Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

DuitNow QR’s latest CNY campaign is a ‘roarsome’ interactive endeavor

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – In the spirit of the current Chinese New year festivities, Malaysia’s national QR standard DuitNow has launched a CNY-themed campaign that is consisted of a 3D CuBig billboard on Jalan Ampang that is sure to make Malaysians have a ‘roarsome’ Year of the Tiger.

The campaign features a QR code that users can scan and use an IG filter to interact with. It is the first of its kind in Malaysia and has already caught the eye of passersby, all eager to enjoy this interactive experience and share it with their friends and family.

Malaysians can send or tag unforgettable Chinese New Year greetings to their loved ones by simply scanning the QR code on the billboard and interacting with it using the IG filter.

“We wanted to give Malaysians a little something extra to be excited about this Chinese New Year, and an interactive AR experience at a prime location in Kuala Lumpur seemed like the perfect idea. Our Sure Can campaign aims to encourage Malaysians to make payments using DuitNow QR so that they can have the ultimate convenience when it comes to shopping,” a spokesperson for PayNet commented regarding the campaign.

With AR interactions normally confined to much smaller real estate such as brochures or ang-pao packets, DuitNow QR commissioned Dreamsmind by DreamsKingdoms to take on the task of bringing this to life. To make it as realistic as possible, DreamsKingdoms opted to shoot real world footage of a lion dance combined with 3D ambience as opposed to the norm of using full 3D animation, with the end result ultimately paying off.

Interested ones who want to see the campaign in action can head over to the interactive DuitNow QR billboard on Jalan Ampang, at the intersection in front of KLCC, and then scan the QR code to access the DuitNow QR Instagram filter.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Nicorette’s latest campaign helps smokers kickstart new year with new habits

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Nicorette, the nicotine replacement therapy product brand in Malaysia with gum and transdermal patches, has launched a new anti-smoking campaign, aimed at helping both smokers and non-smokers kickstart the new year with a new habit.

Nicorette cites the national target of the country in tobacco use, where Malaysia is still expected to fall short of the target set under its National Strategic Plan for Non-Communicable Disease 2016-2025. With this in mind, Nicorette’s ‘#SamaSamaStop’ campaign, which in English translates to ‘I Want To Quit’, was born. 

The new campaign, which was developed in collaboration with Malaysia-based agency DreamsKingdoms, prods smokers to share their new habits this new year and will be rewarded with an RM50 Grab voucher. It includes an all-new interactive AR filter on Instagram, which can be used by Malaysians in joining the initiative.

Interested participants will only have to record themselves using the new AR filter, sharing what they want to quit for 2022, and post it with the hashtags ‘#SamaSamaStop’ and ‘#Nicorette’ on their Instagram profiles to get a chance to be one of the 20 lucky weekly winners.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

More than just a brand: The way of DreamsKingdoms’ philosophy

The greater foundations of any successful business or agency nowadays are no longer confined within the spaces of how well the agency clinches large accounts for their work, or how much awards the campaigns and works they made with their clients have acquired. Instead, the modern face of an agency has always been this intrinsic web of ascertaining ‘memorable’ and ‘relevant’ campaigns, creating an inclusive environment for creative talents, as well as keeping in mind its greater role for the betterment of the society, economically and sustainably.

Despite the complexity of these tasks modern agencies would need now to face, there are quite a number of agencies who continue to strive for this modern agency ideology. In addition, many of these agencies add their own flair of strategies and methodologies to live up to these expectations, and truly make a lasting impression not just to clients, but to the society as well.

Such is the mantra of Malaysia-based agency DreamsKingdoms, founded and currently led by Yenkai “Yens” Chong, whose primary objective to date is to aid local small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) to be the next generation of multinational companies (MNCs). For the agency, this includes preparing for BMI or the so-called ‘branding and marketing integration’, enabling them to shift their mindset to be ready and confident in realizing their full potential.

“In the running, DreamsKingdoms will share its creative expertise for the local SMEs to flourish by driving performance-driven branding and marketing skills forward to clients. The company’s expert experience having worked with a broad portfolio of global brands will surely be used as a key instrument in influencing the country’s SMEs, adopting the way a multinational corporation (MNC) markets its brand,” Yens shared in an interview with MARKETECH APAC.

