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Marketing Featured East Asia

Havas Group acquires marketing agency Front Networks in China

China – Global communications group, Havas, has acquired Front Networks, an independent creative agency focusing on social and digital marketing in China, which will be integrated into the Havas Creative network. 

Front Networks, which currently has two offices in Beijing and Shanghai, provides a full range of digital marketing services, with a team of more than 200 people. It has always been at the forefront of digital evolution in China and is trusted by more than 200 international clients across sectors such as automotive, finance, sports, software, artificial intelligence, amongst others, including BMW, Rolls-Royce, Vivo, and Microsoft, as well as Bank of China, and Nestlé, amongst many others.

This move will bring additional creative and digital firepower to Havas in China. Havas will be leveraging Front Network’s expertise in timely and effective digital storytelling, creating engaging digital content and channel mapping, as well as its enterprise philosophy of Connectivity + Creativity + Collectivity.

Yannick Bolloré, Havas Group’s chairman and CEO, commented that China has always been of strategic importance to them and he is thrilled to see that they are keeping up the same drive and momentum in this market. 

“By partnering with the best there is to offer in China, Havas Group will surely create more meaningful moments and value for all our clients, consumers, brands and communities. We are delighted to welcome Felix and the teams to the Havas Family,” said Bolloré.

Meanwhile, Karl Wu, Havas Group’s chairman and CEO for Greater China, shared that Front Networks has proven its business strength, agility, and adaptability during China’s digital emergence and evolution. 

“Amidst the arrival of the metaverse, bringing Front Networks on board is an important strategic step to further enrich our digital solutions for our clients in China. Under our one Havas Village roof, we will together continue our mission to create meaningful differences for brands, businesses and people,” said Wu.

Felix Teng, Front Networks’ founder and CEO, said that they pride themselves in having been recognised by Havas, the industry leader in integration and entrepreneurship.

“With the Group’s resources and empowering tools, we will be able to broaden our horizon, extend our solutions and add scale to the depth of our services. Their philosophy is very exciting and we are looking forward to doing more meaningful things together,” added Teng.

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

What’s NEXT: 2022 will see the evolution of corporate purpose

The issue of sustainability as seen from the lens of corporate purpose has been growing through the last few years. More and more stakeholders are realizing that corporations and brands need to go beyond just brand promise but, more so, should reflect their own values and their missions. For 2022, we predict that this is further going to evolve.

One of the predictions in Red Havas Global’s 2022 Red Sky Predictions is the evolution of corporate purpose as it evolves from changing stakeholder expectations in the last year or so. For 2022, experts predict that corporate purpose must now be delivered with clear and measurable action.

As communications practitioners, we know the primary key to effective communication is authenticity. For 2022, actions designed to drive and emphasize corporate purpose should show that they can effect change. This stems from the growing realization among stakeholders that many companies and brands are riding on the ‘Sustainability’ bandwagon because it’s considered current and a trend. They create activities and product content to highlight their efforts but for most, it is superficial. It has no real connection to the vision and mission of the company or the purpose of the brand. There’s a term they use for this – greenwashing. This is when a company or brand spends time and effort to market themselves as environmentally friendly or have embraced sustainability – but it’s only just for show, only devised to follow trends.

Sustainability efforts and the commitment to provide meaningful actions and messages should not be skin deep. It should reside from a place of sincere authenticity. Only then can these actions become powerful enough to build and strengthen corporate purpose.

According to Havas Group’s 2021 Meaningful Brand study, there was a marked shift in how people view brands. About 71 per cent of people surveyed showed that they have little faith that brands will deliver on their promise and that only 34 per cent are transparent about their commitments. This clearly shows that audiences are now more cynical when it comes to how they view brands, companies, and businesses.

But despite this cynicism, brand expectation has markedly grown. An amazing piece of data is that 73 per cent of the respondents believe brands must act as soon as possible for the good of society and the planet. More significantly than this, though is that 64 per cent of people have now taken their own concrete steps to more affirmative action – they have signified that they will only buy from companies that have shown that they are not just out for profit but have a sincere desire to effect change and have taken concrete steps towards it.

