Australia – HCF, an Australian not-for-profit health fund, has launched an initiative called ‘Value Ads’ which is inviting members to take over 60% of the brand’s advertising airtime and out-of-home advertising such as advertising on bus stops or in shopping centers, for their own personal use.

The initiative, launched alongside Clemenger BBDO, has the ambition with the new initiative is to give a selection of members who want to appear in an ad the chance to do so. To help with this, over 6,972 unique ad placements have been secured across TV, radio, social, digital, out-of-home and in-branch.

The HCF Value Ads initiative is the second iteration of the “We Put Our Money Where Our Members Are” creative platform.

In one TV ad for HCF Life Protect life insurance, Kurt, an underwater metal detectorist, is using his airtime to try to reunite a wedding ring he found at the bottom of Empress Falls, NSW with its owner. In another ad about HCF’s Thank You program, Jemma uses her national TV time to thank her doctor for her liver transplant and show them the medals she won at the Transplant Games.

The real member stories keep on coming, with a pregnancy reveal, a wrestler showing off his biceps, a would-be film star’s audition tape, as well as kids showing off their scooter moves and yoyo tricks.

Tatiana Papavero, general manager of marketing at HCF, said, “At HCF we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to bring value to our members. We needed to hone in on the value members are seeking in a meaningful way. Consumers want enduring value, something this campaign shows HCF delivers in spades. We’re so excited to share some of our fantastic members’ stories in this positive and authentic way.”

Meanwhile, Tristan Graham, executive creative director at Clemenger BBDO, commented, “HCF is going from strength to strength in terms of brand salience and likeability—proof that when you have a clear point of view on the world, and a unique way to bring that view to life creatively, it’s easy to create effective, breakthrough work.”

Singapore – Edelman has appointed Jenny Granger as the head of strategy for health in Asia-Pacific, which reflects the firm’s strategic focus on handling clients in the pharmaceutical, medical technology and consumer wellness space.

At Edelman, Granger will work closely with client leaders, creative teams and clients themselves to help address some of the most pressing challenges currently facing the sector, in order to provide cut-through communications and marketing strategies. 

Her appointment will further build the foundation Edelman’s health business has built around cross-regional expertise, with teams working across the region to service clients. Granger will focus on integrating creative and strategy with Edelman’s health teams across Asia.

A senior communications strategist and market researcher with more than 20 years of experience in integrated marcoms strategy for prescription and OTC brands, Granger joins Edelman after leading her own strategy and research consultancy with a focus on go-to-market and growth strategies across health and wellness, pharmaceuticals, beverage industries and not-for-profits.

Speaking on her appointment, Granger says, “Edelman’s attraction is its unique set of strengths for knowing how to build ‘Trust through Action’. I’m looking forward to working with some great minds in technology, strategy, and creativity across the APAC region to create impactful health communications for our clients, who themselves are doing extraordinary work for their customers and patients.”

Meanwhile, Will Collie, vice chair of health for Edelman in APAC, commented, “As expectations of the communications and marketing function become more focused on driving real business outcomes, Edelman’s health clients need to know that we are putting strategy expertise at the centre of our consulting. The communications and marketing environment has become complex, so we are deliberately building teams that think broadly around the entire health business ecosystem, providing a focused and strategic perspective to the issues our clients face.”

Collie adds, “We’re building teams with no boundaries, bringing the best minds to our clients regardless of where they’re based. Our integrated approach, coupling data, insights and health expertise to deliver high-impact creative engagement, sets us apart. The addition of these deep-rooted Health experts, with their knowledge of the region and insights at the local level, strengthens our capabilities both across APAC as a region as well as in local markets where clients are operating on the ground.”

This month, MARKETECH APAC truly lived up to its name. For the top 5 stories this September, we saw a diverse set of newsmakers hailing from around the APAC region.

The top stories were identified based on Google Analytics from August 17 to September 15. In the list, two great brands from Southeast Asia and East Asia flexed their creative prowess to showcase novel brand marketing moves. Marketing leaders also continue to dominate the list; a marketing executive from South Asia recounted her almost two-decade marketing journey, another one, an APAC business director filled us in on a growing buying trend that no one saw coming amid the pandemic, while a significant appointment from ANZ also grabbed people’s attention this month. 

Top 5: Shopee gets fictional character Phua Chu Kang as new face of the brand

Ever since eCommerce platform Shopee was launched, it has only been putting its trust to big, international names to represent its brand – that would be Kpop girl band Blackpink and professional footballer Cristian Ronaldo. During its 9.9 super sale, the brand decided to show what hyper localization really means by getting not just any local personality, but a deeply rooted cultural icon – sitcom character Phua Chu Kang.

