Main Feature Marketing APAC

Top Story: 8traordinary steers the digital wheel of Shangri-La’s rebranded loyalty programme

As travel is fast coming back to its feet, Shangri-La, the global hospitality brand, meets this rebound halfway, amplifying its loyalty programme to now be called the new Shangri-La Circle

With an incredible feat to rebrand both the creative and the marketing of the programme, the hospitality company rightly tapped its agency partners to fuse creative and intelligent hands and bring this transformation to the table. For the programme’s digital marketing and communications, digital creative agency 8traordinary was brought on board to steer the wheel. 

Watch the full interview with 8traordinary’s Jeffrey Lim.

The remit of the agency comes out as our top story for the month of July. To further learn about the behind-the-scenes and the craftiness put into the digital campaign, we conversed with Jeffrey Lim, 8traordinary’s founder and managing director

The agency’s scope included creative content planning, social media strategy, influencer marketing, and community management. 

Influencer marketing had been a huge part of the campaign and to make this happen, the agency roped in influencers around the region such as Nathan Hartono, Lennard Yeong, Erwan Heussaff, Zahra Lari, Goh Jin Wei, and more than 150 other key opinion leaders across different countries to spread the news about the launch. 

On the criteria they used in selecting which KOLs, Jeffrey shared that they try not to focus too much on the usual metrics which are an influencer’s follower count and number of likes as these are quite achievable through paid media. What they looked into instead is the individual’s ‘authenticity’ and the motivation behind why people are looking up to the personality.

One of [our] key criteria, when we worked with Shangri-La Circle, is we want to look for [a] personality or [an] individual who is authentic, and we want to look at how can they use their passion and their authenticity to influence

Jeffrey Lim, Founder, Managing Director, 8traordinary

In line with Shangri-La’s main message of ‘Live the good life’, he also shared that they looked into tapping as much as a diverse group of influencers and not limit to the popular macro influencers, as ‘living a good life’ can mean differently for each person. 

“We want to showcase to the world that whoever you are and wherever you are…there’s a specific ‘good life’ that we at Shangri-La can present to you in its own unique way,” said Jeffrey.

The full conversation with Jefferey is now live on MARKETECH APAC’s YouTube and Spotify. In the interview, Jeffrey shared more about the challenges that came with developing the campaign as well as his expert insights into how brands can stand out in a period where there is overflowing content presented to consumers.

Marketing Featured ANZ

Tug appointed by Merlin Entertainments for digital marketing of SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

Sydney, Australia – Digital marketing agency Tug has been tapped by entertainment company Merlin Entertainments to manage search engine optimisation for SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and drive customer growth.

Through the appointment, Tug will be increasing the share of voice and audience traffic to the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium website through free, organic, editorial, and natural search results.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium has nine interactive zones where visitors can encounter some of the world’s most incredible animals, including dugongs, sharks, sawfish, stingrays, jellyfish, and penguins, as well as seahorses, and thousands of tropical fish. Meanwhile, Merlin Entertainments is a location-based, family entertainment and operates over 140 attractions, 23 hotels and six-holiday villages in 24 countries across four continents.

Matt Newman, Merlin Entertainments’ head of e-commerce for APAC, shared that with more than 700 species of aquatic life and more than 13,000 individual fish, and other sea and water creatures, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is a destination for all the family. 

“Following two years of disruption, we wanted a digital marketing agency that could help propel our organic web presence and drive awareness of everything we have to offer. The team from Tug showed a strong depth of experience in SEO and we look forward to working with them,” said Newman.

Meanwhile, Charlie Bacon, general manager at Tug Sydney, commented they are delighted Merlin Entertainments have selected Tug to help drive residents and tourists to this magical underwater world. 

“It’s a major entertainment destination in the heart of the city and we will bring all our expertise to ensure as many visitors as possible experience it. We hope this is the start of long-term relationship with Merlin Entertainments and its portfolio of attractions across Australia and New Zealand,” said Bacon.

In June 2022, Tug Sydney appointed Isabel Blanchard as paid media director. She will be leading the strategy and management of the agency’s paid media clients across search, social, display, and video.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Dennis Perez adds new regional role at Unilever

Manila, Philippines – Current head of media at Unilever Philippines Dennis Perez has extended his leadership role as he is appointed as the digital marketing, media and commerce head for beauty and wellbeing for Southeast Asia at Unilever

Through the expanded role, Perez will be responsible for driving broader end-to-end digital, media, and commerce strategies across SEA. At the same time, Perez will create deeper category digital expertise in the beauty (hair care, skin care) and wellbeing (vitamins, minerals and supplements) categories.

