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Technology Featured APAC

Twilio, Seasalt.ai extends partnership, to build multi-country contact centres

Singapore – As part of expanding their partnership in the APAC region, customer engagement platform Twilio and cloud communication AI provider Seasalt.ai released SeaX, a GTM bundle for Twilio Flex targeted at helping businesses streamline omnichannel communications.

The solution is also expected to streamline the rollout of a complete contact centre for multinational businesses that need to launch solutions in many countries or across multiple geographies and timezones like Southeast Asia, Europe, or different states in the U.S.

SeaX also includes Twilio Flex plugins that will address common contact centre requirements while keeping customization flexibility.

This also supports omnichannel messaging to webchat, SMS, Messenger, WhatsApp, Line, and Google Business Messages, amongst others. SeaX also allows integration with common CRM software such as Zendesk, Salesforce, HubSpot, and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Its customers have likewise reported time and cost savings to deploy all services to production and get agents on calls in less than 10 days.

“We’re excited about the partnership between Twilio and Seasalt.ai to bring SeaX to the market. The launch of this bundle – which leverages Twilio Flex – will empower organizations to build a programmable contact center platform that allows them to build customer engagement applications that fit their business,” said Frankco Shum, director of APJ Flex Partners at Twilio.

J Arnold & Associates’ Principal Jon Arnold also said, “Seasalt AI understands the importance of bringing together conversational AI and the multichannel contact center into the same experience. Twilio has been working with the in-house developers of businesses large and small for many years, helping them create customized customer and agent experiences.”

“SeaX is a way to quickly get Twilio Flex up and running out of the box out of the box and also allows for deep customization,” he added.

Xuchen Yao, CEO of Seasalt.ai, also commented, “The swift collaboration between Twilio and Seasalt.ai greatly accelerated customer’s contact center operations in the APJ region. Most customers wanted an operational contact center ‘yesterday’, and we delighted them with a launching date ‘next week’. This quick launch bundle is well adapted to the fast-paced business demand in APJ.” 

Twilio has also previously launched Twilio Live, a solution that allows businesses to integrate audio and video live streaming solutions into their applications.

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Marketing Featured Global

Samsung’s audio tech HARMAN taps Havas Group as global agency of record

New York, USA – Samsung-owned audio electronics company HARMAN International has appointed Havas Group to be its global agency of record across all its brands and territories. 

Under the new partnership, Havas Group will be responsible for the integrated marketing solutions across HARMAN’s businesses and brands, including the consumer lifestyle brand JBL, home audio systems brand Harman Kardon, and HARMAN’s B2B products, services, and technology solutions for automakers and enterprise customers globally.

Havas Group will be delivering a global and fully integrated solution that brings together brand strategy, creative, content, media, and production, as well as selective support in social media and influencer marketing. The team will be working across regional hubs for the Americas, Europe, and Asia, as well as through dedicated teams in key markets.

For the remit, Havas Group taps its proven integrated Village approach. The mandate especially includes bringing the JBL brand to the next level of consumer activation.

John Livanos, HARMAN’s vice president of brand strategy and consumer insights, shared that HARMAN’s marketing team is strengthening their operational model and building upon the foundational principles of insights, automation, integration, measurement, and accountability that will unlock exponential business growth. 

“Havas will be a central partner in this growth journey. We’re excited to build the solutions we need together and know that Havas is as invested in our success as we are,” said Livanos.

Meanwhile, Yannick Bollore, Havas Group’s chairman and CEO, commented. “We’re thrilled to start this new and exciting partnership with HARMAN. At Havas, we combine agility and global reach, making us a brilliant option for a growth business like HARMAN with huge ambition. It’s our collaborative spirit brought to life and a great opportunity for us to deliver meaningful growth together.”

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Marketing Featured ANZ

M&C Saatchi appointed as poultry company Baiada’s social agency

Sydney, Australia – Marketing agency M&C Saatchi has been appointed as the social agency of Baiada, a private company that produces poultry products. This will see the agency responsible for managing its brands’, Lilydale and Steggles, social activity.

The appointment by Baiada also further builds on M&C Saatchi’s social portfolio, having been appointed Woolworths’ paid social agency in July.

