Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Lion & Lion welcomes Desmond Ho as new group director of creative, digital experience

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Digital-first agency Lion & Lion has announced the appointment of Desmond Ho as its new group director of creative and digital experience. In the new role, Ho will lead the agency’s Malaysian creative team while driving innovative digital experiences across the region.

He brings with him 19 years of helming creative projects both in-house, and in agencies. His appointment is part of Lion & Lion’s growth plan to further expand their offerings in the digital space, especially with regards to new technologies and developments in the digital, Web3, and social media landscape.

Prior to joining Lion & Lion, he worked internationally in China as head of digital creative solutions for the smart electric vehicle company AVATR. He also previously served as creative director for 180 China, as the e-commerce creative lead for Apple, Nike, and Estée Lauder at Publicis Commerce, and was creative partner at TianYuKong

Ho will report directly to Cheelip Ong, regional chief creative officer at Lion & Lion.

Speaking on his appointment, Ho said, “My passion is creating unique brand experiences through the combination of insights, technology, and creativity that come together to tell a brand narrative. I am very excited by the strategic, digital, and creative focus of Lion and Lion and having worked under Cheelip’s leadership before, seeing him transform agencies successfully both in China and now with Lion and Lion, I am confident in his vision for growth and am glad to lead new possibilities for clients in Malaysia and the region.”

Meanwhile, Ong commented, “As a creatively-driven, digital-first agency, it is hyper important for us to constantly move the needle forward and meet change where it happens. With the opportunities that are unfolding in the spaces of the Metaverse, Web3, social commerce, and e-Gaming, brands and consumers require new experiences that will engage them. Desmond will help accelerate our creative offerings across all digital frontiers to drive progress for our creatives and our clients.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Far East Hospitality taps Bray Leino Splash for digital marketing mandate

Singapore – Bray Leino Splash (BLS) Singapore, creative and technology digital marketing agency, has been recently appointed by Far East Hospitality (FEH), one of the leading hospitality operators in Singapore, as its web development and user experience agency for the next two years. 

The mandate entails enhancing the existing digital experience of FEH customers. BLS said that in accomplishing the project, it will be leveraging its Sitecore expertise in order to create a best-in-class user experience for FEH customers. 

Aside from FEH, BLS has also announced a couple other notable newly acquired accounts. BLS has also been tapped by SG Enable, an agency dedicated to building an inclusive society and enabling persons with disabilities in Singapore, for a remit that includes work in UX and design development for its corporate website.

In addition, BLS will also serve as the digital and social media agency of Far East Organisation (FEO)’s newest luxury development, The Cairnhill. The engagement will see the agency take the lead on establishing and maintaining digital brand awareness and lead generation across Singapore and Indonesia. 

Joshua Lee, managing director of Bray Leino Splash Singapore, commented, “2021 was a standout year for BLS Singapore. We feel extremely privileged to have the opportunity to work with these new brands in creating experiences that serve their customers’ needs well. We remain bullish about 2022 with a great team in place and will continue to be focused on leveraging our enhanced UX and Digital Experience offerings.”

Platforms Featured ANZ

AU’s housing body partners with DX agency Switch to refresh digital portal

Sydney, Australia – Housing Industry Association (HIA), the largest residential building organization in Australia, has partnered with digital customer experience agency Switch which is also an implementation partner of DXP Sitecore, to overhaul its suite of web-based content platforms and provide a connected digital experience to its member businesses across the country. 

HIA is Australia’s only national industry association representing the interests of the residential building industry. It acts as the industry’s voice and promotes policies and provides services that enhance members’ business practices, products, and profitability. 

According to a press release by Sitecore, the association said it wanted to change its traditionally face-to-face membership model by expanding the digital experience and services it offers online. 

Together with both Switch and Sitecore, the transformation project sought to improve the association’s digital strategy, customer engagement, and website design, and deliver a cloud-based platform that would provide hyper-personalized experiences, e-commerce services, data-decisioning systems, and marketing automation capabilities. 

Ben Brooker, HIA’s general manager for digital, describes the project as a “huge step.”

“Our goal is to be the trusted, ever-present voice of the residential building industry in Australia, and provide a central digital experience that unites all customer segments under a proactive, personalized, and connected experience,” said Brooker.

Meanwhile, Switch’s CEO, Steve Nelson, remarks on the growing importance of digitization, “As digital natives become the norm, companies are looking at new service offerings to match expectations and create seamless digital experiences.”

Switch said it formulated a digital strategy centered around four key transformation goals: Raise and capitalize on awareness, increase sense of belonging, grow revenue, and build an efficient digital operating model.

