Category: Financial Services

Why we care more about bad news… and how spokespeople can cut through

By Alex Newlove, Senior Account Manager

It is a common complaint that journalists tend to focus on the ‘bad’ stories that make us despair about the state of the world. Our clients sometimes worry that journalists’ propensity for covering conflict and mishap will lead to quotes being taken out of context and placed in an overwhelmingly negative story.

Who else subscribes to a news service where the refrain below-the-line is often “I will be cancelling my subscription to this alarmist newspaper, I expected better”?

The insinuation behind these complaints is that journalists go out of their way to irritate and alarm us, just for fun. Sometimes, the follow-up statement from commenters will be something like, “why can’t you report on some good news for a change?”.

The answer to this question is clear: editors have better information than ever about what people are reading, given that the vast majority of news is now clicked on, as opposed to leafed through. I would argue that this makes us all culpable for the quality and tone of the news agenda. You clicked on one too many articles about Kim Kardashian’s bum, and you are now living in the mean and superficial world which you helped to mould. Social media has further fueled an environment that rewards only the most extreme, black-and-white opinions.

But while I have just implied that we all have a degree of responsibility for the negative news cycle, we are also born with brains that fire up for drama and disaster; merely flicker for charming stories with a happy ending; and barely register accounts of where things have gone well or adhered to the status quo – in fact this latter group is barely considered news at all.

Excuse me while my undergraduate psychology course rears its ugly head, but this penchant for bad news makes perfect sense from an evolutionary perspective. The ‘negativity bias’ meant our ancestors were vastly more likely to put their attention towards what could be a snake in the grass, over admiring a glorious blue sky. Ignoring potential bad news (the approaching snake) was vastly riskier than not focusing on neutral or good news. Similar mechanisms are at work when we find it easier to recall insults than compliments, and why you remember exactly what you were doing when you heard a plane had crashed into the twin towers. Your brain registered the perceived shocking threat and helpfully filed the ‘lesson’ for later.

This negativity bias poses a challenge for PR people. Our clients often come to us desperately excited about a new project their team has been working energetically on for many months. We are sometimes in the unenviable position of telling them “sorry, no-one cares”. This will be translated to something along the lines of “What an exciting initiative! Unfortunately, due to the busy news agenda we cannot imagine this will get much traction with the media at this time”.

So how can firms capitalise on a grim news agenda, without coming across as overly pessimistic, or getting drawn into a slanging match with competitors?

Contrarian points of view

Restating the status quo does not get you quoted. The journalist wants colour and opinion – what is your or your company’s attitude towards a topic? Can you critique a prevailing idea or theory, or even your own industry, before covering what your firm is doing to change it? (We recommend against criticising specific competitors.)

Use their angle to your advantage

Ask the journalist if they already have an angle in mind. If you feel it is inaccurate or overly-negative, this gives you a chance to come up with a more positive counter-narrative and will help guide your responses throughout the conversation.

Move the story on

The journalist is always trying to write the next chapter on a given topic, so there is little point in extensively rehashing old ground. Give them something fresh to go on and explain how an issue is moving on. “Now the market is shifting, and our clients have started asking us about Y. This means…”

Be fearless: say what you think

A big frustration for journalists is the extent to which senior people in well-paid positions are afraid to venture an opinion, even where it correlates to their company’s messaging. The world is gasping for thoughtful, frank, discussion. Being passionate and showing personality is good.

Aspectus can help your company navigate a turbulent news agenda. Contact us.

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Singapore: Switzerland’s secret admirer

By Tom Robertson, Senior Account Executive, FS 

There’s nowhere more exciting to be for wealth than Singapore right now.

In 2022, the financial centre attracted $448 billion in net AUM inflows, 15.8 per cent higher than previous years. But why has a presence in this country become so essential for fund managers, family offices and intermediaries? Singapore has long been a beneficiary of wealth from the Chinese mainland, and this ramped up significantly following China’s 2020 encroachment on Hong Kong – previously a free-market competitor to Singapore. And with US-China relations particularly strained, Singapore has become the vessel for (U)HNW individuals to manager their wealth. And with a recession that is not expected to hit the Asian markets in the same way as the West, the landscape has been set for Singapore to reap the rewards. It most definitely has taken its opportunity to become a financial superpower.

