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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Brand consultancy names Singtel as strongest brand in Singapore

Singapore – National telecom Singtel has been named Singapore’s strongest brand by Brand Finance’s 2022 ranking of the country’s top 100 brands. Brand Finance is a brand valuation consultancy that publishes the said report annually.

According to the report, the telco topped the brand strength index with a score of 87.1 out of 100 for its new strategy to reposition for digital growth as well as its sustained efforts in delivering 5G innovation. The score also placed Singtel among the world’s top 10 strongest telecom brands.

Lian Pek, Singtel’s vice president for strategic communications and brand, commented they had upped the branding stakes when they raced to deploy nationwide 5G coverage in time for Singapore’s National Day, even though they were three years ahead of time.

“With 25,000 spectators at the National Day Parade getting their first taste of 5G when streaming video live at high speeds, our 5G readiness hit home,” said Pek.

She adds, “We’re glad people are sitting up and noticing our brand promise to create a more sustainable and inclusive digital future for all our stakeholders.”

Announced last May, Singtel’s strategic reset centres around capturing untapped digital growth by leveraging its 5G leadership to reinvigorate its core consumer and enterprise businesses, developing new growth engines in ICT and digital services, and unlocking asset value.

In addition to being the top-ranked, Brand Finance also reported that Singtel retained its AAA brand rating, making it one out of only three companies in Singapore to receive the triple-A rating this year. Singtel also grew its brand value, which is a measure of the brand’s financial strength, by 22% to US$3.9b.

The ‘Singapore Top 100 Brands’ report by Brand Finance determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Singtel’s National Day ad shows the hand of the telecom in mounting parade through early days

Singapore – To honour Singapore’s National Day, which is celebrated every 9 August, the telco Singtel has launched a new campaign that illustrates how its telecoms infrastructure and engineering expertise have been vital to the staging of the National Day Parade since the 1960s, through the early days of 3G to a fully 5G nation today.

Titled ‘The Making of a 5G Nation’, the film tells the story of Singtel’s planners and engineers for whom wiring up the Marina Bay floating platform with 5G is a mission they are immensely proud to undertake.

Mark Chong, Singtel’s group chief technology officer, shared that when thousands of people want to live stream and send videos at the same time, from multiple 5G-enabled devices that are concurrently streaming over global online mediums, great demands are placed on their network which will be seriously tested in terms of its power and reliability.

“From our experience supporting this event through the years, and our 5G trials in Sentosa, we’ve picked up important lessons on managing complex technology for an even more memorable experience. It is our privilege to support the Parade every year and we’re excited to bring 5G to everyone this year to commemorate Singapore’s birthday,” said Chong

Meanwhile, Lian Pek, Singtel’s vice president of strategic communications and brand, noted that this is the first time they’ve thrown the spotlight on their planners and engineers, the unsung heroes who work quietly behind the scenes, year after year, to pull off one of the most anticipated events in the national calendar.

“This year’s NDP is particularly special for us as a company as we’ve reached nationwide 5G coverage 3 years ahead of time, effectively making Singapore the first country in the world to be fully covered by standalone 5G. The significance of this milestone, and a 5G-enabled live Parade, after a two-year hiatus due to COVID, calls for a celebration with fellow Singaporeans. This is the leap in technology that will help carry Singapore forward as it moves on from the pandemic,” said Pek.

Singtel said that preparations for this year’s National Day Parade started as early as a year ago, with its teams working to enhance capacity and optimise and test 5G mobile coverage to ensure spectators at the event are well supported.

The campaign will be airing on Singtel TV and various social media channels.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Grab-led digibank JV to get nod to operate in Malaysia

Malaysia – Grab and Singtel has announced today that GXS Bank, their digital bank joint venture, and a consortium of Malaysian investors including Kuok Brothers, have been selected to receive a full digital banking licence in Malaysia, subject to meeting all of Bank Negara Malaysia’s regulatory conditions. 

The digital bank to be established is expected to enable local micro-SMEs and other financially underserved segments such as gig economy workers to access a suite of financial services. 

