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Marketing Featured APAC

Virtue elevates Fiona Knight to take newly-created role of head of account management for APAC

Singapore – Virtue, the agency powered by VICE Media Group, has promoted Fiona Knight, former business director at Virtue Japan, to the newly created role of head of account management for APAC, following rapid growth across the region.

In her new role, Knight will be driving commercial and operational excellence, including building the account management team, developing client partnerships and collaboration, and senior oversight on key accounts including Coca-Cola and Shiseido.

Knight has more than 20 years of experience working across FMCG, retail banking, entertainment, lifestyle and alcohol brands, including Red Bull Academy, Disney, and Mars. She first joined Virtue’s Tokyo agency from Y&R London to lead the Shiseido global business in 2020.

Commenting on her promotion, Knight said, “Working at Virtue for the past two years, I’ve seen first-hand how using a culture-led approach is such a strong and compelling proposition that truly sets Virtue apart. I’m delighted to be stepping into a leadership role in the agency to drive that work further and expand our existing client relationships, as we continue to grow the account management team across the region.”

Meanwhile, Lesley John, managing director for APAC at Virtue, shared that Knight is a strategic thinker with a broad range of experience leading big brands across digitally-led as well as traditional agencies. 

“She builds strong client-agency relationships and has excelled at effectively running accounts, underpinned by a great ability to create and manage teams. As Virtue continues to build brands from the inside of culture, Fiona will play a key role in shaping our next phase of growth across the region,” said John.

In April 2022, Virtue appointed Chris Gurney as its group creative director for its Singapore hub. He joins Virtue’s Singapore regional hub to build and define the agency’s creative vision, lead regional pitches and grow its creative teams to make work that stands out and gets recognised in culture.

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Technology Featured APAC

PubMatic ties with AlikeAudience to offer sell-side audience targeting to media buyers in Indonesia

Sydney, Australia – Programmatic digital advertising company PubMatic has partnered with audience intelligence platform AlikeAudience to enable advertisers in Indonesia to access quality audience data on the supply side.

Aside from Indonesia, the partnership is also for key markets Australia and Japan. It aims to expand the reach of Connect, PubMatic’s differentiated audience solution that leverages addressable signals from across the internet to help data owners drive monetisation and help media buyers drive performance. Connect allows media buyers to leverage a portfolio approach to addressability.

AlikeAudience offers bespoke demographic, interest, and transactional data and has more than 7,000 audience segments in the US, Australia, Japan, and SEA, across a wide range of industries, including FMCG, automotive, and financial. The company has substantial operations in APAC and the U.S. and assembles its audience data from exclusively consumer-consented CRM data, billions of unique mobile signals, and transaction data from multinational credit card companies.

Moreover, AlikeAudience has been operating in the APAC market for the past five years, working primarily with demand-side platforms (DSPs) across the region, and this partnership makes the company’s high-value audience data available on the supply side for the first time.

Brandon Lee, PubMatic’s director of data and audience for APAC, commented, “We believe that working directly with PubMatic gives media buyers greater control over data, along with higher match rates and better campaign performance. Our proximity to publishers and consumers means fewer hops around the ecosystem, making SSPs uniquely positioned to help brands reach audiences at the right place and time.”

Meanwhile, Bosco Lam, AlikeAudience’s founder and CEO, believes that advertisers will benefit from access to PubMatic’s quality mobile app media inventory, coupled with unique audiences created through packaged deals from the supply side.

“Advertisers are seeking to ensure their digital advertising campaigns are privacy-compliant and do not utilise personally identifiable information, and that has been our competitive advantage. We believe brands can reach the right audiences with all of the right data privacy practices in place,” said Lam.

