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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

JOLT Digital snares TPG Telecom account

Singapore – After six months of courting, JOLT Digital has successfully been appointed by Singapore telecommunications company, TPG Telecom as its digital media agency. 

The agency will be responsible for the planning and buying duties of the telecom across digital. The partnership, which is inked for the year 2021, will be led by its Strategy & Planning Director Jonathan Ng.   

“We relish the opportunity to partner with TPG Mobile, Singapore’s fourth telco, to establish their brand in Singapore as they deliver a compelling product offering while championing charity causes in the process! Their latest one is for ‘Causes for Animals’, and is a fun, crowd-sourced campaign across social platforms that really drives home their identity as a brand,” Ng said. 

JOLT Digital has initially crafted a campaign for the telecom, which goes in line with its existing ‘50GB for $10’ mobile plan

JOLT Digital started working with the telecom in December 2020 and has already crafted campaigns for its senior digital plan and the latest charity cause for animals targeted at the younger audience. 

Coinciding with its existing ‘50GB for $10’ mobile plan offering, the campaign is in partnership with animal welfare charity, Causes for Animals in Singapore, urging users to participate in an Instagram challenge where each post corresponds to a $10 donation towards the charity. 

JOLT Digital shared to MARKETECH APAC that during the pitching process, it proposed an approach based on its mission, which is to bridge the gap between traditional media agencies and emerging technology – a strategy it believes can help TPG Telecom stay ahead of the game to increase ROI and grow its business.

Sebastien Lepez, founder, and CEO of JOLT Digital, said, “We are very happy to work with clients like TPG that are a big name in their industry and have the potential to grow to a leading position like JOLT has as well.” 

At the helm of a digital agency, Lepez also shared his insights into today’s changing digital landscape. 

“First of all, it is important to put back the consumer in the center of the question. We need to realize that before impacting brands, the pandemic has impacted consumers massively and this resulted in changes on the brand side,” he said. 

“We have seen digital consumption by consumers increasing during the pandemic and not only for the usual crowd but also for groups that were less present there, like senior groups. The pandemic has accelerated the consumption of digital and subsequently brands that are agile and nimble, like TPG [which] have followed and strengthened their presence online to respond to this big digital thirst by consumers,” he continued. 

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

The Mango Agency Singapore becomes Upcycle Communications

Singapore – Following a management buyout, the Singapore arm of global marketing agency, The Mango Agency, has rebranded to Upcycle Communications.

Before the change, The Mango Agency, following its global branding, speaks of itself as an international lifestyle and travel communications agency; a specialist in shaping brands in the lifestyle and travel industry. This time, it says the new Upcycle Communications is an independent agency that “effects change for the better through transformational communications.” 

Managing Director Jennifer Dembitz and Director Andrea Seifert are partners in the business. The full team has been retained throughout 2020 and during the transition to Upcycle.

The full team at The Mango Agency has been retained through the transition to Upcycle.

The agency’s client roster consists of heritage brands as well as growing startups, including names in F&B and plant-based protein alternatives, sustainability brands, and internationally renowned names in hospitality and tourism. Current clients include Trip.com, Green Monday, Eat JUST, Häagen-Dazs, and Visit Monaco, among others.

The agency’s service offering includes media relations, social media strategy, and content creation, as well as partnership marketing, brand development, thought leadership, copywriting, events, and internal communications.

Dembitz said, “Upcycling is the process of creatively transforming existing materials into something of greater value. Throughout 2020, countless individuals and businesses around the world pivoted to develop creative new business solutions. As we diversified our own practice towards communicating purpose and mission, we were inspired by the ethos of upcycling.

“Regardless of sector, we tailor communications solutions directly to business needs, providing meaningful, smartly crafted strategies that make an impact and create value,” added Dembitz.

Seifert commented, “Our international team leverages both a global mindset and strong local experience, which allows us to think big picture yet suggest achievable, creative ideas that are relevant locally and regionally in the post-Covid climate.”