To build the Malaysia digital bank, Pei Si Lai, financial industry veteran and the one appointed to lead the digital bank, will be assembling a team with diverse backgrounds in finance and technology. Over 200 roles are targeted to be filled by launch, including in the areas of product and design, data, technology, risk, and compliance. 

Reuben Lai, senior managing director of Grab Financial Group and board member of the regional digibank JV, said that they will leverage the consortium’s combined strengths including technology expertise, data from highly-engaged consumers, experience in financial services in SEA, as well as deep understanding of the Malaysian market, to redefine the banking experience for underbanked Malaysians. 

 “The Malaysia digital bank consortium is honoured to be given the opportunity to build a next-generation digital bank and drive access to financial services for underbanked Malaysians,” said Lai. 

Meanwhile, Arthur Lang, Singtel’s group chief financial officer and also board member of the regional digibank JV, said, “We are glad to have this opportunity to support Malaysia’s vision of greater financial inclusion for its people. Our consortium partners and ourselves are excited to build a platform that will provide innovative digital banking services for the underbanked as well as the SMEs that are the backbone of the Malaysian economy. This aligns closely with our goal of harnessing technology to empower people across the region, bringing greater options and positive change as we build something special across the region. We aim to spur fintech innovation that will transform the banking experience, making financial services more accessible, relevant and affordable.” 

As CEO designate of the Malaysian digital bank, Lai brings extensive experience and deep customer centricity honed over 25 years in retail banking, wealth management, corporate finance, product and business management, as well as governance, in both local and international markets. Prior to her current role, she was managing director and country head for the consumer, private and business banking of Standard Chartered in Malaysia. 

Lai commented, “The opportunity to build the Malaysian digital bank from the ground up and be at the forefront of the fast-evolving Malaysian fintech landscape is incredibly exciting. Aside from leveraging agile banking technology that will enable us to offer tailored and unique banking experiences for our consumers, my team and I will also tap on the strong support from our shareholders and strategic partners, as well as guidance from Bank Negara Malaysia and the Ministry of Finance, to deliver on our mission to serve and empower underbanked Malaysian communities such as gig workers and small businesses. We will also actively partner with leading industry players to advance the Malaysian financial landscape.” 

The digital bank joint venture between Grab and Singtel was formed in 2020 and selected to be awarded a full digital banking licence in Singapore.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

WATCH: Singtel’s new CNY campaign finds ‘reconciliation’ as real treasure

Singapore – In celebration of this year’s Chinese New Year (CNY), Singapore’s telco Singtel has launched its annual short film, aimed at honoring the season’s spirit of bonding with family and community. 

The new film, which was conceptualized by the Singtel brand team, is the third installment in Singtel’s festive film series which tells the story of two rival families that have endeared themselves to Singaporeans after their madcap but meaningful altercations in previous films – ‘His Grandfather’s Road’ and ‘My Grandmother’s House‘.

Titled ‘The Hunt For The Lucky Tiger’, the film is set against the backdrop of the pandemic, featuring the Ang and Huang families who went on a staycation during the CNY break instead of traveling overseas. Kismet leads them to choose the same hotel on the beautiful and now 5G-powered island of Sentosa, sparking fresh contention and comedic rivalry between the families when they run into each other upon arrival. 

The story takes a dramatic turn when Ah Boy, the youngest son from the Ang family, goes missing. The families rally to comfort a panicky Wendy, who is Ah Boy’s mother, setting aside petty squabbles to find him. Mr. Ang even goes as far as to call for a search and rescue drone from Garuda Robotics to locate his son. Seamlessly over 5G, he captures the drone footage and movements via live video streaming on his mobile device.

Lian Pek, Singtel’s vice president for group strategic communications and brand, believes that Chinese New Year exemplifies the importance of family, friends, and relationships, closely reflecting Singtel’s spirit of celebrating connections. 

She further shared that it is a timely reminder to treasure the relationships people have made, especially in light of recent global events that have tested these bonds.

“As a leader in 5G innovation, we’re offering audiences a glimpse of tomorrow, from augmented reality enhanced entertainment to drone applications powered by hyper-connectivity. 5G has the unbridled potential to redefine experiences and operations across multiple verticals and we hope to empower the broader community by harnessing the benefits of this next-generation technology,” said Pek. 

