Yuhong Li | CEO and founder | Ylab | China: Li Yuhong has an impressive resume. Her former positions include group account director for a 4A agency, chief strategy officer in Publicis Group, and managing director of Havas Group in Shanghai, with business wins like Cadillac, KFC, Pernod Ricard and Sanofi under her belt. Her experience taught her two things: the industry business model is outdated, and she can reinvent it.
Late last year, Li founded Ylab, a consulting firm specialising in driving growth through business, branding and market innovation. Its business model seeks to address the squeeze in profits due to price competition and meagre margins in the marketing landscape.
First, Ylab positioned itself to be not just a marketing campaign deliverer but also a business and brand innovation consultant, allowing it to work directly with the C-suites. Then, it identifies categories in need of growth acceleration and builds long-term consultancy partnerships with one brand from each category. Finally, Ylab earns not just from service fee but from a percentage of growth.
Within half a year, Li’s leadership has led her startup to win every pitch it participated in, including for Nestle Yinlu, Colgate PCA Skin, and Enova Group. Most recently, it trumped six established agencies to score another US$1.5 million project.