In June 2022, PubMatic has announced that all of its global data centres are now powered by fully renewable energy. The company achieved this significant milestone as it embarks on a comprehensive, multi-pronged sustainability plan by the end of 2022.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Enero Group acquires Singapore-headquartered B2B marketing agency GetIT

Sydney, Australia – Enero Group, a boutique network of marketing and communications businesses headquartered in Australia, has today announced its acquisition of GetIT, the marketing agency in APAC that specialises in B2B technology. The acquisition is aimed at accelerating the growth of the group’s leading global technology communications consultancy Hotwire.

The group said the inclusion of GetIT in the group will help extend Hotwire’s client services towards digital marketing, brand strategy, reputation management, and public relations through its offices in Singapore, India, Malaysia, and Japan.

In April last year, Enero, via Hotwire, also made an acquisition through the buy-out of McDonald Butler Associates (MBA), a UK-based B2B sales agency. 

GetIT, as part of the Hotwire Group, will be advancing the consultancy’s network of global businesses with a combined team of more than 500 employees and 14 offices around the world. 

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Anol Bhattacharya, GetIT’s CEO, shared that the two primary motivations for the company to go forth with the acquisition are immediate access to the global platform and the opportunity to expand its service range. 

He also said they “liked the Hotwire/Enero leadership team.” 

“By joining Hotwire, GetIT will continue to drive momentum, particularly in the rapidly advancing markets of South East Asia, Japan, and India. Adding reputation management, brand strategy, and public relations to our sophisticated performance marketing capabilities will deepen our partnership with premier technology companies to help them achieve their business goals, particularly in navigating complex reputation issues, building business-impacting stakeholder relationships, and delivering revenue growth on a larger global scale,” commented Bhattacharya.

Alongside GetIT, the group has also announced its major acquisition of ROI DNA, a leading B2B digital marketing agency, which is seen to further extend and transform Hotwire’s capabilities in North America.

Brent Scrimshaw, CEO of Enero Group, said, “Adding sophisticated performance marketing capabilities in North America and APAC will create a global network of performance marketing expertise. This will unlock further opportunities for Hotwire to deepen [its] partnerships with some of the world’s leading technology companies.”

“Combining world-class communication skills to expedite reputation, relationships and revenue, these acquisitions will continue to accelerate Enero’s growth trajectory and positioning as a creative technology company,” Scrimshaw added.

Meanwhile, Heather Kernahan, Global CEO of Hotwire, commented, “The addition of ROI DNA and GetIT to our portfolio allows us to accelerate our reputation, relationship, and revenue services globally while adding performance marketing to provide a unique marketplace offering, which we believe, is the key to success in the current tech landscape. 

Kernahan adds that the acquisitions mean more than just for the benefit of clients. 

“Enero and Hotwire already attract and retain some of the best talent globally and aim to be the best working experience for all our teams – we are excited to bring this level of commitment to the whole employee to the ROI DNA and GetIT teams,” she said. 

The acquisition of GetIT will launch Hotwire’s owned office network across Asia, including Singapore, India, Malaysia, and Japan with a client portfolio that includes high-profile tech brands such as AWS, Oracle, Fortinet, Fujitsu, Cisco, Google Cloud and Trend Micro. 

Effective immediately, GetIT will operate as a Hotwire Company, and Bhattacharya and the extended leadership team will be continuing in their current roles. The same goes for ROI DNA which will immediately start operating as a Hotwire Company.

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Platforms Featured APAC

Marriott Bonvoy ties with ONE Esports to launch new variety talk show series, ‘Gamer’s Paradise’

Singapore – Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s award-winning travel program and marketplace, has partnered with ONE Esports, an esports media subsidiary of ONE Championship (ONE), to launch ‘Gamer’s Paradise’, a 15-episode variety talk show series. This all-new programme will feature content that celebrates the diversity of gaming and esports culture across Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Singapore, as well as Thailand, and Vietnam.

