Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

SG foodtech startup Float Foods appoints dentsu SG as brand, digital strategy partner

Singapore – Float Foods, the local home-grown foodtech startup, has tapped the services of dentsu Singapore to be its brand and digital strategy partner to aid the startup in the commercial launch of Asia’s first plant-based whole egg product, OnlyEg.

Through the appointment, dentsu Singapore will be responsible for developing the product’s go-to-market brand strategy, identity, design and launch campaign in Singapore in 2022.

Speaking about the startup launch in Singapore, Vinita Choolani, founder and CEO at Float Foods, said that the prime reason they aim with the launch is due to the fact that COVID-19 has highlighted a burgeoning food security problem, especially in Singapore, adding that they have identified a critical need for Singapore to plug that gap to ensure the long-term safety of our food ecosystem. 

“Equally important, we recognized that it needed to be done in a clean and sustainable way that allowed people to eat healthily and economically. That was why Float Foods was born and our breakthrough plant-based whole egg protein product will be able to change the way eggs are consumed in Asian cultures where it is a key diet,” Choolani said.

She added, however, that any game-changing product and technology requires radical collaboration with partners who believe in it, further stating that it has therefore been important for them to work with investors and partners who appreciate the startup’s vision to advance Singapore’s food ecosystem.

“That is why dentsu Singapore is a clear choice for us as a partner for the launch of OnlyEg. Its appreciation of Float Foods’ longer-term value to the food landscape in Singapore, combined with dentsu’s capabilities in brand and digital strategy, was a strong proposition for us. We look forward to bringing this to launch together,” Choolani stated.

Meanwhile, Prakash Kamdar, CEO at dentsu Singapore, commented that their company’s commitment for being a force of good and growth is stemmed from their focus on helping businesses achieve good for growth, yet it is not every day that they get to work with a partner who is positively revolutionizing the landscape in which it operates in.

“As such, we are incredibly delighted to be able to support Float Foods in its go-to-market strategy and execution as it champions change in the way we manage food supply and security in Singapore while taking care of the environment. We are grateful for the confidence placed on our ability to bring our integrated thinking and capabilities to the table. Our team has a deep appreciation for Float Foods’ vision and principles, which will be applied in building a strong brand strategy that will help to successfully launch OnlyEg to the market once it is ready,” Kamdar concluded.

In overview, Float Foods has raised US$2.2m in seed funding and is collaborating with research and development agencies in Singapore to optimize OnlyEg for commercial readiness by 2022. The foodtech startup also plans to roll out more plant-based products in Singapore and the region in the next two years.

Marketing Featured East Asia

About 73% of Greater Bay Area retailers applying localized digital strategies: report

Hong Kong – As more and more consumers are embracing an online-to-offline (O2O) approach to the retail industry, a greater majority of retailers across Hong Kong and nine key cities in Mainland China, known as the ‘Greater Bay Area’ (GBA), are keeping in mind the importance of digital strategies to their business, specifically in the local setting, a new report from consulting firm KPMG, in partnership with the Hong Kong arm of business communication non-profit GS1, and financial institution HSBC shows.

In its latest report, they note that 73% of GBA retailers are implementing localized forms of their retail digital strategies, keeping in mind that they are increasing their use of both direct-to-consumer e-commerce and third-party e-commerce platforms.

The most common business functions for which 43% of surveyed retailers are implementing a GBA strategy are sales and marketing and communications, as companies look to attract customers in the mainland China market. Thirty percent of those retailers polled are developing a GBA programme for fulfilment, logistics, operations or supply chain management.

Consumer-wise, one in two (50%) of Hong Kong consumers said they felt more comfortable about shopping online since the start of the pandemic, not far behind the 59% of respondents from the nine mainland China GBA cities surveyed. Tellingly, 24% of Hong Kong consumers and 23% of those in the mainland GBA cities say they could live without physical retail stores.

The greater force that the report notes as game-changer for the modern retailer is the choice of Gen Z consumers towards online shopping, as 73% of Gen Z consumers in Hong Kong and 86% in mainland GBA cities expecting a swift response to product enquiries logged on online chat, and expecting brands to use tech including AI to help shortlist new products. 

They also expect augmented reality (AR) functions to help them make better purchases online, with 61% in Hong Kong, and 82% in mainland GBA cities. The research also shows Gen Z consumers prefer contactless shopping (60% in Hong Kong and 77% in mainland GBA cities). Around 76% of retailers surveyed are adopting at least one type of Gen Z-specific strategy.

In the mid of the rising population of shoppers moving towards online, GBA retailers need to act fast to respond to the consumers’ O2O needs. The research shows a vast gap between customer expectations and what retailers are delivering, with 77% of Hong Kong and 85% of mainland respondents in the GBA indicating that retailers need to have a better connection between channels and create a seamless customer journey. Among retail executives that were surveyed on their actions to enhance customer experience, only 39% of businesses were currently focusing on the integration between physical stores and online, suggesting a significant gap in retailers’ O2O propositions.