Utilization of gamification strategies to boost team productivity

Gone are the days when the facet of a business management strategy is all about the intensity and number of the outputs, but rather affording a similar value on the need for team members to execute their skills and creative prowess well in order to create campaigns that impress more and last longer.

For Yens, part of that strategy in improving the productivity mantra is creating gamification strategies in order to boost work output from team members not just by the physical count but by the value and the message of the creative work to be embodied by the client. 

For instance, the agency has its own proprietary platform called ‘GamePlan’, which encourages the team to continuously upgrade their skills by being able to collect ‘gems’, ‘coins’, as well client’s ‘love’; these, in turn, will enable the agency’s team members to qualify for the promotion and have them in exchange of rewards as well. 

“It’s like playing a game while you are working. That’s what motivates people from young to old age, to have a clear path of where their performance is and improve on the area that they are behind,” Yens stated.

He believes that success should be implemented in a new way and measured by key results through the genuine creativeness and lasting impression an output leaves for the client and viewers, especially as a thought leader in the creative industry.

“Creatives are always being underrated in the growth of a business. Eventually, we are not being defined as a professional and always being put as the last choice to grow a business. We are building a creative eco-system that combines small individual specific skills that are nothing when viewed individually but integrated together, it becomes a result-driven source of power,” he added.

A self-taught pattern to empower DreamsKingdoms’ clients

Patterns and methodologies are the true core of any agency to succeed, and for Yens, part of the agency’s own pattern or model relies on what he calls the “ABCDE Energy,” which constitutes, Attract Attention, Bold Branding, Consumer Connection, Design Desire, and Extraordinary Experience.

An integral part of the pattern to work it out fully is always think about who gets to react and use it, hence the factor Attract Attention. If you can get audiences’ attention, you would have gained a listener. Attention has become the new currency not only for brand success but with anything they wish to convey.

Of course, part of the reason why audiences stick to a brand is that they find a particular brand to be creating a particular impression on them. With Bold Branding, it explains that people don’t buy what you do, people buy why brands do it. With the audience’s attention attracted, next is to capture their belief in why you do what you do through powerful brand purpose. 

Once the brand establishes a striking impression with their audience, in order for them to stay in the longer run, they need to ascertain Consumer Connection. Listen, understand, connect and engage. The future belongs to those who are able to align and connect with the power of empathy with their consumer, as trust builds relationships, and relationships drive action. 

And while we’re at it, Design Desire is another factor to include, making the product or service inclusive and appealing to the consumer. The motivating force behind raving fans. Consumers buy when they believe in your core purpose and would want to be part of the change you promise to bring them.

Lastly, as with any big brands that have lasted for ages, Extraordinary Experience is dubbed as the ‘extra spice’ to complete the audience-brand relationship. Defined as the lifetime memory that anchors the mind & heart, this is built upon the foundations of endless choices of what’s available and what’s possible getting smaller, consumer expectations are what set the extraordinary from the norm.

Yens believes that every global successful brand becomes successful through a pattern. From years of deep experience, he discovered a pattern that will help shape a brand through achieving more likeability, shareability, and lovability.

“Always practice that ‘CIA’ mentality: Always Curious, Imagineering, and Assessing’. This comes with the constant goal of creating the next breakthrough. Since day one, I have constantly reviewed my capabilities and relevancy to the changes in the industry. For me, there’s always a mission unfulfilled as long as there’s imagination yet to be discovered,” Yens explained regarding the formulation of the agency pattern.

Sharing through digital content: A tale of video series

Agencies don’t just thrive under the fact that they are just all about their craft and output, sometimes its members go the extra mile in ascertaining the vision of their company, which is for the greater benefit of their clients, helping them to create an impact at a larger society level. From creating non-profit organizations catered to help those in the community, creating a network of influencers to spread a certain message, all these strategies are tackled by creative leaders nowadays who wish to not only create an impact but also affect disruption for the greater good. 

In Yens’ case, one of his ways to ascertain that vision of aiding others is through constant sharing, specifically through digital content.

A screengrab on one of the many videos Yens uploads on his personal branded Facebook page.

He currently runs a personal branded Facebook page, where he uploads short video content sharing people various local-centric marketing concepts such as branding, advertising campaigns and migrating traditional business online.