He has handled some of the world’s biggest brands in the personal care, foods and refreshments, and home care categories, with many of them scoring metal at local and international award shows. In addition, he has served two terms as president of the Internet & Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP), co-chairman of the Digital Measurement Board (DMB), and as a board member of the Ad Standards Council (ASC).

Perez is also focused on using his new position to drive singular consumer and customer experiences, while creating next-generation marketing and sales practices for beauty and well-being brands.

Speaking on his added role, he said, “Unilever is always at the frontline of digital transformation. We are moving along the pandemic with people using digital differently, and so we need to adapt. With the collapse of the marketing funnel, the ascent of Web 3.0 and the rise of the experience economy, I’m excited to take on this new challenge of driving an integrated marketing approach in Unilever that puts people first and drives value to our brands.”

Marketing Featured ANZ

Digital marketing in Australia’s higher education lagging behind: report

Australia – The trials of 2020 and 2021 were eye-opening for digital marketers in higher education. The pandemic not only increased reliance on digital channels and made online education essential, it made a generation of digital natives – somehow – even savvier. 

It’s within this context that Siteimprove launched the ‘2022 Australian Higher Education Digital Marketers Survey’. The study explores recent trends in Australian higher education and how those trends have impacted digital marketing strategies. 

How digital transformation went from nice-to-have to need-to-have

Across industries, the pandemic was a tipping point for digital transformation. Without traditional in-person workflows, the rate of digital innovation skyrocketed. 

Last year emphasised the need for higher ed marketers to create an optimised digital presence to reach and influence key audiences. A pre-pandemic report found that 90% of incoming students were concerned about having a consistent digital experience from their university. Though some Australian universities are further along than others, the vast majority just aren’t where they need to be in their digital transformation. 

The findings of the Siteimprove survey reflect a sector in transition:

  • More than 90% of Australian higher ed digital marketers believe they’re investing in and building digital elements for their institution.
  • But when it comes to integration of those elements, marketers are less confident. Zero respondents said their digital elements are fully integrated across the institution, let alone being used to drive and evaluate marketing decisions.
  • The good news is that more than half (60%) expect increased marketing investment into their institution’s website in 2022. Search efforts, site optimization, A/B testing, and digital media are expected to claim the lion’s share. 

Turning a higher education website into a core marketing tool

The modern components of digital marketing success (like SEO, SEM, and content quality and efficiency) have only become more crucial throughout this period. Looking back at 2021, respondents to the survey ranked content, website QA, and SEO as the top three most important efforts for improving their institution’s website performance for that year. And 80% of respondents expect web accessibility to be a priority for their institution in 2022. 

Without the ability to connect with students and donors as they used to, digital marketers in higher education are now fully aware just how important these factors are. Alongside pandemic-related restrictions, changing web demographics, and a digitally native target audience, institutions need to re-envision how they reach their desired population – before they ever visit campus. 

Marketing spend under the microscope 

Website analytics are at the heart of an effective digital marketing strategy. Unfortunately, most web analytics tools make it difficult to get the whole picture of your website’s performance, accessibility, and effectiveness. 

That’s a problem for 78% of survey respondents, who said they felt more pressure to prove the impact of their marketing efforts on their institution’s website performance in 2021. Connecting the dots between marketing ROI and website performance is easier said than done. 

“Even though survey respondents felt confident in tracking their site’s performance, they were less sure of the impact their marketing activities had on that performance,” noted Siteimprove. 

In 2020, Loyola saw a 149% increase in organic search and a 165% increase in direct traffic to their website after launching the Siteimprove platform. Actionable data helped them to fill content gaps, optimise content, and better address the questions students had when they visited the site. And all the while, measuring the impact their changes had on ongoing website performance and ROI. 

Using Siteimprove, Harvard Extension School reduced broken links by 81% across its three sites, all of which provide information to prospective and current students. The information they got from Siteimprove helped them draw connections between content quality, content efficiency, accessibility, site health, and search performance to provide a consistent user experience. 

How higher education digital marketers can get more from their websites and content

Analysing the survey results, the Siteimprove team came to three broad considerations for improving higher education website performance. And it all comes down to content: 

  • Content efficiency
  • Content creation
  • Content quality

After these past two years of change, digital marketing success for higher ed won’t only require more content. It’ll depend on the ability to audit and optimize existing content, create new content faster, and align website content with search intent. Identifying benchmarks, setting goals, and tying optimisation efforts to website revenue will be marketers’ strongest tools in executing their digital transformations. 

To make the most of the opportunities presented by digital transformation, higher education organizations will need to carefully consider what role each of their digital marketing investments plays in creating an optimised digital experience. 


