Business trips – priceless?
1 December 2017
Debbie Zaman, MD, Withpr
Recently I have been on a whistlestop tour of Hong Kong and Singapore, attending Finovate Asia, Mumbrella360 and meeting with our APAC partner agency. It has been a busy week with punishing jet lag, a drive to make the trip as productive as possible and leaving a young family at home all weighing on my shoulders.
I have been lucky enough to hear some great speakers at the two conferences: from David Shing, Oath’s (self-proclaimed) digital prophet, to breakthrough start-ups like Germany’s Yukka Labs. But it was while watching MasterCard’s marketing director for Asia talk about those ‘priceless’ family moments that I felt an emotional pang and I really started thinking about weighing up my own priceless moments – both personal and professional.
So what’s the rub? We know busy working parents don’t ‘have it all’ but does doing what we do mean we miss too much of what is priceless? Or can we look at it another way and decide to find priceless moments in both home and work life and make sure, over time, we achieve enough of both? On reflection, there were certainly moments of my trip that made me believe that we can. Here’s just a few examples:
A large part of the reason for the trip was to meet with an APAC agency who specialises in the same tech fields as Withpr. The fit was great and we came away with a partnership forged and massive potential for expanding our clients’ global impact.
There is also not much more satisfying professionally than seeing your team perform without you there. They have travelled to Paris, Berlin and Chelsea (trust me this is quite a trek from East London) in the space of a week, running top tier media interviews, messaging sessions, evaluations, brainstorms and new business speed-dating. The client feedback has been tremendous and I couldn’t be prouder of the partnership approach they bring to our senior team. And, of course there is my partner in life who is also our COO and has not only held down his day job, but done top-to-toe child care while I have been away.
A global home
When I arrived in Hong Kong I saw the same ads for the same films, drinks and banks as I do in London. With business conducted in English as well as Cantonese, it immediately felt accessible but at the same time, clearly distinct/different/distant. APAC experts at one of the conferences told a familiar story to the gathered guests about there being no one-size-fits-all approach to the region. We say the same thing at Withpr – what works in one country may struggle in another. Market-led audience insight must sit at the heart of pan-regional communications and that is a rule that applies worldwide.
There is a benefit to taking time away from the office on business. Talking to total strangers about what you do – and why you do it – provides a valuable perspective on why it matters. Whether it is a 14-hour flight or just the fact you have most of the day before the London team comes on line, there is time to think and create without any distracting emails.
So, I do think this trip has been priceless? As Withpr expands its horizons, alongside the expanding businesses it represents, trips like this are invaluable. And knowing this, while looking forward to that squeeze I will get from the small people when I get back home, and the idea we can hang out all day on Sunday in our pyjamas and chat nonsense, now THAT is truly priceless.