Jose Raymond's SW Strategies hires 2 partners, eyes ASEAN expansion

SW Strategies, a strategy and communications advisory firm founded in 2016 by Singaporean politician Jose Raymond (pictured centre), has brought on board two partners - Saravanan Sugumaran (pictured right) and Haojun See (pictured left).

In a LinkedIn post, Raymond said the trio was brought together by a common vision to take their combined skillsets and expertise in strategy, policy analysis, stakeholder management, communications, and digital marketing to the region.

"With presence in Singapore and Malaysia currently, our aim is to take it up a notch and expand further into another major market within ASEAN in the next year or two," he added. Among the firm's list of clients include Singapore's youth football club JSSL, Tooth Angels, Happy TV, UFC Gym Singapore, NTUC Income, Asia Fighting Championships and Mundipharma. SW Strategies also managed political communications for Steven Sim, Malaysia's member of parliament for Bukit Mertajam and current deputy minister for youth and sports. 

Sugumaran was previously a senior consultant at Portland Communications for over a year, where he was part of the government advisory division and senior management team in Singapore, his LinkedIn said. Before that, he was a research and teaching assistant at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and a graduate policy consultant at Asian Development Bank. Sugumaran also has experience in the media intelligence field, having worked at Kantar Media and Gorkana for over two years each.

Meanwhile, See is currently a graduate research assistant at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Before that, he was a social media lead at a volunteer run non-profit organisation, better.sg, which seeks to build digital tools to address societal problems.

Raymond, who is currently chief strategy officer, founded SW Strategies started up SW Strategies after close to eight years of experience in the communications space, helming senior roles at Sport Singapore, Singapore Sports Hub and Asia Pulp and Paper. He as also the press secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (now known as Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment) in 2011 and CEO of the Singapore Environment Council. He also spent a decade in journalism at Mediacorp and Singapore Press Holdings.

Over the last two months, the SW Strategies has begun exploring entering into both Jakarta and Bangkok. Raymond told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that he had a potential partner in Jakarta approach him to look at the possibility of a joint venture, as there is a demand for strategy advisories in Jakarta which provide a slew of bespoke solutions for both local and international firms. As for Bangkok, Raymond is currently undertaking a sensing and engagement exercise to determine if is a market the firm can thrive and bring value to in terms of its offerings as a strategy advisory firm.

In a previous podcast episode with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Raymond said: "I think I am probably one of the very very few communicators that ended up entering politics, and probably the only one who has been a senior communicator and journalist that has entered and ended up on the other side of the fence on the opposition party. A lot of journalists have either ended up becoming PAP candidates or part of the establishment, so yes for me it is a very different path."

When asked how he tackles it all, he said having a “good sense of humour” certainly goes a long way. Raymond added: "The good thing is that because we play in the online space and we are communicators we know how to tell a story and make people smile. And we also know how to create talking points and narrative that will make people feel employed and important and that’s important for me and different from me.”

Jose Raymond will be speaking about campaign in the time of social distancing and the power of owned media during a fireside chat at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's upcoming PR Asia 2020 conference. Join us this 8-11 December as we address the new realities for PR and crisis communicators. Register now!

Enjoyed what you have read? Follow us on Instagram for the latest updates in Southeast Asia's marketing and advertising space!

Related article: Marketing podcast: Life after advertising with Jose Raymond