Global digital behaviour aggregator company SQREEM Technologies had recently acquired contextual digital advertising platform TotallyAwesome, which will see TotallyAwesome’s extensive reach of over 900 million users and human-curated whitelists be integrated into SQREEM’s proprietary AI technology.

Through the acquisition, the pair will form the largest behaviour audience repository on the planet, reaching over 2.4 billion consumers in 80 countries. With the acquisition being a significant industry move in terms of providing safe contextual advertising options for advertisers not only in Asia-Pacific but also globally, what’s behind-the-scenes of this acquisition move from SQREEM and what new offerings can the industry expect?

For our latest Top Story feature, MARKETECH APAC spoke exclusively to Ian Chapman-Banks, chief executive officer at SQREEM to better understand their goal of acquiring TotallyAwesome, and what’s next for SQREEM in terms of offering new advertising solutions to new markets globally.

Broadened product offering and leveraged synergies

For Ian, the acquisition of TotallyAwesome significantly adds value to SQREEM by expanding its market reach to include youth and family demographics, bolstering its technological capabilities, and broadening its competitive edge with more comprehensive advertising solutions. 

“This acquisition brings new clients and cross-selling opportunities, creating additional revenue streams. Operational synergies from the integration lead to streamlined processes, strengthening SQREEM’s position as a leading behavioural aggregator. It also fosters new product development, driving innovation, and enhances SQREEM’s brand reputation and market credibility,” he said.

When asked what are the main factors that contributed to SQREEM’s acquisition of TotallyAwesome, Ian listed five factors–enhancing capabilities in targeted youth advertising, expanding market presence, leveraging synergies, strategic growth, and broadening product offering.

Speaking of enhanced capabilities, he notes that as TotallyAwesome specialises in youth digital media and family-friendly advertising, this will allow SQREEM to expand its reach in this specific demographic. Moreover, this complements SQREEM’s existing capabilities in behavioural aggregation and targeted advertising, enabling more precise and effective campaigns tailored to younger audiences.

“TotallyAwesome’s established presence in the youth and family advertising sector provides SQREEM with immediate access to a new customer base and market segment. This helps diversify SQREEM’s portfolio and strengthens its market position. The integration of TotallyAwesome’s user base with SQREEM’s AI-driven insights creates synergies that can enhance the performance and efficiency of their combined solutions. This includes improved targeting, better customer insights, and more effective and ethical ad placements,” he further explained.

Lastly, Ian notes that by acquiring TotallyAwesome, SQREEM can accelerate its growth trajectory and scale more rapidly, aligning with its goal to become a billion-dollar unicorn by 2026.

Improving advertising compliance, safety standards

For Ian, one of the biggest benefits of acquiring TotallyAwesome is how it has developed proper industry measures and solutions that include youth and family-focused advertising, content creation, and stringent compliance with safety standards like COPPA and GDPR–across it own suite of products.

“In APAC, SQREEM faces challenges such as navigating the diverse regulatory environments across different countries, each with its own data privacy laws and standards for protecting young users, like COPPA and GDPR. Ensuring compliance while maintaining effective engagement can be complex and resource intensive,” he remarked.

Some of TotallyAwesome’s solutions include contextual advertising expertise which can offer privacy-compliant, cookie-free advertising solutions, crucial for targeting youth safely and effectively; as well as ensuring safe and relevant ad placements across diverse channels like apps, gaming, and social media.

Ian also understands that despite many nuances on cultural differences and varying levels of digital literacy in terms of driving safe and effective advertising solutions in APAC, there is still a great deal of opportunities in the region. He adds that the region boasts one of the largest and most digitally engaged youth populations in the world. Moreover, he notes that this demographic is highly active on social media and other digital platforms, making it a prime target for innovative, youth-focused advertising campaigns. 

“By leveraging TotallyAwesome’s expertise in creating safe, compliant, and engaging content for young audiences, SQREEM can provide brands with effective tools to reach this lucrative market. Furthermore, the integration of TotallyAwesome’s programmatic advertising solutions with SQREEM’s AI and data analytics capabilities can enhance the precision and effectiveness of campaigns, offering brands unprecedented insights and engagement opportunities with the youth demographic in APAC,” he stated.

Strengthening cookie-less solutions and other advertising offerings

Amidst continued industry movement towards privacy-centric advertising solutions, Ian has stressed SQREEM’s commitment to enhancing its cookie-less solutions to better serve its partners and clients in the APAC region. For him, by leveraging advanced AI-powered behavioural analytics, SQREEM can accurately identify user patterns and preferences without relying on cookies.

“To ensure privacy and compliance, SQREEM integrates first-party data from clients while adhering to regional privacy regulations like GDPR and PDPA. Strengthening industry alliances and collaborating with key players allows SQREEM to develop and promote cookie-less standards tailored to the APAC market,” he said.

