Marketing Featured South Asia

Harsh Shah appointed as new chief digital officer of Wunderman Thompson South Asia

Mumbai, India – Wunderman Thompson has appointed Harsh Shah as its new chief digital officer for South Asia. Shah will be responsible for accelerating the digital transformation of the Wunderman Thompson Group and will work with its agencies across the creative, communication, tech, health, and commerce practices. 

In his last stint, Harsh was with Dentsu Creative as President – West, and led operations, revenue, people and culture for Dentsu Webchutney, and regional business for the rest of Dentsu Creative. For the new role, he will be reporting directly to Shams Jasani, chief executive officer of Wunderman Thompson South Asia.

Jasani said, “We are Delighted to welcome Harsh to the Wunderman Thompson Family. He brings in a wealth of experience across Digital, Technology and Commerce. Our work at Wunderman Thompson harnesses the power of creative, technology, and Commerce to drive unprecedented growth for some of the world’s biggest brands. We are glad to have Harsh onboard at a critical juncture when we are keenly looking at offering end-to-end capabilities to our clients at scale.”

Meanwhile, Shah commented, “I am deeply excited by the vision drawn up at WT and my specific charter as a key growth partner. I look forward to drive this vision and unlock growth with my highly experienced and talented peers at the agency.”

Marketing Featured ANZ

Now We Collide rebrands digital employee experience company Azuronaut to Cocentric

Sydney, Australia – Independent creative agency Now We Collide launched a new campaign unveiling digital employee experience company Azuronaut’s new name, Cocentric.

The rebranded Cocentric aims to improve the digital employee experience in order to ‘bring people and tech together to unite and connect the workplace’. It is also set to launch today across the UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand with a redesigned website, and digital and social media presence.

Global brands like Kerry Group, Populous, Pladis (McVitie’s, Godiva), and The White Company have already partnered with Cocentric to improve their employee communication and collaboration strategies.

In its rebranding efforts with Cocentric, Now We Collide overhauled the company identity by creating a new company wordmark, which is a play on the words collaborate, communicate, and centric.

The agency also created a new logo, style guide, and brand strategy for the company. It also refined and defined Cocentric’s core company values, mission, vision and purpose.

“Our approach to the digital employee experience is unique and our rebrand as Cocentric reflects this, clearly differentiating us from the competition. The rebrand has already been embraced by our employees and stakeholders and we’re excited to see it go live,” said Regan Collins, Cocentric’s founder and CEO.

Cocentric COO Brett Secole also comments, “Our business had evolved hugely over the last few years and the relaunch as Cocentric represents an expression of our huge growth, providing our clients, employees and wider stakeholders real clarity on our strategy moving forwards.”

On collaborating with Now We Collide for the rebranding, Rhea Hokayem-Conway, head of marketing at Cocentric said, “We reviewed a number of proposals as part of the pitch process and Now We Collide immediately stood out due to the calibre of their work, their insights led strategy and their understanding of the challenges we faced.”

She added, “Everything was very collaborative from the outset, this has enabled us to get the very best out of the partnership with them, and we’re looking forward to working closely with them in future as we continue to roll out marketing plans”

Keir Maher, CEO and managing partner at Now We Collide also said, “Cocentric is a dynamic company on the move, with a market-leading mindset and that sits perfectly with our approach. As a team we were totally aligned from day one on the challenges and where we needed to get to. It’s always a great experience to work with businesses with similar values on collaboration, embracing change, challenging conformity and our ambitions for the future. The result speaks for itself with a much clearer brand look, feel and sound.”

Kurt Toohey, creative director at Now We Collide explained, “The visual identity and brand framework firmly sets Cocentric apart in their category and gives the team a solid foundation to build on as the brand continues to evolve. Along with a new name, we developed a simple, yet strong wordmark, brand symbol, refreshed colour palette and layout system.”

Toohey added, “Animated versions of the brand symbol and wordmark were also created, with the symbol variations subtly alluding to the brands purpose to ‘unlock the best in people’, with the silhouette of a lock forming before transforming into the open ‘C’ shape.”

Prior to the collaboration with Cocentric, Now We Collide was also tapped by digital transformation firm TMX to manage its brand strategy.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

83% of SG companies say strategy for digital transformation is in place

Singapore – Companies in Singapore are the most likely in the Asia-Pacific region to use data analytics and visualisation, with about 83% of Singapore companies reporting having a digital transformation strategy. This is according to the latest data from CPA Australia.

About one-third of respondents said their organisation will start or continue implementing a digital transformation or technology strategy in the next 12 months. Meanwhile, About two-thirds of Singapore respondents said their business worked with technology companies or vendors in the past year to supplement their technology needs.

