Singapore – Global communications agency Weber Shandwick has appointed Farah Zuber as new vice president and head of communications for Asia-Pacific (APAC), bolstering its regional leadership team.

Zuber brings 14 years of experience in marketing and communications, specialising in designing and activating comprehensive strategies across earned, owned, and paid channels. She has spearheaded multi-market campaigns for companies in APAC, the United States, and the Middle East.

Throughout her career, Zuber has specialised in corporate communications and reputation building across sectors such as technology, finance, and governance. She has collaborated with industry players like Ogilvy Public Relations, ARC Worldwide, and Edelman. Notably, she was the inaugural market leader for SPAG (SPAG FINN Partners) and a key member of the leadership team at Redhill.

Zuber’s strategic appointment underscores the firm’s commitment to strengthening its position in the industry and driving continuous growth across the region. 

In her new role, Zuber will report to Tyler Kim, APAC CEO, and will lead the firm’s strategic integrated communications initiatives across key markets, focusing on a wide range of stakeholders, including external and internal audiences.

Kim said, “Farah’s extensive regional experience in reputation management and her deep understanding of the business landscape are instrumental in driving our next growth phase. Her appointment demonstrates our commitment to delivering greater value to our employees, clients, and partners in the region. We are thrilled to have her with us.” 

Commenting on her appointment, Zuber also shared, “It is exciting and an honour to be part of Weber Shandwick, an agency renowned for delivering value-driven, earned-first work for decades. Additionally, the agency’s culture, which deeply embraces diversity and well-being, is truly refreshing. I strongly believe these two elements—the commitment to the work and to people—are what make a brand successful and meaningful. I look forward to contributing to the agency’s growth moving forward.”

Singapore – Global independent marketing and communications firm FINN Partners has announced the promotion of Joshua Wang to associate vice president, brand & market intelligence for Asia Pacific.

The promotion, which expands FINN’s regional bench and capabilities across offices, helps position the group for long-term growth in APAC and expands on its client service capabilities.

In his new role, Wang is responsible for leveraging research, data analysis and strategic insight to drive revenue growth, bolster thought leadership initiatives, and foster innovation for FINN and its clients.

Speaking on his promotion, Wang said, “In today’s landscape, clients are navigating tremendous shifts. They rely on us to serve as trusted advisors, delving into their challenges and providing strategic counsel. At the foundational level, the value and brilliance of effective brand strategy is in enabling them to achieve a consistent and recognizable identity, one that enables them to stand out from the crowd.”

Meanwhile, Naeema Ismail, managing partner at FINN Partners Singapore, commented, “Joshua lives and breathes client strategy and intelligence for brands and excels at directing programs that require evaluation from multiple angles. Using research to develop strategies that contribute to clients’ bottom lines, while expanding our offerings and supporting the growth of our advisory and consulting program, we’re further able to enhance our work with data-driven insights that drive business impact.”

SingaporeErika Cleo Foo, formerly the vice president of communications at Singlife, has recently been named the new vice president of communications and brand experience for Asia-Pacific at ING. In an exclusive conversation with MARKETECH APAC, Foo shared that she will report to Christine Kam, head of communications and brand experience for ING APAC.

“Working closely with regional and country teams to ensure consistent messaging and positioning throughout the Asia-Pacific region, as well as ensuring the alignment and effectiveness of communications initiatives, will be crucial aspects of my role,” she said.

When asked about her strategies in her new role, she stated that she aims to focus on executing effective communication strategies to position ING as a regional leader in sustainable finance.

“ING has a strong foundation in APAC, and I’m eager to leverage that to elevate our position as a leader in sustainable finance. This is a crucial area for the future of the financial services industry, and ING’s expertise aligns perfectly with the growing demand for environmentally and socially conscious solutions across the region,” she said.

Prior to joining ING, Foo was with Singlife for two years, where she managed the company’s strategic communications plans in alignment with business objectives and brand identity.

She previously spent over five years with the National Heritage Board, handling various roles related to marketing communications and programming efforts.

“My experiences at Singlife and the National Heritage Board have taught me the importance of balancing innovation with tradition. From Singlife, I bring a strong understanding of digital-first strategies and the importance of integrating technology into customer experiences,” she said.

