India – Aditya Birla Capital (ABC) – one of India’s prominent financial institutions from the Aditya Birla Group – has appointed Dentsu Creative India as its lead brand communications agency. The account will be serviced from the agency’s Mumbai office.

As per the mandate, Dentsu Creative India will be managing the creative services for ABC – the corporate brand – and five of its subsidiaries. This includes developing and implementing advertising campaigns across various mediums to enhance the brand’s communication and messaging.

Darshana Shah, head of marketing and customer experience at Aditya Birla Capital, said, “DENTSU CREATIVE India has been a longstanding partner of ABC, and I am pleased to have them as the brand’s retainer agency across our numerous lines of business. This year, we have accomplished some truly exciting projects, with a sharp focus on our health insurance, life insurance, and mutual fund businesses. Collaborating with DENTSU CREATIVE has been an absolute delight, as their dynamic and enthusiastic team shares our vision of propelling the brand forward in the new digital-first consumer era.” 

“Together, we aim to leverage the trust associated with our parent brand, Aditya Birla Group, and bring the brand ABC to the masses in India. Our goal is to simplify their financial needs and become trusted a partner throughout their life stages. I am looking forward to the remarkable outcomes that this partnership will yield,” continued Shah.

Commenting on the partnership, Indrajeet Mookerjee, president of South & West at Dentsu Creative India, added, “We are delighted to be working with Aditya Birla Capital and to have won the mandate as the lead ATL agency. This reflects the trust that we have built over years of collaboration on key projects spanning mutual funds and health and life insurance, including the celebrated ‘Dear Money’ campaign, which was a defining chapter in Aditya Birla Capital’s communication journey. The confidence shown in us is a testament to the modern and creative solutions that DENTSU CREATIVE incorporates across businesses. We are truly honored to be a part of this journey and look forward to achieving many successful business and creative outcomes together.”

Aalap Desai, chief creative officer of creative experience for West at Dentsu Creative India, commented, “We have had a great history of collaboration with Aditya Birla Capital, and it is truly an honor to now officially join forces with them. Working with a fantastic brand team that is in sync with our own team is refreshing, rare, and valuable. It almost feels like we are one team working towards the common goal of creating memorable work that resonates with the audience. Aditya Birla Capital has always been inventive in presenting real solutions to real challenges in the financial services industry, and we at DENTSU CREATIVE take pride in offering the perfect balance of strategy and creativity.”

In February, the Vietnam leg of Dentsu Creative named Dentsu veteran Siddarth Malhotra as its CEO.

Singapore – Brands are now realising the importance of building communities to build greater relationships with their customers outside of the traditional way of customer retention. Communities are a helpful way for brands to get a deeper understanding of their consumer base. The question is: in a commercially-driven event, how do you monetise such a community organically?

This is what Sophie Ahmed, Senior Vice President of Market Strategy at Hubilo, discussed during her fireside chat in the recently-concluded webinar hosted by MARKETECH APAC and Hubilo.

In the conversation, Sophie explains that a 365 community is a meeting place where all of the brand’s community can come together to do business, meet, network, learn and to feel part of something bigger. Using the example of book and school clubs, she says that a community established is to belong to something, and taps into the tribal part of someone.

“Any brand that can use events to build their leads and grow their business can keep their event alive 365 days. By providing a single sign on access to this community of prospects, customers and partners, they will be able to get greater insight into their behaviours and on a deeper, more emotional level,” she explained.

Sophie noted in the chat that there are two ways to consider when monetising an event: either use it to build growth and indirect revenue, or do it under a subscription model. She notes that in executing these revenue models, brands need to ensure their customers are being offered perks and other advocacy-driven updates in order to retain them in the longer run.

“Within the community, you can have smaller meetups, focus groups, customer workshops, tier it, gate it, host on-demand content [amongst other things] and then have a larger annual event,” she added.

Furthermore, when asked about how these 365 communities allow commercially-driven events to be more personalised, Sophie explained that brands need to use insights from their customer base to decide how an event is oriented to be personalised and deemed effective for a content marketing strategy.

“So you can watch their behaviour, also temperature check their feeling towards your brand and what the market is like. You can now spot industry trends earlier and translate this into how you then personalise their experience at your master event and also pre and post-event messaging, so it resonates,” she said.

Want to learn more about what Sophie has to say in regards to kickstarting your 365 community? Explore how an event tech company can become a partner in your journey. Watch the on-demand webinar here.

The webinar, with the theme ‘What’s NEXT 2023: Events in Asia Pacific’, also gathered industry leaders to deep dive into what it takes for brands to successfully plan their events. Joining the discussion were Amit Wadhwa, chief executive officer at Dentsu Creative India; Milca Javier, head of marketing at Generali Philippines; and Razlan Manjaji, director of global events at South China Morning Post.