“We’re on a mission to accelerate brand growth. M&C Saatchi, as our lead creative agency, is well placed [on integrating] ‘social’ as part of their remit to give us a holistic creative solution,” said Yash Gandhi, Baiada’s head of marketing.

Meanwhile, Sian Cook, managing director at M&C Saatchi, commented, “Baiada are a brilliant and longstanding partner we’re proud to have created lots of great work with. So, we’re thrilled to extend that partnership and supercharge social for Steggles and Lilydale.”

Earlier this year, M&C Saatchi Sydney announced the additions to its creative team, namely Julian Lock, the new craft designer, Billie Gurr and Jake Rowland, the new junior art directors, and William Campion and Claire Kirby, the new junior copywriters.

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Technology Featured APAC

Azerion ties with Right Thing Media to offer social impact messaging within in-game advertising campaigns across APAC

Sydney, Australia – European-headquartered digital media, gaming, and entertainment company Azerion has partnered with advertising platform Right Thing Media to allow advertisers to deliver campaigns with social impact messaging inside its portfolio of in-game advertising and high-impact inventory across APAC. 

Under the partnership, Azerion and RT.M will enhance existing creative with social and environmental impact messaging and calls to action that inspire and engage audiences. They can work with any ad format, distributor, agency or media owner across web, mobile, and app campaigns. The two companies also manage the full creative and amplification process, from concept to completion: compiling post-performance data from ad distribution partners, and delivering funds to non-profit, charity, and social enterprise partners.

Moreover, the partnership enables advertisers to earmark an agreed percentage of their total campaign spend to be pledged to a nominated charity or nonprofit partner. It also produces an impact report that combines ad performance with impact insights and outlines how the campaign has made a tangible difference to society, whilst meeting the brand’s ad performance goals.

Gerson Barnett, executive director of Right Thing Media, commented, “We are thrilled to team up with Azerion in the Asia-Pacific region to drive change within the media industry and enable charities to elevate their profile. We’re all about action, and our partnership with Azerion will enable more brands to deliver effective high–social–impact campaigns to deliver a responsible media supply chain.”

Meanwhile, Georgia Woodburne, Azerion’s JAPAC managing director, said, “We have a platform that allows us to reach millions of users, serving quality creatives in environments where we already have secure heightened attention. We’re excited to be able to partner with Right Thing Media to use our platform for positive social impact, and to bring awareness to causes that really matter, for both consumers and brands.”

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SME Featured East Asia

DBS, CLP Power partner to make sustainable financing solutions accessible to SMEs in Hong Kong

Hong Kong – In line with their commitment to providing sustainable financing solutions to SMEs, consumer bank DBS in Hong Kong and investor-owned power business company CLP Power Hong Kong have partnered to help companies, regardless of their scale, transition to more sustainable business models.

Both companies have recognised the need to make sustainable financing solutions more accessible to SMEs, as sustainable financing tends to be rarer amongst SMEs, who are often constrained by the lack of resources, time, expertise, and funds. This also applies to energy audits, which often require expertise and additional funding.

To help alleviate these challenges, DBS Hong Kong and CLP Power will be offering flexible and innovative financing loan solutions to businesses. These solutions are pegged to CLP Power’s energy-saving services, which include sustainability performance targets (SPTs). SPT performance is measured with reference to the assessment methodologies under CLP Power’s present energy-saving funding schemes. 

By combining CLP Power’s comprehensive energy expertise with DBS’ extensive experience in strategic green advisory and financing, the two companies will be able to deliver comprehensive support and capital for clients, allowing them to invest in enhancing energy efficiency and expanding their businesses sustainably.

Jolynn Wong, head of business banking at DBS Bank Hong Kong, noted, “This marks DBS Hong Kong’s first SME banking package that comes with a pricing discount upon the completion of [an] energy audit with CLP Power.”

Meanwhile, Lena Low, senior director of customer success and experience of CLP Power, commented that as a trusted energy partner for business customers, CLP Power has introduced different energy management solutions such as energy audit service and offers different subsidy schemes to assist their customers to enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. 

