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MARKETECH APAC’s Top 5 Stories for December: APAC content marketing agency bags top spot

We can’t believe we are now down to the last roundup of top stories for 2021! It has been a great year recognizing the most well-loved brands and stories in marketing and tech for the year.

Our monthly deep dive and conversation with the top brands resulted in the much-awaited regular MARKETECH APAC Reports, and this month of December is no less an exciting list of one-of-a-kind campaigns, inspiring new leadership appointments, and fresh product launches. 

This month, we saw a food delivery platform moving into an entirely new vertical of consumer electronics. This period, a philippine arm of a global communications agency also announced a new business director, while, a content marketing agency with a presence in APAC unveiled an expansive roster of new hires in the region within its client servicing, creative production, and editorial teams. 

For the month, a very interesting campaign from a BNPL service in Singapore has also entered the list for bringing back audiences to the golden age of advertising in the 80s. Meanwhile, our MARKETECH Spotlight episode on a digital agency in Malaysia also came out on top for walking us through behind the scenes of incorporating AR and VR in marketing campaigns. 

Learn more about the top stories that will be closing off our 2021 with a bang:

Top 5: MY digital agency Unicom Interactive Digital on MARKETECH Spotlight

MARKETECH Spotlight_AR_UID

For our Top 5 story, we have the MARKETECH Spotlight episode of Unicom Interactive Digital, a fast-leading digital agency in Malaysia. 

In an interview with its COO Jareth Eng, we learn more about how brands are incorporating the tech of AR and VR in their marketing campaigns, and the best ways to deliver such that would effectively engage audiences at the same time push brands be top-of-mind. 

Having helped numerous brands develop immersive campaigns since the start of the pandemic, Eng shared the agency observed that content remains to be the top determinant of a success of a campaign. 

He says content must above all be personalized and authentic. 

“More and more, let’s be honest, we start to get bored of the same stuff, and we start to look for authenticity in content, because there are so much paid advertisements today [and] so much paid endorsements, and we reach a point where we do not know what is being said is real or not,” said Eng in the interview. 

Eng also shared his thoughts on the role of digital moving forward in the pandemic, “The perks of adding digital elements to campaigns have proven themselves during the past year. Even as we head back to a norm that we were used to, digital elements will still play a part.”

Top 4: Mel Panabi joins Red Havas PH as new business director

Havas Ortega Mel Panabi

Havas Group’s media and communications agency in the Philippines, Havas Ortega, has appointed Mel Panabi, former vice president of marketing communications at energy tech business WeGen Distributed Energy Philippines, as the new business director of its global public relations, social and experiential agency micro-network.

Through his new role, Panabi will be developing new products and services that will further strengthen Red Havas’ position in the country’s public relations and brands landscape.

MARKETECH APAC spoke with Panabi to know more about the area he is looking to prioritize in the role.

“I will be prioritizing promoting the ‘meaningful brands’ concepts of the agency. The global Red Havas Media Group actually made a study called ‘Meaningful Brands’, and it showed that people are now looking at the collective benefits provided by a brand, and its role in society,” said Panabi in the interview.

He adds that he is eager to start Red Havas’ sustainability and thoughtful corporate responsibility conversation. 

“One other thing is that the United Nations’ sustainable development goal is something that the brands need a lot, which is a space we want to occupy. We want to be associated with that kind of ‘meaningful brands’ and sustainability conversation,” he said.

Top 3: BNPL service Pace launches 80’s themed campaign

Pace campaign I Got This

Buy Now Pay Later service Pace in Singapore enters our top stories for bringing a very refreshing and unique creative campaign that brought people back to the vibrant pop culture of the 80’s. 

Armed with a video and an OOH ad, audiences saw VHS effect shorts complete with authentic 80s fashion, while decals on platform doors at train stations were reminiscent of the classic shopping advertisements from the period.

Speaking with MARKETECH APAC, Daren Goh, Pace’s head of growth, said that while BNPL is an inspiring tool for people to be financially responsible, payments could be something boring and pedestrian, hence, the push for the one-of-a-kind creative. 

“We thought 80’s was great because it’s something that any generation can relate to whether you’re [a baby boomer], even to Gen Z folks who are interested [in] how it is like [in the] 90s and 80s,” said Goh. 

He also shared that stimulating the feeling of Nostalgia was the goal.

“[80’s] seem like simple times and just really great times. So I guess we could tap into so many different feelings and people also see that no matter what age they are from,” said Goh.

Top 2: foodpanda to now offer delivery for consumer electronics via tie-up with Xiaomi

foodpanda x xiaomi

The leading food delivery platform in Asia, foodpanda, will now move to offer a wide range of consumer electronics and appliances for on-demand deliveries in Singapore and Thailand.

Partnering with Chinese tech giant Xiaomi, foodpanda will be offering Xiaomi’s products ranging from smart devices, audio, and mobile accessories, to household appliances, and will be delivered to homes within 30 minutes.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Christian Urban, foodpanda’s head of marketplace of new verticals for APAC, shared, “Xiaomi is one of the great new vendors coming on board recently, and of course, a very popular brand and we are super happy about that. They are on board with hundreds of their products from their flagship stores across Singapore and Thailand.”

Regarding the platform’s new partnerships and offerings in 2022, Urban said that they want to enable more and more vendors to join their marketplace, helping them to digitize and get their goods delivered within 30 minutes.

“Our goal is to serve a large portion of essential and non-essential goods, and there is actually a strong demand for it. Hence, strategically, the goal is to go deeper and offer more of those goods to our customers,” he added.

Top 1: Content marketing agency Green Park Content bolsters APAC presence with new hire lineup

Green-Park-Content-APAC-New-Hires

For this month’s #1 story, we take a look at the expansive company hire move by content marketing agency Green Park Content for the Asia-Pacific region. 

The hires, which were made in November, span across three major work categories: the client servicing team, creative production team, and the editorial team. In addition to these new hires, GPC also announced the promotions of some of its senior leaders, including Que Ramli to the role of global social media lead, Martin Niens as head of operations, and Fe Husaint who was recently promoted to the role of creative and global brand head.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Marcelo Bittencourt, managing director for APAC at GPC, shared that ever since GPC started out in APAC four and a half years ago with only two hires, they have tested the waters of the business in the region and have since grown to provide various services such as search engine optimization and editorial content.

“The goal for GPC in APAC is [trying] to answer to our global FMCG clients on how we can be more localized, how can we have content that is meaningful for the local countries, because we are seeing a shift from budgets being centralized, and we are seeing how important it is, and how empowered are the local marketers are in the countries. So [we] want to be there with them because we are a part of a global [and] regional work lines and as close to their local operations we can be,” Bittencourt stated.

On his insights on content development, he said, “Content is about connection, content is about building a bond with the audience. You cannot do this if you are not ‘there’, if you’re not using slang, if you’re not understanding what is the environment that you have. This is the biggest goal for us: to be able to grow our local expertise in the countries in APAC, to be able to be that partner to our global clients., and be able to answer their strategies to deliver their brand purpose with quality and with trust.”

Rankings‌ ‌are‌ ‌based‌ ‌on‌ ‌Google‌ ‌Analytics‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌period‌ ‌of‌ ‌16th‌ ‌November to 15th‌ ‌December.

Watch our exclusive interviews with the brands themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, now live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

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MARKETECH APAC’s Top 5 Stories for November: A Disney veteran joins local Filipino live streaming platform

The penultimate year-end is not backing off on a lighter note. In its own right, the month of November ends with a bang with new marketing leaders inducted in the digital space, a launch of an industry-first partnership, and a massive contest marketing from an e-commerce brand.

In Singapore, a top e-commerce has unveiled its biggest giveaway yet for its campaign on 11.11. Meanwhile, in APAC, a communications firm has revealed in one fell swoop its new digital leaders for its different markets in the region. This month, a media giant’s creative agency has also announced its new MD for APAC. 

Still region-wide, a creative and communications network has specially partnered with TikTok to specifically build capabilities for brands to conquer audiences on the platform. 

Most interestingly, we have seen, this month, a veteran from the world’s favorite content creator joining a fast-growing live streaming platform in the Philippines.

Get to know more the top-read stories this month.

Top 5: Lazada launches massive 11.11 giveaway: An SG$1m-worth condo unit

Lazada-Singapore-PropNex-Condo-Giveaway

Regional e-commerce platform Lazada in Singapore, in a bid to further encourage 11.11 sales, has launched one of its biggest giveaways yet: a S$1m-worth condominium unit at the Normanton Park. The initiative, co-sponsored by real estate company PropNex, has concluded with a 70-year-old retiree as the winner, who interestingly just entered the contest with S$3.41 for Aloe Vera Gel and a digital voucher for a Nasi Lemak as investments. 

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Wook Kwon, chief marketing officer at Lazada Singapore, said that through these giveaways, they aim to reel in more customers to go back to their platform.

