Catalyzing marketing spend & branding with metrics

Angela Sim, Managing Director – ENCE Marketing Group Pte Ltd.

Angela has over 20 years of experience in local and regional business development and marketing.  She is a Graduate from the NUS Business School in Singapore.

Prior to Brand Consulting, Angela was in charge of brand management for high-end lifestyle consumer electronics brands in Singapore and the region.  She was instrumental in the initial success of brands such as Nakamichi, Oregon Scientific and General Electric home appliances.  She set up management processes and outlets for the brands and oversaw their development in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.  

As the Managing Direcctor of ENCE, Angela brings her accumulated experience to help SMEs with their go-to-market strategies, to help them get better returns on their marketing investment. Established in 2007, the ENCE Marketing GroupTM is a KPI-driven marketing agency group that puts assurance on every marketing dollar spent by the customer. Using Measurable Marketing Matrices (m3) and Marketing for ReturnTM frameworks, clients can have the confidence that their per unit investment in the marketing they embark on, reaps the returns they seek.

As a teenager, Angela was represented her school as a school team gymnast, and was also active in the prestigious Outdoor Activities Club of Victoria Junior College.  While in NUS, Angela gathered a whole slew of in-depth exposures with students and authority figures – from running the largest faculty camp to organising the famous NUS Jam and Hops, to singing in the Eusoff Hall choir, and volunteering in the Welfare committee and NUSSU camps, Angela still found time to play active role in her faculty as the Vice-President of the Bizad Faculty Club and excel in her marketing specialisation.

Angela has been an active volunteer all her life.   She was active with the Rotary club for about 5 years, took up sign language and joined the deaf for some of their activities.  Angela is currently a Director of the NUS Business School Alumni, helping the alumni organise activities and keep the alumni bonded. 

Please let us know of your entrepreneurial journey in short (Introduction to this sector, how did you start etc.)

I would call myself an incidental entrepreneur. I also turned down invitations by friends to “become my own boss” during the MLM (multi-level marketing)craze. But 14 years later, I find myself the owner of a mid-sized marketing agency with 15 staff and I never thought I’d even run a business!

I was working for Oregon Scientific SEA Pte Ltd as a pioneer staff of 3 and building the business for the brand.  I was in charge of brand development and creating the awareness for it, so I started with building a chain of retail outlets. I liked marketing and the concepts of reaching out to people to promote something that would make a difference to that person, be it a service or a product. I realized that marketing incorporated this basic human need to make their lives better.  I managed to create a business based on my simple want to help my friends to run their business.

Naturally, my first clients were my friends.  I was not afraid of selling them my service because I was sure I would deliver. And they had seen my work in my previous companies and were just as assured that I would.  Business developed from there.

Was there an inflection point which turned you towards the path of entrepreneurship?

Not a conscious one. It was more of a “do what I can along the way” and try my best to keep everything together.  I guess if you keep at it long enough, you will finally find some degree of balance and success.  Along the way, I discovered that my value was in meeting people and working with them and helping them.  For some reason, despite my curtness and some say ‘abrasive tongue’, I still have clients, friends, and a team who works with me for whatever reason. 

What has been your most challenging assignment so far?

Managing a team.  It’s the most challenging and fun part of running a business.  Besides having to understand people (which is impossible), there is also a challenge in finding ways that other people can work within a system that you devise in your head…how challenging is that!  So from some harebrained concept comes some drawing and after that a flow chart and processes.

What are your experiences on being a woman entrepreneur?

Being a women entrepreneur has many advantages. I don’t have to worry about what the men think of me, as I am not their peer — I am not working according to their “success” matrices.  As long as I carry myself professionally, they also have no reason to tar my image.  It is also to our advantage that many other entrepreneurs and business decision makers are male…so put on your womanly charms, make some mistakes, give a smile and most of the time, you will be forgiven. I find that so many times, men, if they can just let their ego down a bit, to soothe ruffled feathers, they will be able to get more done.  Doing things is not about doing things your way only — it is about motivating the other person to want to help you.  That said, I work best with objective driven people — men or women alike, and have no time to engage in meaningless emotional tussles that do not solve any issues.

Did you believe in making dreams come true?

I find meaning in what I do because I am helping someone else fulfill their dreams — whether it be for a better business, or for their own live, we have our own dreams to strive for.  As a business owner, I put in place processes that will help others to define and achieve that dream. For my staff, they work to find fulfillment.  At different life stages, they want the experience to learn when they are young, and for the older staff with children, they want empowerment in time management, so we do that.  For each staff that comes on, first we look for the attitude then we look for the personality.  If these two are what we like, we will find a role to fit that staff within what we do. 

Some of my hiring managers have told their candidates “Just come for the interview.  You are not exactly applying for a specific role here”.  And I have heard interviewees come to me saying that what they said really was true, because at the interview, I may advertise for a few skill sets, but if I find a person with the ability to fit a different role, then their prior knowledge will just help them to define their work style and they have to learn everything else.

Did you face any setbacks? What were the lessons learnt?

First and foremost, if you ever want to hire, hire the best you can afford.  With talent, your business can grow. There are 6 billion people in the world. Each one is different. Find those that you can get along with best in terms of business styles, communication and people management.  There are too many different working styles to learn and try to change or manage when you are running a business.  Find the person, who, when you say ‘Blue’, thinks of the same shade of Blue. You will solve a lot of communication issues.  And communication is the most important thing in running a business. In fact, in life it’s the most important.

Women are the better halves’. Your views on this.

Women are better communicators.  If this is the most important thing in life…need I say more?