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

FWD Singapore picks Grey as lead agency

Singapore – After a four-month-long pitching process, Grey’s Singapore arm Grey Group Singapore (Grey) has won the appointment of insurance company FWD Singapore as its lead agency, battling out 18 other agencies.

The deal is inked to span 12 months, with the option to extend for another year, and charges Grey with the management of all of FWD Singapore’s integrated and creative campaigns. The partnership will also see Grey offering its strategic counsel and advice on brand strategy to the company.

FWD Singapore is part of FWD group which spans Asia such as in Hong Kong & Macau, countries Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, offering life and medical insurance, as well as general insurance, and employee benefits.

Grey Group Singapore’s CEO Konstantin Popovic

Taking over the mantle from incumbent DDB Asia Pacific, Grey Group Singapore’s CEO Konstantin Popovic said, “We are absolutely thrilled and honored to become part of FWD’s next growth phase. The brand’s pioneering spirit and ongoing commitment to innovation present tremendous creative opportunities.”

“Coinciding with how this category could transform for the better in an ever-changing, fast-paced world, we can’t wait to create famously effective campaigns together,” added Popovic.

Just recently, Grey has launched a new division, Grey Commerce Collective SEA, which saw the consolidation of Grey Singapore’s Shopper marketing arm to the collective.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

E-commerce enabler Shopmatic to expand SEA presence

Singapore – Singapore-based e-commerce enabler Shopmatic has revealed that it is eyeing further expansion in Southeast Asia. 

Shopmatic, which offers various solutions for SMEs to establish their online store, is currently serving SEA markets Singapore and Malaysia, with a presence in Hong Kong, and India. 

In the nine months into 2020, the company has reported a revenue of over S$7M, between the period of April to December, exceeding its targets by 40%.

According to a press release, Shopmatic has witnessed great demand from customers in its markets, a testament to the digital wave which has been accelerated due to the effects of COVID-19. This led the company to introduce new solutions in response.

In April 2020, Shopmatic focused its efforts on providing managed solutions through one of its locally acquired companies, multichannel e-commerce solution CombineSell, in an aim to help move Singapore SMEs online by providing them an opportunity to outsource their digital team. A month after, Shopmatic launched a special solution for grocery or ‘kirana’ stores to go online and found great adoption from businesses across India and Singapore.

Speaking on what 2021 holds for Shopmatic, Co-founder and CEO Anurag Avula, said, “We are very happy that we were able to close 2020 on a hugely positive note and are now able to step into 2021 with even more aggressive plans to digitize local businesses and entrepreneurs in Singapore, India, Malaysia & Hong Kong.” 

Avula added, “We continue to make significant investments behind key resources to be able to drive our organization to the next level and expand footprint into new markets in South East Asia. At Shopmatic, our focus is to build a sustainable & profitable business and we are delighted that we’ve been able to reach this significant milestone a year ahead of plan.”

The company revealed that it is in advanced discussions with several investors for a Series B fund raise. Just very recently, Shopmatic has launched a whole new range of solutions allowing SMEs to choose from four different ways to run e-commerce via Shopmatic Chat, Shopmatic Social, Shopmatic Webstore, and Shopmatic Marketplaces.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Philippines’ pizza chain Shakey’s to open first branch in Singapore

Manila, Philippines – Shakey’s Pizza Asia Ventures Inc., the company behind the Filipino arm of Shakey’s, revealed on Tuesday that it is set to open its first branch in neighboring Southeast Asia country, Singapore. 

The franchising agreement is inked as a seven-year deal with Singapore’s Brenrich Pte. Ltd, allowing it to make inroads in the newly acquired market. 

“We are thrilled to restart our international franchise journey in Singapore, which is at the forefront of global recovery, and we are fortunate to have Brenrich as our [franchise] partner in the Lion City, given their rich experience in the restaurant industry,” said Vicente Gregorio, president, and CEO of Shakey’s.

