Who is Joana Wong? This is she:
I’m a brand strategist. I started this blog in college and since then, I’ve kept paying the annual site hosting fees because I have fun writing about concepts, new ideas, and questions that entertain or boggle me.
The hope is these posts help you learn something new or see something from a different light.
A bit more about me: What made me go into strategy.
One. I’m a fifth-generation Panamasian.
(Panama as in ––that country that made it to the World Cup for the first time in 2018 and celebrated its first Cup goal as if it had won the cup itself. That was a glorious day.)
Yup, this is my mom and me in Panama. My family has been in the country for 4 generations. (Side note: I probably look bummed because who wouldn’t, with that haircut? 4-year-old me needed a makeover.)
Adults would ask Pre-K me what I wanted to do as a grown-up… and I never had an answer, while my classmates proclaimed their destinies: “Doctor!,” “Astronaut!,” “Firefighter!,” “Teacher!”
Since then, things have changed. For one, I got a better haircut. But one thing didn’t. After high school, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do.
So I moved from Central America, to Asia. And then to the U.S.
Having been exposed to cultural clashes, I came to find behavior, figuring out how people are different, fascinating.
Why was something so important for one society but not for another? What is motivating this person to act this way?
It made me fall in love with understanding different perspectives, and behavioral frameworks.
Two. I love analyzing and solving problems.
I also like occupying my mind on solving problems. During high school, I won a bronze medal for the national physics championship.
I was also a chemistry TA during college even though I was an advertising major… I just love problem-solving, science, and research.
One day in college I was discussing my research capstone project with the Consumer Behavior professor and he said, “I’m excited to see you’re more excited about your research project than my PhD students are of theirs.”
That paints a clear picture of how much I love research.
But not everybody likes or gets research — and we need to make data interesting and personal through storytelling. Which is where creativity comes in.
Three. I love arts.
I would get in trouble at school because I would draw Sailor Moon characters instead of listening to class.
After High School, SCAD and Ringling College of Art and Design accepted me in their illustration programs, but both were too expensive, and I didn’t think being an artist was going to pay the bills. (Leave that to Hollywood to show us all the struggling artist stereotypes.)
So instead, I ended up going to FSU to study advertising, thinking it was a better mix of business in a creative field.
I’m glad to have chosen advertising.
Because advertising led me to taking an account planning class. It was during this class where it all clicked: I found Strategy is my “ikigai,” or my “reason for being.”
COMING FULL CIRCLE
I’m drawn to solving problems, understanding what makes people tick, and being able to be creative through storytelling.
All critical things that attract me to brand strategy.
It just wasn’t a popular “future career” among four-year-olds.
Hope you feel you know me now!
Interested in more? Here are other things I dig:
- Using Oxford Commas. The MLA Style Manual, Chicago Style Manual, and the U.S. Gov. Printing office think you should, too. (See what I did there?)
- Teaching. I used to be an English teacher for kids from 1st to 6th grade and have also taught Elementary Chinese to college students. I also used to be a lab instructor for Public Speaking. That was fun.
- Leaving the marshmallows for last. Lucky Charms, I’m talking about you.
I think that’s it, but if there’s something missing, I’m an open book. So drop me an email at email@example.com if you’d like to know anything else or just say hi.
(Thanks to Laura Gallego, Ruben R. and Joe CMB for the photo)