Elaine Wong and
When it comes to creating the
perfect event, you can bank on
Standard Chartered’s dynamic duo
TTHHHEE LLLLIIOOONNNNN RRROOOOOOOAAAAARRRRSS
Why everyone wants to do
business in Singapore
Tying your brand to an
established event takes
faith, but the rewards can
be worth it
Starbucks, Thomson Reuters,
and Mission Hills
1 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
ED ' S LETTER
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 1
Jaimie Seaton, Editor
Editorial International Team
Matt Eaton, Group Editor
Deepa Balji, Editor (Singapore)
Gabey Goh, Editor (Malaysia)
Production and Design
Shahrom Kamarulzaman, Associate Art Director
Josh Black, Kenny Hau, Kelvin Taylor
Advertising Sales – Singapore
Kat Teng, Account Manager
Richard Benjamin, Account Manager
Jaclyn Chua, Account Manager
Che Winstrom, Account Manager
Advertising Sales – International
Josi Yan, Sales Director (Hong Kong)
Excell Chua, Business Development Director (Malaysia)
Kelvin Lee, Business Development Manager (Malaysia)
Rei Ng, Circulation Manager
Søren Beaulieu, Events Director
Yeo Wei Qi, Operations Manager
Tara Kumara, Sales Sponsorship Manager
Rebecca Wicker, Head of Content – Events
Evelyn Wong, Regional Finance Manager
Tony Kelly, Editorial Director
Justin Randles, Commercial Director
A number of years ago, I was at a very splashy corporate event.The theme was “a night at
the Oscars” and the planners went all out to create a glitzy and glamorous experience. The setting
was beautiful, the entertainment dazzling and the guests were primed for a fantastic evening. There
was only one small hitch – the waiters were completely disorganised.
Our little group sat at our luxuriously appointed table waiting for some wine. We waited, and
waited, and waited, until 20 minutes in, a senior partner at the company stood up, walked to the
serving station, retrieved two bottles of wine and returned to our table. Fifteen years on, his frustrated
gesture is about all I remember of that evening.
Proof positive that even the most perfectly conceptualised events can falter on a lack of attention
to detail and sloppy execution.
Whether planning a global event or an intimate gathering for valued clients, it’s easy to be
consumed by the big picture, which is ﬁne, as long as one’s eye is also looking at the tiny dots that
make up that picture. This is the tenant of good event planning and execution, and it’s the mantra
that our cover story subjects, Elizabeth Armstrong and Elaine Wong, of Standard Chartered bank,
live by. Armstrong and Wong never forget that small facets can make or break an event. No detail
escapes their scrutiny.
And they’re not the only ones. In our feature on the rise of sponsorship marketing, Spectrum
Worldwide’s managing director Chris Robb reminds us that news of a badly executed event may
be tweeted or posted on Facebook within seconds. Say “so long” to your carefully planned press
coverage and “hello” to viral titters.
Even a perfectly executed event can fall short of the objective if you fail to engage your target
audience pre and post event. Josh Black, chief operating ofﬁcer of Glue Agency, explains how
focusing your attention on the before and after can make your efforts that much more effective.
The details are everywhere; it’s simply a matter of noticing and inﬂuencing them.
Last year I attended an event where I was met at the door with a glass of champagne. It was
handed to me by one of a group of exceptionally good-looking waiters. I jokingly surmised that our
host had handpicked each of them, and it turned out she had. Now, she understood the power of
the (not so) minor detail!
With that in mind, I welcome you to the launch of Marketing magazine’s
Inside you will ﬁnd news, industry-leading opinions, in-depth
reports and the importance of partners in event planning, but our
primary focus is to educate marketers in this fast-growing sector
on the types of strategies needed to create ﬁrst-class events.
I hope you enjoy our premier issue and many more to come –
I look forward to your feedback.