Marketing Featured South Asia

HiveMinds bags digital marketing mandate for investment platform Kuvera

Bangalore, India — HiveMinds Innovative Market Solutions, the digital marketing specialist of Madison World, has won the digital marketing mandate for Kuvera, an India-based investment platform.

Founded in 2016, Kuvera offers online personal financial services and has pioneered goal-based, direct plan mutual fund investing for Indians. Kuvera uses technology to help users make smart decisions and navigate the nuances of personal finance. Trusted by more than a million investors with over Rs. 34,000 Crores in assets; the platform enables investments, loans and remittances.

Gaurav Rastogi, founder and CEO of Kuvera, said, “At Kuvera we are creating a safe space to invest for every Indian. We believe that HiveMinds’ category understanding and strategy can really drive the next phase of our growth.”

Jyothirmayee JT, founder and CEO of HiveMinds, commented, “Digital investment platforms are driving a sea change in the way Indians invest. Kuvera is riding this wave through product innovation, an agile platform and customer onboarding at scale. We’re happy to be associated with the team and look forward to creating new benchmarks in growth together.”

The digital mandate adds to the already colourful portfolio managed by HiveMinds such as Dominos, MaxLife Insurance, BigBasket, and eCommerce mandates of brands like Crompton, P&G, and Nivea, among others.

Marketing Featured ANZ

Fintech ZeeFi appoints Agnes Media to digital marketing duties

Sydney, Australia – Agnes Media, an independent media agency, has been appointed by ZeeFi, Australia’s only ‘buy now pay later’ finance solution designed specifically for the education sector, to assist them with acquisition marketing due to their proven experience scaling fintech brands, leveraging their strong focus on analytics and marketing measurement.

The appointment by ZeeFi follows rapid growth for Agnes Media which launched in 2020. The agency has a three tiered measurement-first approach which focuses on commercial growth, ongoing tests and optimisations and dashboard reporting for all clients. It also works with clients including Paytime, a HR fintech brand and payo, the world’s first eat now pay later brand.

Veni Jee, marketing manager at ZeeFi, shared, “The education sector needs additional funding options to help students access courses that are not eligible for government funding. Being the finance experts in the industry, we play a pivotal role in tearing down the financial barrier that impedes the growth of both education providers and their students.”

ZeeFi, which was recently rebranded from Study Loans, is a fintech partner for the education sector. They help education providers grow enrolments and increase cashflow through a suite of innovative finance solutions and payment plan administrative services.

For students they remove the financial barriers to quality education when government funding or upfront course fees are not available, by providing interest-free payment plans or flexible study loans.

Meanwhile, Charlotte Ward, founder and director of Agnes Media, commented, “We are delighted to be appointed by ZeeFi, to assist them in driving growth. We work with a range of fintech brands and understand the nuances these businesses face as they enter the market with a disruptive model that challenges convention. We love working with innovative companies such as ZeeFi that provide beneficial solutions to the end user through the effective application of technology.”

Agnes Media’s approach is centred around measurement for effective growth, with the belief that media investment should drive measurable results.

Marketing Featured South Asia

IdeateLabs bags digital marketing mandate of White Oak Capital Management

Mumbai, India – Independent full-service digital marketing agency IdeateLabs has won the digital marketing mandate of White Oak Capital Management, an investment management and advisory company.

The agency will be responsible for managing the creative communication duties, social media strategy and management, content creation, media promotions and SEO.

Vrutika Dawda, director at IdeateLabs, said, “We will plan and execute the go-to-market strategy to launch the brand and its offerings for the retail investor on a Pan India scale. We will be using a two-pronged approach of brand building and tactical communication to achieve the business objectives effectively. The entire strategy will be crafted to connect and engage with a cross-section of audiences leveraging the brand’s legacy of astute investment management.”

Meanwhile, Prateek Pant, chief business officer at White Oak Capital Management, commented, “We are embarking on a journey of reaching out to the retail investor across the country and wanted to partner with an agency with expertise in the industry & understanding of the digital ecosystem. IdeateLabs well understood our vision and the strategy presented by the team aligned well with our objectives. We are hopeful that it will be a successful association, and new milestones will be set together.”

Marketing Featured ANZ

Agnes Media bags fintech payo’s digital marketing, performance media mandate

Sydney, Australia – Sydney-based measurement-first agency Agnes Media has been appointed by the Australian payments platform, payo, to handle its digital marketing and performance media mandate.

The app allows its users to eat and drink at its partner restaurants, cafes, and bars, and pay the bill in four fortnightly instalments with zero interest by scanning a QR code. As part of the mandate, Agnes Media will be driving payo’s awareness and consideration amongst diners and venue owners.

