Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Filipino singer Juan Karlos Labajo launches own job portal, Raket.PH

Pampanga, Philippines — The multi-platinum singer-songwriter Juan Karlos Labajo widens his portfolio with his latest move on entrepreneurship as co-founder of Raket.PH, an online job marketplace for Filipino freelancers. The platform is owned and operated by The Rocket Inc, a startup company headquartered in Angeles City, Pampanga.

The idea of a digital platform aiming to curb the number of unemployed and underemployed workers during this pandemic convinced the artist to proceed with this endeavour. Rooting from his experiences as a young breadwinner, Labajo sympathizes with his kababayans in dealing with the struggles of providing for the family’s daily needs.

Labajo discussed, “As a musician, gigs and projects come and go. I’ve experienced having no projects for months, but my responsibility to my family doesn’t stop when I don’t have a job. This led me to invest in a platform that strives to help freelancers like myself.”

This project was brought to life alongside his co-founders, Peng Enriquez and Carlet Enriquez, who also operate Fullstack HQ, a top tech company based in Pampanga.

“I’m truly grateful to these two amazing people for being a strong unit in realizing this common vision toward the welfare of every Pinoy independent worker,” Labajo said.

As of date, Raket.PH is in its alpha stage and recently launched its RaketShip feature, which functions as an online portfolio and resumes showcasing a freelancer’s information and services. Other major developments are expected to be introduced throughout the whole year 2022.

Marketing Featured ANZ

Blis launches e-guide and interactive calculator for marketers to embrace privacy-first reality

Sydney, Australia – Blis, the audience-first platform that doesn’t rely on personal data, has announced the launch of its new e-guide, entitled ‘Missing something? Finding the audiences no one is talking about…yet’. The new interactive e-guide was launched to assist marketers to understand the real impact of ID-reliant solutions on addressable audiences and the virtues of privacy-first solutions that don’t rely on IDs to achieve accuracy at scale.

Changes to IDFAs and cookies have fundamentally impacted the ad ecosystem, from planning to targeting and measuring campaigns. The new e-guide looks at data from the UK, Europe, United States, Australia and New Zealand to demonstrate that almost half of the digital addressable audiences on mobile – and nearly half on desktop – are being missed due to IDs.

To enable marketers to uncover the people behind these percentages, Blis also launched its new interactive calculator showing which lifestyle audiences are being impacted the most by this drastic audience deprecation, covering 10 lifestyle audiences from travellers to fashionistas.

From questioning the sustainability of the solutions to understanding different technologies’ limitations, the guide highlights three top tips for marketers to consider when choosing their advertising partners. Blis hopes the e-guide will help brands and agencies better understand how to embrace the privacy-first reality and adjust expectations and methods of targeting, to find and reach their missing audiences.

Aaron McKee, CTO of Blis, said, “There’s still this belief that brands are achieving the right audience at scale – and that that will only change once the Chrome deprecation comes into force. But the current reality is much more troubling, as advertisers that still rely on IDs are already missing out on almost half of their audiences.”

Mckee adds, “This is happening right now, in front of our eyes and marketers need to have the right questions in mind when choosing their advertising partners. Today, not tomorrow. If your partners tell you they’re still reaching your precise audiences at scale with ID-only or cookie-led solutions, you’ll see that the numbers in our ‘missing audience calculator’ tell a different story”.

The e-guide is available for download and reinforces Blis’ commitment to audience-first targeting at a scale that doesn’t rely on personal data. Blis’ approach is based on accurate, consented location data, combined with a range of rich online datasets giving clients the deepest audience understanding available.

SME Featured APAC

Getty Images launches new interactive tool to help brands develop data-driven content strategies

New York, USA – Getty Images has launched VisualGPS Insights, a new interactive tool designed to help businesses develop content strategies backed up with data and visual guidance. With the new platform, users can view and analyse over 2.5 billion annual searches and download queries from Getty Images as well as iStock, its e-commerce platform focused on SMBs, SMEs and creatives.

In addition, the VisualGPS Insights will enable creatives, advertisers and SMBs with actionable data and insights to determine whether they should follow or avoid the most popular content and whether their campaigns are timed correctly and culturally resonant to create powerfully visual and competitive marketing strategies.

One of the early adopters, Miko Smith, owner of Bluebird Consulting, said, “I’m always looking for something to provide a solution. This would be a game-changer. If I’m running ads for a client, it’s given me another reassurance that I can look here and say, okay, let’s budget, let’s send some to India. It looks like India, let’s focus on India and the United States.”

Meanwhile, Candace Marks, senior director of product management at Getty Images and iStock, shared, “Through quick takes on visual trends and industry data, VisualGPS Insights provides customers with a unique jumping-off point for them to make data-driven decisions when it comes to their marketing strategies, whether that is deciding if they want to follow or avoid the most popular content or find inspiration on how to market their offerings in a unique and innovative way.” 