“The world of e-commerce can bring on an array of possibilities. So in this way, the latest giveaway, we strive to keep our customers going back to our platform, keep them engaged to go back to our sellers on the platform,” Kwon stated.

A major part of the campaign is gamification, where eligibility to enter and win is through collecting ‘golden keys’ on various missions in the Lazada app, and that more keys collected grant a higher chance of winning. 

Kwon added, “Gamification is important in customer experience. It’s the best experience that keeps our customers going back to our platform. Gamification is part of our ‘shoppertainment’ strategy to enhance the shopping experience.”

Top 4: Virtue appoints former MediaMonks’ Lesley John as managing director for APAC

Lesley-John-VIRTUE-Managing-Director-APAC

Virtue, the creative agency under media company VICE, has appointed former head of client services at MediaMonks Singapore Lesley John, to be its managing director for the Asia-Pacific region. 

Through her new role, John will be overseeing Virtue’s business and teams across the region including offices in India, Indonesia, Korea, and Japan from its Singapore hub.

Regarding her view on the state of content creation within APAC, John told MARKETECH APAC that there is diversity shown across the region, amplified by global cultural phenomena such as K-pop and J-pop.

“If you were to look at streaming platforms like Netflix, they’re starting to surface more cross-cultural content pollination,” she stated.

John also noted various cultural tropes that make the region’s content consumption unique, such as the rise of anime and idol content in homegrown platforms like Bilibili, or how a universal theme such as humor can vary from region to region, just like how Thailand’s approach to humor is ‘deadpan’.

When asked what advice can be given to brands when creating content for APAC audiences, she shared that the first thing is always finding an ‘interesting story’, and then finding the most compelling way to deliver it.

“Don’t be afraid to tap into emerging themes or subcultures if they’re relevant to the theme [or] story you want to deliver. Be authentic, reward your audience intellectually. I guess there’s always a temptation about going to the lowest common denominator, [and] that results to very bland, inauthentic, doesn’t feel like it’s coming from a real point of view,” John concluded.

Top 3: Edelman announces new roster of digital hires

Edelman-Digital-Hires-Lineup-Asia-Pacific

Global communications firm has unveiled the new executives that will be at the wheel of its digital business in APAC, namely the heads of digital for its India, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, and Australia teams. 

Speaking with MARKETECH APAC, Matt Collette, Edelman’s APAC vice-chair for digital, shared that the new hires are the firm’s response to brands’ stronger commitment to deliver greater digital experiences over the pandemic. 

On the top challenge digital marketers are facing today, Collette specifically cited reduced ad targeting opportunities brought about by stricter privacy features from tech giants such as Apple.

“The implications for that…had been on the quality of data that companies are receiving with respect to how people are engaging with ads specifically; [that] has deteriorated significantly. What we’ve seen [is an] increase in costs for performance campaigns,” said Collette. 

Collette said that, hence, this is a major area the communications firm is helping out clients on today – figuring out what other strategies and tactics they can deploy to effectively build first-party data. 

“We want to make sure that we have digital teams across all of our markets in Asia-Pacific that are able to engage with the clients in a way that demonstrates deep expertise and knowledge of the digital space,” said Collette. 

Top 2: dentsu APAC, TikTok partner to help brands win on the short-video platform

Creative and communications network dentsu in APAC has unveiled in October a partnership that will see the network building commerce and media capabilities to effectively elevate brands’ presence in TikTok. 

Interestingly, within the tie-up is a program called ‘Test with TikTok’ which brings together the performance team from dentsu and product team from TikTok to test several performance and commerce hypotheses on the platform.

In an interview with Sunil Naryani, dentsu APAC’s president for product, commercials & partnerships, he shared that oftentimes, testings within the market ecosystem do not yield in valuable results and insights for reasons such as failure to establish a clear hypothesis on what must be tested and at times, tests’ misalignment to a brand or media’s objective. 

“This is what we’re trying to solve with ‘Test with TikTok’. It is essentially a structured way in which we are testing various TikTok products and solutions so we could unlock the full potential of the platform for our clients,” Naryani said. 

Naryani further shared that most of all, the whole objective of the partnership is to deliver differentiated value to brands. 

“The key discussion that takes place is what is important for our [clients] and we’re looking at the full funnel. At this stage, there is a lot of focus on the mid and the bottom funnel,” added Naryani.

Top 1: Former Disney exec Anand Roy joins kumu as SVP of strategy, international

Anand Roy Kumu

And our top story for the month of November is none other than live streaming platform kumu in the Philippines, with its recent appointment of Anand Roy, former regional director of music and live entertainment for SEA at Disney, to be its new senior vice president for strategy and international.

According to Roy, he first heard about the kumu platform from Open Space Ventures, one of the company’s investors, and at that time, was feeling quite unhappy with the state of social media generally. 

In a MARKETECH APAC interview, Roy shared what themes of online content will be the next big thing among audiences.

“One big seismic change which has happened in consumers’ lives for the past two years has been the realization that both work and study can happen online. This is a fact which has been brought to the surface because of the realities around the pandemic, and it promises to be an absolutely monumental change in the way people work,” he said.

Roy believes that over the next period, people will try to find balance between online image and research projection and offline detox and offline unwind.

Regarding his new role, Roy also shared the international plans of the proudly Philippine-made live streaming platform.

“The international strategy will be built on the authenticity of the platform. kumu stands for optimism, hope, positivity, and community; these are values which translate across the planet,” said Roy.

He added, “My endeavor would be to ensure that these fundamental principles get translated in every market we go to, and these guiding principles become the bedrock on which the platform is built.”

Rankings‌ ‌are‌ ‌based‌ ‌on‌ ‌Google‌ ‌Analytics‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌period‌ ‌of‌ ‌16th‌ ‌October to 15th‌ ‌November.

Watch our exclusive interviews with the brands themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, now live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s Top 5 Stories for October: Media and live streaming giants’ tie-up snares top spot

This month’s top stories are a mix of APAC-wide and local stories, but the region of Southeast Asia steals the spotlight for the month with announcements and launches from the region grabbing readers’ interest the most. 

For one, we have the Malaysia team of a digital-first agency unveiling its new business director for the country. A travel tech platform headquartered in Singapore, meanwhile, has also successfully raised funds in a seed round in order to expand operations to Europe. 

The industry of esports has also made its way to this month’s top stories with a feature on a Filipino super app’s business journey coming out as a favorite. 

In APAC meanwhile, we have digital platforms announcing exciting new business movements and partnerships. 

A global adtech has announced its new vice president for OTT business in APAC, while two giants in media and live streaming have unveiled a partnership that will see advertisers having more access to the region’s gaming audience. 

Get to know more about this month’s top 5 stories. 

Top 5: PubMatic names Vijay Anand Kunduri as new VP of OTT business for APAC

PubMatic Kunduri

PubMatic, the global programmatic digital advertising company, has appointed Vijay Anand Kunduri, former managing director of video advertising platform Unruly for Asia, to assume the role of regional vice president of OTT business for APAC.

MARKETECH APAC conversed with Kunduri to know more about the current landscape of OTT in the region.

“The consumers have been continuing to embrace OTT across APAC and this has led to the increased consumption of the streaming content, which could be attributed to the prevailing COVID pandemic situation,” said Kunduri in the interview.

Kunduri shared that adtech platforms have a very important role to play in seeing OTT reach its full potential, and are critical in ensuring better OTT experiences for consumers.

“What that brings us to is it’s important to have the right tech infrastructure, as it’s an important factor in ensuring the ad experience on OTT whether the people are consuming on a connected TV or mobile device,” he said.

While tasked to drive the growth of PubMatic’s OTT and video business across the region, Kunduri will also be consulting with existing publishers, creating new relationships, and further establishing PubMatic as a preferred platform for media buyers and publishers.

Top 4: Esports super app KALARO on MARKETECH Spotlight

MARKETECH Spotlight_KALARO_esports_superapp_Philippines

Esports super app in the Philippines KALARO has entered the top stories this month, gracing the latest episode of MARKETECH Spotlight.

At MARKETECH Spotlight, we take a closer look at different industries through the perspective of burgeoning organizations that are currently stealing the scene for their innovations and current industry achievements. 

For this episode, we sat down with KALARO’s Founder and CEO Jun D. Lasco as they finally release their public version 1.0 last September after a year into beta and delta testing. 

Since its pilot launch last year, KALARO has grown to be more than a platform for people to compete and enjoy in esports. Now, KALARO is truly living up to its name as a super app as it forges partnerships and launches features to answer to stakeholders’ mental and health well-being. 

From the interview, Lasco revealed that it has partnered with UnionBank, one of the top banks in the country to boost its financial offerings. He shared that on this front, a Visa card for KALARO and even an insurance offering is not a distant possibility. Lasco said crypto- and blockchain-related features are also underway.