The country has set up an attractive tax structure and strong fund regime, alongside an internationally respected financial regulator to go alongside its political stability and neutrality that has earned it the nickname of the Switzerland of Asia. For international family offices, the draw has been too big to turn down. China is responsible for one third of the total global net worth growth since 2000, and isn’t slowing down any time soon. And keen not to miss out on the action, western firms are also moving their APAC headquarters to Singapore.

Without a doubt therefore, it’s an exciting time for players in the APAC private wealth space, but how can businesses capitalise on this rapid influx? For multi-family offices, now is the time to highlight your presence in Singapore, whether you’ve been based here for two months or two years, getting in front of your target market with the right message is essential. The Singapore revolution is more than definitely underway, and if Singapore can continue to hold its attractive pull for wealthy families from across China and further afield, it looks like it’s going to be a stronghold for private capital for many years to come.

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5 tips to break into broadcast across Asia-Pacific

By Thamsia Salam, Account Executive, FS 

If you want reach more of your audience, more quickly, then engaging the broadcast media is crucial. Video consumption across APAC has been growing steadily and the region is now one of the largest pay-TV regions in the world. Over 80 per cent of TV households have one or more connected TV devices, and the average household has up to 4.1 connected TV devices in the region.

The popular quote, “if it was easy, then everyone would do it” comes to mind. And while broadcast opportunities don’t come without their challenges, securing spots on the likes of CNA 938 or CNBC Asia is not impossible, no matter the existing brand recognition. Our top tips below!

Planning makes perfect

Even reactive opportunities guided by breaking news stories need to be planned. Businesses must make sure they know well in advance upcoming events or milestones so that when news does emerge, they are already prepared to pitch to producers. A dedicated news gathering team or department can be created to make this a success.

Right person, right time!

Typically, assistant editors rotate between planning and news gathering, so phoning the news desk and finding out who is on planning that week is crucial. Often, emails sent directly to the news desk are unmanned and therefore become lost opportunities. Make sure you are also pitching to the right people and have built contacts who are either producers, editors, or assistant news editors.

Pitching in a pinch

It’s important that you keep an email pitch as succinct as possible. Don’t bother wasting time in a subject line with news release or comments, instead make it as concise as possible. For example, if it is a pitch around a budget, ‘Budget Day interview with XYZ’ works well. Although all media pitches require conciseness, broadcast pitches need an additional layer of being snappy and succinct. Additionally, it is super useful to link to previous broadcast coverage, even if this is just YouTube videos on your owned channels. It is also key to include as many relevant photos where possible to the story, in order to demonstrate that the story can work well on screen.

Keep it relevant

If your story is relevant to a specific region, then there is no use in pitching it wider to nationals. In that case, a regional programme will be your best bet. Understanding the media landscape means ensuring you are targeting outlets in a nuanced way, rather than with a broad stroke. If you have an emerging story, understanding if it needs to be fully localised or regionalised is key. Of course, what works in Singapore won’t necessarily work in Vietnam.

Pitch perfect!

It can be easy to get caught up in the frenzy of securing a slot for a spokesperson, even if they aren’t the right fit. For broadcast, it is key that the spokesperson is not only an expert in their field but is also adequately media trained.  Anything less and significant damage could be made to your relationship with the producer – or worse – to the reputation of the business.

As we are coming across many technological developments alongside the fast-paced news agenda, broadcast media will continue to remain a powerful tool for building brand presence and real expert credibility. So, if you are keen to make an impact and build your brand presence in Singapore then talk to us at Aspectus.

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3 reasons why an apprenticeship is the perfect steppingstone for a career in PR and digital marketing

By Emilio Koumis, Apprentice

What to do after you leave school is a question that many students consider. Is university the right decision for them? Or is getting hands on experience in the form of an apprenticeship the way forward? Below are three key benefits of why an apprenticeship could be for you.

