FOREFRONT unveils digital performance marketing offering

Malaysian creative agency FOREFRONT has unveiled a digital performance marketing agency named Aforemention, focusing on effectiveness-driven content marketing solutions.

Led by Sylvester Hiew (pictured below), partner at Aforemention, the new agency touts its ability to offer scalable creative services that enrich brands' discovery journeys with better storytelling across digital touchpoints. In addition to his role as partner, Hiew is also an associate strategy director at FOREFRONT. He is an advocate of "messaging before technology" for sustainable brand performance, an ideology Aforemention is set upon, the agency said.

sylvester hiew aforemention

The agency's launch is in line with FOREFRONT's plans to modernise and streamline its strategic planning function. With a focus on digital marketing services, Aforemention also runs an online content hub named The Full Frontal, as well as a video production house named 919. With these offerings, the agency aims to close the content gap with native and branded content editorial services.

In a statement to A+M, Hiew said the team comprises 16 employees with strengths in digital design, strategy, content marketing, and social video. With the combined expertise, it is able to streamline resources and planning processes, as well as accommodate shorter turnaround times in both work output and reporting. 

"In the face of cut-throat prices being thrown around leaving the market with expectations of our industry, we are positioning ourselves away from being just a digital marketing agency," he said. Instead of just designing social media posts and digital banners, Aforemention focuses on creating quality moments between brands and consumers throughout their journeys, Hiew said, adding that the narratives with with it targets its potential clients is always about results.

"On top of tapping into our group’s first-party database, we also employ targeted communication to, for example, a procurement manager shopping for new vendors or a frustrated marketing director who hit bottleneck with their lead generation campaigns," Hiew explained when asked how it plans to market itself to raise awareness.

Through this, the agency looks to identify underserved audiences in spaces that it is not already competing in, and continuously test its messages. According to Hiew, Aforemention intends to first convert clients within its immediate vicinity to the new performance-based model. He added that the team hopes to create a better environment for the content marketing scene in Malaysia by demonstrating to clients that there is more to marketing than vanity metrics.

"The future of communications is ultra-personalised. The technologies with which we use to achieve that, changes constantly. Having a strong understanding of how marketing and communications work will stay relevant regardless of trends. I wish for more evidence-based, performance-driven relationships with all our clients in the near future, where work is no longer just valued by sheer pricing, he added.

Inspiration behind the name and logo

Staying true to the group's naming system, the new agency has "FORE" in its brand names. According to Hiew, it chose "aforementioned" stylised as "Aforemention" with "ed" deliberately omitted for aesthetic purposes. When taken apart, the words “A”, “Fore”, “Mention” (as in “@ mention” on social media such as Instagram) represent “A-Forefront-Digital Business” respectively, whilst providing an insight into what business we’re in with a playful twist.

"This is in line with the rebellious look Aforemention puts forth. The younger mustard and turquoise colours combination departure from the group’s usual matured red, black, and grey, and alongside a set of tongue-in-cheek digital assets, created to achieve maximum visual impact," Hiew explained. He added that the logo is designed to look modern, dynamic, and versatile — with a forward leaning treatment that signifies the rapidly changing world of digital content marketing.

afmt logo 01 copy

Hiew said he believe that brands should engage with their consumers in more meaningful ways. According to him, having in-house creators allows for a seamless content creation process. "With that, we can offer better value to our clients with customisable packages," he added.

Besides streamlining its strategic planning function, CEO of FOREFRONT's creative arm Jeff Chang previously told A+M that his focus for 2020 would be on emerging markets, especially Vietnam. Having established its clientele in Malaysia and with its operations in Indonesia gaining momentum, FOREFRONT aims to replicate the success it has seen in those to markets to gain a better foothold in Vietnam.

Chang was promoted to his current role last November, succeed Darien Mah who currently helms the chairman role to explore new ventures. Separately, Chang also told A+M previously that plans are in the works to diversify its digital solutions and it is dreaming up unique ways to deliver brand experiences for clients and acquiring talents that will add to FOREFRONT's value.

(Read also: FOREFRONT ushers in good times this CNY with handwritten wishes)