Top 3: Lion & Lion appoints Wai Sim Liew as new business director for Malaysia 

Lion-&-Lion-Business-Director-Malaysia-Wai-Sim-Liew

This month, digital marketing agency in Asia, Lion & Lion, has announced the appointment of Wai Sim Liew as the new business director for its Malaysia team. 

Prior to joining Lion & Lion, Wai Sim’s experience expands working with agencies Publicis, Leo Burnett, BBDO/Proximity, and most recently, Ogilvy, where she was a client service director.

In an exclusive interview, we checked in with Wia Sim who shared with us her view on the current digital marketing landscape among Malaysian brands. 

While pointing out the current boom in e-commerce, Wai Sim shared an interesting observation on the growth of one product category in e-commerce. 

“I think one of the slowest categories for e-commerce adoption is Fast Moving Consumer Goods because I think [it has more stress] on quantity and you want to see the label, and you want to see the cooking instructions and whatnot.”

However, Wai Sim continues, “But now, you notice that actually, hey, people talk about live commerce even for grocery items.” 

“It’s interesting to see that way Malaysians have actually chosen to incorporate e-commerce into their lives,” she added. 

Top 2: Travel tech Vouch expands to Europe with US$1.1m seed funding

Vouch-Travel-Tech-Seed-Funding-Europe-Expansion

Vouch, a Singapore-based travel tech company, which has recently raised US$1.1m seed funding, is targeting a Europe market expansion, starting off with a new office in London.

The company’s guest experience platform allows guests to check-in, make room requests, order food and beverage and get instant answers to commonly asked questions, just by scanning a QR code on their mobile phones.

In an interview with Joseph Ling, founder and CEO at Vouch, he said that improving guest experience platforms are is not just for enhancing user experience, but also responding to the interest of hotels, now that travelers will look forward to checking in.

“We also recognize that hotels, the ones that we actually partner with, are going to want to capture the value [of these customers]. So we are really looking at how we build revenue-generating product features, and how we make it easy for them to cross-sell different things within the hotel to their guests.”

He also stated that they are also looking forward to expanding the use of their travel technologies towards other travel verticals, like tourist attractions and museums.

Ling further added that with regulations ever-changing to various industries due to the disruption by the global pandemic, it only makes sense that digitizing guest experiences in the travel industry is ‘inevitable’.

“Besides increasing productivity, you are giving guests a more comfortable and familiar way of interacting with the hotel, as well as opening up more opportunities, meaning that hotels could now understand the needs and preferences of their guests,” he concluded.

Top 1: GroupM, Twitch to tap diverse APAC gaming audience for advertising in latest tie-up

A partnership that opens up new opportunities for brands to tap into the gaming demographic: this is the number one story of MARKETECH APAC for the month, as media investment company GroupM has signed in a partnership with Twitch, top streaming platform, which gives advertisers access to the flourishing gaming demographic in the region.

Through the partnership, GroupM’s clients will enjoy access to insights on Twitch audiences in a fragmented Asia-Pacific region that stream Alpha, Beta, and Early Access games, as well as access to Twitch CTV. Moreover, an upcoming co-authored playbook by these two companies will be released in the future to aid FMCG advertisers to tap APAC gaming audiences.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, John Miskelly, APAC investment director at GroupM, stated that the reason they chose specifically to deal with FMCG brands for the playbook is that aside from their large heritage of working with these brands they also want to aid them in placing their advertisements across new channels, aside from traditional ones like television.

“If there is an area where we can reach 1.2 billion people, that’s definitely a space where clients would want to work on,” Miskelly said, pertaining to the large gaming demographic in the region, and the potential reach advertisers can get.

He further added that most of these FMCG brands are now migrating to e-commerce platforms, since most of them are present only in-stores, and don’t have the transactional data that they can use to bolster their e-commerce offerings.

“The gaming audience is important for brands in terms of reach and engagement. And obviously, with the potential engagement seen in this demographic, there is a highly immersive audience which can get a lot of attention [for brands],” Miskelly stated.

Rankings‌ ‌are‌ ‌based‌ ‌on‌ ‌Google‌ ‌Analytics‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌period‌ ‌of‌ ‌16th‌ ‌September to 15th‌ ‌October.‌

Watch our exclusive interviews with the brands themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, now live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s Top 5 Stories for September: BNPL in Thailand clinches top spot

What a great way to start the ‘Ber’ months this year with a list of high-flying stories which gave the industry a peek of the latest developments in the startup, e-commerce, and digital payments scene. 

This September, an Indian-born PR agency leading the way for communications in the startup sector has expanded its presence to Singapore. A Buy Now Pay Later platform is also ramping up its market in Southeast Asia with the announcement of its country manager for Thailand. 

Meanwhile, e-commerce makes another round getting into readers’ radar with a data-driven marketing firm in Asia unveiling its new leader for its e-commerce offering.

Stories from the Philippines are also in this month’s top spots with one career coaching firm in the country sharing its business story, and also, a report that saw the convergence of consumer products and social media snared readership for the period.

Take a look.

Top 5: PR agency Value 360 Communications expands presence with new Singapore office

Value 360 Communications Singapore

Value 360 Communications, the startup-focused PR agency in India, has announced that it will be expanding its market to Singapore to unlock growth opportunities in the country’s burgeoning start-up space.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Kunal Sinha, the founder and director of Value 360 Communications, shared that the company has been part of the journey of 15 unicorns in the market of India, where they have built communications from the ground up. Learning from the process, the agency eventually grounded its name and reputation in the sector. 

Working with a complex market such as India, Sinha believes, gives the agency a strong value proposition to bring to the start-up space.

“We are going to focus on providing start-up PR in the SEA region, and Singapore will be the core for us in extending our services to start-ups. We are also in a discussion with other global brands who have both India and Singapore presence, and we are looking to hire talents with specific experiences in start-ups,” said Sinha.

We have an internal training module where we will be able to help them learn and understand about the start-up space.

Sinha on hiring new talents

Top 4: MARKETECH Spotlight: PH’s Metamorphosis Group on disrupting career coaching in the country

Metamorphosis Group_Danica Octa

Entering this month’s top stories is one of the latest episodes of MARKETECH Spotlight featuring career coaching firm in the Philippines, Metamorphosis Group (MG). 

In an exclusive conversation with the firm’s Founder, President, and CEO, Danica Octa, she shared MG’s start-up journey which began in the pandemic year in 2020. Gaining more expertise and leadership into the current job and recruitment industry in the country, the coaching firm has now firmed up its mission of becoming an end-to-end employability solution for those seeking guidance on their career development. 

Speaking MARKETECH APAC, Octa shared how the firm sees its role in the Filipino workforce. 

Our role [in the workforce] is to be some kind of a learning partner [and] an accountability buddy.

Octa believes that above all, it’s able to help shape people’s career journey through its future-oriented thinking. 

“We are very forward-thinking, we understand the future of work, we as a company is very, very in touch with what’s going to happen 10 years later,” she said. 

Octa adds, “We have the intuition, we can give our market the information they need to succeed moving forward, of course, so that they can upskill and reskill to the appropriate job that they need to have, moving forward. So I think that’s the role that we take here.”

Top 3: Filipinos take to Twitter conversations around favorite consumer products

Twitter-Philippines

Twitter Philippines has recently released a report on the products Filipinos love to talk about on the platform. The data shows that there are five key trends in how Filipinos converse around food, beverages, and personal, as well as home care.

Chandan Deep, Twitter’s head of emerging business for SEA, shared that people on the app and the conversations that they create are what makes Twitter unique, and that 71% have rated it as a great platform for brand interaction, making it the number one among its peers.

MARKETECH APAC conversed with Deep, and she noted that when you looked at the top mentioned brands, which were listed on their CPG dispatch, you will see some good samples on how brands can engage with their customers on Twitter, to be able to drive more meaningful conversations.

Twitter has a diverse community so they can connect with people who like entertainment, gaming, or health, making the first move as a brand by initiating conversation and making your audience enjoy it.

Top 2: ADA names former Lazada CBO Sherry Tan as regional head of e-commerce

ADA ropes in Lazada MY’s Sherry Tan to become its regional head of e-commerce

ADA, the data- and AI-driven marketing firm in Asia, has appointed former Chief Business Officer of Lazada Malaysia, Sherry Tan to be its regional head of e-commerce. 

ADA has just unveiled its end-to-end e-commerce solution for brands in APAC, and for the new role, Tan will be leading a team of leaders who will support the growing demand for e-commerce in the region. 

In the interview with MARKETECH APAC, Tan shared the challenges that brands in e-commerce are faced with in this pandemic.,

“In the last 18 months right, the pandemic catapulted e-commerce retail significantly, and there are more users in the digital space whether it is the buyers or the sellers. Now, it has become harder for brands to attract customers because there are wider options available,” said Tan. 

According to Tan, besides having more choices, customers are gaining smarter as well and therefore, have higher expectations toward their shopper journey. 

Brands need to stay on top of their game to predict industry trends…and then they need to enhance engagement and attraction to their brand to build loyalty and retention.

