Sydney, Australia – Global creative advertising agency 72andSunny has launched its new global client offering, The Strategy Studio, created to provide a consultancy service for clients seeking advice on how to drive growth for their brands and businesses.

The Strategy Studio has opened in each of 72andSunny’s global locations, including Sydney, New York, Los Angeles and Amsterdam. The global unit can swiftly tap into international resources to uncover the latest global insights and trends as well as access knowledge gleaned working on 72andSunny’s global roster of past and current client partners, such as Google, adidas, NFL, Adobe, Meta, Amazon, Spotify, TikTok and Activision.

The Strategy Studio has been set up to help client partners with a range of different strategic challenges that can turbo-charge growth, such as identifying growth audiences, developing foundational brand strategies and go-to-market playbooks.

To lead the global consultancy team 72andSunny have hired two agency alumni, who will work on projects across the agency’s client partners. 

Head Of Consulting, Miné Cakmak, is re-joining the agency from her role as Group Strategy Director at consultancy FNDR, where she helped founders and CEOs shape their brands and businesses. Originally from Istanbul, Miné left a career on Wall Street for one in brand building, working at agencies including TBWA/Chiat/Day, Johannes Leonardo, and 72andSunny. 

Miné is joined by senior strategist Aviva Mann, another 72andSunny alumni, who’s joining from design consultancy Landor & Fitch, where she helped industry leaders such as Meta and Intel simplify complex portfolios and stretch into new categories.

Ross Berthinussen, 72andSunny ANZ CEO, said: “72andSunny builds modern brands through strategy, advertising and design. We created the Strategy Studio because clients need a deeper level of strategic advice on how to navigate a marketing landscape that’s evolving faster than ever before. To engage new audiences and drive growth, clients need to be agile and fast to market, but must also understand the often complex, cultural context they are operating within. That’s exactly what our new offering does.”

He added, “The Strategy Studio works with clients who need upstream thinking. But we also work with companies that need strategic firepower but not necessarily full-service support, either because they have needs that are bigger than marketing, or because they have in-house creative departments.”

Sydney, Australia – In addition to its existing media remit in Australia, independent creative, design, and media agency Enigma expands its partnership with global equipment manufacturer New Holland after winning the strategy & creative business remit for both Australia and New Zealand markets.

The agency’s new mandate will focus on all strategy, creative and production services and executions for Australia and New Zealand. This is all the while being responsible for media buying across all Australian national and local broadcast media, extending to print, outdoor, radio, cinema, digital, search, and social.

Jack Mason, managing director at Enigma, said that he’s delighted with the expansion of agency’s remit which allows New Holland to benefit from a full-service agency collaboration. 

“New Holland is a fantastic business with so much creative potential. Potential that will be easier to achieve by having strategy, creative and media working together within one agency. It makes collaboration easier, encourages exciting new perspectives and ultimately helps us produce best in class work for this iconic brand,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ross Purdy, head of marketing and communications at CNH Industrial in Australia & New Zealand, said that they’re pleased to expand the relationship with Enigma as their creative agency partner.

“Enigma has demonstrated a strong understanding of our audience from construction to agricultural. Through the pitch process we’ve been really impressed with their strategic perspective and a very exciting creative approach with the customer at the centre,” Purdy added.

Enigma focuses on creative, media, brand strategy and design, with offices in Sydney, Newcastle, and Brisbane.

India – Wunderman Thompson India has been awarded the strategy and creative mandate for ŠKODA, the Czech automobile manufacturer. The remit is inked to last for three years, where the business will be led and operated out of Wunderman Thompson’s Mumbai office.

The agency described the pitching process as “fiercely competitive.” Wunderman Thompson shared that leading to nabbing the account, the challenge had been to present their POV on SKODA’s after-sales services. Leveraging its data and tech capabilities, the agency worked extensively to understand the culture trend and engaged in consumer immersions to present solutions for the brand.

Wunderman Thompson India is no stranger to the creative and marketing demands of brands within the automobile space. The agency has had a long-standing association with Ford Motor Co, launching several of its successful brands in the country. It also continues to build on its decade-long relationship with HeroMotoCorp and has been a long-term custodian for brands such as Apollo Tyres and Exide Batteries.

Talking about the new partnership, Tarun Jha, head of marketing of ŠKODA Auto India, said, “ŠKODA is at a very critical milestone of its journey in India. As we gear up for the next phase of our growth with our India 2.0 strategy, we wanted a partner who will ride with us and add value to our business. With Wunderman Thompson’s experience in auto category and enthusiasm to build distinctive narratives, we are hopeful that journey will be successful.” 

Meanwhile, Anurag Tandon, SVP & Managing Partner of Wunderman Thompson, Mumbai, commented that on the back of new product launches and network expansion with a laser-sharp focus on customer satisfaction, the brand is on an accelerated growth path. 

