Whitepaper – Marcom in Asia: A confident continent

Optimism, increasingly integrated, a sector ‘on the up’ and confident of aiding business growth. Those are just some of the clear messages from the Asia-based PR, marketing, communications, and branding professionals who took part in our recent YouGov powered survey: Marketing Communications in Asia: Optimism and Opportunities. 

Across generations and in businesses of many sizes a significant majority (78%) are positive about their own ability to capture and grow opportunities for their business or their clients. Furthermore, nearly half (48%) of respondents feel this is a sector on the up, building on successes and looking for new opportunities.  

While optimism is the common denominator, there are anxieties – be that understanding and making full use of all modern marcom channels, or properly combining traditional practices such as PR with newer, digital ones. A shortage of skill sets too, in areas such as UX/UI or SEO and SEM is an issue that must be addressed.  

All of this aligns with what we are hearing from our growing client base in the region, as we continue to expand our on-the-ground presence in Singapore.  

Asia is a dynamic and often complex marketplace, with brands competing to establish their identities all while jostling to engage with diverse audiences and adapting to evolving demands in consumer behaviours.  

We are delighted to be able to bring this detailed piece of analysis marcom professionals across the region. As well as detailed quantitative results that have been written to inform strategy, partnerships and provide detail on how to drive business goals we have also gathered the thoughts of some of the leading marketing minds in Asia.  

Koh Juat May President, Institute of Public Relations of Singapore believes this report will bring the value and awareness marketing communications to the forefront of what is a fast-evolving technological revolution.  

There is within, further commentary – for which we are incredibly grateful – from:  

  • Gwenne Chen, Head of Marketing Communications at AsiaNext 
  • Christopher See, Head of Marketing, SGX FX  
  • Lucas How, Marketing & Communications Manager, APAC Services, Sulzer Singapore  
  • Louise Veitch, Head of South East Asia, Aspectus  

We do believe you will take a lot from this document, be that evidence or insight into making strategic decisions on which marketing channels to harness for upcoming campaigns, enlightening data around current and future marketing trends, or information that had not crossed your radar regarding skill shortages or agency partnerships.  


  • The key to building trust and enhanced brand loyalty in culturally diverse markets 
  • Which communications channels are taking centre-stage in marcom strategies? 
  • Why tangible marketing results are pivotal to unlocking budget 
  • The skillsets the marcoms industry needs for the next era of marketing communications 

“Marcom specialists in Asia increasingly recognise the need to deliver sales-boosting results. Omnichannel campaigns can demonstrate achievements, often overlooked. Earned media and PR, known for enhancing brand awareness and sales, are hard to quantify. Integrating these into digital marketing campaigns provides concrete evidence of success.”

Koh Juat Muay
President, Institute of Public Relations of Singapore (IPRS)

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The Pursuit of Excellence

By Katy Galasinski, Chief Growth Officer

As our CEO, Alastair, said, at Aspectus, branding, marketing and communications is all about creating client success. And when we recently launched our new brand, we shared our formula for success, our X factor, our special sauce.

A key part of this is Excellent Execution. I want to let you all in on what that looks like at Aspectus. And what better way to do so than crowdsourcing intel from my talented Aspectus colleagues, whose endless energy, talent, and precision deliver success after success for the businesses and brands we call our clients.

“Clients don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – Charlie Bonner-Davies, Junior Designer

Excellent execution for clients begins with striving to be an extension of their team. We count financial services, tech, energy, industrials, and capital market companies as clients. But in practice, our clients are not companies at all. They are people: the one, two, or three executives, heads of communications or marketing, or CEOs that trust us with protecting their businesses’ reputations and brands. This trust is something every team member at every level works hard to create.

Excellence for me means showing up every day as a safe pair of hands for my clients – making sure they trust us to get things done when we say we will, to a high standard.” – Nuala O’Sullivan, Account Executive, Energy

“In my eyes, excellence consists of many moving parts – stellar communication, insightful recommendations, valuable results and always putting your best foot forward, so we can build a strong and trusting relationship with clients.” – Ivy Gitarts, Senior Account Manager

It also means knowing what clients need before they know they need it. To do that we have to put ourselves in their position and adopt their POV. It takes time to develop this informed intuition with a client. We must immerse ourselves in the company’s marketing, sales, and business objectives. We have to fully comprehend the nature of their business, the marketplace in which they compete, and their offerings. And we must truly understand them, what their ambitions are, what keeps them up at night and how they like to work.

“Get a solid handle on your client’s objectives and your client’s boss’ objectives right from kickoff. Understand their obstacles and challenges and identify the gaps that you and your account team can fill.” – Christina Hong, Account Director

Once a client is confident that we have their backs, are in their corner, and consistently watch out for their best interests, they really do think of us as indispensable extensions of their team – integral partners in their business. Partners that support them from strategy to success in a way that creates meaningful business outcomes.

“No matter how good your strategy, in the end success always hinges on the execution. Ideas have to be distinct, relevant and challenging enough to change people’s hearts, minds and behaviors – or all your great thinking up front will go to waste. The reverse is also true. Execution is only excellent if it serves a brand’s big picture and takes it a step or two further towards success.” – Dan George, Associate Director

Different agencies undoubtedly treat their clients in different ways. For us, the term “client” doesn’t do justice to how we think about those companies who keep our lights on. And since each client point-of-contact has a unique personality and different workflows, and objectives specific to their businesses, we must be agile and adaptable.

