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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

ShopBack secures new funding to deepen its presence across APAC

Singapore – ShopBack, a Singapore-based shopping and rewards platform, has announced that it has raised US$80 million of new capital in a funding round led by Asia Partners. The funds will will be used to support the Group’s vision to build the shopping and rewards platform across the Asia-Pacific region. Existing investor January Capital also participated in the round.

In addition, the capital will be invested into developing new and innovative products for users and merchant partners, deepening its presence across the Asia Pacific, and building capabilities for public market readiness.

Henry Chan, co-founder and CEO of ShopBack Group, shared, “We want to help our users to shop and save smarter, particularly in this inflationary economy with recession looming on the horizon. Each day, we send more than one million shopping journeys to over 10,000 partner merchants, where consumers can discover deals, compare products, get rewarded and pay for their purchases.” 

“To merchants, we remain a trusted partner, delivering cost-effective marketing solutions to support their growth aspirations,” Chan added.

The announcement comes on the heels of the launch of ShopBack Pay, where over two million users in Singapore and Australia can now check out conveniently with ShopBack Pay at more than 3,000 merchant outlets. Last December, ShopBack acquired hoolah, a “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) player in Southeast Asia, as part of its foray into financial services.

Meanwhile, Nick Nash, managing partner at Asia Partners, commented, “We are thrilled to be partnering with Henry, Joel, and the ShopBack team to accelerate the growth of one of Asia’s leading internet companies. ShopBack personifies the ideal of a compelling and practical consumer value proposition, being one of the most effective ways for brands to delight their customers and at the same time quantify the value of their marketing budget.”

”This is the perfect time to back winners, to consolidate their position, and gain share,” Nash adds.

ShopBack also recently strengthened its management bench to spearhead its growth efforts, bringing on board Chief Technology Officer San Oo from communications giant Slack Technologies; and Managing Director for Financial Services Hamish Moline, formerly Chief Commercial Officer of ASX-listed Zip Co Limited.

Chan further said, “The journey ahead with Nick, Oliver and Brook to build an enduring and independent company is going to be a tremendously exciting one. I feel privileged to be able to leverage their experiences as astute operators and world-class investors to shape a stronger ShopBack,” said Chan.

This new funding brings the total capital raised by ShopBack to over US$230M. 

Categories
Main Feature Marketing APAC

Top Stories for April: New payment feature in SG nabs top spot

This April, we have a new payments feature, a fresh creative leadership as well as an empowering campaign on gender inclusivity coming out as our top stories.

For the first time, a story from New Zealand enters the list – a web code developed by a telco and shared through a moving creative campaign. 

A rewards and discovery platform in Singapore has also launched a new payment feature that offers something new through its fresh payment process. 

Meanwhile, the Indian arm of a global communications network has named a new creative leader.

Top 3: Spark to make the internet more inclusive with launch of web code campaign

Spark releases new web code to urge all websites to ‘see all genders’

To kick off this month’s Top Stories is a unique proposition to ‘see all genders’ online: a web code released by New Zealand telco Spark, with creative campaign done by Colenso BBDO. 

With our society being more open and inclusive, there is stronger call for every part of our daily lives to align with this inclusivity. One of those areas is the gender selection on forms online, where traditionally, they are fixated on the choices of male and female. 

Speaking about the campaign, Frith Wilson-Hughes, brand lead partner at Spark New Zealand, said that their campaign direction has been inspired by their company’s motive to use data in a much more healthy way, which will benefit New Zealanders in general, including promoting diversity and inclusion.

“It does seem to be like a simple thing, but one of the things that we have made clear on our [campaign] site is that it’s not just about changing the code, it’s about looking at how you treat people with different genders holistically,” she said.

She also noted that their campaign site featured resources that companies and organisations can use to integrate the code into their website. This is aimed at educating them on the importance of diversity and inclusion and not overwhelming them.

Top 2: dentsu India names new creative leaders for Isobar and Taproot Dentsu

Dentsu India unveils two new appointments in creative leadership

Coming out on our top stories is the fresh appointment of Aalap Desai and Titus Upputuru as its new chief creative officer and national creative director respectively for Taproot Dentsu. Desai, who will carry the role for both Taproot Dentsu and Isobar, sat down with MARKETECH APAC and shared what he thinks has been the biggest change in brands over the pandemic. 

