Marketing Featured ANZ

Initiative appoints Danielle Galipienzo as Head of Impact to lead purpose-led consulting division

Sydney, Australia – Media agency Initiative has announced the appointment of Danielle Galipienzo as head of Impact to lead its purpose-led consulting division. The appointment comes as the agency continuously develops the department, expanding from pro-bono partners to include paid services and impact consulting open to all clients.

She will be responsible for looking upon opportunities where Initiative can do its role of helping employees, clients, media partners, NFPs and other businesses to positively amplify the impactful work they’re doing. She will also create impact campaigns supported by a team across Initiative nationally. 

Galipienzo will retain her role as the agency’s client director. Working with Initiative, she has been a very intergral part in strategising the ad spaces and running campaigns of its clients.

Sam Geer, national managing director at Initiative, describes Galipienzo as a genuine market leader, and her experience and passion are evidences that she can lead Initiative’s impact division into its growth.

“We are in a unique position in our industry thanks to the resources, skills, and influence that we have. This new role will help me do my best work where I can effectively drive change in culture, for our clients and the industry,” Galipienzo expressed.

This year, Initiative has also appointed David Cook as its head of marketing and IQ. 

Marketing Featured APAC

What’s NEXT 2023: Getting started with agile marketing – Strategies for achieving rapid success

Now more than ever, there is no excuse for marketing teams to not understand, or be able to react quickly, to adding customer value and driving commercial revenue. Not only are there more metrics than ever to work with (possibly part of the problem, rather than being the solution), but technology that’s rapid and inexpensive now exists. 

At a time of increasing pressure on marketing budgets, every marketing director, CMO, or functional marketing leader should be putting customer insights and measurement at the top of their ‘we need a plan for this’ list for 2023.

But of course, this is easier said than done. With data and measurement being a cross-functional effort with analytics, insights, marketing research and technology teammates – how can marketing lead the way in being more agile and achieving more success?

In my experience as a CMO for a global organization with 90 marketers responsible for 100+ markets – our ‘unlock’ was agile marketing. Whilst not a new concept, McKinsey defines agile, in the marketing context, as “using data and analytics to continuously source promising opportunities or solutions to problems in real time, deploying tests quickly, evaluating the results, and rapidly iterating. At scale, a high-functioning agile marketing organization can run hundreds of campaigns simultaneously and multiple new ideas every week.”

I like to define it simply as a mindset of experimentation and team collaboration – with your customer deciding if your hypothesis is right.

While you can go ‘all out’ and adopt traditional ‘Agile’ processes like scrum masters and rigid sprint planning, in my experience, it is better to ‘steal with pride’ the parts of ‘agile’ that address your core problems which cause to reduce your effectiveness, vs simply adopting a process for the sake of it. Is your key issue speed to market? Is it putting the ‘customer voice’ into your decisions? Is it fear of getting things wrong? Digging into the heart of this will help determine which parts of agile are going to be most useful for your team.

Once you’ve decided how agile you might go, there are three pillars to agile marketing I recommend you put a plan in place for.

  1. People
    People, and a growth mindset, are a critical part of ‘working with agility’. And it’s not just the marketing department that needs to have a solutions-focused, collaborative, and curious approach to make things work – but they should take the lead. Engage your full marketing team first to get them excited and committed to getting the ball rolling before reaching out to your wider network of teammates.
  2. Process
    Agile doesn’t mean doing lots of stuff really fast, and hoping it works. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Agile process has many deliberate ways of ensuring only the most important and useful things are done. And the things that aren’t are deprioritised or stopped. Whether that is daily stand-ups to ensure the team is working on the same thing and having the same latest information, retros to improve the next time, or tools and systems to track tasks and workflow – they are all there to ensure less of your time is on the ‘how’ and instead can be put into the ‘what’ (that’s the fun marketing stuff!). 

    My main tip here is to find your ‘process champions’. I’ve found there are a surprising number of them in marketing and having them lead and coach others through change is a great way to ensure full team alignment and support.