Marks added, “Through this tool, we will provide unique access to proprietary data they will not find elsewhere to empower our clients to get in front of where their industry is headed and how it is reacting to what consumers care about.”

All registered iStock customers across the world have access to the free VisualGPS Insights tool, which enables organizations to leverage real-time visual trends. As a strategic tool, the service aims to give enterprises a better knowledge of how much interest there is in various content inquiries.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Apparel brand K-Way taps Bluebell Group, launches in HK market

Hong Kong — Bluebell Group has announced its partnership with K-Way French outwear brand. Following the brand’s in-market digital launch in June, the new mono-brand physical store opening is planned for October 2022 at Pacific Place under the Swire Group, one of Hong Kong’s premium shopping malls.

The iconic French brand known for its windbreaker, lifestyle fashion and sportswear is part of BasicNet, an Italian company that also owns Kappa, Superga, Briko, and Sebago, and is on track to rapidly expand beyond its homebase. Bluebell Group, an Asian brand curator and operator, will manage the brand’s overall presence including an online e-commerce shop, local marketing activation, and overall retail operations.

K-Way will be introduced to Hong Kong consumers first through its online and a planned physical store in October. Targeting the active young local audience, and offering a mix of technical meets fashion apparel, the brand’s footprint is expected to grow further in Hong Kong and into Mainland China later this year.

Lorenzo Boglione, executive vice chairman of BasicNet, said, “We are very proud to open the first K-Way mono-brand store in Hong Kong and happy to embark on a path to a long presence in the city for the brand and for a long partnership between BasicNet and Bluebell.”

Meanwhile, Samy Redjeb, managing director for Bluebell group Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, shared, “We have no doubt K-Way will become an anchor brand for us in Hong Kong, where retail today is geared solely on local consumption. The brand offers a desirable and accessible lifestyle of unisex fashion and kids’ wear, which is one of our core focus for the development of this market. BasicNet has some very exciting global growth plans and hype collaborations for K-Way and we are pleased to play a role in bringing something fresh and playful to our Asian consumers.”

Marketing Featured APAC

Former WPP, JWT veterans launch design agency LittleGiant

India — Ushering in the next era of creativity where marketing goes above, and beyond the status quo, Siddhartha Vinchurkar, Robin Bade and Kasper Hilden, all former WPP and Wunderman Thompson veterans, have launched their design agency named ‘LittleGiant’. The agency, or the ‘Anti-Agency’, is a unique collective of creators, believers and make-believers.

With a strong entrepreneurial heritage and challenger mentality, the newly introduced design ‘Anti-Agency’ is poised to deliver technological and creative solutions that global brands demand. The capabilities of LittleGiant are oriented around consumer experiences, and the agency also provides extensive services in digital designs namely in web + mobile user experience and user interface, applications, websites, e-commerce, and brand films.

The previous clientele comprises purpose-driven, respected global brands like Mercedes, Unilever, HSBC, Microsoft, Nokia, Vodafone, Aston Martin and many more.

Siddhartha Vinchurkar, CEO of LittleGiant India, said, “At LittleGiant, we intend to grow together with our clients. Our team members come from geographies and cultures, and I strongly believe that our diversity is our strength. Keeping the ever-inspiring lines by R.N. Tagore in my mind, ‘Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high’. I’m looking forward to this new journey with my ‘old’ global family of co-founders.’’

With a close-knit team of modern entrepreneurs, LittleGiant is a group of young and agile creators with a disruptor mindset. The team at LittleGiant is passionate and adept in the art of compelling communication and knows the drill really well.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

DWG launches the Smiles Remittance app in SG to assist foreign workers

Singapore — IT and fintech company Digital Wallet Group (DWG) has launched the Smiles Remittance application in Singapore. Its subsidiary, Digital Wallet Singapore, will manage the operations with local partner bank CIMB Bank Singapore. The initial outbound remittance corridors from Singapore are the Philippines and Indonesia, with other countries expected to be added by 2023.

Created by DWG’s subsidiary, Digital Wallet Corporation, Smiles is Japan’s first mobile remittance service providing a convenient and user-friendly mobile experience, low remittance fees, and 24/7 accessibility. The mobile app offers a simple, fast and transparent, six-step in-app remittance process. It also provides a range of payout options, including bank credits and cash pickup in thousands of locations globally. Besides English, Smiles offers language options in Tagalog and Bahasa Indonesia, with Vietnamese and Spanish in the pipeline.

Eiji Miyakawa, founder and CEO of Digital Wallet Group, said, “Our purpose is to support foreign workers and ensure the lifeline to their families is timely and convenient by providing a secure, round-the-clock mobile remittance channel. We are confident that the extension of our Smiles network to Singapore will benefit the foreign worker community and further support our continued expansion across the Asia Pacific.”