The association’s digital transformation journey included an evolution of its onboarding and membership model, an overhaul of its e-commerce platform, and CPD (Continuous Professional Development) structure, and the creation of an engaging and informative digital resource library to assert HIA’s position as an industry expert. 

In addition, an integrated e-commerce solution was created across all of HIA’s digital to support the opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell content online. The solution enables access to a number of resources that were previously only delivered in-store or through a customer service phone query. The digital transformation project also included a simplified user management UX that supports HIA’s membership structure, and the creation of a service prompting users to explore the website and learn about the features available. 

The strategy resulted in a multi-phased roadmap, allowing HIA to commence its digital transformation journey, starting with a new ‘Foundation Site’.

In accomplishing the project, the association deployed a suite of Sitecore technology platform services, including Sitecore XP (Integrated Digital Experience), Sitecore XC (Digital Commerce), and Personalisation technology. 

Main Feature Marketing Southeast Asia

Lifeline to normality: Singaporeans embrace applications but shun poor digital experiences

While Singaporeans have lived through fluctuating restrictions – like Circuit Breaker and heightened alerts – one thing that has remained constant over the last 18 months is the lifeline to normality that applications and digital services have provided. Whether it’s staying connected to loved ones, ordering food and groceries, work, study, or rest, the role that apps play in our lives has never been more prominent.

Tellingly, in the latest report led by Business Observability platform AppDynamics, a significant 95% of Singaporeans reveal that digital services have helped them get through the pandemic in a positive way. It’s clear that as life threatened to grind to a halt with COVID-19 putting the brakes on travel, entertainment, and work as we knew it, apps have enabled us to get on and continue functioning.

For many people, this widespread transition to the online sphere opened their eyes to the many benefits that digital services promise. Be it virtual activities for leisure, or access to essential services, many consumers have found themselves trying something they would ordinarily have never considered before. According to the e-Conomy SEA 2020 report, more than 1 in 3 digital services that consumers started using last year were because of the pandemic.

Realizing that a viable and convenient digital alternative is readily available to the traditional ways of doing things, consumers in Singapore are now likely to continue relying on these options beyond the pandemic. In fact, 83% of people in Singapore have already expressed their intention to use these services even after the restrictions imposed because of COVID-19 have disappeared.

This change in mindset and behavior will no doubt have implications on both consumer expectations, and how businesses must respond – not only in the short run but also in the longer term as we transition to endemic living.

Customers recognize the investment efforts from brands

Even people who don’t work in technology have witnessed the extent to which organizations across many sectors have innovated over the last 18 months. Launching new services to meet the evolving needs of customers, we’ve seen work and learning go virtual, as have banking, shopping, entertaining, and more. But of course, simply ‘going digital’ isn’t always enough for brands to win the hearts of their customers.

All over the world, we’ve seen organizations that have instead, quickly kickstarted and implemented full-scale digital transformation programs to improve operational processes and deliver apps and digital experiences that meet the needs of their customers. And their efforts have not been for naught. The same study by AppDynamics has discovered that consumers actually recognize and are thankful for the efforts that brands have invested into delivering these apps.

As people sought control and normalcy amid a most uncertain and challenging period, apps have been critical to empowering consumers during the pandemic. Almost 80% of those in Singapore say they are grateful to the brands that have invested in digital so they could access the services that they love. Those that have gone above and beyond with the quality of their digital services have also enjoyed the fruits of their labor, with 75% of people in Singapore feeling more loyal towards these companies.

It appears that creating and maintaining lasting relationships with customers increasingly rests on the delivery of seamless and faultless digital experiences. Brands that can ensure they make a positive impact on the lives of their consumers will have massive opportunities to forge these deeper connections and stay competitive.

Perfection is non-negotiable

As people of all ages across the globe depend on their apps for almost every facet of life, expectations have naturally skyrocketed. In particular, consumers increasingly seek the ‘total application experience’, which in addition to being reliable, secure, and personalized, is also simple, helpful, and fun to use. The bar has been raised forever and brands must now meet these expectations of performance and functionality.

But while consumers are showing more love towards the brands that meet their sky-high expectations with first-class services, tolerance for sub-optimal experiences has hit rock bottom. Indeed, expectations have changed during the pandemic and almost 70% of those in Singapore now expect nothing less than the best and will no longer tolerate poor performance.

As with most tech, digital services are susceptible to disruptions originating from various sources. And while slow loading pages, poor response time, and security lapses are often due to the app itself, other factors like internet connectivity, or issues with third-party plug-ins remain beyond the app owner’s control.

