Q&A with Tom Griffiths, who joined Gong as an Account Executive in 2012 to work on client accounts including global agribusiness Olam and private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners. Tom’s international work at Gong fed his appetite for working with Chinese markets and since leaving the agency, he has built a career as a digital marketing specialist focused on growing luxury brands in China and Asia Pacific.
How did you come to hear about Gong?
You’d placed an advert on the University of Oxford jobs board – I’d just finished at Oxford and had considered pursuing a PhD in Ming Dynasty travel writing in Canberra, but decided that a career in academia wasn’t for me. I made a list of all the things that I did want for a career (which included having a research focus, and being international in scope) and Gong’s job description leapt out at me as fulfilling my self-drawn brief.
How did working at Gong help you to crystallise your career choices?
The client work that I undertook at Gong was fascinating. A large part of my role was researching the global food supply chain in the media, which built fantastic foundations for me in terms of understanding the markets in which international businesses operate, but also putting media stories into better perspective. By creating daily roundups of news from the papers, I learnt to look behind the news stories (particularly the sensationalist ones) but also how to craft and position stories to make them appealing to journalists.
What are your fondest memories?
Well beyond the office chat, we had some great team and client nights out! The office in Marylebone is fantastically positioned for bars, restaurants and easy access to nightlife. A favourite haunt was Purl, a bar around the corner that would serve smoking cocktails and a great atmosphere.
Any lessons learned?
One of the best pieces of client relationship advice that I ever received is that in what can be a dry corporate environment, it doesn’t take much to be the most interesting meeting of the week. I always try to bring something extra to client meetings – perhaps news of a quirky trend for example – that will keep your client thinking and talking about you for the rest of their day.
Tell us more about your roles since working for Gong.
Through my work on the Asian markets at Gong, I realised that I wanted to pursue a career focused on China. I joined Chinese-dedicated digital marketing agency Hot Pot Digital to launch a New York office, splitting my time between London and New York. Once the office was launched, I left to pursue operational consultancy work that involved supporting start-ups as they set up in China. Between becoming a father, I’ve also worked in the Chinese luxury digital marketing space with clients like Agent Provocateur, Joolz and the Craft Irish Whiskey Company. Right now, I’m looking forward to moving back to my homeland of New Zealand to pursue some exciting new consultancy prospects from Chinese brands looking to expand there.
Tom Griffiths is a digital marketing specialist focused on growing luxury, premium and creative brands in China and APAC. Learn more at https://halfaworld.com/.