What GrabAds looks for in its Grabbers

While Grab is an established and trusted super app in Southeast Asia, its business unit GrabAds is still growing its prominence in the market. As a relatively newer business function within the Grab family, the team at GrabAds embodies a start-up mentality, ready to tweak the nature of its offerings to fit the evolving ad landscape.

When GrabAds was launched in 2018, the team was focused on fleet ads (car wraps) and in-car tablets. Since then, it has evolved to become a fully fledged advertising platform offering an extensive on-ground fleet of vehicles, a vibrant digital presence with digital marketing capabilities, and user insights for better customer targeting.

Starting late 2019, GrabAds started focusing on the online advertising space. In June 2020, GrabAds launched the GrabAds Masthead, which is its first foray into the online advertising space with the launch of GrabAds Masthead. This feature is positioned to give brands maximum exposure, and directs users to a relevant Grab service, advertiser site or details page for better engagement.

With all of these elements in place to position GrabAds as the go-to online-to-offline partner for advertisers, having the right talent in place has become vital for the team. As such, the team is looking to deepen its roots with the right talent in all of the seven markets it is operating in. However, as it plans for the next year, the crux of its focus for the right talent to supplement the next phase of the journey will be in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Caroline Lee, talent acquisition manager at GrabAds, said that applications to join the GrabAds unit remain high, especially in Singapore. GrabAds, she said, is focused on looking for “dynamic” individuals hungry for change and positive disruption.

This content was created in partnership with Grab.

What is GrabAds looking for in its hires?

The ideal GrabAds Grabber (that’s what Grab calls its employees) should show resilience in their body of work which will undoubtedly help them as they adjust to life at GrabAds where changes happen swiftly, Lee said. “Talent interested in joining the family should have good mileage in their respective roles,” she added.

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So what does it take to be a Grabber? Well, cultural fit for one is paramount. But the team also pays attention to candidates who take the initiative and are motivated. In short, the four basic Hs which are a must-have for the business unit, as well as Grab in general, are: heart, hunger, honour and humility.

“As an advertising platform, we’re always seeing how we can reach out to folks in digital/media sales. During our screening sessions and interviews, we want them to talk more about their sales achievements, their sales volume, and the process they took to do so,” she said.

However, Lee was equally quick to emphasise that while all of these achievements are vital, culture fit is still the most important thing.

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“The one constant is its culture,” she said, adding the company wants employees to succeed in a culture of passion and innovation.

“When we talk about the GrabAds culture, we describe it from a Grab perspective. Just like all other Grab products and services, the guiding principles of the culture is less on each team, and more on the entire company. We want to ensure that we empower every individual that comes through our doors with the right technology and tools to accomplish impactful work across the region,” she said.

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Hiring managers at GrabAds, as such, are trained to keep an eye out on driven applicants who are team players and can demonstrate a structured approach on scenario questions posed during the interview.

For example, in the client partner and accounts team, there have been many GrabAds Grabbers who have previously worked in digital/marketing agencies. This helps in their line of work as they often build upon their existing relationships with past clients to share about GrabAds. Moreover, they know perfectly well how to pitch the myriad of offerings on GrabAds while suiting a client’s requirement.

“By building on what they already know, adjusting their skills for the job, and their learnings during onboarding, they are usually able to hit the ground running,” Lee said.

Meanwhile, if the job is that of a sales representative, having an organised approach with a network of leads is something that is definitely a plus, but still, culture comes first.

Seconding that opinion is Hashmi Rafsanjani, regional sales lead at GrabAds. He is of the view that in most media sales roles, the impact of your advertising initiatives may not always be immediately evident. But at GrabAds it is consistently prevalent.

“Whether you’re launching an in-app native advertising campaign driving sales uplift and ROI for small and medium merchants, or implementing a fully integrated last-mile campaign to drive footfall back to retail businesses, the immediate uplift in business metrics is evident and measurable,” he said.

Given thousands of merchants and partners across SEA rely on the Grab ecosystem for sustenance and income, that very immediate uplift in business metrics resulting from advertising campaigns directly drives social and upward economic mobility at scale.