Singapore – In the recently concluded webinar, What’s NEXT 2023: Events in Asia Pacific, marketing leaders from different industries came together in a panel discussion to touch base on event marketing as we move forward from pandemic-induced social restrictions. This was joined by Amit Wadhwa, CEO of Dentsu Creative India; Milca Javier, head of marketing of Generali Philippines; and Razlan Manjaji, director of global events at South China Morning Post. 

Moderated by Sophie Ahmed, the SVP for market strategy at Hubilo, the panel discussion saw the industry leaders agreeing that while the innovation of digital made it possible for brands to continually serve events in the virtual form amidst the pandemic, nothing can replace the engagement brought by in-person events.

“Events were means of physically interacting with the target audience, actually making the brand [be experienced] As senior vice president of marketing, physically. And I think Covid has taught us that nothing can replace that,” said Wadhwa.

“What’s interesting in the times that we’re living in, events…of course it is about physically interacting with the brand, physically interacting with the philosophy of the brand, [and] physically living the brand, but I think, more importantly, the events actually lived much beyond the physical event, the event now can actually [move] to digital,” he added. 

When virtual became the lifeline for events, everyone thought it would now be an either/or situation between virtual and physical. But the sophistication brought by the former just proved that in-person events have just gotten better through it. 

“We all keep talking about how digital is booming, and how that is the new medium to be, but it’s not just creating content for digital,” said Wadhwa. “You can actually do something on-ground and then amplify it digitally.” 

What events are making possible for brands 

Despite the momentum of brand events held back for a period, the ‘show’ must go on for them as it serves many purposes on their engagement, brand message, and consumer retention. 

For Manjaji at SCMP, it is through events that they are able to bring together their most loyal readers and subscribers. 

“[Events are] a platform for us to engage our most loyal readers and most active readers…for you to be participating in an in-person event, those people are really invested in the story and journalism that you tell,” he said.

When consumers, or readers in SCMP’s case, are brought together in one shared space, it follows that the brand is able to engage and get to know its audiences better. 

“If you want to think about First-party data, for example; through events, you’ll get to know readers much, much more. Which event [did] they go [to]…who did they talk to – those data [are] actually gold mine for us, and we start to realise the power of events, virtual and in-person, to collect these data. So for us, we use events for that [purpose],” said Manajaji. 

In terms of events becoming a way to acquire relevant consumer data, Wadhwa agrees. 

“We are getting more and more richer [with] our insights with each event because of the data we’re getting, because of the understanding that we’re getting, which wasn’t the case earlier,” said Wadhwa. 

Meanwhile, for Javier that helms the marketing of insurance brand Generali, what events enable is the communication of the brand’s story and it becoming a platform to help consumers understand the brand purpose beyond the surface level. 

“Insurance, per se, is seen as very serious or very stiff, but events enable us, [provide] us an opportunity to tell our story, or to tell our purpose,” said Javier. 

During the pandemic, that ‘story’ changed for Generali Philippines – moving from the strong focus on the value proposition of ‘prevention’ to now strengthening the communication on ‘protection’, and Javier shared that events are what made it possible for them to transcend their initial branding. 

“Through our events, we are able to transcend that purpose, to transcend that story, and with that, this creates opportunities for us to create the leads,” said Javier. 

How to create events that stand out 

Now that we’re seeing in-person events getting back on its feet, the more important question is, how can brands make their events stand out and resonate well with the audience? 

For Manjaji, the foundation is important and that means continuing to treat content as king.

“[Connecting] the right dots is still fundamental; if you fail to do that, your event will be crap, [doesn’t] matter if you did it in a five-star hotel,” he said. 

Wadhwa, meanwhile, said that most of all, the event must sit right on what the essence of the brand is. 

Citing an example, he shared, “If I think music is entertaining, but music is not something that’s a pillar of my brand or is not connecting to my audience, I don’t just pick up music because it’s just getting popular.” 

“I think it needs to fit the brand philosophy; it might sound fundamental, but [a lot of] times, brands lose track of it. I think we need to bring that back,” he added.

In terms of dealing with specific challenges in event marketing such as a limited budget, Javier also shared her insights. 

For her, it’s all about prioritisation. 

“You know what is far more important [to] you when you create [a certain] event,” she said. 

Using ‘weddings’ as a microcosm for the larger event marketing organisation, she said you would need to think about which comes more important than others, whether that’s having grade A photography or whatnot. She shared that for Generali Philippines for example, they focus on the content they aim to give to the audience, which would mean the lion’s share of the budget goes to acquiring credible speakers.

