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 Iris.
Iris recently celebrated winning iconic Asian brand Chang beer and the first campaign, which will involve a multi-sensory event around food in key cities, represents the creative work the agency is producing. Add to this brands such as Samsung, Philips and Lego and the agency is developing an exciting roster of client partners.
But having a list of exciting brand clients and being able to do exciting work with them are two very different things. According to Craig Mapleston, managing director of Iris Singapore, the key to generating trust in clients so to be able to do interesting work is making innovation commercial.
“Client innovation comes in many shapes and sizes, from communications innovation to product innovation to commercial innovation. We’ve made sure that we’ve got deep specialisms in these areas, and broad understanding across the agency,” he says.
He gives the example of working with Diageo, which wanted to create scale around how its high end whiskies were sold into the trade. “We developed a digital mentoring experience that dramatized the rich heritage and craft behind its blends, but also enabled massive reach that the traditional one-to-one experiences couldn’t cost effectively achieve,” he says.
The idea of commercial innovation, according to Mapleston, is seen most tangibly in Iris Concise, a growth consultancy that the business invested in and is now building up.
“Commercial innovation is a capability that most agencies don’t have. Our Iris Concise team often support clients who are facing ‘existential threats’ as their industries face disruption.
“We’ve supported one of the world’s largest travel companies to manage the threat of intermediaries taking control of their pricing and customer relationships. Often, commercial innovation tasks morph into creative and communication tasks once the foundation is set.”
According to Mapleston, while they’ll be keeping a watchful eye on new technologies and trends, the business plans to now invest more into the insights and people that can drive commercial innovation for clients.
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.