Meet Marina Watt, Hong Kong Living Influencer Awards 2021 Recipient
As co-founder of Brandstorm Communications and business partner at Brianstorm Content, Marina Watt, along with Brian Yeung, has built a communications consultancy brand that specialises in philanthropy, CSR, education and culture. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Watt is also on the executive committee of the Hong Kong Public Relations Professionals’ Association. Both Watt and Yeung used to work for a private foundation with an annual giving of over $60 million. “Our role was to raise the organisation’s profile both at home and abroad. In our in-house role back then, we had worked with many consultancies from the Americas, Europe and Asia including Hong Kong”. That’s when they discovered a gap in the market that Brandstorm Communications and Brianstorm Content are now striving to fill.
The co-founders left their jobs in 2019 to launch Brianstorm Content. Now, despite the pandemic, they have a client portfolio that ranges from private foundations and blue-chip companies to financial institutions. Focusing on philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and environmental, social and corporate governance, Watt saw the potential of their rapidly growing business and they decided to establish Brandstorm Communications to broaden their services. “While the two consultancies work closely as sister agencies, we envision them building their own teams and client portfolios in the future”. Covid has made things challenging for Watt, but amid the chaos, they have found their brand’s voice.
“Our customised and hands-on approach differentiates us from the big market players. Unlike their hierarchical way of operation, we communicate with our clients directly and we bring an objective. We do this to help them establish relevance among their stakeholders and communicate with them authentically to build a reputation”. Perhaps Watt can credit a lot of her success to her outlook on life. She strives to find the silver lining in all scenarios. “In a crisis, there’s an opportunity, as the saying goes. It might sound cliche but it has its own truth. The market disruption presents a good opportunity for us to reexamine our business model, commercial offerings and resilience plan. For our companies, we believe that creative responses to a new reality can turn challenges into opportunities. Even, if the process could be painful”.
However, like most people in this teeming city, Watt has had to be conscious of balancing life with work–a concept that most entrepreneurs grapple with daily. “When working on my own ventures, it is almost impossible to draw a boundary between my professional life and my personal life. Getting priorities right is the key”. The struggle becomes much easier when you’ve got a shared mission with people you admire, though, as Watt explains. “I have the privilege of working with a business partner and a team who share the value of mutual respect, accountability and collaboration. When something important comes up, even on a personal front, all of us take the initiatives to support each other. Living every day fully is our team motto”.
Despite the work-dominated culture that’s prevalent in this city, Watt is thankful that she’s made her career in Hong Kong. “Traditionally Hong Kong positions itself as Asia’s world city. But I think Hong Kong is now more than that. As the world has seen more international metropolises, the multicultural dynamics in business is what makes Hong Kong and its people unique”.
This article was published in Hong Kong Living on October 22, 2021. URL: https://bit.ly/MarinaInfluencer