  3. Customer
    Getting your internal system humming is a great start. But to be truly agile, you need customer data, insights, and feedback to inform your strategy and implementation. With an agile approach, you need that input to be rapid and regular. There are a few ways that brands can do this effectively, each with its own pros and cons.
    • Your own customer panel or ‘green room’: your own panel is great for getting deep expertise from a group of ‘super-users’, and it can also drive engagement and loyalty. However, if you’ve had a customer panel before, you’ll know they are quite a bit of work (and cost) to maintain, and they may also not be representative of your entire customer base.
    • Focus groups: running focus groups is great for in-depth and qualitative feedback. They allow for exploration of topics and can generate new ideas. The downside is that they are typically slow to organise (and expensive) and again the group of 6-8 people may not represent your target market well enough.
    • A/B tools: tools like Optimizely or testing tools within Meta and TikTok’s Ads Manager platforms are great for getting live, quantitative results. They do, however, assume a level of existing knowledge or experience with the elements being tested to know they appeal to and motivate your customer to take action. What does this mean? Unfortunately, ‘garbage in, garbage out’, is a key risk here. If your creative or message is not appealing in its individual elements, no matter of creative arrangement is going to fix that.
    • Testing and insights platforms: specific online platforms are now available to provide rapid customer feedback on your messaging and campaign ideas. These tools often run as short surveys or user tests via access to a large pool of participants to help businesses make data-driven decisions. The downside is that many use databases or panels of respondents which can make it harder to reach hyper-localised areas and audiences based on behaviours and interests (rather than demographics alone). 

Some audiences are also simply slow and expensive to reach. One platform that has overcome this is Stickybeak, which uses social media-powered targeting and recruitment to gain rapid feedback (effectively tapping into 4 billion people globally). Starting from a few hundred dollars per survey or test, the platform is changing the game for how many APAC marketers get insights early and frequently into new product and campaign development, specifically testing messaging and creative concepts. 

My recommendation for running a truly agile marketing approach is to adopt an online testing and insights platform across your wider team to have regular, directional feedback from your target customers to inform execution. Without this, speed to market will be very difficult to achieve as too often debate, meetings and differing opinions stall delivery. Or worse, the wrong messages and creative have thousands of dollars invested into them and achieve poor results.

In summary, implementing an agile approach (vs ‘Agile’) is critical to improving marketing effectiveness. I encourage you to make a start by going on a discovery journey and reading articles and testing different tools to find out how you can implement improvements of your own.

This article is written by Anna Henwood, CEO of Stickybeak.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

SEA martech firm Involve Asia ropes in seasoned marketing chiefs to boost leadership team

Singapore – Involve Asia, the martech firm with a focus on Southeast Asia, has expanded its leadership team through the appointment of two senior marketing hires. This comes after its recent fundraising of over US$10m led by Bintang Capital Partners. 

Melissa Chan is inaugurated as vice president of brand and marketing, whilst Kylee Yap assumes the position of director of marketing services. With the new leadership, Involve Asia looks to continue expanding its product line and services to its network of clients and partners across the region. 

The company’s main value proposition is making affiliate marketing accessible and cost-effective, in order for individuals to small-to-medium-sized marketing companies to enhance their network with global brands. Involve Asia says Chan and Yap will be instrumental in growing its regional brand and marketing efforts and in leading the company’s team across content, brand, public relations, social media, digital performance, marketing, and design. 

Chan is most recently the CMO of iMoney Group. She brings with her 25 years of experience including working in teams across the startup and fintech industries. Her vast in-market knowledge spans financial product development, digital banking, loyalty programs, and customer segmentation. Prior to joining Involve Asia, she held key leadership roles at CIMB bank, HSBC, Hong Leong, RHB Banking Group, and TNG Digital. 

Meanwhile, Yap is coming off his position as the interim country marketing manager of Meta for Malaysia. Over a span of 20 years with companies such as Meta, Lazada, CtrlShift, Ogilvy Action, and Saatchi & Saatchi, she had been deeply involved in curating and leading branding activities across offline, online, and social media platforms. She had been exposed to many regional and global events which have honed her skills in creating tailored campaigns. 

With a holistic background in client management, sales, event management, and branding, the company says Yap will be aiming to strategically grow Involve Asia’s presence in Southeast Asia and enhance its service quality to existing and new audiences. 

Yap commented, “We are living in a world that is rapidly growing its digital presence, and the online marketplace is an indispensable staple for most brands and advertisers post-pandemic. Through the extensive network that helps it effectively bridge the gap between brands and audiences, Involve Asia’s platform is uniquely positioned to amplify returns in the marketing partnership space.” 