1) Hands on experience

Hands on experience in a real-world setting is important in any industry you go in to, and an apprenticeship can provide just that! It is invaluable for understanding the fundamentals of PR and developing the skills necessary to succeed within the sector. You are given the opportunity to work alongside experienced professionals, learning how to craft effective press releases, pitch stories to media outlets and communicate efficiently. Similarly, an apprenticeship in digital marketing would provide you with the chance to learn about SEO, PPC, and social media advertising.

Learning happens when you’re doing. Actively performing these tasks will allow you to get an idea on the things you are confident in and enjoy but more importantly, the things you struggle with as well. Hands on experience allows you to identify the sectors in which you may not be as familiar with and quickly receive help from the professionals around you.

2) Building connections

Secondly, building connections is crucial in the corporate world. Although important in any career, it is particularly key in an industry as competitive as PR and digital marketing. Having a network in the industry will open doors for future job opportunities, as well as providing a sounding board for your ideas and a source of feedback on your work – things that may be difficult to obtain in a university setting. Building these relationships early on can give you a massive head start and a greater window for success in the future.

Most apprenticeships allow you to attend industry events, connecting you with other PR and marketing professionals as well as potential clients – this is another way to expand your network and gain valuable knowledge in the field.

3) Earn while you learn

Unlike a traditional degree, an apprenticeship allows you to earn while you learn. This helps eliminate the financial burden of a student loan, which according to the UK Parliament website, is forecasted to be around £43,400 on average, once students complete their course in 23/24. So instead of completing university at the cost of a £40,000 debt, you could be completing your apprenticeship with extra cash in the bank!

Additionally, many apprenticeship programmes also provide training and support that can help you pass any industry-specific qualifications such as the Chartered institute of Public Relations (CIPR) diploma or the hundreds of digital marketing courses online.

An apprenticeship Is an excellent choice for anyone looking to build a career in PR and digital marketing. It allows you to gain hands on experience, build a professional network and is a cost-effective way to enter the industry. With the right mindset and willingness to learn, an apprenticeship can be the perfect steppingstone to a successful career in PR and digital marketing.

Find out more about the scheme here and our application form.

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Emerging trends for 2023 in the B2B marketing space (insights from the B2B Marketing Expo)

By Emi Ikemoto, digital marketing account manager, and Hebe Hughes, digital marketing account executive.

Industry events can be a great opportunity to network and learn but, during the pandemic, they were significantly impacted, with many organisations opting for virtual equivalents instead – even long after the easing of restrictions. However, the B2B Marketing Expo was held in London and the bustle of energy was undeniable. Speakers from a vast range of companies shared their knowledge and insights into emerging trends for 2023 in the B2B marketing space. We attended, and below are our key learnings from the day.

B2B buying

A trend seen across businesses is that many are engaging with potential customers too late. Approximately 70% of the buying process is not visible to the supplier, i.e. you.

We’re all familiar with the term ‘buying group’, but how familiar are you with buying group blindness? Most B2B buying decisions are made by groups rather than individuals, and research has shown that buying group size increases as the deal size increases, as does the number of interactions required.

So, what is buying group blindness? It refers to the situation where marketers and sales teams qualify leads on an individual basis, rather than looking at a group level. For example, a single user that downloads ten pieces of content will be qualified as a ‘hot’ lead and be pursued heavily.

However, having multiple people from the same business downloading one piece of content each is more valuable than a single, highly interested individual from another company; downloads from multiple people represent interest from a larger group within one business.

The issue is that in many cases, they may be qualified individually rather than as a group. Taking a group-centric view of leads will ensure that interest from a prospective business will be assessed by the aggregate value of individual employees’ behaviour.

Brand marketing: leveraging the human memory and situational cues

Continuing on the topic of buying, it should be noted that approximately 95% of a B2B company’s target audiences are not in a state to buy at any given time. With that being said, when a potential customer is ready to buy, they typically already have a brand in mind when it comes to creating RFPs and only consider 1.7 alternative suppliers on average.

These statistics highlight the importance of building and maintaining strong brand awareness so that when the time comes, your company is at the forefront of your target buying centre’s minds. How? Leverage human memory and situational cues in the marketing strategy.

