Diversity is undoubtedly the biggest strength of America. But when it comes to the media and communication, various cultures and communities from across the country are ignored or go underrepresented. These communities need to be empowered by giving them a voice. Imprenta Communications Group is making this change happen through their creative work. Established in 2001, the company has come a long way. The company changed its business model in 2011 and worked tirelessly on bringing together two of the fastest growing ethnic groups in America which have led to phenomenal growth for the company.
We interviewed Imprenta’s charismatic President/CEO Ronald W. Wong, to understand his ethos on leading such a strongly opinionated company.
What do you think is more important to your organisation—Vision, Mission or Core Values?
Vision, mission and core values all go together as one influences the other two. Core values influence the mission, and the mission influences the vision. You can’t have one without the other. Imprenta is a mission-driven company. Our mission is our North Star. Everything we do is viewed through our mission. Imprenta’s stated mission: Empower communities of color by giving them a voice and speaking to them in ways which respect their diversity and understands their culture. By recruiting people who believe in our mission we have adherence to our core values. By being guided by our mission we have a vision of where we are going and what we believe.
How do you encourage creative thinking in your company?
Creative and strategic thinking has played a big role in the company’s success and also our client’s growth. As a creative full-service communications firm we need to be creative. And as a leader, I try to make sure that the staff is inspired and bring their best foot forward. To make this possible I designed Imprenta to have a flat organizational structure because two-way communication is crucial for any successful campaign. Also, I ask my employees to provide inputs. I like to get feedback about any project, campaign, proposal, or decision. This gives me significant insights into my employees’ critical thinking and gives me a good platform to guide them.
A certain level of autonomy is also given importance at Imprenta as much of our work is all about creating structure out of chaos. So, the employees have a certain level of freedom which allows them to think quickly on their feet.
What are the traits according to you that every leader must possess?
First and foremost a leader should inspire. A leader needs to provide the inspiration, vision and “leadership” to guide and instill confidence for others to follow. You can’t be a leader without followers. To inspire others, one must provide a clear vision and set the course, so that everyone knows where the team is heading. A leader must be decisive and confident when it comes to dealing with challenges and obstacles. There will be challenges, but by clearly communicating and being prepared for various contingencies, a leader can face any situation which may arise.
Are you inspired by any of your contemporaries?
I had the opportunity to read Delivering Happiness by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. He seems like a remarkable individual and obviously extremely successful. What inspires me about Hsieh is his willingness to think out the box and his focus on having fun. He also seems to be relentless in pursuing his vision and what he believes.
I also admire Jack Ma, the former Alibaba Chairman and CEO. His story is an inspiration to everyone. The odds he faced and what he has accomplished is incredible. Like him, I believe in the 12-hour work day. But like him, I believe you must truly enjoy your work.
Do you have any advice for the CEOs of budding companies?
Having a mission is number one. Our mission has been a guiding principle which has allowed us to maintain integrity as a team and a brand. Sticking to one’s mission clears away the smoke. Secondly, you need to find the right team. I can put my team up against anyone in the world and know I can win.
Always deliver for your friends. I tell all my staff to treat their clients like elected officials – tend to their needs, anticipate pitfalls that they may not see, advise them so that they can make informed decisions, and make them look good at all times.
And most importantly, have fun. Work should not be perpetual toil. We at Imprenta relish our work, and we relish our wins. Fun is what it’s all about.
Where do you see the company expanding or focusing its efforts in the coming years?
The company is poised to continue its path of radical growth. Currently, Imprenta is focused on business only in California. However, given the growth of the Latino and APA communities nationally, there is a need to expand the Imprenta brand to different states and on national campaigns.
Imprenta is also executing strategies to expand and dominate ethnic digital marketing. Social media is ethnic media. The biggest bloggers, online celebrities and the people with the largest social media following are all ethnic. Imprenta seeks to dominate social media marketing in coming times, particularly communications, which brings the world together.
An Extraordinary Leader
Ronald W. Wong, President and CEO
Mr. Wong is a trailblazer and is respected widely for his leadership in business, political and community circles. His leadership has built many successful organizations. He has more than 30 years of experience in advising Fortune 500 companies, government entities, and prominent elected officials on public relations, political, and communication strategies. He is also a successful entrepreneur whose company has made Inc. Magazine’s list of the 500 Fastest-Growing Companies in America twice.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is a recipient of the Sloan Foundation Fellowship at the University of Washington, Graduate School of Public Affairs. He completed the Management Development for Entrepreneurs program at the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Business.
“We develop and execute campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, candidates, causes, and initiatives that demand and expect to win.”