Meanwhile, on the new journey with the firm, Chan says, “Involve Asia has such a captivating story combined with a social purpose that needs to be told. Many brands this year have been reviewing their marketing budgets and are looking for cost-optimised solutions to meet their business and marketing goals. Individuals are also starting to supplement and increase their income by entering the gig economy. I look forward to elevating the experience of affiliate marketing and fulfilling Involve Asia’s missions.” 

Along with optimising current growth channels, the firm further shared that both will hold key responsibilities for the development of bespoke marketing campaigns to drive additional revenue streams.

Since the company’s establishment in 2014, Involve Asia has expanded from its Malaysia base into Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, tapping into Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing e-commerce and digital ad market. The company says it is charging forward with ‘ambitious’ growth planned in the coming months.

Main Feature Marketing APAC

OMG’s, Cebu Pacific Air’s women marketing leaders to lead jury panel of MARKETECH APAC’s Empowered Women Awards for 2023

Singapore – Empowered Women 2023: Marketing Conference & Awards, MARKETECH APAC’s latest initiative to recognise women’s leadership and empowerment in the marketing and advertising industry, has officially unveiled the official jury panel of its upcoming awards ceremony. The judging panel represents a wide variety of seasoned and leading women leaders in the Asia-Pacific region.

The panel will be led by head of juries Eileen Ooi Wei Ling, chief executive officer at Omnicom Media Group; and Michelle Eve A. De Guzman, marketing director at Cebu Pacific Air.

Wei Ling said, “I think this is a great way in recognizing women in driving change, leadership and building next generation leaders. Women need to support women more, and bringing awareness and recognition of women who’s done just that and also for others is a great way to encourage more women to do so, and to break barriers of women juggling work and life.”

She added, “I would like to see individuals demonstrating agility in leadership in achieving change, empathy in raising next generation leaders, and creativity in problem solving.”

Other members of the jury include Allenie Caccam, regional commerce head at AirAsia; Melissa Sandhu, head of sales and marketing at Prince Court Medical Centre; Tanushri Rastogi, marketing lead for Popeyes APAC at Restaurant Brands International; and Joanna Teoh, branding director at Una Brands.

There are 5 categories women leaders in the industry can participate in based on the nature of their company.

  1. Empowered Women in Marketing is the category for women leaders from brands.
  2. Empowered Women in Agency is for women leaders from the agency side.
  3. Empowered Women in Tech is for women leaders from tech companies.
  4. Empowered Women in Platforms is the category for women leaders from media, e-commerce, and e-sports brands.
  5. Empowered Women in SMEs is for women entrepreneurs and leaders who own or lead a company with employees below 250.

The nominees for the awards will be judged based on 2 main criteria – (1) the leadership they have shown to their respective companies and agencies; and (2) the contributions they have made to the company during their leadership tenure. 

There would be at least 20 winners for each category. MARKETECH APAC will be writing a dedicated article for each winner to further celebrate their success.

Said event by MARKETECH APAC succeeds last year’s pilot launch, Empowered Women Series 2022. During the said inaugural initiative, it selected 13 women leaders across the Asia Pacific for exclusive conversations in discovering their leadership journey, experiences, and insights into marketing. The content was produced in the form of videos, podcasts, and articles. 

Shaina Teope, regional editor at MARKETECH APAC, said, “We started the initiative with a humble yet notable content series in the form of interviews–it’s now time to bring it further. We’re thrilled to officially announce the co-women leaders in marketing who will be giving justice to the laurels we’ll be conferring in diverse areas of marketing leadership.”

Key dates related to the awards ceremony this 2023 are as follows:

Entry Submission – until March 31, 2023

Judging Period – April 1 – 15, 2023

Virtual Awarding Ceremony – May 31, 2023

The nomination fee is US$249 (early-bird rate), applicable until February 28, 2023. After which, the standard fee of US$349 applies.

Head over to the official event site for the complete details. Interested parties can contact MARKETECH APAC’s team about the nomination process and sponsorship opportunities at [email protected].

Marketing Featured APAC

Ex-CARRO Manisha Seewal joins Redhill as senior international advisor 

Singapore – Redhill, the Singapore-headquartered communications agency with a global presence, has taken in marketing veteran Manisha Seewal to be its senior international advisor. Seewal most recently comes from Australia, helming the marketing of Gumtree Australia, CarsGuide and Autotrader; and was most notably the CMO of SEA car marketplace, CARRO

Seewal will be closely working with Redhill CEO Jacob Puthenparambil. She will be taking primary responsibility for driving the agency’s operational performance, scaling its international presence, and activating additional growth opportunities. 