Singtel said that the film also serves as a showcase for 5G use cases, such as Garuda Robotics’ autonomous drone systems which are currently undergoing trials at the [email protected] testbed, a public-private sector collaboration led by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech), the Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC), and Singtel.

The film will air on Singtel TV and various social media channels today, 18 January 2022.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Singtel’s ad for the Olympics bares athletes’ journey in socially-constrained new normal

Singapore – Singapore’s telecommunications Singtel has released a new ad that illustrates both heritage and personal triumph as it pays tribute to the realization of the Tokyo Olympics, which had to be postponed for a year in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The film features the country’s national players for the Olympics; swimmer Joseph Schooling, shuttler Loh Kean Yew, fencer Kiria Tikanah, and sprinter Shanti Pereira, and how each dealt with the frustration and disappointment of having to come to terms with the Olympics’ cancelation after expectations had been up and training and preparations have been well placed. 

Adding to this, the ad also portrayed how beyond the Olympics, athletes, whether bound for the global competition or not and even those that have sports as a passion or as a source of living, had to struggle with the lockdown, being forced to give up physical activity to obey social distancing.

“I can’t believe it’s been postponed. I’ve trained so hard,” “I can’t go to the court. I can’t do my training,” the players would mutter with scenes where gloom and loneliness loom in a silenced living room or a shut oval. 

The ad portrays, most of all, the value of hope and resilience, still ending on a positive note, where players’ patience and ongoing training for their sports now finally rewarded as the Tokyo Olympics officially resumes. 

The featured players would be sending across inspirational messages such as how a winner never gives up, how failure only becomes such when one stops trying, and how true triumph is dealing straight on with adversity.

“Our athletes’ journey to the Olympics has been nothing short of inspiring. Making it to the games in any given year would be a coup but making it under the current circumstances takes a lot of grit and determination,” commented Aileen Tan, Singtel’s group chief people and sustainability officer. 

The new ad ‘Leading Through Uncertainty’ is part of Singtel’s ongoing branded content campaign, built around stories that reflect the Singtel Group’s values of community, family, diversity, and inclusivity. Last year’s festive film campaign also paid tribute to the Singapore spirit of tenacity and perseverance against the backdrop of the health crisis.

Alongside its tribute to the Olympics, the film is also in celebration of the country’s National Day, remembered every 9 August.

Tan said, “As we mark our second National Day under the cloud of COVID, the film is a way of celebrating the Singapore spirit of resilience that has brought us this far. Like our athletes, we’ve all been fighting the good fight, keeping our spirits up, and moving forward in spite of COVID. Yes, the journey has been fraught with uncertainty, false starts, and U-turns, but we hope the film will inspire us all to press on and keep trying.”

The film, which was conceptualized by the Singtel Brand team, has now been launched across the telecom’s YouTube and Facebook. It will also be airing on Singtel TV from 21 July 2021.

Singtel has been a long-time supporter of Team Singapore, having donated S$2.5m to the Singapore National Olympic Council to help fund the training of athletes since 2012. 

For this year’s global sports event, Singtel customers will be able to catch a broadcast by tuning in to all 14 Mediacorp channels for free on Singtel TV CH 21-34 and Singtel TV GO. It will also be available on Singtel CAST to all consumers, including non-Singtel customers.

The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021, where 23 players are slated to represent Singapore.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

IMDA, Enterprise Singapore refresh ‘Start Digital’ initiative

Singapore – ‘Start Digital’, a digital initiative started by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore for SME support, is refreshing their existing digital solutions in order to provide newly incorporated SMEs or those that have yet to digitize with foundational and easy-to-deploy digital solutions.

Initially launched in January 2019, the Start Digital program has helped more than 30,000 SMEs to adopt various digital transformation strategies for their businesses, known collectively as the ‘Start Digital Pack’. These solutions are offered across six partners, namely financial institutions DBS, Maybank, OCBC, and UOB, as well as telco Singtel and M1.