Ian also noted how technological upgrades, such as enhanced machine learning models and robust cross-device tracking, had enabled SQREEM to understand user behaviour through non-cookie-based signals, providing a comprehensive view of user journeys across devices. Moreover, innovative solutions like predictive analytics and scalable personalisation techniques further enhance user engagement and conversion rates.

“To support clients in transitioning to cookie-less solutions, SQREEM offers workshops, training sessions, and ongoing resources. Clear performance metrics and transparent reporting demonstrate the effectiveness of cookie-less campaigns compared to traditional methods,” he said.

He further added, “SQREEM aims to provide robust, privacy-compliant, and effective cookie-less solutions, ensuring its partners and clients in APAC can continue to achieve their marketing goals in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.”

What’s next for SQREEM globally?

Following the acquisition of TotallyAwesome, Ian had already hinted on his LinkedIn post that SQREEM aims to expand its presence and offerings to other markets, including in the Middle East and Latin America. For this, we asked: what’s the roadmap for this?

“Our recent acquisition, TotallyAwesome, will play a pivotal role in this expansion. TotallyAwesome offers a managed service for the curation of whitelists and safe, compliant activation for children and parents. This service will be crucial in rapidly building whitelists in the four largest markets in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia and UAE) and LATAM (Brazil and Mexico). These markets, characterized by a high percentage of young people, present significant opportunities for growth,” Ian explained.

He also noted that SQREEM already had a presence in the Middle East and LATAM regions through direct sales and distribution partners, and for them leveraging this existing infrastructure, SQREEM plans to scale up its operations by enhancing its local market capabilities.

“We are already operationally ready to expand, having set up channels in key cities like Rio and São Paulo during recent visits. This groundwork ensures that SQREEM is well-prepared to leverage its partnerships and distribution capabilities to penetrate these markets effectively,” he concluded.

After more than two years since the mandate was first awarded to them, GOVT Singapore has recently announced that Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) has extended its existing creative and digital mandate with them for three more years. In this extended mandate, part of the agency strategy for the brand as well is working with WE Red Bridge for social and communications consultancy covering the China market.

For our latest Top Story feature, we spoke with Timothy Chan, executive creative director and partner at GOVT Singapore to learn more about this extended mandate, reflections on their past works with SDC, and what this three-year extension means for them as an agency.

Reflecting on past work and the future ahead

One of the key works GOVT Singapore had with Sentosa was its brand refresh, done within a span of six months. In said work, the agency endeavoured to change the tagline from ‘State of Fun’ which has been in use since 2014, to ‘Where discovery never ends’. For GOVT back then, the new brand identity draws inspiration from the island’s many unexpected sights, sounds, and experiences at every turn.

“When we refreshed the Sentosa brand to go from “fun” to “discovery”, it was a pivotal moment. We had one chance to hit the nail on the head, and we’re pretty proud of the end product. More importantly, the brand positioning of ‘Where discovery never ends’ was also a result of intense collaboration between all the agencies and the clients. So it was satisfying to see it come to life,” Chan stated.

Another campaign GOVT Singapore did with Sentosa was ‘SentosaLand’, a fantastical version of the island in the metaverse on Roblox, a popular sandbox game. The experience, launched in part of the brand refresh effort, takes existing elements from its counterpart’s physical attractions and gives them a more fantastical twist.

“One where virtual discoveries led to rewards on the island. Niche as it may seem, we still got 87 million impressions and 5,000 hours of playtime,” he remarked.

When asked why as part of their extended mandate, focus on the Chinese market was taken into consideration, Chan stated, “To be a world-class brand, brand Sentosa needs to be famous globally. So yes, to that end, giving international visitors great experiences is crucial. And of course, this includes visitors from China.”

He further added. “Plus, the time is right to ramp up our efforts too. In February of this year alone, more than 327,000 visitors arrived in Singapore from China. Which is about 96% of pre-COVID levels in 2019. So while other parts of the world are still waiting for Chinese travelers to return, Singapore is well-positioned to capture them. 

On learning curves and demands

For Chan, given that SDC’s status as a world-class destination for visitors globally, marketing a destination brand proved to challenging from the get-go–and that there are three over-compassing learning curves and demands that GOVT Singapore has learned: radical collaboration, stakeholder management, and the work being the proof of a successful agency mandate partnership.

“We’ve always practiced this with all our clients, so SDC is no different. And it’s a formula that works. We spend an unreasonable amount of time building relationships with the entire marketing team, and beyond. It helps us prepare sharper briefs and as a result, better work. Like any organisation, SDC has stakeholders from different backgrounds and demands. Helping our clients manage them is another important ingredient to our partnership. It’s how we can feel like an extension of SDC’s marketing team, instead of just a vendor,” Chan explained.