The new branch will be located in Lucky Plaza mall, along iconic Orchard Road, and is set to open late in the second quarter or early in the third quarter of 2021.

Lucky Plaza mall in Singapore.

According to SGP Business, Singapore-based Brenrich’s principal activity is food courts, coffee shops, and eating houses. Brenrich director Wong Ban Ming said he was “very happy and excited to bring Shakey’s to Singapore.”

Wong, who is also a franchisee of Filipino restaurant brand Tapa King in Singapore, said, “We are certain that many locals, and especially the overseas Filipinos miss Shakey’s, and this will bring back a sense of nostalgia.”

The new branch will be offering Shakey’s complete menu including its thin-crust pizzas and iconic chicken and mojos, although some items will be tweaked to comply with halal standards in consideration of Singapore’s large Muslim population.

In the second half of 2020, Shakey’s has subsequently announced new products and new business movements. In August, the restaurant has similarly partnered with Singapore-based R&B, to bring the milk tea brand to the Philippines. Meanwhile, in the latter part of the year, Shakey’s launched a ‘Plant-based’ burger, which is a first-ever by a restaurant chain in the country. 

Gregorio said, “While the Covid-19 pandemic is presenting challenges to food companies like Shakey’s, it is also serving as an impetus to turn a crisis into an opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Jose Arnold Alvero, Shakey’s vice President for international operations and franchising, said, “The primary target market initially will be Filipinos living in the city-state. But the Lucky Plaza outlet is also seen to attract Singaporeans, as it is located along a busy business district.”

He added, “We have no doubt that Singapore’s discerning guests will be wow-ed with what Shakey’s [will bring] to the table in terms of building the brand, people, and the store.”

Shakey’s currently has three stores outside the Philippines in Dubai. It has a total of 242 branches located around the Philippines.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

SG multi-currency mobile wallet YouTrip inks partnership with Visa

Singapore – YouTrip, Singapore’s multi-currency mobile wallet has forged a partnership with Visa, to accelerate its expansion to the rest of Southeast Asia, starting with Malaysia and the Philippines. 

Currently operating in Singapore and Thailand, the partnership comes a year after YouTrip’s first regional expansion to Thailand in partnership with Kasikornbank, one of Thailand’s largest banks. 

YouTrip believes the new partnership presents an opportunity to solve a unique pain point for Southeast Asian travelers, with regional travel poised to be the first step towards international travel recovery. 

“Unlike regional travel in other parts of the world such as Europe or the United States of America, traveling within Southeast Asia requires multi-currency spending. Coupled with the year-long pent up demand for travel and cross-border payment, this puts YouTrip in good stead for further expansion,” said the company in a press statement.  

It added, “Leveraging on Visa’s global network of 70 million merchant locations worldwide, YouTrip aims to enable Southeast Asia travelers with access to cross border payment solutions such as wholesale exchange rates and no foreign currency transaction fees in over 150 currencies.” 

YouTrip looks to Malaysia and the Philippines as the next potential markets in the next six to 12 months, where the company, referring to a PwC report, said both countries are two of the fastest-growing Southeast Asian countries in mobile payment adoption. 

Caecilia Chu, co-founder, and CEO of YouTrip shared, “Our partnership with Visa will enable our continued growth to drive the next generation of payment innovation of cross border payments. We are incredibly excited for the opportunities ahead to serve millions of consumers in Southeast Asia and empower them with the solutions they deserve.”

Kelvin Lam, regional general Manager of YouTrip, added, “In a short span of two years, we have established YouTrip as a leading multi-currency wallet in both Singapore and Thailand. With our strong foundation, we look forward to combining our market-winning expertise along with Visa’s payment innovations to the rest of Southeast Asia, starting with Malaysia and Philippines,” 

Meanwhile, Visa’s Head of Digital Partnerships for Asia Pacific Matt Wood commented, “We are excited to work with YouTrip across Southeast Asia to provide consumers and businesses with a multi-currency payment solution that is ideal for international eCommerce and cross-border travel. Together, we look forward to bringing faster, safer, and more convenient digital payments to people across the region.”

