Tokyo, Japan – Hakuhodo KEY3, the web3 business production venture under Hakuhodo Inc., has announced its partnership with PONT Inc., SmartMedia Technologies (SMT), and other global web3 technology companies to form the new loyalty program ‘Loyalty X’. 

Loyalty X’s establishment is rooted in the problem that only a few companies have managed to create programs that genuinely drive true engagement with their customers. Current loyalty programs face several challenges, such as providing only generic experiences, lacking unique value, offering primarily monetary value, and operating within the closed ecosystems of a single company.

This new corporate alliance between Hakuhodo KEY3 and other global web3 tech companies is set to provide revolutionary loyalty programs utilising web3 technology across the Asia region. It aims to address the challenges faced by loyalty programs, harnessing Web3 technology and its features, such as individual ownership of value, enhanced interoperability, and innovative customer experiences.

The web3 companies joining the alliance with Hakuhodo KEY3 are Crossmint, Privy, IYK, CheckIn Caster, beyondClub, SmartMedia Technologies, Cookie3, and Reclaim Protocol. 

By bringing together companies with exceptional and diverse technical expertise, the alliance seeks to deliver loyalty programs that truly engage customers while meeting business needs. Each member company offers specialised solutions tailored to different industries, addressing specific challenges and enriching loyalty program content. Through this collaborative effort, Loyalty X aims to forge deeper, more meaningful, and more effective connections with customers.

Hakuhodo KEY3 will also assume the role of project manager within the alliance, identifying corporate challenges, selecting appropriate solutions, and overseeing the design and progression of projects. Additionally, it will lead creative development initiatives, including customer experience planning and UX/UI design and development, as needed.

Matt Hunt, COO for APAC at SMT, shared, “The Loyalty X Alliance signifies a shift in the approach brands are taking to connect with their customers. It’s about establishing a continuous, immersive experience that goes beyond fleeting promotions. This always-on engagement strategy not only amplifies the potential for brands but also cultivates deeper customer loyalty while providing invaluable insights—in short, a new, more robust CRM channel.”

Tokyo, Japan Hakuhodo Inc., a Tokyo-based integrated marketing and innovation firm, announces the introduction of SIX JOURNEY by its subsidiary, SIX Inc. Within the Hakuhodo Group, the newly formed firm is a horizontal organisation focused on offering worldwide communication solutions for both Japanese and international brands.

Together with creators from SIX, SIX JOURNEY is a diversified team that includes foreign creators and PR and strategy experts from Hakuhodo’s global network. The team was established to assist global brands with their Asian expansion as well as Japanese brands with their entry into Asian and worldwide markets. Through the integration of modern technology and creative thinking, SIX, along with local sei-katsu-sha knowledge, collaborates to provide customised solutions for brands expanding into new markets.

The primary individuals in SIX JOURNEY are Devi Attamimi, the director of Hakuhodo International Indonesia and the institute director of Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living ASEAN; Jin Saito, the creative director and co-founder of SIX Inc.; and Jasper Ilagan, the CEO and CCO of NJYN in the Philippines.

SIX JOURNEY is forming teams, bringing together innovators from diverse Asian countries to create globally relevant branding initiatives. The ongoing collaboration between Hakuhodo and SIX works to use the Group’s comprehensive strengths, creating synergies that benefit clients’ businesses. The initiative places a strong emphasis on cross-cultural approaches to creative content and branding.

Speaking about the company, Jin Saito, creative director and co-founder of SIX Inc., said, “SIX JOURNEY aims to produce strong and unified creativity by collaborating with creators from all around the world to form a creative team supporting the overseas expansion of Japanese brands and the entry of

international brands into Japan and Asia.”

Tokyo, Japan – Integrated marketing and innovation company Hakuhodo has announced the launch of ‘Hakuhodo International Media Taiwan’ (HIMT), a specialised integrated media business organisation that will mobilise the media solution functions of the Taiwan Hakuhodo Group and the Growww Group.