Without a doubt, Desai said it’s them going digital. 

“In the past 2 years, I think COVID has expedited the interaction element in every brand. Because everyone is at home, we had to shift to digital, and that’s the biggest change in the brand narrative that I’ve seen,” said Desai. 

He shared that the good thing is, over at dentsu, ‘digital’ has been an ongoing conversation. Brands are now more open to exploring, however, Desai points that their understanding can be limited. 

“We’ve also started upselling things, and brands have also started buying them. For example, [something] like a legacy Indian brand getting into a metaverse conversation,” he shared. 

Top 1: ShopBack launches new ShopBack Pay

ShopBack unveils new payment feature in Singapore

Landing on the Top 1 is the recent launch of ShopBack’s cashless payment feature Shopback Pay, which at its core, eliminates the process of topping up funds, instead enables to directly pay in the ShopBack app with only the linked payment method.

In an interview with Julian Foo, head of payments at ShopBack, he shared that the main idea behind Shopback Pay is primarily overcoming the adversities that consumers and merchants faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I think in terms of what we saw, in our user base and surveys, it was that consumers actually had quite a fair bit of cashback, right, in the shop bank account. On average, we see about like, $200 worth of cash in every customer’s account, which is actually not doing anything at this point in time. So then we ask ourselves, hey, what can we do to help the users actually use their cashback? And for us, it was quite simple. What if we developed a payment method that allowed users to burn the cashback that they had earned online,” Foo said.

He added, “With this product innovation, I think it really allowed users to see an additional use case of earning cashback on shopping, where they can now use their cashback to burn at the merchants.”

Foo also shared that their primary goal has always been making the consumer experience convenient and rewarding.

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

Rankings are based on Google Analytics from the period of 16 March to 15 April.

Categories
Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

ShopBack unveils new payment feature in Singapore

Singapore – Singapore-based shopping and rewards platform ShopBack, has launched ShopBack Pay, a cashless payment feature to make payments more convenient and rewarding for consumers.

In a single app, consumers can now pay it their way by linking their favourite payment methods and making their in-store purchases easily, as well as stack additional cashback on top of rewards from their preferred payment method.

The new feature excludes the need for users to top up funds on ShopBack Pay, instead allowing them to simply link their preferred payment method (Mastercard, Visa, or GrabPay) available on the ShopBack app, and in-store payments will be directly debited from the linked payment method in real-time.

On top of the cashback offered by ShopBack Pay merchants, users will also receive rewards from their preferred payment methods, such as credit card benefits and the ability to earn GrabRewards points. ShopBack Pay’s QR scan and pay feature, which is available on its app, will allow users to make payments at physical stores as well. 

Julian Foo, head of payments at ShopBack, shared, “Our goal at ShopBack has always been to add value to and shape one’s shopping experience with ShopBack Pay, right from the start when users easily discover merchants on the app to making their payments with cashback as a loyalty scheme.” 

Kanika Maheshwari, head of consumer segment at Grab Financial Group Singapore, commented, “We want to provide the most rewarding and convenient payment experience to our GrabPay users by enabling the widest range of online and offline payment methods, as well as helping them maximise the value out of every dollar they spend. Through this collaboration, GrabPay users can not only earn GrabRewards points from their transactions, but also gain additional cashback incentives via ShopBack Pay.”

The ShopBack Pay feature, which has onboarded over 3,000 merchants since its pilot launch on January 17, will be available to ShopBack’s 2 million users. In addition, ShopBack has partnered Grab to drive the use of GrabPay on ShopBack Pay so users can maximise the cashback benefits and rewards from both platforms. 

Furthermore, ShopBack Pay users will receive a $2 incentive reward on their first ShopBack Pay transaction linked to GrabPay from March 8 until May 31, 2022. During the same time period, first-time ShopBack Pay members will receive 100% cashback on their first transaction, with a $5 minimum expenditure and a $5 maximum cashback. Existing ShopBack users are also eligible for this offer.