“We are excited that these initiatives are being recognised to support the assessment of the sustainability performance for customers which we believe will further motivate our customers to save energy and help Hong Kong achieve carbon neutrality by 2050,” said Low.

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Marketing Featured ANZ

Icon Agency appointed to handle Salesforce’s Australian communications programme

Australia – Australia-based integrated communications agency Icon Agency has been appointed by cloud-based software company Salesforce to manage its Australian communications for the global CRM leader in CRM.

The move will see Salesforce joining Icon’s expanding roster of global technology brands including ADP, Schneider Electric, and Luno. 

Salesforce said that it believes that business is the greatest platform for change and is committed to doing well and doing good, making the brand a seamless addition to Icon’s purpose-driven client base.

Joanne Painter, Icon Agency’s managing director, commented that they are thrilled to work with a value-led business, dedicated to trust, customer success, innovation, equality, and sustainability, and it’s a time of tremendous change and they need more innovators and change-makers to navigate significant headwinds.

“As a trusted digital adviser, Salesforce is perfectly placed to support the evolution of businesses to a more resilient, prosperous, and sustainable future. Salesforce is an ideal fit for Icon’s brand platform, ‘For people, with purpose’. We continue to cement our expertise in the tech sector to complement our existing strengths in healthcare, education and government Purpose is not just a lofty ideal. We’re committed to work that makes the world better, enabling us to rapidly expand whilst producing award-winning work. The results are clear: purposeful work works,” said Painter.

Just recently, Icon Agency appointed Simon Hobbs to step into its newly created role of executive director of digital. He will be leading Icon’s digital department with a focus on new business development and optimising the team’s processes and systems.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

SME merchant platform yufin ties with Gigacover to bring insurance to small businesses in PH

Philippines – Global merchant platform for SME, yufin, has partnered with Singapore-based insurance provider, Gigacover, to enable Filipino small businesses on the platform to access Gigacover health insurance products tailored to their needs at the touch of a button.

Under the partnership, the small businesses will also be able to access business protection and offer customised insurance products such as family and health insurance to their customers.

The platform said that the announcement comes as it has exceeded 15,000 merchant sign-ups since launching in Davao City, in the Philippines end of May 2022.

Shubhrendu Khoche, chief strategy and product officer at yufin, said, “Small businesses are the lifeblood of Southeast Asian economies and communities but many are underserved. Our partnership with Gigacover helps us bring insurance to last-mile merchants to give them peace of mind and to help them offer their customers much-needed access to insurance protection.”

Meanwhile, Chesca Figueroa, country manager and partnerships lead at Gigacover Philippines, noted, “With this partnership, we aim to further support yufin’s efforts in financial education, planning, and protection to their respective small merchants.”

Gerald Chua, head of merchant acquiring at yufin Philippines, commented, “We are delighted and humbled by the welcome yufin has received so far from our community merchant partners. We help small businesses manage their transactions through a suite of tools, products and services that help them grow and prosper.”

Liz Servañez, head of business development and partnerships at yufin, noted, “With partnerships such as our partnership with Gigacover, much-needed financial services products, like insurance protection can also be sacheted to make them accessible and affordable for the yufin merchant network and their customers.”

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Marketing Featured South Asia

India-based air conditioning brand Hitachi names BBH India as new creative, advertising agency partner

New Delhi, India – Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning India, a manufacturer of air conditioning products under the ‘Hitachi’ brand, has appointed advertising agency BBH India to be its new creative strategy and advertising agency partner. 

As part of the remit with BBH India, Hitachi aims to create high-decibel brand awareness and strengthen its brand leadership amongst the ‘New Informed World’ consumer.

BBH India won the business as part of a contested multi-agency pitch and will manage full-service responsibilities for strategic creative design and advertising. Moreover, the agency will also now spearhead the development of both consumer-focused and business-driven marketing campaigns for Hitachi’s HVAC and refrigeration solutions.

Nilesh Shah, senior vice president of business planning and marketing at Hitachi, shared that they wanted a strategic creative partner to help them strengthen their positioning as an Aspirational Premium brand by bringing in a fresh perspective to their brand proposition. 