Phua Chu Kang, played by actor Gurmit Singh, is the title character of the longest-running sitcom by network Mediacorp, which revolves around the misadventures of the Phu family.

The show ran from 1996-2007, and within that time, Singaporeans grew to love the eccentric, overly confident, and yellow-boots wearing contractor. So what has truly made the Shopee team go for this rather unconventional stint?

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Head of Marketing Tiger Wang said, “The [appointment] marks another milestone for us as we continue to build on the hyper-localized approach and deepen our engagement with the local audiences. Phua Chu Kang is a household name and a celebrity, [and] local icon. His ability to resonate with and unite local communities aligns with Shopee’s vision, making him the best choice for us.”

Top 4: Hong Kong-based Towngas cooking academy extends its expertise to YouTube 

Amid in-person limitations during the ongoing pandemic, many brands and businesses alike have turned to the virtual side of things. Take Hong Kong-based cooking school Towngas Cooking Centre as an example. The culinary academy which has flame cooking at the core of its program, has gotten things rolling this September as it forayed to YouTube this month, and it doesn’t stop at that. It has a bunch of high-caliber celebrity chefs to boot, tapped to showcase the school’s virtual sessions.

Healthy Monday, French Wednesday, Culinary Tips4U, and Star Chef Weekend and Sunday Mom & Dad are just some of the quirky-titled lessons that are slated for its YouTube viewers.

General Manager for Retail Marketing & Sales Catherine Wong said that the occurrence of COVID has definitely pushed Hong Kongers to prefer home-cooked meals to dining out, and this is what ultimately brought the brand to make the most out of the situation. 

Top 3: Healthcare marketing maven Jasrita Dhir

Last month, the #MARKETECHMondays episode of Philippines’ Mark De Joya entered the top five list, and this time, another one of the webisode’s guests – India-based marketing leader Jasrita Dhir has been one of the stories that garnered the most views.

Jasrita’s marketing expertise expands almost two decades, where she’s worked with a list of well-known brands such as consumer product giant Procter & Gamble, hospitality brand Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, and television media company NDTV before having focused entirely on brand and marketing for healthcare services. 

Currently, she is the assistant vice president for healthcare provider Fortis Healthcare in India. When we sat down with Jasrita during her #MARKETECHMondays episode, she shared some very helpful advice that could be very well treated as a guiding light to budding marketers. 

“I just have two things to say to [marketers]; the first is, please never forget why you decided to become a marketer. There would be times in your journey when you’re feeling low, but constantly remind yourself [your why], [which is] because you want to be your consumer’s voice inside your organization,” said Jasrita. 

‘The second is keep upgrading; it’s nobody else’s responsibility to upgrade your skills. Because your consumer is going to keep changing; there are new avenues, [mediums], [and] new platforms. You have to have their pulse,” added Jasrita.  

Top 2: Stella Berry’s take on a new phenomenon in shopping amid the pandemic

Have you heard of revenge shopping? We bet not, but we too are sure that it would be a term soon to ring bells. In a nutshell, revenge shopping goes hand in hand with luxury shopping. It is a phenomenon that sees luxury stores opening their doors to shopping-starved consumers looking to avenge their months spent holed up at home during the lockdown.

This month, Regional Business Director of mobile advertising solutions Adludio, Stella Berry dedicated a full thought leadership article on the buying trend.

Stella said that it is a testament to the unique relationship consumers have with luxury. 

“No one could have predicted that after months of lockdown, the need for luxury goods has resulted in long queues outside of boutiques. This phenomenon is the result of brands, really making the effort in continuing to engage with people even during the lockdown,’ shared Stella.

All looking positive for brands and consumers, but Stella also puts out a caution.

“Returning to business as usual at this [rapidly] accelerated pace could bring about a negative impact [on] the environment, and consequences on sustainability. So luxury marketers need to find their balance to ensure the brand continues to remain sustainable, but also well-loved,” said Stella.

Top 1: Cognizant ANZ ropes in former PwC executive Jane Livesey

Our top story for the month comes from Australia and New Zealand, and from global IT firm Cognizant at that. In August, former PwC managing partner Jane Livesey was roped in by the firm to become CEO

Livesey breathes and lives IT. At PwC, she led over 800 IT professionals for the company’s technology consulting practice team in Australia; while for 12 years, she served as tech managing director for Accenture. With a seasoned IT experience under her belt, Livesey has also become an active advocate for women in the field of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, or STEAM. 

It hasn’t been very long since Jane settled into the role, and as we checked up on her, she shared with us, “It’s been great to join Cognizant and hit the ground running in Australia and New Zealand. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had conversations with both our clients and our teams. At Cognizant, we are focused on how to enable organizations in ANZ to keep on top of era-defining innovations and drive growth in the face of continuous technological and market changes. As CEO of ANZ, my priority is to provide local enterprises and governments with high-quality, market-leading digital transformation capabilities that enhance the lives of people and support digital-first.”