‘Gamer’s Paradise’ will feature the best esports athletes, gaming and influencer talent, and industry experts. Its episodes will centre on a theme, from deep dives into popular gaming titles to explorations of broad industry trends. Each episode will be broken down into five engaging segments, namely ‘The Pulse’, which features a panel of experts and gaming celebrities discussing the hottest gaming and esports topics, ‘Hero Story’ (Stories of Inspiration), an in-depth interview with Asia’s favourite esports heroes and personalities, and ‘Gamer’s Haven’ (A Day Away From The Game), a day of relaxation using Marriott’s facilities, offering esports personalities and gaming celebrities a much-needed break, as well as ‘Side Quest’, a feature on the best video game worlds in history, and lastly, ‘House Party’, where hosts and guests that appear on the episode will participate in a variety of geek-themed party games.

The programme will be hosted by popular ‘Super Host’ and emcee Eri Neeman and ONE Esports’ MikaFabs. Neeman has hosted several premiere esports events and tournaments such as the ESL One Birmingham 2019, ESL One Manila 2016, Manila Masters, and REV Major, while MikaFabs is a writer, producer, and esports host, who has hosted international tournaments for Valorant and League of Legends: Wild Rift.

Moreover, fans can also expect to catch their favourite gaming and esports talent on the series and stand to win prizes from Marriott Bonvoy by engaging with the show online. Program guests include League of Legends player Teddy from Korean esports team Kwangdong Freecs; Dota 2 personality and host Sheever; Japanese Street Fighter player Kawano; and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang players Edward and OHEB from Filipino esports team Blacklist International; amongst others.

Carlos Alimurung, CEO of ONE Esports, shared that the goals for Gamer’s Paradise are to celebrate esports, provide our audience with deep insights into the ecosystem and community, and share the stories of gaming and esports heroes who ignite the world with strength, hope, dreams, and inspiration.

“The series will highlight Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of properties across Asia. Marriott Bonvoy is the perfect travel program for the gaming and esports fan, whose lifestyle consists of frequent travel,” said Alimurung.

Meanwhile, Julie Purser, Marriott International’s vice president of marketing, loyalty & partnerships for APAC, commented that they have teamed up with ONE Esports on Gamer’s Paradise to bring Marriott Bonvoy’s expression of good travel in both virtual and physical settings to gamers across the region. 

“This series is rooted in travel, and we hope to showcase how the digital and gaming worlds draw inspiration, energy, and community from the transformative power of travel. There has been great synergy working alongside ONE Esports to execute this project together and we are confident Gamer’s Paradise will be a thrilling spectacle that inspires audiences,” said Purser.

‘Gamer’s Paradise’ will premiere across ONE Esports’ digital channels, including Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, and AfreecaTV, on 4 July 2022 at 8.30 PM SGT. The program will air in English every Monday, with subtitles in Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Melayu, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.

In June 2022, ONE Esports has been appointed as the official media partner for League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK). The League of Legends tournament is organised by League of Legends Champions Korea Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Riot Games Korea Limited.

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SME Featured APAC

Proxtera launches digital financial literacy programme for MSMEs

Singapore – B2B marketplace Proxtera together with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has launched an open financial education and action programme for MSMEs in Asia and Africa, which will be called, the ‘SME Financial Empowerment (SFE)’ programme.

The programme is a digital portal operated by Proxtera that aims to help MSMEs build foundational digital financial literacy skills, and gain a good understanding of cross-border financial services relevant to MSMEs, to help them thrive in the post-pandemic digital economy. It was rolled out last 14 June 2022 with market partners in Asia and Africa, starting with Ghana, India, the Philippines, and Singapore, and will benefit more than 400,000 MSMEs across both regions.

In addition, the SFE programme will be covering three key areas as a focus for 2022, namely Essential Financial Digital Skillset, MSME Financial Services, and Digital Economy Access & Growth. It will also be providing two certification courses that were developed in collaboration with UNDP, IFC, MAS, Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) and the Global FinTech Institute (GFI), namely Foundational Financial Literacy and Global Financial Literacy.