What is the sales team now focused on?

Currently, the team is busy encouraging its advertiser partners to think beyond the status quo and explore newer, innovative and truly online-to-offline consumer advertising solutions with GrabAds.

As an emerging platform, Grab and its ad business unit are constantly looking to work with partners with a view on the long-term strategic gains by establishing shared mutual growth targets. It wants to bring on board partners who are keen on leveraging the full suite of Grab’s direct-toconsumer and partner services to continuously evolve and deepen its relationships.

While this approach will play a bigger role in driving mutual growth, on the sales team’s side, this requires willpower, persistence, tenacity, and above all, a strong “can-do” attitude from the sales team, Rafsanjani said.

“Our GrabAds’ core purpose goes beyond just driving media sales and delves deep into driving economic and social mobility through measurable, innovative, and outcome-driven advertising campaigns for businesses of all scales. So anyone who’s excited and motivated by this very prospect and challenge, would be a great hire,” he said.

Moreover, today it’s not nearly enough to simply sell your products to a client. You need to cultivate an understanding of the client’s business. To do so, Rafsanjani and his team take more of a consultative approach to developing sales managers. This is so they can emerge as strategic consultants to GrabAds’ advertising partners.

“Through the development of detailed account approach plans, hearing and understanding our partners’ advertising as well as evolving our business objectives and deploying the best of Grab and GrabAds’ solutions to solving those challenges, we position ourselves as consultants,” he said.

As the needle in the marketing world also moves more towards science and data, Grab is also in the perfect position to understand its consumers’ daily lifestyles in-depth. The platform’s in-depth understanding of consumer behaviour enables the sales team to design contextual consumer engagements mapped to the clients’ objectives.

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As such, it is able to better evaluate key business and campaign metrics for deeper understanding and insights, he explained.

“We are constantly growing our sales enablement programmes within GrabAds to consistently upskill and train our incoming as well as existing client partners and sales managers on our evolving suite of solutions and capabilities,” he said.

“The enablement team will help our client partners across SEA by providing them with continuous learning about our products. These sessions will help them understand the latest in industry best practices and to manage the velocity, growth and strategic impact of our sales partnerships."

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What’s the future of GrabAds?

COVID-19 has accelerated digital adoption tremendously in SEA, and GrabAds believes opportunities for the digital economy will only continue to grow. With businesses of every size going online, Rafsanjani said the company is in a “position to help these firms thrive online through its services and solutions”.

“For GrabAds, we will continue to push the boundaries of advertising innovation, creating solutions that are highly effective for large businesses, and accessible for even the smallest business in the region. We hope to continue collaborating with our partners to offer them new, innovative and direct-to-consumer digital solutions to promote and transform their businesses in the post-pandemic landscape,” he said.

One example of how the team has adapted and helped partners solve new challenges is in its online-to-offline (O2O) closed-loop ads. As countries are easing measures, one of the key challenges will be getting people to go back to offline retail outlets. To encourage this and support businesses during this recovery period, GrabAds launched online-to-offline (O2O) closed-loop ads, which includes rewards that customers can only redeem in a brand’s physical retail outlet through GrabPay or unique verification codes.

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Customers simply save the offer in their Grab Wallets and subsequently use it at the offline pointof- sale, where the retailer can then determine the attribution of the ad, effectively closing the loop. In 2021, the team is looking to launch more format options that will be relevant for both its customers and advertisers.

The latest advertising spots on Grab that have been launched are the in-transit ads. These in-app ads are positioned on the page where customers are waiting for their food order to be ready or for their ride to arrive. It is a highly engaging page that allows advertisers to reach customers who have recently transacted and are more open to interact with ads that have the right messaging.

Meet some of the Grab Ads Grabbers

Alvin Lin, senior client partner, GrabAds Singapore

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What was your background prior to joining GrabAds and what do you do now?

I was with Carousell for about 16 months. Prior to that, I was in a social media company called Nuffnang. For both, my role was to advise advertisers on how to market their products through the media spaces available. I’m a senior client partner and my role is to help advertisers market their products/services to the right audiences in Grab through the many premium ad placements we have.