Watch the MARKETECH APAC REPORTS of these top five stories, with exclusive appearance and commentary from the newsmakers themselves.

If you have interesting stories, thought-leadership pieces, and case studies in the area of marketing, technology, media platforms, and SME, please send us an email at [email protected]. Who knows your story could be part of our top 5 next month.

For the third episode of #MARKETECHMONDAYS, MARKETECH APAC and Blogapalooza conversed with Jasrita Dhir, one of the most coveted women marketing leaders in the healthcare sector in India. 

#MARKETINGMONDAYS is an interview webisode every second and fourth Mondays of each month, where we showcase inspirational marketing leaders to impart their journey as well as their insights into the field, and their advice for budding marketers in the oftentimes challenge-filled, but undeniably dynamic world of marketing.

Jasrita’s marketing journey stretches a long two-decade integration into the craft. She has worked with companies such as Procter & Gamble, Oberoi Hotels and Resorts and NDTV before having focused entirely on brand and marketing for healthcare services. 

She was the woman behind some of the successful marketing strategies of healthcare services at Max Healthcare, and later on at Fortis Healthcare.

Having walked the path to eventually becoming a highly-regarded marketing leader, she admits that at the end of it all, the thing that matters the most isn’t the glamour and luster of brand ownership; but goes back to the simple reason of why you chose to become a marketer, that is, the ability to impact and make better the lives of consumers. 

First ever dip into marketing

Ever since Jasrita stepped into the professional world, her career journey has always trailed the direction of marketing, particularly in healthcare brands. Her first job in the field was as a marketing communications manager at Max Healthcare, one of India’s biggest healthcare service providers. Five years prior to such post, she was immersed in direct marketing or sales for Procter & Gamble, where eventually the calling to endeavor in more creative work is what pulled her to fully take a shift. 

Chance did not take it easy on her, debuting as a marketing woman. For her first project: a campaign to launch the flagship facility of the company in the upmarket residential colony of South Delhi, Saket. 

Truly an intimidating assignment for a freshie, the weight of variables involved proves it to be far from sweet and easy. Four newly hired department heads at the time, each with a different institutes to be launched. 

“I had to work on the entire stack of marketing communications of the flagship facility of Max Healthcare that they were launching. It was their biggest facility which is in Saket in South Delhi. There were four very senior doctors who were hired; their institute collaterals had to be made, each one of their institutes had to be launched, and then the overall hospital had to be launched,” said Dhir.

“From the pre-launch buzz, to the launch day, followed by the post-launch sustenance phase, and all of that, that was my big, first campaign; a trial by fire.”

Her first ever campaign may have had her grappling, but such was what ultimately grounded her fundamentals into the work of a marketer; launching her into a career that would later on, expand over a decade, where she now finds herself as the AVP for brand and marketing at Fortis Healthcare. 

The intricacies of healthcare marketing

Marketing in healthcare separates itself from other types of marketing. When one’s mind touches on marketing, it is easy to immediately think of it in terms of a tangible product that is being promoted. But in healthcare, one of those products is a doctor – a highly skilled individual.

Having been into this subfield of marketing for almost 2 decades, Jasrita knows all too well of the technicality of being tasked to own a brand of healthcare nature, and says that there isn’t any other way to thrive but to “roll up one’s sleeves.” 

“When you get into healthcare, you have got to understand that healthcare is a technical field. If you are not a doctor yourself, you have to get your hands dirty. You have to understand your product, your product is the doctor, your product is a highly-skilled individual, whose time is at a premium. So you have to put in the effort that goes into understanding your product and educating yourself,”

And by getting your hands dirty, she means shadowing the doctors, even if that requires you to be in an operating room yourself.

“You get to learn while being with the doctors in their OPDs, be at the operating theatre [and] see how a surgery is done, and then talk about it, then market it.”

Cause-based Marketing: Campaigns that don’t merely plug a product 

Jasrita mainly describes herself as passionate, and for her, to do something is to do it with passion, and with heart. With her identity as a marketer, cause-based marketing had become her personal advocacy. For her, the field is not just an avenue to promote a product but to impact lives – the lives of the consumers. 

When asked about the most memorable campaigns under her watch, the notable ones that came about weren’t those that have product plugging as the main aim, but projects that have advocated behavioral change, and those that as a result, have actually helped save lives.

Around 2015, Fortis Healthcare launched the #MoreToGive campaign, with an objective to encourage more Indians to donate their organs. The nationwide campaign was based off data from WHO that in India, the organ donation rate fares far from well with only 0.5 donors per million (at the start of the campaign).

