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 Govt.
Indie agency Govt is the current hot creative shop in town and rivals are looking on admiringly at the current wave of work coming out of its doors and the new business it’s bringing in, while further growth is inevitable.
Picking up the Asia account for Mini ahead of regional network creative agencies was just the latest chapter in a success story that has clients curious, while other global brands such as Nescafé, Airbnb and Häagen-Dazs have already employed its expertize.
“For us, innovation begins with forcing our people to behave like they would in a startup,” reveals Leon Lai, the agency’s regional managing director for south-east Asia, who adds that the team are also discouraged from automatically suggesting the use of influencers or TV ads when a brief comes in.
“The irony of innovation in advertising is that although marketing itself has changed dramatically, agencies still operate the same way – keeping the same processes, writing the same briefs and pushing back to the clients with the same excuses.
“We prefer to think of innovation in terms of how we can creatively add value to our clients’ businesses beyond just an ad. And that begins with questioning the norm as much as we can.”
On the question of innovation in the Singapore agency scene, Lai says: “Agencies have to figure out a way to offer clients business solutions rooted in creativity, instead of just one-off advertising solutions.
“So in that sense, we’re not sure if that actually involves new offerings of any kind. It’s more that agencies will need to be equipped with skillsets beyond people who can make a glossy ad. We’ll need people who can break down data, analyze business results and make sense of all of that to creatives who must at least be inclined to add some strategic, business thinking to their madness.
“We don’t believe that advertising will ever ‘die’. But if it wants to have a piece of the pie and not just the crumbs, agencies will have to prove that they’re not just a bunch of ad makers.”
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.