Singapore – TBWA, has announced today the appointment of Ellie Brocklehurst to chief marketing officer for Asia. This is a new role for the agency, a key member of the leadership team responsible for elevating the branding, communications and marketing efforts of the agency.

She was most recently the head of growth marketing at Wunderman Thompson/VML. During her four years at the agency, Ellie was responsible for the growth marketing & communications function across Asia, including lead-gen marketing initiatives, client events, media relations and thought leadership. 

Most recently, her scope included working with in-market leaders and client teams to identify key growth opportunities with APAC’s top clients. 

Prior to her Wunderman Thompson/VML stint, she was the regional communications lead for BBDO, leading all internal and external communications for Asia. During her time here, she also supported regional clients in their content efforts by offering her expertise and leadership on key accounts such as AIA and Hilton.

Brocklehurst has over 13 years’ experience working in leading PR and Marketing agencies, with nearly a decade spent in Singapore. In addition to her expertise in growth marketing and communications, her knowledge and understanding of the nuances across each market in the Region and the ability to leverage these is what makes her a great new addition to the regional leadership at TBWA. 

Speaking on her new role, Brocklehurst said, “TBWA has always been a creative powerhouse in Asia, and globally, and I feel incredibly privileged to be joining such a strong and successful agency. Being the Disruption® company, an agent for change for brave clients looking to grow and succeed, is a clear and very cool value proposition. I’m excited to dive right in and work with the team on a growth strategy that will take our clients and agency to great new heights.”

Meanwhile, Sean Donovan, TBWA\ President, Asia, comments, “As a means of achieving a greater share of the future for our clients, for the last few years we have migrated the way we work toward a more borderless mindset. The creation of a CMO role, and particularly Ellie’s appointment to it, gives us even better ability to leverage the power of the collective across Asia to bring Disruption® to life across the total brand experience for our clients.”

With a company like Publicis Groupe Indonesia consisting of multiple agencies across a vast array of markets, driving business transformation using creativity and technology is no simple feat to achieve. However, for Sony Nichani, CEO of Publicis Groupe Indonesia, this is made easier with how she makes her leadership work in the company.

In terms of how she approaches leadership, Sony focuses significantly on fostering collaboration and driving camaraderie, pushing forward the agenda of building strong and authentic relationships with her teams as well as supporting their individual growth.

“If I have to pin down my leadership style, it would lean towards Servant leadership. As a team, we focus on defining our culture and driving positive employee engagement. We are very proud of the way this is reflected in our bi-annual employee surveys and low attrition scores,” said Sony.

Motivation through merits

To compliment her values in leading others, Sony shared the unique initiatives implemented by Publicis Groupe Indonesia to keep the teams engaged and motivated.

Firstly, Sony shared how the company utilises a clear and transparent ‘Pay for Performance’ model, which provides a disciplined approach to meritocracy using their ‘Career Conversations’ tool to ensure that their top talents are recognised and compensated well. Aside from these rewards, the company also launched its monthly ‘Lions of the Month’ initiative, which recognises team members who showcased exemplary performances based on peer nominations.

Furthermore, the company also commits to several activities and events to promote upskilling and cater to the well-being of employees such as mental health initiatives, ‘Thirsty Thursdays’ that promotes learning on digital transformation and A.I., and Friday disconnects which help teams bond with each other or spend time at home with the family while continuing to offer hybrid working opportunities.

Facing the dynamic shift

Talking about the challenges faced by Publicis Groupe Indonesia, Sony mentioned that there has been a radical shift in the kind of work that clients are investing in, as businesses are transforming more and more to be competitive. With this in mind though, Sony shared that Publicis Groupe Indonesia is equipped to deal with these emerging situations.

“Given the Groupe’s creative, intelligence, and technology expertise, our agencies are well equipped with strong capabilities to provide clients with transformative ideas and consumer experiences. This has given us a unique positioning to provide strategic counsel to help our clients solve their business challenges and provide an open architecture that allows them to plug & play with world-class experts under a single P&L, leading to a deeper and more meaningful partnership with clients,” she mentioned.

Going into detail, Sony explained that Publicis Groupe Indonesia achieves this by creating bespoke teams to offer clients end-to-end solutions in a frictionless and efficient manner. This approach has helped them significantly in campaigns such as with Mondelez and Blackpink, wherein they efficiently leveraged data, experiences, AI-based personalised content and activated communities to give K-Pop fans a one-of-a-kind experience.

Through this method of gaining a deep understanding of their audience, Sony has seen a strong business growth momentum with Indonesia being recognised as a key driver and contributor to SEA’s growth in the first quarter of this year. This leads to an improvement in ownership and empowered leadership when it comes to how they bring together their services to clients.

Building strength towards success 

As a result of these strategies and initiatives, Sony commented on how Publicis Groupe Indonesia has gone from strength to strength over the past four years in terms of capability building, new business growth, and achieving fame at regional and global levels.

“In 2023, we had double digit growth, won over 80 awards including Creative Agency and Digital Agency of the Year in Asia Pacific and have been recognised for our work in creative, data, CRM, AI as well as for key client projects. But what was most heartening for me was winning SEA’s Best Culture Award at Campaign Asia Agency of the Year 2023 as that truly is a testament of our coming together as a team,” she shared.

Talking about how this style of leadership helped make everything possible for the company, Sony concluded with a piece of advice saying, “Empathy is most important – we are in the people’s business and we spend so much of our time together, so it’s really important to understand and appreciate each other’s differences.”