The greater reason that makes these videos so inclined to CSR principles is that Yens’ sharing video content empowers especially local-based SMEs who aspire to be the ‘next big thing’. And as true to the mantra of the DreamsKingdoms’ vision of empowering this sector, , these videos speak truly of their aspirations of aiding SMEs towards their continued growth as a business.

This educational strategy from Yens best reflects his perspective and personality as a thought leader, where he states that “as a leader, entrepreneurs don’t read books, they use books.” He also added that we don’t lack knowledge or information, but, rather, we only lack simplified concepts that could easily be understood and shared to everyone, understandable and shareable.

A vision for the future of SMEs as the next MNCs

Part of the greater vision by DreamsKingdoms and Yens includes developing their mission of assisting 100 potential Malaysian SMEs to achieve excellent brand status. The company believes that this initiative will be able to help elevate the country’s SME sector as a whole, as well as promote good entrepreneurship spirit and product innovation.

Furthermore, the company also seeks to assist more Malaysian services, products, and businesses to thrive in the market by leveraging the company’s knowledge, skills, and expertise in branding and marketing strategy.

“The mission to grow SMEs will be elevated to be a permanent positioning of the company in order to get closer to achieving the status of being the country’s top performance-driven branding consultancy company,” Yens added.

In order to achieve this task, the agency will be sharing its creative expertise for the local SMEs to flourish by championing performance-driven branding and marketing skills. The company’s expert experience having worked with a broad portfolio of global brands will surely be used as a key instrument in influencing the country’s SMEs, adopting the way a multinational corporation (MNC) markets its brand.

Yens believes that to achieve impact, creativity in any brand growth should be simple. One of his well-known quotes is, “Think like MNCs, Act Like SMEs,” which means that businesses should have the insight and a vision big enough like MNCs, while incorporating the speed of SMEs. With this, businesses will be able to adapt to the changes in the environment.

Main Feature Marketing APAC

Top 5 stories this December: brave marketing stunt from SG-based dog food brand clinches top spot

MARKETECH APAC started five months ago with a vision to provide an ecosystem for all marketing and marketing tech brands in the Asia Pacific region to share their stories of innovation and growth. Since then, we have been monitoring the most viewed stories on the site each month, to recognize those that have delighted and hooked our readers the most, and we can’t believe that we are now down to our last list for the year. 

Last month, stories on Christmas ads have already started to peep in, and this month, it’s about brands doubling down on creativity and insightful ideas. To prove its established value proposition, one brand from Singapore went out of its way to grab its consumers’ attention through a never-before-heard ‘experiment’. Another one, an ASEAN-focused firm, emerged to be on readers’ radar this month for establishing a free program that aims to strengthen brands’ grasp on consumer and marketing insight. 

Of course, marketing leaders never fail to grace the top stories as they bring a face to the inspiring brands and companies we come to love. One is a new appointment from Asia parenting content platform, while another is an in-depth look at an existing creative leader, sharing his marketing journey and great working philosophy in the world of branding. 

Meanwhile, just like last month, one of the stories that entered the list tell of a marketing agency’s expansion within APAC, giving brands more ways to wow their audiences. All this, right here on the list. 

Based on Google Analytics from November 16 to December 15, here are the top 5 for the month. 

Top 5: A Malaysian integrated creative agency sets eyes on grooming 100 SMEs to the next multinational brands

At the start of the month, we have premiered MARKETECH Expert Up Close, our closer lens to the creatives and brains behind brands – and for our pilot episode, we had the founder of Malaysia integrated creative agency DreamsKingdoms, Yens.YenKai Chong

Yens and DreamsKingdoms isn’t your typical creative associate. More than being partners to businesses, they meet them eye to eye – they don’t play, instead, they’re hung up and serious in helping SMEs to grow into the next multinational brands. 

Yens and his creative agency are on a mission, that is, to use the power of branding to spur businesses’ growth, rerouting their SME mindset to become an MNC mindset in the process. 

In the episode, Yens said, “I feel that it’s a responsibility for professional industry practitioners or leaders to share or direct a way to change the perceptions of businessmen’s mindset, that trading without a brand is hard to survive especially when crises hit.”