The campaign adopted influential and famous ambassadors from different fields – war veterans, movie stars and sports personalities – to encourage civilians to pledge their organs. And after 3 years the needle has been pushed from 0.5 to 0.96 donors per million, and people who were actually waiting for a crucial organ donation were able to receive one.

Another campaign that Jasrita is quite proud of is the twitter campaign called, “Unmute yourself;” targeted to encourage people dealing with depression and mental illnesses to open up and jumpstart a healing process.

She says there is nothing more “Immensely gratifying” when you as a marketer are able to do something to make the world a more livable place. One of the groups of people predisposed to such campaign were students who are susceptible to suicidal tendencies during exams time. 

Advocacy-focused marketing as Jasrita lives by, meant staying true to the sincere and genuine purpose of helping people and spreading awareness on issues that truly matter. For the “Unmute yourself” campaign, personalities who had experienced real-life struggles with mental health such as sports personalities as well as film, and movie stars were tapped to lead the forefront of the advocacy, bringing the message that anyone can be impacted by mental health issues.

Jasrita’s Marketing Heroes

Having lived and breathed healthcare as a marketing strategist for many years, Jasrita’s most inspirational mentors were mostly doctors. One is former regional director of Fortis Healthcare and now founder of healthcare concierge service medECUBE, Dr. Dilpreet Brar. 

Jasrita’s relationship with Brar has been first forged during her days at Max Healthcare where the two have worked together. After some time, Brar would transfer to Fortis where Jasrita would later follow, adding in sum almost 12 years of a working relationship for the two. 

What she admires most about Brar is what may come off as a paradox, but one that couldn’t be more true to her approach to work, and that is, the esteemed doctor’s “fiery brand of leadership coupled with empathy”.

“She is this person who has empathy for the team, for the patient, and for the consumer. Part of what she brings to the table is her no-nonsense, no-holds-barred, “what you see is what you get” brand of leadership,” Jasrita said. 

Jasrita also speaks of Brar’s one-for-all, all-for-one principle. 

“As [she] moves along [her] career, [she takes her] entire team along with [her]. And as a woman leader, when you reach up there, you also [have to lend your hand] to the ones who are coming up there and helping them. That is something that I love about her.”

What makes Brar a sought-after mentor for Jasrita is that she hurdles one other thing: the never-ending disparity of gender in leadership roles.

“There are just so few women leaders. When we enter the corporate board room, there are hardly any women there to look up to, and then you see a woman like this,” she said.

Another person that Jasrita has been greatly inspired by is Fortis Healthcare’s ex-CEO Bhavdeep Singh. And she tries to take after the man for the simplest reasons, but one that is still lacking in most leaders: leading by example.

He was the most hardworking person on the team, whichever team that he was in, he is my most hardworking CEO ever.”

“[He leads by the principle wherein] ‘I’m not going to ask you to do something that I won’t do. I’m only asking you to do what I’m doing.”

As a proponent of women empowerment and leadership, another of Singh’s characters that strikes her as commendable is how as a male leader himself, Singh could genuinely advocate women to have more seats at the table.

“And he was a great proponent of women leadership, not just by mere lip service, but by action”

“Be the consumer’s voice”

When we sat down with Jasrita, she relentlessly spoke of marketers being the consumers’ voice throughout the interview, and finally, when we asked her of her ultimate advice to young would-be marketers, she uttered the same snippet of wisdom: represent the voice of the consumer. 

She explains why: 

“As marketers, we need to have a pulse on our consumer, on the economy, on the market. You are the eyes and ears of the marketplace to the organization,”  she said. 

“You are the consumers’ voice inside the boardroom. No matter how unpopular it is, no matter how harsh it is. There will be times when the consumer is disillusioned with your brand, dissatisfied with your brand.”

“Speaking truth to power is something that comes very naturally to me. And this is something that I have chosen, that I will be that consumer’s voice in the boardroom.”

Another advice that she wants to give to marketers, which right off the bat, can be said to be a true life advice, marketing folk or not, is to continually upgrade oneself.

She speaks anew of now the proverbial “pulse” of the consumer: 

“Keep upgrading; it’s nobody else’s responsibility to upgrade your skills. Because your consumer is going to keep changing; there are new avenues, there are new mediums, [and] there will be new platforms. You have to have their pulse.”  Finally, she shared how such a growth mindset can jumpstart, at the same time, keep it grounded for the years to come. ”If you keep upgrading, you will keep your creative juices flowing, and you will be a marketer who’s in demand always.”

Subscribe to MARKETECH APAC’s YouTube Channel and watch the full video interview with Jasrita as we premiere tomorrow, August 24 at 5 pm (PHT).

If you’re a marketing leader and you want to share your career experience to inspire the marketing industry, please reach out, we want to hear your story.