Foo added, “At the National Heritage Board, I learned the value of storytelling and creating emotionally engaging brand experiences. I believe these learnings have helped me create compelling and innovative brand experiences, leveraging both technology and storytelling to connect with audiences.”

When asked about specific brand experience challenges the banking and insurance industries face, she highlighted navigating the increasing regulatory landscape while maintaining a seamless customer experience, as well as ensuring data privacy and security in an era of digital transformation.

“On the opportunity side, the rapid adoption of digital technologies provides a chance to enhance customer engagement through personalized and convenient services. Additionally, there is a growing opportunity to build trust and loyalty by demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, which are increasingly important to customers,” she said.

Discussing the opportunities the industry may see this year, she stated, “Customers today expect a seamless and personalized experience across all channels. This presents a challenge, but also an opportunity for differentiation through innovative and customer-centric brand experiences. Institutions that leverage advanced analytics to gain deeper insights into customer behaviour will benefit from more strategic decision-making, resulting in meaningful and tailored solutions for their end-users.”

Foo also added, “Building trust and brand loyalty will be crucial in the competitive APAC market. Transparency, ethical practices, and a focus on customer well-being will be key differentiators. Institutions that embrace a purpose-driven approach that aligns with the values of their audiences, such as sustainability and ethical practices, will find themselves a step ahead in building long-term brand loyalty.”

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Independent media and communications consultancy network GO Group just got bigger with the latest addition of Australian strategic communications firm Banksia.

This collaboration with Banksia marks a pivotal moment as the GO Group marks its foray into the Asia Pacific and Australasia regions, solidifying its position as one of the largest networks of independent agencies in the world.

The inclusion of Banksia into the group cements the network’s commitment to foster collaboration and cross-pollination of skill sets within the global communications industry, from public relations, crisis communications, and public affairs to total branding, even within the digital sector.

Furthermore, the addition of Banksia heralds a pivotal moment for the GO Group as it sets its sights on expanding even further, particularly into Europe and North America. The network plans to appoint more partner and affiliated agencies in these continents to enhance its global presence and offer comprehensive PR solutions to clients worldwide.

Talking about this development, Peter de Kretser, chairman of the GO Group, said, “This collaboration signifies an exciting synergy between our agencies that will propel the group towards even greater success. I am especially proud to be working together with Steve, not only because we’ve known each other for many years, but the value that he and his team of highly competent associates bring to the GO Group is truly second to none. Their combined extensive experience, particularly in public affairs, adds a strategic component to the GO Group.”

Meanwhile, Steve Michelson, founder and director of Banksia, commented, “We are buoyed by the opportunity to join the GO Group and are humbled by Chairman Peter de Krester’s interest in our specialised services. Until now, our team has focused on driving strategic results for Australian businesses and organisations determined to deliver a positive social impact across key industries. Joining the GO Group connects us to a network of specialist agencies and opens the door to international partnerships for the benefit of the Group’s existing and prospective clients.”

Singapore – APRW, a local integrated communications agency based in Singapore, has announced its appointment as the official public relations agency for Singapore Maritime Week (SMW) 2024.

Through this appointment, APRW will be playing a pivotal role in managing media relations, elevating the profile and prestige of the event, and contributing to the global discourse on maritime excellence.

As the official PR agency for SMW, APRW is committed to promoting international relationships and advancing the maritime sector by leveraging its strategic communication skills.

Talking about the appointment, Cho Pei Lin, managing director of APRW, shared, “This marks our agency’s significant voyage into the maritime industry. Anchored in passion and propelled by expertise, the Singapore Maritime Week 2024 is set to make waves like never before.”

“Together, we will chart a course for a week filled with groundbreaking conferences with key industry leaders, strategic partnerships, meaningful networking sessions, and the celebration of the maritime spirit,” she added.

Organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), this year’s SMW will feature conferences for topics in the areas of sustainability, digitalisation, decarbonisation, and talent development in the maritime industry, solidifying Singapore’s standing as a global hub port and leading international maritime centre.

