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2020 AME Awards Grand Jury POV Interview: Heidi Zhang

Heidi Zhang, Chief Strategy Officer for Publicis Communication Group, is one of the most well-recognized top caliber talents in Greater China with 20 years of devoted strategic planning experience, and proven track record.

New York | October 15, 2019

AME’s award-winning Grand Jury members have a world-wide reputation for innovation, creative excellence, strategic prowess, and the ability to deliver distinctive and effective results for global brands.

The AME Awards honors not just campaigns that are creative, but campaigns that hit the bullseye for brands, triumphing in both creativity and effectiveness and AME’s Grand Jury are the genius minds behind many of AME’s award-winning entries.

Heidi Zhang, Chief Strategy Officer for Publicis Communication Group, is one of the most well-recognized top caliber talents in Greater China with 20 years of devoted strategic planning experience, and proven track record.

She has been leading planning and business development for multinational advertising agencies, namely Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy & Mather and Publicis, in both HK and China.

Her best blend of international experience and China local expertise makes her an invaluable asset. She believes in powerful ideas that can transform clients’ brands and business. Believes that the more fragmented and digitalized our world becomes, the more strategic we need to be.

Heidi is currently with Publicis Groupe China, spearheading true integration that seamlessly orchestrates the interplay of insight, data, media and technology across the group in order to deliver communication solutions from end to end for the clients.

AME Awards: Why are effectiveness competitions like the AME Awards important?

Heidi Zhang: WE need to remember that we are NOT in the business of creativity. We are in the business of creative solutions…meaning that everything we do serves one thing and one thing only, i.e. solving problems for our clients…in a way that is more    effective and efficient. Thus, what we should ultimately be measured on and compete on…is how effectively we are as a problem solver.   

AME Awards: What makes you share you time and energy to participate on the AME Grand Jury and what do you hope to learn?

Heidi Zhang: Always hold high regards for AME. As a strategist, I see this as the true place where the glory of recognition is worth fighting for.

AME Awards: In your opinion, which brands are doing the most effective millennial friendly creative?

Heidi Zhang: Mercedes, Gucci, Lancôme, Nike, Pechoin.

AME Awards: What campaign or campaigns are you most proud of and how did it move the needle for the brand?

Heidi Zhang: The campaign we developed for the launch of a Buick SUV model called Envision in 2016. We were up against the dominating leader, Tiguan from Volkswagen (nicknamed as the “divine SUV” of the segment for years).  The challenge of us being a challenger brand is… the fact that we don’t have any ground-breaking superior technology claim or functional superiority. The only competitive advantage of Envison lies in the fact that it offers “a little more” in every aspect… a bit more space, a bit more power, a bit more refinement in interior design and etc. Then we turn that all-rounded “a bit more” into the strategy of “Envision, made of more”, which leads to the creative expression of “10% more spirited”. It speaks for the progressive spirit of Buick brand. It speaks for the superior functional offering of the model. It speaks for the spirit of potential buyers who are at the turn of 30 yrs old, looking for that extra bit of drive to strive further. In less than a year, Envision successfully challenged the unshakable divinity of Tiguan and surpassed its leadership with the astonishing sales record of 30000 units per month.

AME Awards: What cultural and/or social changes do you think will influence this year’s work?

Heidi Zhang: Pressure play, easy joy, social isolation leading to the need for real tactile human connection, universalism, pursuing for things that are brilliantly simple.

AME Awards: What do you do keep your creative and strategic juices flowing?

 Heidi Zhang: As my dad always said: you learn till you die.

AME Awards: Who is your inspiration and how has this philosophy made you who you are today?

 Heidi Zhang: My dad. See the answer for question 12.