Memories are highly situational. Research into context and state-dependent memory reveals that memory recall is improved when external cues present at the time of memory formation are recreated. Therefore, linking your brand messaging to buying situations through impactful campaigns will help trigger a potential customer’s memory of your brand when they encounter a similar situation. When customers think about you is equally as important as what customers think about you.

Finally, on memory and brand awareness, recency trumps frequency when it comes to marketing activity. When memory corrodes, sales fall: a study that looked at sales compared against advertising activity revealed that all brands were impacted by memory corrosion as sales declined year-on-year after advertising was stopped; with the rate of decline greater for smaller brands. Another interesting finding was the cases where companies took a year break from advertising and then began activity again; this restarting did not reverse the trend of decline in many cases, highlighting the negative impact of losing momentum.

As tempting as it may be to take a step back from marketing when purse strings tighten, these findings evidence the importance of advertising to sales and growth, and that it can be more costly to try to regain sales after a pause in advertising as memory in your target audience has corroded, rather than to maintain them.

How to win more sales and customers from organic LinkedIn

With over 800 million users, LinkedIn is a key platform to help B2B businesses win more sales and help gain customers. To do this, following a formatted process can help to increase wins on LinkedIn and reach your company’s goals.

The first step is setting objectives, which are crucial to increase sales and build brand awareness; this will help to set you up for the journey ahead. It can be useful to work backwards when setting these objectives, thinking about what you want to achieve and what steps you are going to take to get there! In this step, working out your priorities is essential to help you move forward and achieve your goals.

Having a clear understanding of the tools you are going to use to reach these targets is the next step. Having a functional tool to enable the specific execution of a task; a valuable tool using specific content and connections; and a resourceful tool through relationships, joining groups, events, and associations.

Your personal profile is the equivalent of an online landing page. It needs to showcase your credibility and authority and is the perfect way to represent yourself in the market you are targeting. Through this, you can connect with the people who are valuable to you and who will help to leverage your business. Seek out the people who you want to engage with and do just that!

Reviewing what works and doesn’t work is the final step to make sure you reach your goals on LinkedIn. This evaluation process ensures that what you are doing is correct and allows you to make any necessary changes in order to reach your objectives more successfully.

Value drives value

An important element for every company should be marketing with purpose and following a purpose-led decision strategy by placing organisational purpose at the core of everything they do. Hearing from the advertising team at Microsoft, they put purpose at the centre of the company and see glowing results. This helps to create a shared meaning between the customer and the brand. With purpose comes trust and loyalty.

Research by Microsoft has found that having trust in a product can increase sales by a substantial amount, a drive long term success. For example, there is a potential increase in sales by 4.7x in the financial service sector, highlighting the importance of trust and loyalty. From loyalty comes growth in responsibility, value and inclusion. These are all essential to any company and should be prioritised to help increase sales and create a positive environment for both the employees and the customer.

Want support with putting these insights into action? Get in touch with us to help you elevate your B2B marketing and achieve a successful 2023.

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ESG communications: don’t try and keep up with the Joneses… but do keep an eye on them

By Chris Bowman, Strategy & Content Director 

ESG communications can seem a tangled knot of paradoxes at times. Case in point: ESG can only succeed through standardization and comparability of data, yet at the same time it must be accurate and sincere – and sincerity requires specificity.  

Don’t try and keep up with the Joneses…

Credible ESG initiatives are necessarily highly specific to a company’s unique circumstances. There is no one-size-fits all way to decarbonise, for example – each company will have its own mix of scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions sources and need to cut accordingly. Social and governance contexts are equally idiosyncratic. ESG communications must reflect this specificity, too. 

Therefore, it is a doomed strategy to simply copy the competition. ESG communications can appear new and fraught with pitfalls, and so it can be tempting to wait and see what the other guys are doing and simply copy and paste. You’ll never be a leader that way, you may reason, but equally you’ll never be left behind or risk poking your head above the parapet. However, the reasoning is flawed. If you cleave too closely to competitors’ ESG communications – which are specific to them – the risk is that the same messages and tactics ring hollow and inauthentic in the context of your brand.  

