Building Confidence In Your Craft


The advertising agency sector is facing a talent crisis. A joint report by LinkedIn and 4A’s showed that when compared against competitive industries, the rate of talent turnover at agencies increased 10 per cent year over year, and that there was a 25% net talent loss at ad agencies.

To add to the challenge, ad agencies today operate in a complex advertising landscape, faced with an expanding number of marketing channels. As a result, brands are on the lookout for multiple specialised agencies to help them demystify these complexities – and yet every other agency claims to be full-service, integrated – that they can do it all.

If you are a young executive from an ad agency, are you confident to stand in front of your clients and be the one they can trust, having all the answers to their questions? I’ve seen many young executives in meetings with senior clients and they struggle. They feel they are too junior; they feel intimidated by senior clients. They feel they lack the gravitas. What if they are asked a difficult question and don’t have the answer for it? What if clients don’t believe what they say? What if they are not a good representation of the company? These are just a handful of common apprehensions.

All these fears are very real, and can be crippling for an individual’s professional growth. As marketing folks, we don’t just need to be good at what we do, we also need to be confident in our craft and we need our teams to be confident, too.

We need to be the ones leading the client-agency relationship. After all, clients hired agencies to help solve their challenges. Clients know what they would like to achieve, but rely on their agencies to develop the strategies and guide them into achieving their goals – failing which, the business will be taken to other agencies that will.

We need to be confident in front of our clients if we want to lead the relationship and be a valuable partner. So here are a few things that we can encourage our teams to do to be confident in our craft:

1. Know your stuff

Unsure of something? Read up, Google it, ask around. There is no excuse in not knowing your stuff. If you know your stuff, you can be questioned in anyway and you know you will have the answers.

Do this:

  • Create a learning plan. List out the things you feel you need to learn in three, six, nine, twelve months.
  • Have the discipline to learn at least one thing every week.
  • Ask your seniors out for coffee and learn from them. Ask them any questions you may have within their domain of expertise.

2. Be passionate in your craft

Passion is a loosely used word. For the majority of those who say they have passion for their craft, most of the time they are saying it because it is the right thing to say. At interviews, when questioned, some candidates really have nothing to show for their passions and are only paying lip service.If we say we are passionate about our craft, let’s make sure we have something to show for it. If you are passionate, do what it takes and the enthusiasm will speak for itself. This gives your clients confidence in what you say.

Do this:

  • Register a domain and build a small website of anything you like. It can be a blog, a cause you believe in, or simply a portfolio site.
  • Create a Facebook page, LinkedIn group of anything you are interested in and try to get at least 1000 people on it. It can be a hobby, a sport, anything.
  • Download the latest trendy app and work towards being good at it. It can be Snapchat, or BIGO Live.

3. Don’t think you can’t

Sometimes we lack confidence because we think “I can’t overcome this challenge, it’s just too great.” Instead of harboring second thoughts, focus your energies on thinking of “How can I?” That is a lot more productive and sets you on a path to overcome your challenges, so don’t think “I can’t.”, think “How can I?”

Do this:

  • List out your top career challenge and think of 3 ways of how you can overcome it, then do it. Once you have overcome your top challenge, start working on your next one.

4. Everyone is your age once

Senior clients can be intimidating, but most of the time the only reason they are more senior then you is simply because they were born earlier. They were once your age too. So make sure you are above par when compared with your peers. If you are behind, start becoming better now. Tell yourself that you will be much better than them when at their age. And don’t just think it, do it.

Do this:

  • For each client whom you find intimidating, search their profile on LinkedIn and then make a comparison with what they were doing when they were your age.

In short, we need more driven individuals.People who strive to better understand the client’s business. People who want to try out the latest app that everyone seems to be talking about. People who constantly go out of their comfort zone to learn more about how things work. People who are working towards bringing their client’s brands to meet their stated brand purpose.

In advertising, our people are our greatest asset. Just imagine what a few confident and driven people can do.

Contributed article by Nick Pan originally published on Digital Marketing Asia.

OCBC Cycle Daddy Matters edition 2016

seven early eight early
seven early eight early

2016 edition of OCBC Cycle for me was a great one. This time it was with fellow daddies of Daddy Matters; Andy, Winston, David and myself.


We actually met at 5:30am at Meyer Road where my parents live to park our cars there to avoid the jams and meeting at 5:30am is not something we do normally obviously. *yawn* We cycled thru Meyer Rd, Tanjong Rhu and made our way to the starting point. It’s cool to see others slowly emerging from small roads everywhere as we all made our way to the starting point while greeting each other good morning.

Wefie at flag off
Wefie at flag off

WE ARE in WAVE #1. Woo Hoo! Getting all excited even before the flag off. The MC cracked jokes with SFX super on cue and with all the upbeat music, the crowd slowly changed from YAWN to YEAH. Drone flying past at the top, we all waved and got started slowly.

OCBC Cycle 2016 Route
OCBC Cycle 2016 Route

We cycled thru parts of the city, thru parts of the MCE, up the Shears Bridge, ECP, up the Shear Bridge (AGAIN?!) then back into Nicole Hwy and into the Stadium. Nice leasuirely ride this morning.

Daddies acting stylo
Daddies acting stylo

Selfie point #1 we had to take shots for sure and this was us trying to act all stylo and all. Not much chance to be on the bridge. Thanks to this event we could do our monkey business on the bridge.

I remember when were were much younger, my cousins and some of our school friends will cycle up the Shears Bridge in the night an pee down hoping to hit some ships passing by. LOL. Yes childhood days were epic.

Ok selfie point we must selfie. #OCBCCycle #DaddyMatters with @blgfthr @sengkangbabies @doting_dad

A video posted by Nick Pan (@nickpan) on

This is my #TwirlingSelfie. Please copy and make famous.

Not so hot with the overcast
Not so hot with the overcast

Lucky for us, most of the morning was kinda overcast, so it’s not so hot. Swee swee kena this weather is sepads.

I don’t even know how long we took as my mind was just filled with the prata that will come after.

OCBC Uncles are too hard to resist
OCBC Uncles are too hard to resist

While on our way to prata, there were some “concessionaires” (TIL concessionaire) so while we were getting said concessionaires, one thing led to another and somehow we got into a group photo with the kind ladies that were giving us said concessionaires. Right Winston? That is the truth right?

Medal Mouth
Medal Mouth

We also took some pro medal shots. My friends this is how you do medal shots ok. Pls learn. Please copy and make famous. #MedalMouth.

Prata FTW
Prata FTW

AHHhhh… Finally, the prize. The true prize of a good workout in the morning together with fellow well bellied daddies. We had 5 Plain, 3 Plasters, 1 Egg in total… very mild.

This year’s event is really smooth. The safety crew were everywhere telling people to slowdown and beeping their whistles while using hand gesture to remind people to slow down. I can imagine some of their arms should be quite tired right now.

A morning filled with friendship, jokes, exercise and prata. Thanks to OCBCCycle for making this possible. Till next year.

Related Posts:

OCBC Cycle 2016 Event Pack Collection


The event packs are ready for collection! Check out

Date & Time
30 Sept to 1 Oct,
10:00am – 9:00pm

OCBC Arena Hall 1, Singapore Sports Hub

Things to bring

  1. Confirmation Slip
  2. Your NRIC/Passport
  3. If you are collecting on behalf of someone:
    • A copy of your friend’s NRIC/Passport,
    • Confirmation slip
    • Authorisation letter endorsed by your friend