Sentosa splits marketing team in two, promotes new director of brand and marketing comms

Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) has split its marketing and experience team into two separate divisions: the marketing and guest experience division, and the business and experience development division. The new marketing and guest experience division is led by its former director, brand, marketing and communications, Mira Bharin, who has since been promoted to divisional director, marketing and guest experience. In her current role, Bharin (pictured) spearheads the drive for the “One Sentosa” brand experience and service mindset, to build lasting and meaningful guest memories through outstanding service and brand experience.

Aside from her new responsibilities, Bharin will also continue to oversee the brand, marketing and communications functions. The appointment comes as its former CMO, Lynette Ang, exited the company last December, after almost four years with the company. Bharin first joined SDC in 2018. Prior to that, she helmed the roles of general manager of designer brand fragrances, as well as general manager of luxury make-up, at L'Oréal. Bharin was also previously the senior vice president of brands and marketing at NTUC Enterprise. In her role there, she led the corporate branding and marketing function at the Group level and oversaw seven subsidiaries teams' on their branding/marketing needs, her LinkedIn said. Before that, Bharin also spent over 11 years with P&G, where she took on multiple roles such as global brand manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care, as well as the category team leader Asia Pacific Fine Fragrances portfolio.

In a statement to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Bharin said: “I am excited to continue my brand building journey with Sentosa and delighted to work alongside a team who is constantly pushing themselves to strengthen Sentosa’s position as a leading leisure and lifestyle destination. I am grateful for this opportunity, and look forward to taking Sentosa to its next stage of growth.”

With Bharin now at helm of its marketing and guest experience division, SDC is also looking to hire a new deputy director of brand and marketing. The appointed individual will be tasked to define and establish the mid to long-term branding and marketing strategies aimed at driving Sentosa’s brand growth locally and regionally, according to a LinkedIn job post. He or she will need to ensure that all marketing efforts rolled out aligns with Sentosa’s goals and values. Additionally, the appointed individual will manage SDC's annual marketing budget, as well as its internal and external stakeholders, including media and creative agencies.

Meanwhile, the new business and experience development division is led by Chew Tiong Heng, who joins SDC from the Singapore Tourism Board, where he last helmed the role of executive director, infrastructure planning and management in the policy and planning group. This division oversees the sales and development of products, events and experiences aligned with the “One Sentosa” brand. Both Bharin and Chew (pictured below) report to Chin Sak Hin, assistant chief executive and chief financial officer.

chew tiong heng

The changes come amidst Sentosa's on-going pitches for creative and media duties. For its creative pitch, the appointed agency will be tasked with creative production, social and digital duties. The appointment is understood to be for two years, with the option of extending another year. According to GeBiz, there are currently four agencies participating in the pitch: incumbent BBH, TBWA\ Singapore, GOVT, and Huge. Meanwhile, the appointed agency for SDC's media pitch is tasked to deliver innovative, digital-first in thinking media ideas and executions that are on-brand, on-brief and on-budget, for both domestic and international audience. The agency also has to produce a consumer-centric approach by understanding consumer pain points and target the right customer with the right messages, to ensure positive customer experiences throughout the journey. Consultant R3 is handling both pitches. 

Late last year, to encourage Singaporeans to make time for a holiday, SDC unveiled a brand film to re-introduce the island and position it as a holiday destination. 

The new brand film presents Sentosa as an idyllic escape away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It also showcases the nature and attractions of the island in a different light, while inviting Singaporeans to rediscover the island. Done in collaboration with BBH Singapore, the film features an "island boy" exploring Sentosa island and its attractions in his imagination. The film is said to borrow the style of classic musicals and children's films, and is completed with an "unforgettable" song.

Aside from the film, marketing efforts for the brand campaign, which will last for six months, extends through social media, digital and out-of-home (OOH) channels. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE understands that the film will be promoted through social channels, while marketing materials such as posters would be used to drive footfall to the island.

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