Singapore – Laura Kantor, who previously worked as foodpanda’s marketing and sustainability director, has launched Climate Club, a new agency focused on sustainability communications.

For Kantor, she wanted to create an agency that helps businesses prioritise sustainability through compelling campaigns that drive bottom line results.

During her previous role at foodpanda, she grew the marketing function from 5 to 32, launched 6 new businesses, rebranded foodpanda from orange to pink and launched the loveable mascot, Pau-Pau.

She is also well known for is well for spearheading foodpanda’s sustainability strategy across the Asia-Pacific region, launching several initiatives which have transformed the F&B industry; saving billions of sets of cutlery & becoming the first delivery company to ban the sale of shark fin.

“Very few businesses take Sustainability seriously. It’s often only talked about on Earth Day, or with a one off PR stunt, and it doesn’t have to be the case. Our goal at Climate Club is to turn Sustainability into a competitive advantage – either by reducing costs or generating revenue, all while creating positive impact, so that business leaders make it a priority,” she said.

Kantor added, “After years of working within the sustainability space, I’m so excited to focus all of my efforts on helping businesses build an impactful and meaningful sustainability strategy.”

Prior to launching Climate Club, she also served as the chief marketing and impact officer for abillion, a mobile application which helps users to find vegan and sustainable products.

Singapore – In collaboration with global customer relationship management (CRM) software company Salesforce, global cloud communications firm Vonage has launched Vonage ‘Conversations for Salesforce’, a configurable omnichannel messaging app powered by the Vonage Communications Platform. 

Vonage’s new app provides a flexible and scalable way of sending SMS, MMS, and WhatsApp messages from within Salesforce, making it easy for businesses to develop custom workflows using standard Salesforce tools.

This feature aims to enable businesses to serve customers directly from the Salesforce platform and deliver exceptional customer engagements, whilst blending bot and Vonage Contact Center (VCC) agent interactions.

With Salesforce as a single source of truth for customer data, users can participate in a conversation and access the entire customer history. Response-handling can also be automated with chatbots or routed automatically to the right agent or organisation to enable fast resolution.

Savinay Berry, EVP, product & engineering at Vonage, said, “Vonage ‘Conversations for Salesforce’ unlocks the power of delivering personalised two-way interactions with customers from Salesforce, enabling engagement at scale with SMS, MMS and WhatsApp channels while blending bot and VCC agent interactions.”

“Based on Salesforce’s best practices and latest tools, the app overcomes the constraints of existing solutions and is enabling conversations across the entire organisation,” he added. 

Vonage Conversations for Salesforce is part of the full Vonage AI Acceleration Suite for Salesforce, a portfolio of AI-capable, low-code/no-code programmable components that aim to help speed business transformation and seamlessly integrate with Salesforce applications to enable personalised conversations across omni-channel communications.

Singapore – Microsoft has announced two communications-related appointments for its Asian market. They include Lauren Myers-Cavanagh as new senior director of communications for Microsoft Asia and Simran Singh Sethi as head of communications for Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Myers-Cavanagh will lead Microsoft’s communications in Asia and help further position the company as a trusted technology partner with a strong emphasis on innovative storytelling centered around artificial intelligence (AI). 

She reports to Douglas Dawson, Microsoft’s general manager of global communications.

Myers-Cavanagh joins Microsoft from Twitter, where she served as Asia-Pacific director of communications and previously Asia-Pacific head of policy communications. At Twitter, she built and oversaw more than a dozen regional teams that protected Twitter’s corporate and social license to operate while growing audience and revenue.

Commenting on her appointment, Myers-Cavanagh said, “The opportunity to be part of Microsoft’s global communications leadership team is a privilege, as is shaping the next chapter of the Microsoft story in Asia.”

Meanwhile, Simran–a ten-year Microsoft veteran–previously led communications and integrated storytelling for Microsoft’s commercial and cloud business in Asia. He will continue to be based in Singapore and report to Myers-Cavanagh.

San Jose, California – Aimed at reinventing the creation and delivery of creative content, Adobe has partnered with marketing communications company Omnicom Group Inc. The partnership will be carried out through an enterprise licensing deal of Adobe’s new Content Supply Chain solution.

