Marketing Featured ANZ

Bastion Amplify acquires Promedia, plans to do series of buyouts in Queensland

Brisbane, Queensland Bastion Amplify, Australian-based independent marketing and communications agency, has recently acquired Promedia, a full-service public relations firm based in South East Queensland. Bastion said this is its first move in plans of multiple acquisitions in Queensland’s communications, creative, and experience sectors, as part of its local and international expansion program.

Promedia will be integrated into the company’s existing operations to expand across South East Queensland over the next six months. 

“Brisbane and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts are experiencing an unprecedented surge in population and economic growth which are driving record levels of private and public sector investment in development, infrastructure and consumer business,” shared Founder and Group CEO Jack Watts. 

Watts added, “With a 10-year runway to the 2032 Olympics, the region is just getting started – without doubt it’s going to be a major growth hub not just for Australia but the Asia Pacific. We want to be in the thick of that action. The opportunity for Bastion to partner with an agency such as Promedia, which is woven into the business fabric of the Gold Coast and Brisbane and is synonymous with many of the most iconic development and nation-building infrastructure projects delivered in both cities as well as in northern NSW – it’s the beachhead we’ve been looking for.”

Bastion’s ‘Think Wide’ model will give clients access to a full suite of integrated communications services, bringing together service offerings and experts from research and insights to brand and creative, advertising, reputation, digital, and customer experience, etc.

In acquiring Promedia, Bastion Amplify has now more than 90 staff across Australia, New Zealand, and the US for its PR, social and influencer arm. Promedia Managing Director Jeremy Scott, who has been with the company since 1989, will continue to lead Bastion Amplify Queensland.

According to Scott, merging with Bastion Amplify allows the company to offer a completely new depth and breadth of services to its clients in the property, health, education, tourism, lifestyle, and consumer sectors.

Scott said, “We’re coming up to 40 years in business and still retain clients who have been with us for more than three decades,” he said. “Joining forces with Bastion Amplify is about setting us up for the next 40 years, bringing a global independent model and new capabilities to South East Queensland with all the benefits that that offers to our clients and key people.”

Scott added, “Until now Brisbane and the Gold Coast have been missing an agency that offers independence at scale – an international communications reach and capability complemented by a highly experienced local team with an in-depth understanding of South East Queensland’s demographic and economic drivers. Bastion now fills that need.” 

According to Bastion Amplify Managing Director Richard Chapman, the agency will provide a unique mix of PR, digital, social, and influencer services to clients in Queensland and northern NSW with emphasis on implementing publicity, social media, community management, and influencer engagement to provide holistic communications services to brands across a variety of industry verticals.

Chapman said, “South East Queensland is an incredibly dynamic place to be right now, and it is only going to get better with the development and population growth and in the lead up to the 2032 Olympic Games.”

Main Feature Marketing APAC

Establishing leadership in Asia: How Hakuhodo is powering its growth via acquisitions

As the advertising industry continues to change in order to address the needs and concerns of consumers, agencies are rethinking how to improve their capabilities for brands. One of the firms’ strategies is expansion through acquiring other companies in the space, and this is exactly what we’ve been seeing in the case of Japanese advertising agency Hakuhodo Inc., which has made a number of buy-outs in the past periods.

In February 2017, Hakuhodo acquired ICG, an activation agency headquartered in Singapore, while in 2018, the agency acquired Vietnamese IMC group Square Communications and three companies in the Philippines, creative engineering company IdeasXMachina, brand agency Beginnings Communications, and events/activation company eNAV.

A year later, Hakuhodo has acquired shares in digital agencies, Winter Egency Co., Ltd. in Thailand in 2019 and AdGlobal360 in India in 2020. Also in 2020, it acquired Taiwan’s Growww Media, an operating holding company with five brands under its umbrella: United Communications Group, a full-service advertising agency, KY-Post (activation and exhibitions), Pilot Group (PR), Interplan Group (large events and exhibitions), and Medialand (digital marketing). Most recently, the Japan-based agency has completed the acquisition of Malaysian digital creative agency Kingdom Digital. We know that these undertakings are meant to supercharge growth, but what does such a targeted business move by one firm imply about the changes in the industry as a whole?

For MARKETECH APAC‘s newest The Inner State, we spoke with Shuntaro Ito, senior corporate officer at Hakuhodo and president and CEO at Hakuhodo International, to share with us their growth strategies and plans for their recent acquisitions.

Elevating Hakuhodo’s competitive positioning

Commenting on Hakuhodo’s continuous acquisitions and competitive positioning, Ito said that they feel there are two approaches; the first is the acquisition of overseas companies, which propels the Hakuhodo Group’s competitive advantage on the global stage, and the second is the application of the competitive advantage they have in Japan over Asia and other overseas markets.

He further shared that bringing in companies that are passionate about growing together as a group is strategically very important, and this is why they are pursuing the acquisitions of companies that shine across the different markets which share the Hakuhodo Sei-katsu-sha thinking (Hakuhodo’s term to describe people not simply as consumers, but as fully rounded individuals), partnership philosophy, and focus on the importance of creativity.

