ABrandADay: Felicia Hong, Jas Seow, Nafe Tong (left to right).
Independent agency ABrandADay is carving out a sweet spot in a saturated industry. Formed by three partners – Jas Seow, Nafe Tong and Felicia Hong – the creative consultancy agency’s founding principle is straightforward – solving pain points with creative solutions that work.
The formula is in its multi-dimensional approach – strategy, creative, and digital – with each pillar representing the co-founders’ expertise.
Less than a year into its inception, ABrandADay has celebrated its first win: a silver for “Best Event Branding” and a bronze for “Best Integrated Event Campaign” at the Marketing Events Awards 2022, and a finalist for “Excellence in Brand Strategy” at the recent Marketing Excellence Awards 2022 with client-partner Senoko Energy.
Chief creative officer Tong weighs in on the success. “How do we define creativity? There’s abstract creativity and there’s pragmatic creativity. Ultimately, an agency’s job is to effectively solve pain points. Engage with brand owners to learn their ideals and perspectives of their respective industries. A hallmark of a creative person is the ability to form opinions on consumed media and come up with a strategy when the brief falls in your lap.”
Before the founding of ABrandADay, Tong was a creative partner at Adwright, leading the team to score a silver for “Excellence in Response to COVID-19” at the Marketing Excellence Awards 2021, and gold for “Best in Food & Beverage” at the Appies Asia-Pacific Marketing Awards 2022 with the launch of JUMBO Group’s retail brand, “Love, Afare”.
“Creativity is emotional; it is subjective. We are building a data-driven strategy using numbers to support business decisions and ensuring our solutions are sound,” explains CEO Seow.
“Here, we just want to take away the pain points of our client-partners. Putting together complementary skills to give a holistic solution.”
A strategist with a proven track record in upscaling businesses, tightening operations, and market development, Seow has achieved tangible percentile YoY growth for companies such as COURTS, Carlsberg, and Beauty One International.
ABrandADay may be just starting out, but big plans are in the pipeline.
As Singapore commits to net zero, and enhancing food security, ABrandADay is taking active steps to gain literacy and fluency in the environmental social governance (ESG) language.
ESG is a journey not just for the big players, but also SMEs, which make up 99% of the enterprises in Singapore.
Business director Hong addresses a common business dilemma: “Net zero could be too big an idea, but brands must take the first step. Start small. Identify your area of influence and begin with a social impact strategy.”
Straddling between instinct and data, Hong is well-versed in digital branding and marketing as well as retail and loyalty marketing.
With his expertise in rebranding second-generational businesses, Tong lends his thoughts: “SMEs have the agility and appetite for changes. They just have not found a way to talk about it. At times, what they needed is a lift and that is where Enterprise Singapore comes in.”
A balancing act
As a start-up, ABrandADay defines its culture. Taking on the role of a middleman, agency work is about finding a balance – in messaging and responding to changes.
“When client-partners continue with us for another year or a new project, to us, it’s saying ‘I trust the entire team’,” Hong shares.
Seow elaborates on the agency name. “We are in the people business. The essence behind the naming – ABrandADay – is to truly focus on our client-partners. We make sure that our creative solutions work. If not, we will fine-tune until it does.
“This is what we are appreciated for. While there are agencies that focus on specific industries, that is not our intent. ABrandADay is keeping a healthy mix of portfolios for the team, encouraging them to explore and find out what they really like. In fact, that is how Felicia became our sustainability ambassador.”
Adds Tong: “We are a personable agency, and this is the advantage of a smaller set-up. We sign off with a smiley face on ABrandADay’s logo as a reminder to ourselves and the team. It is a challenge getting the right people for the right job. So, let’s enjoy our work and have a good time outside of work.”
Tips for marketers on getting the best out of your agency
“Be transparent and honest with your agencies. Think of them as your doctor. If you do not share your pains and symptoms, how can your doctor help you? We can, of course, do a brand audit with a ‘CT scan’, but that often does not give the full picture,” Seow says.
Expressing the importance of a rapport between the two teams, Tong adds: “Know whom you are working with and understand the team. Engage us in conversations on your ideals and perspectives of your industry. Best creations are derived from good relationships.”
Hong wraps it up by highlighting the merits of keeping an open mind.
“Sometimes, marketers already have fixed imagery in mind when briefing in. While a reflection of your expectation works from your experience, it may not always be the best for the brand. Leave it to your agency to answer the brief first. What an agency offers is a distillation of the works of many brands, researched on, and benchmarked upon.”
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