M1 dials up platform based creativity, calls creative pitch as dentsu bows out

Shortly after unveiling its new brand identity, telco M1 has called for a creative pitch. The appointment is for one year with the option to extend another year, and the appointed agency will start mid-April this year.

The incumbent on the account is dentsu, which has been M1’s agency partner since 2018. While the telco has invited the agency back to pitch, dentsu has declined to participate in the pitch this time round. In a statement to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Phil Adrien, managing director, creative group, dentsu Singapore, said: "As the telco successfully launches its exciting new brand, a campaign that dentsu closely partnered to bring to life, we have respectfully declined to participate in their pitch. We feel that the time is now right for us to focus our capabilities on helping other partners to create similarly impactful brand transformation experiences.”

Adrien added that it has been a pleasure growing alongside M1 since the brand and agency started its relationship in March 2018. "We are proud of the work that we have delivered over the years and are deeply appreciative of the opportunity to work with the M1 team," he said. 

In M1's search of a creative partner, Vincent Ruaz, M1 deputy director, brand and digital marketing told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that it is looking for an agency that can deliver creatively based on its new brand platform while ensuring M1’s personality and value proposition is clearly translated across every asset and communication.

Additionally, it is looking to work with an agency that understands creativity and media, and is willing to move with the brand "toward deeper technology and human integration to achieve data, automation and creativity osmosis". Ruaz said:

We are also looking at processes that will deliver the right volume of content which will enable us to significantly increase our speed to market and reduce production costs by 30%.

M1's future marketing plans

Moving forward, M1 will be putting data and experience at the core of its strategy, and will move towards hyper-personalisation that is supported by creative automation and delivery. Ruaz said this would enable its customers to enjoy hyper-personalised experiences and build unique packages through seamless digital engagement. M1's pivot towards digitalisation is part of its refreshed brand identity, which touts digital transformation as at the heart of its initiatives. The telco has since enhanced its in-store experience, offering an interactive store layout and in-store virtual ambassador named Megan, to engage walk-in customers and provide assistance with personalised recommendations. Additionally, it also updated its app to make it more interactive and allow customers to manage their mobile plans easily by themselves with a few clicks.

Currently, the telco is largely focused on optimising the best performing channels across different stages of the user journey, and to be performance-driven in everything the brand does– from paid performance to social media and SEO. This will be done mainly through algorithmic optimisation, according to Ruaz. Deeper integration with AI partners, development and refinement of M1's own algorithms, as well as strengthening of its analytic framework will also have "significant impact" towards the improvement of its performance, Ruaz explained.

Internally, M1 has already changed its way of working to foster agile cross-functional processes, which enables faster and sharper go-to-market strategies and implementation. The team pilots, measures, and analyses to ensure that each of its investments are providing the best value for both the business and consumer. Now, the team is also implementing deeper integration in terms of data, automation, and creativity. This allows M1 to achieve hyper-personalisation across different touch points in the customer journey, and bring about a positive impact on the business. "The future of M1 marketing is supported by the enhancement of our digital capabilities and the transformation of our digital journey across the entire business and external touch points," Ruaz added.

The changes at M1 became visible to the consumers  in December 2020 when the brand unveiled a new logo (pictured below right). According to a spokesperson then, the team made sure to keep a listening ear on-ground to its customers' feedback. During the period between unveiling its new logo and officially launching the new branding last week, it spent time collecting feedback from users and adapting its marketing strategies accordingly.

m1 rebrands

Concurrently, the team is also running brand lift studies to better understand the impact of its new brand image for consumers across various channels, so that we it can continue to build upon its brand messaging and value proposition. M1's rebranding efforts is done in collaboration with dentsu Singapore and UK design firm Lekito.

Along with its new brand identity, M1 has also launched an eight-week campaign titled "Be". The campaign aims to serve as an ode to seven unique Singaporeans who dared to embrace their individuality, following their own paths and passions. To promote the campaign, M1's spokesperson said it has developed a "stunning TVC" based on the stories of seven unique individuals, which will be running across various mediums in Singapore including the main TV channels, OOH and digital platforms.

m1 be campaign

M1 is not the only telco to currently be running its pitches. Competitor StarHub also recently called for a creative pitch for the Singapore market. Eva-Lotta Gothe, vice president of brand and marketing communications, StarHub, said the pitch was called to "identify the best creative agency partner" as StarHub's business transformation accelerates to meet the ever-changing market demands. While a few agencies were invited to participate in the pitch, incumbent BLKJ declined to participate.

Meanwhile, Singtel was also on the hunt for a media partner working with consultants R3. Incumbent for the account is OMD which was appointed in 2018, and is understood to be taking part in the pitch process.

Related Articles:
M1 touts new brand promise and big campaign push following logo change
M1 refreshes iconic orange logo, receives mixed reviews from netizens
StarHub and M1 slapped with SG$610k fine for broadband service disruptions during circuit breaker