Why did you decide to join GrabAds?

A few reasons come to mind: I have been an avid supporter of Grab ever since the company started in Singapore several years ago. I love the brand, the values and how it’s a local/Asia brand that I can be passionate about. GrabAds is also great for an ad man like me because the platform (Grab) is well known in the region, has curated content and everyone in SG uses Grab! That’s where advertisers want to expose their brand.

How does the team at GrabAds support your growth plans?

We are like a family that have the same goal; that is to help businesses unlock more value from Grab through GrabAds. Everyone chips in to help achieve this singular goal. Also, I joined during the lockdown and was WFH throughout, yet, I’ve never felt alone as my “family” was always ready to jump on a call to support, share and help me settle down.

Shafika Haduri, senior client partner, GrabAds Indonesia

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What was your background prior to joining GrabAds and what do you do now?

I was in digital ad sales before joining Grab for almost eight years. Prior to that, I worked at POKKT and OLX, but most of my career growth was at KapanLagi Network. As a senior client partner, my main responsibility is to increase the company’s ads revenue. GrabAds is fairly new to the digital ecosystem that most clients are unfamiliar with. I had to do a lot of presentations to introduce GrabAds to potential clients and definitely bring in new clients to advertise on Grab, and also make them renew their placement with us.

Why did you decide to join GrabAds?

I see GrabAds as the next big thing in the digital ecosystem. I think clients need the right platform to run campaigns with qualified and eligible users, and, of course, Grab is the leading super app in the region. I believe Grab will continue to grow and this will come with a lot of challenges and adventures which excites me.

How does the team at GrabAds support your growth plans?

The GrabAds team has supported 100% of our growth and career development, and is directing it in a better direction. Our team is very solid, friendly, helpful, and of course, super duper funny. I can say this is the biggest adventures so far and I like it.

Rina Laurel, senior client partner, GrabAds Philippines

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What was your background prior to joining GrabAds and what do you do now?

Prior to joining Grab in April 2018, I worked in development and fundraising at a non-profit organisation called the International Crisis Group in New York City. There I learned about the art of cultivating relationships with donor stakeholders, a skill that came in handy when I decided to return home to the Philippines to dip my toes in the private sector as a sales development officer at a local tech start-up (Storm Technologies).

When I joined Grab, I worked as an enterprise sales executive for the business team which offers B2B solutions to Grab’s corporate clients. At the time, GrabAds was just about to launch and I was lucky enough to be the first employee to introduce it to the Filipino market. Currently in my role as senior client partner, I’m responsible for the accounts of some of the biggest brands in Southeast Asia and lead the overall GrabFood Ad sales strategy in the Philippines.

One of the most exciting things about working for a team such as GrabAds is the ability to take ownership over projects and work cross-functionally with colleagues of various backgrounds who are experts at what they do. I regularly partner with product, analytics, marketing and operations teams to find creative and effective ways to drive key performance metrics for our clients.

Why did you decide to join GrabAds?

Having previously worked in the public sector, it was important for me to find work that was purposeful and exciting. Grab is an organisation that is committed to its mission to drive SEA forward, and through GrabAds I can see the direct impact of my work to our partners and customers on a daily basis.

For example, when the Philippines went into lockdown as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many GrabFood merchants turned to ads as a solution to boost their visibility on the app and as a result were able to grow their investment by 10 to 20 times. This helped them stay afloat during these difficult times. At the end of the day, these are the results that matter to our customers and this is what makes my job meaningful.

How does the team at GrabAds support your growth plans?

GrabAds will celebrate your wins and help you chart your own path. Being in a team that is rapidly growing is definitely an advantage because it means that new responsibilities and roles are widely available. I regularly meet with my manager to discuss my long-term goals and whenever possible find opportunities that help meet those goals. GrabAds helps integrate brands authentically into their consumers’ lives, through the ability to fit into various phases of the customer journey.

If you’d like to find out more about GrabAds and how it can empower your brand, click here. If you’d like to join the GrabAds team, check out their open roles here.