In addition, Singapore-based businesses are already the top users of robotic process automation (RPA) in the region, with 57% of local respondents saying their company deployed RPA as a business tool.

However, the survey reveals many companies need external support to overcome barriers to digital transformation. High financial costs and a low return on investment were a challenge for 37% of respondents while 35% pointed to a shortage of technology talent

CPA Australia Singapore Divisional President Max Loh said the take-up of technology by businesses in Singapore would pay dividends.

“New technologies enhance organisational efficiencies by automating many mundane as well as high volume tasks. This allows employees to focus on work that needs strategic thinking, such as customer engagement or creating more value for organisations and stakeholders,” he said.

Loh added, “Technology will play a pivotal role in an evolving future workplace. It’s critical for companies to invest in and fully embrace advanced technologies to maintain their advantage in a globally competitive marketplace.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Dentsu Malaysia wins digital transformation mandate for QSR Brands’ KFC, Pizza Hut

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Dentsu Malaysia has won the digital transformation mandate for Malaysia’s retail food company QSR Brands, becoming the key partner on the company’s transformational journey for KFC and Pizza Hut. 

As part of the mandate, Dentsu Malaysia will be the partner of KFC and Pizza Hut in becoming a true data-first organisation, and future proof business verticals across marketing, operations, and supply chain. The brands have been in the phase of transformation and will go through a data-driven acceleration to improve business efficiencies.

Dheeraj Raina, CEO of Dentsu Media in Malaysia, shared that QSR has set a bold vision for their KFC and Pizza Hut businesses, and the agency shares this vision with them and believes that these brands have a big potential of becoming data companies. 

“For the next 18 months, we will be working with the marketing, data and business teams of KFC and Pizza hut in unlocking the real consumer value with the use of media tech, data and marketing technology. We are bringing the best minds across our service lines together to co-create this powerful and rewarding future with QSR,” said Raina.

Meanwhile, Nehchal Khanna, CEO of QSR Brands (KFC & Pizza Hut) for Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, and Brunei, noted that over the last two years, significant digital investments have been made to provide better digital customer experience and restaurant operations efficiencies and to pivot their business to digital sales because of the changing consumer landscape. 

“We are now ready to realise our bold vision of becoming the number one food technology business in ASEAN, and as part of that aspiration, we are embarking upon this journey with our partners at Dentsu who have gone through a rigorous process of evaluation and selection for this role,” said Khanna.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

City Savings Bank bolsters digital transformation, appoints new chairman of the board

Philippines — City Savings Bank (CitySavings), the thrift subsidiary of Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank), has appointed Henry R. Aguda, chief technology and operations officer and chief transformation officer of UnionBank, as its new chairman of the board. His expertise is expected to boost CitySavings’ digital transformation initiative as the bank envisions helping more people with moderate means.

Larry Ocampo, president and CEO of CitySavings, said, “Aguda brings with him a wealth of expertise that was also instrumental in UnionBank’s successful digital transformation. With his appointment as its new chairman, we are confident that CitySavings will be able to go further in its transformation journey, allowing it to cater to the underserved segment much better.”

On his appointment, Aguda said, “CitySavings has been helping many of our kababayans through accessible financing options, and our priority is to bring these loans to even more potential customers by optimizing the Bank’s existing customer touch points and the infrastructures that support them, powered by AI models created by our Data Science and AI Team.”

CitySavings has seen great results with its initial pilot of AI-driven solutions that utilized historical data to improve customer relevance for loans availed, achieving a conversion rate of 35 per cent in its testing phase. CitySavings also created an in-house credit scoring model to complement its AI capabilities, which resulted in improved turnaround time and enabled the bank to raise its motorcycle loans portfolio to ₱7.06b as of end-March.

CitySavings’s stronger, AI-focused digital push is seen to magnify the success of these projects, allowing the Bank to serve even more customers. With its primary goal of becoming the Philippines’ leading thrift bank, CitySavings sees digital transformation as a necessary step in achieving this goal. By utilizing emerging technologies as well as key learnings from its parent bank UnionBank, CitySavings hopes to shore up its digital capabilities, and in turn, create products and services that are more meaningful to Filipinos.

On the bank’s strives for digital transformation, Ocampo said, “This renewed commitment to digitally transforming our organization will allow us to harness innovation like never before and serve our customers better. CitySavings has always been one with UnionBank in envisioning a future where everyone is empowered by technology and this brand new chapter for us opens new possibilities toward achieving that vision.”

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Saigon-Hanoi Bank taps Temenos to accelerate digital transformation

Geneva, Switzerland – Saigon-Hanoi Bank in Vietnam has tapped cloud banking platform Temenos to accelerate the bank’s digital transformation. For SHB, the move to Temenos digital banking platform is a crucial step toward its goal to rank first in efficiency and technology among Vietnam’s commercial banks by 2025.

