Asia Pacific – Around 81% of Asian consumers think there are too many subscription services to choose from now, and 93% are seeking a single hub to manage all this, a report from Bango revealed.

According to the data gathered, over three-quarters, or 81%, of subscription users believe there are now “too many” subscription services available, and 93% are demanding a unified platform to administer all of their subscriptions.

The boom in the subscription economy is threatening to overwhelm consumers across India and Southeast Asia. But even with many feeling subscription fatigue, 81% would consider signing up for more subscriptions if they were consolidated through a centralised content hub.

The latest report also revealed that there is a subscription overload happening, with 86% of consumers having more than two subscriptions and 15% having more than six. These include services ranging from streaming to food delivery, music to sports, and more.

Many consumers are having a tough time tracking their current subscriptions on separate platforms, resulting in unnecessary costs. According to the data, nearly half, or 44%, say they’ve kept paying for subscriptions they forgot were still active, while 32% are currently paying for subscription services that they never use.

However, despite the overwhelming number of subscription services, the study also showed that consumers are not looking for fewer choices. Rather, they are simply looking for a more seamless experience.

The majority of consumers (93%) want all their subscriptions to be managed through a ‘Super Bundling’ content hub, where there is a single payment to a service aggregator for multiple subscriptions like streaming services in a single hub.

Bango’s research report revealed that subscribers in Asia consider an ideal content hub to provide discounts in subscription prices (58%), access to a variety of services in one place (56%), and the ability to pay multiple subscriptions at once (51%).

Furthermore, a majority of consumers (89%) would spend more time using their subscription services if a content hub was available. Meanwhile, 91% also believe that having all of their subscriptions in one place would help them manage their household expenses.

When it comes to building this solution, the survey showed that local mobile network operators may be the key to unlocking ‘Super Bundling’.

For a majority of Asian consumers (81%), telcos are the most trusted provider for a centralised content hub. They’re the logical go-to, as two-thirds (67%) of consumers already have subscription services included in their phone plan.

Additionally, the data also revealed that ‘Super Bundling’ content hubs can boost consumer loyalty, with 95% saying they would be more loyal to the brands that provided them and 66% willing to leave their current telco provider if this service became available elsewhere.

An example of a ‘Super Bundling’ content hub are the ones offered by Verizon and Optus in the US and Australia. Both are offering centralised hubs for streaming, music, gaming, and more through their +play and SubHub platforms, respectively.

Anil Malhotra, co-founder at Bango, explained, “Managing multiple subscriptions is a headache for users. They don’t want less choice—just less admin. We should focus on building all-in-one solutions that can offer consumers flexibility in billing, a wider variety of choices, and a great user experience. That’s what they really want.”

Singapore – Communications advisory firm Brewer has announced its strategic partnership with communications agency Cyan to strengthen its regional reach and specialised offering with market expansion in China. 

Brewer’s expansion into the Chinese market marks a significant milestone in its growth across the Asia-Pacific for the last two years.

The partnership with Cyan is expected to enhance Brewer’s regional capabilities as it empowers brands to seamlessly navigate the complex Southeast Asian and Chinese markets. 

The expansion also marks the launch of the SEA-China advisory, which aims to bridge communication strategies between key APAC regions. It exemplifies the deepening economic connections between China and Southeast Asia, as well as the increasing demand for cross-market communications advisory services between these critical APAC regions.

Brewer’s partnership with Cyan reaffirms its focus on strengthening its regional footprint, complemented by the recent appointment of Natashia Jaya as a partner based in Indonesia.

And now, with its foray into the Chinese market, Brewer has also appointed Daniel Li as its new country lead. 

Li is a seasoned communications leader and newly appointed partner at Cyan. He will lead the communication firm’s operations, drive business growth, and cross-market opportunities in China.

The partnership comes as Brewer remains committed to helping clients navigate the multifaceted business landscape in APAC through strategic communications, an expanded regional network, deeper market insights, and culturally-astute strategies.

Serina Tan, founder and managing partner at Brewer, said, “Our regional expansion reflects our commitment to top-tier counsel, deeply rooted in local insights across APAC. With the introduction of our SEA-China Advisory practice, we combine our expertise with Cyan, offering bespoke, results-driven solutions for clients engaging in cross-border transactions between China and Southeast Asia. Daniel’s remarkable expertise will be instrumental in driving our cross-market advisory services.”

