Recognized as one of the "Top 20 Content Marketers" worldwide and awarded the “Most Influential Global Marketing Leader" at the World Marketing Congress, Joe has helped countless organizations and executives transform from relative unknowns to superheroes online. He has also created and led successful digital marketing, branding and PR campaigns for both startups and Fortune 500 firms. He is a contributor for both Forbes and the HuffPost, as well as an award-winning speaker. His articles, interviews and talks have been read or heard by nearly one million people.
What is the significance of Joe Escobedo “The Brand Builder” and what is the story behind it?
“The Brand Builder” is a moniker given to me by my colleagues when we were trying to create ‘superhero’ names for the team.
You worked with companies from U.S., China and Singapore, which market did you like the most and why so?
The safe answer would be Singapore, but my five years in the gauntlet known as China made me what I am today. It taught me humility and the importance of guanxi(relationships).
Name one situation that made you want to quit and change your career.
J.E.: I want to learn something everyday so there were times in my career where I felt like I wasn’t learning anything new or pushing myself hard enough. It’s during those times that I've transitioned to a completely new field or market. Sometimes I’ve failed miserably, but I learned from each experience and have grown from it.
Name one situation that made you want to go forward.
I’m driven when people tell me I can’t do something. I’ve been told that more times than I can count throughout my career. During those times, I think in my head, “hold on a second and watch this!”
What do you think are the most difficult challenges marketeers have to face in Asian markets nowadays?
Taking a long-term view. Too often, global headquarters look to the regional office in Asia and say, “You’re our growth engine now so you should be growing at a double-digit rate.” The problem with that is that it forces marketers to look only at the month ahead, rather than what’s going to rise up and disrupt their industry next year.
Investment matters. If you would invest in one particular business field nowadays. What would that be?
If I were looking for some quick cash, I’d say anything A.I. related. But I generally play the long game so I’d invest in things people always need, like food and toilet paper.
If you could change something about Singapore’s marketing community to improve it in any way what would that be?
I’d encourage the Community to take risks and invest more in digital. An ad plastered over the MRT may look great but what's the return on your investment?
What made you settle down in Singapore?
The short answer: love. I followed my wife who received a job offer before I did.
MEET JOE ESCOBEDO, THE MAN BEHIND THE SUIT
Name one good habit that helps you deal with your active life.
Reading to my daughter, because in that moment, I’m not Joe “The Brand Builder.” I’m whichever character I’m reading in the book.
Name one bad habit you can’t quit.
Speed walking. I tend to walk like I’m always 15 minutes late to a meeting.
If you could be anything else but a marketing leader, what would you be?
In another life, I would’ve been a film director. I wrote, directed and edited a sketch comedy movie when I was in college. I loved the experience and think I could’ve been a third-rate Christopher Nolan.
You are recognized as “One of the Most Influential Global Marketing Leaders”. What’s your favorite movie of a global marketing leader?
Don’t know if it’s about a global marketing leader per se, but Game of Thrones. After over a decade as a marketer, I see too many similarities between that show and the marketing world, albeit slightly less violent. For instances, strong alliances with the “right” groups can help you get closer to the corporate Iron Throne.
Tell us your favorite book. What’s the best thing you learned from it?
“How To Win Friends & Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie. I’ve read the book at least 10 times and everytime I ‘learn’ something new. My favorite lesson is about putting yourself in the other’s shoes - thinking about what they would want rather than what you’d want them to do.
Name the most important value you have.
Grit. It’s the only reason I’m still around and kickin’ in the professional world. Because even when I get battered to the ground, I claw my way back up. It’s an invaluable trait for any marketer or entrepreneur.
Name the most important value a leader should have.
Empathy. Every boss wants to make the most profit they can but they can only do so with a strong team behind them. And the only way to build and retain a strong team is to empathize with your staff’s situation. If they get demotivated because a client scolded them, then give them a pep talk. If there are unseen circumstances that caused them to miss a deadline then be understanding to their situation.
If you could compare your journey as an entrepreneur with a song, what song would you choose?
“Highway To Hell.” Just kidding! Instead of a song, my journey can be best described by “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. From my move to China when I was 22, my career has been characterized by these lines: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Tell us the funniest experience you had this year related to your work.
Some of the funniest moments during the past year happen behind-the-scenes. For instance, we use to have “Happy Friday” dance parties at my company. And I’m not one to brag but my rendition of “Hotline Bling” by Drake stole the show.
If you would give our readers one advice from your professional experience, what would that advice be?
To quote the great Conan O’Brien, “If you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen.” I truly believe that. Because everyone wants to help the hardworking nice guy or gal.
What is your biggest expectation for the Brand Minds ASIA event?
I’m looking forward to seeing Gary V walk on stage to a deafening cheer, unleash some savage knowledge and drop the mic.