Despite the multitude of possibilities behind an app’s failure or technical disruption, most consumers believe it’s the brand’s duty to ensure their digital service always performs at an optimal standard. To 78% of the consumers in Singapore, it doesn’t matter what causes the poor performance. While external factors like a poor internet connection or weak mobile signal may be to blame, consumers expect application owners and the brands to take responsibility.

Consumers leave at the first sign of trouble

Although encountering problems with digital services is not a new phenomenon – with a majority of people saying they have experienced an issue over the last 12 months, what is increasingly worrying is how unforgiving consumers have become. No longer happy to just ‘try again later’ or continue struggling with an app, consumer patience has waned, and quickly switching to alternatives is now a norm.

Additionally, beyond simply deleting a poor-performing app from their device, consumers are also more vocal, often sharing and amplifying their negative experiences to others. With only one chance to impress consumers, brands and app owners need to go big and do right, as they can no longer afford even the tiniest blips in the digital customer experience.

To ensure issues are discovered and resolved before customers are affected, the ability to conduct full-stack observability that provides real-time insights, for instance, will be critical in today’s digital age. Filtering through the complexity and noise to identify and prioritize fixing issues with the greatest business impact is the only way for brands to create and maintain the flawless digital experiences that their customers have grown accustomed to and will continue to demand.

This article was written by Gregg Ostrowski, Executive CTO at AppDynamics.
Technology Featured Global

Contentsquare acquires Hotjar to assist businesses in providing better digital experiences

Singapore – Digital experience analytics company Contentsquare has acquired product experience insights platform Hotjar, to serve the global market end-to-end, enabling businesses of every size to deliver better digital experiences to their customers. 

The acquisition aims to build on deep synergies between both businesses to expand the companies’ global market reach and accelerate their shared vision of better experiences for all. Through this, Hotjar will be learning from Contentsquare’s advanced technology and resources, while Contentsquare will be benefiting from Hotjar’s reach and product-led approach. 

With a combined team of over 1,000 people, both companies will be working closely together to make the most of their joint expertise but will continue to operate independently for the foreseeable future.

Jonathan Cherki, Contentsquare’s CEO and founder, noted that people today expect great digital experiences whenever they are connected, whether they are interacting with big global brands or startups and growing businesses.

“Coming together with Hotjar allows us to broaden our reach to bring business-critical insights to every type of business across all industries,” said Cherki.

Meanwhile, David Darmanin, Hotjar’s Founder, commented that they could not be more excited to be joining forces with Contentsquare, and they built Hotjar to inspire product improvements by enabling businesses of all sizes to have empathy with their end-users. 

“Joining the Contentsquare family enables us to accelerate our work towards this vision, double-down on our investments in innovation and thereby unlock even more value for our customers,” said Darmanin.

Moreover, Contentsquare and Hotjar will be helping businesses understand people’s behaviors online, enabling them to deliver the best possible experience, fix obstacles along the customer journey, and improve engagement. In the context of massive digital acceleration, access to these types of insights is critical to business success.

Together, Contentsquare and Hotjar will be providing insights to close to 1 million websites in over 180 countries, analyzing trillions of web and mobile app behaviors and micro-gestures on sites that process billions of dollars in transactions daily by using AI to turn this data into recommendations.

Platforms Featured ANZ

HubSpot, Envato team up to build better digital experiences

Sydney, Australia – Customer relationship platform HubSpot and creative asset online community Envato have entered in a new partnership in order to to build better digital experiences for customers by launching a new slew of high quality and diverse website themes on Envato Market, all made specifically for the HubSpot CMS Hub.

The new templates from Envato offer a wide variety of ways for businesses to customize their online presence, whether they use a multi-purpose theme or something more niche to their industry.

Meanwhile, CMS Hub is designed to help customers create seamless digital experiences with drag and drop page editing, mobile optimisation, premium hosting, and more. Because CMS Hub is built as part of HubSpot’s CRM platform, customers have direct access to all of their audience data which they can use to inform their content strategies and build better digital experiences.

For Cameron Gough, chief content officer at Envato, the partnership was a natural connection between two businesses committed to making it easy to build an engaging web presence faster.

“With these themes, we have an opportunity to provide the global creative community with the assets they need, while HubSpot can bring their CMS Hub product to life with the help of our talented author base. But more than that, our two organisations feel very values aligned, with a strong focus on helping the communities we serve succeed,” Gough stated. 