“When I worked in-house, the agencies that stood out the most that we worked with were the ones who were able to proactively anticipate our needs, as well as reactively gauge when our needs or usual way of doing things had changed and switched pace accordingly.”
– Christina Hong, Account Director

So that’s what Excellent Execution means to us. As you can see there is nothing formulaic about it. It’s an attitude that runs deep here at Aspectus. An attitude that empowers our people to do their very best work for our clients, for Aspectus, and ultimately for themselves.

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Insight unleashed: rediscovering the real magic behind the buzzword and harnessing its value in a data-driven world

By Ellie Jackson, Chief Client Strategy Officer

‘Insights.’ It’s one of those words, isn’t it? You know – the ones that get thrown around rather liberally over a period of time. And then, almost without you noticing it, you realize its true meaning has been diluted. 

For me, a true insight comes at the far end of a spectrum where ‘information’ sits on the left-hand side and ‘intelligence’ in the middle. Information is simply organized data. Intelligence is what the information tells us. Insight is the ‘a-ha’ moment. It’s that intelligence cleverly applied to the wider context of the situation that gives us an edge over everyone else. True insight requires us to understand what others don’t so we can make moves they can’t see. 

An Axe (marketed as ‘Lynx’ in the UK, Ireland, Malta, Australia, New Zealand and China) campaign from a couple of years ago really brings this to life. They worked with Google to investigate young men’s online searches: that data is the information. Searches like, ‘Is it ok for guys to eat tofu?’ and, ‘Is it ok for guys to do their eyebrows?’ formed the basis of the intelligence: there is a high level of insecurity among this group about what masculinity really means. The insight therefore was that what men are searching for is reassurance that it is okay to be themselves. Thus, a campaign was born: ‘find your magic’. 

Here at Aspectus, we talk about ‘intelligent insight’ – that’s core to how we support clients. In many ways, the ability to offer insight is a central reason to hire an agency. It’s something we see as being at the heart of the value we can offer our clients. That’s why our sector specialisms in technology, energy & industrials, financial services and capital markets are so important to us. It’s only because we understand these markets so well, and from every angle, that we can truly understand different stakeholder motivations and concerns. And although every situation is unique, now we’ve grown to around 100 people globally without diluting our sector focus, that wealth of experience is a real goldmine for us – and by extension our clients – to draw on. The ability to see the full picture from the outside is one of major sources of value of hiring an agency, after all. 

Intelligent insights goes deeper at Aspectus, too. We have a specialist Brand, Insights, and Strategy team, which works alongside our sector specialists. We are firm believers in rooting our strategic decisions in evidence, and that’s why we preface all our brand and messaging projects with stakeholder mapping, audience research and a deep-dive into competitor/partner/client positioning. That basis ensures we have the necessary information to generate valuable insights. True creativity cannot exist without that insight to hang off.  Insights are needed to steer that punchy, possibly even provocative, idea that’s really going to deliver success. That kind of creative energy only delivers when it’s grounded in meaningful insights and real-world thinking. 

For clients, this approach might mean identifying trends in their own data that they would not otherwise have been able to pinpoint. Or spotting industry themes that can align with their messaging and resonate with their audience. Or hitting upon the perfect mix of channels to communicate with their stakeholders. It’s that neat idea that is usually so brilliantly simple that once you see it, you can’t imagine how you didn’t think of it sooner. Ultimately it means getting them to their communications and business successes.  

While all this value will remain, we are standing on the brink of a major shake-up of our industry. The increasing use of AI technologies will bring considerable changes – well-documented already by others – not least of which will be to support an insight-led approach. The ability to more quickly and  easily interrogate data will provide strong foundations of information and intelligence for insight-led thinking – the ‘human-in-the-loop’ layer where we add our value. 

Whatever happens, we’ll continue to focus unapologetically on insight-led strategies. And we’ll try to be strict with ourselves about only using the word when we really, really mean it. 

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Top technology awards to enter in 2024

By Mitchelle Odigie

With numerous B2B technology awards open for entry every year, it can be hard to know which ones to enter – that’s why we have curated a list of prestigious technology awards for you to have your pick. B2B technology companies may even wonder, should they even participate at all? Yes! One practical reason to enter, is that industry award wins serve as unbiased third-party endorsements, showcasing real-world success stories that provide instant credibility to a technology solution or company. Having award wins under your belt acts as tangible proof for investors, prospects, and potential employees. Not only do technology awards showcase a company’s product and service offerings, but they also boost employee morale. The combination of strategic branding and earned credibility contributes greatly to a company’s reputation. See our earlier article for more on why awards should be a key component of your marketing/communications plan.

Here are our top ten B2B technology awards to enter in 2024:

SC Europe Awards

Named as one of the most prestigious cybersecurity awards and with over 25 categories to choose from, the SC Europe Awards celebrate the excellence, advancement and incredible minds that are shaping the future of cybersecurity in Europe. In a crowded B2B cybersecurity solution provider ecosystem, top tier award wins can be a key differentiator and can help convert a buyer in the decision stage of the funnel.

  • Entry deadline: 22nd February
  • Entry fee: £460 + VAT
  • Awards ceremony: 4th June

Global Business Tech Awards

Technology is a huge part of our lives, and the Global Business Tech Awards celebrate how emerging and existing technology helps us to overcome challenges, create new opportunities and much more.

The categories span numerous industries from EdTech to Cybersecurity to SaaS, and include cross-sector categories such as Best Use of Innovation, Tech Deal of the Year and Tech for Good. These awards help celebrate everything from the apps that have changed customer experience to the management systems that have transformed business across multiple industry verticals.

  • Entry deadline: 23rd February
  • Entry fee: £265
  • Awards ceremony: 9th May

The Health Tech World Awards

The Health Tech World Awards celebrate the best examples of leadership, innovation and impact in health technology globally. The awards include several categories to enter, from Health Tech Leader of the Year to Best Digital Health App of the Year to Health Tech Startup of the Year, so there’s something for everyone!