He added, “When we look back, I’d say that the work has been good, but it can be even better. Especially with the foundations we’ve laid. Single-mindedly, that’s what we’re aiming to do.”

Chan also notes that this renewed mandate must give the agency a rejuvenated vigour to be even better for Sentosa.

“The pitch win was important mentally for the agency. It helped us prove to everyone (and even more so, ourselves) that we’re the right long-term partners for the brand. It was a crucial test for us to pass. But it’s definitely not business as usual now. We’re working on ways to strengthen the relationship, refresh the team, plug the gaps and ultimately, make the work even better. A world-class brand like Sentosa deserves world-class work,” he concluded.

Singapore – After serving as the chief marketing officer of HSBC’s PayMe for three years, Jaslin Goh announced her transition into a new industry as she was appointed as the new vice president of marketing at foodpanda. The move, which officially took effect in March this year, saw her heading the regional marketing function for foodpanda and will be working closely with local marketing directors to drive growth and brand love across Asia.

For our next Top Story of the year, we spoke with Goh a month into her new role to learn more about her marketing goals with foodpanda, how she managed to shift to a new industry, and what q-commerce marketing capabilities the industry can expect more from one of the region’s largest food delivery companies.

Putting an emphasis on marketing growth

One of the key points Goh noted was that her varied marketing background across multiple marketing specialisations had enabled her a big-picture approach in marketing and that her detailed knowledge into the various disciplines helped to drive topline growth and bottom-line success.

She also highlighted that marketing for her requires right brain and left brain thinking, noting that in foodpanda, marketing is a science. 

“We put a lot of emphasis on driving growth through moving levers around multiple variables to enable us to gain market share. Left-brain attributes like having quantitative and strong analytical skills is an important skill set in any tech role. Complementing this with right-brain specialisation in creative thinking would enable a marketing individual to thrive,” she explained.

Goh added, “By combining the two, we can drive stronger emotional bonding with our various marketing and campaign initiatives while achieving our growth targets, as we work to bring the foodpanda Asia brand to the next level.”

She also notes that while her previous role was in fintech and foodpanda is in the space of food delivery and quick commerce (q-commerce), she sees both having similarities in terms of being the conduit between demand and supply in the market. Goh also added that what makes foodpanda unique is the added element of more players in the ecosystem: customers, riders, and merchant partners.

“Customer and merchant partner acquisitions, and moving them through the lifecycle is evidently important to growing the business. In foodpanda, my scope covers performance marketing, growth marketing, brand marketing, media, research CRM, pricing and incentives with a strong regional and local marketing team. I work closely with the team to continually find efficient methods to acquire new customers and move them through the lifecycle. This includes activating, retaining, and reactivating customers through in-app, CRM, EDM and other owned channels. My varied marketing background across multiple marketing specialisations enables a big-picture approach and my detailed knowledge into the various disciplines helps to drive topline growth and bottomline success.”

Pushing forward amidst q-commerce competition, drastic consumer behaviour changes

Goh understands that q-commerce continues to grow post-Covid, as consumers have gotten used to the convenience and access to quality and value items from the comfort of their couch. With this, more players will emerge and there will naturally be increasing competition for better products and ordering experience.

“Consumers have also become more savvy and price conscious. With inflationary rises, they are willing to put in extra effort to get products at cheaper prices, such as Hong Kong consumers going into mainland China for grocery purchases. We can observe a similar phenomenon in Singapore where consumers head into Johor Bahru to buy household items,” she explained.

With these drastic changes, she advises retailers to take into consideration external factors such as price differential, the overall retail experience and preferred social activities in their marketing plans.

“There will also be an added focus on reliability, speed, and customer service – as well as ensuring a wide range of variety for customers. E-commerce and q-commerce will need to continue optimising their business through big data user analysis, psychological pricing, product assortment to ensure the best mix that helps achieve the business KPIs,” she added.

In terms of what foodpanda is targeting next year, Goh hints of more strategic partnerships this year, where its collaborations with big grocery chains and mass brands were launched with great success. She also added that in lieu of riding on consumers’ habits of going to their preferred grocery and personal care brands, they have made it even more convenient for consumers to do such thing by providing quick delivery services.

“This creates a win-win situation where grocery and personal care partners can rely on a stable fleet of delivery partners whilst focusing on what they do best, while boosting the variety of retailers that consumers can shop from on the foodpanda platform. We have also seen a strong demand for fresh produce in some of our markets – with many appreciating the service that pandamart offers: hyperfast, hyperfresh produce delivered conveniently at any time of the day. We will continue to optimise our business strategies to keep abreast of market needs as they evolve,” she concluded.