On ADA’s e-commerce solution, Tan said, “Leveraging on our data and digital shelf, we are able to craft [an] e-commerce and digital strategy based on sentiment analysis, customer insights as well as [competitive] landscape. This data allows us to understand what consumers are interested in, where they have visited over a period of time, and ADA is able to target these audiences for the brand.”

Top 1: BNPL platform for Asia, Atome, names country manager for Thailand

Atome Poompong Tancharoenphol

For our top story for the month, we have Buy Now Pay later platform in Asia Atome’s appointment of its country manager for Thailand, Poompong Tancharoenphol Tancharoenphol was formerly Zilingo’s country head for the country. 

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Tancharoenphol said, “I think I have been fortunate to look at e-commerce both from AddVentures and Zilingo before. There [are] a few key factors in making an e-commerce company successful, namely the business model itself, whether it is B2C e-commerce, B2B e-commerce, and marketplaces, and there is [a] supply chain, marketing, and payment.”

He adds that with BNPL being quite new to the Thai market, it could mean either two things: it may be potentially good or something which the market may not adapt to. 

I think the direct value we offer to the retailers and e-commerce players is the increase in the market size. We were able to increase the market size to 30% more than any other payment method, and this comes along with increasing sales and conversion [afterward]

Rankings‌ ‌are‌ ‌based‌ ‌on‌ ‌Google‌ ‌Analytics‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌period‌ ‌of‌ ‌16th‌ ‌August‌ ‌to 15th‌ ‌September.‌

Watch our exclusive interviews with the brands themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, now live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s Top 5 Stories for August: Mobile gaming in Indonesia takes reign

For this month of August, we see a compelling lineup of top stories in MARKETECH APAC all coming from the area of technology and platforms. As usual, top stories from brands serve as proof of the changing consumer behavior in APAC amid the unprecedented wave of digitization. 

For one, a Hong Kong startup is responding to the beat of social commerce in Asia where purchasing through social messaging is growing more mature. With a platform that simplifies customer communications for brands across social messaging apps, the SaaS company sees its presence expanding to Singapore and Malaysia.

Another one is mobile gaming in Indonesia. Indonesia is fast earning its name as the market with the strongest mobile engagement in the Asia region, and a report that entered the list presents insights that turn gaming patterns on their head.

Two global adtech platforms have also inducted leaders into new positions of COO, managing director, and into a role helming partner development in order to bolster their presence in APAC. Meanwhile, a recommendation platform for the open web has also unveiled its string of eight new hires for the ANZ, SEA, and APAC region.

Take a look at the top stories this August. Rankings were based on Google Analytics from the period of 16 July to 15 August.

Top 5: SleekFlow expands to Singapore and Malaysia

SeekFlow, the Hong Kong-born SaaS start-up that provides an all-in-one social messaging platform for businesses, is expanding to Singapore and Malaysia. SleekFlow streamlines customer communications in social messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat through a single platform. 

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Henson Tsai, the founder and CEO of SleekFlow, shared that the company has always been eyeing to make Singapore its regional hub. Aside from Singapore being the headquarters of many brands and companies, the SleekFlow team also found that there are more people familiar with the SEA market in the country compared to those in Hong Kong, making it the “sensible move.” 

Tsai also shared that Indonesia is a target market, where SleekFlow found that 80% of people buy on smartphones with only the remaining 20% buying on desktop. 

“If you actually compare Asia with Europe or America, you realize for example, in China, that kind of behavior [which is] buying through social commerce is kind of very mature…clicking through products and paying through chat is a very mature behavior. If you look at Southeast Asia, people actually purchase more often on mobile,” said Tsai.

Eveyone has that kind of experience right where they buy something and want to talk to someone first. I think these kinds of feelings make you feel more privileged, you feel more [ advantageous] over your peers because you have someone to talk to.

Tsai on the behavior towards social commerce

Top 4: Magnite announces new leadership roster in APAC

Following its acquisition of video ad platform SpotX, global sell-side platform Magnite elevates its leadership to realize the combined capabilities of the two platforms. 

New leaders include Gavin Buxton, who has been appointed managing director for Asia at Magnite Asia, and Yogesh Sehgal, who will assume the role of head of partner development at Magnite APAC.

Gavin Buxton, previously the managing director for Asia at SpotX, will be holding the same position for Magnite Asia, while Yogesh Sehgal, Magnite’s former regional manager for the region, has been promoted to the role of head of partner development. 

Speaking to Juliette Stead, Magnite’s senior vice president and head of JAPAC, in an exclusive interview, she shared that through this fusion, Magnite will be able to solve the needs of publishers more holistically and ensure that they continue to deliver the services and the tech that everybody has already expected from both sides 

Magnite and SpotX have been doing so incredibly well for such a long time, and we want to bring that together, and make sure that we’re not just 1 plus 1 equals 2. The way we see it, we’re better together, and to provide even more for the publishers and buyers in the market.

Juliette Stead, SVP and Head, JAPAC, Magnite

Stead also emphasizes the concept of scale that the newly combined capabilities bring about. 

“All of these publishers across all of these platforms provide the buy-side with a scalable alternative to walled gardens, that’s also really brand-safe, and that has a targeting and addressable functionality.”

Top 3: Adtech Silverpush names new COO

Global adtech Silverpush, known for its AI-powered contextual video technology, has targeted bolstering its global senior leadership by promoting its current chief revenue officer Kartik Mehta to the new role of chief operating officer.

Silverpush, which currently has presence in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) markets of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, and Thailand; targets to penetrate further into the contextual video advertising and moment marketing space.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Mehta shares that in his role, he will be driving the company’s vision that they have set for themselves, adding that they are also pushing their ‘3.0 Agenda’ or a strategy simply called as ‘Pi’, which stands for partnerships and investment which then leads to acquisitions.

“Essentially, all of what we do is going to revolve around these key things. You know, the digital media industry is growing, and we firmly believe that we need to be true to our vision on what we have set for ourselves, and to be considered as leaders among most-respected companies in the contextual advertising space,” he said.

Part of what Mehta also shared during the exclusive interview surrounds the question of ‘how could we invest in technologies?’, adding that they pose the aforementioned question in a bid to help companies in the region, such as in APAC, who have geographical advantage in their market.

Ever since we started in the adtech space and the privilege we had over the past nine years, we said that everything we’re doing doesn’t rely on any kind of personal identifiers. The technology, which is available today, are eventually what we have progressed hereon, is all very privacy-compliant.

Kartik Mehta, COO, Silverpush

He added, “In terms of APAC perspective, the region today contributes about 65% of the overall company revenue, which means APAC becomes very, very important market for Silverpush in terms of expansion, in terms of what we have to do in our strategy, and within APAC, certain key markets like Southeast Asia and India are going to play a pivotal role in terms of our entire growth strategy.”

Top 2: Recommendation platform Outbrain keys in eight new hires for APAC

In its efforts to bolster the company’s growth and presence in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) market, global recommendation platform Outbrain has signed in eight new hires to serve the diverse needs of clients across said regional market.

Outbrain operates under the premise of generating revenue for online publishers by displaying feeds of content and ads, or boxes of links to pages within a website, that lead to third-party content.

The new hires are led by the new director of sales for SEA, Jovary Jose. He is accompanied then by Nathan Jackson, head of sales APAC at Outbrain; Chermaine Koh, senior account manager at Outbrain; Calista Teo, sales manager for SEA at Outbrain; Daniel Littlepage, director of business operations for APAC; Greg Wood, head of Engage ANZ; Krishan Lal, sales manager for ANZ; Alanna Green, senior account manager for Engage ANZ; and Ana Carolina Garcia, account manager for ANZ.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC about the latest hires, Jovary states that the company has a strong business growth in the region, noting the latest hires significantly showing a 50% growth of the company’s presence in APAC, focusing more on sales and recommendation teams across the region to support the Outbrain team.

Personally, I’m happy to be involved in Outbrain and growing the APAC team. Coming from a publishing background, I’m thrilled to support quality content and connect advertisers and brands. Again, I love the fact that Outbrain supports publishers, and being from the publisher side for the last decade, the idea of continuing support of publishers like Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and MediaCorp really appealed to me.

Jovary Jose, Director of Sales, Outbrain

Jose also shared in the same exclusive interview that Outbrain is working on a new hire to work with premium publisher partnerships across the APAC region.

“We are excited to continue innovating and building the best native advertising products for publishers and marketers for many more years to come,” he concluded.

Top 1: Indonesia, rising powerhouse of mobile gaming in SEA: report

With pandemic restrictions largely disrupting normal human activities, it is no wonder that there has been an exponential rise of modern trends and practices among affected markets, including the prevalence of mobile gaming across a wider demographic.

It is no surprise that our top story for this month concerns the ‘powerhouse’ figure of the Indonesian market when it comes to mobile gaming activity and consumption.

