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 Publicis Sapient.
Sapient is a business that, globally, has long built its reputation on innovation and it’s no different in Singapore where the agency’s global chief executive officer recently complimented the work coming out of its regional presence.
Kim Douglas, managing director and vice-president of SapientNitro Singapore and Hong Kong, talks with huge enthusiasm about the work taking place within the business at the moment, offering a frank view on his take on ‘innovation’ and what it means to him, stating that it’s not just about hardware.
“We think of innovation as being about what you are thinking and doing rather than technology or tools. We have technology too but that’s just challenging the way in which brands connect with people and rethinking the solution in an effective way,” he explains.
One such method of ensuring such success is an internal consultative approach offered called ‘What Sticks?’ This sees clients offered the opportunity to work with kit such as VR and AI enabled tech to give them a fresh insight into what is possible.
“We work really hard to try and not define the scope of things because the closer you get to defining that the further you are away from solving the problem in an innovative way. If you take assumptions from people then you end up defining it by putting an advertising idea around it or applying a piece of technology to it, that means you’re not in the right space,” offers Douglas, who adds that Sapient aims to explore methods that brands are not yet engaging with consumers on and “broaden the landscape” it is working from.
One recent project Douglas is excited by is its creation of a ‘really cool’ music interface for Telkomsel, an experience that will aim to excite users and help them interact with the brand. Another success was its online multiplayer game developed for Unilever’s Paddle Pop ice cream – ‘The World of Paddle Pop’ – which has picked up numerous industry awards within the region.
Sapient also aims to iterate tech solutions for clients within a few days of brainstorming in order to allow it to start solving their problems in a hands-on manner, working with clickable, touchable prototypes that can help produce immediate feedback and change any incorrect perceptions of what a brand thinks it needs.
“That’s how I define innovation – by putting people through a skeptical process to allow light to enter their thinking,” states Douglas.
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.