Marketing Featured APAC

PRCA APAC unveils equity, diversity, and inclusion committee

Singapore – Following the association’s expanded presence in Asia-Pacific, the Public Relations and Communications Association Asia-Pacific (PRCA APAC) has announced the formation of a new committee dedicated to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Its purpose is to increase diversity, inclusion, and equity across all levels of seniority in the Asia Pacific’s communications profession.

Furthermore, the committee will host events, drive industry initiatives, and facilitate consultations with organizations and individuals who wish to contribute to a more diverse and inclusive communications profession in Asia.

Said committee will be led by Charu Srivastava, senior director at Redhill, while Susie Bates, senior vice president at IPG DXTRA will take the committee’s vice-chair role. 

“Through this mandate, we are committed to creating a real impact on the industry and making it a better place for future generations. Discrimination and inequality in our industry goes beyond racial and gender biases – age, sexual orientation and even the university you studied at can be a cause for discrimination,” Srivastava said, regarding the new role.

She added, “It is imperative to bring these issues to the fore and address them through open and honest conversations, and I look forward to working with a very passionate committee to achieve our goals.”

Committee members include Natashia Jaya, group account director at Allison+Partners; Iknoor Kaur, senior manager for corporate brand and communications at SPAG; Sai Roshini Daswani, director for client strategy for APAC at Sinclair; Vernia Lim, head of public relations at JLL; Lee Nugent, regional director at Archetype; and Tom Evrard, senior managing director at FTI Consulting.

“The last 18 months has inspired renewed enthusiasm for meaningful change, so it’s critical we don’t lose the momentum now. As always, the challenge is to translate talk to action. Each PRCA APAC Equality, Diversity & Inclusion committee member brings a unique perspective and acumen to the table. I very much look forward to their expertise and support as we drive a more diverse and inclusive PR industry in Asia,” said Tara Munis, head of PRCA APAC.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Close to half of ad agencies in SEA admit to never checking ‘diversity’ in client briefs

Singapore – Despite diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) being prominent across media and marketing, about 40% of ad agencies based in the Southeast Asia region admit to never checking client specification on DE&I before creating creative work for them, insights from independent global marketing consultancy R3 note.

According to the consultancy’s latest report spanning 300 video advertisements broadcast in the region, there are lapses in regards to gender representation in these advertisements. About 33% of the sample ads have shown negative stereotypes on body image, 38% have portrayed negative stereotypes of gender characteristics, and 44% have portrayed negative stereotypes of gender roles.

For Shufen Goh, co-founder and principal at R3, there should be a greater need for more people from diverse backgrounds in control of storytelling and production or we risk telling stories that are one-dimensional, adding that with 60% of agencies reported not having a formal process to ensure that diversity is addressed in client advertising is already considered a ‘red flag’.

“Marketers can play a positive role and encourage greater change in the narratives being developed by requiring diversity among creative directors and producers and demanding more inclusive organizational design,” Goh stated.

Despite the negative connotations, there are still brands who have persisted in creating campaigns that respect gender representation.

Based on the review, Kotex, Avon, Colgate, Apple, and Nike were five brands with the best gender representation in advertising in Southeast Asia. All brands scored positively in areas of avoiding objectification, positive body image portrayals, and positive portrayal of gender roles and characteristics. The best performing advertising addressed female empowerment, body positivity, ethnic and economic diversity, and sexual orientation.

In addition, female empowerment has been the focus of diversity initiatives across agencies in the region, though most activities reported were limited to educational and culture building exercises.

“If we look at progress through a regional lens, change is being made. There is greater representation across gender and ethnicity in the workforce, and more equality in agency leadership positions. Now it’s time for marketers and agencies to come together and shift the topic of diversity from one of corporate culture and optional participation to tangible process and policy,” Goh concluded.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

MARQETR targets Asia expansion with equity crowdfunding

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Local-based marketing expert marketplace MARQETR has announced the opening of its first-ever equity crowdfunding (ECF), aimed at building its next generation technology platform, increasing headcount, amplifying its marketing activities and access new markets within Asia.

MARQETR, which is founded by marketer and brand-building entrepreneur Mawarni Adam, is a tech-enabled on-demand marketing experts marketplace, a matching platform for business users and high-skilled marketing professional that is leveraging data, technology, and digital innovations to build the future of work for the marketing industry.

According to the company, said ECF targets to raise a minimum of RM250k in return for 1.81% equity, and a maximum of RM3.25m in return for 19.35% equity. This values MARQETR at RM13.5m pre-money.

For Adam, with COVID-19 redefining the marketers’ playbook and accelerating flexible work, they don’t just have a business opportunity here, but also have a huge social opportunity, as studies have shown that there is a great corporate departure that’s happening and the 9-5 is ‘dying’, and that workers generally, and in their case marketers, are looking for alternatives.

“The way we find quality strategic marketing solutions and relevant marketing experts now is totally broken. As dynamic and vibrant as the marketing industry is, it still operates in archaic ways. Business users don’t have access to all their options and when they do find the option, the process is frictioned, long and complex,” Adam stated.

She further explained, “Based on our research, we’ve estimated that there will be at least 50,000 marketers in Malaysia, and 440,000 marketers regionally, making the shift to on-demand and flexible work. When combined with the growing needs of an estimated 64,000 startups and 6.4m SMEs in the region, adopting the same on-demand marketing strategies during a period of unprecedented economic turmoil and post-pandemic trends.”

Additionally, Adam believes that MARQETR is primed for growth to address the capability gap and empower both the service users and providers within a supported marketing ecosystem.

MARQETR’s seed round is open to individuals, angels, institutional investors and members of the marketing community. Investors are able to invest as little as RM2,709 to own a piece of the company, and help shape the future of the brand. Early bird offers of up to 15% bonus shares are available until 31 October 2021.