The partnership comes after the recently launched payo checkout, a platform enabling customers to pay their bills in seconds without needing the payo app. By scanning a unique QR code at the table, bill wait times are removed whilst also allowing customers to split the bill easily.

Taf Chiwanza, payo’s co-founder and CEO, shared that their goal is to increase the range of venues for users to choose from, whilst attracting a growing base of engaged app users. 

“We are pleased to be working with Agnes Media during this significant growth phase of our business. They were the perfect agency fit with their strong focus on analytics and measurement, and relevant experience in the fintech space,” said Chiwanza.

Meanwhile, Charlotte Ward, Agnes Media’s CEO, commented that they are delighted to be appointed as the agency partner for payo, attracting both hospitality owners and customers to use this world-class app.

“We ensure media buys are tied to key business objectives, with tailored measurement methodologies to track what is driving success resulting in a more effective ROI. This is especially relevant for fast-growth brands such as payo with aggressive expansion goals,” said Ward.

Technology Featured APAC

Xandr taps Scibids to bring customizable, independent AI to paid digital media buyers in Asia

Singapore — Advertising and analytics multinational telecommunications company Xandr, and Scibids, a company that specialises in artificial intelligence for digital marketing, has announced they have struck a strategic alliance that will seamlessly and automatically deploy Scibids AI within Xandr’s Invest DSP using Xandr’s Data Science Toolkit.

By utilizing Xandr’s Data Science Toolkit, which offers one of the most comprehensive custom bidding and log-level-data solutions in-market, Scibids AI can power more granular optimization and ad decisioning that does not require user tracking and profiling to generate greater efficiency and scale for Xandr’s advertiser customers and their campaigns.

The combined result is a frictionless experience for buyers who are able to activate Scibids’ customizable, privacy-centric, and highly performant ad decisioning.

Eric Schwartz, managing director of Scibids North America, said, “Xandr has a long history in enabling its customers to deploy powerful, custom buying strategies to help gain an edge. Thanks to advances in technology and our deep integration with Scibids, tailored bidding strategies no longer require a team of data scientists and engineers to bring them to life. We’re thrilled that our partnership with Scibids will help democratise access to this advanced technology.”

Rahul Vasudev, managing director of Scibids Asia-Pacific, commented that artificial Intelligence is raising expectations in marketing and none more so than in programmatic advertising.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the Xandr team to bring our custom algorithm solutions to Xandr’s Invest DSP, enabling advertisers to achieve their multiple business objectives across the open web. As Scibids is additive rather than disruptive our partnership will help trading talent to thrive by operating transparently and easily alongside their usual tech and processes,” Vasudev said.

The relationship can benefit all premium cross-channel supply, including Connected TV and digital video, among others. Scibids and Xandr provide a clear marketing path for consumers who are ramping up their use of first-party data — even if the customer does not have deep engineering, data science, or media optimization resources. Conversely, sophisticated buyers are able to enjoy rich customization options that can put their proprietary insights to work with the unified benefits of the Xandr and Scibids platforms.

Last December, Xandr was bought out by tech giant Microsoft, which have recently gone into a buying spree to consolidate its market position.

Marketing Featured South Asia

Yellophant Digital wins digital mandate for 1Rivet India

Mumbai, India — Digital marketing agency Yellophant Digital, an alliance of Merge Infinity Global, has won the digital mandate for 1Rivet India, a tech-based consultancy firm headquartered in the USA. Through the mandate, the brand’s entire social media responsibilities, from ideation to execution will be tasked to YelloPhant. The Mumbai-based digital agency secured the mandate in a multi-agency pitch and will work towards building up the brand’s presence online.

1Rivet is a US-based IT strategy and consultancy firm that helps clients expand their business growth, assist with new talent acquisition and facility management. The agency will manage the brand’s social media reach on different platforms namely Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Yellophant Digital also plans on launching the brand on any new platform that can bolster its presence further.

Harikrishna Nair, CEO of 1Rivet for India, said, “It has been a pleasure to work with Preksha and her team at Yellophant. We have engaged Yellophant Digital to manage our digital presence and we are happy with the way they’ve run the program so far. The Yellophant Digital team is responsive and easy to do business with. It’s definitely worth having a conversation with them if you’re thinking of investing in your company’s social media presence.”

Preksha Seth, co-founder of Yellophant Digital, said, “We are thrilled to be working with 1Rivet India. There is so much commonality between us, especially a shared vision of what the organization should communicate online. With both our teams being young and dynamic, it shall be an exciting collaboration. I’m eager to kickstart the project and elevate 1Rivet India’s online presence.”

Yellophant Digital has also previously acquired other mandates from brands such as Beleaf, CarBoli, Mezaya, and ExpertMFD, among others.