“During the acquisition process, we apply our sustainable management thinking and place importance on maintaining sustainable corporate management in a continuous manner. In going forward, based on this thinking, we would like to further expand our network,” Ito added.

Meanwhile, when asked about what he thinks are the top needs and challenges of brands when it comes to their advertising business, and how a bigger and continuously growing Hakuhodo can be of an answer to them, Ito noted that challenges differ by brand but Marketing ROI and full-funnel capabilities are key needs they see across many clients. 

“Therefore, I believe marketing solutions that make full use of digital and data are necessary and it is important to create real touchpoints that work together with digital. We seek marketing partners that can take on these challenges in a holistic way. Trust is also a very important component and we believe it is also a strength of ours,” said Ito.

The value of the acquisitions

According to Hakuhodo, their belief, ‘people are our main asset’, is shared with the companies that join them before the acquisition and are asked to maintain this stance. 

Ito said that at the same time, they also encourage sustaining and further enhancing the corporate culture and uniqueness of the individual companies, and in order to manage the Hakuhodo Group as one entity, they set up contacts across their group and co-work from the very early stages.

“From working together with our overseas subsidiaries, creating alliances with Japan and other group companies across the world, encouraging a parallel network across companies that fall under the same category, we create opportunities to work as a member of the Hakuhodo group and in going forward, would like to further expand on this,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ito said that on the long-term benefits of the acquisitions to Hakuhodo, clients’ needs can cover a multitude of areas and with change at an alarming rate, the Hakuhodo Group must continuously evolve to cater to these needs. 

“Thus it is important for us to organically take on clients’ needs, as well as use our external resources, with the latter being acquisitions which will greatly contribute to the Hakuhodo Group’s globalisation and growth,” he said. 

Through the latest acquisition of the Malaysian company Kingdom Digital, they are now able to offer clients in Malaysia and across Asia services in digital marketing, digital campaign, social media marketing, content marketing, and digital content creation. 

“Along with this wide array of services, we believe we are now able to work with other companies within our group both online and offline to provide marketing solutions tailored to our clients’ needs,” Ito noted.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

DXP Sitecore officially beefs up tech off quartet of acquisitions

California, USA – Digital experience management software, Sitecore, has fully integrated its core products from the acquisitions of Boxever, Four51, Moosend, and Reflektion into its Digital Experience Platform (DXP). These integrations come at a critical time for brands looking to revolutionise digital experiences to meet customers at the moment with more relevant, intuitive, and human experiences. 

The new additions have been fundamental to expanding Sitecore’s advanced, SaaS-enabled composable DXP that empowers brands to deliver unforgettable customer interactions, and will enable businesses to provide real-time, personalised digital experiences across every touchpoint, from content to commerce.

Dave O’Flanagan, Sitecore’s chief product officer, noted that they are committed to delivering a composable DXP that meets the continuously changing needs of brands – unifying content, experience, and commerce, enabling them to offer exceptional customer experiences while continuing to innovate for whatever demands are around the corner. 

“Ambitious brands have outgrown the one-size-fits-all vendors, and they will not settle for piecemeal point solutions – they need a stack of best-in-class features that work in harmony together – and this is what Sitecore delivers,” said O’Flanagan.

The updated offerings include Sitecore OrderCloud, which expanded its marketplace support capabilities with a new release of order routing flexibility, supplier empowerment, and pricing flexibility. In addition, OrderCloud released a new Inventory Records feature to provide inventory management flexibility to enable manufacturers, distributors, and retailers for seamless operations and commerce business success. The capability comes from the acquisition of Four51, which delivers modern B2B, B2C, B2B2X, and marketplace experiences for enterprise brands.

Meanwhile, Sitecore Send has revamped its platform with an improved design and more efficient user experience. It now operates with six additional languages, including Spanish, French, German, and Greek, as well as Japanese, and Portuguese. Moreover, Sitecore Send has announced a new pricing plan with a 30-day free trial for the full range of Send’s enterprise-level features. This capability came from Moosend, an innovative marketing automation and campaign management platform. 

Another offering update is Sitecore Discover, which now has enhanced its Commerce Engagement Console (CEC) with a revamped appearance library and editor to provide a better user experience and more control over merchandising. It also improved its widgets with type filters and rule exports to add more convenience for users. This capability comes from Reflektion, the AI-powered digital search platform that understands and predicts individual shoppers’ purchase intent based on patterns, context, and needs in order to convert shoppers into buyers.

And lastly, Sitecore Personalise has now completed its integration with Sitecore Experience Manager. It offers a channel diagnostic testing and real-time personalisation capability that complements Sitecore’s market-leading CMS and is delivered in the cloud. Sitecore also published several new connectors on the Sitecore Marketplace including Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Responsys, and Klaviyo in addition to adding new AI-powered product discovery capabilities to support a broad range of commerce-related use cases including intelligent search, product listing pages, and product recommendations. This capability comes from Boxever, the SaaS-based Customer Data Platform (CDP) providing decisions and experimentation.