Saurav Bhattacharyya, Proxtera’s CEO, commented that they are proud to be the exclusive lead partner of the programme, and running the programme office that ideates, manages, and implements the rollout. 

“The SFE programme stays true to our mission of supporting MSMEs, by upskilling them to understand financial services and how best to tap into the digital marketplace effectively and globally. SFE provides that first step for individuals to embark on a journey of digital transformation, where their understanding and digital competencies mature over time, and they become part of an integrated ecosystem that allows them to truly trade business-sans-borders,” said Bhattacharyya.

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Marketing Featured APAC

4 in 10 online shoppers admit to over-ordering only to return unwanted items

Singapore – One of the challenges for online sellers looking to provide service and sustainability is that 23% of everything that global shoppers order online is returned and almost 39% admitted to over-ordering with the intention of returning unwanted items, presenting another dilemma for retailers’ digital supply chain, according to global e-commerce consultancy Wunderman Thompson Commerce. 

The same research found that the worst offenders for returns in the APAC region were consumers in India, sitting at the top of the global chart at 44%. Yet, the least likely to return in the region was Japan at 13%. It also revealed that the increasing influence of retail marketplaces continues to drive consumer spending online, which can be predominately seen in the APAC markets, as China leads the way in online spending sitting at 66%, followed by Indonesia and India at 64%, Thailand at 60%, Australia at 55%, and Japan at 48%.

But winning online means getting the service right – one of the biggest changes post-pandemic is the expectation and demands that consumers have of retailers. About 24% of global consumers now expect delivery in two hours, and the APAC region leads the charge in these demands with 46% of consumers in India expecting delivery in under 2 hours, Indonesia at 27%, and China and Thailand at 25%. These delivery expectations present a conundrum to retailers with 48% of global consumers demanding faster delivery, while 68% said that they wished that brands and retailers offered better environmental practices. 

Meanwhile, when consumers were asked if they ‘actively choose brands that are more environmentally responsible’, the region sits well beyond the global average. Thailand consumers sit at number one globally at 83%, followed by Indonesia at number two with 82%, India at number three with 81%, and China at number five with 71%. Australia and Japan had further to go in making active in sustainable choices, sitting at 46% and 38% respectively.

Aadit Bimbhet, regional commerce director at Wunderman Thompson APAC, shared that the COVID-19 has accelerated digital adoption globally and in Southeast Asia nearly 70 million new shoppers are estimated to have come online for the first time, while marketplaces remain the dominant force online, consumer loyalty and preferences in APAC are evolving in the face of fragmented online journeys. 

“Consumers expect to engage with brands across multiple touch-points and brands have to start enabling connected commerce experiences to efficiently acquire and retain shoppers. Furthermore, as competition for shoppers in APAC increases, delivering brand experiences that are consistent, cohesive and engaging will be crucial to capturing a share of heart, mind and wallet in the long run,” said Bimbhet.

Meanwhile, Hugh Fletcher, global head of consultancy and innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, noted that TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, marketplaces and e-commerce more generally offer shoppers an instant way to engage with, and purchase from, their favourite products and services.

“However, this means demands are higher, expectations are loftier, and consumers have reduced patience; they want products and services at the click of a button and won’t settle for second-best. Couple this with the rising cost of living and retailers face a fight to get consumers’ cash as they choose where they shop, which brands to invest in and what digital services to use,” said Fletcher.

In addition, the research shows that consumers have a healthy appetite for retailers to invest in emerging tech trends, including cashless payments with 58% and checkout-less supermarket services such as Amazon Go with 64%. The online world is also creating enormous value for retailers, with 60% of consumers planning to increase their usage of digital shopping channels. This has been driven by working from home (WFH), with 69% of consumers saying they have shopped more online, and 62% saying they have discovered new brands as a consequence of WFH.