Marketing Events is published 4 times per year by Lighthouse Independent
Media Pte Ltd. Printed in Singapore on CTP process by Sun Rise Printing &
Supplies Pte Ltd, 10 Admiralty Street, #06-20 North Link Building, Singapore
757695. Tel: (65) 6383 5290. MICA (P) 180/03/2009. For subscriptions,
contact circulations at +65 6423 0329 or email subscriptions@marketing-
interactive.com. COPYRIGHT & REPRINTS: All material printed in Marketing
is protected under the copyright act. All rights reserved. No material may
be reproduced in part or in whole without the prior written consent of the
publisher and copyright holder. Permission may be requested through the
Singapore ofﬁce. Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in Marketing
are not necessarily the views of the publisher. Singapore: Lighthouse
Independent Media Pte Ltd 787A North Bridge Road Singapore 198755 Tel:
+65 6423 0329 Fax: +65 6423 0117 Hong Kong: Lighthouse Independent
Media Ltd Room 1502, 15/F Shun Kwong Commercial Building, No.8 Des
Voeux Road West, Hong Kong Tel: +852 2861 1882 Fax: +852 2861 1336
Malaysia: Suite 11.7 11F Bangunan Yee Seng, 15 Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala
Lumpur 50200, Malaysia Tel: +60 3 2072 0355 Fax: +60 3 2072 0395 To
subscribe to Marketing magazine, go to: www.marketing-interactive.com
What’s in our kit bag?
Proven processes, creative methodologies, innovative technology ...
and other stuff that gets us through the day.
Do you have what it takes to be one of us?
We’re certainly not on the candidate list of “Dirtiest Jobs”, where unsung
heroes make their living in the most unthinkable - yet vital - ways.
But we get our hands dirty plenty, digging into the core event objectives
from the on-start and ensuring we design an experience second to none.
There are no second chances. Just one opportunity to get it perfect.
And cool tools we use to make it happen.
The Event Company.
Five time winner of Marketing Magazine’s Agency of the Year Award*
for Critical Planning
& Precise Execution
*No. 1 Event Marketing Agency of the Year - 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 32 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
28 COVER STORY: STANDARD BEARERS
Standard Chartered’s dynamic duo Elizabeth Armstrong and Elaine Wong
refuse to compromise when organising ﬁrst-class events. Jaimie Seaton
ﬁnds relationships and attention to detail at the heart of their success.
16 MARKET FOCUS: SINGAPORE
Security, stability, scintillating venues and service make the Lion City a
perennial favourite among event organisers in Asia and beyond. Here’s what
you need to know to plan a successful Singapore event.
38 SPECIAL REPORT:
Global sponsorship is projected to grow to US$48.7 billion this year. Who’s
jumping on the sponsorship bandwagon and why? Jaimie Seaton reports.
14 Josh Black, chief operating ofﬁcer for Glue Agency, discusses the
importance of engaging your target audience before and after an event.
15 KelvinTaylor, marketing director of Diadem, explains holistic
16 MARKET INTELLIGENCE
UFI’s sixth Barometer Survey reveals exhibitors’ hopes and fears for the
Beijing’s Olympic arena is renamed; new venues are planned in Bali and
Sri Lanka; super yachts to cruise into Singapore; and Hong Kong Disneyland
launches a training programme.
10 CASE STUDIES
Thomson Reuters takes the Eikon Go Live event worldwide, Starbucks pours
a cup for a good cause and Mission Hills tees off.
44 PARTY CRASHER
Press coverage for your event – like the journos themselves – can be
unpredictable, scarce, unhelpful and even negative. The Party Crasher reveals
how you can press home your advantage.
Photography: Olivier Henry
Hair and make-up: Red Ngoh
Event setup: Key Events
Location: Capella Singapore
C O N T E N T S
4 Q1 2011
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 5
BANGKOK BECKONS FASHIONISTAS
Under the tag line – “Inﬂuence the World” – the Bangkok International
Fashion Fair (BIFF) and Bangkok International Leather Fair (BILF) will be
held in the Thai city from 20-22 April. In its 27th year, the fairs will focus
on six categories: textiles, apparel, leather goods, fashion accessories,
machinery and designers. More than 1,000 exhibitors from across
ASEAN are expected to attend.