  • Entry deadline: 29th February
  • Entry fee: None
  • Awards ceremony: March

Campaign Tech Awards

The Campaign Tech Awards are back for 2024, the stage is set for you to showcase and celebrate the limitless possibilities technology enables within the marketing, advertising, and media industries. The Campaign Tech awards matter because they are judged by the toughest critics, your peers. Their expert judging panels consist of numerous industry professionals such as the SVP of Brainlabs, the CEO of Growthcurve, the Staff System Engineer of Airbnb and more, representing the full breadth of the technology industry- selected based on their expertise, experience and integrity.

  • Entry deadline: 29th February
  • Entry fee: £615 + VAT
  • Awards ceremony: TBC 2024

Tech Capital Global Awards

The Tech Capital Global Awards is not just about recognising achievements; it’s also about celebrating innovation, creativity, and the power of digital infrastructure. The awards ceremony is the perfect place to meet and interact with other digital creatives from around the world. By attending, you’ll have the chance to connect with potential partners, investors, and collaborators, and gain valuable insights into the latest industry trends.

  • Entry deadline: 8th March
  • Entry fee: None
  • Awards ceremony: 22nd May

Tech Excellence Awards

Celebrating its 22nd year of excellence, this awards programme will culminate in a black-tie gala event that gathers the best of the tech sector, for a night of recognition and celebration. The Tech Excellence Awards represent the most prestigious achievements across the technology sector, recognising the skills, innovation and ingenuity of the industry and its people.

  • Entry deadline: 5th April
  • Entry fee: None
  • Awards ceremony: 23rd May

Cybersecurity Excellence Awards

The Cybersecurity Excellence Awards highlights companies, products, and professionals that demonstrate leadership, innovation, and brilliance in information security. Whether you’re a startup or an established company, they offer categories tailored to your product, team or organisation.  

  • Entry deadline: 6th April
  • Entry fee: $900
  • Awards ceremony: May

Digiday Technology Awards

The Digiday Technology Awards are tier-one adtech/martech awards that recognize the technology modernizing media and marketing. Over the years, they’ve honored industry-leading work from Adobe, SpotX, Twitch, PubMatic, and Piano. Categories range from Best AI Tool and Best CRM Platform to Best Native Advertising Platform and Best Marketing Automation Platform.

  • Entry deadline: 24th May
  • Entry fee: $599
  • Awards ceremony: Late summer 2024

Global Bank Tech Awards

Organised by financial services publication The Digital Banker, the Global BankTech Awards, exists to honour and celebrate the world’s newest ground-breaking technology companies and their contributions to technology-based enhancements, initiatives and innovations within the financial services industries that are streamlining operational processes, automating workflow and re-engineering business models, while materially driving productivity gains.

  • Entry deadline: 12th July
  • Entry fee: None
  • Awards ceremony: 19th September

Women in Tech Awards

The time has never been better for women to get into technology. Information technology has been listed as the most in-demand skill set across multiple industries according to a survey published last year by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation. The Midlands Women In Tech Awards are a unique opportunity to highlight and solidify the ongoing contribution of amazing women in the tech sector.

  • Entry deadline: 4th August
  • Entry fee: None
  • Awards ceremony: 4th September

Our technology team has won multiple awards for our client[RE1] [MO2] s; the Ground Engineering Awards for COWI, and we helped BT Wholesale secure the Diversity Award last year at the Comms National Awards – to name some – by drafting compelling entries to celebrate and showcase their achievements. Get in touch at tech@aspectusgroup.com if you’d like to enter B2B technology awards in 2024.

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A confident continent: Asian Marcom Professionals buoyant on growth and omnichannel evolution

Data from Aspectus Group also details anxiety around ROI and lack of skill sets in more complex areas of digital marketing 

1st of February 2024, Singapore – Asia based marcom professionals believe the region is flourishing and are increasingly focusing on digitally integrated campaigns. But over-measuring marcom ROI and a lack of skills in more technical digital areas remain a concern.  

This is according to Aspectus Group’s latest industry survey which includes insights from leading marcom experts in the region. Another key perspective is that presence and knowledge on the ground is essential for any form of success for global brands with regional marcom activity:  

  • 78% of respondents are positive about their ability to capture and grow opportunities for their business’s clients 
  • Nearly half (48%) believe the marcom industry in Asia is established and thriving  

Digital First  

It appears the bullish mood of the industry rests on the increasing integration between traditional marketing – such as PR and content – with digital. This mix is driving smarter campaigns, taking the best of both worlds to deliver more tangible ROI – something that still creates anxieties for marketers looking to drive the sales funnel.  

  • 47% of marketers believe digital marketing is the biggest opportunity to capture market share  
  • That’s triple the number of respondents who voted for strategic communications (16%) or branding and messaging (16%) 
  • When it comes to Gen Z – 83% view digital marketing as the way to obtain audience cut through  
  • When asked what their most important communication channels are –social media (90%) platforms and online media – such as digital ads – (87%) came out on top.   
  • This is way ahead of traditional media (43%) and events and conferences (37%)  
  • While 36% identify public relations as a primary area of focus, just 8% think standalone media relations (without a digital faction) present one of the biggest opportunities for capturing market share.  

Signs of a talent drought?  

It appears that many marketers today cover many different skills. But this doesn’t mean there is enough talent to cover all aspects of the industry machinery. This is especially relevant to more technical roles where top talent appears to be in short supply.  