“We couldn’t be more excited to partner the brand at this exciting juncture to provide business solutions and drive growth for [ŠKODA],” he said.

In January, Wunderman Thompson South Asia has named a new chief digital officer through the appointment of former dentsu president for West in India, Harsh Shah.

The greater foundations of any successful business or agency nowadays are no longer confined within the spaces of how well the agency clinches large accounts for their work, or how much awards the campaigns and works they made with their clients have acquired. Instead, the modern face of an agency has always been this intrinsic web of ascertaining ‘memorable’ and ‘relevant’ campaigns, creating an inclusive environment for creative talents, as well as keeping in mind its greater role for the betterment of the society, economically and sustainably.

Despite the complexity of these tasks modern agencies would need now to face, there are quite a number of agencies who continue to strive for this modern agency ideology. In addition, many of these agencies add their own flair of strategies and methodologies to live up to these expectations, and truly make a lasting impression not just to clients, but to the society as well.

Such is the mantra of Malaysia-based agency DreamsKingdoms, founded and currently led by Yenkai “Yens” Chong, whose primary objective to date is to aid local small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) to be the next generation of multinational companies (MNCs). For the agency, this includes preparing for BMI or the so-called ‘branding and marketing integration’, enabling them to shift their mindset to be ready and confident in realizing their full potential.

“In the running, DreamsKingdoms will share its creative expertise for the local SMEs to flourish by driving performance-driven branding and marketing skills forward to clients. The company’s expert experience having worked with a broad portfolio of global brands will surely be used as a key instrument in influencing the country’s SMEs, adopting the way a multinational corporation (MNC) markets its brand,” Yens shared in an interview with MARKETECH APAC.

Utilization of gamification strategies to boost team productivity

Gone are the days when the facet of a business management strategy is all about the intensity and number of the outputs, but rather affording a similar value on the need for team members to execute their skills and creative prowess well in order to create campaigns that impress more and last longer.

For Yens, part of that strategy in improving the productivity mantra is creating gamification strategies in order to boost work output from team members not just by the physical count but by the value and the message of the creative work to be embodied by the client. 

For instance, the agency has its own proprietary platform called ‘GamePlan’, which encourages the team to continuously upgrade their skills by being able to collect ‘gems’, ‘coins’, as well client’s ‘love’; these, in turn, will enable the agency’s team members to qualify for the promotion and have them in exchange of rewards as well. 

“It’s like playing a game while you are working. That’s what motivates people from young to old age, to have a clear path of where their performance is and improve on the area that they are behind,” Yens stated.

He believes that success should be implemented in a new way and measured by key results through the genuine creativeness and lasting impression an output leaves for the client and viewers, especially as a thought leader in the creative industry.

“Creatives are always being underrated in the growth of a business. Eventually, we are not being defined as a professional and always being put as the last choice to grow a business. We are building a creative eco-system that combines small individual specific skills that are nothing when viewed individually but integrated together, it becomes a result-driven source of power,” he added.

A self-taught pattern to empower DreamsKingdoms’ clients

Patterns and methodologies are the true core of any agency to succeed, and for Yens, part of the agency’s own pattern or model relies on what he calls the “ABCDE Energy,” which constitutes, Attract Attention, Bold Branding, Consumer Connection, Design Desire, and Extraordinary Experience.

An integral part of the pattern to work it out fully is always think about who gets to react and use it, hence the factor Attract Attention. If you can get audiences’ attention, you would have gained a listener. Attention has become the new currency not only for brand success but with anything they wish to convey.

Of course, part of the reason why audiences stick to a brand is that they find a particular brand to be creating a particular impression on them. With Bold Branding, it explains that people don’t buy what you do, people buy why brands do it. With the audience’s attention attracted, next is to capture their belief in why you do what you do through powerful brand purpose. 

Once the brand establishes a striking impression with their audience, in order for them to stay in the longer run, they need to ascertain Consumer Connection. Listen, understand, connect and engage. The future belongs to those who are able to align and connect with the power of empathy with their consumer, as trust builds relationships, and relationships drive action. 

And while we’re at it, Design Desire is another factor to include, making the product or service inclusive and appealing to the consumer. The motivating force behind raving fans. Consumers buy when they believe in your core purpose and would want to be part of the change you promise to bring them.

Lastly, as with any big brands that have lasted for ages, Extraordinary Experience is dubbed as the ‘extra spice’ to complete the audience-brand relationship. Defined as the lifetime memory that anchors the mind & heart, this is built upon the foundations of endless choices of what’s available and what’s possible getting smaller, consumer expectations are what set the extraordinary from the norm.

Yens believes that every global successful brand becomes successful through a pattern. From years of deep experience, he discovered a pattern that will help shape a brand through achieving more likeability, shareability, and lovability.

