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Rod Strother

StarHub takes social media agencies head-on

StarHub has launched Curiosity, its in-house digital and social analytics hub. Rod Strother, StarHub’s VP of digital transformation said during an interview with Marketing, that the new investment, “will definitely compete with what existing social media agencies have to offer.”

The new outfit will emphasise on social analytics to help potential clients mine insights most relevant to their marketing campaigns. Strother shared that at this point of time, StarHub is already working with government agencies, as well as brands from the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and financial services segments. He was however unable to share the names of these clients at the point of writing.

Strother, who currently heads up Curiosity, explained that the arm initially started out as just a concept. Today, it is a “massive move away” from when StarHub was simply “reliant on agencies” to provide it with valuable social media insights. He added that in the past, when working with social media agencies, StarHub would brief its partners and expect some output a week later.

“But now with our own in-house capabilities we are able to leverage on insights quicker than before,” Strother said.

So far, the telco has invested approximately SG$500,000 to SG$1 million to build this facility. This is inclusive of the investment into technologies such as social media monitoring and analytical tools, as well as talent to help run the new digital arm. Strother added:

Because Curiosity was built with internal resources from StarHub, we are more cost effective and more price competitive than other agencies.

In addition, when pitching for businesses, StarHub is also able to use itself as a testament and a case study for success.

The birth of Curiosity

Curiosity, safe to say, was the brain child of Strother’s who had been brought in to lead the digital transformation team from Lenovo in November 2015.

The birth of the Curiosity came not long after StarHub moved its social media duties in-house. It was last working with GroupM’s social agency Vocanic, a relationship that lasted five years.

“Not only has StarHub invested in the right tools for the job, it has also made a slew of hires over the past year to drive forward its objectives and boost the awareness of the importance of analytics,” he said.

For one, it snagged former Lenovo social media manager Sakshi Prakash who heads the team as social listening lead. Prior to her new role, Prakash spent three years at Lenovo, where she held the role of a senior analyst for its global analytics hub.

He also hired Nicole Ong as social media lead. Prior to her job at StarHub, Ong spent over three years as senior account director at We Are Social – an agency Strother and Sakshi had worked with during their time in Lenovo. Ong has also held tenures across other agencies such as BBH as well as Publicis Singapore.

Meanwhile, Jerry Koh joined Curiosity as social analyst and has held tenures as a digital and social media analyst at companies such as WE Communications, SMRT Corporation and Auric Pacific Group.

And in case you are curious as to what Curiosity looks like, we’ve got you covered:

Curiosity is located within the StarHub building and a whole room has also been dedicated to Curiosity to help educate different departments of StarHub on digital transformation – this includes its marketing departments.

Most recently, the telco opened a 58,000 square feet innovation centre and converged operations cockpit named Hubtricity. The new facility acts as a foundation to accelerate service innovation and co-creation with partners and customers.

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