ABrandADay: Felicia Hong, Jas Seow, Nafe Tong (left to right).
The independent agency ABrandADay is carving out a place of choice in a saturated industry. Formed by three associates – Jas Seow, Nafe Tong and Felicia Hong – the founding principle of the creative consultancy agency is simple: solve problems with creative solutions that work.
The formula is in its multidimensional approach – strategic, creative and digital – each pillar representing the expertise of the co-founders.
Less than a year after its creation, ABrandADay celebrated its first victory: a silver medal for “Best Event Branding” and a bronze medal for “Best Integrated Event Campaign” at the Marketing Events Awards 2022, and a finalist for ” Excellence in Brand Strategy” during the recent Marketing Excellence Awards 2022 with client-partner Senoko Energy.
Creative director Tong weighs in on the success. “How do we define creativity? There is abstract creativity and pragmatic creativity. Ultimately, an agency’s job is to effectively address pain points. Engage with brand owners to learn their ideals and perspectives on their respective industries. A hallmark of a creative person is the ability to form opinions about the media consumed and come up with a strategy when the brief hits you.
Prior to founding ABrandADay, Tong was a Creative Partner at Adwright, leading the team to win a Silver Medal for “Excellence in Response to COVID-19” at the 2021 Marketing Excellence Awards, and a Gold Medal for “ Best in Food & Beverage” at the Appies Asia-Pacific Marketing Awards 2022 with the launch of JUMBO Group’s retail brand, “Love, Afare”.
“Creativity is emotional; it’s subjective. We build a data-driven strategy using numbers to support business decisions and ensuring our solutions are solid,” says CEO Seow.
“Here, we simply want to eliminate the weak points of our client-partners. Bring together complementary skills to provide a holistic solution.
A strategist with a proven track record in scaling businesses, tightening operations and developing the market, Seow has achieved tangible year-over-year percentile growth for companies such as COURTS, Carlsberg and Beauty One International.
ABrandADay may be just getting started, but big plans are in the works.
As Singapore commits to net zero emissions and improving food security, ABrandADay is taking active steps to gain knowledge and master the language of Environmental Social Governance (ESG).
ESG is a journey not only for big players, but also for SMEs, which make up 99% of businesses in Singapore.
Chief Commercial Officer Hong addresses a common business dilemma: “Net zero might be too big an idea, but brands need to take the first step. Start small. Identify your area of influence and start with a social impact strategy.
Straddling instinct and data, Hong is well-versed in digital branding and marketing as well as retail and loyalty marketing.
With his expertise in rebranding second-generation companies, Tong opines: “SMBs have the agility and the appetite for change. They just haven’t found a way to talk about it. Sometimes what they needed was a lift and that’s where Enterprise Singapore comes in.”
A balancing act
As a start-up, ABrandADay defines its culture. In taking on the role of intermediary, agency work is about striking a balance – in messaging and responding to changes.
“When client-partners continue with us for another year or a new project, for us it means ‘I trust the whole team’,” Hong shares.
Seow gives details of the name of the agency. “We are in the people business. The essence behind the naming – ABrandADay – is to really focus on our client-partners. We make sure our creative solutions work. If not, we’ll tweak until it does.
“That’s why we are appreciated. Although there are agencies that focus on specific industries, this is not our intention. ABrandADay keeps a healthy mix of portfolios for the team, encouraging them to explore and discover what they really love. In fact, that’s how Felicia became our sustainability ambassador.
Tong adds, “We’re a nice agency, and that’s the advantage of a smaller organization. We sign with a smiley face on the ABrandADay logo as a reminder to ourselves and the team. It’s a challenge to find the right people for the right job. So, let’s enjoy our work and have a good time outside of work.
Tips for marketers to get the most out of your agency
“Be transparent and honest with your agencies. Think of them as your doctor. If you don’t share your pain and symptoms, how can your doctor help you? We can, of course, do a brand audit with a ‘CT scan’, but that often doesn’t give the full picture,” says Seow.
Expressing the importance of a rapport between the two teams, Tong adds, “Know who you’re working with and understand the team. Engage us in conversations about your ideals and the outlook for your industry. The best creations come from good relationships.
Hong concludes by highlighting the merits of keeping an open mind.
“Sometimes marketers already have still images in mind when they inform. While reflecting your expectations works from your experience, it may not always be best for the brand. Leave it to your agency to respond to the brief first. What an agency offers is a compendium of the work of many brands, studied and compared.