“Always practice that ‘CIA’ mentality: Always Curious, Imagineering, and Assessing’. This comes with the constant goal of creating the next breakthrough. Since day one, I have constantly reviewed my capabilities and relevancy to the changes in the industry. For me, there’s always a mission unfulfilled as long as there’s imagination yet to be discovered,” Yens explained regarding the formulation of the agency pattern.

Sharing through digital content: A tale of video series

Agencies don’t just thrive under the fact that they are just all about their craft and output, sometimes its members go the extra mile in ascertaining the vision of their company, which is for the greater benefit of their clients, helping them to create an impact at a larger society level. From creating non-profit organizations catered to help those in the community, creating a network of influencers to spread a certain message, all these strategies are tackled by creative leaders nowadays who wish to not only create an impact but also affect disruption for the greater good. 

In Yens’ case, one of his ways to ascertain that vision of aiding others is through constant sharing, specifically through digital content.

A screengrab on one of the many videos Yens uploads on his personal branded Facebook page.

He currently runs a personal branded Facebook page, where he uploads short video content sharing people various local-centric marketing concepts such as branding, advertising campaigns and migrating traditional business online.

The greater reason that makes these videos so inclined to CSR principles is that Yens’ sharing video content empowers especially local-based SMEs who aspire to be the ‘next big thing’. And as true to the mantra of the DreamsKingdoms’ vision of empowering this sector, , these videos speak truly of their aspirations of aiding SMEs towards their continued growth as a business.

This educational strategy from Yens best reflects his perspective and personality as a thought leader, where he states that “as a leader, entrepreneurs don’t read books, they use books.” He also added that we don’t lack knowledge or information, but, rather, we only lack simplified concepts that could easily be understood and shared to everyone, understandable and shareable.

A vision for the future of SMEs as the next MNCs

Part of the greater vision by DreamsKingdoms and Yens includes developing their mission of assisting 100 potential Malaysian SMEs to achieve excellent brand status. The company believes that this initiative will be able to help elevate the country’s SME sector as a whole, as well as promote good entrepreneurship spirit and product innovation.

Furthermore, the company also seeks to assist more Malaysian services, products, and businesses to thrive in the market by leveraging the company’s knowledge, skills, and expertise in branding and marketing strategy.

“The mission to grow SMEs will be elevated to be a permanent positioning of the company in order to get closer to achieving the status of being the country’s top performance-driven branding consultancy company,” Yens added.

In order to achieve this task, the agency will be sharing its creative expertise for the local SMEs to flourish by championing performance-driven branding and marketing skills. The company’s expert experience having worked with a broad portfolio of global brands will surely be used as a key instrument in influencing the country’s SMEs, adopting the way a multinational corporation (MNC) markets its brand.

Yens believes that to achieve impact, creativity in any brand growth should be simple. One of his well-known quotes is, “Think like MNCs, Act Like SMEs,” which means that businesses should have the insight and a vision big enough like MNCs, while incorporating the speed of SMEs. With this, businesses will be able to adapt to the changes in the environment.

Australia – Val Morgan’s digital publishing arm Val Morgan Digital has expanded its team to establish new appointments for its agency partnership and content management functions.

Two account management experts – Alyce Thomas and Claudia Pearce will be joining as agency partnership managers, while Nicola Laing and Jack Revell were roped in to assume the roles Strategy & Content Manager and Branded Content & Weekend Editor of VMD’s platform TheLatch—, respectively.

Laing was a former strategy and response manager at Pedestrian Group, the company behind publications POPSUGAR and Business Insider, while Revell is a writer having covered arts, culture, and politics for titles SBS Voices, VICE, Rolling Stone, Pedestrian, and The Urban List.

Meanwhile, Thomas boasts an extensive online media experience, with previous positions in sales and account management in formerly Bauer Media, Are Media and at media site The Urban List. Pearce on the other hand, joins from lifestyle and travel online publication Time Out, having worked across a variety of publications and brands, building partnerships with both top-tier clients and media agencies.

VMD said that the expansion comes as it continues to experience a rise in demand for its digital offerings as well as increased demand from the audience of its media site TheLatch—for more entertainment, wellness, and lifestyle content.

“With consistent MoM growth, we’re carving out a solid space in market, with thought-provoking content that helps our audience dig deeper on issues like sustainability and mental health. We’ve learned a lot from our readers over the past six months, with those learnings driving some exciting brand developments at the end of this year. Watch this space,” said Amanda Bardas, executive editor of VMD.

Managing Director of VMD Brian Florido also commented, “I am extremely proud of the tenacity shown by the digital sales and editorial team this year. Under Adam and Amanda’s leadership, they have navigated unprecedented challenges, and have evolved our digital arm from ‘new kid on the block’ to a sophisticated and legitimate digital offering. In turn, we continue to attract phenomenal talent to our expanding business. Alyce, Claudia, Nicola, and Jack each bring their own set of skills to their roles which will be valuable assets in helping us continue to grow VMD.”