In the latest report released by marketing cloud company InMobi, they have found that aside from the new 46% of respondents saying it is their first time venturing into the mobile gaming space, data also shows that 80% of Indonesian respondents say that they commit to playing mobile games at least once or several times in a day, in which interestingly, the 35-44-year-old bracket showing up as the age demographic with the highest commitment.

In an exclusive interview with MARKETECH APAC, Rishi Bedi, general manager and vice president of Southeast Asia, Japan, and Korea at InMobi notes that mobile gaming has seen a steadfast growth in the region from the one and a half years, adding that Southeast Asia alone has 215 million mobile gaming users, and in Indonesia alone, there has been ‘double the growth’ of mobile gaming users in the particular market.

If we look at the analysis of the data, one that we see is the behavioral patterns of the time of usage of the mobile games, which are very different from what it used to be earlier, now consumers are spending more time through the day, [even] as early as 6 AM. Second is that we have seen a shift in demographics, one per se is that the perception of mobile gamers is young men below 25 years of age, but that’s not the case. We see about 60% to 80% of these [mobile gaming] consumers are above 25 years of age.

Rishi Bedi, GM, VP, SEA, Japan, and Korea, InMobi

When asked for advice for marketers looking to tap into this huge online market of online users, he says that one should first leverage the scale and reach of mobile gaming in the target market, noting the transition of their market.

“There is a huge amount of segmentation possible in mobile gaming, there is diversity [where] you could target the right audience and the desired demographics. There are mobile offerings and a range of other elements that you can leverage that are very unique to mobile gaming, featuring elements like interactivity and augmented reality,” Bedi said.

Watch our exclusive interviews with the brands themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, now live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s Top 5 Stories for July: Asian food delivery’s new offering bags top spot

For the month of July, the Southeast Asia region once again snitches the spotlight with stories ranging from K-pop research, a fast-food chain’s case study, to an app that aims to cater to a country’s long-standing culture in trading. 

This period, we see a very interesting study that has put an official percentage of how much a brand can benefit from web searches upon roping in K-pop group BTS as an endorser. Food delivery is also a highlight this month, with a leading food delivery platform in Asia launching a new offer, and a fast-food brand in Malaysia releasing its case study on a successful 2020 campaign that helped save its delivery business in the face of home cooking-loving consumers. 

In the Philippines, we see a live-streaming platform unveiling an ex-Gojek exec as one of its new heads, and from the same country as well as a top story on a commerce enabler that aims to bring digitization to a traditional type of minimart that has been around in the country for years. 

With rankings based on Google Analytics for the period of 16th June to 15th July, here are the brands that had you turning with a second look.

Top 5: BTS ambassadorships can boost brand searches by up to 50%, iPrice study shows

Celebrities have undoubtedly been the primary faces of brands, and the new wave of K-pop groups and personalities have just turned to be the novel key to impactfully lift their awareness among consumers. In particular, global superstars BTS; In their multiple stints as global and regional ambassadors, it is no wonder how the latest data from e-commerce aggregator iPrice shows the sheer impact BTS can have on brands when tapping the group as their brand ambassadors.

According to their data, search results for brands can jump up to 50% after signing on BTS as their ambassador, which has long been evident across brands three years ago when the prominence of K-pop brand ambassadors started to materialize.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Isabelle Romualdez, senior content marketing executive at iPrice stated that such affiliation can drive up web traffic of the websites of these brands, which can eventually help drive up their sales online. 

She also added that ‘BTS’ influence is so strong that they create a lot of ‘noise’ on social media.’

Citing the campaign for global fast-food chain McDonald’s, for instance, she notes that in Vietnam, the fast-food chain was able to sell 10,000 BTS Meals in one day, and that in the Philippines, they were able to sell 3.5 million pieces of chicken nuggets on the day of the launch.

The best possible outcome for brands which I think is also how BTS affects them is that their partnership [with them] can increase their sales. BTS fans are really devoted, they really spend on their merch. They spend around US$1,400 for their merch, tickets, and other things. And so for them to line up and spend for a special meal or product, it’s really no big deal for them.

Asked about what smaller brands can do who might not be able to afford to partner K-pop personalities, she states this:

“One of the challenges for these smaller brands is that they can’t afford big brand ambassadors, so they have this responsibility to be creative with their campaigns but they can still achieve as much success if they create creative campaigns. Another way is to create content that interests the K-pop fanbase, [such as] talking about their behavior.”

Top 4: Former Gojek growth leader Crystal Widjaja joins kumu as new chief product officer

Filipino live-streaming platform, kumu, has appointed the former chief of staff and senior vice president of growth at Indonesia’s Gojek, Crystal Widjaja, to now assume the role of chief product officer.

MARKETECH APAC conversed with Widjaja to know more about what kumu products she is looking to develop and prioritize.

“We need to start building out products that really do unlock experiences, better than online and offline experiences,” said Widjaja in the interview.

Widjaja shared that the platform will be developing its creator base, building out the best creator tools so that content creators can host game shows, create amazing vlogs, and have fun, among others.

“I think what’s really important is to actually build an enablement platform, where people who want to be a community builder and to engage one another have the tools and [apps] to do that,” she said.

The core of kumu is beyond just a social network for content creators. It really is a social participatory network, and that means we are highly engaging and we allow users to reward one another.

Widjaja will be leveraging her extensive experience in helping startups with growth, data, and strategy, as well as bolstering the platform’s overall product strategy. 

In the same interview, Widjaja bared that building kumu has always been about creating opportunities for people to create their small social spaces and a safe environment, one where they can be themselves with people they admire.

Top 3: KFC turned every Malaysian Kitchen into a KEPCI Kitchen

At the start of the Covid in 2020, fast food brand KFC in Malaysia was faced with a dilemma – how does it maintain its delivery business, when consumers, even despite its initial surge, had easily grown tired of ordering take-out? In trying to find a solution, KFC soon found it was not other QSR brands that were the enemy, but the newfound love of home cooking. 

In partnership with digital creative agency Reprise, KFC released the campaign KEPCI Kitchen based on this insight, and turned the present trend in their favor – building the excitement of Malaysians to repurpose KFC items in their personal recipes, and therefore, turning their kitchen into a KEPCI kitchen. 

Due to a highly engaging integrated campaign which included a dedicated ‘KFC’ cookbook, consistent recipe sharing on Instagram, and also a sponsored cooking show, the campaign soon achieved its target and even more. 

In an exclusive chat with KFC Malaysia’s CEO Chan May Ling and Reprise’s Creative Director Eddy Nazarullah, the two both chalked it up to great teamwork and relationship between the brand and agency. 

“I think the lovely thing about this case study, I think, is the client-agency partnership, and how fast the team reacted because nobody knew how to react during a lockdown,” Chan said.

“[We’re] very close to our agency partner to uncover the insight and to have a common agreement on how we want to build the brand, and how we want to engage, and I think that’s very important in a relationship; and that’s how it sparked,” she added.

I think what’s key is the collaboration between KFC and [Reprise]. It’s the agency and client relationship that’s definitely made this happen. For us to achieve this, it’s definitely something we can’t do alone, and we definitely need the support from the team.

Nazarullah echoing Chan’s statement

Top 2: PH commerce enabler GrowSari secures US$30m funding for operation expansion

Philippine-borne business-to-business commerce enabler GrowSari has announced that the company has secured more than US$30m in funding from various companies and venture capitals, which include Gokongwei-led listed Philippine retailer Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. (RRHI) and JG Digital Equity Ventures, as well as Wavemaker Partners.

Other funding participants include Pavilion Capital, Tencent, Saison Capital, ICCP SBI Venture Partners, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which is a member of the World Bank Group.

For GrowSari, said funding will help fuel the company’s vision of tapping into sari-sari stores, the Filipino version of neighborhood mom-and-pop stores, which according to GrowSari, has the potential to be the biggest and most accessible distribution channel in the Philippines through driving efficiencies in route planning while collecting valuable insights on store behavior.

In an interview with MARKETECH APAC, Maimai Punzalan, chief marketing officer at GrowSari stated aside from creating more offerings and establishing bigger suppliers and market supply for their clients, they envision expanding from their current 50,000 store base across 100 municipalities in mainland Luzon to around 300,000 store bases in the next two years.

She also added that as they started GrowSari in the first place, there were two things that they needed to address in order to aid these sari-sari store owners: access to affordable goods and assortment of goods, ranging from dry goods to basic necessities. Such aspirations stem from the company’s observation of the current status quo of these local neighborhood stores in the country.

We recognize that the sari-sari store segment is such, maybe an underserved channel for the Philippines, despite it’s serving [about] 84% of Filipinos [who] would shop in a sari-sari store, and it makes it relevant for all of the Filipinos out there. There are about 1 million sari-sari stores spread across the archipelago. I think what’s tough for them though is despite being so important to the lives of the Filipino people, they’re barely making enough really to keep running their business.