Meanwhile, Ada Chen, CEO of Cyan, also added, “Our partnership with Brewer is driven by shared values of innovation and client centricity. Together, we are committed to propelling Chinese brands onto the global stage, supporting their cross-border expansion. Brewer’s deep expertise in APAC communications advisory empowers us to be the catalyst for brands seeking international growth.”

Speaking on his appointment, Daniel Li said, “I am honoured to embark on this exhilarating journey with Brewer and Cyan. Brewer’s forward-thinking approach to strategic communications is reshaping the way businesses communicate in the dynamic APAC region. Our collaboration promises to not only drive growth but also redefine industry standards.” 

APAC – Global creative agency Amplify, has announced two new key appointments namely, Sabrina Khong as the new associate creative director and Caitlin Todd as a new business lead.

These appointments follow Amplify’s vision of diversifying and strengthening their offering and expertise across multiple fields as an advertising agency. 

Khong joins from Foxtel, where she was an Art Director working on conceptualisation and creative strategy for Foxtel campaigns. Previously, she was an associate creative director at Section in Singapore where she worked with brands such as Uniqlo, PlayStation, Durex, and Nikon.She was also an art director at Publicis Singapore for three years, where she worked on winning pitches for brands including Tiger Crystal, Samsung, HPB and Disney.

On the other hand, Todd comes from three years at integrated social agency, Ground, in Sydney. Prior to that she was with Hill+Knowlton Strategies in London, starting as a junior consultant and working her way up. Throughout her career Todd has worked with a broad range of clients across the entertainment, tech and lifestyle space including Nike, Activision Blizzard, Huawei, Sennheiser, Intel, Oatley, and Team GB.

On these hires, Gareth Davies, managing partner at Amplify, said, “We’re truly excited to welcome Sabrina and Caitlin to the team. Sabrina’s experience delivering quality creative work across multiple mediums, from social campaigns to TVCs and augmented reality experiences along with Caitlin’s experience  across PR, strategy, social and digital makes them both a perfect fit for Amplify.”

Speaking on her appointment, Khong said, “I am thrilled to be collaborating with so many talented individuals in the Amplify team and I look forward to pushing the boundaries of creativity and contributing to the already impressive list of clientele.”

Meanwhile, Todd also commented, “I’m very excited to have joined Amplify and I’m particularly looking forward to working alongside such a talented team as we continue to grow our exceptional client relationships.”

Singapore – Joanne Wong has been appointed by FleishmanHillard as the new president of its Asia-Pacific division. Wong, who has nearly twenty years of experience, has previously worked for the agency in roles like executive vice president, managing director for client services, and head of business development for APAC. Wong previously worked at FTI Consulting Strategic Communications as a senior managing director before returning to FleishmanHillard.

In her new position, Wong will oversee FleishmanHillard’s operational performance across nine nations in the APAC region. Her responsibilities will also include managing the growth and financial performance of the region, fostering the development of productive teams and colleagues, and providing leadership that places a strong emphasis on respect, collaboration, and inclusion as fundamental organizational principles.

Wong held a leadership position in the APAC region during her first 19 years at FleishmanHillard and contributed to the region’s expansion and success over the previous 20 years. Her most recent position involved managing regional operations and profitability while working closely with general managers to promote business growth and talent acquisition and retention in key geographic markets.

She also led teams that served clients in a variety of industries, including healthcare, energy, technology, manufacturing, and others. She also established and oversaw the organization’s APAC financial Services, public affairs, and healthcare practices.

Wong serves as an advisor to C-suite executives, offering guidance on media and special situation responses, including crises and market strategies. She also presents regional trend analyses to global client’s leadership and boards.

John Saunders, president and CEO of FleishmanHillard, expressed, “I am thrilled to welcome Joanne back to the agency in this key role for our global network.” 

He added, “Joanne’s experience is steeped in consulting and client service. And she has a proven track record of growth achieved by supporting colleagues and teams, creating new paths and opportunities for high-performing employees. She will undoubtedly help us generate growth and commercial results in the region and globally, deepening relationships with our current clients and helping to define the future of our company.”

Speaking about her appointment, Wong said, “I am very excited to return to FleishmanHillard, which nurtured and built my dedication and expertise in the communications profession.” 

“I look forward to collaborating with the leadership team in the region to co-create a network that is recognized for our distinctive capabilities to problem-solve for clients, and as the destination for the best talent to achieve their most-rewarding career experience,” Wong added. 