He added, “It’s not saying that you have a brand and your business can thrive through [a crisis], but if you have a brand, you [will] have a culture and that culture will pull you through difficulties and give you strength [on] why you exist.”

Top 4: Influencer marketing INCA expands to HongKong

In November, GroupM’s international-wide influencer marketing company INCA announced that it has expanded to Hong Kong. Through this, aside from the company’s flagship influencer marketing solutions, brands in Hong Kong are now able to get their hands on INCATech, a platform that allows them to check unique creator and audience insights, workflow tools, as well as content amplification, and detailed campaign reporting dashboards. 

Top 3: Asia parenting content platform theAsianparent appoints new country manager for Indonesia

There’s no wonder that new appointments for brands always come out as one of the top stories, as such brim with a dose of inspiration at the onset – not just for those similarly aspiring individuals but for patrons of the brands themselves –  wherein new leader means fresh direction.

In November, Asia parenting content platform theAsianparent, which offers an ecosystem for mothers to be guided through the parenting journey, has announced a new country manager for its Indonesia platform. 

Rotsen Quispe is the former head of marketing for two leading hospitality brands: the Southeast Asia and Middle East markets of India-origin hotel chain OYO and the international markets of Indonesia-grown airline and hotel booking platform Traveloka. 

In an exclusive conversation with Rotsen, he shared, “From my previous experience in [the] largest startups in the region, I experienced challenges on how to scale a business in a short period of time. I hope my experience across different markets and my approach [in integrating] tools with the rest of marketing channels will actually help me contribute higher ROI for our partners and brands who rely on theAsianparent to drive growth.” 

Top 2: Free consumer data, training package for 10,000 businesses in Malaysia 

Do not believe what you just read? Well, it’s true – ASEAN-focused consumer data & analytics company Dattel Asia joins businesses that have rolled out assistance programs for co-businesses in this pandemic. 

We’ve seen one that offered free SEO services, Dattel Asia on the other hand, with its expertise in consumer analytics, has offered 10,000 businesses a RM 5K or US$1,223-worth package.This includes access to tools that provide actionable insights on the latest consumer behavior as well as exclusive training on how to grow one’s business with data. 

Called UPLIFT Malaysia, Dattel said the program will benefit most those that are in consumer-facing business such as retail, fashion, and F&B as well as fitness, beauty, and health, or snacks.

Through CEO Ashran Dato’ Ghazi’s personal dealings with entrepreneurs, and learning of their struggles in coping with the effects of the pandemic, the UPLIFT program was then birthed. 

Ashran shared to MARKETECH APAC, “Everyone advises businesses [and] SMEs that they gotta pivot, they gotta change, and they gotta move in order to cope with the whole COVID situation, but a lot of people are also wondering, ‘how do I actually do that?’ what business do I need to do and so forth.” 

He further shared, “So when we reflected in terms of what we’ve been doing, in terms of data itself, we sat with the partners, [and we thought], I think we can do something, I think we can kind of give some sense of direction to other businesses, and [we said] ‘let’s do this’, and let’s get other like-minded people to actually come on board with us on this journey.”

Ashran also revealed that adaptation of the UPLIFT program to other markets in Asian is in the works, something that’s definitely worth watching out for. 

Top 1: Top story for the month – a dog food brand’s three-course meal – for humans.

Did you ever wonder if you could actually eat your furry friend’s food? Well, one dog food brand in Singapore imagined it, and yes, even brought it to fruition. 

Our top story for the month – Furry’s Kitchen – markets dog food that is human-grade, one without preservatives and additives where ingredients are said to be sourced from the same suppliers of restaurants in Singapore. Of course, the brand knows it won’t connect to its consumers through mere lip service, which is why it put its products to the ultimate taste and quality test. 

In partnership with Ogilvy, Furry’s Kitchen borrowed the culinary prowess of celebrity chef Justin Quek to prepare a three-course degustation, and be served to some of the most popular food bloggers in Singapore. As expected, the guests loved the meals, not knowing it was dog food.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Furry’s Kitchen’s CEO Stephen Chua shared, “We have briefed Ogilvy to come up with a way to prove that dog food can be of high quality…the great team in Ogilvy contacted Chef Justin Quek, one of the renowned [chefs] in Singapore and also worldwide, and he loved the idea, and he put up the ultimate test using a three-course degustation.” 

