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MEDIA & MARKETING | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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PSB Academy CMO Marcus Loh talks about how to build enduring reputations for the modern-day client

He firmly believes that brand building is a team effort.

Even before 40, Marcus Loh sits at the top of the corporate ladder in his capacity as vice president for marketing and corporate communications for PSB Academy.

Loh has over a decade of industry experience as he previously handled the Asia Pacific brand management of Tableau Software, a NYSE-listed data analytics platform. Under his watch, the software launched its first Chinese office and made further expansion in APAC markets including Singapore, Japan and Australia-New Zealand.

He also spearheaded public relations engagements for big brands in the tech scene including Canon, IBM, and Tencent during his stint at Ogilvy and Mather.

Find out more about him here: 

What are your key philosophies that inspire you to be on top of your game? What are your qualities that merit the recognition as one of the most promising CMO's aged 40 and under?

Here are three of many qualities that I have admired in the people whom I regard to be at the top of their game. First, they exude deep gratitude. I am a believer the Chinese saying “饮水思源”, which, when loosely translated, means being always grateful from whence you came. No one is an island and we have succeeded only because the people, the community and the system that we are a part of has enabled us to do so. In turn, I try to be useful in my circles by serving in various advisory roles in academia and industry bodies.

For example, I serve at Singapore Management University’s UOB-SMU Asian Enterprise Institute. I also feel privileged to serve as a council member on the executive committee of Singapore’s apex chamber for public relations. 

Second, these successful individuals tend to view their roles in their profession in the service of a larger purpose. Whether I’m leading marketing at PSB Academy, or corporate communication at Tableau, I make it a priority to arrive at win-win outcomes for my organization, for our stakeholders, and for the cities and countries we serve.

For example, PSB Academy has always played an important role in providing quality education to people who were underserved by Singapore’s publicly funded tertiary institutions. Because of our investments in edtech, campus facilities and courses needed by industry, we are today counted upon to help workers and fresh school leavers alike prepare for the future.

Third, I am a big believer in David Ogilvy’s wisdom of “divine discontentment”. He wrote: “We have a habit of divine discontent with our performance. It is an antidote to smugness.” To that end, I think we need to always be humble, stay hungry for knowledge, and muster the courage and persistence to try, and try again.

How do you feel about winning the award?

First, let me say how honoured I am to be a Singapore Business Review "Notable Chief Marketing Officer under 40". I thank SBR’s owner Tim Charlton and his team for this recognition and for the encouragement.

But the truth is, building a winning brand is a team sport. Credit must go to PSB's marketing department, our colleagues and lecturers, and our leaders for their complete faith and boldness in vesting us with the spurs to shoot for the moon. I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to the team for letting me shine alongside them.

What are the current challenges that you encounter as a CMO and how do you address them? Any future plans that you would like to share?

The future is bright for marketing and communication management professionals at all levels of seniority. It boils down to three things - brand, data and team. These are three key areas that I see vast development opportunities in. And there is much that we, as leaders vested with the brand and reputation of our firms, can do to help fellow practitioners get up to speed.

As I’ve said, brand building is a team sport. And my job is to enable my marketers to be proficient in the art and science of brand building, of being totally comfortable with using data as a guide to making smarter marketing decisions and to remain engaged to grow and excel in their roles.

In that regard, I am very proud of the team that I’ve been fortunate to foster and lead. And I hope that as we move forward, that regardless of how successful we become as an education brand, we must always stay ambitious for our customers, continue to make bold moves, always run to the fire and embrace a good challenge.

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