On April 16 2022, the Philippine ambassador to Singapore, H.E. Joseph del Mar Yap, graced the opening of the Smiles Studio. He also met with selected foreign workers in Singapore who were recognized for their long-term support of families back home. The personal stories behind these long-time overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) exemplify the spirit of Smiles’ ‘Pride of OFW’ campaign, a platform for personal stories of challenges and triumphs shared by OFWs.

The global pandemic has impacted the cross-border movement of foreign workers severely affecting in-bound chances during their off days when they usually visit over-the-counter remittance services. However, mobile remittance applications like Smiles enable foreign workers to overcome such challenges and have full access to financial services to support families at home.

Roland Pagdanganan, MD of Digital Wallet Singapore, shared, “With the launch of Smiles in Singapore, I would like foreign workers to experience our innovative mobile remittance service, where the customer experience, service delivery, and community support are in our DNA. Additionally, a portion of our Singapore revenue will go towards Smiles donation campaigns to help organizations for disaster and humanitarian relief.”

The introduction of the Smiles app in Singapore follows and complements DWG’s acquisition of RediMoney Express in August 2021, commencing the conversion process of its retail and app assets to Smiles.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Adzymic launches Smart Templates to power creative automation, adaptation for brands

Singapore — Adzymic, a dynamic creative platform, has announced the launch of its Smart Templates solution. The new tool enables advertisers to automate creative production and adaptation across multiple formats and sizes quickly and easily, without compromising on quality and brand consistency.

Smart Templates enables the process of developing customized templates according to the desired interactive functions and layouts required by corporate guidelines. A single master template is first built in HTML5 using third-party tools such as Google Web Designer, where various formats such as static or animated images and videos are supported. The master template is then propagated into multiple sizes with optimized banner layouts using automation, and these can subsequently be reused for different campaigns for the brand. Smart Templates essentially serve as a tool for executing multi-market campaigns or for brands with high campaign turnover.

Bybit, a fast-growing cryptocurrency exchange, is one such early adopter. Since 2021, Bybit has seen a fivefold increase in its user base across more than 160 countries. Today, the exchange serves more than 6 million registered users worldwide and offers them 24/7 support in 16 languages.

By leveraging Adzymic’s Smart Templates, Bybit was able to streamline and shorten production time by managing its marketing assets centrally, ensuring consistency in brand messaging while adhering to the varying creative specifications across media channels.

Additionally, Bybit also tapped on Adzymic’s dynamic creative optimization capabilities to incorporate live data such as cryptocurrency prices within banner ads, thus enabling Bybit with rapid go-to-market deployments essential to its business.

Travis Teo, co-founder and executive director of Adzymic, said, “Smart Templates is the next step in our mission to help brands automate their marketing operations. The emergence of various channels has resulted in the exponential growth of creative formats and sizes required for campaign executions.”

Teo adds, “Our new solution gives brands and agencies the power to transform their existing creative process, ensuring brand consistency while allowing creative variants to be generated for different types of channels – from display banners, videos and social posts to emails and websites.

The Smart Templates solution is now available to all agencies and advertisers in scalable packages, with self-serve options, creative supported packages, or managed services.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

TikTok launches second edition of ‘Youth for Good’ program

Singapore — Mental well-being and online wellness are subjects that the majority of internet users need to be mindful of and informed on. That’s why TikTok, the leading destination for short-form mobile video, has unveiled the second edition of Youth for Good, its flagship educational program that seeks to raise awareness of mental health and cyber wellness issues amongst Singaporean youths.

TikTok joined hands with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Ministry of Education, National Youth Council, and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to maximize the reach of the program.

This year’s edition of Youth for Good will be launched in conjunction with IMDA’s Digital for Life Festival, where there will be several in-person workshops led by TikTok Youth for Good creators and non-profit partners on May 21, May 28 and May 29 each morning. They will drive open and empathetic conversations on achieving balanced mental well-being; how online platforms can be used to encourage help-seeking behaviour and provide help; as well as educate on alternative mental wellness boosting therapies.

The second edition will be officially announced on May 22 at a live, youth-led panel during IMDA’s Digital for Life Festival, moderated by TikTok wellness creator and other notable individuals supporting the program. As part of its efforts to empower youths to speak on issues close to their hearts, the panel will discuss how best to navigate the good and the bad in the online world as well as ways Singaporeans can pitch in to build a better and safer digital space for all.

Teresa Tan, head of public policy of TikTok SEA and Singapore, said, “At TikTok, we are committed to building a safe online space, where our users feel empowered to express themselves authentically, learn from others, and speak frankly about important issues facing youths today, such as digital wellbeing and mental health.”

