#LEAwards spills: How TMRW is cultivating a supportive environment to grow talent

Digital agency TMRW has solidified its standing in the industry, working with clients such as INSEAD, F45, and BMW Asia. Its focus on being purpose-driven has not only dazzled consumers but also allowed it to bag a range of awards at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's Loyalty & Engagement awards.

TMRW received the silver for Best Engagement Strategy – Specific Audience and Best Use of Experiential/Live Marketing, and bronze for Best Engagement Strategy – Specific Audience, Best Use of Contests / Promotions, and Best Use of Relationship Marketing – B2C.

Shaun Quek, MD of TMRW shares how the agency is doubling down on talent this year, amidst lockdown and tightened employment rules, and how its marketing plans have shifted.

What are some of the expectations your consumers now have for your brand?

Quek: Most of our clients were referred to us by other clients. Clients who have worked with us, those who choose to work with us or others who have simply heard of us. Expectations run high when it’s word-of-mouth, so really, we ever only have one option: to give it our all, every single time. As such, little has changed when it comes to what’s expected of us.

That said, the way the world works has changed fundamentally in 2020, and correspondingly, we saw a shift in the client mindset. We are now more deeply engaged, functioning almost as an extended arm of the client, working together to resolve whatever challenge that comes along; the client-vendor relationship evolved into a business partnership. Today, clients come to us for that added business savvy, on top of the creative agility we are known for.

How has your marketing/your clients marketing plans shifted this year?

Quek: Rules change by the month, and consumer behaviour adjusts accordingly. In short, plans have become more fluid. There is much less time for trial, and even lesser patience for error. However, we have to be able to react, with precision.

We do so by creating dedicated task forces for our clients. Comprising diverse talents from across the agency - whether it’s a suit, creative, technologist, or even our admin - each task force draws on its collective experience to derive an insight quickly. And consequently, arrive at solutions faster than usual.

So in 2021, it’s not a question of whether there is a shift, it’s how fast you can act on it.

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?

Quek: The “war" for talent is going to be brutal. Given increased border closures and tightened employment rules, the ability to attract and retain talent can determine a company’s future.

We are continually investing in our people, regardless of the fact that in this industry, “movement” of talent is sometimes necessary for their growth. Although this disrupts our everyday work, we take pride that other employers see a stint at TMRW as a plus. Our investment isn’t restricted to just knowledge, it’s extended to the culture, methodology, and even our workspace.

Our people are first and foremost, people. Then, employee. We build around their talents, but also guide their shortcomings, and try our very best to create an environment that is open and supportive.

What do you think makes for great marketing these days?

Quek: Purpose. That is the reason for any narrative and every perspective. Purpose is what will engage the right audience and help a brand stay relevant in every conversation.

How are you planning for 2021?

Quek:  We’ve started our path towards a regional footprint. In December 2020, TMRW soft-launched its first-ever regional office in Vietnam. Vietnam’s appetite for creative work and abundant talent make it perfectly aligned with TMRW’s idea-centric, media-neutral approach. Part of this expansion is a deep desire to create and drive borderless efficiencies that will benefit clients wherever they are in the world.