NCS Group refreshes branding to reposition firm for growth in 5G era

Technology services firm NCS Group has unveiled a new brand identity and campaign, capturing its new purpose - to advance communities by partnering with governments and enterprises to harness technology and bringing people together to make the extraordinary happen.

The symbol of two forward slashes in the new logo, which NCS labels as the "N power" mark, represents NCS as a technology services firm and the double forward slashes used in internet URLs and in-line comments in computer programming, signify how deeply anchored NCS is in technology and its intention to leverage technology to champion transformation for governments and enterprises. Dentsu Singapore was involved in the rebranding. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to NCS for additional information on the rebranding.

The strategy and approach

According to dentsu, the process started with extensive audience and stakeholder research to define the new NCS brand. NCS’s previous tagline "Making IT happen" had become a rallying call internally, and a motto even used by clients to highlight their trust in the team’s ability to always deliver.

To mark this moment of change and to elevate the story of NCS’s impact in the world, dentsu wanted to be able to flex this statement to a whole world of possibilities. Inspired by NCS’s story as "no ordinary company" and the countless exciting innovations happening around the business at any one time, the agency said "Make Extraordinary Happen" was born.

A rebrand was essential and a new logo needed to be developed. The decision to keep the NCS name was made early and the choice to keep an established tagline was brought to new life. The process went from "making IT happen" to "making it happen" and extending to replacing "it" with the many verticals and services NCS offers. For the launch campaign "it" became "make extraordinary happen", functioning as a call to action internally and a promise to with partners and clients.

The new logo needed to be vibrant, contemporary yet trustworthy and retain the long heritage and achievements of the company. The team wanted something with an iconic and simple silhouette.

Leading the NCS brand transformation campaign, Francesca Babet, head of Singapore, gyro, CXM Group, dentsu Singapore, said a truly holistic brand transformation journey can be successful only when it is able to provide an end-to-end delivery that captures, among others, expertise in branding, design, web, and media. "Our dentsu teams were able to do that seamlessly and we are pleased that it has shone through well in NCS’s transformation launch today," she said.

Dentsu Singapore CEO, Prakash Kamdar, added: "With our strong suite of integrated capabilities housed within dentsu Singapore, it is our innate ability to help our partners deliver impactful transformation journeys. It is therefore delightful to be able to power the launch of NCS’s major transformation campaign and we look forward to a stronger partnership in the coming year."

The rebranding comes alongside its business and people transformation plan to reposition the company for growth in the 5G era. The strategic reset focuses on growing digital services, scaling its government and telco business segments and capturing new growth opportunities in the enterprise sector, across the key regional markets of Singapore, Australia and Greater China. The move comes as digital economies experience a global growth spurt, accelerated in part by COVID-19, creating an unprecedented surge in demand for digital and technology services. To beef up its strategic partnerships in Asia Pacific's digital ecosystem, the brand also named Howie Lau MD of corporate development and partnerships last month. He joined from the Infocomm Media Development Authority where he was assistant chief executive of media and tech innovation. 

As part of the transformation, the company created a separate service organisation, NCS NEXT, to drive its new focus on digital, cloud and platform services. NEXT will complement NCS’ other core service offerings in applications, infrastructure, engineering and cybersecurity, and provide a differentiated and comprehensive suite of end-to-end technology services. NCS intends to hire up to 2,000 tech talent over the next two years.

The past year has seen NEXT achieve key milestones, such as the launch of NEXT Shenzhen Innovation Centre; acquisition of 2359 Media, a Singapore-based mobile app digital consultancy; and the integration of DataSpark, Singtel’s analytics unit which offers unique big data and mobility intelligence services in Singapore and Australia. NCS also recently partnered US-based AI firm, C3 AI, to take enterprise AI solutions to Asia Pacific.

At the same time, NCS is also doubling down on servicing the public sector with the creation of Gov+. According to the Singtel subsidiary, Gov+ will focus on building NCS’ digital government portfolio and strengthen its position as the leading digital catalyst for governments and smart cities across the Asia Pacific.

A second strategic business group, Telco+, is a joint initiative between Singtel and NCS to help telecom companies transform digitally. The goal is to help telcos improve operational efficiencies and leverage data-driven insights to deliver enhanced customer experiences. With the combined 5G capabilities of the Singtel Group and NCS’ expertise in digital and technology services, Telco+ will also develop a full stack of 5G-enabled solutions to help enterprises capitalise on the applications of 5G.

Industries of focus for NCS

Under its plan to fast track its expansion into the enterprise sector, NCS has identified industries to focus on: healthcare, transportation, financial services, industrial, commercial, communications, media and technology. Its expansion in Asia Pacific will also focus on the high-growth markets of Singapore, Australia and Greater China.

Last December, NCS launched NEXT in Australia in partnership with Optus Enterprise to deliver end-to-end ICT and digital services to the Australian enterprise market. The company aims to expand its presence in Australia, which is the region's third-largest IT services market, through a combination of organic and inorganic means, building up digital capabilities in cloud and AI.

In Greater China, which comprises both the mainland China and Hong Kong markets, NCS will concentrate on growing the enterprise business in the healthcare, transportation, financial services, communications, media, technology and manufacturing industries, while building digital capabilities in 5G, digital twin and blockchain.

NCS CEO, Ng Kuo Pin (pictured below), said there isn't a more opportune time for the company to make the pivot from a traditional ICT service provider to a digital and technology services firm in Asia Pacific.

"We will be ramping up our offering of digital services as we reposition ourselves to capture new business from the enterprise sector and expand into the high-growth markets of Australia and Greater China where we have presence and synergies," he added.

ncs event 7 july 3

Ng explained that the "plus" in Gov+ and Telco+ signifies its intent to double down on the government and telco sectors, leveraging its expertise in servicing the public sector and the right to play in the telco sector as part of the Singtel Group.

"We are committed to work even more closely with government agencies and will invest in building deep digital government capabilities to support their digital and innovation needs. Similarly, working off synergies with the Singtel Group, we stand ready to help telcos digitalise their operations so that they can go to market competitively and innovatively, he added.

During its fiscal year of 2021, Singtel said in its financial statement earlier this year that NCS delivered "robust growth in ICT services. Yuen Kuan Moon, Singtel Group CEO, said NCS and its data centre services proved to be bright spots despite the disappointing results given the pandemic headwinds and ongoing structural challenges. He added that both segments showed strong growth as enterprises rushed to digitalise and transform their businesses. "We will be capitalising on this mass digitalisation with plans for a strategic reset to drive recovery and growth," he said previously. Singtel’s operating revenue for the full year was down 5% to SG$15.64 billion. Its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation for the full year was down 16% to SG$3.83 billion.