He also added that it has been exciting to be the exclusive launch partner with HubSpot on these new themes, as they have seen a huge amount of variety in the CMS Hub themes that their author community have created, from lawn mowing to consulting, to restaurants and even fintech.

“Even more exciting for us is that we’re starting to see our authors offer designs across different technical platforms, taking what has been a successful design on WordPress for example and making that available on CMS Hub. We have an extraordinary group of some of the best website designers and developers in the world, and they have all responded enthusiastically to this launch,” Gough concluded.

Meanwhile, Nicholas Holland, GM and VP of Marketing Hub and CMS Hub at HubSpot, commented that they are thrilled with the partnership, as they share Envato’s commitment to supporting the creativity and innovation of their customers.

“By adding a CMS Hub category on ThemeForest, we’re making it even easier for scaling companies using our cloud-based CMS to get started quickly and deliver incredible digital experiences to their audiences. That’s a huge win for our customers and represents an exciting opportunity ahead as we continue to build on our partnership with Envato,” Holland stated.

Technology Featured Global

Contentsquare scores US$500m funding to drive AI-driven DX globally

Singapore – Digital experience (DX) analytics company Contentsquare has recently concluded its Series E funding totalling to US$500m, which will be used by the company to augment its leadership in Europe and the US as well as supporting expansion into new markets across Asia.

Said investment round was led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, who now joins existing investors such as Eurazeo, Bpifrance, KKR, Canaan, Highland Europe, and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock — most of whom also participated in this round. 

In addition to the investment, Contentsquare will take advantage of SoftBank’s depth of expertise in scaling companies and networks in Asia, which will be strengthened by the recent appointment of Michel Combes, president of SoftBank Group International, as part of Contentsquare’s board of directors.

The newly secured funding will also support Contentsquare’s rapid growth and geographic expansion, merger and acquisition activities, as well as go-to-market strategies.

This latest round comes one year after Contentsquare’s US$190m Series D raise, bringing the total funding to date to US$810m and valuing Contentsquare at US$2.8b.

“Innovation is in Contentsquare’s DNA and today’s investment is a result of the tremendous hard work of our passionate and ambitious team. Our growth has been accelerated by the world’s shift towards digital, and our technology answers many of the digital transformation challenges brands face today,” said Jonathan Cherki, CEO and founder at Contentsquare.

Contentsquare’s momentum last year has been defined by several milestones, including exponential growth globally, with a compound annual recurring revenue growth rate of 121% over the past four years; product launches such as ‘Contentsquare Merchandising’, ‘Contentsquare Insights’ and ‘Find & Fix’; and massive team expansion to APAC with teams in Singapore, Tokyo, Melbourne and Sydney.

“By democratizing access to actionable customer insights, Contentsquare empowers businesses in every sector to build better digital experiences for everyone. We’re excited to partner with Contentsquare on its journey as one of the global leaders in UX optimization,” Yanni Pipilis, managing partner for SoftBank Investment Advisers, commented.

Marketing Featured Partners APAC

MARKETECH APAC tackles higher ed’s digital marketing strategies in ‘new normal’ in webinar for APAC universities

Singapore – MARKETECH APAC, the news content platform dedicated to the advertising and marketing industry in the APAC region, has recently concluded its webinar Tuesday, April 13, which tackled the changing education landscape amid the pandemic and how this has pushed the imperative for higher education institutions to recalibrate their current marketing roadmap, specifically schools’ digital marketing strategies. 

Moderated by Gabriel Ponzanelli, the vice president of global SaaS solutions Siteimprove for the Asia Pacific region and Japan, the webinar, Asia-Pacific Outlook 2021: Reimagining your higher education web strategy, presented a panel of esteemed marketing leaders from Australian universities to discuss the current challenges and opportunities for universities in delivering a student experience now that the academic community has been thrust to completely navigate in a virtual environment. 

A presentation has also been showcased by Siteimprove’s digital marketing consultant Rick Elenbaas, who discussed in detail the definitive changes in the student journey and how they have affected students’ expectations. 

As the name of the virtual event promises, Elenbaas laid out the three core steps in delivering a converting and retaining web experience, namely: achieving an uninterrupted digital student journey, making your digital journey accessible, and becoming digital resilient and future proof. More details on this presentation to be found in the webinar’s on-demand access. 

In addition, Elenbaas also covered a lot of ground on how digital natives are outnumbering other students and what vital characteristics a university’s student experience should embody in order to truly connect and resonate with this group of individuals. Furthermore, he also emphasized a strand of students’ navigation online that some universities fail to pay more attention to and that is, the accessibility of their campus websites, that goes beyond just addressing visual impairment. 