Wow, with a risky feat, Furry’s Kitchen surely brought home the message there – who knows what other exciting marketing stunts the brand has in store for us.

Watch the MARKETECH APAC Reports for December on our YouTube channel, where we bring you exclusive appearances from the newsmakers themselves.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

Main Feature Marketing Southeast Asia

Founder of MY integrated creative agency DreamsKingdoms aims to ‘groom 100 SMEs into an international brand’

Malaysia – Every business needs a trusted marketing and advertising agency, to well, help them with the creative side of the business, but have you seen one that is as invested and as determined as its client firm?

In the pilot episode of MARKETECH EXPERT UP CLOSE – our deep dive into creative geniuses – we featured Yens. Yenkai Chong, founder of integrated creative solutions DreamsKingdoms in Malaysia who has an ambitious mission: to groom small to medium enterprises (SMEs) into the next world-changers – the multinational corporations (MNCs). But the bold mission doesn’t stop at that; to make it even more official, Yenkai put a number to it – not just one SME or a handful, but 100 SMEs –championing them into becoming the next big thing.

We all know that SMEs are the backbone of an economy, but seldom do we hear a leader from a creative background talk so much about it – and that is how serious Yens and his DreamsKingdoms are about the underdogs of the business sector.

“In all countries, SMEs or SMBs, [they form] more than 90% of the industry. And then if you talk about MNCs, it might be only about 10% of the [industry]. So SMEs are supposed to be the pillars of [a] [country’s economy],” said Yens in the MARKETECH EXPERT UP CLOSE interview.

So why SMEs?
Most agencies would be driven by their passion to make brands and businesses a cut above the rest, and of course profit; but believe it or not, the focus on SMEs by Yens and his DreamsKingdoms is motivated by something else – responsibility.

The responsibility – from a similar SME’s standpoint – to impart knowledge for brands to fully reach their potential; and the responsibility to make them do so for something larger than every SME sets out for itself – the country’s economic growth.

“We are looking to groom at least 100 SMEs into an international brand that truly and proudly represents the Malaysia brand to the world, and also through these brands, to contribute to the country’s [economic] growth,” said Yens.

Back in 2006 when the agency started, its clients were mostly SMEs and Yens and his team found that while most of them start their business with so much idealism, some don’t come with a concrete plan to build a brand. As they observed, start-ups’ business models are merely towards trading services – buy a product or service at a lower price and resell it at a higher rate to earn the profit margin.

“That’s why many SMEs [are] not be able to survive in the long run as there are always stronger challenges, [such as competitors] who can provide a much cheaper price on the same products [they] are selling,” he said.

And with this, Yens was spurred to set out a mission to propel these brands forward and reroute entrepreneurs’ mindsets.

“I feel that it’s a responsibility for professional industry practitioners or leaders to share or direct a way to change the perceptions of businessmen’s mindset, that trading without a brand is hard to survive especially when crises hit. It’s not saying that you have a brand and your business can thrive through [a crisis], but if you have a brand, you [will] have a culture, and that culture will pull you through difficulties and give you strength [on] why you exist.”

It takes a similar successful SME to “build” one

We already know that Yens’ passion for SMEs did not just come out of thin air – it was based on experience – from an SME itself that built its business from the ground up and is continuously thriving.

Yens’ beginnings in putting up DreamsKingdoms are as humble as they can get – a one-man team with only a computer as capital.

Being a founder of a company was far from the original plan. Just like any aspiring creatives, the first north star is the big-shot marketing and advertising agencies such as global firm McCann.

Before Yens started DreamsKingdoms, he was an art director at Malaysia Design Innovation Centre (MDIC), the professional arm of Malaysia university, Limkokwing University College of Creative Technology, that provides design services.

And just like all other start-ups, he’s been through the worst – no leads or client base and no money to spend on it.

Yens shared that with difficulty in getting projects, before having built the business, he racked up debts and was three months away from being stripped down of his finances – with no cash to pay for rental and daily living expenses.

“Back then, [I] was at the age of early 20s and with a very young teenager look. Getting people to buy into my ideas and design was tough.”

Through good ol’ hard work and determination, Yens and his “dreamteam” landed and pleased the client that would start it all.