GrowSari outfits Philippine sari-sari store owners with inventory, infrastructure, and tools to manage and grow their business while generating crucial data and market insights for manufacturers and distributors.

Top 1: foodpanda ties up with Unilever to now deliver on-demand ice cream products

For our top story for the month, we have the leading food delivery platform in Asia, foodpanda, and its recent partnership with Unilever. The digital change for all economies continues to accelerate, especially now that new consumers migrate online for shopping due to the pandemic, and with this, quick-commerce – the super fast delivery of anything to customers in under one hour or often much faster – is becoming the standard of service.

Unilever and foodpanda’s team-up is aimed at offering 24/7 on-demand ice cream deliveries through foodpanda shops and pandamart – foodpanda’s cloud grocery network. This move targets to reach a wider customer base via foodpanda’s q-commerce across Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, as well as Pakistan, and the Philippines.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Abhishek Sahay, foodpanda’s senior director of new business, said, “We did find speed as one of the customer insights that [really] people want, and it wasn’t just food deliveries but in every aspect of life. They are becoming much more used to on-demand stuff.”

He adds that the intention behind q-commerce is to provide speed and choice for customers.

Aside from delivering a variety of ice cream, the partnership also includes new product launches, bundle deals, and promotional campaigns, as well as optimized digital advertising and customer engagement on the platform, such as strategic placements of digital banners on the platform, the creative use of in-app notifications, and campaigns on social media.

We are no longer just a food delivery company. We are expanding into new verticals. In terms of future plans, we definitely have a long way to go, specifically on quick commerce. And as we think of expansion, we have three different ways. One is we want more and more stores. Secondly, we think of new country expansion, launching in Japan, Cambodia, and Myanmar. And the third is category expansion,” said Sahay, regarding foodpanda’s future plans.

Watch our live interviews with the newsmakers themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s Top 5 Stories for June: A platform’s top Hari Raya ads list comes out on top

This month’s top stories which were sourced from Google Analytics from the 16th of May to the 15th of June were a combination of local and global stories.

First off, Malaysia is taking the spotlight where two come from the market – a leading agency unveiling new leadership appointments, and also a platform’s rundown of top Hari Raya ads in the country. 

Southeast Asia country Philippines also made it to the top with an esports company and a media giant partnering in the country to change the game in advertising in esports. 

Two global ad tech companies have also joined forces to provide marketers a new way to measure their campaigns, while a global communications agency has also announced new managing directors. 

Together with our exclusive interviews with the brand spokespeople, read on to find out which stories made noise this month.

Top 5: PH’s Tier One ties up with GroupM to open esports advertising to mainstream brands

Tier One and GroupM

Tier One Entertainment, the Philippines-born esports talent agency for Southeast Asia, has partnered with media and communications giant GroupM to achieve a common goal: to bring in more mainstream brands in the advertising landscape in esports.

Advertising in esports remains to be an exclusive arena for endemic brands, and Tier One, which has been in operations for four years now, has always eyed to be an agent in bridging the gap between gaming and mainstream.

In an exclusive conversation with Joanne Llavore, the CCO of Tier One, she shared that as the audience penetration in esports continues to grow, the company has always been cognizant that the time will come when the standardization of media advertising metrics will become a requisite among clients.

GroupM being the leader in the industry, it is but inherent to seek out and forge this partnership as we work together with them to bring esports and gaming in the forefront of media advertising.

Joanne Llavore, CCO, Tier One Entertainment

Llavore adds, “It’s a blue ocean of non-endemic brands out there. And we know the potential is really huge to be able to scale the business.”

Aside from its headquarters, Tier One currently has offices in Myanmar, Japan, and Vietnam and had just opened an office in Malaysia. 

Top 4: dentsu malaysia unveils three key senior hires

dentsu Malaysia

Media and communications network dentsu in Malaysia has announced new leaders within its Media division. Asha Nair will become the new managing director of media investment and platforms, Jing-Wen Foo has been appointed as the new e-commerce director, while Hemanth Jayaraman has been unveiled as the new partner and agency brand lead of DentsuX

Dheeraj Raina, CEO of Media at dentsu malaysia, said that the new hires go under dentsu’s continuous transformation journey which started last year when it was announced that dentsu will now be organized into three main business lines including Media. 

Raina, who himself, has also been recently appointed as the inaugural CEO of Media in January, said that it has been an “intense 6 months”, looking at simplifying internal structures and how they create solutions for clients. It has also been, Raina bared, quite a year of subsequent pitches. 

The new lineup that you’re seeing of the leaders [is] primarily [for] creating capability centers of excellence within the organization so that as the agency partners with our clients, we are in the best position of solving their marketing challenges.

Raina said in a MARKETECH APAC interview

Raina also shared that the division will be more product-focused as an agency, such as into its e-commerce practice, where the vision is to provide clients beyond the performance marketing aspect of it but to be an end-to-end e-commerce service that touches on strategic consulting as well as on-site and off-site optimization, among others. 

“Obviously, it’s been a very, very challenging one and a half year for everybody in terms of forecasting and looking at how the future will be, and therefore, [being] an agency partner for us [means] to be able to then deliver really integrated growth solutions for our clients [which] is going to be very, very critical; and for that, I think, we need to have a very strong product focus, and that’s where I think is we are going to be spending a lot of our time as an organization in the next coming few quarters,” said Raina. 

Raina also remarks, “And obviously, e-commerce is one of the key products that is no more [treated as a] luxury [for brands].”

Top 3: Global communications agency Redhill announces two new MDs

Redhill

Singapore-headquartered global communications agency Redhill has unveiled two new managing directors, Marienelle Castelino and Tavy Cussinel

Both Castelino and Cussinel have been homegrown executives of Redhill, being part of the company for a long time, even during the time it was operating out of its headquarters in Singapore, in an attic-like office with no windows, as CEO and founder Jacob Puthenparambil describes it. 

Puthenparambil, in a MARKETECH APAC interview, shared why it’s important to build and stick with its people for a long time. 

It’s extremely vital for our growth that we have people who stay with us for a very long time because it’s a people-based industry, especially PR. A lot of the company culture is based on the long-term people that we have. You can’t write those things down or learn from a textbook.

Jacob Puthenparambil, CEO and Founder, Redhill

Through their new roles, Marienelle will deepen her focus on brand leadership and corporate mandates in markets across Asia Pacific, specifically Singapore, Indonesia, India, and Cambodia, while Tavy will focus on growing the agency’s education, healthcare, luxury, and lifestyle portfolios.

The communications firm started in 2014 as a boutique agency and in the interview, Puthenparambil shared how at the beginning, they had always been firm in their goal that they wanted to grow into being more than that. 

“We knew from day one that we didn’t want to be a boutique agency. We’re going to fight the big boys,” he said. 

He shared that along the way, they found that a boutique agency’s lifeline is mostly dependent and stuck to how long its founder is active or relevant to the market and that in the end, said agencies aren’t able to hold on to the talent or to the clients. 

“So that’s what pushed us to establish this presence in all these countries, even if it’s one [to three] people; [we] just go plant the flag there and start doing work,” he said.

Redhill currently has a global presence in 17 markets. 

Top 2: InMobi partners with The Trade Desk for a new brand lift solution

InMobi and The Trade Desk

Global marketing cloud InMobi has announced a new partnership with global technology company The Trade Desk to integrate InMobi’s mobile-first consumer intelligence platform – InMobi Pulse – into the latter’s demand-side platform (DSP).

As more and more brands seek to find additional and effective ways to measure their brand campaigns across all digital media, the two ad tech platforms come together to offer in-app brand lift surveys to be delivered programmatically, enabling brands to measure metrics such as brand awareness, favorability, intent to purchase and other metrics that determine campaign effectiveness.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Vasuta Agarwal, managing director of InMobi for the Asia Pacific, said, “This partnership is a first of its kind between InMobi and The Trade Desk, and it provides brands and marketers the ability to deterministically measure the incremental brand impact of their campaigns across digital media by web, desktop, and in-app.” 

It allows them to deliver in-app surveys, both to an exposed group and a controlled group of users which are users who have seen the ad and have not seen the ad, and then measure the difference in the brand lift metrics between these two groups.

Agarwal explaining how the integration works

She adds that the metric is deterministic because brands can use mobile ad identifiers to identify the end-user who’s seen the ad or not seen the ad. 

Agarwal also shared another benefit, “And any advertiser using the [The Trade Desk’s DSP] while running their campaigns, can do a lot of [other] stuff like in-flight optimization, and change in brand messaging, [among others].”

Top 1: YouTube’s top 10 Hari Raya ads in Malaysia

YouTube Malaysia Top Hari Raya ads

Finally concluding the Hari Raya, or the celebration of the end of Ramadan in Malaysia, YouTube, through its ads leaderboard, has rounded up the top 10 ads on the platform that came in celebration of the festivity. This is MARKETECH APAC’s top story for June. 

