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 DigitasLBi.
Global marketing and technology agency DigitasLBi’s Singapore office is shared with fellow Publicis creative agency BBH. In late June it saw the promotion of its managing director Annette Male to the role of chief executive officer for APAC, highlighting the contribution that the office plays to the region.
Having only joined in March 2015 as managing director, within months she was credited with doubling the size of the business while helping guide it to account wins including brands such as Pernod Ricard and Unilever and joining a roster for personal banking client UOB. In April it was also responsible for the roll out of new branding for Hotel Jen Tanglin, highlighting the diverse services within the agency.
“Innovation is a core area of development to DigitasLBi and we are investing globally to develop it as a practice,” Justin Peyton, the APAC chief strategy officer for DigitasLBi, says, explaining how it fits into the agency’s culture and highlighting how it has a head of innovation based in Sydney working across all markets in the region to identify and support client needs on specific projects.
Another element introduced by the business in order to support client innovation is three different models that are described as ‘embedded’, ‘structured’ and ’open’ innovation.
‘Embedded’ has been introduced in an effort to ensure that innovation is vital to the culture of a client’s brand, while ‘Structured’ is focused on specific teams or projects that may include the launch of a lab or incubator within the client’s business. Finally, ‘Open’ aims to build structure that enables innovation to take place anywhere, which might include external collaborations with VC partners or enabling the wider public to offer insights through open sourcing methods.
The agency also cites its recruitment methods, hiring outside the agency landscape to avoid being beholden to a limited talent pool, which includes hiring journalists into content strategy positions, thus challenging the status quo.
Peyton continues to discuss his views on innovation within the country’s marketing industry, offering the view that while it is on trend, it often “fizzles out” as return on investment is not always the consideration during that element of the process.
“Our approach aims to test the viability of technical innovation quickly and at the lowest cost possible, but equally, it tests out a business model for scaling a product capable of supporting long term development.
“Increasingly, we see demand for closer partnership between ourselves and clients so that both parties have a joint interest in successful innovation. One example of this would be our global partnership with AstraZeneca managed out of the UK, which provides a template for a successful collaborative innovation process,” he explains.
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.