A Digital Marketing professional for more than a decade now, Evangeline Leong admits that to say this is her passion would most definitely be an understatement! Starting out in Purpleclick as part of their Marketing Team, learning on the job about various digital marketing strategies, she moved on to take up leadership positions and finally set up Kobe Global Tech.
Passionate about meeting and sharing on new updates in Digital Marketing – constant changes in the sector that keep her keep on her toes – Evangeline Leong, CEO & Founder of Kobe Global Technologies based in Singapore shared her journey with AsiaBizToday here.
Which are the areas that you have been working on?
In the past year, we have started to be more involved in education, and I’m happy to say that it’s something that I am happy to step up to! This past year alone I’ve had the opportunity to teach at SUTD and MAD, and have had special speaking opportunities at Ngee Ann Poly and NTU as well.
While my team back in the office runs the day to day activities, I point them in the right direction to go, as well as equip them through mini workshops I run for each team. We have a very flat hierarchy as well, which means my table is always open to anyone who wants to talk to me!
What was your trigger and motivation to get into this?
I was visiting a small wanton noodles stall in MacPherson and I was suddenly curious as to how the store owner managed to remain popular even with other competing stores opening. His answer to me really struck me “我的口碑好” (my word-of-mouth recommendation is good). That’s actually how I came up with the name Kobe. His answer was so simple but still significant as it made me think of how word-of-mouth could be made relevant to businesses everywhere.
Having worked in the digital marketing industry for almost 10 years, the most effective tool for marketing remains as word of mouth. Social media has liberated the speed of word of mouth amongst consumers where we often see our friends or families sharing about their latest experience at a restaurant, an overseas trip.
The adoption of digital innovation, transformation has always been a concern. There are no lack of cutting edge technologies in the market, but the adoption has always been slow. This is due to the unfamiliarity towards something new and intangible. Naming Kobe after the traditional word of mouth Kou Bei 口碑 was intentionally to help bring the understanding of traditional marketing means and bring this tool to businesses.
What have been your experiences in this leadership position?
Something I personally believe in and work at is to practice servant leadership – that means I’m always available to offer a listening ear, to offer help and to be there for every single member of the company. I believe everyone shines in their own way and my aim is to empower them, as well as to help each one find his or her personal Ikigai. Ikigai refers to “the reason for being”, which is what makes life worthwhile for each person, and it is something that has been especially inspiring for me this year.
Which are the important factors that keep you going?
Something I want to see for each and every one of my staff is to see them grow and become better people – not just better at work, but I also want to build up their confidence and character. Whether it’s to learn one thing or ten, I always want to push them to try new things!
Another big thing for me is that I hope to build Kobe to be a global brand – we currently have staff members working in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia and we hope to expand further in the years to come!
Have you faced any obstacles in your initiatives? Do you think you have faced specific challenges because of being a woman?
A lot of challenges lie in the head, and I don’t see why women will face specific challenges as long as they don’t make it personal. Similarly, I used to think people would undermine my capabilities because of gender bias but learning that it has been just a change in mindset was a breakthrough!
Where do you usually find inspiration from?
The people who inspire me are really the people I work with on a day to day basis! They never cease to impress me with their creativity and new ideas, and together we dare to try new things. I also always come back to my mentor, Leonard Tan, who is also the Chairman of Purpleclick. He is someone I have learned many things from, and he always encourages me to step out and to keep trying.
What’s your proudest moment so far?
One of my proudest moments was when one of my interns surprised me on our company’s first anniversary with a home baked cake. I was so touched because we were all so busy, and I didn’t expect them to put in the effort to do so.
How would you define success ?
For me, success is when the people around me succeed as well. I believe that no man is an island, and we are only as strong as the people we are surrounded with. To know that I’m able to help someone reach their goal, is truly something fulfilling for me.
What advice do you have for other aspiring Entrepreneurs, especially women?
A quote I live by is: “Goals without routines are wishes; routines without goals are aimless.”
I would say set your eyes on the stars, and put your feet on the ground. Set a vision that excites you and have the discipline to work and achieve the vision. This cycle will go on. Review your vision, and have the discipline to put in the work. The process is never ending.