Telum Talks To: Warren Johnson from W Communications
Telum caught up with Warren Johnson, CEO and Founder of W Communications, who shared his insights on the evolution of the communications industry since the establishment of the agency's Asia headquarters in Singapore.
W Communications opened its Asia headquarters in Singapore eight years ago. What has been the most significant change to the communications industry in the region over this time?
Over the past eight years, the most profound transformation in the Asian communications industry has been the rapid shift from traditional media channels to influencer marketing.
As we continue to witness the rise of the next generation of consumers, their preferences and behaviours have forced the communications landscape to adapt at an unprecedented pace.
What are the main differences in the practice of communications in Asia as opposed to the UK, where your company is also based?
One of the most striking differences lies in the adoption of digital technology. Asia, and particularly Singapore, boasts a significantly higher number of digital natives and a greater willingness to embrace digital platforms as primary communication channels.
In the UK, traditional media such as newspapers still hold a great deal of sway (especially with an election looming). Asia, however, has witnessed an accelerated transition from conventional media to digital channels.
How has the emergence of AI technology evolved the way your teams do communications?
This has been something we’ve kept an incredibly close eye on, and we are very much not shying away from it. We have strategically leveraged AI technology to redefine the way we operate and execute campaigns.
AI technology is changing the way we approach ideation, not just from the concept stage but also the execution stage as well. I sense there’s a bit of confusion out there about the difference between AI and CGI-led campaigns, most likely because they’re having their moment at the same time. It can be a fine line, for sure, and we’ll certainly be seeing the integration of both in the future as technology becomes ever more sophisticated.
How would you describe your leadership style, and what are the keys to becoming a successful PR agency leader?
Having a clear, creative vision that permeates every aspect of our organisation is integral. It's about creating a culture where creativity isn't just encouraged, but institutionalised. This approach allows us to tackle client challenges with a fresh and unique perspective.
On a more personal level, I've learnt through our international expansion that leadership is about more than just being hands-on. Empowering local leaders is key to building strong, successful teams. Trusting our talented teams in various regions fosters collaboration, innovation, and a sense of ownership.
For me, it has been transformational. It's a challenging transition, for sure, but once you let go slightly and trust your people, it yields remarkable results, as evidenced by the many successes of our New York and Singapore offices.
What's on the horizon for W Communications? What industries or trends are your teams in Asia keeping an eye on?
We’re committed to staying at the forefront of emerging technologies and trends to provide our clients with the best possible return on investment. We recognise the need to continually evolve and innovate in a rapidly changing Asian communications landscape.
We are actively exploring how emerging technologies such as AI, AR, and VR can revolutionise our campaigns and storytelling. These technologies offer new avenues for engagement and creativity, and we aim to harness their potential fully.
The media landscape is ever evolving, with new platforms and channels continually emerging. We’re adapting to these changes and ensuring that our clients' messages reach their intended audiences effectively.
As ever in this business, it’s about embracing innovation and adapting to changing landscapes, ensuring that our clients' communication needs are met effectively and creatively in the years to come.