by Weber Shandwick Korea
May 12th, 2016


What is The Next Generation Hothouse?

Weber Shandwick Korea is one of the global public relations firms incorporated in Constituency Management Group (CMGRP Ltd). Under CMGRP Ltd. APAC branch, seven outstanding communication agencies, including Weber Shandwick, Devries Global, Future Brand, Golin, Jack Morton, Octagon, WORX, are providing services under various public relations service categories. More specifically, Weber Shandwick is a leading communication firms that deliver expertise across diverse specialty areas, such as consumer marketing, corporate reputation, healthcare, technology, public affairs, financial services, corporate social responsibility, financial communications and crisis management. Currently, CMGRP Ltd provides various internal training programs for all the incorporated agencies, and ‘Hothouse’ is often selected as one of the most popular training programs. The parent company of CMGRP is Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG).

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ast April, I was lucky enough to attend a CMGRP’s global workshop ‘Hothouse.’

How do I become part of ‘Hothouse?’ Every year, employees, who have been part of CMGRP Ltd in the APAC region for over a year, are invited to apply for ‘Hothouse,’ where we are given five questions under one specific topic that is relevant to our business and industry. This year, the topic for Hothouse application was ‘human,’ and we were asked to answer the following questions:

  1. Why is it important for brands to be ‘human’?
  2. What are the two most important attributes a brand must demonstrate to create a truly ‘personalized’ experience?
  3. Does technology enhance or threaten our ability to engage with people on their own terms?
  4. Is our character and behaviour a result of who we are or the relationship we have with the things around us?
  5. What is your motivation for applying for a place at the Hothouse and what would you contribute that could be considered unique?

Among the applicants who have managed to successfully answer the questions in the most creative ways, 20 lucky professionals, from the seven agencies within the unit of CMG all over Asia, are invited to gather together and discuss the trends impacting our business under one specific theme. Now, that’s the ‘general’ description of Houthouse.

What is ‘Hothouse’ to me? My definition of Hothouse was a little more than that – it truly was an unforgettable experience where I met so many amazing people that share similar interest and passion with. Walking out at the end of the Hothouse (which took me a while because I refused to leave), I was able to look back and really feel proud of what we all do from each of our own practices.

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#HothouseHuman: Again, the theme of this year’s Hothouse was ‘Human.’ As you can imagine, we endlessly explored and discussed if human ingenuity will always trump technical innovation when it comes to solving the world’s biggest problem.

Honoring this year’s topic of ‘Human,’ I would to share my experience at Hothouse with the quotes from our wonderful facilitators that especially inspired the human side of me.

“Emotion and People Make the Difference between a Space and a Place.”

It is quite inexplicable to summarize my experience in meeting people from different agencies from various parts of Asia through Hothouse. At first, we were divided into four groups of five for a Hothouse debate, which we had to prepare a presentation that presents our stance, and all materials had to be developed through conference calls since we have not met each other! The idea first seemed impossible for me. However, I was completely wrong – within the first few minutes of talking on the phone and meeting everyone face-to-face, we were able to immediately share stories of our work lives in each of our market, and talked about our lives, interests, passion – just everything. Because we work in the same fast-paced environment that requires a lot of creativity and passion, everyone had so much in common, regardless of where they are from. In fact, there was never a silence throughout the entire Hothouse session.

With the wonderful people I befriended over the four days in Bali, the beautiful yet empty space of a swimming pool located in front of our meeting room soon turned into a meaningful place I would always want to go back to relive the memories of Hothouse.

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“There is No Right Answer, Just the One We Create Together.”

Another amazing thing I noticed at Hothouse was how none of us thought in the same manner. After the wonderful sessions of our facilitators from various agencies all over the world, we were once again divided into groups to prepare a comprehensive presentation for a client. We listened to the same presentations, were given the same background of the client, and were provided with the identical research tools. Yet, the outcome? All teams came up with four very different, unique campaign theme and approaches within the given 24 hours. I was not only struck by the amazing quality of the presentations, but also by how every group member contributed our own ‘humanness’ and worked together to prepare such unique, yet amazing solution.

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Last but not least,

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This year’s Hothouse attendees will laugh when hearing this quote by Maya Angelou because it was the quote used in multiple presentations of our facilitators, and we all ended up memorizing and repeating the quote throughout our time in Bali. Well, the quote had a reason to be repeated endlessly, because it not only perfectly summed up our experience at Hothouse, but also what we practice every day. In addition to providing the best service for our clients, we are the ones who work to present an engaging, yet unforgettable experience to those our clients interact with.

Overall, attending Hothouse made me realize that we, no matter which agency we belong to, create the unforgettable experience for humans. Through this wonderful experience, I want to take back what I learned here and become someone who breathes the unique humanness into life. Moreover, I hope more of our colleagues from Weber Shandwick attend Hothouse in the future to obtain the wonderful experience I had in the future. J

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Sohn, Rachel | Account Executive
Weber Shandwick Korea

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