Alice Yip, partner at head of consumer and industrial markets for Hong Kong at KPMG China, notes that these results cement the fact that more consumers are buying more online than ever before, and the retail brands who have best survived this rapid transition are those who have proven agile in their response to the growing demand for digital engagement.

“Hong Kong and mainland China GBA retailers are already implementing strategies for regional growth across the region while also looking to expand into Southeast Asia, with industry leaders emphasising the need for adequate localisation of products, services and marketing approaches to attract the growing pool of digital-savvy consumers,” Yip stated.

For Anna Lin, CEO at GS1, she explains that consumers expect a seamless transition from an in-store experience to an online experience. She added that consumers also want to engage with brands across social media and other digital media and they expect brands to use technology to improve customer service, ease of payments, flexible delivery options and convenient returns.

This is also agreed by Lewis Sun, head of product management for global liquidity and cash management for Asia Pacific at HSBC, who commented, “In order to deliver a seamless customer journey, more retailers in the Greater Bay Area are looking for a single platform that can take payments from multiple channels – from credit cards, bank transfers to e-wallets.”

As retailers and brands develop more complex digital channels and deploy new technologies, sourcing, upskilling and reskilling talent to build a future-ready workforce will be a key priority for retailers in navigating the new normal and capturing growth opportunities. With technical areas such as IT and systems support (38%), data analytics (35%), and research & development (31%) identified as top areas demanding more workforce, professional development programs as well as talent exchange within the GBA will provide opportunities to fill the gaps.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

IMDA, Enterprise Singapore refresh ‘Start Digital’ initiative

Singapore – ‘Start Digital’, a digital initiative started by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore for SME support, is refreshing their existing digital solutions in order to provide newly incorporated SMEs or those that have yet to digitize with foundational and easy-to-deploy digital solutions.

Initially launched in January 2019, the Start Digital program has helped more than 30,000 SMEs to adopt various digital transformation strategies for their businesses, known collectively as the ‘Start Digital Pack’. These solutions are offered across six partners, namely financial institutions DBS, Maybank, OCBC, and UOB, as well as telco Singtel and M1.

Start Digital is offering three new and enhanced categories:

  • Digital Collaboration – These enable employees to work from home or any other convenient locations. Examples include Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace.
  • Digital Marketing – Tools that provide SMEs with templates to create social media ads and manage their digital ad buys and placements on a single platform. This allows SMEs to easily manage targeted digital marketing campaigns and reach out to consumers on social media.
  • Digital Transactions – InvoiceNow-linked solutions offered by bank partners are integrated with e-payment including PayNow Corporate to enable SMEs to generate/receive e-invoices through InvoiceNow and receive/make e-payments seamlessly. These solutions help SMEs improve transaction accuracy and administrative productivity. Both e-invoicing and e-payments are part of digital utilities which IMDA is putting in place as baseline infrastructure for the digital economy. Similar to their physical counterparts, digital utilities provide common standards and ease of transactions for businesses. 

Start Digital initially included accounting, human resource management system and payroll, digital marketing, digital transactions and cybersecurity solutions. 

“Based on feedback from SMEs and Start Digital partners, IMDA and Enterprise Singapore are enhancing Start Digital to include new solutions that will enable SMEs to collaborate seamlessly with internal and external parties, and gain new customers,” according to a factsheet released by IMDA and Enterprise Singapore.

Both institutions have been proactive in driving support for SMEs and startups based on digital transformation strategies. Earlier this year, Enterprise Singapore supported the launch of the PlanetSpark Innovation Centre to focus on tech startups seeking to deploy artificial intelligence of things (AIoT) to the market. 

Technology Featured ANZ

SugarCRM’s latest acquisition of Aussie CRM solutions to amp up CX services in APAC

California, USA – Customer experience platform SugarCRM has recently announced the acquisition of Loaded Technologies,  a business consulting, CRM strategy and cloud implementation services provider based in Sydney, Australia.

With this acquisition, SugarCRM is expanding its ability to meet implementation service demand in Australia and the broader Asia-Pacific region. SugarCRM’s service portfolio includes cloud-based customer experience solutions, AI-powered sales, and other marketing/service software.

Such services then enable high-definition customer experience through implementations such as migrations from on-premise to cloud environments.

“We are excited to have the team at Loaded Technologies, with their dedication to customer success and  expertise of the Sugar CX solutions. The acquisition of our long-time partner, addresses a growing need for mid-market companies who want a trusted advisor that can help them navigate and succeed in optimizing and differentiating their customer experience,” said Jason du Preez, general manager for SugarCRM Asia Pacific.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Data solutions 3radical snitches Mediacorp contract for new digital offerings

Singapore – 3radical is the latest partner of Singapore-based media network Mediacorp, and aims to drive web traffic through loyalty boosting, readership, and consumer data capture.

The latest partnership coincides with Mediacorp’s 20th anniversary of their digital mobile news network TODAY. 3radical’s collaboration entails strategic engagement solutions to allow Mediacorp’s readers to interact more, signaling a more mutually beneficial environment.

