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#AOTYAwards 2021 spills: X10 Media's unique recruitment strategy

#AOTYAwards 2021 spills: X10 Media's unique recruitment strategy

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X10 Media is an influencer marketing agency that strives to enable brands and marketers to execute influencer marketing in a smart manner. The agency focuses on marketing campaigns, agency partnerships and talents engagement. Among the list of brands X10 Media has worked with include OWNDAYS, Pringles, Pandora, Swatch, OPPO, Ricola, Carlsberg and Singtel, among others. The agency clinched the bronze award for Influencer Agency of The Year at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's Agency of the Year Awards 2021. It was also ranked as a finalist for the Rising Star and Mobile Marketing Agency of the Year award.  

Group CEO of X10 Media, Sky Lim (pictured), told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that its key focus when it comes to attracting talent to the agency is on productivity and efficiency in output. "Our growth headcounts are carefully deliberated and only triggered when we are about to reach peak capacity," explained Lim. 

This interview is done as part of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s winners' and finalists’ interview series for AOTY Awards 2021. To find out more about the awards, click here.

Tell us what these achievements mean for you?

Lim: Having built X10 Media over the last five tough but fun years, it is a very rewarding moment to receive industry recognition for our hard work as Influencer Agency of the Year. It also serves as a point of inflection and a reminder that we should keep striving to be at the forefront of what we do and to keep delivering great campaigns with our clients.

The Agency of the Year awards are strongly contested and the calibre of judges with the level of scrutiny applied, we can be proud and humbled by the boost in credibility it brings and the acknowledgement of value we have contributed in meeting our clients’ corporate objectives.

Sharing in the victory with our client has definitely fostered a stronger relationship and validation for the good work we collaborated on. This milestone serves as a launchpad for future gold in subsequent years.

What makes you proudest about being part of your agency?

Lim: We’re a young and dynamic team that has set big goals and high standards of excellence. Naturally this presents a steep learning curve and personal growth for all our colleagues. It is very encouraging to see everyone in X10 constantly pushing the envelope.

We’ve been independent since day one and have been fortunate enough to have not relied on private equity and venture capital funding to get things off the ground while being in the black on our course of sustainable and self-funding growth. This spirit of self-reliance and responsible scaling gives me a true sense of achievement and pride, especially given the economic climate with the technical recession and Covid-19 following hot on its heels over the last two years.

What are some of the initiatives you have in place to ensure your staff feel proud to be associated with your agency?

Lim: We’re not a large agency and the efficiently sized outfit allows us to have lots of visibility over what everyone is delivering. And when things are this visible, appreciation is the natural order for the effort and good work being done day in, day out. Also, a large responsibility can be placed on colleagues and this shows trust in everyone’s ability and accountability which drives confidence and our team taking pride in everything they do.

With everyone delivering consistently as we chart our growth course, this naturally presents personal growth opportunities internally. A clear career path is mapped out and it’s encouraging to see people stepping forward, putting hands up for these opportunities and motivates all of us.

We do have an internal incentive program for colleagues who smash their objectives and key results and when we receive positive feedback on delivery from clients. We also do simple things just to make everyone feel part of the team, from bubble tea runs or social dinners. With the relaxing of measures and the vaccination numbers going up, we look forward to being able to more of those physical connections soon.

How are you attracting talent to your agency?

Lim: Our chairman comes from a consulting background and has helped us apply different frameworks to the business. Our key focus is on productivity and efficiency in output. As such, our growth headcounts are carefully deliberated and only triggered when we are about to reach peak capacity. Reason being to avoid unforecasted growth to reduce overheads which translates to being able to keep our fees competitive and palatable for what it is.

When we do choose to hire, we don’t necessarily look within the industry as a lot of required skillsets are very transferable across sectors and also improves diversity.

We do however try to find candidates that live and breathe social media to be able to help our clients optimise best practices from a user or viewer’s perspective. Apart from the usual job boards, our team spreads the word to solicit candidates or referrals which has actually contributed to a majority of applicants.

What are your hopes for the Singapore advertising scene in 2021?

Lim: On a micro level, we hope that marketers will grow more strategic and selective in agency selection. Addressing the noise and advertising blindness through more effective and contextualised methods. Deeper partnerships from client and agency to formulate solutions to strengthen ROI and applying degrees of agility to adapt budgets for experimenting instead of playing it safe.

These are three points that X10 is placed at the forefront of our operating model. The influencer marketing sphere is largely untapped and there is a huge opportunity for us to continue pushing the needle. We hope to see campaigns really push the pedal to the metal, moving fast and going big to tap on, augment and realise the true value of influencer marketing within their overall marketing strategy.

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