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Main Feature Platforms Southeast Asia

Singapore financial content platform GoBear says goodbye after 5 years in operation

Singapore – A sad news surprised many on Tuesday – GoBear, financial services and data platform in Asia, has decided to cease operations, breaking the announcement on a LinkedIn post

GoBear, which started its operations in 2015, revealed on the post that the pandemic has created a challenging operating environment, where despite the company’s best efforts, is unable to raise more funding. 

“It’s with a heavy heart that today we’re sharing that GoBear will be ceasing operations and begin the process of closing the business,” wrote the company. 

It further said, “It’s been quite a ride with the opening of new markets, launching new products, and building our financial services and data platform one step at a time.”

GoBear as a financial services platform assists users in their financial decision-making through comparison guides of different financial products such as credit cards, home loans, travel insurance, and home insurance. It also offers definitive guides on working around bank accounts, personal loans, and credit cards, among others. 

“Our purpose is to improve your financial health so that, together, we can build secure, stable, and sustainable communities. And we’re going to do that by making financial literacy, financial inclusion, and financial security attainable for everyone!” it says on its bio. 

As of current, the platform has presence in seven markets. Having founded in 2014 in its headquarters Singapore, the platform launched in the Lion City and Thailand in 2015. The year after, GoBear expanded to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam, and finally launching in Indonesia in 2018. 

“We had amazing employees, partners, vendors, and fans along the way that made our accomplishments possible,” concluded the company in the post. 

“Thank you to everybody who believed in us and has been part of our journey,” it said. 

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Tribecar launches ‘Super Economy’ car rental

Singapore – As Singapore moves to phase three of reopening its community amid the pandemic, local car-sharing platform Tribecar has launched a ‘Super Economy’ rental for its cars starting at SGD$0.54 per hour.

The pricing package is a new addition to its slew of ‘Economy’ rentals, where the starting rate applies to rentals within ‘super off-peak’ hours, which are weekdays from 12 am to 6 am. In addition, in an aim to provide more value, the rental service has also extended its ‘off-peak’ hours to now cover weekday rentals from 6 am to 6 pm.

Each Tribecar’s service type corresponds to an available fleet for rental. For the ‘Super Economy’ package, only selected automatic vehicle models are available.

Together with the launch of the new service, Tribecar has also announced the adoption of the usage-based car insurance (UBI) by insurance company NTUC Income (Income) and automotive marketplace CARRO where motor insurance is no longer based on a fixed cost but tied to the vehicle’s smart data such as mileage, location and, timing consumption.

In November 2019, the two firms launched the first-ever car insurance model, dubbing it as ‘Pay-as-you-drive’ insurance. 

The joint initiative developed a usage-based motor Insurtech platform, combining telematics, insurance, and data analytics, designed to enable car rental firms in Singapore to mass adopt usage-based programs effectively. Tribecar said the new ‘Super Economy’ category has been made possible through its adoption of the model. 

“We’re very pleased to roll out this program with the aid of Income and CARRO. This adoption of UBI for our cars simply means transparency, lower prices, and tremendous savings for our members,” said Adrian Lee, co-founder of Tribecar.

Meanwhile, Max Tiong, head of digital transformation at Income, commented, “It is very encouraging to see the growing interest in new insurance models like usage-based insurance within the motoring community, which is testimony to the value it brings to drivers – customization and convenience.”

Founder and CEO of CARRO Aaron Tan also commented, “With a usage-based model that allows them to pay insurance based only [on] how much they drive, Tribecar’s customers can now enjoy a new level of flexibility with rental cars. With Income’s support in driving this transformation, we hope this partnership will help catalyze further efforts to use technology to meet the practical needs of today’s drivers.”