“Mediacorp is a great example of how content creators must transform their digital experiences to meet the constantly changing needs of consumers, earn their engagement, and get a better understanding of each reader. We are so excited to be helping Mediacorp address this ever-evolving landscape by creating compelling engagement exchanges that more effectively drive loyal readers now and in the future.”

Michael D. Fisher, CEO at 3radical

Furthermore, 3radical’s Voco gamification software enables Mediacorp to provide digital interactions that incentivize audiences while earning their data on a permissioned basis.

Marketing Featured South Asia

iZooto joins publishing platform Quintype for digital reader retention strategies

Noida, India – With digital publishers impacted by the global pandemic, marketing platform iZooto joins forces with publishing platform Quintype to come up with long-term solutions to help digital publishers create audience traction and revenue.

iZooto will aid in the existing partnership by providing targeted push notifications to readers, while Quintype is focused more on building reader revenue, such as content paywalls.

“At Quintype, we have been constantly looking for ways to help publishers grow audiences and monetize content better. We have been actively pursuing strategic partnerships that will benefit digital publishers. Accompanied by iZooto, the market leader in push notifications, Quintype aims to deliver an enhanced digital experience to all our clients,” said Chirdeep Shetty, CEO of Quintype.

Neel Kothari, CEO of iZooto added, “We a t iZooto have known Quintype for the last three years and have always been impressed by their laser-focused efforts in building a world-class digital publishing platform, joining hands will further strengthen iZooto’s positioning as the leading owned audience marketing platform.”

SME Featured APAC

APAC SMEs are catching up the digital transformation wave: report

Singapore—Small-medium enterprises (SME) in Asia Pacific are slowly making their way into being adoptive to today’s business changes across the digital transformation sphere, according to a report from IT and networking company Cisco and market intelligence firm IDC.

With more than 1,400 respondents across APAC SMEs, the report found out that there is a significant increase for digital adoption, showing a 16% growth for SMEs willing to integrate more digital transformation strategies, compared to the 11% growth last year.

On the other hand, 53% of SMEs showed initial willingness to be ‘observant’ at first for their small modern digital changes, while 31% of SMEs showed reactiveness to move into the digital market and are slow in their own transition.

The current COVID-19 pandemic proved to be one of the major reasons for digital transition of SMEs, as statistics showed that 94% of SMEs showed reliance on technological measures for their businesses. In regards to using digital business measures as a way to make roundabout on disruptive events i.e. the pandemic, 55% percent said that such measures are important and are crucial for the business framework.

Some of the leading goals for digitalization of SMEs include market expansion, improved customer experience (CX), prototype kickstart/startup, supply chain, among others.

Cisco estimates that with willingness from SMEs to conduct business presence online, such enterprises are forecasted to   bring $2.6–$3.1 trillion in GDP across Asia Pacific, suggesting faster economic recovery by 2024.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Malaysian digital marketing agency Primal aids companies amid COVID-19 through its planning method RADAR

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Despite the global business turmoil brought on by a tumultuous year, digital marketing agency Primal is helping local companies emerge from the COVID-19 gloom with renewed vigor,

As companies continue to battle decreasing economic health and drastic operational changes amid the pandemic, Primal leverages sophisticated digital marketing strategies for businesses of all shapes and sizes using the RADAR method of strategic planning and implementation.

RADAR is an acronym which stands for Research, Analysis, Well-designed, Actionable, and Results. In following the method, the agency provides businesses with a viable and targeted digital marketing strategy. 

It first goes into research to understand a brand, then dives into analysis to set the goals of each brand’s campaign. From such information, the agency devises a digital marketing strategy that is well-designed and actionable, then the agency endeavors in campaign monitoring, to measure and quantify results from the campaign for further enhancement of the strategy. 

The company vouchers for RADAR as a unique approach as it is not a rigid set of guidelines, but rather an agile framework that aligns strategic intent with anticipating and evaluating campaign performance.

According to the agency, genuinely successful online marketing is about focusing on what’s important and tangible. A scientific approach like RADAR will ensure that data is collated and analyzed, best practices are followed, market trends are incorporated, and budgets are stuck to and targets are hit. 

As with most other developed nations around the world, Malaysia is seeing growth in the online sector, both for leisure and commerce. For marketers, a high volume of traffic represents a golden opportunity. Companies who are leveraging these platforms to reach, engage, and convert customers are poised to win big in the online marketing war. 

According to a report by media company We Are Social, the top four dominant social network platforms in Malaysia areYouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram with 93%, 91%, 91%, and 70% usage penetration respectively. 

Meanwhile, a Southeast Asia-wide report by digital insights research company DataReportal shows that Malaysia currently has a penetration rate of 80% for online shopping, the third-highest level in Southeast Asia, trailing  Indonesia (90%) and Thailand (85%). 

“The difference with Primal is that we have an optimized, enthusiastic, creative, and results-driven mentality. We don’t just do the work for clients, but rather empower them with the knowledge, tools, and processes required to effectively harness digital marketing for themselves” said Ronnie Chin, general manager for Primal Malaysia

“We enable them to create data-driven digital marketing campaigns across social media, SEO, Google Ads, retargeting, and outreach that drive business results,” added Chin.