The launch comes in line after Hakuhodo acquired a majority stake in the Growww Group in 2020, making it a consolidated subsidiary.

The newly launched HIMT, led by chairman Vince Cheng, will bring together the media functions of full-service media agencies with an established track record of excellent client relationships in the market including Hakuhodo Zeta of the Taiwan Hakuhodo Group and 2008 Media of the Growww Group, as well as the media functions of Hakuhodo DY Group digital marketing agencies DAC Taiwan, MESh+, and Unisurf. 

As the newest media organisation in Taiwan, HIMT will offer media-driven solutions for the diverse challenges clients face today, including media planning, media buying, digital marketing, data solutions and marketing technology solutions.

HIMT is also planning to leverage data and new marketing tools that fuse media and technology together in integrated media solution offerings, from systematic and scientific media planning to cross-media integrated solutions, such as TV and digital. 

Hakuhodo has been ramping up its expansion in APAC, with the most recent business move acquiring Malaysian digital creative agency Kingdom Digital.

In an exclusive interview with Shuntaro Ito, senior corporate officer at Hakuhodo and president and CEO at Hakuhodo International, for MARKETECH APAC’s The Inner State, he said that bringing in companies that are passionate about growing together as a group is strategically very important, and this is why they are pursuing the acquisitions of companies that shine across the different markets which share the agency’s partnership philosophy.

“During the acquisition process, we apply our sustainable management thinking and place importance on maintaining sustainable corporate management in a continuous manner. In going forward, based on this thinking, we would like to further expand our network,” Ito said.

As the advertising industry continues to change in order to address the needs and concerns of consumers, agencies are rethinking how to improve their capabilities for brands. One of the firms’ strategies is expansion through acquiring other companies in the space, and this is exactly what we’ve been seeing in the case of Japanese advertising agency Hakuhodo Inc., which has made a number of buy-outs in the past periods.

In February 2017, Hakuhodo acquired ICG, an activation agency headquartered in Singapore, while in 2018, the agency acquired Vietnamese IMC group Square Communications and three companies in the Philippines, creative engineering company IdeasXMachina, brand agency Beginnings Communications, and events/activation company eNAV.

A year later, Hakuhodo has acquired shares in digital agencies, Winter Egency Co., Ltd. in Thailand in 2019 and AdGlobal360 in India in 2020. Also in 2020, it acquired Taiwan’s Growww Media, an operating holding company with five brands under its umbrella: United Communications Group, a full-service advertising agency, KY-Post (activation and exhibitions), Pilot Group (PR), Interplan Group (large events and exhibitions), and Medialand (digital marketing). Most recently, the Japan-based agency has completed the acquisition of Malaysian digital creative agency Kingdom Digital. We know that these undertakings are meant to supercharge growth, but what does such a targeted business move by one firm imply about the changes in the industry as a whole?

For MARKETECH APAC‘s newest The Inner State, we spoke with Shuntaro Ito, senior corporate officer at Hakuhodo and president and CEO at Hakuhodo International, to share with us their growth strategies and plans for their recent acquisitions.

Elevating Hakuhodo’s competitive positioning

Commenting on Hakuhodo’s continuous acquisitions and competitive positioning, Ito said that they feel there are two approaches; the first is the acquisition of overseas companies, which propels the Hakuhodo Group’s competitive advantage on the global stage, and the second is the application of the competitive advantage they have in Japan over Asia and other overseas markets.

He further shared that bringing in companies that are passionate about growing together as a group is strategically very important, and this is why they are pursuing the acquisitions of companies that shine across the different markets which share the Hakuhodo Sei-katsu-sha thinking (Hakuhodo’s term to describe people not simply as consumers, but as fully rounded individuals), partnership philosophy, and focus on the importance of creativity.

“During the acquisition process, we apply our sustainable management thinking and place importance on maintaining sustainable corporate management in a continuous manner. In going forward, based on this thinking, we would like to further expand our network,” Ito added.