“Redhill has accelerated its growth organically and through acquisitions over the past few years. Manisha’s role will help build on our momentum. She is a seasoned operational leader with deep experience in the marketing and digital transformation space in the Southeast Asia and Australia region,” said Puthenparambil.

Seewal brings with her over two decades of marketing experience in advertising, banking, insurtech, startups, and e-classifieds across the APAC region. As CMO of Gumtree Australia, CarsGuide and Autotrader, she led the digital transformation of all three brands’ marketing and editorial functions in Australia. 

Meanwhile, as Group CMO of SEA’s first Unicorn online car marketplace, CARRO, a role she held for three years up to 2021, Seewal scaled the company’s marketing function from a three-person team to over 70 strong across Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. Concurrently, she served as the CEO of CARRO’s, the e-classified marketplace in Indonesia. 

Seewal has exemplified her leadership in the digital transformation space, being accounted to for several ‘Singapore’s first’ digital transformation initiatives. These include Singapore’s first ‘Netflix for Cars’, a car subscription-based service; Singapore’s first life insurer chatbot, and Singapore’s first pay-as-you-drive insurance service. 

“I am delighted to join the Redhill team at a pivotal time in the company’s international growth. With several recent acquisitions, new service offerings, industry partnerships and a highly experienced core team, we have a strong foundation in place as we write the next chapter of our growth. I look forward to imparting my knowledge of the industry to help take the company to greater heights,” commented Seewal. 

Puthenparambil added, “She’s [well-positioned] to help the company execute on our international expansion plans while driving operational improvements. I am delighted to welcome Manisha to our team.”

Redhill has been ramping up its growth in the past year with a slew of new team hires and a couple of acquisitions such as video production company VS Story. 

For MARKETECH APAC’s Empowered Women series this 2021, Seewal was one of the women marketing leaders who sat down with us to share her leadership story and insights. 

In the conversation, she shared about the bias that is still ever-present for leaders like her in male-dominated spaces such as the automotive. 

“I think that’s the main reason why we need more women to join the industry so we can start changing the narrative,” Seewal said. 

Marketing Featured APAC

Merkle B2B appoints Min Zie Liyu as executive creative director for APAC

Singapore – Merkle B2B, the B2B arm of dentsu’s customer experience agency Merkle, has announced the appointment of Min Zie Liyu to the role of executive creative director for APAC. Based in Singapore, Min Zie will oversee Merkle B2B’s creative work with key clients in the region. 

Min Zie brings a wealth of experience and expertise in the creative space to the role. His career spans over two decades across advertising, communications and design in Japan and Singapore. He has previously worked at Bates Singapore, Bates141 Japan, OgilvyAction Tokyo, JWT and Wunderman Thompson

He has also previously led the creative strategy on major brands including HSBC, Changi Airport, Audi Japan, Lazada, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Housing Development Board, Kellogg’s, Heineken and Nokia. During his career, Min Zie has won almost 80 industry awards, including at Cannes, Ad Fest, One Show, Mob-ex, as well as JWT Singapore’s first Gold Effies and Media Grand Prix for SilkAir. 

Dentsu International shared that Min Zie’s expertise lies in crafting brand experiences that create lasting value and driving creativity that leverages insightful data and technology.

Farrokh Madon, chief creative officer of Merkle B2B for APAC, said, “Min Zie is an incredibly passionate creative talent. His creative storytelling leveraging data and tech have won accolades and [is] recognised worldwide. We are delighted to have him join Merkle B2B and bolster our strong creative team.” 

Min Zie himself commented, “I am excited to work with the talented team at Merkle to help companies create well-crafted and profoundly engaging customer experiences through creativity that leverages expertise in insightful data and tech empowerment.” 

Main Feature Platforms APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s Empowered Women returns with a conference and awards ceremony

The Philippines – MARKETECH APAC, a marketing-centric media company has reformatted last year’s Empowered Women Series into Empowered Women 2023: Marketing Conference & Awards.

Last year, MARKETECH APAC selected 13 women leaders across the Asia Pacific to discover their leadership journey, experiences, and insights into anything about marketing. The content was produced in the form of videos, podcasts, and articles. Some women marketing leaders that graced the inaugural series were Manisha Seewal, CMO of Gumtree Australia; Vasuta Agarwal, SVP & managing director of InMobi APAC; Angeli Beltran, director of interactive commerce ASEAN & global care centre of excellence at Reckitt; Raushida Vasaiwala, general manager for APAC at Celtra; and Eileen Ooi, CEO of Omnicom Media Group Malaysia.

