“Many people will think: You’re only 20, can we trust you with our business?” Tiziana Tan shares, recounting her initial challenges when she started her business at a young age. Indeed, many might share similar doubts about the capabilities of young entrepreneurs.
But there is little doubt over Tiziana’s accolades. Despite her young age, she has many achievements under her belt. She founded Brain Juice Collective, an impact marketing agency, and co-owns Rebelhouse Asia, a social impact film distribution and production house.
When we first met, she carried herself with poise and confidence that mirrored a seasoned entrepreneur. Once we started chatting, the passion and wisdom she possessed around creativity and marketing immediately became obvious.
Start of Brain Juice Collective
For some, the allure of fame and fortune is what motivated their entrepreneurship journey. Others are driven by the outsized impact that they can have. Tiziana falls squarely into the latter.
When she was at university in 2015, she was surrounded by many talented creatives: illustrators, videographers and photographers alike. She noticed that they shared one problem – the lack of quality internships in the creative industry.
Creative internships typically fell under two extremes: “There were interns who had to do a lot but had to do certain things that they didn't want to do. The other extreme was where they were not given as many responsibilities and were given very nominal tasks instead.”
This sparked the idea of creating an agency where companies could reach students directly, and where students could expand their portfolio and work directly with companies. Brain Juice Collective was born.
On creativity and marketing
With several years of experience managing Brain Juice Collective, Tiziana found that there was one skill set that often frustrated individuals and businesses alike: creativity.
Many individuals might have dreams of being involved in the creative industry, but are unsure where to begin, or how to develop creative skills. Over time, they harbour less hope for these creative dreams. Tiziana suggests otherwise. “(You) might start doing your own podcast, start writing on Medium or other platforms, expose yourself to as many opportunities as possible to explore creatively.” In today’s world there are indeed numerous channels out there that where people outside of the creative industry can leverage upon to explore their creativity.
For businesses, while many have invested efforts into new and shiny technologies like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in various campaigns, these campaigns have often lacked the synergy with offline experiences. Memorable campaigns are often the result of a beautiful mix of both aspects. “I think companies need to think about how the online marketing piece can enhance what happens offline, be it the experience of a new place, or a purchase. That's what people really remember as well,” shares Tiziana.
While there is immense opportunity to explore new strategies in the digital space, the space today is also highly saturated. Audiences today pay little attention to subpar content that brands regularly put out. And this is where creativity comes into play. Tiziana reminds us that an experimental mindset to creativity is needed to stand out in the saturated space. “Companies need to cut through that noise. I think it's very important to try different things, experiment and see what works and what doesn't work,” she adds.
How Tiziana learns and grows
Given her plethora of skills and capabilities, we were naturally curious about her secrets to success. More specifically, how she keeps learning and upgrading herself amidst her busy schedule. While her answers were not uncommon, we dug out surprising nuggets as we probed into the details.
Unsurprisingly, books play a big role in her learning journey, but just not the common and popular non-fiction, self-help genre. “I really enjoy reading children's books, a little bite-sized but they get interesting concepts across life, death and these different topics,” she reveals. Her reading also includes geography. She enjoys “reading books from different regions, translated from Russian or German” to gain new perspectives and content.
Beyond a focus on content consumption, the act of keeping out junk content is equally important. Tiziana shares how she has begun to filter out unwanted content. “I've started to block advertisements that I don't want to see and make the (social media) algorithm smarter into pushing me content that I feel is useful for my own development.”
Tiziana’s courage to start multiple ventures from a young age, as well as her drive to improve and expand into various areas of impact is truly remarkable. We look forward to her future creative pursuits and successes.
Inspired by Tiziana’s journey? Learn from her in our upcoming class on How to Build Community in a Digital Age - 21 Jan