As part of Singapore’s continued roll-out of its “Made in Singapore” global tourism campaign, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has tapped BBH Singapore and The Shophouse @ Publicis to launch a global outdoor advertising campaign that focused on highlighting some of the country’s unique and multifaceted offerings and provides a whimsical take on three iconic Singapore experiences.

Moreover, this campaign–which was rolled out in the cities of New York, London, Shanghai, Mumbai and Jakarta–is an extension of the current “Made in Singapore” campaign that replaced the “SingapoReimagine” recovery campaign. Much like the outdoor campaigns, this main campaign put into spotlight quintessentially Singapore experiences, from iconic attractions to hidden gems, that turn ordinary moments into extraordinary ones.

For our latest Top Story story of this year, we spoke with Khairul Mondzi, executive creative director at BBH Singapore to learn more about the creative process for this outdoor campaign, and what’s next for their campaign work with STB for its “Made in Singapore” campaign.

On strategically executing the campaign at a global level

One of the first things Mondzi pointed out was that for this campaign, they strategically rolled out the campaign at select global cities in order to drive higher interest for the campaign, which in turn will drive more engagement for STB.

“This strategic selection aims to raise awareness and drive heightened interest for the campaign among our key target audiences, catalysing earned coverage for the ‘Made in Singapore’ campaign in iconic media capitals of USA and UK, while fostering a greater push for recovery in top target markets of China, India and Indonesia for destination Singapore,” he explained.

Official campaign roll-out of 3D billboards by STB

For Mondzi, the ‘Made in Singapore’ global campaign puts a fresh spin on the Passion Made Possible destination brand, spotlighting how ordinary moments are made extraordinary in Singapore. Moreover, their goal was to bring to life the city’s rich tapestry of experiences and craft a compelling narrative that captivates audiences with both imagination and allure, utilising large, high-impact immersive formats such as anamorphic 3D billboards.

“Through this medium, we expanded upon our initial launch film and key visuals, extending our message into a new dimension. While digital and social media remain integral components of our strategy, the inclusion of a 3D billboard in OOH advertising provides prominent visibility and drives conversations. This approach not only effectively communicated our campaign’s essence but also offered consumers a fresh perspective, drawing them closer to the heart of our message with a deeper brand connection,” he explained.

On elevating STB’s tourism message, what’s next for their creative partnership

For Mondzi, the narrative unveiled in these outdoor billboards provides a flavour of the extraordinary experiences that Singapore welcomes visitors with, adding that everything people know about the Gardens, Performance Art and Window Shopping takes a surprising turn and is presented in an immersive way in this campaign.

“The anamorphic 3D technology provided that larger-than-life scale and magic, showcasing Singapore’s unique twist through the awe-inspiring Supertrees, the flair and artistry of a hawker cooking up a storm and plating chilli crab, and the celebration of Singapore’s Peranakan culture embodied by a skilled artisan meticulously crafting a traditional slipper within a charming shophouse setting,” he said.

3D Billboard of STB at the famous Piccadily in London, United Kingdom

When asked about what’s next for their work with STB, he notes that there will be more specific marketing campaigns throughout the years to tell the Singaporean story. One example of yet another campaign they recently launched with STB is the ‘World’s Best Mice City’, which features Singapore as a destination where business events can create and leave a positive and lasting impact. 

Launched in March 2024, the campaign showcases how Singapore enables meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) event organisers and delegates to positively impact the industry, society, and environment, by turning possibilities into reality.

“‘Made in Singapore’ is our campaign platform, envisaged to be further brought to life through global marketing campaigns, that will be rolled out in the coming years to sharpen the way we tell the Singapore story, with ‘Made in Singapore’ at the heart of everything,” he concluded.

As part of the many Lunar New Year celebration campaigns in the region, Coca-Cola had launched a multi-faceted campaign, which includes a fiery redesign of its iconic soft drinks packaging, AR filters on social media, as well as a music video with MediaCorp personality Hazelle Teo to showcase celebrating the festivities in style.

For Coca-Cola back then, they wanted that their campaign to resonate further with all ages in wishing each other well wishes, and bearing that spirit of welcoming the new year with optimism and bringing families closer together.

For our third Top Story of the year, we spoke exclusively to Teejae Sonza, Senior Marketing Director of Coca-Cola Trademark, Coca-Cola ASEAN & South Pacific to learn more about the multinational company’s direction to Lunar New Year campaigns, as well as stressing how its iconic drink has been the centrepiece of personal connections throughout the years.

How campaigns should always usher into a better year ahead

For Sonza, with Lunar New Year festivities always centred around ushering for a better year ahead with optimism, Coca-Cola considers that their campaigns should encompass their three core values: authenticity, optimism, and bridging divide. For the company, they want to encourage people to look at the New Year with optimism and hope, as well as reconnect with their families and friends.