Start Digital is offering three new and enhanced categories:

  • Digital Collaboration – These enable employees to work from home or any other convenient locations. Examples include Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace.
  • Digital Marketing – Tools that provide SMEs with templates to create social media ads and manage their digital ad buys and placements on a single platform. This allows SMEs to easily manage targeted digital marketing campaigns and reach out to consumers on social media.
  • Digital Transactions – InvoiceNow-linked solutions offered by bank partners are integrated with e-payment including PayNow Corporate to enable SMEs to generate/receive e-invoices through InvoiceNow and receive/make e-payments seamlessly. These solutions help SMEs improve transaction accuracy and administrative productivity. Both e-invoicing and e-payments are part of digital utilities which IMDA is putting in place as baseline infrastructure for the digital economy. Similar to their physical counterparts, digital utilities provide common standards and ease of transactions for businesses. 

Start Digital initially included accounting, human resource management system and payroll, digital marketing, digital transactions and cybersecurity solutions. 

“Based on feedback from SMEs and Start Digital partners, IMDA and Enterprise Singapore are enhancing Start Digital to include new solutions that will enable SMEs to collaborate seamlessly with internal and external parties, and gain new customers,” according to a factsheet released by IMDA and Enterprise Singapore.

Both institutions have been proactive in driving support for SMEs and startups based on digital transformation strategies. Earlier this year, Enterprise Singapore supported the launch of the PlanetSpark Innovation Centre to focus on tech startups seeking to deploy artificial intelligence of things (AIoT) to the market. 

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

WATCH: Singtel’s comedy sketch for CNY teaches the value of ‘unity over rivalry’

Singapore – Singapore’s telco giant Singtel has launched its latest Chinese New Year short film, a comedy sketch titled “My Grandmother’s House”, which centers around the theme of the importance of unity over rivalry.

Singtel-Chinese-New-Year-Snapshot-1

The video revolves around two rival families, headed by their missus, Wendy, and Adeline who are about to visit their grandmother in the upcoming Chinese New Year. Due to the regulations mandated by the government, only eight visitors are allowed to be guests in a house, which results in the standoff between the two families, where both race in reaching grandmother’s house first.

Singtel-Chinese-New-Year-Snapshot-2

As both families engage in competition, a twist in the story ensues as an emotionally driven grandmother narrates the story of how she met Daisy, an old best friend of hers, at an old Tracy Kwang concert, with whom she lost touch with, yet memories remain thanks to a jade pendant they both shared.

Singtel-Chinese-New-Year-Snapshot-3

All of a sudden, Wendy’s youngest son surprises all of them when he was able to get in touch with Daisy over a video call. The grandmother and Daisy talk over and show surprise that they both wear the jade pendants years ago. Wendy tips off the skit by saying “You can always join us” in reference to Singtel’s 5G connectivity, as the whole family laughs and spends the Chinese New Year together in unison.

“Chinese New Year has always been a great time for us to underscore Singtel’s brand message that connections in the deeper sense of the word should be esteemed, hence the film’s tagline, ‘Stay connected to what matters’. This is all the more pertinent as Singapore eases into Phase 3 with renewed hopes of post-COVID recovery,” said Lian Pek, Singtel’s vice president for group strategic communications and brand.

Pek added, “Ultimately, we’re all in this together and we should continue to help each other out of the woods. We also wanted to bring some fun and cheer through a film that everyone can relate to, as people look forward to better things ahead.”

Commenting on the abundance of 5G references in the comedy skit, Pek said, “As a company that’s been leading in the next-generation connectivity stakes, we made a subtle nod to the benefits of 5G – from faster GPS downloads which gets the family to their destination earlier to faster gaming speeds and high definition video calls. As we roll out our 5G network and coverage, this is a tongue-in-cheek way of illustrating how this next-generation technology can deliver positive new experiences and possibilities.”

Singtel’s “My Grandmother’s House” rolls out today, January 22 and to all of Singtel’s social media channels and Singtel TV.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Singtel’s new short film casts light on seniors’ digital journey amid COVID lockdown

Singapore – Singtel launched its annual festive tribute today, an uplifting short film depicting the staunch determination of seniors who refuse to let COVID-19 upend their lives.

