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Letter from Singapore

CMOs in the Asia Pacific region that succeed understand the takeoff points that make or break categories and align their distributors across nations. At least that’s part of the many tactical conclusions in a new report by Nielsen. The report, titled "Rethinking ASEAN: Dispelling 8 Myths About Consumer Markets", uncovers the current and future potential consumer demand for this key region. Perhaps the most striking of the tactics highlighted, is the need for developing categorical activation points on a micro region basis and to establish strategies targeting specific segments and regions. As more companies enter macro and micro categories under similar value propositions, legacy companies in the region are struggling to connect on brand instead of price, the latter of which is the first path towards commoditization. There are many paths to avoiding that and the tactful application of technology can not only aid in brand building but also add rigor to its tracking.
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Print is dead

In an artisanal independent coffee shop down the road (stay with me, it gets more interesting I promise), there is an adjoining retail space that sells magazines. Not big name titles like Esquire or Cosmopolitan or National Geographic, but ultra-niche titles like ‘Ambrosia’ (a magazine for oyster and mollusc enthusiasts), ‘Father’s Quarterly’ (for hipster dads with beards and beanies) and ‘Magazine B’ (a glossy series that dedicates every edition to glorifying a specific brand – this month it’s kitchen brand Breville). According to Marketing Magazine, 60 new print titles launched in the USA alone in the first half of 2015 (my personal fave title: ‘Bento Box Magazine’). Who’s reading all this stuff? Well, this isn’t just the work of a collective of sentimental Gen Y’ers. In fact, a lot of it is driven by millennials. Plenty of print titles start out life as Instagram accounts that evolve into websites and then make the (ultimate!) leap into printed matter.
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Singapore's workforce

Singapore recently emerged at the bottom of a survey on the happiness of workforces around the region, with client-side staff saying they are less satisfied than agency executives. Jacqui Barratt suggests argues that poor management is mostly to blame. The happiness factor crops up every year in various surveys, and very rarely does Singapore ever get painted in a good light. The usual suspects are typically to blame for our unhappiness at work – a lack of training, career development and poor leadership – but there’s also a dash of dissatisfaction with salary thrown in there for good measure. When looking at our industry, the age-old happiness question is often around agencies versus client-side.
Clubroom

Biore's digital influencer

In a bid to promote its Biore Cotton Sheets product, Biore, together with Hakuhodo Singapore has created its own digital influencer. Called Biore Belle, the “influencer” has her own Instagram page, where she touts the benefits of Biore Cotton Sheets, along with beauty tips and updates on her daily “adventures”.   This was told through a series of vignettes via an unfolding panorama. This was formed by a set of connecting images which are seen as one big picture on Biore Belle’s Instagram feed.
Clubroom

Honor Harger interview

Earlier this year we hosted an event at the Marina Bay Sands ArtScience museum, where executive director of the museum and TED speaker, Honor Harger, gave us an exclusive private viewing of Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpieces, which were being exhibited in Asia for the first time.

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