Meanwhile, the panel discussion included panelists Paul Gower, deputy director for marketing & user experience at Curtin University, and Monica Hong, the digital marketing national manager of Australian Catholic University. The panel delved into the different points of the student journey and how each has been turned around by the absence of physical interactions. Gower and Hong, through the lens of their own universities, provided a picture of how the larger education space is changing – from delivering a seamless application process to conducting ‘open days’ and ‘student orientations’ at this new normal and to adapting the digital strategy for both the domestic and international markets.

The panelists also bared how each of their teams dealt with the challenge of moving into the unknown when the pandemic first struck, and how in such a massive environment and space as digital, they manage to prioritize which communication points are most important in user experience such as the accessibility of campus websites. 

The webinar was conducted under MARKETECH APAC’s webinar series Inside Innovation, and is in collaboration with Siteimprove. Siteimprove is a global SaaS solutions that provides organizations with actionable insights to deliver an effective digital experience that drives growth. 

You may register here to obtain access to the on-demand webinar.

Technology Featured APAC

CMS provider Magnolia opens Shenzhen, Bangkok offices

Basel, Switzerland – Content management system (CMS) provider Magnolia has announced the opening of its two new offices in Shenzhen and Bangkok, confirming its long-standing commitment to China and the Asia Pacific market.

Magnolia, whose main headquarters is in Basel, Switzerland, adds the two new offices in its already well-established presence in Asia, with three existing offices in Singapore, Vietnam, and Shanghai. The company also has certified partners serving customers in North Asia, India, Australia, and New Zealand.

Through the new offices, Magnolia looks to expand its offering of content management and digital experience technologies to the rapidly growing APAC market.

Tim Brown, CEO at Magnolia, commented, “Backing the expansion of our brilliant APAC team, partner community and our prestigious customers with these new offices is about the most obvious investment decisions I’ve ever had to make.”

Meanwhile, Don Lee, Magnolia’s managing director for APAC, said, “Having recognized a need for intensive personalization to provide unparalleled, unique experiences to customers, Asian brands are now investing in marketing technology designed to improve digital experiences.”

He added, “With Shenzhen and Bangkok becoming home to new local Magnolia resources and operations, together with our partners in APAC, we are now servicing brands in even closer proximity and helping them create amazing digital experiences for their customers.”

Magnolia was most recently recognized by global research and advisory firm Gartner on its annual report of top technology providers. Gartner uses a proprietary method Magic Quadrant to give tech vendors its competitive positioning, and for digital experience platforms (DXP) this year, Magnolia’s DXP Magnolia DX Core entered the quadrant, earning the status of ‘Niche Player’.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Indie creatives TSLA redesigns Singapore’s digital portal for heritage Roots

Singapore – Singapore’s National Heritage Board (NHB) has unveiled a revitalized brand and digital experience for its platform Roots, and independent creative agency The Secret Little Agency or TSLA is the creative brains behind the fresh highly aesthetic visual identity.

NHB is Singapore’s dedicated organization for the preservation of its cultural heritage and in 2016, it launched to provide added avenue and to digitize its heritage to make easier and closer the access for nationals on cultural assets.

The brand and user experience (UX) revamp was done in celebration of Roots’ 5th anniversary. TSLA pored over the site’s original web pages, conducting multiple focus groups across different user profiles to organize over 120,000 pieces of content into intuitive categories with the objective to improve delivery of content and facilitate a better user journey on the portal.

According to Norfaiz Noeryamin, manager for NHB’s Strategic Communications & Digital division, the revamped is designed to be a one-stop digital concierge that brings together content from across its line of heritage programs – its ‘National Collection’, ‘Heritage Trails’ and ‘National Monuments’ and other intangible cultural heritage from its inventory. The portal will also be integrating resources from other platforms like the National Library Board’s Infopedia and the Esplanade’s Offstage websites to facilitate information gathering. 

“With these enhancements, it is now easier than ever for everyone to discover the depth and breadth of Singapore’s heritage,” said Noeryamin.

Roots’ old logo vs. new logo

Aside from the general UX and UI (user interface), TSLA also improved the platform’s ontology functions where the remit also extended to integrated marketing. 

“You’re going through every artifact, article, photograph, and piece of content thinking there is so much here, and yet, Singapore is still in its infancy compared to older civilizations. To be able to build our Roots right and redesign how all generations access this treasure trove of heritage was an incredible experience for us,” said a spokesperson from TSLA Design.