In other words, consumers of today will take their business to companies and brands that are aligned to their own beliefs and those that are doing something to change the world for the better. It will be interesting to add that these consumers have even signified that they are willing to pay more just to support these brands.

This article is written by Mel Panabi, the business director of Red Havas in the Philippines.

The article is published as part of MARKETECH APAC’s thought leadership series What’s NEXT. This features marketing leaders sharing their marketing insights and predictions for the upcoming year. The series aims to equip marketers with actionable insights to future-ready their marketing strategies.

If you are a marketing leader and have insights that you’d like to share with regards to the upcoming trends and practices in marketing, please reach out to [email protected] for an opportunity to have your thought-leadership published on the platform.

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Technology Featured East Asia

Hivestack scores new partnerships to strengthen DSP offering in HK

Hong Kong – Global programmatic digital out of home (DOOH) adtech company Hivestack has been selected as programmatic digital out of home (DOOH) partner by a couple of global advertising and media companies including GroupM, Xaxis, Publicis, Havas and dentsu International Hong Kong.

Through these partnerships, Hong Kong-based advertisers will now be able to capitalize on the benefits of programmatic buying, activating against premium programmatic DOOH inventory through the Hivestack DSP via open exchange and Private Marketplace deals.

To date, programmatic DOOH is one of the fastest growing channels in Hong Kong and provides crucial opportunities for media buyers to plan and deliver contextualized, targeted and measurable campaigns at scale across premium DOOH inventory in the region.

Troy Yang, managing director for North Asia at Hivestack, said, “These partnerships are a testament to continued growth of programmatic DOOH opportunities across North Asia, we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with such influential leaders in media and advertising to pioneer programmatic DOOH in Hong Kong.”

Kenny Ip, head of investment for Hong Kong at GroupM, said, “It’s great to have partnered with Hivestack who continue to drive programmatic digital out of home (DOOH) in Hong Kong.”

Andy Chung, managing director at Xaxis and INCA, said, “We are pleased to recognize that Hivestack is the pioneer and specialist in this area, capable of advanced solutions & features. We look forward to working with Hivestack and bringing these benefits to our GroupM clients.”

Meanwhile, Andrew Cawte, managing director at Havas Media Hong Kong, commented, “Thanks to our partnership with Hivestack, we at last have the opportunity in Hong Kong to buy premium programmatic DOOH inventory, at scale. This is game changing for advertisers here.”

Hivestack has seen significant growth in 2021 following several global expansions including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan earlier this year, most recently onboarding new premium supply side partnerships in Hong Kong.

Tammii Pang, head of PMX at Publicis Media Hong Kong, said, “This is an incredibly exciting time for the DOOH market in Hong Kong. We look forward to collaborating with our new partners at Hivestack to leverage their market leading programmatic technology and offer our clients a way to precisely engage audiences outside of the home.”

Meanwhile, Anna Chan, CEO of Media LoB, dentsu International Hong Kong, commented, “As an integrated solutions provider, we are glad to partner with Hivestack to offer a more seamless and innovative consumer journey for our clients, as DOOH is becoming an increasingly vital media touch point.”

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Marketing Featured ANZ

Aussie cancer support org Canteen urges youth to “take off brave faces” in new campaign

Australia – Canteen, the Australian national support organization for young people living with cancer, has launched a new campaign, highlighting its refreshed brand positioning. 

In contrast to the usual approach in supporting acts of ‘bravery’ against fighting health conditions, the new campaign, which was created in collaboration with advertising agency Havas Village Australia, aims to encourage the youth impacted by cancer to take off ‘their brave faces’ and be open to embracing the help they need when times are tough.

Through the campaign, Havas honed in on a creative approach centered on ‘unmasking’ to highlight how young people can feel safe to express what they’re truly feeling. The ‘unmasking’ proposition spearheads the launch campaign creatively, with the simple but powerful message to ‘Take off your brave face. When cancer gets tough, find the support you need.’

A new support-focused brand tagline – Cancer support made stronger – will appear across Canteen’s communications and marketing collateral.