The conference component

This year, MARKETECH APAC introduces a unique platform to recognize women’s empowerment in the industry in a one-day virtual event on May 31, 2023. The virtual event starts with a half-day conference featuring renowned women industry leaders in the Asia Pacific to talk about the trends and insights in marketing

Approximately, 10 top-notched women speakers will be invited to speak. While the conference features women marketing leaders, the event is open to all audiences. 

The awards segment

The second half of the day will be an awards ceremony. There are 5 categories: (1) Empowered Women in Marketing, (2) Empowered Women in Agency, (3) Empowered Women in Tech, (4) Empowered Women in Platforms, and (5) Empowered Women in SME

There would be at least 20 winners for each category. MARKETECH APAC will write a dedicated article for each winner to further celebrate their success.

All nominees will receive a complimentary pass to join the virtual event

Speaking about the launch, Joven Barceñas, founder & CEO of MARKETECH APAC, said, “We have received great feedback and reviews about our last Empowered Women Series. We are greatly encouraged to innovate and to reformat the programme to further highlight the achievements of women in the marketing industry.”

Barceñas added, “The conference component of the event allows us to gather the select women marketing leaders to share their insights and experiences not just to empower women marketers but everyone in the industry.”

“The award winners are selected by an esteemed women panel of judges in the industry. This process offers a genuine result for the winners. Not to mention that we have a head of the jury for each category which further validates the authenticity of the awards.”

Meanwhile, Shaina Teope, regional editor of MARKETECH APAC, also commented, “Diversity in leadership is an ongoing challenge for all industries and this includes the marketing world. Some of the most successful brands and creative outfits are helmed by women and we want to be at the forefront of honouring these amazing leaders. While we introduced a very successful pilot series last year, we wanted to come out with a stronger initiative. We’re proud of ‘Empowered Women 2023’ which now boasts a bigger platform to give female marketing leaders the recognition they deserve.”

Here are the key dates:

Entry Submission – until March 31, 2023

Judging Period – April 1 – 15, 2023

Virtual Awarding Ceremony – May 31, 2023

The nomination fee is US$249 (early-bird rate), applicable until February 28, 2023. After which, the standard fee of US$349 applies.

Head over to the official event site for the complete details. Interested parties can contact MARKETECH APAC’s team about the nomination process and sponsorship opportunities at [email protected].

Marketing Featured APAC

Ogilvy Consulting in Asia looks to dual ‘presidency’ as incumbent CEO retires

Hong Kong – Ogilvy Consulting, the strategic consultancy group of global creative network Ogilvy, has announced a new leadership structure in Asia as incumbent CEO Jerry Smith retires by the end of the year. Chris Brewer is named President of Business Transformation and Innovation, while Paolo Mercado is appointed as the new President of Brand Transformation and Innovation in Asia. Both appointments are senior elevations.

Brewer is former managing director of the region, while, Mercado is previously VP of the Behavioral Science practice. Ogilvy Consulting said the new dual leadership structure aims to bring focus to two large and vital practice areas that it is looking to accelerate in the coming months. 

As Smith steps down, he will continue to work for the company in an advisory capacity. 

“Jerry has been a true pillar and thought leader of Ogilvy in Asia for over two decades as well as a champion of helping create and lead the future. He leaves a lasting legacy and framework that will prevail as we see Chris and Paolo work together to ensure that there is a common and coordinated plan for Ogilvy Consulting in Asia as a whole,” said Kent Wertime, Co-CEO of Ogilvy Asia

The Global CEO of Ogilvy Consulting, Carla Hendra, also commented, “No one worked more closely with me than Jerry to develop the original concept of Ogilvy Consulting globally. He led so much innovation for Ogilvy Consulting and our clients – from our relationship with MIT and the Open Roads initiative to forging countless technology partnerships. I am excited to begin work with Chris and Paolo to continue Ogilvy Consulting’s strong growth in Asia, and in support of our global innovation solutions for brands and businesses.” 

Brewer, in his role as President of Business Transformation and Innovation, will be focusing on a number of areas of business transformation, inclusive of business audits, transformation strategies and roadmaps, as well as product/service/experience strategy and design, and marketing transformation. He will closely align consulting services to Ogilvy Experience and Verticurl for digital transformation where Ogilvy has been seeing enormous growth potential. 