Meanwhile, when asked about what he thinks are the top needs and challenges of brands when it comes to their advertising business, and how a bigger and continuously growing Hakuhodo can be of an answer to them, Ito noted that challenges differ by brand but Marketing ROI and full-funnel capabilities are key needs they see across many clients. 

“Therefore, I believe marketing solutions that make full use of digital and data are necessary and it is important to create real touchpoints that work together with digital. We seek marketing partners that can take on these challenges in a holistic way. Trust is also a very important component and we believe it is also a strength of ours,” said Ito.

The value of the acquisitions

According to Hakuhodo, their belief, ‘people are our main asset’, is shared with the companies that join them before the acquisition and are asked to maintain this stance. 

Ito said that at the same time, they also encourage sustaining and further enhancing the corporate culture and uniqueness of the individual companies, and in order to manage the Hakuhodo Group as one entity, they set up contacts across their group and co-work from the very early stages.

“From working together with our overseas subsidiaries, creating alliances with Japan and other group companies across the world, encouraging a parallel network across companies that fall under the same category, we create opportunities to work as a member of the Hakuhodo group and in going forward, would like to further expand on this,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ito said that on the long-term benefits of the acquisitions to Hakuhodo, clients’ needs can cover a multitude of areas and with change at an alarming rate, the Hakuhodo Group must continuously evolve to cater to these needs. 

“Thus it is important for us to organically take on clients’ needs, as well as use our external resources, with the latter being acquisitions which will greatly contribute to the Hakuhodo Group’s globalisation and growth,” he said. 

Through the latest acquisition of the Malaysian company Kingdom Digital, they are now able to offer clients in Malaysia and across Asia services in digital marketing, digital campaign, social media marketing, content marketing, and digital content creation. 

“Along with this wide array of services, we believe we are now able to work with other companies within our group both online and offline to provide marketing solutions tailored to our clients’ needs,” Ito noted.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysia-based digital creative agency Kingdom Digital has joined Japanese advertising agency Hakuhodo Inc. This move is seen to help Hakuhodo achieve business growth and expansion in Malaysia and ASEAN region. 

Hakuhodo is an integrated marketing and innovation company with offices in 20 countries and regions and over 10,000 specialists working around the world. Meanwhile, Kingdom Digital’s growth over the past 15 years has been organic with clients across a variety of key categories. The growth has enabled Kingdom Digital to attract high-calibre, loyal talent who now count over 160 experts delivering amazing work and results for local, regional, and multi-national brands. 

Vin Chinnaraja, chairman of Kingdom Digital, commented that they have found the perfect partner in Hakuhodo Inc. for Kingdom Digital to accelerate their SEA expansion ambitions. 

“With Hakuhodo’s regional presence, we are able to deliver multi-national work for our clients and brands from day one. We are also looking forward to combining Hakuhodo’s sei-katsu-sha insights with our innovative digital services like our Digital Creative Automation (DCA) platform to deliver hyper-personalised experiences for our clients and brands,” said Chinnaraja. 

Meanwhile, Shuntaro Ito, senior corporate officer at Hakuhodo and president and CEO at Hakuhodo International, said that they are absolutely delighted to welcome Kingdom Digital, which is regarded so highly in the industry, as a member of the Hakuhodo Group at this milestone juncture. 

“I’m certain Kingdom Digital will be able to contribute to our clients’ growth by providing them with sophisticated digital solutions in a Malaysian digital marketplace that will only continue to develop in the future. I look forward to Kingdom Digital being a leading presence, alongside Hakuhodo Malaysia, in further strengthening our digital capabilities in Malaysia and ASEAN,” added Ito.

Ryan Ong, CEO of Kingdom Digital, noted, “With Hakuhodo’s acquisition of Kingdom Digital, we will be able to draw on their infrastructure, creativity, and insights to continue delivering the high standard of work that we are known for. Most of all, both Hakuhodo Inc. and Kingdom Digital share the same vision and values and us coming together will broaden and deepen our services for all our clients.”