“This year, Coca-Cola designed its Lunar New Year campaign centred on the idea that the magic of the Lunar New Year celebration happens when people bond together. It’s designed to inspire families to open up and deepen their connection with their families over a festive meal table, hopefully bringing them even closer during the Lunar New Year celebration,” he said.

Key visual for Coca-Cola’s Lunar New Year campaign

Sonza also added that one of the things that is also observed during these festivities is that there are generational differences within families, especially the younger generation who sometimes feel disconnected from their families. For Coca-Cola as a brand, they are always asking the question of how they can play a role in terms of bridging and enabling people to connect amidst the differences. 

“We see Coca-Cola and the dining table as our centrepieces for connection. As an enduring presence at mealtimes across generations, Coca-Cola steps in to facilitate shared experiences and meaningful conversations, bringing families closer together over a table filled with delicious meals and of course, an ice-cold Coca-Cola,” he added.

How its revamped packaging is a key part of Coca-Cola’s integrated campaign

A key component of Coca-Cola’s Lunar New Year campaign is its revamped packaging, which Sonza notes also has variations for its Singapore and Malaysian markets, as well as in Vietnam for its Tết (Lunar New Year) festivities.

Visual for Coca-Cola’s revamped Lunar New Year packaging design

“Our Coca-Cola packaging for the Lunar New Year featured the striking dragon design, a symbol of wealth and good fortune, and embodies the spirit of the Lunar New Year – a time for luck, well-wishing, and anticipation of a prosperous year ahead. We have also artfully integrated this majestic creature, not only in our packaging but also in a heartwarming TVC — bridging tradition and modernity, and encapsulating the essence of the upcoming year,” he said.

Sonza added, “Our product (and packaging) is the most tangible and best form of media that people/consumers interact with. Using our labels to show a country’s culture or tradition is part of the integrated experience we wish to deliver to people as we celebrate the Lunar New Year together with them.”

On the drive of influencers to amplify campaign across various touch points

As part of its Lunar New Year campaign in Singapore, Coca-Cola tapped MediaCorp artist Hazelle Teo to create a music video focusing on the fun side of the Lunar New Year festivities. According to Sonza, Yeo is one of the many influencers Coca-Cola is working with across the ASEAN and South Pacific regions for its campaigns.

“The song of Hazel Teo was released in Singapore only and relates to the campaign idea that “the magic of the Lunar New Year celebration happens when people bond”. It’s a reflection of the previous year’s hard work, how their family’s encouragement helped them power through, and how they look forward to the good fortune that the new year brings. It also talks about looking forward with positive enthusiasm and an even stronger determination as they have now received the best gift of them all – the “blessings of home”,” Sonza explained.

Music video with Hazelle Teo for Coca-Cola’s Lunar New Year campaign

He also added that by recognising how their consumers consume and interact with different forms of media, as well as connect with their friends, they are then able to fully provide an experience that is specifically catered and centred on them.

“Today’s generation (Gen Z), as we know it, is very social and digital savvy. Influencers play a key role in driving home our message and encouraging people, specifically the generation now, to use the tools we create or experience the activities we prepare on social and on the ground for them. Hence, we engage and connect with our consumers by tapping influencers to whom they relate to,” he concluded.

Amidst a growing competition amongst regional and local e-commerce players in Indonesia, Tokopedia managed to rise from other players during the 12.12 sale period. How did they do it? The Indonesian e-commerce giant tapped Kobo Kanaeru, a virtual YouTuber (VTuber) under the Hololive agency, and Internet personality/music producer Heiakim to produce a one-minute jingle ahead of the sale period.

What resulted was a significant success for Tokopedia, who not only put more focus on the platform in contrast to other players but also caught the attention of both local and international VTuber fans who showed interest in the collaboration through fan engagement endeavours such as fan arts and even meme edits.

For MARKETECH APAC’s first Top Story of the year, we spoke exclusively once again with Jonathan Locanawan, senior lead for social media at Tokopedia to learn more about the brand’s insights on creating authentic campaigns that not only resonated with niche fan groups but also speaking to the diverse Indonesian community.

Always appealing to specific audiences

Setting aside this specific 12.12 campaign featuring Kobo Kanaeru and Heiakim, Tokopedia has long been known to appeal to a wide range of audiences, whether it is Tokopedia posting online of their mascot ‘Toped’ jokingly making a prayer circle to summon their favourite Genshin Impact character or ‘Toped’ attending a popular Indonesian pop culture convention cosplaying as the character Gojo Satoru of the Jujutsu Kaisen series.

When asked how they can juggle many communities to appeal to, Locanawan points directly to better understanding the behaviour of various demographics, researching about the group, and strategising on how to approach them best.