Again: one size does not fit all, and ESG communications should be as bespoke as possible to the individual brand, while respecting common metrics and language. They should incorporate and reflect the company’s overall brand strategy and messaging, speak to the specifics of their ESG initiatives and why the way Company A designed Initiative X respects the unique situation, resources and ambitions of that company. 

…but do keep an eye on them

That said, don’t swing too far the other way. No brand is big and important enough to get away with being utterly introspective and ignoring the wider world.  

In the context of ESG communications, this can be critical. Rightly or wrongly, your ESG efforts will be evaluated against the competition. Investors, customers and other stakeholders must be convinced that you offer an equal or better option than the competition in terms of the ESG factors they care about.  

In simple terms, this can descend to war of numbers. Company A has cut 30% of its emissions versus Company B’s 22%; Company C has a 50/50 board gender ratio while Company D has only 40/60. This is agreeable enough if you’re winning, but simple numbers can hide complex truths.  

If you are in Company B or D’s shoes, you might benefit from telling a more nuanced narrative that adds context to the numbers. Perhaps Company C already had a 45/55 ratio and improvement is slow, whereas D has invested heavily to improve. Perhaps C is in a country where culture and working practices make it easier for women in the workplace versus D’s. Context is critical – which brings us back to specificity.  

But you can’t introduce that narrative if you’re unaware of the framing that is already out there. Has the competition already established the framing? Or is there still white space for your brand to take the initiative?  

You’ll only know if you’re looking at what the competition is doing. So, while you don’t want to try and keep up with the Joneses, you should keep an eye on them. 

Facing ESG communications challenges? Read our whitepaper or contact the team – we can help. 

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Clarity is key: when advertising campaigns go wrong

By Jamee Kirkpatrick, Senior Account Director, Energy and Industrials

As someone who is lives locally to where BrewDog was founded and is still producing beers, I’ve had an eye on their marketing tactics over the years. Agree with them or don’t, but BrewDog has been known to find themselves in the hot seat on more than one occasion.  

Some would argue that their stunts over the years were rarely right (although, I may argue that they got people’s attention, and it helped them become a household brand – whether that’s ‘punk’ or not) but the brewing giant has come under fire again with their latest advertising blunder 

What went wrong for BrewDog?

This time, the issues for BrewDog came following a mailer sent in July 2022 titled ‘Feeling Fruity’ which was advertising its Hazy Jane Guava beer alongside a host of other fruity numbers. What was the issue? BrewDog sent the email with the subject ‘One of your five a day’ 

BrewDog countered the complaints saying that they believed that recipients would understand that alcoholic beverages were not equivalent to portions of fruit or vegetables, emphasising that the subject was not intended to be a factual claim about the beers.  

Understandably, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), who is the independent regulator of advertising across all media, agreed that this was misleading and has upheld the complaint stating: “The ASA acknowledged that the subject heading “One of your five a day” might be interpreted by some consumers as a humorous nod to the fruit flavoured beers featured in the body of the email. However, because the claim referred to well-known government advice on health and wellbeing, we considered that, in general, consumers would not expect advertisers to include such claims unless the advertised product was recognised as meeting the requirements of that advice. Further, the claim appeared in the email’s subject heading, which we considered positioned it as a key element of the ad’s message.” You can read the ruling here 

When advertising goes badly

This isn’t the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last, that advertising has gone wrong.  

The Netflix docuseries ‘Pepsi, Where’s my Jet’ which was released recently revisits the story of John Leonard, who at 20-years-old attempted to win a fighter jet in a Pepsi sweepstake and he set the stage for a David versus Goliath court battle for the history books against the food and drinks company, all because a lack of clarity – or small print – in the ad. I’m sure we all remember Pepsi’s other marketing blunder which included a Kardashian and some very questionable editorial choices. 

Some of the biggest household brands have been getting caught up in controversy centred around poor editorial decisions which have led customers to question the ethics of said companies as well as focus on issues such as sexism, racism and just downright bad taste in ads.  