Titled “Seniors go digital too!”, the film tells the stories of three seniors as they head back to “school” to pick up digital skills to help them stay connected and overcome the social distancing brought on by the pandemic.

The weekly attendance of seniors aunty Lilian, aunty Shirley, and uncle Andrew at Singtel’s digital clinics under its Digital Silvers program are documented in the film. Through Singtel staff volunteers, the seniors learn the use of smart devices, to surf the internet, stay in touch with loved ones online, and make cashless payments. 

Held at Senior Activity Centres (SACs) across the country, the Digital Silvers initiative is designed to foster digital inclusion and help ease the sense of isolation that the elderly have experienced as COVID curtailed peoples’ ability to socialize. 

It’s been a tough year for everyone, but the elderly are one of the more vulnerable groups affected by the pandemic. While most of us can easily access the plethora of online channels and apps for communication and entertainment, the older generation may not have the requisite digital skills to do so. This is what we’re trying to address through our digitalization initiative

Lian Pek, Vice President of Group Strategic Communications and Brand, Singtel

In the film, viewers see the conclusion of the seniors’ digital boot camp, with all of them finding a new sense of confidence and purpose: Aunty Lilian learns how to further her singing hobby and learn songs with the aid of apps on her device; Uncle Andrew learns how to use Zoom to stay in touch with friends and family, and Aunty Shirley becomes a “messaging expert”, connecting with her children as well as learning to use the contact tracing app TraceTogether.

Singtel shared that moving forward, the Digital Silvers program will see S$1M worth of assistance go towards transforming SACs into digital hubs to help more than 10,000 seniors build confidence in using digital devices and platforms. This involves tech upgrades including Wi-Fi connections, Singtel TV content, and tablets to facilitate virtual engagement as well as digital clinics and one-to-one tutorials run by Singtel staff volunteers. 

In addition, Singtel has also set aside priority queues for seniors at stores and hotlines so that they can be given digital guidance and served more expediently. 

Commenting on the program, Jeannie Ho, head of social enterprise NTUC Health’s senior cluster network said, “We’re very heartened to see many seniors from our Senior Activity Centres excitedly pick up new skills in the past month, as they realize that going digital is not as difficult as they imagined. This program and the digital workshops by Singtel have greatly empowered seniors to become so much more comfortable with using technology, enabling them to remain connected with their friends and loved ones amid the pandemic and especially during the festive season.”

Lian Pek added, “Even before COVID-19 and the pivot to online channels and tools, digitalization was already happening at breakneck pace, and for the elderly left on the wrong side of the digital divide, this can be very overwhelming. We believe that seniors can benefit from the digital revolution and that the process of picking up tech-related skills, no matter how basic, can also go a long way in helping their active aging.”

The short film is the final film in Singtel’s year-long brand campaign encouraging Singaporeans to keep their spirits up in the current climate through the feature of the lives of ordinary folks. This includes “This Is The Year”, Singtel’s annual National Day film which paid tribute to the Majulah spirit, and “Keeping The Spirit Of Hari Raya Alive” which documented how the Malay Community kept the spirit of Ramadan alive during the circuit breaker period.

The six-minute film will air on Singtel TV and on various social media channels from 3 to 25 December 2020.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Singtel resorts to mini sitcom to help up Singaporeans’ scam quotient

Singapore – In a bid to help stem the rising tide of scams, Singapore telecom giant Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) has released a campaign series to educate Singaporeans on identifying scams. 

Titled “Jaga your data!” where “jaga” is a Malay verb and a Singaporean slang for “to guard,” the campaign uses elements of situational comedy such as a comic storyline, theatrical portrayal, and bright settings to pique interest in a rather technical and serious matter.

It comprises a series of short films, each playing out a telco-related ruse that has snared many an unsuspecting victim, driving home the message that everyone needs to do their part and stay watchful to avoid falling prey to scams. 

Scammers are casting their net wider than before, where in Singtel, customers have flagged double the number of instances of telco-related scam calls in the year to date compared to the same period last year. 

In a common variant known as “tech support” scams, featured in one of the films called “This is tech support calling,” a fraudster masquerades as Singtel’s technical support, convincing the victim that her IP address has been hacked. 