The results have been even better this year for online marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay, Mercado Libre, and Rakuten, amongst others. About 64% of global consumers go as far as to say they are excited by the prospect of buying everything through one retailer and 36% have already started their search on top marketplaces. While Amazon sits at number one across Europe, UK, USA, and UAE, APAC sees more diversity, with more marketplaces vying for consumers and social media platforms featuring heavily.

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Technology Featured APAC

Consumers from SG, HK expect brands to connect with them at a deeper level: survey

Singapore – About 80% of consumers in Singapore and Hong Kong want brands to connect with them personally, and 70% say that brands have deepened their relationship in the past year through positive online experiences, according to a survey by digital experience management software Sitecore.

The survey showed that seven out of 10 consumers have deeper relationships with brands, while the key to securing better experiences for consumers was to deliver quality customer service support and interactions, good customer experience when making a big-ticket item, positive initial interaction with a new brand, and through providing a relevant, helpful experience. The elements that trumped price were the high quality of products with 66%, reliability with 55%, and transparency and believability with 46%.

The same survey also found that consumers still greatly value the excitement of the in-store shopping experiences, with 36% saying they want to buy everything online, and 53% saying they ‘live for the experience’ and love to shop in person. Meanwhile, consumers place top priority on the ability to shop on mobile devices where apps or websites work well with 54%, and sites that remember their shopping preferences with 42%.

Joey Lim, Sitecore’s president for APJ, noted that consumers expect outstanding digital commerce experiences and they also expect online platforms and apps to work seamlessly, and their desire to shop in-store is very strong, however, the shift to digital is putting more pressure on brands to deliver quality customer service online. 

Lim also shared the survey showed that one in three consumers believe brands that show empathy and understanding will build stronger relationships with customers.

“Brands can pursue actions that build a stronger relationship with customers, such as illustrating empathy and understanding what they need at the moment. They can do this by providing insightful recommendations and deploying imagery and language that makes them feel represented by the brand,” she added. 

Moreover, the report revealed that loyalty changes frequently, as less than 25% of consumers are very loyal to their favourite brand store but consumer technology, banking services, and consumer goods deliver the strongest brand loyalty. It also found that consumers say that they have confidence in their favourite brand because it meets their expectations, gains trust, and guarantees satisfaction.

Meanwhile, discounts, loyalty programmes, and clear communications are highly valued when brands have to change prices, and more than 90% agree that brands need to prove that they treat their customers and their employees fairly. The survey also showed that while more consumers under the age of 44 are digital converts, most consumers love to shop in person for most of their purchases, and 40% say they chose to shop at brands with values that align with their own, as well as a third of consumers say that they have chosen to shop at brands with ‘real life’ vs. ‘perfect life’ experiences.

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Platforms Featured APAC

Luxury e-commerce platform Mytheresa names Steven Xu as new president for China, APAC

China – Global luxury e-commerce platform Mytheresa has appointed Steven Xu, former head of digital and omnichannel for APAC and the Middle East at British American Tobacco (BAT), to be its new president for China and APAC

In his new role as president, Xu will now be responsible for all Mytheresa consumer-facing activities in China and APAC.

Xu brings a wealth of consumer-centred digital experience to the APAC region. Aside from his BAT, Xu has also held the role of regional head of digital activation at Philip Morris, and vice president of digital marketing and e-commerce for APAC at Ralph Lauren.

Commenting on his appointment, Xu said, “I am thrilled to join Mytheresa to further drive the business in China and APAC. There is huge growth potential in the region as luxury consumers continue to shift online. Mytheresa’s unique multi-brand digital shopping experience will attract many more customers in the future.”

Meanwhile, Michael Kliger, CEO of Mytheresa, commented, “We’re excited to have Steven on board to further continue our successful global expansion and become the number one destination in luxury e-commerce. Having Steven joining shows our clear commitment to the sophisticated Chinese luxury shopper and their demands.”

