#AOTYAwards 2020 highlight: UM Singapore

Clinching the bronze award for media agency of the year is UM Singapore which seeks to be the trusted marketing partner to its clients. It also strives to be a media agency with better smarts and a marketing consultancy with better scale. In 2019, UM made "The year of acceleration" its ambitious theme and a call to action to its employees to have confidence in challenging the status quo.

According to UM, it grew its team from 92 individuals to over 150 last year, bringing on board diverse talents with expertise in data and analytics, content, performance and precision. The agency's offerings are firmly anchored on the concept of better science, better art and better outcomes to drive its clients' business, accelerate its data and analytics solutions, as well as expedite its ability to combine data and tech with content and connections.

Product

UM has three key drivers - growth, consultancy and integration and the acceleration of these, according to the agency, requires it to continue investing in and developing its better science and better art, and to continually deliver better outcomes. The initiatives it has undertaken in line with this goal are business analytics engine (BAE), UM Studios, performance and precision practices, as well as its global wave study Remix Culture.

BAE ingests data and leverages on advanced analytics to comprehend the relationship between media, marketing, the entire business ecosystem and results. UM Studios, which is UM's very own custom content arm, works to bring to ideas and content to life. The agency said it has been accelerating its offer in Singapore and expanding its team of content specialists.

Meanwhile with its performance and precision practices, UM successfully embedded 13 performance planners and practitioners, and six audience planning and programmatic practitioners into its client teams. Additionally, through the 10th iteration of Remix Culture, UM explored how culture and identity differs worldwide, what different influences exist and what role channels play.

People

Over the past year, UM hired extensively with the primary focus of accelerating its breadth of data-driven offerings. It named Rajiv Jayaraj head of content for UM Studios, and welcomed Lishan Lim and Jetaime Thoo into client leadership roles. Additionally, it also brought on board Chintan Padhya into a key role for its precision practice. UM takes pride in its talent retention, with many employees choosing to remain a part of the agency for well over 10 years.

When it comes to talent, UM believes in building a talented team who are passionate about the work they do and curious about the constantly evolving environment. To help its employees grow and proactively manage their development, UM created an online career management portal named Flite. In addition, it also encourages talent mobility across markets and disciplines, and has developed an internal e-newsletter to keep employees regularly updated on potential roles.

Besides talent, UM also constantly strives to create a work environment that is inclusive for employees. According to the agency, it believes that inclusivity equals respect and this is crucial in not only attracting and retaining diverse talent, but also in encouraging their participation as well as fostering cross cultural exchanges.

Flexible working hours, work from home opportunities and employee recognition are also two other initiatives that UM undertakes to create an environment for employees to thrive.

Perspective

UM's philosophy of "better" and its focus on the future also extends to the wider community and industry. It works together with other like-minded industry leaders to improve the knowledge and standards in the market. In total, the agency's leadership team contributed more than 1,000 hours in 2019 to speaking, judging and mentoring as well as hosting workshops at industry events. These were done in a bid to foster better thinking, work and standards in the industry.

Meanwhile, to accelerate its promise if delivering better outcomes, it also bolstered its consultancy capability and solutions, and integrated its data and tech with content and connections. UM seeks to collectively use its time, talent, influence and ingenuity to help create a better world.

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