Tan added, “With the support of our partners such as IMDA and our non-profit partners, we hope to continue the momentum from our success last year.”

Simultaneously, Dawn Low, cluster director for digital readiness and digital for Life Programme Office, shared, “We thank TikTok and all partners for joining us in building a digitally inclusive society by organising the workshops at the inaugural Digital for Life Festival, enabling our youths to learn how to use online platforms to amplify the importance of mental well-being specifically in the areas of digital wellness education.”

Until June 5, Singaporean youths aged between 19 and 34 years can apply via the TikTok to join Youth for Good and become wellness educational content creators on TikTok. Participating youths will undergo a specialised training program from June 20 to August 15, 2022.

Technology Featured East Asia

SK Telecom introduces new AI service ‘A.’

Seoul, South Korea — SK Telecom (SKT) has announced the launch of its new AI service named ‘A.’ or ‘A dot’ as an open beta version for Android on One Store and Google Play, with SKT currently working on ‘A.’ for iOS and plans to release the service as soon as possible.

‘A.’ embodies SKT’s vision to become a leading AI Service Company that realizes greater value and convenience in customers’ daily lives through warm, human-centred technologies and services.’

Ryu Young-sang, CEO of SKT, said, “We created ‘A.’ as a means to provide customers with the benefits of warm, human-centred technologies in this era of AI. Going forward, we expect ‘A.’ to constantly grow and become a more valuable service with the active participation of customers.”

‘A.’ handles many different tasks on customers’ smartphones and recommends or plays music or video that matches their preferences making it a beneficial time-saving solution.

Built with advanced natural language processing and sentiment analysis technologies, ‘A.’ enables customers to create and enjoy communicating with an AI character that understands them well. The key AI technology applied to ‘A.’ naturally combines daily conversations based on the Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 with the handling of specific tasks requested by customers. While having a free conversation with ‘A.’, customers can naturally shift to task-oriented dialogue.

Like other AI apps, ‘A.’ users can create and customize an AI character that reflects their personalities; communicate with the character through conversations or text messages, and ask for diverse information.

Through seamless interconnection with apps like FLO for music, Wavve for OTT, T Map for navigation, ‘A.’ allows customers to conveniently use a long list of services with their SK Telecom T ID. Customers can also send text messages, make phone calls, set alarms, manage schedules, and check daily information like weather, news and stock quotes.

In the second half of this year, SKT plans to add new features to ‘A.’ including ‘My TV’ and games. Other features like English learning, photo management, and concierge/expert will also be added going forward. SKT also plans to expand the features of ‘A.’ through partnerships with other companies.

Platforms Featured APAC

MoEngage launches new WhatsApp business integration for enterprises

Philippines — In recent years, there has been a pivotal shift in consumer buying patterns – consumers have started making more important buying decisions on their smartphones. According to a study by Google, mobile searches for ‘best place to buy XYZ’ have increased by 70%, and 59% of consumers mentioned that the convenience of shopping on their mobile device is important when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from.

With this trend, it is crucial for enterprises to keep up and capture a touchpoint with their customers at the right stage in the buying journey. Since smartphones have become an integral part of this journey, enterprises need to expand their available communication channels to include WhatsApp.

MoEngage’s insights-led engagement platform allows enterprises to learn what their customers are looking for on their mobile app or website, use AI to predict what next steps their customers are going to take, and help them automatically send contextually relevant recommendations, alerts, and reminders on multiple communication channels.

Through this collab, enterprises can have personalized communication with their tech-savvy, mobile-first customers on WhatsApp. WhatsApp is used the most by consumers in the age group of 26 to 35 and is present in almost 180 countries.

Another report shows that, while 54% of consumers prefer using WhatsApp to receive shipment status and delivery updates, 50% of consumers use WhatsApp for appointments and to get notifications of upcoming events and 23% of consumers want to receive promotional offers from their favourite brands via WhatsApp.

As more enterprises adopt WhatsApp, the WhatsApp team is improving how businesses can communicate with their customers. For example, earlier enterprises were limited to sending timely notifications, making it difficult to follow up with their customers outside of a 24-hour window. To enable seamless and timely interactions between enterprises and their customers, WhatsApp now supports more types of messages, for example, to let customers know when an item is back in stock. The team is also working on a periodically-updating service available for more types of conversations.

MoEngage is also studying behaviours and how they can integrate personalized messages to keep customers reminded and engaged on their shopping needs albeit with a very busy schedule as long as they consent to it.

Raviteja Dodda, CEO and co-founder of MoEngage, said, “By teaming up with Meta, we aim to bridge the gap between enterprises and their customers by allowing them to leverage insights about their customers, their journeys, and the long-term impact of WhatsApp campaigns on key business metrics like LTV, revenue, retention, and product stickiness.”