Macau Lifestyle interviews one of the hottest names in the local business world. Joe Liu has it all—the looks, the talent and a great personality. Co-founder of Mome Media and Marketing, a one-stop comprehensive media and marketing solutions that integrates creativity into application of offline and online media platforms, Joe was happy to open the door of his trendy and comfortable office for us.
You don’t often see this level of organization and commitment in start-ups. It seems you started with a proper plan. Can you tell us a little more about Mome?
To tell you the truth I don’t think we were that different from the rest. We had a plan, but it wasn’t that extensive at first. The initial team was only four people, for the first half-year.
But you had a vision, a plan?
Sure, I would love to have a Steve Jobs speech and tell you how we changed Macau [laughs]. We did have a vision, but it was a rather simple one. The rest of the expansion happened as new opportunities came around, and it is something that we will—hopefully—keep doing. What we are today was not my day one plan.
So how did you start?
We saw an opportunity to own and create a media platform in the form of visual media. For my partner Joseph and I, things were difficult at first. We are not from a journalist background or media, something that gives us a holistic approach to the market. If we had been like you, someone with a specific knowledge of the subject, we would probably have taken a more academic approach. For us it was about seeing today’s digital world. What would be the likelihood of a guy sitting down to read, especially in Asian culture? Even myself, I have never been a great reader. So I always thought visual was the way to go, a way of giving a lot of information with an image alone. There aren’t many options in Macau when it comes to visual media. You don’t get a lot of mobile media like you do in other countries.
But you came a long way from there…
Yes. To keep the company afloat we needed to develop when you start helping clients achieve what they want. We had to do that. As the young kids on the block, we would always end up going the extra mile. So we had to get more involved in what each company was really about, helping them pass the message they want. In the process we understood they had problems in media buying, which in Macau, it turns out, is hard to do. So I tried to get involved in that too. It was easier for us to get the B & B rates, understand who owns what, etc. In the end, that meant getting involved with the entire media campaign.
So that’s when your company changed?
Correct, it became much more than selling an ad. It became strategy driven. We are much more involved in the entire process—both online and offline.
Do you think it helped that you came from a family with a business background?
It helps in an indirect way. Not in the sense that there was guidance, but in the sense that, since my family already had a business, I had to make sure mine could succeed. Basically I feel the pressure [laughs]. My family business is very traditional; I would say “old school corporate”. I was educated abroad, so it would be hard to strive in that environment. I do see that, at some point, our paths will cross. You can see some new branding and PR strategies going on in Transmac, and we had something to do with that. That is my way of thanking my family.
You mentioned studying abroad. Was it a big shock to come back to Macau?
Well… The decision itself came as a shock. It did take me some time to adjust. I had spent 15 years in the United Kingdom.
What was the hardest thing to adapt to?
Work and personal life balance. In Macau there is no balance [laughs]. That’s why you have to love what you do! So the lifestyle was different. I used to do a lot of sports and here it is more work-oriented.
What about the good things? What do you love about Macau?
Coming back was the best decision of my life. I love Macau. Even what I just said, in the end it is great for young guys like us who are starting their careers, we always have a chance to shine. If I had started Mome anywhere else, it would not have grown this fast. Macau started as a small town; the fabric of the city is still very local. People are a lot more genuine, trustworthy and they do care about you. And, because everyone knows instantly everything you do, you tend to be a better person! [laughs]
Well you are an optimist!
I like to think of myself as a good guy [still laughing]. But it is true! I think Macau brings out the best in us, and I hope others feel like I do!
Check out Mome projects on their website: mome