The list included a mix of international and local brands in Malaysia. Some of the local names on the list are Tenaga Nasional, Petronas, and RHB Group. Meanwhile, Asia retailer Watsons also made it as a top ad, with leading e-commerce platforms Lazada and Shopee also entering YouTube’s picks. 

YouTube’s ads leaderboard is usually based on metrics such as organic and paid views, watch time, and audience retention, but we spoke with Lars Anthonisen, Google’s head of marketing for Malaysia, to give us an insider on what other factors said Malaysian brands were able to hit right to get into audiences’ radar. 

Anthonisen said there are three key themes: brands that stood out stayed in tune with the values of Hari Raya, showed empathy, and took a stand on societal norms. 

More Malaysians, unfortunately, are unable to celebrate with their loved ones. I think ads that stood out were from brands who leaned heavily to the core Hari Raya values [such as] family, compassion, and hope, providing Malaysians the Hari Raya spirit.

Anthonisen on brands showing the values of Hari Raya

With Empathy meanwhile, he said that brands are starting to recognize the importance of acknowledging the struggles people and communities are facing. 

“Brands have realized the need to engage the audience on a deeper level by leveraging real stories and also [to] add [the] human element and build this deeper connection,” he said.  

And finally, Anothisen’s insight on brands challenging societal norms: “It can be daunting, I know, for a lot of brands to take a difficult topic on and turn it into something of value, but I think brands who were there to do it really got the support and the engagement from audiences.” 

And of course, he himself has a favorite from the list, and this is what he had to say, “The one that stood out for me was the one from Petronas. First of all, they used animation to tell the story a bit differently, but I think also the whole campaign centered around how many Malaysians missed home during Hari Raya, and I think that was a really lovely story.”

Watch our live interviews with the newsmaker themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

Categories
Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s Top 5 stories for May: Southeast Asian brands sweep this month’s top spots

This month of May, the region of Southeast Asia took the reigns, with four out of five stories coming from the region, with one global brand entering the list. This month is all about the area of producing fresh content and platforms. 

One live streaming platform launched a new feature that would see the replication of physical ‘live events’, while another brand, top e-commerce in fashion and lifestyle, is jumping on the trend of podcasts but with a novel take. 

The end of Ramadan or the celebration of Hari Raya was commemorated by Muslims throughout the world this month, with one brand coming out on the top with its sentimental and touching Hari Raya short film. 

Meanwhile, in the area of content regulation, we also saw a new leadership being announced that marks a new era of regulating content in one SEA country. Last but not the least, readers were hooked on the story of the pilot episode of MARKETECH Spotlight where we gave the seat to global CMS provider Magnolia. 

The top stories were sourced from Google Analytics from the period of 16 April to 15 May. Take a look. 

Top 5: Zalora launches ‘Zalora Talks’

Entering in our Top 5 stories for May is fashion and lifestyle e-commerce Zalora in Southeast Asia. While fashion is a realm that’s highly visual and not often ‘talked’ about through conversations alone, Zalora aims to break the norm through the launch of its podcast, ’Zalora Talks’ on Spotify, the first-ever fashion and lifestyle podcast in Asia. 

While Chris Daguimol, Zalora’s group director and head of corporate communications, agrees to this, he said that in today’s time, Fashion has evolved into becoming a platform to raise pertinent social issues such as sustainability. 

“Right now, we actually have people who are big in sustainability. It’s a healthy kind of conversation, and I think this is the right time to start being part of that conversation, and Zalora’s very proud to be part of that initiative and conversation and to have all this put out there as a Southeast Asian point of view, and with [matters] that resonate with consumers in Southeast Asia,” said Daguimol in a MARKETECH APAC interview.

Daguimol said that the United States remains the main fashion hub and that conversations on fashion often revolve around the western point of view. With ‘Zalora Talks’, the e-commerce aims to make the Southeast Asian voice be heard, which boasts a fashion and lifestyle culture that’s rich and vibrant as any other. 

The series was launched on 4 May and currently has five episodes. The series, which is made to comprise two seasons, is hosted by Amy Yasmine, the former editor of Harper’s Bazaar Malaysia, and will have six episodes for each season. The series brings together industry experts, brand partners, and fashion and lifestyle key opinion leaders from countries all over Southeast Asia.

Top 4: CMS Magnolia on the pilot episode of MARKETECH Spotlight

For the pilot episode of MARKETECH Spotlight, our deep dive into organizations and companies that have recently achieved an industry milestone, we featured global tech company and CMS provider Magnolia. 

Magnolia which has presence in Europe and APAC, and headquartered in Switzerland, has recently entered the leading list of top tech providers in the world: Global advisory Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. The report method uses a quadrant to identify the top-performing tech systems in the world, and Magnolia was recently identified as a ‘niche player’ for its digital experience platform (DXP) Magnolia DX Core. 

In the episode, we conversed with Magnolia’s General Manager for APAC Don Lee, who aside from sharing the company’s response to Gartner’s report, also gave informative insights to companies that are looking to adopt a digital experience platform themselves. 

Among the tips he shared are: focusing on the facet of digital experience that one wants to succeed in and building a modular and organic DXP for faster DX development. Learn more about his insights here

Top 3: kumu launches ‘Live Events’ platform

Even over a year of the pandemic, most nations in the world are still grappling with lockdowns, with countries even dealing with new waves of the virus. With this, in-person interactions are still far from reality. 

Local and emerging top live streaming platform in the Philippines, kumu, has recently responded to this call, coming up with a new feature for Filipinos that aims to replicate real-life ‘live events’. 

With the new kumu ‘live events’, kumu aims to provide the biggest virtual stage in the country to offer its viewers live concert experiences, festivals, and parties from the comfort of their own homes. To give that full ‘live show’ experience, kumu will be enabling features that model the physical version that we all have come to enjoy such as post-show engagement with the artists. in contrast to the standard Kumu live stream shows that are open to public viewing, live events will be ticketed and gated. 

Speaking with MARKETECH APAC, Mariel Bitanga, head of kumu Live Events, shared that aside from the benefit of the users and viewers, the new feature is very much for its performers and top streamers in the platform, making possible the opportunity to have a special type of production for their fans. 

“Kumu is a fast-growing app and platform, and we wanted as a company to have an offering other than the usual app features that we wanted to have a platform on the web. Kumu Live is actually not just events, it actually has gaming, and you could actually live streams there,” said Bitanga

Top 2: Kärcher Malaysia’s Hari Raya short film 

As a Muslim-wide country, Malaysia has been all spirits for the month of May as it approached the celebration of the end of Ramadan, Hari Raya Aidilfitri. 

Different brands and companies came in solidarity with Muslims in the country, showcasing each of their creative campaigns that all echoed the importance of making time for family even amid one of the most difficult times for social connections. 

One particular campaign stood out and entered the top 5 stories this month – the Hari Raya short film of professional cleaning tools and equipment supplier, Kärcher Malaysia. 

The brand took quite a different turn on its theme on family, using ‘memories’ as the element to bring the message that when members come together to bond, old memories are sometimes sidelined. The narrative revolves around a son who wishes to sell the family house but is contested by his parents as it holds lots of precious memories. As they clean and prepare the house for sale, Zack, the son, realizes his parents are right all along.

The campaign was spearheaded by social agency Kingdom Digital together with Untitled Films. 

In a conversation with Kingdom Digital’s head for account servicing Lui Xiao Yee, she shared that through the film, they wanted to show that not everything old is bad and that not everything old should be thrown away. 

“As we all know Karcher sells professional cleaning products, basically cleaning equipment and tools. We thought that it’s really relevant for the brand as well as the end consumer to tap into this spring cleaning kind of tradition,’ she said. 

Top 1: Malaysia’s The Content Forum names Astro Radio’s Kenny Ong as new chairman

For our top 1 story for the month of May, we have another news from Malaysia. The country’s independent self-regulatory body, The Content Forum, has recently elected Astro Radio’s CEO Kenny Ong to be its new chairman

The Communications and Multimedia Content Forum, or simply The Content Forum, is made up of various organizations representing the communications and multimedia industry. It governs content by self-regulation in line with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code – a set of rules that are applied to all content in the networked medium such as radio, television, audio text, and internet content from the country, as well as electronic boards, and public transport, among others.

The appointment will see Ong assuming the position for a two-year term, succeeding outgoing chairman Y.Bhg. Dato’ Khairul Anwar Salleh, the CEO of Media Prima Television Networks. In his new role, Ong will be bringing over 25 years of knowledge and experience across different industries to lead the council that sets the agenda on building a strong and agile self-regulatory framework for the communications and multimedia content industry. Together with members of the council, he is charged with executing strategies to achieve the vision of the Content Forum, which includes facilitating self-regulation and establishing best practices necessary for the growth of the content industry and the protection of its consumers.

When we caught up with Kenny to tell us more about the role, he said that the change in leadership will give The Content Forum a fresh start with new ideas and a new agenda. He further shared that one of the priorities of the forum would be the revamp of the content code. 