  • Overall digital marketing is the area where more skill is most required (40%), followed by branding and messaging (38%), strategic communications (36%) and design (25%) 
  • Just 6% of respondents work in AX/UI design – the lowest of any job role in the survey  
  • Only 18% of respondents operate in SEO/SEM analytics  
  • AI appears to be an area of focus – or at least an increasing part of the modern marketer’s skillset with 9% saying they work as a specialist in this position.  

Justifying marketing spend and activity  

The age-old perception of marketing’s value and intrinsic relationship to the sales pipeline appears to still ring true in Asia. It is a major concern. Most respondents say they face the expectation of immediate monetary returns and in a digital world this means quantifiable outcomes are expected more than ever before.  

  • 51% of respondents say they experience an undervalued perception of the marcom function  
  • 42% say there is a lack of understanding of the ROI that marcom can provide  
  • Nearly three quarters (72%) tell us there are high expectations of immediate monetary returns or sales conversion from marketing activity  
  • This worryingly could be affecting the quality of output, with 56% saying a focus on metrics stifles the quality of their output.  

On the ground and in the know  

Asia is a complex market and to outsiders seeking to grow market share   experts take the view that global companies cannot simply replicate strategies from their home market – knowing local nuances has never been more important to getting marketing results.  

  • 92% of respondents say that on-the-ground representation in Asia is important  
  • When asked about barriers to success in Asia, 70% say a failure to understand local dynamics is the biggest issue  
  • Finding suitable local partners or agencies is also hard with 55% identifying this as a challenge 
  • Cultural and language differences, according to 35% of marketers can be a major drawback to success in Asia  

Commenting on the report, Koh Juat May, President, Institute of Public Relations of Singapore said: “The marcom space in Asia is thriving. The confidence and optimism among respondents are crucial to encourage growth and secure investments for marcoms activities. Asia is unique and what is clear is the most successful marcom team is one that embraces cultural diversity and understands the sensitivities that work on the ground – and displays this through their marketing campaigns.” 

Christopher See, Head of Marketing, SGX, FX said: “It is clear that having the knowledge and desire for campaigns to run across different digital platforms is now a must for marketing departments. But upskilling and understanding the mechanics of new types of marketing can be hard – regardless of the appetite to learn – given time constraints and the amount of ground marketers need to cover. Finding and harnessing successful, on-the-ground partnerships is a sure way to stand out from your competition.”  

Louise Veitch, Head of South East Asia, Aspectus concluded: “Any marcom specialist will know that demonstrating results that go towards the sales pipeline has never been more important – and more demanded – by key stakeholders. What often goes overlooked however, is the ability of an omnichannel campaign to show exactly what has been achieved. Everyone knows that earned media or PR drives brand recognition and encourages sales conversion, but it’s often hard to evidence. By combining stories into wider digital marketing campaigns – marketers across Asia will have something more tangible to show.”  

Access the full report here.

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Around the world in 80 seconds: navigating cultural differences in a global agency

By Chloe Tan, Singapore

In Jules Verne’s 1872 novel, main character Philias Fogg attempts to circumnavigate the world in 80 days. A century and a half later, going round the world in 80 days wouldn’t only be possible, it could be done 40 times over.  

In the context of cross-global communication, it only takes 80 seconds to get in touch with colleagues in London, New York, Singapore or Sydney. Modern B2B SaaS and cloud technology companies now operate in a borderless digital world, where their users come from around the globe – companies now see the value in employing communications teams across regions to deliver communications strategies locally. Our clients now engage our PR communications services globally, for instance our client InEight, a leader in construction project management software, employs our teams in the UK, USA and Singapore. This means global agencies like Aspectus now play a pivotal role in bridging cultures and delivering impactful communication and marketing solutions. However, successfully navigating the intricate web of cultural nuances depends on the ability to understand, respect and communicate everyday differences that influence the way we work around the world.   

Working in communications and PR in a global agency

With this in mind, and taking into consideration time zone differences and cultural nuances, working in public relations in Asia comes with its fair share of challenges. Below, we’ve put together the Singapore team’s top cultural considerations for the workplace, that might not be on your radar but could support you with future global working. These differences not only apply to how we deal with media, but also how we handle our clients.  

  • Language: While English is spoken in Singapore, much of the language borrows inspiration from the three other national languages: Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. Singlish is the Singaporeanised version of English and if you ever visit Singapore, you’ll recognise this distinctive and unique accent which combines many different languages and dialects. For instance, a common phrase used at the workplace in Singapore is ‘pang gang’ which comes from Hokkien dialect, which directly translates to ‘off work’ – this means you’re done for the day, you’ve completed your tasks and it’s time to clock out of work. It’s often used in a celebratory tone, when you’re finally ready to head out of the office. Another common one is ‘bojio’, which is translated from Hokkien and means ‘no invite’, jokingly used to call someone out when you’re not invited to an event, gathering or party.
  • Working with media:  A notable difference is the way we approach the media, we’ve noticed that our colleagues in the UK tend to ring up journalists on the phone more frequently, as compared to Singapore, where communication through emails is more widely accepted.  
  • Workplace hierarchy: Singapore is a relatively conservative country that is a mash of both modern luxuries and traditional values. This can translate to the workplace where a top-down hierarchy is mostly still practised. The subordinate-boss relationship is difficult to navigate, and it is sometimes difficult to challenge something your boss or senior says. While this is not something we experience at Aspectus thanks to our unique workplace culture and doesn’t reflect the global culture, it is still something to consider, as global agencies communicate with clients from around the world.   
  • Working hours: In Asia it is not uncommon for employees to come into the office before their seniors arrive and only leave when they do, irrespective of workloads or schedules. Interestingly this can have real implications on productivity. A recent global survey from Slack and Qualtrics found that workers in Asia are spending the most time on “performative work”, focusing on appearing busy more than doing real, productive work.  
  • Lunch hour: We’ve also noticed one big difference on everyday behaviours. A colleague from the London team noted the vast difference in lunch hour experiences between Singapore and London. In Singapore, at 12pm, there is a mad rush at food courts, cafes and restaurants – this could partly be the “kiasu” mentality, a colloquial term referring to the fear of losing out, like FOMO. You’ll notice long queues at every food store you could possibly find, and even snaking queues at lifts once the lunch hour is over. This is vastly different from experiences in London, where our colleagues would typically meal prep for lunch and have their meals at their desks. This could be due to the plethora of affordable food options in Singapore – there are practically food courts and hawker centres everywhere you go, and lunch sets you back just SGD$4 a meal. Eating out is probably more affordable in Singapore than in London. Another shared experience in Singapore is an unspoken practice where you have to reserve or ‘chope’ your seats in coffee shops and hawker centres before getting your food, and this is done by ‘choping’, done by using tissue packs, umbrellas, or really anything random.  