In just the last few years beauty brands such as Nivea, supermarkets like Coop, retailers such as H&M and notably recently, fashion house, Balenciaga, have found themselves facing backlash or embroiled in not only complaints to the ASA but full on court battles as a result. 

Why is getting your advertising – or messaging – right so important?

Advertising is everywhere. From tv and magazines, to social media and your online search engine, there is no avoiding it and it’s a powerful tool for businesses. Effective advertising makes people remember your name… but so does bad advertising 

If you don’t work in marketing, you might not know how many stages there are in creating the perfect ad, but let’s just say, it goes through a lot of people from concept to delivery, so when that backlash hits, you know that somewhere there are a lot of people with their head in their hands.  

In some instances, you could argue that the message is subjective. Take BrewDog. They thought they were making a joke, but does that make it okay?  

As we’ve seen, the ASA doesn’t think so. Yes, brands need to have room to express themselves or have personality, but even those harmless ‘jokes’ have come back to have some very serious repercussions on brands.  

Small print exists on television or picture ads for a reason. Managing your messaging and hyper-analysing your social media ad copy or your email subject lines requires a level of scrutiny that some brands may not feel is necessary, but when the brand reputation is on the line, how important is that joke, really?  

Getting it right is crucial. As is working with the right people – or agency – to help you challenge your ‘good ideas’. Sometimes, we all need to be tempered and that’s where a specialist communications agency comes in.  

If you’re looking to up your communications or advertising game next year but don’t want to find yourself embroiled in drama, speak to our integrated team today to find out how we can help you grow your brand presence and generate leads through our results-based approach!    

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The future of B2B social media marketing: an insight into Elon Musk’s chaotic Twitter takeover

Corrie McBain and Sanjana Rao, Associate Account Executives, Technology

The Elon Era begins

After what was a rather lengthy and unpredictable few months of negotiations, Elon Musk has officially bought Twitter for a staggering $44 billion. With desires to turn the platform into a bastion of free speech, some major shake-ups have begun that will massively change the site’s functionality. Giving twitter a “digital town-square feel” might seem like an objectively appealing makeover, but there are some important considerations and unknowns following this transition that will have business leaders on the edge of their seats. With 50 out of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers already pulling their campaigns, it’s time to assess what the future of B2B social media marketing and advertising may hold.

What are the concerns?

Twitter has massively evolved since it began in 2006. Beneath all the memes, celebrity gossip and political discourse, the app itself has also become an extremely advantageous marketing and advertising platform for businesses. The ability to have an organic, direct line to your target audience has become essential for businesses’ marketing strategy. Now, Musk’s reign might threaten that with implications for businesses already causing concern.

Commercial accounts may need to pay subscription fees, a move that likely reflects Musk’s need to explore new revenue streams to help fund this colossal take over. For many larger B2B firms, this might be a small sacrifice to ensure access to an enormous pool of potential customers. However, smaller businesses who rely on organic advertising on Twitter – particularly during economically unstable periods when budgets are stretched thin – are at a huge risk if this comes to fruition. Engaging users, creating brand awareness, and sharing content is easily achieved on Twitter, that’s why 67% of all B2B businesses are on the site. Making this tool less accessible might be detrimental for thousands of organisations that can’t expend many resources on their marketing funnel approach.

Changes like this coupled with fears of the platform becoming a breeding ground for extremist content and hate speech, have prompted many businesses to consider moving their primary social media marketing activity toward other platforms like Tik Tok, Facebook and even some newer ventures like Mastodon.

Two immediate problems stem from this:

  1. Firstly, in the last two years, almost three times more users engage in customer service conversations with businesses. Twitter is the favoured platform for audiences to discuss products, queries and learn about brands. Twitter is also a great platform for businesses to assess brands and can in part inform their decisions to buy products and services.
  2. Other platforms, particularly Mastodon, simply don’t host the same levels of audiences. Despite Mastodon gaining 500,000 new users since the takeover, it is unlikely this platform will serve organisations to the same extent. Particularly for B2B marketing and advertising, Twitter is one of the favoured platforms. How long will it take for these new platforms to garner that same reputation?

