Today, dated 26th May 2021 marks the end of my chapter with Bloomr.SG. In the blink of an eye two and a half years flew by. We launched Bloomr.SG MCN in partnership with YouTube and IMDA (Infocomm Media Development Authority), expanded our business lines, and diversified our industry portfolio. As I write this, I am taking a trip down my memory lane and sharing some of my learnings.
I remember how I got an interview at Bloomr.SG. It was a year after I joined my first job in a management consulting firm. Reflecting on my career, and what I wanted to explore, I realized it was on my bucket list to work with a creative team that’s lean and dynamic, and that pretty much works like an early-stage start up. I chanced upon Bloomr.SG, the social media arm of Mediacorp. I reached out to the Head of Social about job opportunities.
A couple of interviews later I was offered the Digital Analyst position and there was no one else in this role. It was fairly daunting to jump into a start-up setting from a large consulting firm. I remember the biased responses and questions I received. Some of them were:
“Are you crazy to ‘give up’ your career with consulting and the growth prospects it has to offer all to join industry with a lean team that works more or less like a start-up?”
“After all, isn’t it a well known fact that most startups fail?”
“Why do you want to move from a palace to a nest?”
“This is not an internship where you can switch your career within a year”.
“You don’t have any media experience and your education is not relevant to this industry and it will be difficult for you in your career”.
My Learning: There is no right or wrong in the career decisions you make. You never know how life will play out, you just need to take smart, informed, and calculated risks. People tend to put the familiar, structured path on a pedestal because it’s ‘safe’. But is ‘safe’ what you want for your life, or something exciting that keeps you motivated? That is something you need to decide. Some questions to ask yourself if you are thinking of a career switch: What are your priorities, what is your risk profile, what are you optimizing for in this phase of your career, and why. Anyone can give their advice but you need to cut through the noise by being very intentional of what YOU want and need, because ultimately it’s YOUR life.
My job criteria are as follows:
1 // People — I believe that the environment that you are in can help or hinder you. We will most probably spend more time with our colleagues than our loved ones. So, it is important to be working with people that uplift you.
2 // Product — I am a person who takes pride in my work. So, I need to be proud of what I am contributing and building. I am also passionate about what I do. So, I need to be able to stand by my team’s / company’s products or services.
3 // Potential Learning or Progression — I believe in constantly evolving and becoming a better version of myself. I look at what I can potentially learn on the job, and if there are transferable skill sets I can pick up which can help me in my future roles as I grow, and that will benefit my team as a whole.
Every company, team, and every facet of life is unpredictable, especially with a team that’s innovative, and that’s lean and nimble. On my initial stint, I remember my manager asking me if I could develop a standardized process and procedure to analyse campaigns, and present the campaign and marketing performance to clients and stakeholders. I decided to take the challenge head on and do the best job at it. First step was to google and learn what different media metrics meant (that was how clueless I was!). Subsequently upon my presentation and discussion with the creative director, my idea was adopted for all future campaigns and marketing programs. To further prepare myself, I watched Youtube videos, signed up and subscribed to marketing magazines and newsletters, and networked with marketing professionals from my SMU network and Linkedin.
My learning: Don’t wait for the team / company to spoon feed you. We are not in school anymore where everything is structured. This is especially true in the real world where the priority of the company is to survive. If you are given something you are unfamiliar with, relish the chance to learn more. Be proactive about your own learning and it will serve you well.
The best of my learnings came about on-the-job of course, when I had to lead client presentations on the campaign and marketing performance through data-storytelling. Over the months, my learnings continued to multiply. The pros of being in a team like Bloomr.SG is that you have the opportunity to wear multiple hats. I expanded my skills to become a strategy and insights specialist, and with that I got the exposure to multiple disciplines, and started looking at data through different lenses and perspectives to tell a compelling story that benefits marketers to effectively build brands. This ultimately led me to author reports on trends across Food & Drinks, Gaming, Travel, Beauty and Lifestyle content for brands to build themselves and create stories.
My learning: I learnt how to have more empathy in a business setting and understand the various challenges of each team. It’s important to gain cross-functional knowledge because you learn to see from other people’s perspective. With this, you will grow to become a more all-rounded stakeholder which in turns helps you to get things done more effectively. One of our mistakes is believing in our own world view and mental models. The world is much bigger than we think.
Mid point in my journey — at the start of 2020, I came to a point where I felt stuck. While I was doing well in what I was given, I was not sure how to get to the next level. In junior to mid level roles, people are usually evaluated by their execution. In more senior roles, people are evaluated by how they think — which basically means how they strategize and how they make decisions. In one of my career discussions with my manager, he advised on coming forth with recommendations, having a point of view and opinion, owning the task, and recommend ideas and options that is workable and beneficial, and that is “sell-able”.
With that feedback, I ramped up my learning by improvising and tweaking on my new ways of working. Putting in the time and effort to improve on these feedback helped me tremendously in becoming more of a value-add for Bloomr.SG which also helped me in my progression within Mediacorp.
My learning: Learning and developing yourself is in your hands. We have to be curious, be receptive to feedback, be more proactive and seek out more opportunities to learn by ourselves. This also pushes us to be more creative and resourceful. After all, no one would care more about our career than ourselves.
Last year I took on an additional role of being a Platforms Manager. With this new responsibility, I took the ownership of the MarTech tools and platforms in resourcefully executing them, training my team and other teams on the best practices of data analysis, interpretation, and deriving insights and strategy, with a view to ensure that their outputs are also up to par. I struggled with this at first as I was only used to taking care of my own work and excelling in it. Eventually, I served as a mentor and an advisor for analysts, as well as managers from various disciplines from marketing and sales to creative strategists, to provide answers that would help them move ahead.
My learning: I’ve learnt the importance of effectively communicating, planning a few steps ahead and covering all possible bases — this allows your manager to build trust in you and give you more freedom. I’ve learnt to anticipate and be more proactive rather than be reactive. It is important to understand your KPIs, as well as your manager’s KPIs so you can help out more when you can.
One of the hardest things to leave behind is definitely my Bloomr.SG team. I have tried to be the best team member I can be. I will really miss them but I am so proud of and happy about how much we have grown and what we have achieved together in such a short span of time. I strongly believe that Bloomr.SG will rise up to greater heights in the coming moments!
All in all, looking back on my journey, I can clearly say that joining Bloomr.SG is one of the best career decisions I have made so far. I grew so much as a person and it would definitely be a chapter of my life that I would look back fondly on. Thank you everyone who has journeyed with me in this adventure :) I hope that we can keep in touch!
I will be starting on my next play in the next 2 weeks. I am sure it will be a whirlwind of an adventure too!