Lastly, on the importance of curating attention-snaring and impactful events, Wadhwa shares that the event simply has to ‘feel real’ for the intended audience – events becoming a two-way communication. 

“[You] can absolutely make it exciting, [if] it’s through a celebrity, or through [a] performance…but [unless] I see myself in it, and I see myself completely engrossed in it, and I start living the brand, it almost becomes a two-way communication,” he said.

“And the moment it becomes a two-way communication, I think we’ve hit the bull’s eye,” Wahwa added. 

The webinar, What’s NEXT 2023: Events in Asia Pacific, also conducted a fireside chat with Ahmed, who discussed about the 365 community strategy in events. The conversation talked about how the strategy can be monetised and used for further personalisation of brands. 

Register HERE to get your on-demand access. 

Singapore – Last November 3, APAC industry leaders gathered in an industry discussion that talked about the future of event marketing as brands and marketers prepare for 2023. Conducted by MARKETECH APAC, in partnership with events platform Hubilo, ‘What’s NEXT 2023: Events in Asia Pacific’ roped in industry leaders from Dentsu Creative India, Generali Philippines, and South China Morning Post. 

The events industry was one of the worst hit during the pandemic, and now that things are gradually getting back to normal, it’s crucial to take a look at how events have evolved and the new trends that have emerged as it rises from a prolonged halt. 

Kicking off the webinar was a panel discussion graced by Amit Wadhwa, CEO of Dentsu Creative India; Milca Javier, head of marketing at Generali Philippines; and Razlan Manjaji, director of global events at South China Morning Post. Moderated by Sophie Ahmed, SVP for market strategy at Hubilo, the group of leaders talked about the importance and strategy of leveraging event-led communities. Furthermore, the panel touched on the best event engagement strategies that brands can employ. 

Meanwhile, Ahmed who’s had 20 years of industry experience in events and marketing, further shared her insights into strategising events through a fireside chat with MARKETECH APAC’s Regional Editor Shaina Teope

In the conversation, Ahmed shed light on the burgeoning strategy called ‘365 Community’, and discussed how said marketing direction can be monetised and give way for greater personalisation by brands. 

The webinar drew marketing professionals hailing from the industries of media, airlines, financial services, retail, and hospitality, amongst others. Attendees come from the markets of Singapore, Australia, India, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. Furthermore, those who took part represented brands such as ByteDance, CIMB, Crimson Hotel, Foodpanda Malaysia, Malaysia Airlines, MetroMart, Netflix, and Tickled media. 

Teope commented, “We can’t just expect the growth of events to be a one-way, straightforward path. Just because it was the in-person format that we left behind, does not mean we’re simply going back to how it was. Events have been forever changed and this is what this industry discussion is for – to get us back on track and open our eyes to newer innovations and strategies.” 

Register HERE to get your on-demand access to the webinar. 

India – Dentsu Webchutney, the digital creative agency under Dentsu Creative India, has won the digital mandate for Indian online travel company MakeMyTrip. The mandate will be serviced from Dentsu Webchutney’s Mumbai office.

The agency will focus on further building MakeMyTrip’s already-vibrant digital presence by implementing an aggressive creative growth strategy.

Upasana Naithani, associate vice president at Dentsu Webchutney said, “MakeMyTrip is a big win for us, not only does it show faith by the best of the industry in our agency but also because their values align with ours, beautifully. We are very excited to work on campaigns that move both the business, and the brand in the right direction.”

Meanwhile, Chaitanya Joshi, creative director at Dentsu Webchutney, commented, “While we plan to bring the edge to larger travel occasions, Modern Creativity means that we are nimble enough to target the micro-occasions in an effective manner. I am glad that the good folks at MakeMyTrip share our zest and we look forward to a lot of clutter-breaking stuff in the future that not only pushes creative boundaries but also impacts business positively.”

Vipul Prakash, chief operating officer at MakeMyTrip commented, “Today, travellers seek more when consuming and engaging with brands across channels. Together with Denstu Webchutney, we hope to introduce new, innovative ways, and concepts that can help engage with Indian travellers, better. Our goal remains to be authentic in what we say and innovative in how we connect with the new-age traveller.”

Remnants of colonialist movements still exist today, and one global news destination has decided to put its foot down–in the most modern approach possible.

With a fusion of both intelligence and creativity, Vice World News together with its creative agency Dentsu Webchutney from the House of Dentsu in India has not only captured the general public with its provocative ‘The Unfiltered History Tour’ campaign but has also ensnared the creative industry to dominate Cannes Lions, the prestigious award-giving body, for Dentsu Creative India to ultimately be named ‘Agency of The Year’ – the first-ever win for an agency from India. 

So how did Dentsu Creative India do it? What has been the secret formula for such recognition of this scale?