Understanding and embracing diversity

All of this cultural diversity is a valuable asset that fosters innovation and creativity. However, to harness this potential fully, it is essential to recognize the unique perspectives and experiences, and embrace these differences. Our Singapore PR team has also shared their top tips to help navigate these cultural nuances, while working in public relations in Asia:  

  1. Active Listening: Pay attention not only to the words spoken but also to the tone, body language, and context of conversations. This can help identify non-verbal cues and emotions. 
  2. Clarification: Don’t hesitate to seek clarification if you are unsure about something. It’s better to ask for more information than to make assumptions. 
  3. Written Communication: Be concise and clear in written communication, avoiding idiomatic expressions, slang and cultural references that may not translate well. 

Working in communications and PR in a global agency is truly a unique opportunity to gain more insights from different cultural perspectives. After all, at Aspectus, we have a workforce that speaks 13 different languages and comes from 20 diverse nationalities. This diversity of culture and perspective leads to innovation as we work on bringing different ideas together – we’re all about weaving these cultural nuances into the fabric of our work, creating connections that transcend borders, adding values to our clients and creating impactful work.  

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Rolling out the red carpet: a comprehensive list of the best B2B energy awards to enter in 2024

By Olivia Greaves, Account Manager

B2B energy awards come in all different shapes and sizes, highlighting regional activity, best-in-class technology, ESG and DEI initiatives and more, but how can you sift through the ever-increasing categories to find those most relevant to you and those you have the strongest chance of winning?

With lots to choose from it can be hard to decide where your efforts are best placed, here are some of our top picks for B2B energy awards to enter in 2024.


For those operating in the Middle East, it doesn’t get much bigger than ADIPEC. Held annually in Abu Dhabi, ADIPEC runs over four days in mid-November, with the awards ceremony a major element of the overall event.

Last year’s awards centred around companies ‘Leading the Transformation’ and we can expect a similar theme for 2024’s categories, celebrating achievements in the pursuit of net-zero emissions and decarbonisation.

Entry deadline: June (TBC)

Awards ceremony: Mid-November 2024

edie Net-Zero Awards

The inaugural edie Net-Zero Awards were held in November 2023, a sister scheme the established edie Awards, it was created to recognise individuals and organisations who are spearheading the transition towards a net-zero carbon economy.

Categories include Net-Zero Hero, Built Environment Project of the Year, Innovation of the Year and Renewables Energy Project of the Year, amongst others.

Entry deadline: July (TBC)

Awards ceremony: November (TBC)

Global Offshore Wind Awards

The Global Offshore Wind Awards is run by RenewableUK and celebrates the very best in offshore wind across several categories- People, skills and health and safety; Innovation and excellence; and Environmental, social and governance.

Entry deadline: July (TBC)

Awards ceremony: October (TBC)

Hart Energy ESG Awards

An increased spotlight on ESG in recent years has led to an increase in accompanying awards. Hart Energy’s ESG Awards are open to producers, operators, services companies and midstream companies in the oil and gas industry. The awards look to recognise innovations, social efforts and leadership practices.

With a slightly different format to other awards, organisations don’t enter specific categories but instead enter with a ‘summary of achievements’ and one company per ‘type’ is crowned winner.

Entry deadline: April 5

Awards ceremony: August 30-31

Hydrogen Awards

It was only a matter of time until the budding hydrogen sector developed its own awards. Enter The Hydrogen Awards.

There are over 23 categories to enter and win, celebrating the use of hydrogen across many industries including automotive, rail, industrial and construction.

Entry deadline: November (TBC)

Awards ceremony: February (TBC)

Offshore Energy UK (OEUK) Awards

Hosted annually in Aberdeen, the OEUK Awards celebrates outstanding companies and inspirational people working within the energy sector.

The award has several categories for those just starting out in the industry, including Apprentice of the Year and Early Career Professional of the Year as well as others spotlighting energy security and decarbonisation efforts.

Entry deadline: August (TBC)

Awards ceremony: November (TBC)

Offshore Achievement Awards (OAAs)

Another awards ceremony hailing from the Granite City, the OAAs reward innovative technologies, company growth and contributions of individuals within the energy sector.

Entry deadline: Already closed for 2024, expected to reopen November (TBC)

Awards ceremony: March 2025 (TBC)

Platts Global Energy Awards

With over a quarter a century of awards ceremonies under its belt, the Platts Global Energy Awards is one of the more established awards on the B2B energy awards circuit, and with 20 categories, there’s something for almost everyone.

Categories for individuals range from Rising Star Individual Award to Lifetime Achievement Award, and categories for companies include a variety of energy transition awards.