Fooled by the urgency of the scammer, the victim downloads software that enables remote control of the desktop to solve the problem, and unwittingly hands over internet banking one-time passwords (OTP) when asked. The scammers then make off with the victim’s money.  

It’s unfortunate that on-going scams using the Singtel name or that of other companies have been so pervasive and that many people have become the targets of tricksters impersonating our technicians and customer service officers

Lian Pek, vice president of Group Strategic Communications and Brand at Singtel.

Pek added, “By serving up anti-scam advice and lessons with a dash of humor with the aim of making the messages stick, we hope to foil some of these scammers’ efforts by encouraging Singaporeans to stay vigilant to protect themselves and their families.”

Featuring local actors Pamela Oei and Shane Mardjuki who take on different personalities of varying ages in each scam scenario, the films are designed to engage viewers of all generations and demonstrate how anyone, regardless of age or gender, is vulnerable. 

Pek said the current campaign builds on the company’s ongoing efforts to mitigate scams such as issuing regular scam advisories and implementing a proprietary fraud management system that uses analytics to block scam calls.

Since April this year, the company has also worked with the government to add a “+” prefix to international incoming calls spoofed to look like local numbers, making scam calls easier to identify.

Gerald Singham, the chairman of National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), commented, “To prevent these crimes, public awareness is the first line of defense, and I’m heartened that Singtel has taken the initiative to support NCPC in our fight against scams by educating people with these light-hearted but effective videos.”

Conceptualized by Singtel’s brand team and produced in collaboration with Akanga Films, the campaign will run from 20 November to 17 December 2020. 

The first two films in the series have already been released on the telco’s pay television service Singtel TV and its various social media channels, while the third one is slated for 25 November. 

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Which Singapore CEO is the most talked about online?

Singapore – As chief executives of their respective firms, CEOs are sure mentioned and displayed a lot on online media, and this year, DBS Bank’s Piyush Gupta emerged as the most visible CEO in local digital media in Singapore, according to a report by market intelligence firm CARMA ASIA. 

Gupta had the largest volume of online articles that mentioned him, amounting to 90 articles from the period of May to October this year. CEOs’ visibility, or frequency of mentions, was studied on both mainstream media – which are local online publications such as The Straits Times, The Business Times, and The New Paper – as well as on social media, particularly Twitter mentions.

Gupta retains the crown, being hailed in the same rank last year. Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines’ Goh Choon Phong received the highest social media engagement with 999 mentions. 

According to the report, Gupta outperformed other CEOs due to his frequent communication around DBS’ efforts to navigate the COVID-19 crisis. 

The report also looked into how ‘favorable’ the visibility of CEOs are on media, and for this strand, Wilmar International’s CEO Kuok Khoon Hong took the reigns.

Favorability was measured via an article’s disposition, such as whether a company appears in the headline, the tone of the sources inside the article, and the sentiment of the journalist and the media outlet. Meanwhile, the mood of Twitter mentions was determined via the tone of the messages as well as the type of emojis and GIFs placed.  

The report said Hong’s favorability in the media emanated from the depiction of Hong as resilient, financially sound, and supportive towards the community by giving away the company’s largest-ever S$7m donation as well as the firm’s acknowledgment that the business had continued to record positive performance in 2020.

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines’ CEO Goh Choon Phong was commended for being the first to publicly address the news surrounding SIA including staff layoffs and pay cuts, as well as their rapid response to the backlash following new initiatives such as the ‘Flight To Nowhere.’ 

OCBC’s Samuel Tsien, Singtel’s Chua Sock Koong, UOB’s Wee Ee Cheong were also among the most visible CEOs with a total of 60, 40, and 22 articles respectively. These were due to their prompt responses to the COVID-19 crisis, assurance of the companies’ financial positions, and introduction of digital transformation initiatives to ensure their companies are able to weather the COVID storm.

CARMA ASIA’s Managing Director Andrew Nicholls spoke about the importance of CEOs being vocal in a time of crisis.

“In a period that has shaken confidence, the pressure on CEOs to provide guidance and reassurance to shareholders, employees, and customers has intensified.”