Through the partnership, adopting the digital banking capabilities on top of Temenos open platform for composable banking will enable SHB to reimagine how it engages with customers and deliver a consistent, seamless experience across multiple channels. 

Additionally, SHB will leverage Temenos’ open architecture – with its combination of APIs, microservices and Micro Apps – to create a true omnichannel experience across all channels, including internet, mobile, branches and ATMs.

Do Quang Vinh, deputy general director and director at SHB Digital Banking Division, said, “SHB aims to become a leading digital bank in Vietnam in the next five years. We are confident that choosing Temenos, the world leader in banking software, will enable us to complete the transformation project in the fastest and most effective way. With a modernised and secure system, we will be able to engage existing customers better and attract new customers through a digital banking experience that meets their current and future financial service needs.”

Meanwhile, David Becker, managing director for APAC at Temenos, commented, “SHB is a visionary bank with a clear digital transformation roadmap, and we are proud to support and partner with the bank on this journey. Temenos has nearly 30 years of experience in implementing core and front-office solutions for over 20 clients in Vietnam. This deep expertise together with the powerful capabilities of our open platform will help SHB accelerate the digital transformation initiatives that will differentiate its service and realize its growth ambitions.”

SME Featured East Asia

Around 57% of HK SMEs have accelerated digitalisation efforts: survey

Hong Kong – Around 57% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Hong Kong have reported that they have accelerated their digitalisation efforts for the past 12 months, new survey from insurance company QBE shows.

According to the survey, 21% of the respondents say that growing sales amid reduced consumer spending became a key priority for SME digitalisation, followed by customer acquisition and retention (18%). In addition, SMEs are concerned about staff acquisition, training and retention, as well as logistical and export-import issues, reflecting that maintaining sales performance and ensuring business continuity are critical.

The survey also noted that 88% of the respondents said they currently use digital technologies or intend to invest in them, continuing the upward trend seen in 2020 (75%) and 2019 (73%). 

At present, the three top investment areas are collaborative software for staff (40%), marketing through social or online media (40%) and e-commerce (38%).

Despite the strong outlook, SMEs cited greater competition, data security threats and rising customer expectations as the main challenges for e-commerce. As a result, there is a surge in cyber risk awareness among SMEs, which jumped to 43% from 24% in 2020. SMEs took protection against cyber risk in several different forms, including software solutions and staff training, but particularly, 39% used insurance as a form of protection.

Lei Yu, CEO for North Asia and regional head of distribution at QBE Asia, said that the survey provided useful insights on the challenges that SMEs in Hong Kong are facing, and showed that SMEs are catching up quickly in utilising digital technologies to help achieve their evolving business goals.

“Our annual survey shows that awareness of and appetite for insurance keeps changing, however the underlying trend of insurance and risk management awareness is upwards. This is important because it is in everyone’s interests for them to be adequately protected. SMEs need flexible insurance products that allow them to choose insurance types and coverage according to their own needs,” Yu said.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

Nipa Cloud taps Juniper Networks to accelerate digital transformation among Thai enterprises

Bangkok, Thailand – Local cloud services provider Nipa Cloud has tapped global multinational company Juniper Networks to accelerate digital transformation among local enterprises, as well as in anticipation of further growing demand for endpoint flexibility amidst Thailand’s rapidly transforming digital economy.

In light of its strong growth momentum and this increasing demand for cloud services across Thailand’s enterprises, Nipa has deployed network fabric solutions from Juniper Networks, including the QFX5120 Series Switches and MX10003/MX204 Series Universal Routing Platforms, to upgrade its campus and data centre networks and better differentiate its offerings.

“Nipa is now able to better deliver enhanced throughput, scalability, capacity, performance and security – enabling Nipa to continue development of its ground-up cloud solutions, uniquely built for Thailand’s fast- developing enterprises and its rapidly transforming digital ecosystem,” Juniper Networks said in a press statement.

Abhisak Chulya, founder and CEO at Nipa Cloud, said, “Thailand is amid a massive digital transformation, with consumers and enterprises alike accelerating their transition to the cloud. As our nation drives toward Thailand 4.0, it is key that infrastructure providers like Nipa Cloud adapt and transform to stay ahead of the pack.”

He added, “Through our partnership with Juniper Networks, we can introduce new infrastructure-as-a-service capabilities with multiple locations and lower cost of cloud. This will offer our customers and partners access to agile, cost-effective and secure services that will help drive sustainable growth in Thailand’s digital economy.”