The 12.12 campaign jingle from Tokopedia, co-created by popular Indonesian VTuber Kobo Kanaeru from Hololive and popular music producer Heiakim

“Tokopedia always tries to provide new ways to cater the ever-evolving preferences of Indonesian consumers, one of them is by doing research and understanding the persona of each target audience that we would like to engage with many of our campaigns,” he said.

He added, “After doing enough research, we then tailor and introduce various campaigns, aside from WAR Diskon (the local name of the campaign), to appeal to more specific communities.”

Locanawan then listed a wide array of special campaigns for very specific audiences, ranging from beauty products to fashion, and automotive parts, and even allowing local sellers to sell directly their food and beverage products on the platform.

“There are many other campaigns on Tokopedia that we continuously fine-tune to ensure that the products curated are always aligned with the needs,” he said.

Locanawan also notes the importance of relevancy across platforms but specifies that despite always keeping up to date with their diverse demographic, what is most important for them is to always stay true to their brand ethos: consumer centricity as the guiding star.

“Appealing to the various audiences is how Tokopedia tries to stay relevant. However, we also try to keep our distinctiveness. Amongst the sea of heavy promotions from the entire industry, we always try to come up with something special to really stand out from the crowd yet still maintain the local authenticity, sensibility and voice of ‘Tokopedia’,” he added.

Upholding the ‘focus on consumer’ value

When MARKETECH APAC previously spoke with Locanawan exclusively on the launch of their 12.12 campaign, he said, “Regardless of whatever strategy is used, consumer centricity has always been our guiding star—how we can ensure our consumers can benefit from the products, services and partnerships provided. That is what Tokopedia will always do to keep winning the hearts of Indonesians.”

In this instance, he added, “For example, whatever we do, we always try to put ourselves in the shoes of our user and understand their perspective—what pain points they face, what can help solve those challenges, what they like and don’t like. At Tokopedia, we always ask, is what we are doing relevant to our consumers?”

One of the many fan arts created following the collaboration between Tokopedia and Kobo Kanaeru

Locanawan is right: the Tokopedia 12.12 campaign proved to be a huge success, as it resonated well with its target audiences. Within a week of the jingle’s release, the brand garnered more than 7.5 million impressions across social media platforms (Twitter, TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube). It also achieved over 780k engagements, generated more than 5k fan video edits and fan art, and even attracted 1.7k viewers eagerly awaiting the premiere of our one-hour loop video.

“By upholding our ‘Focus on Consumer’ value, this is how we were able to come up with various campaigns that cater to different audiences, from Tokopedia Beauty, Tokopedia Tekno to Tokopedia NYAM! and many more,” he said, about the multiple campaigns they do for various demographics.

Lastly, when asked how Tokopedia can be ‘all over the place’ in launching demographic-specific campaigns without sounding forced, Locanawan had this to say.

“We also never want to stick to only one idea, even if the idea itself sounds comfortable. We always try to see that the only thing constant is change. We see gaps in a problem as opportunities or interesting challenges to overcome, with helping Indonesian consumers as Tokopedia’s end-goal,” he concluded.

Just recently, Enero Group, the boutique network of marketing and communications agencies headquartered in Australia, has announced that it has acquired GetIT, the marketing agency in APAC that specialises in B2B technology. This is the newest acquisition by Enero Group where last year, the network was seen buying McDonald Butler Associates (MBA), a UK-based B2B sales agency.

The current move by the network is aimed at accelerating the growth of Hotwire in APAC, Enero’s leading global technology communications consultancy. In an exclusive interview with GetIT’s CEO Anol Bhattacharya, he shares with us how the team plans to seamlessly fulfil the integration now that the agency is moving onto a next stage of growth with new offerings and an expanded value proposition at hand. 

GetIT now a Hotwire company

When the news first broke out, we similarly spoke with Anol for a comment, and in a prosaic but spot-on answer, he said, “We liked the Hotwire/Enero leadership team.” 

Anol said that Hotwire’s decision to acquire GetIT goes beyond expanding the global footprint in Asia, but primarily to strengthen the vision of Hotwire’s leadership team to accelerate Hotwire’s reputation, relationship, and revenue services globally and provide a unique marketplace offering.

The acquisition enables Hotwire to support clients with long-term brand awareness and near-term sales result.

Anol Bhattacharya, GetIT’s CEO

Alongside GetIT, Enero Group, in fact, simultaneously accomplished its acquisition of North America-focused B2B digital marketing agency, RIO-DNA. Anol said that the two acquisitions will allow the teams to rapidly scale services to innovative technology companies in North America and APAC in order to navigate “complex reputation issues, building business-impacting stakeholder relationships, and delivering revenue growth on a larger scale.” 

The challenge that comes with expanded capabilities

In the interview, Anol bared that in beefing up its services following the buy-out, one of the challenges is attracting and putting good talent in place for these practices. Through the acquisition, GetIT is now adding reputation management, brand strategy, and public relations to its capabilities.