Meanwhile, Mercado as President of Brand Transformation and Innovation will continue to develop Behavioral Science services, sustainability consulting, and various other areas of brand transformation and portfolio strategies for clients. 

Prior to joining Ogilvy, Mercado spent 12 years with Nestlé where he headed up marketing and communications for China, and then in the Philippines where he also led Innovation. Throughout his career, Mercado has managed complex marketing projects in all major geographies of Asia Pacific, North America, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. 

Meanwhile, Brewer as former MD led Ogilvy Consulting based out of Hong Kong, which he has called home for 15 years. He is responsible for advising C-Suites, boards, and business leaders on the creation of transformational growth strategies. This has included AXA, FWD Insurance, HSBC, Jardine Matheson, China Mobile, PVH, Marriott International, Huawei and Asia Miles to name notables – work which has resulted in both palpable business outcomes and award-winning impact. 

Commenting on the new leadership structure, Chris Reitermann, Co-CEO of Ogilvy Asia, said, “We are thrilled to make these key appointments to our leadership team at Ogilvy Consulting. Both Chris and Paolo have an acute understanding of our clients’ rapidly changing needs in Asia and will be instrumental in delivering cross-capability work that generates impact and positions us as the go-to growth partner in the region.”

Main Feature Marketing Southeast Asia

Agency Leadership Decoded: M&C Saatchi Singapore’s Madina Kalyayeva on building strategic team interactions

For Madina Kalyayeva, M&C Saatchi Singapore’s managing director, to keep a team engaged and empowered is simple – it’s all about looking no further than the team in generating and spurring innovation in creative work – trusting what each has to offer and share. 

“We tend to seek motivation from special programmes or coaches, while we neglect the talented individuals we interact with on a daily basis,” said Madina. 

As a female leader, there are three things that Madina encourages the most in her team: Seeing the good in change; keeping one’s network diverse; and learning to be comfortable with the unfamiliar. 

Being comfortable with the unknown

The digital world is ever-changing which means that brands and creative partners like M&C Saatchi are continuously placed in new and unfamiliar positions that demand them to adapt to change and drive inventiveness amidst making sense of the unknown. Madina said that considering this challenge, while best practices are good, it doesn’t serve well to stick to one thing for too long. 

Best practices are good, but not necessarily reliable as information flows faster than ever, and complex models are now required to evaluate possibilities. That is why today, in the digitally enabled world, we need to create new patterns and seek new opportunities.

Madina Kalyayeva, Manading Director, M&C Saatchi Singapore

In building up the sophistication and versatility of her team, the marketing leader strives to encourage members to make their network as diverse as possible. This is the same principle she adopts herself, and thus one of the key aspects of the kind of leadership she puts forth. 

She believes that the “diversity of thought” can be the very tool in coming up with effective creative-led solutions. 

Develop relationships with people who are outside of your comfort “friendship” zone, connect with those who are different and learn about similarities and cooperate with them to achieve a common goal. This can become a tool for a solution through the diversity of thought.

Madina Kalyayeva, Manading Director, M&C Saatchi Singapore

Strategic & insight-driven huddles

The MD of the Singapore team believes in beefing up the team’s talent and experience and actually tapping them in order to bring to fruition groundbreaking work. 

The marketing leader implements sharing sessions where once a month, a partner, client, or team member is invited to conduct a session about something they believe is exciting which could be anything under the creative and marketing domain, such as Discord training session, Metaverse Fashion Week walkthrough, 101 to Minting of NFTs, and Best Practices in Publishing, amongst others. 

Madina strongly sees the effective impact of these strategic huddles as they become a unique opportunity to learn from one’s peers, clients, and partners. It’s about encouraging team members to use the people around them and their network to the most potential, and constantly interacting and really listening to how they have solved a problem, initiated a solution, or suggested an impactful idea. 

“We all go home and put on a different role – this initiative allows one to show the wider team the other functions they take on and their interests outside of work and teach us something new,” says Madina.

Genuine interactions producing out-of-the-box thinking

As the world changes by the minute, it’s not only important, but crucial, to constantly think outside the box. Madina said that the insight-driven sessions have only borne good fruit upon their implementation. Besides the fact that it allowed the team to learn about each other’s outside-of-work interests and activities, the new things learned allowed them to view and put together proposals differently. 