Singapore – Popular coffee chain Starbucks has announced its collaboration with global mass media company Walt Disney to release Disney-inspired merchandise and stylish lifestyle accessories aiming to inspire a sense of shared nostalgia that resonates with all ages.

Launching on September 19 for a limited time, the collection will be launched in 15 markets across the Asia Pacific region, blending Disney’s iconic characters with Starbucks’ familiar third place experience.

Starring fan-favorite Disney characters such as Mickey and Friends, Chip ‘n Dale, Dumbo, Stitch and Angel, the Starbucks’ ‘Relive the Magic Together’ series features  an array of 15 different drinkware designs and six lifestyle accessories. The drinkware range features mugs, reusable cups, and tumblers, whilst the lifestyle accessories include reusable tote bags, umbrellas, and pins.

The new themed collection will be available across 15 markets, spanning Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

Samuel Fung, vice president of product and marketing at Starbucks Asia Pacific, said “Our “Relive the Magic Together” merchandise speaks to Starbucks mission to strengthen human connection with elements of fun and imagination. This collection is poised to touch the hearts of fans of all ages. The possibilities of striking human connections over the everyday ritual of drinking coffee, rooted in our iconic Starbucks Experience, are truly limitless.”

“We wanted to creatively reimagine how some of our favorite Disney characters might enjoy moments of friendship together – perhaps even taking the time to cheers over a cup of coffee! By weaving together memorable Disney characters with Starbucks style and messages of forging genuine connections, we hope our designs brighten your day, bring comfort and happiness, and warm the hearts of people of all ages”, he added.

Asia Pacific – Social media app TikTok and international advertising agency TBWA have announced the release of a new joint whitepaper titled “Storytelling in the Next Creative Renaissance”, which encourages businesses to embrace the role of creativity and innovation in contemporary marketing. 

This key initiative by TikTok and TBWA aims to elevate industry standards and deliver insights that enable businesses to thrive amidst rapid changes in the digital landscape. 

The whitepaper highlights the significance and potency of everyday creativity by leveraging the power of the cultural zeitgeist (spirit of the time) through storytelling while exploring its various applications on and off TikTok. It provides an in-depth look at the crucial role creativity and innovation play in contemporary marketing strategies. 

The whitepaper also shared how brands that have broken away from ‘best practises’ are being rewarded by having discovered the possibilities on newer platforms. These brands are disrupting category conventions, capturing attention, creating on-going value, and gaining recognition.

Another thing highlighted in the whitepaper is the enormous potential for brands to influence across subcultures, as many of these subcultures already have global reach. As the brand’s relevance expands, so will the brands already connected to it.

Therefore, while there may be temptation for brands to hitch themselves to whichever niche has the greatest potential for growth, they should instead engage with subcultures that share their worldview. By joining these conversations authentically, brands now have a shortcut to word-of-mouth promotion. 

Furthermore, brands should harness the tech-enabled tools available to supercharge creative minds and tell stories at scale so executions can be upgraded quickly, giving assets new value or streamlining the creation of bespoke content. 

In line with this, TikTok has also developed and deployed a ‘Recut, Remix, Reimagine’, framework to foster creativity amongst brands and marketers on its platform. Under this framework, TikTok aims to encourage them to go beyond conventional marketing paradigms that will increase their creative output with the help of technology and also fine-tune it to align with targeted audiences and distinct subcultures. 

As the whitepaper emphasises, marketers who study digital platforms not only acquire valuable cultural insights but also position themselves to effectively benefit from marketing innovation.

As outlined by TikTok and TBWA in the whitepaper, we’re entering the era of the new creative Renaissance, where fostering meaningful connections is paramount. Rather than diminishing creative ideation due to budget constraints, brands and marketers should consider optimising other operational processes to reap the most from their marketing strategies.

Tessa Conrad, head of innovation at TBWA Asia, said, “What your brand stands for, what it offers people, and what it makes people feel, results in a community to connect and create with rather than just an audience to speak to.”

Meanwhile, Ng Chew Wee, head of business marketing for Asia Pacific at TikTok, said, “81% of our users take actions such as purchasing a product or seeking more information after watching a TikTok video. This suggests that brands creating relevant, engaging content have a genuine chance to directly influence consumer behaviour.” 

Sydney, Australia – Brand and digital studio Koto has officially marked its expansion into the Asia-Pacific region with the launch of its Sydney office. The studio also announced the appointment of two new seasoned executives, Damian Borchok as managing director and Gerald Torto as senior strategy director. 