The Secret Sauce

Amit Wadhwa, CEO of Dentsu Creative India, conversed with MARKETECH APAC and let the cat out of the bag. You’d be surprised that the key ingredient that made them stop people in their tracks and look is not something of lustre and extravagance, but that Wadhwa says, none other than being armed with a strong idea

‘The Unfiltered History Tour’ is an immersive campaign which brings viewers into what seems like any other tour of the British Museum–only that it’s anything but that. Dubbed as an ‘unofficial tour’ of the European fixture, audiences are taken into the real and authentic narrative, through Instagram filter and immersive audio, behind each artefact such as the Rosetta Stone of Egypt, the Parthenon Marbles from Greece, and Hoa Hakananai’a of Rapa Nui–told straight by the people from countries the precious pieces have been taken from.

“The strength of ‘The Unfiltered History Tour’ [lies] in the origin of the idea, which is colonialism and how the rulers of the past have written their own version of artefacts; the version which is being depicted at the British Museum,” said Wadhwa.

A kick-ass idea or concept is not enough though, Wadhwa says in today’s time, an idea must always be viewed through the lens of technology and to find how it can be nurtured through the capabilities of innovative digital mediums. 

“The other strength of this idea is how technology has been so seamlessly integrated into its execution. It strongly brings such a rich experience that you almost feel as if you are part of the same era when the artefacts were in the country of origin. In short, a strong idea coupled with integrating technology in it and ensuring it comes alive across mediums effectively is what makes it so much more special.” 

The key then is ‘Modern Creativity’, which the agency defines as the kind of work that “creates culture, changes society, and invents the future.” 

Mobilising the winning formula

Of course, the strategic skeletal framework would only be the beginning and what would come after is the real work. 18 months and a combined effort of over 100 people–Wadwha revealed are what it took to make the ‘idea’ for ‘The Unfiltered History Tour’ “so much more special.” 

And true enough–it had all been worth it. Every aspect of the multimedia project – its podcast component, social activation, and experience overall – had been deemed as the crème de la crème of this period’s creative range. For the Radio & Audio, Brand Experience & Activation, and Social & Influencer categories in Cannes Lions, the Grand Prix, which is the highest of honours, went to Dentsu Creative India. 

The idea for the campaign originated from a prior VICE documentary called ‘The Empires of Dirt’ which is built around the narrative of twisted tales of the origin of artefacts from the colonised world. Eventually, what would radiate more than the ingenuity and creativity of its execution–is the genuine movement behind the ‘The Unfiltered History Tour’. The campaign was birthed, most of all, to ignite into people a certain ‘condemnation’ that is literally long overdue and embolden them to think about what can be done about modern colonialism today.

Wadhwa shared that truth be told, the project had been created without the knowledge of the British Museum; so the welcoming words in the official video that a new tour is around “but the museum doesn’t know about it yet,” were in fact not just an artful message. 

“The whole idea of this project is to put the truth on the table and provide visitors of the British Museum with a fair understanding of the real stories behind the artefacts. Our aim is to spark a movement against the storage of artefacts from other countries in the British Museum, and that these should eventually be returned to the countries to which they belong.”

Wadhwa described the project as a “very bold” and “possibly uncomfortable” idea, which was expected to ruffle a few feathers, but that the mission was clear from the beginning, and that the Dentsu and VICE teams ensured to stay true to it and never dilute it. 

A simple ‘idea’ for a radical movement 

The CEO of the multi-awarded agency does not intend to be privy to their ‘winning strategy’, and loud and proud reveals that it’s all about marrying an uncomplicated but brilliant idea with that of the groundbreaking impact of digital mediums. 

“To be effective, every idea must first be a powerful one, which is either rooted in a profound insight or has the power to shape society or even change the future,” Wadhwa going back to the concept of ‘Modern Creativity’. 

He added, “However, given how technology has revolutionised the way one may truly experience an idea, we must make full use of [technology] and ensure that we do full justice to the idea using it.”

He said that the idea becomes strong when it can be brought to life across several mediums, “wherever the audience is present.”

“When all the mediums come together and talk, they create a stronger influence over the target audience and hence, is extremely important.”

Truly, what we’ve seen here is a convergence of old history and history in the making. Beyond the strategies and the elements of the winning campaign, it has been evident that the magnet that pulled everything together is the agency and the news authority’s bravery to tackle, no matter how uncomfortable, the hard things that matter. 

The power is in being grounded by an idea that can flourish into something bigger, and which would be realised through effective teamwork and collaboration to impart work that will prove its worth more than the sum of its parts. 

Ultimately, Wadhwa advises brands, “Once you have [an idea], make full use of all plausible mediums, while fully embracing the prowess of technology to bring the idea to life. That is when we will have a winner at hand.”