Category: Aspectus

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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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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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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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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Internal threat data: your key to cybersecurity media success

By Sanjana Rao, Account Executive

In a densely saturated market for media attention, it can seem an uphill struggle for cybersecurity sellers to carve out a name for themselves. A company news drought can be frustrating, especially in those periods when you have no new funding rounds, high profile hires, or marquee client partnerships to announce. But cybersecurity companies are treasure troves of internal threat data which can form the glue between your company and journalists writing their next story.

Banking on your data

Many companies in the cybersecurity space have access to vast repositories of data, which can be enhanced to tell new and compelling stories about current trends in the market in which you operate.
In other words, what are the current patterns your product is experiencing, and what can this tell us about the broader cybersecurity landscape? What modes of cyberattacks are most prevalent for your users? What security tools are most in demand from customers and prospects? What kinds of companies need your product and services? Internal data could reveal interesting data security trends in whatever verticals you serve.
Suddenly, an array of internal performance data becomes an insightful take on the wider industry and reinforces why businesses should invest in cybersecurity, and your product in particular.

Data-driven journalism

Journalists love data. Data offers hard evidentiary proof points in an inherently opinion-driven media world. When creating and pitching stories to journalists, you need to consider why it’s important to readers and what value you can add. A great way of doing this is by providing data, since this grants credibility to stories and gives real-world context. Media pitches backed up by data in the form of numbers, charts, graphs, tables, or interactive infographics offer a clear story map that makes a journalist’s life easier. Nowhere is this more important than the cybersecurity trade media like Beta News, Security Boulevard, and ZDNet – in the evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats, readers are concerned about the measurable risk that current and future trends pose to themselves and their businesses.
Thankfully, with new technologies at the hands of cyber criminals, no subsector is too niche for journalists, whether it be hardware security, Kubernetes, identity and access management, and many others. This presents an opportunity for you to become an industry data leader by offering market research that can’t be sourced from anywhere else.

Become a market research go-to source

The goal is to ultimately become the go-to data bank for journalists when they are writing their next stories. For instance, this could be commissioned yearly as an annual report, meaning over time, you can become known for something. For example, longtime Aspectus client and award-winning anti-malware solution provider Malwarebytes produces an annual and quarterly Ransomware Report, detailing ransomware attack trends. Cybersecurity trade outlets including InfoSecurity Magazine published articles on Malwarebytes’ 2023 spring report, noting that the UK’s education sector was the most targeted industry in 2022-23.

However, a conglomeration of internal data and a cutting-edge market report are two very different things. Getting there requires knowing exactly what your end goal is and how this can be rolled out to maximise your return on investment.

Data-driven PR builds credibility and good media relations

Survey research reports present robust opportunities for PR and marketing campaigns and content. Cybersecurity companies that conduct periodic surveys of industry participants or target audiences can generate data-driven storylines that not only can attract media attention but also can be repurposed into valuable content for blog posts, LinkedIn campaigns, white papers, and conference presentations. This can elevate a company’s voice of authority in its space, positioning executives as credible thought leaders and attracting new business. For some tips on conducting PR survey campaigns, see this earlier post.

As communications professionals, we have our fingers on the pulse of the cybersecurity news cycle. We also have longstanding and very personal relationships with the journalists who would be interested in your products. Moreover, our cybersecurity sector expertise means not only that we grasp the technical details of the industry, but we also are keyed in to the latest trends and news in the cybersecurity mediascape. We can therefore connect the dots between your business and their next article, which results in building media relations that pays dividends again and again.

Most importantly, we can work with you to create a creative, but relevant report topic that customers, prospects, and media can look forward to.

There is a lot to digest starting out in this process, so if you want to know how to make the most of your internal data, get in touch.

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Always-on: your protection against the triple forget threat

By Ellie Jackson, Chief Client Strategy Officer

Samwise Gamgee. Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. Bat-girl. Most heroes have a trusty sidekick. It’s a well-understood trope of fiction: the dashing, if occasionally volatile, hero/ine needs a steady counterpart. The one who can be relied upon. They might not take center stage, but without them, the whole house of cards would come crashing down.

That’s how I think of campaigns vs. always-on. Naturally as marketers, we tend to think in campaign cycles. When it comes to new business pitches, our big focus will be the exciting campaign idea. At the end of our careers, it will be the big campaigns that we remember. But that mustn’t lead us to downplay the importance of always-on.

Always-on is our protection against what I call the triple threat of memory decay, competitor noise and competing priorities. Let me break that down a bit…

Memory decay

It’s the nature of memory to decay from the moment something is no longer in front of us – that’s just how the brain works. The speed of that decay will vary based on the impact the exposure had, the length of time that’s passed since and the other things competing for attention – but in all instances, it’s something we marketers are up against.

Competitor activity

If we accept the general premise that people have a certain capacity of mental availability for different aspects of their working life, we accept that we have to share our space with our direct and indirect competitors. And that means any activity from our competitors could hasten the memory decay for us.

Competing priorities

Related to the above, are simply the other priorities that will pull the focus from our product or service – especially if we straddle the line between ‘business-critical’ and ‘nice-to-have’, or where we’re trying to displace an existing supplier.

This ‘triple threat’ is especially damaging in our specialist sectors. We’re not in the business of FMCG: the majority of our clients’ prospects are actively in-market relatively infrequently. And because we know that – even for high mental involvement purchases like our clients’ products and services – top-of-mind awareness plays a high part in final purchase outcomes, we must prioritize springing to mind at the right moment.

Campaigns alone cannot deliver this. Sure – done successfully they’ll deliver the peaks of attention that should hold some degree of retention. But this is where we need ‘always-on’ to fill in the gaps – because we don’t know when they’ll suddenly shift into an active buyer state.

As Maria-Angela Sanzone, Head of Paid Social at JPMorgan Chase, said recently at Advertising Week New York: “It comes down to repetition and eliminating dark periods so that you always have a presence. It’s the right place with the right message at their right time, not a right time.”

If you’d like support balancing your campaigns and always-on activity, contact our team.

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