adobo SERIES: Wunderman Thompson’s Golda Roldan on Creative Bravery and Delivering Relevance

MANILA, PHILIPPINES—As part our International Women’s Month tribute in adobo magazine, we talked to ad agency leaders, of which many are women, to tell us how they view the future of the ad industry: what’s the most exciting emerging area, the risk and threats to the industry, and their fearless predictions.

A barometer and dip stick into the ad business as seen from remarkable women leaders, after traversing their business through a full year in lockdown due to the pandemic. Let us hear what they have to say. #adoboSheCreativeNetwork

What is the most exciting emerging area or skill that agency leaders are looking for today?

As a leader, in terms of soft skills, I look for intuition and empathy. One needs intuition to understand what’s going on without it being spelled out and empathy is about caring and understanding people and situations not just the good but most specially during the most difficult times.


In terms of hard skills, I look for people who appreciate and understand how to use data. People who can distinguish relevant data from noise. People who can use data to understand the right market context that will lead to helping develop creative solutions that hopefully will change consumer behavior.

What are the pivots that agencies need to make it in the next few years?

Being fast and agile is already BAU (business as usual) but the focus for brands to deliver the best consumer experience has never been more relevant now. And our role as agency partner is to apply inspiration across communications, experiences and platforms to be able to create a connected brand experience enabled by data and technology. Ultimately with the purpose of helping our brand partners find ways to ease people’s lives and make their lives better.

Having said this, two things that need to continue would be:

1. The ability to create engaging and relevant brand storytelling inspired by data. People resonate to stories that they can relate to.

2. At a time when people are not able to spend money in store as much as before, pushing or strengthening digital commerce and CRM enabled by technology (website, marketplaces, social comms, email, push notifs, bots, payment options) should be part of any brand’s channel strategy.

Important to create inspirational and relevant content around this that will offer consumers things that they never knew they needed or wanted.

What is the biggest risk or threat that the industry and ad people are facing?

The world has changed. Consumers, industries and technology have all changed. Companies that don’t constantly evolve are at risk of being left behind. There is a constant need to strengthen digital capabilities to inspire and deliver growth and relevance.

What is your fearless prediction about the ad industry’s future and evolution in the next 10 years?

To paraphrase what WPP’s CEO Mark Read said, we’ve seen 10 years of innovation unfold in the space of just 12 months. The way we are living now and communicate with each other has changed dramatically – experiencing remote working, agile methods, seeing budget shifts to online and digital channels – all on full speed. But what will not change is the need for even closer collaborations between companies – whether you’re a client/brand, a creative agency, a technology company or a production partner. Being in the service of providing a purpose-driven seamless customer experience is what will make this industry sustainable.

Do you have any advice for students who want to enter the field?

Basic rules – be interested and be resilient. Combine technology with human creativity and purpose. Technology should be used for the good of human beings.

About Golda Roldan

With more than 25 years worth of marketing communications experience under her belt, Golda has managed a comprehensive array of multinational and local brand leaders such as Unilever, Pepsi, Shell, Bayer, Nestle, URC, San Miguel, McDonald’s, Johnson & Johnson, Manulife, Del Monte and Globe Telecom.

Throughout her career, she honed her client management skills by working with the best creative hothouses and strategic shops like JWT, BBDO, TBWA and Leo Burnett. She helped the agencies she’s associated with win numerous local and international awards and accolades, including the Philippines’ first and second Gold Cannes Lion during her first stint at JWT Manila.

Golda champions a culture built on inspiration, standing on the foundations of being In It Together, Positivity, Creative Bravery, and Listening to understand consumers, clients and her colleagues better.

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