Meanwhile, Perry Sui, senior director for ASEAN and Taiwan at Juniper Networks, commented, “We are delighted to partner with Nipa Cloud to support their vision toward enabling Thailand 4.0 through the digital transformation of the country’s enterprises. Nipa Cloud plays a key role in driving the nation’s technological growth and through Juniper’s experience-first networking approach, we are committed to helping them deliver world-class cloud solutions to its end customers. All of which are crucial in bringing digitally-accelerated post-pandemic recovery and in ensuring Thailand’s continued economic growth.”

Marketing Featured ANZ

Bastion launches new digital transformation consultancy, ‘Bastion Transform’

Australia – Independent agency Bastion has launched a new digital transformation and strategy consultancy, Bastion Transform, to be led by Gaven Morris, former director of news, analysis, and investigations of national broadcast station Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), as the consultancy’s CEO

Morris brings with him an extensive career, working previously as a senior media executive, international editorial leader, and journalist, seeing himself riding the waves of digital and broadcast change globally. Morris was also on the launch team of Europe, where he played a key role in building and launching broadcast and online news start-up Al Jazeera English.

In his new role as CEO, Morris will be overseeing the digital advisory, strategy, and organization renewal consultancy backed by the full resources of the broader Bastion business.

Commenting on his new appointment, Morris said that he is very excited to be joining the team and to work with purpose-driven partners and help organizations and institutions seeking to navigate their way towards an increasingly digital future.

“This fourth industrial revolution requires a clear vision, building effective cultures, and enacting purposeful plans to keep ahead of so much change,” said Morris.

Meanwhile, Jack Watts, Bastion’s founder and global CEO, shared that the birth of the consultancy comes from the increase in clients seeking help to fundamentally transform their organizations to prosper in the “new world”.

“Partnering with Gav to launch our new digital transformation consultancy, Bastion Transform, is a phenomenal opportunity for our business, people, and clients. We look forward to working with a range of clients, across industries and categories to guide them in delivering both their short and long-term digital transformation agendas,” said Watts.

In November this year, Bastion has announced the acquisition of New Zealand-based agency Shine, which will be its fifty-member team. The move aims to make Bastion one of the largest independent communications agencies across Australia and Asia.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

Maybank launches SME-centric business banking app to aid in digital transformation

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysia’s banking group Maybank has launched its newest business banking app ‘Maybank2u Biz’ which aids SMEs in their digital transformation journey, specifically in their business banking needs.

Said app was developed to cater to the needs of busy business owners, who are always on the go and managing multiple tasks. It is suitable for partnerships, private limited companies, professional firms, educational institutions, clubs, society and associations.

Some of the features include the ‘Maker-Checker’ authorization process for transactions have also been simplified for efficient on-the-go approving without compromising on transparency; and the ‘invoicing tool’ which allows business owners to create, issue, and track invoices, as well can be customized using ready-to-use templates, and sent out to their customers via various communication channels such as email and chat messaging applications on their mobile devices.

“Running a business is very complex and it is even more challenging during these extraordinary circumstances. Hence, we have designed Maybank2u Biz to be more than just a banking application, but a business companion that will help ease SMEs’ burden and empower them to drive their businesses forward. We have made it simple, because entrepreneurs should be spending more time making strategic decisions instead of managing daily operations,” said Datuk Abdul Farid Alias, group president and chief executive officer.

He also added that they believe in the power of information and have made key financial data easy to access and understand for the SMEs, further stating that client SMEs can get a full view of their accounts in Maybank on the dashboard of the application, which allows them to make quick assessments of the business’ financial health at a glance. 

“At the same time, they are also able to download a year’s worth of cash flow data in spreadsheet format (CSV) on-demand, without having to wait for the traditional month-end statements. With the information, business owners can now plan ahead, make better decisions, or even spot potential red flags in their cash flow early. As with all Maybank digital solutions, security is paramount to us. We have introduced Secure2u to Maybank2u Biz to safeguard their transactions and give them peace of mind,” Datuk Farid added.

The app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and Apple AppStore today. 

Existing Maybank business customers can just download the application and log in with their Maybank2u Biz ID and password to start using it immediately and seamlessly, with the data from all their Maybank accounts automatically made available in the new application. 

For non-Maybank customers, they can open a Maybank business account online via Maybank2u, with only a single trip to the branch to activate the account. Once activated, they may start using the application, and have access to all the banking features and business tools within.

“The launch of Maybank2u Biz reaffirms Maybank’s commitment to support SMEs. With its intuitive interface, easy navigation, and useful business tools, we believe Maybank2u Biz will be well received by SMEs, as Maybank currently serves 58% of the SMEs in Malaysia. This is just the first phase of the application; we will continue to enhance it and bring in more features that will help SMEs power up their businesses,” he concluded.