Kerry Kalcher, Canteen’s head of marketing and communications, said, “This campaign is a wonderful first step towards achieving our brand objectives and the culmination of the journey we’ve been on with the entire Havas team over several years.”

Canteen said that the work began with extensive quantitative and qualitative research, including focus groups with parents and young people, to gauge awareness that would resonate best, and most importantly, to encourage seeking support.

Elizabeth English, Havas Blvd’s client services director, shared that bringing this campaign to life has been a collaborative process with Canteen and the agency had the benefit of direct insight gleaned from Canteen’s own young people.

“No young person should have to face the impact of cancer alone, and we hope that this campaign will continue to build awareness that Canteen is in their corner to help,” said English.

Meanwhile, Steve Fontanot, the managing director of Red Havas and Havas Blvd, noted that Canteen is focused on making a meaningful difference to young people, whose lives have been impacted by cancer. 

“We’re very proud of the work that our collective teams have delivered over the years, with this latest campaign being the culmination of the many passionate humans who are dedicated to this truly integral organization,” said Fontanot.

The campaign will be running until 31 December 2021 across OOH, video, social media, and youth-oriented digital channels including Twitch, as well as radio, and Spotify.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

90% of Filipino ‘prosumers’ think female athletes on media best way to stir gender stereotypes

Manila, Philippines – Women’s month is long past its celebration period, but the conversation on gender equality and empowerment for women remains as vibrant and ever kicking only because of one thing: there is still so much to fight for and so much to improve in the system. 

In the latest study of ‘prosumers’ by Havas Ortega, the integrated media and communications group in the Philippines of the global Havas network, it is found that almost all of Filipino prosumers, or 90% of them, believe in the power of female representation in media, specifically those in sports, to assert that women are as strong and capable as men in areas that are deemed fit only for the latter.

So first of all, what are ‘prosumers’? In an exclusive conversation with the Havas Ortega team, its Head of Data and Analytics Phil Tiongson admits they are hard to define, but that if they were to be described by a term that’s a close likeness, it would be ‘key opinion leaders’ – but still, more than that. 

“If I were to put a name to them, they’re probably key opinion leaders. But they’re more than that. As an opinion leader, they’re also very much in tune with what’s happening in the world. While they’re searching for new things, new gadgets, new beliefs, new philosophies, new brands, or even new attitudes, for example, they also have a sense of social responsibility to making a difference in the world,” shared Tiongson to MARKETECH APAC.

To simply put it, studying prosumers is sort of like studying the future, Tiongson adds. Because, he said further, whatever the prosumers feel, or whatever they do now, are things that the rest of the population will do the same 18 to 24 months down the road. 

So what do these future-oriented consumers think about the realm of sports and its connection to one’s lifestyle? The study, ‘Sports Forward’, in fact, presents a lot of interesting insights; some, we’ve never heard before.

Hidilyn Diaz made the country proud in 2016, winning a place in the Olympics – the first in a very long time for the Philippines.

First off, sports have long been a passageway for women to prove their strength and their agility, that while different from the physical abilities of men, are ever-present within them, and of equal value to society. Filipino prosumers ought to believe that there need not immediate ‘drastic’ changes in media representation when after all, the voice of women in sports is much stronger in today’s time but maybe–we just need more of it. 

Now that the pandemic has halted many of the sports events in the country, it would be much trickier to do that, but still, possible. Add to this, the country witnessing an unfortunate government intervention in May 2020 to the country’s leading broadcast media network, ABS-CBN; denying them franchise, ultimately pushing the network to shut off airtime in traditional TV.

ABS-CBN has, for many years, been the home of the top collegiate sports associations in the Philippines, UAAP and NCAA, airing their games, which makes it more difficult on this front to give media share to female athletes. NCAA, however, has decided to ink a partnership with rival network GMA, while UAAP has also tied with another network TV5, to keep the ground running.

The same Havas study also unearthed other interesting data, letting us in on Filipino prosumers’ perceptions towards sports, most of which, transcends its traditional role in society. 