“We started to utilise the networks better and welcomed more outside-of-the-box ideas from the junior team, as they often have the most diverse connections,” she shared. 

Madina said that in the desire of organisations to connect teams together, initiatives would sometimes feel forced, hence, turns to be counteractive. Therefore, the key is building authentic and genuine points of interaction. 

“Forced by management team activities to bond became unnecessary, and the teams started to also hang out outside of work and on weekends together,” said Madina.

She added, “In general, productivity increased as everyone became more familiar with and keen to learn more from each other.”

Main Feature Marketing Southeast Asia

Agency Leadership Decoded: Havas Media Group Singapore’s Jacqui Lim on cultivating meaningful work experiences

For Jacqui Lim, the CEO of Havas Media Group in Singapore, there’s nothing grandiose to excellent leadership where simply the values of good ‘ol humility and service are king. She says that a large part of the organisation’s culture stems from the top, and this means that the demand for transparency and accountability is higher from this level of the firm than anybody else. 

“If we are not transparent and hold even the most senior person in the organisation accountable to upholding the core values we stand for, we won’t be able to build motivated teams who truly believe in building their career with us,” says Jacqui. 

She said that in addition to active listening and transparent communication, it’s about “Exuding the right vibes.” What does this exactly mean?

Cultivating ‘meaningful work’ experiences

For Havas Media Group in Singapore, the goal is to nurture and create meaningful experiences within the team so that in turn, they are able to manifest ‘meaning’ and ‘substance’ through the work they do – a meaningful difference. 

As an agency network whose mission is to make a meaningful difference, we continuously strive to promote a positive work environment. All the initiatives we embark on for our staff are done with the sole purpose of creating a meaningful core to all that we do.

Jacqui Lim, CEO, Havas Media Group Singapore

Of course, in order to put forth notable work that shakes audiences, the agency must set up an environment that effectively breeds this ingenuity and Jacqui says that the Singapore team does this by prioritising inclusivity – where everyone has an equal voice – at all times. 

Regardless of how junior or new they are in the industry, we are often pleasantly surprised by their perspectives and ideas if we offer them the platform to be heard.

Jacqui Lim, CEO, Havas Media Group Singapore

This step pays off in multi-folds, shares Jacqui, as they cultivate a space of empowerment and inclusivity, where everyone has an equal chance to speak up and become more engaged and involved in the organisation’s journey.

Meaningful’ internal initiatives

When Havas says they aim to do meaningful work together, they literally mean being a team and engaging in valuable activities as a group.

One of the initiatives in line with this is pro-bono work. The aim is to marry multi-talented teams and their capabilities for a good cause to be able to give back to society. Doing ‘meaningful work’ also means helping to create a sustainable future together. One such activity is called Green Nudge where teams came together to clean up the Sembawang shoreline in Singapore and collected over 150kg of trash. 

Meanwhile, another initiative was the #OneDabaoAtATime where they encouraged agency members to maximise reusable containers for packing their lunches instead of disposables.

Jacqui said that while the agency has always had various employee initiatives in the past, the pandemic has taught them that more effort is required to promote mental wellness, work-life balance, and a sense of belonging. 

The collective of our initiatives are centred around achieving these larger objectives of providing motivation and appreciation to the people as teams and as individual.

Jacqui Lim, CEO, Havas Media Group Singapore

Keeping the Havas Village happy 

Havas Media Group is known for calling their integrated teams ‘Village’, and suffice to say, the Singapore village of the group is consistently being kept happy and empowered. 

According to its HavasSay Survey which serves as a report card after all the programs and initiatives are rolled out during the year, the agency has had a +35% overall improvement in scores across various categories such as sense of belonging to the agency, fairness, and confidence in the future, amongst others. The interactions among its people, in-person and online on the agency’s social pages, also show how the initiatives have taken effect to its Villagers having a happier and more fulfilling time at work, shared Jacqui.

She says that the key will always be walking with them and not ahead of them – the virtue of servant leadership

Be authentic and a servant-leader.

Jacqui Lim, CEO, Havas Media Group Singapore

For her, to be a servant-leader is to have the mindset of growing, learning, and thriving together with the team. “Only then,” Jacqui continued, “ will there be a sense of fulfilment and purpose for all that will invariably lead to a flourishing organisation. The heart always guides the mind to achieve greatness”