Categories
Technology Featured APAC

Ex-Shopback marketing head Imran Mohamad joins Aimazing as head of marketing

Singapore – Local-based retail technology company Aimazing has announced the appointment of former Shopback’s head of marketing Imran Mohamad as its new head of marketing, where he will be responsible for overseeing the overall brand and marketing objectives of the group, including shaping the brand’s positioning and market strategy.

Mohamad brings in more than nine years of marketing experience in marketing strategy and general management. During his time at Shopback, he was responsible for customer acquisition and revenue maximization for the platform. Furthermore, he also served as a director at the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI) which represents more than 900 business members, as well as overseeing an Enterprise Singapore-supported incubation program, Protege Kita.

For Jun Ting, chief executive officer at Aimazing, Mohamad brings into the company a perfect mix of organizational leadership, marketing experience and digital expertise that they are looking for to significantly increase the effectiveness of their communication efforts, partnerships and channels.

He added that Mohamad’s appointment comes at a time when the company is ready to scale their solutions into multiple markets in the world, entering as the best player in the market for malls to understand all real-time sales data happening every day.

“Our ability to communicate our unique value proposition to leading and boutique retail mall managers, and co-create the ultimate retail experience with partners, while building long-term and strong relationships will be key to anchor the company as the leading real-time retail sales data analytics player. Imran has the right experience and capabilities to lead the work on the marketing-front,” Ting stated.

Speaking about his appointment, Mohamad commented that joining the company at this time is an incredibly exciting one as Aimazing is changing the game in retail with a patented solution that will transform how data within shopping malls is acquired, unified, and analyzed to create a trifecta of wins – for the consumers, for the malls, and for the retail merchants.

“With our most recent project successes and progress with leading market players and cities around the world, it’s exciting to grow the team and projects to truly be the ‘Google Analytics’ of physical and omnichannel retail. I am delighted to be able to take this success story forward and we are already planning various digital and communication strategies for the coming year,” said Mohamad.

Categories
Main Feature Marketing APAC

November’s Top 5: Stories that hooked you for the month

Holidays are truly around the corner and Christmas-related news has already peeped in to make its way to the top stories, where a global household production name warms hearts with its latest Christmas ad.

Another year-end special also entered the list for the month, with a rewards platform in Singapore announcing a new face for its brand on the 11.11 sale event. 

Stories from marketing tech platforms also turned heads, where two – a global and an Asia-focused firm – announced recent expansions.

Meanwhile, marketing leaders never fail to entice readers, with a feature on a digital head from a leading integrated marketing communications agency in the Philippines making it to the top 5. 

Based on Google Analytics from 16 October to 15 November, these are the top newsmakers for the month.

Top 5: Disney UK’s global Christmas ad puts Filipino family culture in the spotlight

Disney in the UK has released its latest Christmas ad titled “From our family to yours,” and to much of Filipinos’ surprise, the production studios decided to forefront the Philippines’ family culture and Christmas traditions. 

The ad is about a “lola” or grandmother who misses spending time with her granddaughter who has grown mature and has less time for the family. In the video, Lola and her granddaughter bond over making a “parol” or the colorful Christmas lantern in the Philippines. 

Disney UK said the ad is also part of its celebration of the 40th partnership anniversary with children charity foundation Make A Wish, where a portion of the sales from the digital purchase of the video’s official soundtrack “Love Is A Compass” and a limited edition vintage Mickey Mouse soft doll is donated to the foundation.

Both Filipino and international viewers loved the ad, where the video has currently garnered 2.7 million views on YouTube.

Top 4: ShopBack Singapore taps local comic veteran as first ambassador

The headquarters of rewards and discovery platform ShopBack has announced its very first brand ambassador – comedy veteran Kumar.

Kumar is an Indian Singaporean comedian, television host, and drag queen, who made his name performing in the now-defunct cabaret nightclub Boom Boom Room during the late 1990s.

The partnership between ShopBack and Kumar is set to run for a year, which already began in the 11.11 sale event of the platform, and slated to continue through the year-end and next year.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, ShopBack Singapore’s Head of Marketing Imran Mohamad shared what makes Kumar perfect for the brand. 

“We believe that Kumar has the same values as us, he’s all about love, authenticity, [and] inclusivity, and we tend to speak the same language,” he said.