There will be some challenges ahead of us…as finding and attracting good talent is getting more complex everywhere in the world.

Anol Bhattacharya, GetIT’s CEO

But Anol said that all’s good in the hood as the Hotwire leadership, specifically Global CEO Heather Kernahan, and Australia MD Jamie Nelson is behind them in ramping up the hiring process “as fast as they can.”

Furthermore, Anol implied that the fusion such as that of GetIT and Hotwire’s is basically ‘written in the stars’ in the midst of an accelerated need for integrated services. 

“One of the key areas of expertise of GetIT is content, [and] content is the central and common differentiator for marketing and communication services.” 

“The rationale for integrating GetIT into Hotwire Group is easily explainable to the internal and external audience, following the narrative of integrated reputation to revenue.” 

He revealed that the process of offering this unique and integrated service offering is already underway, where the leadership team of Hotwire, Enero, ROI DNA and GetIT has kick-started the process in a face-to-face, rigorous workshop in San Francisco. 

The roadmap for cross-pollinating the unique attributes from every location of Hotwire, ROI-DNA and GetIT is mapped out, and we have a clear path ahead of us.

Anol Bhattacharya, GetIT’s CEO

When asked about what he thinks are the pain points of brands today when it comes to performance marketing, he jovially says, “Everything is performance marketing. Because the opposite of that will be non-performance marketing, and nobody wants that.”

But on a more serious note, Anol thinks the real issue of B2B organisations today is the siloed organisational structure where there are disconnected goals and KPIs for brand marketing, corporate communications, performance marketing, and sales.

He said that many companies now started the integration process to bring all marketing, communications and sales functions and even creating a new role of chief commercial officer or chief revenue officer. 

“Even if I don’t take that broad perspective, we need to realign all the silos in the marketing and comms department in one direction.” 

For Anol, if he were to classify B2B marketing and comms in two sections, it would be Brand and Reputation Marketing and Communication, and Field marketing or Revenue Pipeline Marketing. 

For the former, Anol said it must include brand strategy, awareness, reputation and brand association. With the efficiency of digital surveys and focus groups containing a large sample size, he said that both dimensions can be measured in the short term. 

While in the long term, he said “performance in profit and loss, market share, and the secondary market are irrefutable proof points of the effectiveness of brand strategy and communication.” 

Meanwhile, for field marketing, this would include lead generation, qualification, nurturing and contribution to the revenue pipeline.

“It’s mind-boggling that marketers and agencies still get away with presenting some vanity metrics instead of showing any real value for field marketing in the era of marketing automation and analytics dashboards.”

The fusion of Hotwire and GetIT

For reputation management, he says that the biggest challenge is that everyone has become a publisher, and that social media proliferation has changed the perspective of brand reputation management completely. 

Moreover, both B2B and B2C customers are now evaluating based on the sustainability and ethical values of the suppliers. On the other hand, public relations is becoming true to the taxonomy with time

Anol Bhattacharya, GetIT’s CEO

Meanwhile, the second biggest challenge, according to Anol, is to prove the ROI of brand reputation management initiative as many companies are struggling to connect the dots between their top-line growth and reputation.

Ultimately, Anol says that where the fusion of Hotwire and GetIT fits in is providing a unique, integrated platform to clients. 

“The goal of joining forces between Hotwire, GetIT and ROI-DNA is to provide a unique, integrated platform to our clients where they can not only serve as a one-stop solution for Reputation-Revenue-Relationship service.” 

In addition, at the heart of the upcoming new synergy is the aim to help clients align their aspirations and workflow beyond departmental silos.

As travel is fast coming back to its feet, Shangri-La, the global hospitality brand, meets this rebound halfway, amplifying its loyalty programme to now be called the new Shangri-La Circle

With an incredible feat to rebrand both the creative and the marketing of the programme, the hospitality company rightly tapped its agency partners to fuse creative and intelligent hands and bring this transformation to the table. For the programme’s digital marketing and communications, digital creative agency 8traordinary was brought on board to steer the wheel. 

Watch the full interview with 8traordinary’s Jeffrey Lim.

The remit of the agency comes out as our top story for the month of July. To further learn about the behind-the-scenes and the craftiness put into the digital campaign, we conversed with Jeffrey Lim, 8traordinary’s founder and managing director

The agency’s scope included creative content planning, social media strategy, influencer marketing, and community management. 

Influencer marketing had been a huge part of the campaign and to make this happen, the agency roped in influencers around the region such as Nathan Hartono, Lennard Yeong, Erwan Heussaff, Zahra Lari, Goh Jin Wei, and more than 150 other key opinion leaders across different countries to spread the news about the launch. 