Gareth Locke, chief growth officer and managing director of Mytheresa, shared that APAC, particularly China, is an important growth market for Mytheresa, and building a local team there is crucial for them to make consumers even more aware of their unique value proposition.

“Steven brings a wealth of digital experience. We are extremely delighted to welcome him as the new President of China and Asia Pacific,” said Locke.

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Technology Featured APAC

Programmatic media partner MiQ elevates Jason Scott as new CEO for APAC

Singapore – Programmatic media partner MiQ has elevated its current CEO for ANZ, Jason Scott, to the new role of CEO for APAC, adding SEA to his leadership remit. 

In his upgraded role, Scott will be responsible for driving business growth and expansion throughout SEA. His remit includes APAC countries excluding India and China, and he will continue to serve as CEO for Australia and New Zealand.

Scott joined MiQ in 2019, following a successful career in advertising and media. He has been the general manager for Microsoft Advertising Asia, responsible for growing revenue and market share in the Asia region including greater China, India, and Japan. Scott has also held senior executive roles at Allure Media (Fairfax) and ninemsn, using his digital media and sales background to service some of the world’s largest technology clients.

Commenting on his elevation, Scott said that he is thrilled to be adding the fast-growing SEA region to his current remit, as the region’s market is dynamic and fast-paced and he is looking forward to accelerating growth by adding additional regional support. 

“MiQ has grown significantly over the past few years, with regional expansion across Australia, increased channel diversity, growth in our product portfolio and senior staff appointments. My priority now is to ensure MiQ is adequately servicing the Southeast Asian market and securing its position within the global MiQ network,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Richard Dunmall, MiQ’s global president, shared that since Scott joined them in late 2019, his performance leading their ANZ business has been nothing short of exceptional. 

“As momentum continues to build, I’m excited to see how Jason’s leadership can now be applied to our fastest-growing region. Jason is no stranger to this dynamic part of the world, holding multiple leadership positions across the region, throughout his career. I have no doubt he will continue to drive business across APAC,” he said.

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Technology Featured APAC

Criteo unveils plans for new tech, analytics centre to drive growth in APAC

India – Global adtech Criteo has announced plans for its first regional Technology Operations and Analytics Centre in Hyderabad City in Telangana, India, with the aim to strengthen its support for clients and partners. This centre is part of the adtech’s strategic plans to expand and scale its operational capabilities across APAC and beyond. 

Hyderabad was selected as the headquarters of Criteo’s regional technology centre given the location’s strategic connection to the information technology (IT) industry and its concentration of talent, robust IT infrastructure, and long-term growth potential. This centre seeks to support Criteo’s operations in India, Southeast Asia, Australia-Pacific, Greater China, South Korea, and Japan. Its digital advertising services (AdOps) function will also support Criteo globally, including EMEA and Americas.

Moreover, Criteo is also planning to hire around 150 engineers, data analysts, and solution architects over the next two years. By expanding its talent pool to scale operations and accelerate co-innovation of AdOps solutions with regional customers and partners, the adtech progresses on its commitment to power the world’s marketers and media owners with trusted and impactful advertising.

Kenneth Pao, Criteo’s executive managing director for APAC, said, “Over the past few years, Hyderabad has transformed into a global tech hub, with its immense growth potential and vast talent pool. With the development of this centre in a strategic location, Criteo remains committed to supporting our regional customers and partners by scaling our operational capabilities and ensuring that they can innovate with leading AdTech solutions created for the fair and open internet.”

Apart from the development of this centre, Criteo has also been ramping up its investments and product expansion in APAC, including the expansion of its Retail Media offerings and efforts to help marketers and media owners activate first-party, privacy-safe data through its Commerce Media Platform strategy.

Pao added, “Looking ahead to the rest of 2022, Criteo will continue to prioritise integration, scale, and with our APAC infrastructure investments, product innovation, and partnerships. Ultimately, strengthening our leading position in commerce media.”