Entry deadline: August (TBC)

Awards ceremony: December (TBC)

Subsea Expo Awards

The Subsea Expo Awards, hosted by Global Underwater Hub, recognise companies and individuals that are leading the way in the UK’s underwater sectors.

There are just seven categories, including a Technology Development Award. 

Entry deadline: Already closed for 2024, expected to reopen September 2024

Awards ceremony: February 2025

Woman in Energy Award

In an industry that is still largely dominated by men, the Woman in Energy Award aims to reward and celebrate women in energy.

Part of European Sustainable Energy Week, it highlights outstanding activities, projects or actions carried out by women. Particular attention is placed on efforts to drive the gender mainstreaming agenda and support equality and equal opportunities.

Entry deadline: February 1

Awards ceremony: June 11

At Aspectus, we’ve won many B2B energy awards for clients. From handling the research through to drafting compelling and creative entries including winning The Offshore Achievement Awards, Green Business Awards and Ground Engineering. Get in touch if you’d like to win more awards in 2024.

At a glance

AwardEntry deadlineCeremony
ADIPEC AwardsJune (TBC)Mid-November (TBC)
edie Net-Zero AwardsJuly (TBC)November (TBC)
The Global Offshore Wind AwardsJuly (TBC)October (TBC)
Hart Energy ESG AwardsApril 5August 30-31
The Hydrogen Awards.November (TBC)February (TBC)
OEUK AwardsAugust (TBC)November (TBC)
Offshore Achievement AwardsNovember (TBC)March 2025
Platts Global Energy AwardsAugust (TBC)December (TBC)
Subsea Expo AwardsSeptember (TBC)February 2025 (TBC)
Woman in Energy AwardFebruary 1June 11

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ROI of PR: Tracking strategic communications to business success

By Richard Etchison, US

The challenges of proving the value of public relations and media visibility to their bosses is an age-old conundrum for marketing and communications leaders to face, especially to strictly data-oriented business leaders. Sales and marketing leaders speak in terms of MQL, SQL, prospects and conversions, metrics sometimes insufficient to measure the efficacy of a brand’s media and brand awareness, as well as its bottom-line benefits.

The potency of PR and strategic communications campaigns can, in fact, be measured with hard quantifiable evidence. And perhaps more importantly, the measurement of PR should not be thought of as an isolated KPI from a siloed department. In today’s always-on, interconnected, omnichannel media environment the marketing, communications, and PR programs should be perceived as a single, discipline – a holistic function tied to overarching business objectives – activities integrated toward the common goal of building the brand and growing the business. Let’s look at the qualitative and quantitative ways to measure the ROI of PR/comms as well as some of the challenges.

Communications is a brand building propellant

So, how does PR program success connect to marketing and sales outcomes, on a conceptual level? For B2Bs in particular, a well-conceived communications program is key to building credibility and differentiating from the crowded marketplace. And it’s not only about proving you have a superior product offering at a good price. With much higher dollar signs at stake than consumer products, B2Bs must demonstrate they are a company that understands the industry sandbox in which they play; they must prove they provide good customer service and understand the buyer’s needs; and they must show they are competent and trustworthy. B2B buyers have a lot riding on their choices and their buyers’ journey is long, 2-6 months, with numerous touchpoints. DemandGen’s survey report found that in 2023 the top 2 reasons B2B buyers selected a vendor were (67%) demonstrated a stronger knowledge of company needs and (67%) demonstrated a stronger knowledge of the solution area and business landscape.

Power of PR to show instead of tell

PR and communications do something that advertising cannot because successful PR shows excellence instead of telling people about their excellence. Here are just a handful of hypothetical examples:

  • A CNBC TV appearance based on newsjacking pitch, building executive voice-of-authority and conferring brand credibility, perhaps moving a prospect from awareness stage to consideration stage in favor of the company’s solution
  • An executive opinion article by a regulatory tech company leader in popular trade publication Corporate Compliance Insights, that accrues thought leadership credentials leading to positive brand perception
  • A survey research report that yields salient insights about the latest industry trends, resulting in data-driven story pitches that the media love, and can be repurposed to produce owned web content that boosts domain authority and garner leads via downloads
  • Analyst relations: A cybersecurity company being named to Gartner’s annual Magic Quadrant for best Cybersecurity Endpoint Solution, resulting in immediate inbound leads, SEO, and high-quality visibility
  • A CEOs’ conference panel appearance results in-person networking connections, meetings with prospects, video content, and social engagement

As you can tell from the above, there is a close connection between PR and marketing/sales. However, as my colleague Ellie Jackson notes in our recent post “Measuring What Matters: Missteps in Marketing Reporting,” marketing leaders need to guard against throwing too much weight behind easier-to-measure short-term metrics at the expense of long-term brand building. The long game begins with clear brand identity, messaging, and online presence, fed with a steady drumbeat of earned (and paid) media coverage — coverage with a consistent strategic message that aligns with overall business goals. Especially critical for B2Bs, the endgame ROI of PR is reputation, competitive advantage, and ultimately converting leads by staying top of mind for buyers.

Long game of strategic communications

What is the purpose of PR? To get positive press coverage for your company, sure. It’s an art and a science; it’s turning intangibles like brand affinity, reputation, or thought leadership into tangible business wins. For B2B tech providers, the foundational marketing goal is to provide discoverable and valuable information to software buyers no matter where or when they search, aka full funnel marketing. Ideally the type of content that gives them the confidence and trust they need to buy your offering. It’s really about the long game of building credibility, visibility, and awareness of the brand, trumpeting the company’s outstanding strengths and unique sales proposition in a steady news stream of earned media coverage to the target audiences. Highlighting the term “earned media,” the most impactful content is not paid for but earned through informative or educational value, whether it be an executive byline article, a line of reactive commentary to trending news, or milestone coverage.