On the criteria they used in selecting which KOLs, Jeffrey shared that they try not to focus too much on the usual metrics which are an influencer’s follower count and number of likes as these are quite achievable through paid media. What they looked into instead is the individual’s ‘authenticity’ and the motivation behind why people are looking up to the personality.

One of [our] key criteria, when we worked with Shangri-La Circle, is we want to look for [a] personality or [an] individual who is authentic, and we want to look at how can they use their passion and their authenticity to influence

Jeffrey Lim, Founder, Managing Director, 8traordinary

In line with Shangri-La’s main message of ‘Live the good life’, he also shared that they looked into tapping as much as a diverse group of influencers and not limit to the popular macro influencers, as ‘living a good life’ can mean differently for each person. 

“We want to showcase to the world that whoever you are and wherever you are…there’s a specific ‘good life’ that we at Shangri-La can present to you in its own unique way,” said Jeffrey.

The full conversation with Jefferey is now live on MARKETECH APAC’s YouTube and Spotify. In the interview, Jeffrey shared more about the challenges that came with developing the campaign as well as his expert insights into how brands can stand out in a period where there is overflowing content presented to consumers.

Personal finance is such an essential and crucial part of our success, and yet not everyone has access to content to help build one’s financial literacy. This is the goal of Home Credit, the consumer finance company, in the Philippines when they recently launched the ‘Payo Para sa Life’ (Advice for life) radio program. 

Together with Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC) and independent media agency PraXis, Home Credit launched an on-air radio program on local radio station DZRH that aims to share useful learnings and insights for financial literacy. 

Watch our full interview with Home Credit PH’s CMO Sheila Paul

Sheila Paul, Home Credit’s CMO in the Philippines, sat down with MARKETECH APAC to share more about its rationale and concept. 

The program airs at the very early morning timeslot of 4:00 to 5:00 am and this is because they are specifically targeting market vendors, farmers, fisherfolks, public transportation drivers, and security guards, who are already up and running at this particular hour. 

Why this group, Paul said, “At Home Credit, we really believe that we should focus on the grassroots level when it comes to financial literacy, [and] the same with financial inclusion, mostly these are [the] sectors that get neglected or [are] underserved.”

“Definitely, we want to focus on the class that is very hardworking. In fact, they [have] to get up super early in the morning to be able to do their jobs and travel somewhere, and that’s definitely when they have the time to listen to the radio,” she adds. 

At a time when newer media formats have sprung up–such as podcasts– some would say that radio is a slowly dying medium, but Paul said that it is about finding the right channel for their target audience. 

“Through our media studies, we still see that radio listenership is quite high, especially in the remote areas. And although digital platforms, as well as internet penetration, have expanded over the last few years, still, only 50% of Filipinos are able to access the internet daily, so their main source of news and information, as well as entertainment, is still the radio, especially in the said sector,” said Paul. 

Watch and listen to the full interview with Paul, which is now streaming on Spotify and YouTube.  

In the conversation, Paul further imparts her insights on the current financial industry, specifically the growth of BNPL services, and shares the broader state of the financial literacy of Filipinos and the role that consumer financial services like Home Credit play in their financial success. 

India – The Indian Express together with Isobar, the creative experience agency from dentsu India has launched ‘News Beyond Views’ campaign, a modern-day solution for stories that get covered but remain undiscovered. 

According to the Indian Express, readers are unaware that they consume propaganda, gossip, and spicy scoops despite the fact that one-sixth of their day is spent browsing news. While 86% of readers clicked on a top stories, the same audience completely skipped other comparable stories in the same category. In keeping with their commitment to unbiased reporting, this national newspaper is now ensuring that no relevant story is left unread.

Through the partnership, The Indian Express and Isobar India, have developed a unique experience of discovering news that may have previously slipped through the cracks and past your view. Using a simple HTML innovation at the backend, the media house has embarked on restoring fairness in the journalism they believe in. So, on highlighting any top story, the user gets to read another story that would have otherwise lurked in the shadows.

Heeru Dingra, CEO, Isobar India group, said the fundamental objective of journalism is to serve the people with news, opinions, comments, and information on subjects that matter in a fair, accurate and unbiased manner. Any media house cannot afford to lose sight of this obligation. 

“This initiative by The Indian Express and Isobar India not only showcases their integrity towards the reader but will also inspire other news publications to follow suit,” Dingra said.

Aalap Desai, CCO, Isobar India and Taproot Dentsu, commented, “We believe that journalism is meant to be fair and honest, however, we don’t see this happening quite often. The responsibility then lies on our shoulders to make sure that every story covered reaches every reader. 

“Our commitment to that kind of responsibility drove us to develop News Beyond Views. The germ and the beauty of the idea is that it is simple and a modern way of doing our job as a news corporation. When journalism of courage meets the simplicity of innovation, no news will miss the spotlight,” Desai added.