What does the future of B2B marketing look like on Twitter?

Will Elon Musk’s sweeping changes drive away B2B businesses from advertising on the app?

. Musk himself tweeted that he wanted Twitter “to be the most respected advertising platform in the world”. But this hasn’t stopped certain brands from halting spend on their paid adverts as they wait to see what Twitter under Musk looks like. B2B businesses are right to be cautious of Musk’s takeover. A businesses’ brand identity and values are carefully curated and with Musk’s insistence on greater free speech and a more relaxed approach to disciplining users that violate rules, marketing chiefs may worry that these changes may tarnish their brand. Forty-two per cent of marketers are worried with Musk’s takeover citing concerns over brand safety and integrity.

However, with the potential for paid ads to reach up to 486 million users (and growing), businesses must consider whether they can afford to lose this massive audience. Businesses, and CMOs in particular, should also take Musk’s plans with a pinch of salt. Twitter relies hugely on paid ads and B2B marketing. Twitter’s ad revenue for Q2 of 2022 was just over $1 billion, making up more than 90% of its $1.18 billion revenue for that quarter. Even with his clickbait-worthy plans for the future of Twitter, Musk knows the value that marketing brings to the platform and will ultimately seek to protect this.

Change is always daunting and never without doubts. However, as it stands, businesses shouldn’t change their B2B marketing strategies too much. Twitter is a great platform to showcase your brand, form organic relationships and grow your audience and it’s unlikely this will change.

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Will Singapore be the New Hub for Green Finance?

By Ophelia Jeffrey, Senior Account Executive, Financial Services

For years, ESG issues have steadily been building credibility within the global financial sector but until more recently, the conversation has been met with some scepticism across Asia. 

But with more consumers actively engaging with sustainability concerns, and central banks driving new regulatory frameworks, firms are now enthusiastically incorporating ESG considerations into their strategies. And in Singapore, this trend is magnified through its plans to establish itself as a leading market for green finance in Asia. 

Following Africa’s launch of the African Climate Risk Facility at COP27 to help the continent’s most vulnerable communities deal with climate disaster risks, there have been widespread calls for countries in Asia to follow suit – especially in the wake of the devastating floods that have left Pakistan with $30 billion worth of losses this year.  

And just last week, Singapore specifically moved to deepen its collaboration with the UK in a strengthening of the UK-Singapore Financial Partnership initially agreed in 2021, with sustainable finance priorities at the heart of discussions. 

The countries have agreed to explore collaboration opportunities with partners based in Singapore, such as the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero’s (GFANZ) Asia Pacific office with the aim of driving international consistency in design and disclosure of transition plans.   

And with the biodiversity COP starting this week, it’s encouraging to see the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) driving forward action specifically related to natural capital, an often-overlooked twin to Net Zero initiatives. This is reflected in its new agreement to raise awareness of the potential for nature loss to generate financial risks through collaboration with partners such as the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and the Singapore Green Finance Centre. 

However, there remains an important learning curve for firms in Singapore to consider. A report published last month titled Asia Funds: Navigating the ESG Maze by law firm Morrison Foerster underscores the need for greater transparency in the region when it comes to living up to new sustainability commitments. 

Almost seven in ten of the general partners surveyed for the report identified ESG criteria as influential when deciding whether or not to proceed with a potential investment. Yet less than half conducted the appropriate ESG due diligence on every investment, implying a lack of consistency between word and deed that must be challenged for Singapore to achieve its status as a hub for green finance. 

ESG and sustainability have rightly become significant considerations for firms operating in Singapore. A combination of rapidly changing consumer expectations, who want to use their purchasing power for good and are consequently demanding more from the businesses they work with, and growing pressure from regulatory bodies, is driving Singaporean firms to action.  

But in order to successfully lead from the front, Singaporean firms must be transparent about their business’ efforts. By choosing to embrace ESG issues and putting them front and centre of new business strategies, Singaporean firms have signed up to be scrutinised. And in order to thrive in this developing landscape, businesses in the region must reflect ESG values at their very core.  

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