Lee revealed that Tribecar is experimenting with new ways to deliver greater value for its members, sharing that it is in talks with authorized car distributors in Singapore to roll out ‘Drive before you buy’ schemes for members that may be keen to buy a new car.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Newly launched news platform to highlight ties between Singapore, China

Guangzhou, China – Nanfang Media Group and Singapore Press Holdings’ Chinese Media Group (CMG) jointly launched a webpage named ‘Explore GBA’ on zaobao.com, a news website in Southeast Asia.

The webpage aims to bring together the enterprises and individuals that contributed to connections between Singapore and China’s megalopolis Greater Bay Area (GBA). It will focus on individual stories that showcase the latest and diverse possibilities for partnership between GBA and Southeast Asian countries.

In general, the two partnering organizations, being one of the biggest media groups in both Guangdong and Singapore, will make use of their resources on the platform to bring insights into China’s highly-anticipated economic plan, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao GBA, and provide information on the Area’s advantageous policies, industrial and economic development, culture and people’s livelihood.

‘Explore GBA’ is a step forward for the partnership between Nanfang Media Group and CMG. Since 2018, the two media groups have been working to facilitate communication and information exchanges between Singapore and Guangdong, one of the most rapidly-developing provinces in China.

In line with the new platform, an online seminar on the topic of digital economy is scheduled for early 2021, where more details are to be shared on ‘Explore GBA’ according to a press release.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Cashless, unmanned: you literally only need to pick out your desired items and go at this SG store

Singapore – With the meteoric rise in technology, it isn’t new anymore to hear of innovations from time to time – from robots to never-thought-of digital services, from the next rocking software to just about any tech that aims to automate and digitize every point of human activity. 

In the often dubbed ‘technological hub’ Singapore, homegrown supermarket operator NTUC Fairprice has launched a new branch under its cashless and zero-staff format for food mart brand Cheers, which is turning the ‘convenience’ business on its head. 

In the new Cheers store, a sign is displayed reading “no queues. no checkout. just walk out.”

The new branch is the fourth Cheers store to be opened of the type, where the first one was launched in 2017 at Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore.

Having partnered with Visa, customers going to the store only need to pick out the items they wish to purchase and are good to go. Cheers uses an advanced A.I. system that is smart enough to detect the items that have been grabbed by customers, where payment will automatically be processed upon their exit. 

Cheers is a 24-hour convenience store with over 160 branches in Singapore. The new location is built in the integrated lifestyle hub Our Tampines Hub. Following the pilot cashless and unmanned branch at Nanyang Polytechnic, the two other tech-driven stores were put up at National University of Singapore.

NTUC FairPrice continues to embrace innovation and develop new service concepts to enhance the shopping experience for customers. We complement the efforts at promoting a self-service culture in Singapore through our unmanned store concepts along other initiatives that facilitate efficient service delivery. By collaborating with our strategic partner Visa, we are able to leverage on our respective strengths and experience to further propel the retail industry forward.

Seah Kian Peng, Group CEO, FairPrice Group

According to a Facebook post by NTUC FairPrice, to enter the store, customers need to download the Cheers SG mobile app, and add their Visa card details as their payment mode. At the gantry after the entrance, customers need to scan the on-screen unique QR code or they can use facial recognition which customers can register in the app. Purchases are automatically added to the virtual shopping cart, and charged to the Visa card upon exit.

This is the first time that Visa is partnering with our retail merchant partner to create this concept of kind in Southeast Asia, and we want to help our merchants power the future of retail and create innovative retail experiences so that consumers and businesses can pay and be paid effortlessly.

Kunal Chatterjee, Visa Country Manager, Singapore and Brunei

In 2014, Singapore announced its national Smart Nation initiative which aims to harness technological advancements to build Singapore’s status as an outstanding place of living. NTUC FairPrice said its efforts are in support of the said direction.