He added, “Together with Kumar, we believe that sky’s the limit, that we could really reach out to Singaporeans young and old, to tell them, you are not left behind, and you can shop smarter, [save] more, [earn] more with ShopBack.” 

Top 3: Executive Director of MullenLowe Treyna’s digital arm on #MARKETECHMondays

Last October, Raffy Bariso, the executive director of Philippine integrated marketing agency MullenLowe Treyna graced the #MARKETECHMondays interview, where he shared some meaningful advice about leadership and his insights on the digital landscape in the pandemic. 

As cliche as it may sound during this time, Raffy said “the pandemic is the biggest disruptor.”

“There’s so much innovation to do, and needed during the pandemic crisis, and I can just imagine how everything sped up in terms of the velocity when the pandemic hit us. I’m already doing a lot in terms of digital marketing, [but] imagine, all of my brands pivoting double time for this season,” he shared. 

As heads of digital arm TAPS or MullenLowe Treyna’s Technology and Platform Services, Raffy spearheads services which is mainly the use of creative technology to answer clients’ marketing challenges, coming up with products that leverage the firm’s expertise in strategic narrative, content and media, PR, activations, and production.

As a leader, he believes in the power of “vision.”

“I had to set [a] vision for my team. [This] sets the tone and direction for everybody, and [from them], I have to sell that vision, [so that] I can build that trust, and they can get behind my goals,” he said.

Top 2: Global experience analytics platform Contentsquare expands to APAC

International-wide experience analytics company Contentsquare has recently announced its APAC expansion; and with new offices in Singapore, Tokyo, Melbourne, and Sydney, it has unveiled two key executives at the helm. 

Former senior head at Microsoft David Bochsler has been appointed as regional managing director for APAC, while former head of CRM Marketing for food delivery platform Deliveroo Frazer Adnam is tapped as country manager for ANZ.

Contentsquare’s platform captures every in-page interaction and micro-gesture to understand and analyze customer behavior. It provides teams a digital experience stack that supports the full cycle of digital improvement with available scores, visualizations, and recommendations. 

Sharing his insight on the state of user experience (UX), David said, “Increasingly, we are seeing a shift to brands wanting to deliver not just more sales, but a better online experience for their visitors, which in many cases is the only experience that the customer has with that brand. So UX is at the top of the priority list in 2020.” 

Meanwhile, new ANZ country manager Frazer said that what he likes about Contentsquare is its ability to locate revenue fast and at scale, and its ability to visualize data. 

“When I first saw the Contentsquare platform, I was just so excited about the technology. I was the decision-maker on the brand side that Contentsquare would have traditionally sold to. I thought, ‘this solves problems that I literally would have needed five people to solve,” he said.

Top 1: Ad-tech Adzymic enters Hong Kong, Thailand, and Japan market

The top story for the month comes from the same field of marketing tech – Asia-focused ad-tech Adzymic’s further expansion to Asia, with new markets in Hong Kong, Thailand, and Japan. 

Prior to the expansion, Adzymic has already been operating in countries Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Its flagship solution is the Dynamic Creative Management Platform which functions as advertising transformation of physical to digital media, such as banners, carousel ads and social display ads, allowing advertisers to create ads without the need for coding experience. 

Co-founder and executive director Ken Wong shared to MARKETECH APAC what made the company reach out to the new markets. 

“Programmatic media has become increasingly important in these three markets. Before the pandemic, we saw that many Thai and Hong Kong companies have already adapted to the digital and programmatic media platforms, [and] during this pandemic, they have diversified their digital presence even more rapidly. We saw that they already had some quick traction with the local businesses,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Ken said the company entered Japan because it has “always been an appealing market, which is one of the world’s largest advertising markets of the US and China.”

Watch the MARKETECH APAC REPORTS of these top five stories, with exclusive appearance and commentary from the newsmakers themselves.

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

Categories
Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

ShopBack SG brings in football fans with new tie-up with LaLiga

Singapore – Rewards and discovery platform ShopBack in Singapore has tied up with Spain’s professional football league LaLiga for a joint marketing amplification, which will include giveaway contests within the platform.