“We look forward to this creative partnership with BBH and further building on our track record of memorable, creative campaigns across the target audience,” said Shah.

Meanwhile, Dheeraj Sinha, CEO of Leo Burnett South Asia and chairman of BBH India, commented that as a team, they are very proud and humbled to be chosen as a creative partner of India’s most aspirational and premium air conditioning brand. 

“We have a big task in front of us, as the brand is known for its stunning consumer campaigns and has consistently rolled out great pieces of creative work over the years. We are excited to co-create the next chapter of the brand story and level up the brand salience,” said Sinha.

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Platforms Featured South Asia

India-based digital platform Global Music Junction is now Amara Muzik’s exclusive short video distribution partner

Pune, India – Global Music Junction, a digital entertainment platform under digital entertainment and technology company JetSynthesys, has signed an exclusive short video licensing deal with regional music player Amara Muzik to strengthen its position in the Odia market. 

Through the partnership, Global Music Junction will now become the exclusive short video distribution partner for Amara Muzik’s content and expand to markets such as Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Northeast, and Nepal territories. Additionally, Global Music Junction is poised to leverage its market leadership in Bhojpuri music to further the growth of Odia music in the country.

Rajan Navani, founder and CEO of JetSynthesys, said, “Global Music Junction was always aimed at taking music to places and we now plan to take Odia music to a larger audience. We are thrilled to associate with Amara Muzik as their exclusive short video distribution partner and accelerate not only Global Music Junction’s but also Odia music industry’s reach in the country.”

Meanwhile, Rajkumar Singh, CEO of Global Music Junction, shared that after making a strong presence in the Bhojpuri market these years, they now plan to tap the Odia audience, and they are happy that they made it possible by collaborating with Amara Muzik. 

“With their presence in the industry that is backed by their owned content and strong production presence, this is a logical next step of growth. We are excited to see the growth this development leads us to,” said Singh.

Naveen Bhandari, managing director at Amara Muzik, commented that they are thrilled to collaborate with JetSynthesys and Global Music Junction through this exclusive deal, as short videos play a vital role in the promotion of regional content. 

“With Amara Muzik’s deep roots in Odia, Bengali, Chattisgarhi and Gujarati markets, and GMJ’s presence therein, we believe this partnership will enable us to have a wider reach and hence tap a larger set of audience. It will not only help us with extensive reach but will also give the Odia music industry a national platform. We’re looking forward to taking this long-term partnership ahead,” said Bhandari.

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Marketing Featured South Asia

ASCI, K&S Partners tie up to spotlight unfair trademarks practices used by brands

Mumbai, India – The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) and intellectual property (IP) boutique K&S Partners, have joined hands to release a whitepaper titled ‘Misleading Advertisements and Trademarks – A Registration Conundrum’, which identifies the practice and instances of brands making misleading claims and representations through the use of trademarks.

Brands and advertisers often cite trademark registrations as a defence, these words or phrases mislead consumers. With this paper, ASCI and K&S Partners argue that such a defence is not valid, as making misleading representations violates the ASCI code, the Consumer Protection Act, and the Trade Marks Act itself. 

Moreover, the paper calls for greater scrutiny and restraint in permitting descriptive trademarks to brands, and to ensure that such trademarks are not a false representation of the product.

“At ASCI we see cases where the advertiser uses a trademark registration to defend their direct or implied claims, asserting that a trademark registration means that the claim is good in law. This is not true, and we would ask brands to be cautious in using untrue, exaggerated or misleading phrases to describe their products, whether trademarks or not,” said Manisha Kapoor, CEO and secretary general at ASCI.

Meanwhile, Prashant Gupta, partner at K&S Partners, shared that the issue concerning false, unsubstantiated, and dishonest advertisements, under the guise of descriptive or laudatory trademarks, is grave. 

“Protecting consumers from deception is one of the principal tenets of the ASCI Code, the Trade Marks Act, and the Consumer Protection Act. The Trademark Office needs to raise the threshold for descriptive or laudatory trademarks, failing which, protecting consumers’ rights from fraudulent marks and making informed choices would be severely compromised,” said Gupta.