About Chris

Chris is a passionate believer in the mutual benefits of brands engaging people in positive and constructive ways; and believes that considered, creative, integrated, innovative communications create value for consumers, brands and businesses.

He has delivered strategic media planning and thought leadership for a range of clients across both Europe and APAC, and has worked on global and regional projects for brands including Diageo, Singapore Airlines, Unilever, ANZ Bank, Google, Coca-Cola, Adidas, Ferrero, HSBC, Ebay, LG and The Guardian.

An industry thought-leader, Chris has co-written multiple books on the future of the media industry and the impact of machine learning on marketing. He is a regular and respected commentator on the communications industry, and has presented on stages including Cannes, Spikes Asia, MediaTech Asia and Mumbrella360.

He likes what he does.


Areas of Expertise

  • Strategic planning – developing integrated communications planning for advertisers and brands
  • Thought-leadership – on the future of media and the impact of technology on consumer behaviour, media and marketing
  • Challenger thinking and how to apply challenger thinking to your brand and business
  • Driving creativity and innovation as part of the marketing and communications planning process
  • Audience targeting and planning to drive short and longer-term marketing outcomes



PRESENTER | CAMPAIGN CONNECT | What does The Data Tell Us About The Asian Consumer In 2021?

What do Asia’s consumers look like today? How have they changed?
What are their behaviours and demands?

My session identified three areas in which Asian consumers are quantitively pulling ahead or diverging from the rest of the world; the embrace of gaming and the new worlds of the metaverse, the primacy placed on brands to afford status and exclusivity to boost their image and reputation, and how consumers are significantly more trusting of technology as a medical solution and means of optimising their personal health

INTERVIEW | ALL THAT MATTERS | The Future of Live Content

I joined the awesome Tara Crosby, the Head of Sales for SEA at Twitch to discuss the future of live content and the opportunities for advertisers and brands.

ARTICLE CONTRIBUTOR | THE DRUM | Coronavirus will impact ad spend but could drive shift to utility, e-commerce and live-streaming

Key Quote: “So yes, be ready for the recovery – prepare now for campaigns to reflect the optimism, for popped-up and expanded physical availability to capture resurgence of demand, and ready your promotions and incentives to capture a share of sales when they recover. But above all understand that weathering and not just surviving, but thriving, through change is what we all do now. That’s all our new normal, and has been for a while.”

PODCAST | MANAGING MARKETING | Innovation and Effectiveness in Marketing

Chris discusses with Darren Woolley the importance of defining and delivering effectiveness. He shares the paradox for marketers of the desire to be innovative and ground-breaking and at the same time delivering the results required, and shares his insights into the increasing role for strategy in a world that is focusing on short term results.

ARTICLE | MUMBRELLA ASIA | Mumbrella360 Asia session preview: How to apply challenger-brand thinking to your business

Ahead of his session on the topic at the Mumbrella360 Asia conference in Singapore, PHD planning and strategy head Chris Stephenson unpacks the secret sauce of challenger brands – both inside and outside the media and marketing industry.

KEYNOTE | MEDIA TECH TAIPEI | Marketing in the Age of Machines

How successful brands are driving growth by challenging the new rules of marketing; elaborated how brands can break through the challenges of advertising and develop better marketing strategies and experiences for consumers in an increasingly noisy and crowded world.

INTERVIEW | EXCHANGE4MEDIA INDIA | Merger of humanity and technology is the future of marketing

PHD’s APAC Head of Strategy and Planning talks to exchange4media about the latest Investment Planning product from PHD and his vision for the agency of the future by Venkata Susmita Biswas.

FEATURE | MUMBRELLA ASIA | Disruption in the travel sector is creating a new ‘golden age of marketing’

Disruption in the travel industry is pushing marketing into previously unexplored realms, resulting in a sea change in the way technology is used by marketers, PHD’s Chris Stephenson has claimed.

ARTICLE | MUMBRELLA ASIA | Humanity is addicted to technology – and the more we progress the more we will welcome it

As technological devices become increasingly part of our lives, they will be implantable, invisible and we will start to merge with them. And these pose a vast opportunity for marketers, writes Chris Stephenson.

INTERVIEW | SPIKES ASIA FESTIVAL OF CREATIVITY | Chris Stephenson and Moon Ribas interviewed

Chris Stephenson, PHD Regional Head of Strategy and Planning of PHD APAC and Moon Ribas, cyborg and artist talk about the fusion of humanity and technology, and creative inspiration.

ARTICLE | CAMPAIGN ASIA | AI, VR, algorithmic filtering: Embrace the coming wave or else

Much of what will take place in the next 30 years is already set in motion. By accepting these trends are inevitable, the industry stands a stronger chance at remaining relevant, by Chris Stephenson.

KEYNOTE | MUMBRELLA | Mumbrella360 video: Global Sentience – what the AI revolution means (keynote) Chris Stephenson

What is AI and what potential does it hold for society and marketing? How has it become one of the most talked-about issues of today? Chris Stephenson, head of strategy and planning, APAC, for PHD, looks into the AI-driven world of 2029 and the impact and implications of AI enabled marketing.

VIDEO | PHD | Insights from the jury room as PHD’s first time judges describe their experience

PHD’s Chris Stephenson, head of planning and strategy for APAC, and Euan Hudghton, managing partner at PHD UK, discuss their time as Cannes Lions media jurors.


At Mumbrella360 in 2014 I had about the most fun that I could have wished for when I had to step in for Kyle Sandilands and host PHD’s Nextival L!ve … a panel quiz show with some of Australia’s greatest and brightest minds – in which we explored the far (far) future of media and communications.

In 2013 I chaired a session at Mumbrella360 on Gamification in which we discussed the opportunities for brands to gamify campaigns and engagement platforms (and yup they are limited edition Adidas Skywalkers).

I followed-up this session by Hanging out with Tim Burrowes and Mark Holden (from London) to talk in more depth about gamification.

Source (these days Omni Studio) is PHD’s Operating Software. I spoke to Tim at Mumbrella when we launched it at the end of 2012.

Talking on the Mumbrella couch about our book 2016 and the future of agencies.

PHD followed up Manifesto with Change One Thing initiative at Mumbrella360 in 2012 … we decided to change our industry’s attitude to, and appreciation of, bravery – which is why every year there is now a Mumbrella Award for just that!

As part of the first Mumbrella360 in 2011 I worked with the media industry in Australia to write a Media Manifesto, which I introduced on the Mumbrellacast.


I’m a graduate of the UK’s IPA Excellence Diploma, my essay promoting the value of existing customers was one of six (and the only from a media planner) to be published in Campaign magazine. you can view all my thinking for that project here, and below are a two parts of a video I put together for the first module.


All the opinions expressed on this blog are my own and do not reflect the position or policy of PHD or any previous employer

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