At large, the partnership will see a release of an official campaign video of LaLiga, in-app and website pushes, social media engagement, and out-of-home advertisements. A video shoutout by LaLiga ambassador and former football player Gaizka Mendieta will also be released. 

Video, courtesy of ShopBack.

One of the main marketing initiatives within the partnership is a social media contest which will give away a football fan an all-expenses paid trip to Spain for two to catch a LaLiga match live. 

LaLiga spearheads Spain’s two national professional football competitions LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank, where both have already started its 2020-21 season on September 12.

In order to participate, ShopBack users must visit the LaLiga page on the platform starting 27 November and click on the “Submit Entry Now” button to be redirected to an Instagram post. In the post, users must comment on why they deserve to watch a Laliga game in Spain, share it to Instagram, and tag their intended travel buddy. Lastly, those interested must make a purchase on any ShopBack selected brands

The competition will run from 27 November to 31 December 2020, in line with ShopFest, ShopBack’s annual mega shopping festival that spans the entire year-end shopping season. 

In a press statement, ShopBack said that through the partnership with the sports association, it aims to “portray its value of togetherness just as football brings people together.”

ShopBack Co-founder Joel Leong said, “We are excited to kick off this partnership with LaLiga to bring football fans and shoppers together. With the sporting world still gradually being reinstated to normalcy, the upcoming football matches in Spain promise to be that rush of adrenaline and the perfect opportunity to bring people together.”

LaLiga’s Managing Director for SEA Ivan Codina commented, “Alongside our fans, we long for the time when we can return to the stadiums and celebrate the passion of live football action of LaLiga in person. In this situation, together with ShopBack, we wish to remind our consumers that we are ‘better together’ despite being physically apart. With the pent-up demand to travel and experience live sports continuing to build, the grand prize is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we know would excite fans.” 

Categories
Marketing Platforms Southeast Asia

ShopBack SG taps comic veteran Kumar as new brand ambassador

Singapore – APAC rewards and discovery platform ShopBack has announced its newest brand ambassador – comedy veteran Kumar.

The partnership between ShopBack and Kumar will be running for a year, beginning with the approaching 11.11 sale event of the platform, whereby Kumar will be playing the lead character in their music video ‘ShopBack, Get Paid to Shop!’

After 11.11, Kumar will continue to front a range of campaigns and marketing initiatives to promote the ShopBack brand and engage with shoppers through the year-end sales season and in the future.

Kumar is a Singaporean Indian comedian, television host, and drag queen, who made his name performing in the now-defunct cabaret nightclub Boom Boom Room during the late 1990s.

In the music video, Kumar switches between various cross-dressing get-ups, from a schoolgirl outfit to an elderly grandmother, and takes center stage dancing and rapping to the ‘ShopBack, Get Paid to Shop’ song.

In the opening of the music video, Kumar boasts that “everyone loves a good lobang but no one knows about lobang better than me” before reminding viewers to use the ShopBack app to Get Paid to Shop. The lyrics of the song encourage consumers to shop smart by getting the best deals and earning cashback on their purchases.

“It is an immense pleasure for us to have Kumar on board. He is a well-loved personality and household name in Singapore, and we are proud to have him represent the ShopBack brand and amplify the message of Smarter shopping and saving money to Singaporeans,” said Imran Mohamad, head of marketing at ShopBack Singapore.

Mohamad said the brand chose Kumar to incorporate the exuberance and comedy he carries to the brand’s marketing assets.

“We hope that Singaporeans watching him in our 11.11 music video will feel as though a trusted friend or family member is reminding them that a dollar saved is a dollar earned, and that they can maximize every cent with ShopBack,” he added.

Kumar expressed his excitement and trust to the brand, saying, “Whether you are buying bubble tea, a walking stick, or groceries, you can earn cashback on all your purchases with ShopBack. You should always remember to check on ShopBack before making a purchase from your favorite brands so you can ensure that you are getting it at the best price on the internet. If any Singaporean is still not getting paid to shop by ShopBack, I don’t know what else to say to them already lah,” said Kumar.

For 11.11, ShopBack has lined up cashback offers of up to 60% from over 600 brands. On 10 November, it will be running a Vouchers Bonanza, offering up vouchers from brands including Amazon, Grab, Fairprice, Qoo10, and Zalora.