How do I get hard data to show PR effectiveness?

Before the digital transformation, measuring the impact of PR was difficult – and yet simple in its basic metrics. Now we have more dots to connect. Marketers are now able to link campaigns, content, and coverage to, for example, shifts in the quantity and quality of web traffic and engagement, demonstrating what has and what hasn’t worked. A monthly list of coverage with details on the publication’s reach and overall view on KPI progress is a helpful but limited way to assess whether a media relations strategy is delivering. But this is a short-term metric. Good PR/marketing teams can go deeper to measure brand reputation by studying metrics like a company’s share of voice (SOV), landscape analyses, and/or sentiment analyses to see how a company’s social, web, and traditional media exposure compares to competitors. In today’s cynical environment where Millennials and GenZ cohorts expect a high level of corporate social responsibility, trust and reputation are genuine drivers of business success.

Making intangibles tangible: reputation and trust

Media intelligence provider Signal AI produces a global reputational ranking of 500 companies based on innovation, performance, and purpose – by tracking news articles, social media posts, financial announcements, research reports, podcasts, and broadcasts. Speaking of purpose, telling a B2B company’s story is another powerful communications strategy. When it comes to selling solutions, attracting talent and creating brand loyalty, spreading awareness of a company’s origin, purpose, culture, vision, and ethos can be another way to differentiate from the competition and cut through the media noise with something unique and authentic. In Ipsos-LinkedIn’s 2023 survey, 59% of global B2B marketing leaders say their C-suite has increased the importance of brand building, given economic conditions. B2B branding has become almost as essential as B2C.

Measurement of the effectiveness of PR and communications programs is indeed doable. Connecting PR campaign performance to overall financial performance is more difficult but not impossible. Most importantly, company leaders should understand that how the brand talks to its customers, investors, prospects, and other stakeholders is a critical driver of business outcomes. Of course, different companies at varying stages of growth and in different sectors have unique needs for their strategic communications. An early stage fintech B2B creating a new category will have different communications needs than a challenger brand surging toward IPO. But all companies need some level of public-facing strategy, a digital presence, a coherent brand identity (and messaging), and need people talking about them in positive ways.

For more information on our tailored communications, PR, and digital marketing services, click here to submit a question.

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Executive communications & an investment bank’s CEO side hustle

By Madalena Thirsk, Capital Markets, Aspectus Group  

In the world of institutional finance, where numbers rule the roost and quarterly profits wield immense influence, the CEO of one of the largest investment banks moonlighting as a DJ might seem like an incongruous subplot. In case you missed it, David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs has been periodically appearing as a DJ at clubs and resorts for the past few years, sometimes at high-profile events like Lollapalooza. The recent revelation that Solomon has decided to step back from his side gig as a DJ has sparked much debate over whether this move was an overly cautious response to shareholder concerns, or a prudent measure in the face of declining profits and thousands of layoffs. These kind of off-campus behaviours by high profile CEOs can pose vexing executive and crisis communications challenges for the companies’ corporate comms leaders and their PR agency partners. 

CEO behaviour: a symphony of success or discordant shareholder distraction? 

On the one hand, Goldman Sachs’ curt response that “David hasn’t publicly DJed an event in well over a year” response might appear as a knee-jerk reaction to quell shareholder unease. In an era of minute-by-minute scrutiny in capital markets, investors often demand unwavering focus from their leaders. With Goldman Sachs reporting a substantial decline in earnings, this development has raised serious questions about whether the CEO’s extracurricular activities might have been perceived as a distraction. From a shareholder perspective, it’s undoubtedly a valid concern. However, Goldman Sachs’ spokesperson offers a reasonable counterpoint. The notion that Solomon’s hobby had a direct impact on the bank’s financial performance might be a stretch. If music was indeed a personal passion that didn’t interfere with his professional duties, the media attention around it could arguably be more distracting than the hobby itself. 

Goldman’s defensive PR response 

In our post from 2022, we discussed how the personality of CEOs can become a brand in and of itself that individuals, who may not have heard of the brand before, will now know through the CEO. But becoming a “chief celebrity officer” is a whole other level of challenge for public companies. In the grand scheme of things, whether Solomon DJs or not might seem trivial. That said, the timing of the CEO’s decision to publicly distance himself from his DJing pursuits raises questions. In the context of a two-thirds drop in profits, it’s natural for shareholders to scrutinise any aspect of leadership that might potentially divert focus from restoring financial health. The internal communications concerns within the bank also must be considered. Declining profits can trigger a sense of urgency and scrutiny at any institution. If internal worries prompted this defensive response, it could signal that Goldman Sachs recognises the gravity of the situation and is willing to take corrective actions.  

Yet, this episode serves as a reminder of the executive communications tightrope that CEOs of publicly listed companies walk. They must manage not only the performance of their organisations but also the perceptions of their stakeholders. In this case, Goldman Sachs’ reaction can be seen as proactive, a signal of attentiveness to shareholder concerns. However, it also raises questions about the underlying conditions that led to this highly defensive “music was not a distraction from David’s work. The media attention became a distraction” communications response in the first place. 

Executive communications intersects with investor relations 

Ultimately, David Solomon’s DJing hobby needs to be considered from a shareholder communications perspective. Sure, it’s all fun when things are going smoothly, but what if we hit rough patch and earnings take a dip? That’s when the communications and investor relations teams need to really weigh the pros and cons of these stunts. Imagine you’re a major shareholder in Goldman Sachs, watching the stock price slide. Would you feel reassured seeing the CEO spinning tracks at gigs instead of steering the ship? 