“[The] very first official client that worked with us was one of the largest sushi chains in Malaysia. Back then, we do quite a number of cold- calling, only to those companies or clients we wish to have. Then we will send in [an] email and hope to get connected with the right [key leader],” he said.

He added, “It was a great experience with our very first client and it elevated and [strengthened] our profile and [had] slowly [taken] the path [of] our agency to greater height[s]. And from then on, we get [bigger and bigger] clients which include international logistic company, luxury car, hotels, banks, and insurances.”

DreamsKingdoms walks the talk

For a team that has its eyes on delivering exceptional branding for companies – DreamsKingdoms surely walks the talk.

By just visiting its website, one immediately gets the sense of a digital identity that’s off the charts – clients are brought to another space where dreaming big is welcome.

Yens believes that branding, which he equates to culture, is a crucial element that would stand as a bastion to keep companies into a firm hold – and DreamsKingdoms is the model firm for it.

DreamsKingdoms walks both existing and prospective clients through to a full suite of its philosophy and even a jolt of renewed inspiration for themselves.

On its website, one is immediately met with a group of legends including Neil Armstrong, Mother Teresa, and Bruce Lee – and in big, gilded letters, display the words “THE BELIEVER.”

It calls its team members “warriors,” and its mission is far from its bleak acronym – ABCDE – which is to Attract Attention, Bold Branding, Consumer Connection, Design Desire, and Extraordinary Experience.

DreamsKingdoms wasn’t kidding when it said it wanted to help enterprises “become the next Tesla, Apple, Huawei, Coca-Cola, and become the one-of-a-kind brand in peoples’ hearts.”

So back on SMEs, how will DreamsKingdoms do it? 

Of course, with DreamsKingdoms declaring the big goal of a hundred exceptional SMEs, comes the concrete plan – and there are two things: Trustnology and D.E.S.I.G.N.S. strategy.

Throughout the interview, Yens talks about how vital it is for brands to build trust, and by that, he actually refers to “Trustnology” or DreamsKingdoms’ principle of trust and technology.

“To me, one of the most important strategies every business must have in order to build a brand is actually trust itself. So in DreamsKingdoms, we call it as ‘Trustnology’,” he said.

He added, “If your brand is good quality, or you have good services, but you don’t have [the] reputation of trust, I don’t think consumers will buy from you, so the [easiest] thing you can start is to build trust itself. So that’s why in this technology, trustnology is quite important.”

Meanwhile, its D.E.S.I.G.N.S. strategy for brands stands for the following:

D – Discover x Differentiate

E – Execution x Effectiveness

S – Service x Simplify

I – Ideation x Innovation

G – Growth x Globalisation

N – Next Big Thing x Next Compelling Story

S – Shareable x Stickiness

Yens said, “As a branding and marketing practitioner, as well as an entrepreneur, I don’t believe in singularity. No single great branding story can make a business great, and no amount of marketing campaigns can build a great brand.”

“So, [more than marketing], I really believe [SMEs should] [have] quality products or services and a great team behind a business. Marketing can help to build or increase the sales of the business, but [with that alone], it won’t be sustainable in the long run.

With a mapped out game plan in hand, the real work begins, and Yens said, that starts with changing SMEs’ mindset.

“The first thing for SMEs should be the switch of mindsets. We should open up our SMEs’ mindsets to become an MNCs’ mindset. If we always stick with a mindset that we are SMEs, we will never grow and have the confidence to become an international brand.”

Yens strongly believes in not just striving for good branding, but a branding that creates credibility and connection with consumers.

He said, “Everyone is talking about digital transformation. It has become a trend for all businesses from micro to big, a change that everyone must look into, but for every transformation, the value of trust should be embedded in whatever we do. No matter how good you build your brand in this digital era, trustnology should be one of the must-have core brand values.”

Having an innate passion for martial arts, Yens ultimately stated what would spell success for SMEs.

“For a business to be great and become a brand, everything needs to synergize as an ecosystem. Just like a fighter, a strong KO punch comes with the right footwork, a strong hip twist, and also very focused eyesight.”

Watch our live interview with Yens on MARKETECH APAC’s YouTube channel.

If you are a marketing or tech leader, founder or an agency head and you have a good story or insights to share, we want to hear from you. Please send us an email at [email protected].