Categories
Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s Top Five Stories For October

For this month of October, two of our top stories emanate from the gaming industry: a recently launched eSports platform by an all-Filipino team of developers and a recently announced team expansion in APAC of a streaming service for gamers. 

Marketing strategies were also in this month’s spotlight. With influencers continuing to share space with big-time brand endorsers in consumers’ attention, a forecast on influencer marketing trends is one of the stories that led readership. While another one – a marketing agency’s intricate review of Malaysian cinema brands’ engagement on Facebook also hooked readers the most. 

Marketing leaders also continue to inspire. The #MARKETECHMondays episode of ShopBack Philippines’ Country Head Prashant Kala, which was filled with meaningful advice on leadership and success also made it to the list.

Based on Google Analytics from September 16 to October 15, here are the top stories for the month.

Top 5: ShopBack Philippines’ Prashant Kala on #MARKETECHMondays

Every Monday, we take out an inspiring marketing leader and talk to them about the journey they’ve had prior to their current position. This month, our episode with ShopBack Philippines’ Prashan Kala got your interest the most. 

Kala is currently the country head of the said discounts and rewards platform, beginning in 2018, and before that, he was the vice president for sales of restaurant aggregator Zomato for three years in the Philippines. In the #MARKETECHMondays episode, he recollected his leadership experience and shared some very insightful advice on team management.

“You should not be a captain, you should be a coach. Don’t direct. A captain will tell what to do, but a coach will tell how to do it, and even if something goes wrong, a coach will fix it.”

Top 4: Influencer marketing trends in 2020 and beyond by INCA

In an article by influencer marketing solutions INCA, its APAC Client Development Executive Madeleine Mak shared the top ten trends that brands and marketers alike must be on the lookout for in 2020 and beyond. 

One particular trend that was forecasted is the showcase of audio-based content among influencers. It’s normal to see micro- and nano-influencers now serving the most appealing visuals, and making their way to engaging videos; but INCA says audio content, especially podcasts, might just be the next big thing. 

Further, Mak said, the potential popularity of such format comes from audio’s ability to hold listeners’ attention for extended periods, thus, allowing native ads to be easily integrated.

In an additional comment, Mak dove deeper into what might be in store for marketers: “We are seeing brands and audio platforms partnering with relevant influencers to voice audio ads and create branded podcasts. For instance, Spotify signed exclusive podcast deals with leading social media influencers like Addison Rae and Joe Rogan. The media giant also introduced the Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI) format that provides data on impressions, ad reach, and anonymized listener demographics to marketers. With data, brands can create targeted audio content that resonates with the growing number of young podcast audiences.”

Top 3: The three biggest Malaysian cinema brands on the Facebook engagement race

In a recent marketing insight endeavor, Malaysian digital marketing agency Webqlo found a convergence between two entities: Facebook and cinema brands.

With the help of its social media analytics platform Adqlo, the agency unearthed how the three biggest big-screen firms in Malaysia – Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC), TGV Cinemas, and MBO Cinemas – fare in Facebook engagement stats.

With people still carrying fears of visiting cinemas amid the virus, we reached out to Webqlo’s Head of Digital Cherrie Koay to tell us what can these firms do to their social media strategies to encourage footfall.

She spoke of 3 C’s: Community, Cleanliness, and Creativity.

“Community refers to the people who follow your brand, and also your customers. Get to know these people, talk to them, try to build a meaningful relationship with them rather than trying to sell them products, or push them promotions,” she said.

With cleanliness on the other hand, “Cleanliness is the most priority. We need to show people the efforts, and the measures to keep each other safe.”

Cherrie emphasizes that creativity, being the most “fun” part, is brands’ window to try new things and stretch their creative muscles.

“So go out there, try other things that work nowadays. Most of us are online, and with a lot of people now working from home, and staying indoors, social media has been the number one source for updates, news, and entertainment. So that’s actually a lot of things [you] can try and explore. So try to see the latest things that are trending, what your audience likes, and what they [don’t].”

Top 2: eSports platform Kalaro by Filipino-led The-Asiagroup.com Inc.