The study found that sports are also being looked at as a source of mental health. About 88% of Filipino prosumers believe that people who play sports are more likely to stay healthy mentally and emotionally. The report notes that this points to a strong belief that sports are in the same category as relaxation, meditation, and other mental health practices that promote mental wellbeing – something we are all in need of as we continue to keep our heads above the water against Covid-19.

In line with inclusivity for women, everyone in the prosumer group, or 99%, also believes that sports brands should further create athletic apparel that takes into consideration people’s religion, most notably, the incorporation of Muslims’ hijab for women.

Ibtihaj Muhammad is the first woman to compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab

A lot of global brands like Nike and Adidas have the hijab already as a staple apparel in their collections. Women athletes have also accomplished important firsts, where in fact, in 2016, professional fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first Muslim woman to compete for America wearing a hijab during the Rio Olympics. 

What Filipino prosumers might in fact is waiting for, is for said global feats to be replicated in the local arena–more local sports apparel offering hijab attire and of course, more representation of women proudly wearing their faith in the Philippine sports industry. 

In a press release, Tiongson said that sports have indeed gone a long way from being a mere spectacle and a battle for fame, glory, and money. 

“Sports are now seen as content that is imbued with meaning and that can contribute to meaningful, positive change in society,” he said. 

Finally, Tiongson believes that with these insights brought to the surface, all stakeholders involved in sports must rethink their contribution to all of this. 

“Athletes, celebrities, leagues, clubs, federations, and even sporting apparel and retailer brands should think about their emerged role in the lives of audiences. People look up to them more closely for meaningful inspiration – and they expect more from them,” he said. 

Prosumer Reports are a series of thought leadership publications by the global Havas which includes its own proprietary research across the Havas network and client companies. Philippines’ Havas Ortega Group fully implements the initiative with a local adaptation of Filipino insights and data.

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Marketing Featured Global

Havas establishes dedicated customer experience network

United States – Havas Group, through its global advertising agency Havas Creative, has launched Havas CX – a new international-wide network dedicated to delivering brand experiences across the entire customer journey.

The new network brings together more than 1200 people from 20 of Havas Creative’s global agency groups and local agencies as well as additional CX specialists from across the Havas network, under a common structure and methodology.

Havas CX will span 18 major Havas Villages – Havas’ cross-functional sub-departments – around the world, with key hubs in London, Paris, New York, and Mumbai. Some of the agency groups that will be brought together are digital transformation services ekino and customer engagement agency Havas helia. It also unifies under one roof Havas’ newly launched customer experience firm BETC FullSix, and recently acquired digital engagement-focused Langoor, digital consultancy Gate One, and user experience services Think Design.

In a press statement, Havas said the CX network’s competitive advantage lies in its ability to combine a deep-rooted and newly coordinated CX expertise with Havas’ rich insights. Currently, Havas runs a number of proprietary indices, namely, its brand study Meaningful Brands, a prosumer report, and its X Index, which is a new barometer for measuring and managing customer experience.

The combination, Havas continued, provides the network with the ability to marry the technological and functional aspects of CX with its clients’ brand promise and the personal and cultural context devised from Havas and BETC’s consumer insights.

The component agencies’ branding will be updated to reflect the new network identity. Chairman and CEO Havas Group Yannick Bolloré believes that it is the right time to unify the agencies under one joined-up, global brand, having pursued an acquisition strategy of cutting-edge agencies in the customer engagement space over the recent years.

“In Havas CX, we believe we have the most comprehensive customer engagement proposition the industry has to offer – and it’s one we intend to continue to strengthen by hiring top talent and making further best-in-class acquisitions,” said Bolloré.

Global CEO of Havas Creative Chris Hirst added that in today’s time, customer experience is the bedrock on which a brand is built, where majority of a consumer’s experience of any brand won’t be through above-the-line advertising, but through their personal interactions with it. 

“As technology advances, almost any conceivable purchase is just a couple of clicks away, and the opportunities for brands to get it right or wrong, are manifold. CX is the new battleground, and the brands that get it right will win, and those that don’t will lose; it’s as simple as that,” he said.