manila University, AB Communication 2015
How did you get your first break in the industry?
After graduating from university, I took on my first role at MEC Philippines (now Wavemaker) as a media planner and buyer. At some point, I was asked to help create a market landscape to share across the agency and our clients, and I found myself enjoying the exercise in research and storytelling behind it. This eventually led me to pursue a path in strategy, analytics, and insights.
What is your personal mantra?
“The world has been heavy, but we lift each other up when we choose compassion.”
We all need to have patience and empathy to truly understand and connect with others. It’s something that I take to heart personally and professionally because it’s a simple shift in perspective that helps me do justice to the stories I tell about people from different walks of life.
From what person, place or thing have you drawn your greatest creative inspiration?
I feel most inspired whenever I take time to do things and go places by myself. It doesn’t have to be anything grand; I could just take a walk around the neighborhood, eat at a restaurant, take a cab or a train, or people-watch at the mall. The world around me may be buzzing, but just being present in the moment makes me feel attuned to my senses and clears my mind.
What do you love about the job?
You’re constantly learning and growing as you try to understand the world and the people around you. When you synthesize macro data with consumer experiences and personal stories, it’s like you’re dealing with a puzzle or cipher to crack. You’re challenged to balance creativity with logic as you make these connections, and that light bulb moment you get when you finally arrive at an insight is energizing.
There’s a sense of fulfillment whenever you’re able to move others with the stories you tell and inspire them to listen and care.
What about your job are you not so crazy about?
Strategies are strongest when laid down in clear terms, but their simplicity can be misleading. We sometimes tend to underestimate the rigor, time, and discipline needed to arrive at a sound strategy, and it’s not uncanny to be overwhelmed by the amount of information you need to pull and process from different sources.
What is some work you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
I’m proud to have been part of the team that brought Colgate’s Smile Strong campaign to life in the Philippines.
Going through the global health crisis and being frequently battered by natural and manmade calamities, a lot of Filipinos felt that being commended for our resilience was no longer enough. Instead, we believed that what we needed is optimism in action if we were to build a future that we can all smile about.
To date, we’ve told the stories of four Colgate muses – inspirational Filipinos whose smiles keep persevering as they create positive change for themselves and others, despite the adversities that life throws at them.
If you had to choose another career what would it be?
In another life, I would have loved to be an archaeologist, painter, or photographer – maybe even all three at the same time.