The new appointees will be leading the new office and regional efforts in APAC, with a senior creative leader expected to join them in the next few months. 

Koto’s initial focus will be on expanding its presence in Australia, India, Singapore, and South Korea. This strategic move reflects Koto’s continuous growth as a brand and digital studio spanning the EU, US, and now APAC.

While Koto’s local footprint was absent until now, it has already engaged with several APAC enterprises, including Australian-founded Airtasker, a service marketplace; Zip, a buy-now-pay-later fintech; Gumtree, an online classifieds and community site acquired by eBay, operating in Australia and New Zealand; and Korean-based Need, a digital cancer protection system.

The studio’s momentum has grown steadily, recently delivering impactful projects for global brands such as Airbnb, Amazon Music, Discord, Glassdoor, Netflix, and Whatsapp. 

It is dedicated to building optimistic brands that are true, compelling, and distinctive and continues to leverage deep immersion and strategic thinking as the foundation for ensuring relevance and creative excellence in every project it undertakes.

And as they started their move to expand in APAC, Koto’s strategic move was bolstered by an accomplished leadership team with a standout local track record.

Prior to his appointment as managing director for APAC, Borchok held key positions at Interbrand and Landor Australian outposts before launching his boutique studio, For The People. He has over two decades of APAC experience and carries with him a portfolio of prominent brands like Culture Amp (Australia), TIMEdotCom (Malaysia), and the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Meanwhile, Torto, in his new role as senior strategy director for APAC, brings a distinctive blend of brand strategy and business expertise. He formerly served as a strategy director for Re, a part of the M&C Saatchi Group. 

He was able to establish a new practice within Re dedicated to delivering brand services to APAC tech scale-ups, amassing an impressive client portfolio including Australian brands Weel, Mr Yum, Channel 7, and more.

Koto also teased a third leader, well-versed in regional dynamics, who will soon join the leadership team as executive creative director. 

James Greenfield, CEO at Koto, explained, “After launching our second US studio in New York just over a year ago, it felt right to set our sights on the APAC region. We’ve worked with a number of APAC clients in recent years, and we can see the potential here is immense, with thriving economies and leaders aiming to make their brands global forces. I’ve always believed APAC brands hold untapped possibilities to display their identity, differentiation, and strategic growth.” 

He added, “Exceptional brands shouldn’t be limited to the US – there are a lot of interesting products and services in APAC. Koto steps in with Damian, G, and our upcoming Executive Creative Director, soon to be unveiled. Together, they’re the dream team writing this next chapter with us.”

Also speaking on the expansion, Borchok said, “Sooner rather than later Asia will be home to 3 of the 5 largest economies in the world. Brands from this region will have global impact like never before. While there are internationally networked branding agencies across APAC, few are yet to bring much of a sense of dynamism, vision, or ambition. The region deserves to see more brands that elevate Asia’s growing status and influence—commercially and culturally.”

“Koto was born out of the technology and innovation world. Our work is informed by the entrepreneurial drive to build something better. In our case, it’s brands. We’re looking forward to partnering with like-minded businesses and contributing to the exciting times ahead in Asia and the Pacific,” he further explained. 

On the appointment, Torto also shared, “I’m really excited to be contributing to Koto’s vision of building the world’s most iconic brands in the world’s most iconic places. The opening of a studio in Sydney to service the region is a real signal of intent and too good an opportunity to miss. For me, there’s an unmatched optimism and pragmatism to the way the business goes about its work, and that drives an approach to brand strategy and verbal (as well as visual) identity that I feel can make a real difference to the ambitious businesses across APAC.”

Singapore – Singaporean bank DBS has recently unveiled its metaverse concept for ‘DBS BetterWorld’, a gamified adventure that leverages the use of the metaverse as a force that promotes sustainability.

In line with the ‘Towards Zero Food Waste’ initiative of DBS in 2020, the virtual experience highlights the global food waste challenge and what Businesses for Impact supported by the DBS Foundation are doing to address the issue.

As part of the experience, players must complete a series of activities inspired by five Businesses for Impact supported by the DBS Foundation and their unique approach to mitigating food waste. 

The five businesses involved are upcycling craft beer makers Brewerkz and Breer, sustainable food retail store GreenPrice, and urban farming practitioners Edible Garden City and Rooftop Republic.  

Players based in Singapore will be treated to extra rewards which can be redeemed via special QR codes accessed using DBS PayLah!. DBS has also included easter eggs for players to discover, including cameo appearances by characters from the bank’s web series, ‘Sparks’. DBS BetterWorld will be accessible to the public once the sandbox’s alpha season 4 is launched.