Almost making it as the topmost read story is the launch of eSports platform Kalaro, which had its roll-out in October in the Philippines, by an all Filipino team from software development firm The-Asiagroup.com Inc.

Kalaro, which means playmate in the country’s language, is an end-to-end platform that runs tournament management, one-on-one challenges, and team competitions as well as coaching, piloting, and buy-ins.

Such a well-placed time for the company’s launch with eSports becoming all the rage, but with other gaming platforms in the market, what does make Kalaro different from the others?

CEO Basilio “Jun” Lasco sheds light, “The main problem of this industry is that the applications or software, or technology available are usually quite old, and they’re not integrated, and they are mainly designed for the Western market. So that is where Kalaro will come in.”

“Kalaro is designed specifically for the Asian market. At the heart of it is a tournament management platform, wherein a team or even individuals can organize a friendly match or a nationwide tournament.”

Top 1: Amazon’s streaming service Twitch further expands APAC team

And for our top story comes news from Amazon’s streaming service Twitch. Between the period of August to October, Twitch has announced a number of key appointments, roping in industry veterans to lead its team in APAC. In August, it just named a new marketing chief, and then just very recently – two valuable leads: Sunil Yadav as Agency Development Lead, and Mandar Kambli as Programmatic Enablement Lead, both of which previously an international head at Dentsu. 

With Yadav and Kambli in the middle of settling in their roles, we wanted to know what are some of their priorities as they head on to manage twitch’s agency partnership and programmatic arrangement. 

Yadav shared that first and foremost, he wants to let brands and agencies know more about Twitch’s platform.

“Twitch has recently started building teams in the APAC region. Twitch is quite different from any other streaming or video service, delivering highly engaged connections with consumers for brands,” he said.

“Not many agencies and brands are familiar with all its possibilities at the moment. In this role, I will focus a lot more on driving education about it, as well as work towards building joint initiatives with all our key Agency partners.” 

For Twitch’s programmatic activity on other hand, Mandar said that amid the huge potential and increasing demand of programmatic in APAC, his objective is to ensure that Twitch integrates well with clients to deliver best in class results and build long term partnerships.

“Twitch is interactive, live, engaging and that’s what makes it so unique. Traditionally programmatic has been looked at as a performance channel, but that needs to be challenged. It’s the most efficient, data-driven way of buying media across the consumer funnel, including branding and awareness.”

“At Twitch we not only provide an immersive experience for brands to engage with users but also focus heavily on user experience. This elevates the brand value to a completely new level as users are a lot more receptive and engaged.”

Watch the MARKETECH APAC REPORTS of these top five stories, with exclusive appearance and commentary from the newsmakers themselves.

Categories
Main Feature Marketing APAC

#MARKETECHMondays: Prashant Kala, Country Manager, ShopBack Philippines

Before joining rewards and discounts platform ShopBack in the Philippines, Prashant was with the Philippine arm of India-grown restaurant aggregator Zomato for five years. 

What made him do the big shift? In Prashant’s words, he said he wanted to do something “different than what he was used to working on.” Having always been on the B2B side of things, he was looking for a project that will make him work on both B2B and B2C and stumbling upon Shopback, the opportunity on the platform gave him the challenge of not just building its partners but growing its users as well. 

Now the country manager of ShopBack, we sat down with Prashant to know more about his humble beginnings and the journey he took before becoming the head of one of the leading shopping platforms in the region.

First foray into marketing

Fresh out of a master’s degree, Prashant didn’t veer away too far from roots, and in fact, had his very first job right in the university he graduated in, as an assistant manager for sales and marketing in the Institute for Integrated Learning in Management (IILM) – Institute for Higher Education in Delhi, India.

Working with students as a target segment, he shared that the type of marketing the role had him doing was not in the likes of big advertising projects, but rather, more personalized.

“I was handling marketing for the college across North India and a couple of international markets. The whole focus was to attract a huge student pool to apply for our courses and finally assisting them with their admissions and courses,” he said in the #MARKETECHMondays interview.

“It was more about talking to people, [more about] community building; It was a lot about knowing exactly what people are looking at, [and more] of career development.”

On Mentorship: “Everybody has taught me something.”

