#AOTYAwards spills: How OC Digital's search for creativity landed the gold

This year marks OC Digital’s tenth year in the market. The agency believes in making great companies become greater through the power of digital marketing. Its results-oriented digital marketing solutions have helped boost many brands’ image and equity.

Today, the agency is made up of a well-rounded team of experienced and passionate pros who are committed to the online success of its clients. Its uncompromising focus on creating best-of-breed online experiences has allowed it to forge promising partnerships with some very successful companies across all industries. This year the agency took home the gold and local hero titles for search marketing of the year. OC Digital also put up a tough fight in the boutique and digital agency of the year categories.

"We'd like to extend a big thank you to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE and the judging panel for the awards! We are incredibly delighted and honored to win both the Gold and Local Hero accolades for Search Marketing Agency of The Year Award. The recognition underscores the hard work of our team as well as our commitment to excellence in designing effective campaigns for our clients. With this award, clients will undoubtedly expect us to deliver greater value in campaign creativity, performance, and service quality. We are determined to put our best foot forward to ensure that we continue to make a positive difference," said Benny Ong, managing director of OC Digital. 

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

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: How has your marketing/your clients marketing plans shifted this year?

Ong: With the unexpected pandemic sweeping across the globe in 2020, many businesses have taken a major hit. We have observed that some clients are taking a more cautious and pragmatic approach overall. For instance, clients who used to sign on longer retainer contract periods in the hope of securing better rates may now prefer to work on a shorter contract term for increased flexibility in managing their marketing activities and budget.

Although planning period may be shortened, some companies also saw the pandemic as an opportunity to invest more into digital marketing as their consumers are now engaging in more “screen time” which meant higher brand and product exposure if media spending is increased over a shorter but more tactical period. The crisis has also propelled a lot of marketers to step back and rethink their relationship with customers.

OC Digital must adapt to these changing client and consumer habits and tweak our service offerings accordingly. We must be even more creative in the use of digital platforms and ad formats to help our clients cut through the clutter and promote their services effectively and creatively.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What are some of the trends you see carrying on post-pandemic, and how are you readying your workforce to be ready with these trends?

Ong: The pandemic has, in a way, forced us to adapt to new ways of working and changing client needs. Working remotely has become a “new normal” in 2020 and will be here to stay especially with the government’s call to reduce unnecessary face-to-face physical interactions. At OC Digital, we are embracing new mindsets and behaviors in the new quickly changing workplace. With more virtual meetings and far less oversight, we believe in nurturing a culture of trust, transparency and openness. In addition to having regular team meetings to share information openly, we also encourage appropriate and thoughtful risk taking within the organisation such as coming up with out-of-the-box approaches for our digital ad campaigns.

This period requires all of us to be agile and supportive of one another to make quick adjustments to priorities and ensure speed and responsiveness to meeting customer needs.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What do you think makes for great marketing these days?

The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving! For any digital campaign to be successful and effective, it must balance creativity, strategy and analytical thinking. Marketers should also live by the mentality of “trying without the fear of failing” and be open to new ways of doing things. The best brands are those that are willing to experiment new strategies and tactics and become trend setters for their industry peers to follow. So whether it’s a new partnership, new marketing platform, new ad formats, new marketing mechanics or something that’s seemingly atypical within one’s industry— don’t be afraid to try it, it may just turn out to be the next great marketing project!

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: How are you planning for 2021?

As the year comes to a close, many may feel a cloud of uncertainty looming over Singapore’s economic and business outlook. We choose to see this in a different light. The circuit breaker period was a good time for us to realign our business and rethink our value proposition. We took the chance to dig deep and went back to basics by focusing on our core competency and forging stronger relationships with our clients and partners.

We have realised that clients deeply value agencies that can understand their pain points and provide tangible solutions to meet their business needs while also having the ability to work flexibly and responsively. In 2021, we will work towards building greater customer experience as well as partnerships with other publisher platforms to offer more variety to our clients.

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