“Getting a revamp will be important because of the new changes that are in the market when we talk about content. When it was first set up many years ago, the definition of content is different from what we have now, when we talk about broadcasters, when we talk about media and a lot of things coming [out] online. We need to revamp the content code to make sure that it takes care of the current situation and what we foresee for the next couple of years,” he said. 

Watch our live interviews with the newsmakers themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

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MARKETECH APAC’s top 5 stories for April: A data and AI company takes number 1 spot

This month’s top stories are all about game-changing old practices and breaking stereotypes in the industry. A new agency has just launched a new proprietary tech that aims to bring more science to the practice of media planning, while a popular short-video platform moves beyond its popularized brand of entertainment to launch a pilot educational series. 

Meanwhile, the world of gaming makes another comeback. Two companies have recently partnered to offer brands an inventory of a new type of advertising in the gaming world. An AI and data company has also offered a new solution to a marketplace that is of surging demand today – e-commerce; while this month also saw the appointment and elevation of one veteran in the area of loyalty marketing in APAC.

Rankings were sourced from Google Analytics from the period of 16 March to 15 April. Take a look. 

Top 5: Global platforms Anzu and Eskimi partner to offer in-game advertising to brands 

More brands will be able to better engage with gamers around the world and get their hands on a relatively new type of brand placement in games – in-game advertising – as two platforms have partnered to offer the said type of inventory to advertisers in Africa, Asia, and CIS, as well as Europe, and MENA.

Anzu.io is a global in-game advertising platform, while Eskimi is a full-stack programmatic and data platform. What Anzu offers are real-life advertisements that fit natively into games, and Yaniv Rozencweig, the director of business operations at Anzu, said that it is looking for a demand-side platform (DSP) like Eskimi that has a strong and agile tech team that is able to “make adjustments” in order to tap into its supply. 

MARKETECH APAC spoke to both Rozencweig and Monika Poškutė, the head of marketing at Eskimi, where both said that the partnership ultimately aims to solve the long-standing problem of intrusive ads. 

“Our mindset is very similar [and] basically the same, we believe that ads should not be intrusive, and they should not be a big distraction in your life. You’re supposed to have your activities online for the game that you’re playing on your mobile phone, and it is the game that you’re enjoying, it’s entertainment, [so] suddenly receiving like a pop-up [ad] is a distraction, it’s intrusive,” said Poškutė. 

They also said that the tie-up will be offering foremost the education to clients and brands on how to work around this unique type of advertising and how to best harness it to better connect to gamers which had already reached about 3 billion around the world. 

“You can find various user segments in this big gamer audience in a non-intrusive way, and we believe that by educating our clients about this new opportunity, we are able to offer new channels, [and] new engagement rates, and I could even say probably more loyal user segments,” added Poškutė. 

Top 4: JOLT Digital brings science to media planning through J-CAL 

Singapore-based digital agency JOLT Digital has recently unveiled its new tech for media planning J-CAL, or which stands for J-Calculator, which aims to turn the practice of media planning on its head by bringing more science to advertisers’ processes through econometric modeling. 

MARKETECH APAC spoke to the agency’s founder Sebastien Lepez, where he said that throughout his own experience in media planning, he found that most executives allocate media budget based on gut feel.

Lepez, a marketing veteran with over 13 years of experience in both the agency and client sides, shared that media planners usually use media metrics or the rate of likes, impressions, and views, and while, effective in its own way, still doesn’t integrate sales in the process. 

“We allocate the optimal media budget to the channels we have selected. Our tool is able to tell us exactly how many percent should be invested into each of the channels,” he said. 

In the development of J-CAL, five years’ worth of data across Southeast Asia was used to build econometric curves or what the agency calls response curves for each of the channels that are present on digital. 

“J-CAL has taken nine months to develop and I think we have created a technology that is very unique and very robust. A lot of data, efforts, and thinking has gone into it. We truly believe that it is going to game-change media planning,” Lepez stated.

He further said, “Our industry is in need for a change and it’s been requested by clients for many years. After years [of] working at agencies and clients, I had time to observe the gaps and now I am able with JOLT and with J-CAL to fill these gaps.”

Top 3: TikTok Singapore launches first-ever educational series

While TikTok is most popularly known as an entertainment platform, TikTok in Singapore aims to showcase that such is definitely the case and that the platform is far more reaching than just exciting dances and singing. With this, it launched last 31 March to 6 April its first educational series which has its pilot theme on careers on tech. 

The first-ever #JobTok educational live stream series is a lineup of shows that aims to equip the youth aspiring for tech careers with knowledge of the jobs and skillsets of the future in the industry to help them to make more informed career decisions in life.

“We recognize the need to dispel the uncertainty among today’s job seekers and equip them with the relevant skills to be future-ready, so with that idea in mind, we decided to launch the first-ever ‘JobTok’ educational live series to equip all the users in the platform with the knowledge and the skill set of the future to allow them to make more informed career decisions,” said Doreen Tan, user & content operations manager at TikTok Singapore, in an interview with MARKETECH APAC

The platform has roped in women leaders in tech, tech executives from the government, and even its own engineers to shed light on some of the most burning questions of tech enthusiasts. Segments presented were ‘Adulting Advice from Young GovTechies’, ‘The Faces Behind TikTok live’, and ‘Women Leadership in Tech’. 

‘Ultimately, what we are trying to do here is providing an insider look into the tech industry and to just spark greater interest among Singaporeans to enter this fast-growing industry,” added Tan.  

Top 2: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts names new senior director for marketing and loyalty in APAC

Just recently, hospitality giant Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has consolidated and rebranded its Southeast Asia Pacific Rim (SEAPR) unit to now represent the whole Asia Pacific, and with this, it has elevated its former director for marketing and loyalty in SEAPR Lynn Poh to now take the lead as the senior director for the hotel’s rewards program, Wyndham Rewards, in APAC.

MARKETECH APAC conversed with Poh to know more about what her first order of business will be as she takes on the role.

“My first order of business is integrating the marketing and loyalty teams in Asia Pacific, and plus, developing a strategic marketing plan for both digital and loyalty that will support the needs of our hotels across the region,” said Poh. 

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is one of the biggest hospitality chains in the world with brands across upscale, midscale, and value segments. The APAC leg currently comprises over 1,500 hotels, and within the running quarter of the year alone, the region has announced new additions to its portfolio with a new property in India state Gujarat, and inaugural entries in Nepal and Cambodia.

With tight travel restrictions in the region still in place, how does Lynn plan to keep the rewards program on its feet when such depends on recurring bookings? She said it’s about leveraging digital channels and employing social media strategies that will keep the brand on consumers’ radar. 

“We have seen positive news of travel bubbles coming out of certain destinations, so while we’re still very focused on integrated campaigns, we are also taking a sub-regional approach that’s tailored to market needs,” she shared. 

“So I agree that bookings have not reached historic levels, but throughout the pandemic, Wyndham had been really present in social media and digital channels, and we’ve been driving this message of dreaming to travel again, reconnecting with family and friends, so really driving that top-of-mind awareness through our social media platforms,” she added. 

Top 1: ADA launches new end-to-end e-commerce solution in APAC

Nabbing the top spot for this month of April is ADA, a company that uses deep data and AI capabilities to provide brands in Asia actionable marketing insights and brand and communication strategies. ADA garnered the highest readership for the month for its new e-commerce solution, which is an end-to-end offering for brands.

Speaking with MARKETECH APAC, Anurag Gupta, chief operating officer and chief of agency at ADA, said that what the company found was that while e-commerce is a booming industry in Southeast Asia, companies’ current solutions for online brands are very siloed. 

“There are companies who are driving traffic to the e-commerce platforms or marketplace, then there are companies helping brands optimize the customer journey, then there are companies helping them do fulfillment, but nobody’s linking everything together,” Gupta said. 

Hence, its launch of the new solution. The service is aimed at clients seeking comprehensive solutions to drive traffic, manage customer experience, optimize conversions throughout the funnel, and create engaging content on digital marketplaces as well as owned e-commerce sites.

Gupta said that even amid the increase in adoption of e-commerce, it is still seen as vanity and supplemental channel, where about 90% of sales are still dependent on offline purchases. With the new solution, ADA also aims to help companies understand that with the right direction and strategies, it can be a major channel for a brand. 

Gupta cites one of the pitfalls for brands on the customer journey, taking into example cosmetics brands, where most of the time, customers will come searching on the internet to look for different types, for example, of lipsticks. If brands don’t take the difference of keywords in search seriously, a seemingly small detail would be a big problem on online presence, he said. 

“[E-commerce] is a major part of the digital ecosystem. We see that companies are going to accelerate their e-commerce investments, it is going to be a much bigger channel in their portfolio, and hence, we want to prepare companies how to manage this,” stated Gupta. 

Watch our live interviews with the newsmakers themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.