Arcade, risk takers at heart: Singapore’s most innovative agencies

Singapore’s most innovative agencies Arcade

Singapore has developed into the central hub for marketing in APAC, with many major brands now based in the city state. Add to this a government committed to a smart city mandate, and it is one of the most exciting places to be working in the industry today. The Drum takes a look at 20 of the most innovative agencies operating on the island, including Arcade.

Arcade, which sold a minority equity stake to Publicis Groupe in 2014, prides itself on being an agency of “creative entrepreneurs” and part of that is ensuring that its leadership can take real risk. The way this manifests itself as an agency business model is that, in its each market, its senior leaders are either investors or founders of the business. Having equity in the business changes how risk is assessed, says Nick Marrett, the chief executive officer and one of the four co-founders of the agency.

“We are all business owners in each of our markets. Being an equity holder in the agency creates an amazing dynamic to sort out those who are prepared to back themselves and see those risks through. Some people work better in structured environments, others don’t, and neither one is better than the other, they are just different. We are unstructured and at the heart of us is risk taking,” he says.

Founded in 2010, the agency now has more than 200 members of staff across its offices which include the Asian hubs Jakarta and Shanghai as well as Cape Town in South Africa.

Among its claims to fame is the creation of the first ever Android concept store in Indonesia, which it says is now a blueprint for Android stores around the world, while other clients include familiar names such as Unilever, McDonald’s, Google and Ikea.

The agency is also focusing on China now but says the synergy between China and Singapore is what has pushed Singapore to become such a force for agencies and brands.

Marrett says the Shanghai office has “driven more growth in our Singapore office than anything we’ve ever done in Singapore.

“Having that connection is very good. Having a Shanghai agency has been the chief factor of driving growth in Singapore and we underestimated the size and growth that would come from that. If Singapore can keep doing that, agencies can continue to run global and regional out of here,” he adds.

This article was originally published in the Singapore supplement of The Drum and is available for free on The Drum app which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

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