Through the solution, Omnicom agencies across the globe will now have a unified view of every step of the content process, from planning and production to activation and optimisation. The end-to-end solution will enable Omnicom’s agencies to efficiently produce creative content that delivers the most effective customer experiences for the benefit of its client roster of the world’s top marketers and brands.

The newly launched Adobe Content Supply Chain solution brings together an array of Adobe’s industry-leading creative and experience applications, such as Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Workfront and Adobe Experience Manager. Omnicom will connect features of Adobe’s solution with Omni, Omnicom’s end-to-end marketing operating system, providing streamlined workflows, enhanced automation, and increased operational efficiency.

The comprehensive solution by Adobe will also help Omnicom agencies meet growing content demands as clients look to provide a larger quantity and variety of personalized content to customers. Assisting in the rapid development of content will be Adobe Firefly and Adobe Sensei GenAI – the company’s new generative AI capabilities. 

“This partnership brings together the most creatively awarded holding company and the leader in creative and marketing tools,” said Paolo Yuvienco, EVP, chief technology officer at Omnicom Group

He added, “The two of us share a goal of providing integrated solutions to brands, and our collaboration brings it to life. Through this offering, our agencies from different disciplines and geographies will remain connected throughout the entirety of the content supply chain, helping to transform our clients’ businesses in a faster, more effective way.”

Anil Chakravarthy, president, digital experience business at Adobe, also commented on the partnership, “Omnicom is a valued Adobe partner and customer and we’re excited to work together to transform the process of producing and delivering content across their business — and for our shared customers.”

Chakravarthy also added that by combining Omnicom’s creative expertise and audience-driven capabilities with Adobe’s content supply chain solution and generative AI capabilities, they will be able to empower creative teams to work more efficiently and effectively.

Recently, Adobe has also unveiled new innovations across its family of video applications, including AI-powered text-based video editing capabilities in Premiere Pro.

Sydney, Australia – Australian communications consultancy Honner has announced new appointments for its senior team, reinforcing the agency’s position as one of Australia’s leading specialist corporate and financial communications firms.

Equity partner Susie Bell has been appointed managing partner, focusing on leading Honner’s people and culture. In the new role, Bell works closely with founder and CEO Philippa Honner to drive a range of management responsibilities in addition to leading the agency’s relationships with key clients.

Meanwhile, Alison Kahler has joined the Honner team as its new senior consultant – content, in response to ongoing demand for ‘high-quality, strategically driven’ content programs in the financial services sector. 

In the new role, Kahler brings with her more than 25 years of experience as a financial journalist and communications adviser for major publications and institutions. At Honner, she will be working across the firm’s financial services, corporate, and technology clients offering content strategy development and delivery as well as strategic communications counsel. 

Another addition to the team is Rashmi Punjabi, who has been appointed to the newly created role of head of business development. She will work closely with the CEO and senior leadership team to drive new business efforts across traditional finance and new economy sectors, as well as lead marketing initiatives for the agency.

Honner has also formalised its senior leadership team, in recognition of the collective contribution the agency’s senior consultants make in managing a growing consultancy. 

Along with Honner, Bell, Kahler, and Punjabi, the new team includes Judith Bence, chief operating officer; Craig Morris, head of marketing solutions; Samantha Rockliff, senior consultant; Fiona Parker, chief strategy officer; and Natasha Moldrich, account director.

Speaking about the appointments, Honner said that they reflected the firm’s ambitions to continue broadening its offering across the Australian and APAC region.

“Each year we behave more like a traditional consultant – working with a wide range of stakeholders to deliver highly tailored, strategically driven programs that make a commercial impact,” she said.

Honner also added, “We’re investing in our team, digital tools and infrastructure to support the next phase of growth – as clients continue to value specialist agencies that bring deep market insights and creative ideas to the table, operating as a dynamic and flexible extension of their in-house team.”

Bell also commented that continuous learning and global curiosity were strong contributors to the firm’s culture. “The Honner team is our greatest strength, and we are extremely proud of our diverse range of talent. We’re committed to delivering relevant and future focused training and team experiences that add value and create a real impact.”