Karen Ngui, head of group strategic marketing and communications at DBS, and board member of DBS Foundation, said, “DBS believes that it is possible to leverage the metaverse as a force for good. It can be harnessed as an interactive platform to increase awareness of important ESG issues and creatively spotlight those who are finding innovative ways to address them.”

“For starters, with DBS BetterWorld, we have chosen to delve into the challenges of food waste and food resilience, issues that DBS and the DBS Foundation have been championing, in a unique and engaging way. As metaverse technologies mature, we hope to create mechanisms for communities and businesses to translate the outcomes of their virtual initiatives to real world impact,” she added. 

APAC – Latest data from audience intelligence tool YouGov Profiles reveals that 46% of all APAC consumers are drawn to socially-conscious brands that display values aligned with their own and that 48% are drawn to brands that get involved with issues of wider societal interest. 

According to the data, more than half of APAC consumers are most likely to consider a brand’s values when making purchase decisions and appreciate brands that engage with social issues.

Information provided also delves into the appeal of brand messaging amongst APAC consumers, as well the appeal of other efforts such as sustainability actions and valuing the locality and nationality of brands.  

On brand messaging, Brands that have a moral message are also more likely to appeal to three out of five  APAC consumers. Regionally, 54% of Indonesian consumers and 45% of Thai consumers consider whether a brand upholds values that align with their personal outlook before making a purchase and are also most likely to appreciate brands that engage with social issues. These brands have the widest appeal in Indonesia (80%) and Hong Kong (60%), although just under a third of consumers in the latter like brands that get involved with social issues.

When it comes to sustainability, the data reveals that about 48% of APAC consumers try to buy from brands which are socially and environmentally responsible, and 53% prefer those that engage in fair trade processes. Notably, the majority are also willing to pay more for eco-friendly products. Buying from socially and environmentally responsible companies is a priority for most Thai (62%) and Indonesian (55%) consumers, but for roughly only a third in Singapore (33%) and Hong Kong (34%).

Looking out for fair trade products is something close to two-thirds of consumers in Indonesia make an effort to do, but only two in five consumers in other key APAC markets say the same. Indonesian consumers are also most open to spending more for eco-friendly products (72%), ahead of Thai (51%) and Australian (50%) consumers, while less than half of Singaporean (41%) and Hong Kong (38%) consumers would.

Lastly, around half of all APAC consumers are also concerned with large online and multinational enterprises driving out small businesses in their community, with over half of APAC consumers choosing local community shops over foreign ones and making efforts to support local businesses.

Specifically, consumers in Indonesia are most likely to conscientiously support local businesses (82%), followed by Australia(68%). On the other hand, Singapore is the only market where less than half of consumers say they make an effort to support local businesses and prefer shopping close-by.

Singapore – With millennials being referred to as the generation of ‘digital natives’, it comes as no surprise that they are one of the most influential demographics in the current era of marketing. This being said, research on key trends among millennials conducted by market research firm GWI shows what millennials from APAC cater to when it comes to their behavior towards media consumption and brand purchases.

Data from GWI’s study touches on how millennial preference can contribute to the rise of brands, media platforms, and even influencers, as well as what millennials seek in brands that they purchase on a regular basis. 

When it comes to media consumption, the study shows that APAC millennials are actually spearheading the growth of the podcast as a media platform, with 25% of respondents  listening in for at least two hours a day. This also leads to respondents saying that 12% of them discover new brands or products through podcast advertisements.

APAC millennials have also been found to be easily swayed by nostalgia, with the study stating that 65% of respondents prefer if brands or companies bring back old logos and ads. The same can be said with the effect of memes in advertising, as the study says that they are more engaged with finding memes funny when compared to the later Gen Z demographic.        

Moving on to brands, influencer marketing plays a significant role in marketing to APAC millennials, with 85% of respondents saying that they trust influencers. Nearly 4 in 10 APAC respondents say influencer recommendations are more trustworthy than regular ads, which translates into purchase behavior — as there is an 8% more likely than average likelihood for them to purchase a product recommended by influencers.

Lastly, brand trust towards millennials is vital in terms of reliability, as 45% of the respondents are loyal to the brands that they already like in terms of quality control. Respondents also said that they are 11% more likely than average to cite a live-chat feature as a purchase driver, and the number one thing they expect from brands is to be socially responsible.