Telum Talks To... Alexandra Leung, Co-Founder, Monogic
Telum spoke with Alexandra Leung where she shared her experience in co-founding digital consultancy Monogic, her advice to young business talents and Monogic's upcoming plans.
Can you tell us more about your experience in co-founding Monogic? What enticed you to set up shop in the F&B sector during COVID-19?
I co-founded Monogic during the pandemic (March 2020). At the time, I was working in-house at a renowned restaurant group’s digital marketing team. I could feel the instability and pressure on the F&B sector and it was heartbreaking to see some of my friends in the industry losing their jobs because of the pandemic. As a digital marketer, I do believe there is a lot of support that digital marketing can provide to F&B - particularly during the pandemic. I felt a strong sense of responsibility to act and help a community I feel so passionate about, regardless of the instability a jump from a full-time job was for me. The first services we offered to restaurants during the first and second waves were developing e-commerce channels and digitising communications channels to enable them to continue operating despite restrictions to dining in.
How do you communicate and overcome business conflicts (if any) with your Co-Founder?
With my partner, Kieran Gibb, we have exceptional communication most days. We form a great synergy of marketing and technical capabilities, which means that we complement each other rather than compete. While my expertise lies in social media and communications for F&B, Kieran has a strong analytical background from his early career in data management and now specialises in marketing analytics and performance marketing. We have an ideal blend of soft and hard skills for a complete end-to-end marketing solution for restaurants and F&B businesses. Sometimes we do have conflicts when it comes to marketing decisions, especially when we first started the business. However, because we have different backgrounds and expertise, it helps us to develop a dynamic strategy for our clients, combining communications, marketing and integrating with technology.
As an influencer, how do you balance this identity, and the workload that comes with it, with what you do at Monogic?
I started my blog back in 2017, it is something I am passionate about and I love to document my life. I have focused a lot more on my professional work since I joined the F&B industry and my content has also made the transition to cover predominantly food, restaurants and hospitality topics that I am passionate about and love to share with my audience.
I would hope to create more content like I used to in the future, but at the moment, I would like to give most of my time and effort to Monogic, as I also see it as another way of “sharing things I enjoy”.
What are the key career takeaways from your previous in-house and agency experiences?
Working in-house made me understand different aspects of how restaurants operate. Marketing and communications are important, but we should never neglect that these campaigns affect operations too and that there is always a large guest relations element to campaigns. When it comes to campaign planning, we always take that into our consideration, as for me, a good marcomms campaign requires the help and cooperation of the operations teams.
What advice will you give to young people who wish to get into business in the marketing and comms industry?
I would advise them to start in a different industry or different role before starting their own business to experience how other industries or positions work. This will give them a fresh perspective on their role or industry and help them to be innovative. Innovation is the foundation of being able to offer something that businesses need but is not yet present in the market and create something that others may be unable to compete in.
What are some trends you foresee in the F&B industry and how will Monogic prepare for those upcoming opportunities or challenges?
The F&B industry is expected to bloom in the second half of this year and the next with the rollout of vaccines in Hong Kong, encouraging the relaxation of social distancing measures and the global vaccine effort stimulating the return of tourism.
Our next greatest challenge in the F&B industry is to build the public's confidence in dining out again. However, consumer behaviours have changed dramatically since the start of the outbreak. Consumers have now been ordering remotely, dining at home and enjoying completely contactless dining experiences for a year and a half. This is not something that will be quickly forgotten.
Hong Kong's F&B industry has long been very traditionally minded and slow to adopt technology. In the wake of a pandemic where businesses have had to rely on certain forms of technology to continue operating, the businesses that can integrate technology into operations and marketing for a data-powered approach, will excel.
We're working with F&B businesses to transform and optimise marketing efforts with integrated technology solutions and marketing services to show real return on marketing spend and attribute revenue to the most successful marketing channels and campaigns.