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.

Singapore – Singapore dog food brand Furry’s Kitchen’s main value proposition is high quality, fresh, and human-grade dog food, and in its latest marketing stunt, it went out of its way to prove just that. 

In collaboration with creative agency Ogilvy, Furry’s Kitchen enlisted the culinary prowess of celebrity chef Justin Quek to conceptualize a 3-course degustation meal using none other than Furry’s Kitchen’s products, to be put to the ultimate taste and quality test with some of Singapore’s top food influencers. 

The results were just as Furry’s Kitchen expected – not knowing it was dog food, all of the invited influencers loved the dishes and gave their own favorable comments.

Food influencer Sihan Lee described the food as “velvety” in texture and even likened the experience to that of her grandma’s cooking. 

Another food blogger Alain, who goes by the social media name “Alainlicious,” although could not make out the ingredients, commented the food to have “a lot of surprises and a lot of layers.” 

Founder of Furry’s Kitchen Stephen Chua said, “This experiment challenges the perception that food for dogs tastes unpleasant and is made with undiscernible ingredients and preservatives unfit for human consumption.”

Furry’s Kitchen prides itself on delivering dog food that is without preservatives and additives where ingredients are said to be sourced from the same suppliers of restaurants in Singapore. 

Chua added, “Just like how we love to indulge in a delicious meal and feed ourselves and our loved ones with only the best ingredients possible, our furry friends deserve the same and can enjoy the same quality and freshness in their diet.”

Explaining further the experiment, Chef Quek said, As with any social experiment, we had to keep certain variables under wraps to ensure the most unbiased results. We wanted to know if by removing the negative perception of dog food, we would discover that human-grade food made for dogs could taste both delicious and nutritious too.

“The dishes the food influencers enjoyed have all been taste-tested and quality-checked by me personally. You have my word that I only serve my guests food that I believe in, and food that meets my standards,” he added.

Furry’s Kitchen assured in a press release that participants of the experiment were informed thereafter, where participants understood that ingredients were sourced from the same Singapore Food Agency (SFA)-certified suppliers used by Singaporean restaurants.