In the age of social media, it’s all about perception and you’ve got to be on your toes, making sure the right image is being broadcast. It’s not about avoiding these media outlets; it’s about taking charge of the narrative. Solomon’s DJ career is a chance for a killer media strategy, turning this into a positive executive branding and boosting visibility on social platforms. In today’s world, those platforms are just as crucial as the traditional news outlets, and the approach needs to be just as savvy. 

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Aspectus appoints professional services lead

Kirsten Scott, head of Professional Services

Appointment comes as the agency expands its global professional services offering.

New York and London, 6th December 2023: Aspectus, the global brand, marketing and communications agency, today announces the expansion of its professional services practice with the appointment of Kirsten Scott as Professional Services Lead.

Aspectus already has a strong track record in this sector, and now as it continues its global expansion, it is time to bolster its expertise in the space. In doing so, Aspectus will be better positioned to support professional services clients meet their business and marketing goals.

Kirsten Scott, who joined the Aspectus team two years ago, has extensive experience working with professional services clients including leading international law firms, accounting firms, consultancies and world-known financial, risk and advisory specialists. To date, she has played a crucial role in securing flagship clients for Aspectus and has contributed significantly to the agency’s growth. In her new position, she will be tasked with driving expansion while ensuring that Aspectus capitalizes on its existing experience.

By combining deep sector-knowledge – across the financial services, energy & industrials, capital markets and technology sectors – with extensive professional services experience, Aspectus has unrivalled insight into how businesses can engage audiences on all sides. This when compounded with its on the ground presence in key professional services hubs around the world means it can deliver fully integrated global campaigns with local insight and is perfectly poised to deliver client success.

 Alastair Turner, Global CEO, emphasises the importance of this strategic development, stating: “As Aspectus continues to grow globally, our focus on the professional services underscores our commitment to providing tailored solutions to our clients. Professional services communications requires deep knowledge of complex subject matter but also a genuine understanding of the nuances of businesses operating within the space – from consultancies and accountancy firms to legal or compliance specialists.”

In the past 12 months, Aspectus has experienced remarkable growth, achieving global revenues of over $15m (£12m) — a 25% increase compared to the previous year. This growth has been fuelled by heightened client demand, the introduction of new services including the agency’s ESG offering, and the agency’s strategic expansion into Asia complimenting the agency’s full-service, fully integrated offering.

Kirsten Scott, Professional Services Lead adds: “I am delighted to be leading the charge for Aspectus in professional services. Communicating effectively and confidently to stakeholders that span multiple geographies and different industries  is becoming increasingly difficult for professional services firms. In-depth, on the ground support and guidance is needed to navigate this landscape with certainty and – crucially, to do so in a way that meaningfully engages and inspires their audiences to take action.”

“Aspectus’ unique positioning across our core sectors enables us to provide unparalleled insights and strategic guidance to our clients, wherever they are in the world. This when coupled with our track record of delivery in the sector, means we know how to make clients stand out for all the right reasons, and tell their multi-channel stories in a way that ensures maximum impact.”

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Don’t let the data drown out your voice of reason: the subtle balance of art and science in marketing strategy

By Ellie Jackson, Chief Client Growth Officer

As marketeers, we have access to more data than ever before. Data on audiences, data on reach, data on engagement. I love it. I believe firmly in data-backed strategy, data-informed testing and data-led measurement and refinement. Data is our critical guide when it comes to seeking out and diagnosing problems and marketing solutions. It helps us gently remind CEOs and founders that they are not the audience. And it enables us to refine campaigns mid-flight so they perform better. 

But marketing is an art as well as a science. And when it comes to human behaviour, science doesn’t always have all the answers. A recent episode of the ‘On Strategy’ podcast with Fergus O’Carroll was a timely reminder that data should never be followed blindly. The podcast followed the story of Replens, a vaginal moisturiser. Bear with me. This may be a million miles away from most of our specialist sectors (with the exception of HealthTech) but the lessons apply across the board. 

Replens approached The Gate following a drop in sales during the Covid-19 pandemic. The full story is well worth a listen on the link above, but in short, the agency had access to a selection of quantitative and qualitative data. They built the first creative, logically enough, on a key piece of quantitative data that ranked the top two purchase triggers as dryness and itching. It was only later, when they realised that the first creative wasn’t doing enough for them that they went back to the data – and the drawing board – and instead built a much more powerful, emotionally-driven campaign disregarding the top two factors and looking instead at what was placed a lowly third: intimacy. There were elements in the qualitative data that helped nudge them in this direction too – but it took the team stepping away from the obvious, data-led angle to get there. 

And of course, there are all sorts of iconic adverts that would never have been made if the teams behind them had trusted solely in the data and let that ride roughshod over their own instincts. Perhaps the most famous of these is the Guiness surfer ad, but there are plenty to choose from. 

We see that lesson closer to home too. Take brand architecture projects, where we advise clients how to present the organisational structure of their various brands or sub-brands for maximum value. These exercises are typically built on a lot of data from financials, to internal attitudes, competitive reviews, client concerns and broader purchase factors. And while we couldn’t make these decisions with confidence any other way, one of the most useful considerations in amongst all those spreadsheets upon spreadsheets of cold hard facts is simply what structure the internal marketing team is going to be best able to manage in the future, since the success or otherwise of the future picture will hinge on that. 

This is no rallying cry to ditch data. I meant what I said at the start. Get the data. Use the data. But use it wisely. And if it doesn’t feel right, challenge it. Most importantly, don’t disregard your instincts – they’re there for a reason. 

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