Staff Spotlight: VP of Brandwatch APAC, Christel Quek

As Brandwatch expands farther across the globe, so do our personnel.

Today we are chatting with Christel Quek, VP of Brandwatch, APAC.

Christel Quek acts as VP of the APAC region. In this Staff Spotlight, she discusses her goals for Brandwatch in the region, the challenges of introducing Brandwatch to a new market, and the future of AI.

[Editor’s Note: Don’t forget – you can catch Christel at the Now You Know Conference next week in Chicago. Tickets are available here.]


Quick-fire round

  1. Favorite place you’ve traveled: It is tough to pick a particular country, so I would say that some of my favourite countries include Brazil, Shanghai, Munich, Japan, and I love the city of London
  2. Hobbies:  Experimenting with sous vide cooking, painting, reading, running, kickboxing, house music DJing. Drone-flying
  3. Top item on your bucket list: Going to Antarctica or into space
  4. Coffee or tea: Coffee. I am nothing without caffeine.
  5. iOS or Android: iOS. Though I really do like Xiaomi’s phones, and the new Samsung S7 Edge.

Past, present, future

Hey Christel. What’s your job title at Brandwatch, and what do you do?

VP at Brandwatch, looking after our presence in Asia Pacific (and based in Singapore)


How did you get involved in the tech industry?

I have always loved technology, fiddling with computers and exploring the possibilities of what connectivity and the net can offer.

I started building websites when I was in elementary school and things just flowed from there – including getting my first job at Havas to work on digital strategy for some really amazing clients globally, and consequent roles at both Samsung and Twitter to expand upon my earlier role as an in-house digital strategist.

I believe we are at the cusp of a revolution of the relationship between man and machine, a limitless evolution as long as we dare to dream and do.


What are some upcoming projects you’re most excited about for Brandwatch APAC?

The recent Forrester APAC study which has ranked us as a leader amongst different social enterprise listening platforms has been a great win for all of us.

We’re here to stay and to work with clients who recognize the value and actionable insights that social intelligence can add to their business.

We’re also here to grow a strong, dynamic and happy team who love what they do and add a unique flavour to our home base in APAC.

We want to be the social intelligence platform of choice that clients will queue to work with – simply because we understand our clients, and we add character, smart insights, and commitment to their work.


What have you found to be the biggest challenge in introducing Brandwatch to a new market?

Every challenge lies an opportunity to do something bold and different.

Our team in APAC tries their best every single day to educate leads and nurture clients in a market that often has less resources and is significantly more bootstrapped compared to their North American or EMEA counterparts.

Mistakes are forgivable, but not trying isn’t.


What developments in tech are you most excited about right now?

I can’t even begin to list them all!

There is an exciting shift towards VR, for sure, and every single next event of SXSW sees a new “breakthrough” tech that promises to dominate headlines for the next year till the next breakthrough comes along.

We’ve seen Foursquare, Twitter, Meerkat, and VR come and stay or go in the previous years.

I think AI is a tremendously exciting opportunity, and how we’re applying AI in our own ways at Brandwatch is incredibly thrilling.

The breadth and depth of startups in various verticals/services in China is also an incredibly fascinating one, and of which is incredibly under-report or under the radar.

The market there catches on and evolves at the speed of light – for example, the resurgence in chat apps we have seen recently has already been applied and developed by the Chinese through QQ and WeChat just a few years ago.


What do you see for the future of social media marketing?

The shift towards dark social, and increased emphasis on “micro-social” messaging apps as the hub of personal social activity.

Presently, the top four messaging apps have eclipsed traditional social platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn in terms of monthly active users (MAUs).

The current kingpins of the messaging landscape include WhatsApp (900 million MAUs), Facebook Messenger (700 million), Tencent’s WeChat and QQ Mobile (600 million each), Viber (250 million) and Line (220 million).

Users on Line and WeChat can use these apps to book taxis, listen to music, watch TV, make payments and even play games.

Social platforms as we know today might have to build their own ecosystems to evolve and maintain their lead in the market, or build stronger integrations with hardware partners.

Presently this portion is very fragmented with no one really owning both the software and hardware end-to-end solution. Apple, for example, might not have done a brilliant job at social, but they are working on multiple operating systems – all ecosystems in their own right – such as the Apple TV OS, iOS, Mac OS, and the Watch OS.

The TV OS could very well be the bedrock for a smart home, the Mac OS as the fundamental for the enterprise software market, the Watch OS as Apple’s first foray into owning your body as a “wearable” OS, and finally, the iOS as the ecosystem in a user’s pocket. These are all ecosystems to support fundamentally social activities.


If you could invite three people to a dinner party who would they be?

Barack Obama and Justin Trudeau, because I do want to see #TruBama in action. We’ll include Donald Trump as well and start popping the popcorn.


What soft-skills have you found to be most important in developing professionally?

Empathy is crucial. Everyone is fighting a battle you might not be aware of.

Don’t be afraid, because everyone starts from somewhere and no one is bulletproof. Don’t just treat someone how you want to be treated, it is always better to understand them as people and where they are coming from.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, have a mentor in life who you can always trust, and you know has your best interests at heart. Treat challenges as opportunities to get more wisdom, and never see kindness as a weakness. Success is not a pursuit, it is to be attracted in the journey you take in order to be the person you become.

While speed trumps perfection, speed is not a license to prioritize quality over quantity. Speed trumps perfection only when the content developed matters. Silence on social is not an option, or your truth will simply be filled in for you.


140 characters or 10,000?

Brevity is the source of wit, so I’ll pick 140. Having said that, I do need to work on my stand-up comedy routines now…


A big thanks to Christel for speaking with us! You’ll be able to learn more about Brandwatch staff soon in upcoming articles.


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