When asked about his role models, Prashant struggled to name one particular person and said that he’s the type who seeks inspiration from every person he meets.

“Professionally, I have had a chance to work with some amazing people over the years and I would say everyone that I meet has been able to make me learn something new. I don’t really have one mentor for all aspects of my professional development but I seek advice and guidance from multiple role models in my life.”

That is at least, professionally. But when it comes to his personal values, he didn’t have to think hard and said he owed his good ethics to his parents and uncles.

“In terms of personal growth, I think my parents and my uncles have always been the biggest source of inspiration in my life. I have learned the value of hard work and most importantly, I have learned the value of how to be true to people who expect your feedback and suggestions in life no matter how harsh the truth is from my father and my uncles.”

“I’m still waiting for the greatest career success.”

It would be naive to say that with Prashant’s experience, he still hasn’t claimed success, but for him, there is still a greatness ahead that’s yet to be tapped.

“I really hope I find it later in life and not very soon as I really want to keep getting that rush of trying to get smaller successes, and I want to keep dreaming of [greater success]. I think that thought drives me every morning so I wouldn’t want to achieve it that fast.”

Of course with successes also come the failures. And still within the context of “great,” he believes there is no such thing.

“I won’t call any failure a great failure [as] every failure comes in with disappointments, and I don’t think we can categorize something [as great].”

“Instead of failures, I would say I had many challenges where I was unable to find a solution quicker which would have been ideal.”

Making that more specific, he said that the most critical setbacks were when good people leave your team.

“I have lost a few teammates in the past and that always sets your plan a few feet back but I think every situation teaches you something new, but one takeaway that one such setback gave me was to have a plan B but not to rely on it and give plan A 100%.”

He added, “Also plan B cannot be a totally different plan from A and they both have to be interconnected, else you are going to start from scratch which will push you to take a lot of reverse steps.”

Prashant’s words to live by: “Be a best friend to yourself.”

For Prashant, the secret to success need not be too far away from oneself, and the key is to be your own best friend, an honest and frank one at that.

“Keep it real, no matter how difficult it is, and be your best friend so you can talk real with yourself.”

“Best friends don’t shy away from telling you harsh truths. As a team lead, I try to be as real as possible with my teammates, clients and even [the] people around me. I don’t shy away in giving or taking feedback and I try to keep it timely, as well as even [to] myself.”

How about for those who are eyeing to enter the world of marketing?

Prashant said, “Read a lot, follow great brands and their campaigns, [and] take risks but always calculate what you want to achieve out of it. Always have the eye on the goal and do backward mapping, or back designing to achieve it.”

Watch the full video of this interview on our YouTube channel, going live today at 5:30 pm PST.

If you’re a marketing leader and you want to share your career experience to inspire the marketing industry, please reach out, we want to hear your story.

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Platforms Featured APAC

Shopback kicks off four-month long shopping festival in APAC

Singapore – Promo and discounts platform ShopBack has started its annual end-year shopping festival, ShopFest, for 2020 for its nine Asia Pacific markets.

ShopFest will be running from 1 September to 31 December, covering the key end-of-year shopping dates around APAC including 9.9, 11.11, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. 

During ShopFest, alongside being able to use exclusive deals and earn cashback from both online and offline retailers, users will be able to run some of the platform’s new features: vouchers, product comparison, and ShopBack challenges.

Vouchers can be redeemed using the cashback balance in the user’s bank account, or purchased via credit card.

Meanwhile, the product comparison feature is a product aggregation service for users to search and compare products from ShopBack’s merchant partners. The feature is also said to enable viewing of price history and the option to set price alerts to assist in more informed purchasing decisions.

With challenges on the other hand, it is an added feature for users to receive bonus cashback and other attractive rewards via completion of specific tasks and challenges.

Henry Chan, co-founder and CEO of ShopBack said, “Many consumers look forward to the year-end shopping season, however, it can be overwhelming for the consumer as more and more online retailers participate each year. At ShopBack, we wanted to create a unified platform to seamlessly connect these brands and consumers, and at the same time help consumers cut through the noise and better navigate through the various sale events and deals.”

The newly integrated features are said to roll out across ShopBack’s nine markets at different times over the next year.