When Ms Joelle Goh, Founder and Consultant of Cups Media Pte Ltd, was interviewed in 2009 by SPRING Singapore, the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE), she was happy that the company had established several key clients from the public and private sectors despite 2009, which was regarded as one very tough year for business. At that time, Cups Media business was also largely comprised of advertising for smaller businesses and organizations.
“Since then, our business has grown significantly.” Joelle says. “We have recently partnered the Health Promotion Board to leverage Cups Media’s unique solutions and our exclusive distribution network to promote a national healthy message to all selected offices, encouraging them to stay positive at the workplace. This is a series of campaign started in May 2010, and we are currently working with the Board on designing the second and third series of the campaign. Just imagine people are drinking coffee or tea in their offices, they will be seeing and holding the advertising cups with positive messages, slogans and encouraging information! Isn’t that wonderful?”
Cups Media Pte Ltd is Singapore’s first and only free cups advertising company and specializes in handheld branding in the workplace. By offering good quality paper cups to an exclusive national network of offices across different industries and sectors free of charge, the company offers advertisers a new, exciting and non-traditional way to reach out to their target audiences and money-saving solutions for small, medium and large companies in Singapore. “Additionally, we are currently partnering Ya Kun to help a leading mobile phone company to introduce one of their latest smart phones in Singapore this Summer, building on our special advertising cups and networks.”
A chat with Joelle reveals that Cups Media is not her first job upon her graduation. Prior to Cups Media, she was working with Procter & Gamble for a well known billion dollar brand – Pampers. She shared, “Working with P&G gave me a lot of insights of how to run a company successfully. In my previous role, I worked with some of the brightest people in the industry and developed the best, worst and typical business and financial scenarios and impacts, and proposed possible solutions to the management committee to make effective business decisions.” She added, “Pampers is one of the best brands in the world. Working for this billion dollar brand to ensure the right pricing strategy and a high return of marketing investment is very interesting. These lessons are very valuable.”
Earning herself a second upper honors degree with EEE and won the second prize in the Engineering Innovation and Design Competition, one may think that Joelle should work best in the engineering field. So how did she make the transition to this advertising and marketing role successfully? What aspect of her study in EEE has assisted her progression?
She explained, “Engineering study is a rewarding education of making things better, and in the process, helping others to improve their lives. I find that the EEE study is a lot more than the learning of electric circuits or electromagnetic and components. To me, it is about how to work together in a team environment to design something to solve problems.” She continued, “In order to be successful in engineering, one needs to think out of the box and work in a team-based environment. This is very similar to the advertising and marketing industry, we have to constantly be creative and work together as a team, in order to bring the best solution for our clients.”
“Additionally, to improve my softer business skills and knowledge, I completed the Nanyang M.B.A. program last year. I met many interesting people from the cohort and learnt a lot from the program. I feel that the EEE study has equipped me with the logical sense and exposed me with the latest technology in the industry, while the M.B.A. has taught me how to lead a diverse team in a dynamic and competitive market. They complement each other very well.”
Further to the technical and engineering knowledge that she acquired, EEE has helped Joelle tremendously in her business. In the industry of media and advertising, she has to work with professionals from all industries; especially a lot of her clients are from engineering firms and research institutions. She says, “The knowledge that I developed from EEE has provided me an edge to convince my counterparts that I understand what they are trying to comprehend. Not only I could speak in their lingo, but I also understand how an engineer thinks!”
To Joelle, EEE provides more than professional engineers for the industry. She feels that EEE provides outstanding education and successful people who are genuinely caring to the society. “Our alumni can be found in many different industries, from engineering to consulting, or from real estate to finance sectors. Interacting with alumni from different industries provide me a broader prospective. I used to think that graduates from EEE would only join engineering firms. I was so wrong!” She says.
In light of the strategic re-positioning and the company’s growth, Joelle mentions that there is now a great demand on non-traditional marketing. “Consumers are now faced with infinite number of options. Faced with a constant distraction, consumers develop a “browsing culture”, where they do not and cannot afford to spend too much time and attention on any particular product. Our solutions develop our clients’ brand and products in their customers’ minds.”
“Now as the business leader of Cups Media, my aim is to build and lead the business to greater heights. I formed many great friendships and networks from our alumni community and we often shared our great college moments. We chatted about our favorite professors and lessons, and we all agreed that the School today is a lot better than it used to be several years ago.”
Cups Media’s success was not only captured by SPRING Singapore, but the company was also featured by Young Upstarts, Cool Business Ideas.com, Finance Business Articles, Find Rich and My SME, to just name a few.