Meet Gian Reyes
Digital Marketing expert
Gian Reyes is a digital marketing professional with over a decade’s worth of experience in digital marketing and business operations. At just 33 years old, he has already worked with some of the world’s biggest heritage brands, including fashion companies Zara and Lacoste; furniture stores Pottery Barn and West Elm; cosmetics lines Max Factor, Covergirl, and Nars; as well as liquor giant Johnnie Walker. He has also led digital marketing agencies and teams to million dollar increases in revenue.
Gian, who was in the quiet province of Rizal in the Philippines, says his entrepreneurial spirit was sparked when his father asked him to read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. The book taught him how to foster the mindset of a businessman at an early age and since then, he has never been quite the same.
“I didn’t come from a rich family,” Gian recalls. “We moved to Australia when I was seven years old. After reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad, I can say that its principles stuck with me, and because of it, along with my parents’ business acumen, I was able to develop a business mindset at an early age.”
Career and Entrepreneurship
Gian started working at the tender age of fourteen, as soon as he legally could work in Australia, his first job was as a dishwasher, while he was still studying.
His first business venture was printing and selling t-shirts to his friends in high school, which grew into an underground streetwear brand. He moved onto designing and importing cashmere sweaters while he was in University. “I wanted to bring affordable luxury clothing through a direct-to-customer enterprise,” he shares.
A Shift To Digital Marketing
It was in 2012 when Gian started seeing a shift towards digital. At that time, he was working for an Australian liquor trade publication company, where he was exposed to the rigors of native advertising, sales, marketing, and content creation. Digital platforms were starting to gain traction with companies and consumers alike.
Gian would later on put up a digital marketing agency to provide social media marketing and influencer marketing for over 40 small business clients.
In a few years, Gian expanded his digital marketing business and found his way back to the Philippines. In 2015, he founded Disruptive Media’s Philippines branch, a boutique digital marketing agency that catered to some of the world’s most respected international brands, among these IKEA (Ikano), Stores Specialists, Inc. and La Germania.
In 2018, Gian started with August 99 Inc. as their Digital Marketing Division Head, and would double its revenue to $1 million in its first year, and $2 million in 2019. He currently leads five departments—Project Management, SEaO, PPC, Social Media, and Content. From his humble beginnings of running a business with just one employee, he now manages more than 45 staff.
He attributes his success to his willingness to make mistakes, staying agile, and removing the fear of failure from the hearts of his employees.
He always practices self reflection on his leadership when employees don’t produce acceptable work. “In these situations, I always ask myself, ‘Have I set the right expectations?’ ‘Did I provide clear instructions?’ ‘Have I given my staff enough opportunities to ask questions?’ ‘Have I given them the right tools to complete tasks?’”
Despite his accolades, he knows that there is always room to grow and learn. “You have to constantly innovate. You have to eliminate fear and learn that making mistakes is part of success.”
Not one to forget his roots, Gian believes in the importance of not just refining certain skills, but also learning traditional marketing.
“Often I see digital marketers, who know everything about SEO or Social Media, but have no understanding of the function of marketing, which is ensuring business survival, growth and managing its reputation,” he says “It’s important to see how your efforts fit within the overall business goals.”
With his expertise and years of experience, Gian looks forward to sharing his passion for his craft to marketing practitioners and businesses worldwide. His newest venture, Wherever, seeks to build outsourced teams for digital marketing and beyond.
"If we never make mistakes, then we're not pushing our limits, we have to get out of our comfort zone to grow"
"Often teams are led through fear and it's the single most crippling thing that you can have in an organization. If people are scared to make mistakes, to look stupid, it also means they're scared to dare, to go further, to overreach and therefore, to excel."