LET YOUR FINGERS DO THE WALKING
Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre has
introduced mobile interactive digital signage. TouchPoint can display the
day’s events in an instantaneous manner, enabling visitors and guests to
establish where their speciﬁc events are being held and how to get to
the location. It also informs users where to ﬁnd essential services such
as money changers and ATMs in the convention centre. Additional
screens are available for advertising with animated content, still images
ARTISTS TO CONVERGE ON HONG KONG
For the ﬁrst time in its nine-year history, Semi-Permanent –
“The Conference for Creative People” – is coming to Asia. Twelve
industry leaders are scheduled to speak at the event, including
Christian Alzmann, of Industrial Light & Magic, fashion photographer
Kayt Jones and Andy Fackrell, of 180 Amsterdam. Semi-Permanent
will be held on 11-12 March at the Hong Kong Convention and
ICONIC BEIJING ARENA GETS NEW NAME
MasterCard has obtained naming rights for Beijing’s Wukesong
Arena, the basketball venue at the 2008 Olympic Games. The
18,000-seat arena has been renamed the MasterCard Centre
or Wanshida Zhongxin in Chinese, in a ﬁve-year deal. This is the
ﬁrst commercial rebranding of an Olympic venue in China and
complements MasterCard’s “priceless moments” campaign.
Chinese pop singer Jacky Cheung performed at the ofﬁcial launch
in January. The arena will be used for concerts and sporting
events, including NBA basketball.
SHANGRI-LA OPENING TWO
NEW PROPERTIES IN SRI LANKA
Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Asia Limited announced plans for the
company’s ﬁrst foray into Sri Lanka with a multi-use complex with high-
end retail facilities, deluxe apartments and a 500-room luxury hotel, which
is set to open in Colombo in early 2014. The company is also developing
a 300-room resort on 100 acres of land in Hambantota, on the southern
coast of the country, which is set to open in 2013.
6 Q1 2011
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 7
NEW BANYAN TREE OFFERS INTIMACY IN BALI
More than 400 guests, including local celebrities and socialites,
danced the night away at the grand opening of the Banyan Tree
Ungasan in Bali last month. The luxury resort offers 73 pool villas
perched high on cliffs overlooking the ocean and MICE facilities for
small events – one ballroom, three meeting rooms and an outdoor
function area that can accommodate 300 guests.
SINGAPORE EXPO TO TAKE FLIGHT
Veteran MICE facility Singapore Expo announced the development
of a new convention wing to be completed by early 2012. MAX
Atria, as the new facility will be known, will add 23 new meeting
rooms and an additional 8,000sq m of space to the 123,000sq m
venue. The wing is being designed to meet Singapore’s new green
A FERRY GOOD IDEA FOR BINTAN
Bintan Lagoon Resort is launching a private ferry terminal and ferry
service for its guests. The new terminal will include a fully operational
immigration facility and duty-free shop and will be linked to the resort by
a 65m long bridge. Two catamarans and one VIP boat will be available to
transport guests directly from Singapore to the resort. The SG$20 million
project is expected to be in operation by mid-2011.
For the ﬁrst time in Asia, the Disney Institute is available at Hong
Kong Disneyland Resort. The training organisation has been offering
professional development programmes in the US for 25 years. The
programmes, which include keynote presentations, workshops and
seminars, take participants inside the Disney organisation to discover
innovative new ideas in the ﬁelds of leadership, creativity, service, brand
loyalty and people management.
8 Q1 2011
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 9
as joint country
for Vietnam and Cambodia.
Gordon was a member of
Australia’s Royal Air Force for
14 years and has extensive
experience in the Indochina
travel industry. “In my role
as country manager I want
to create innovative MICE
experiences, explore unique
touring options and provide the
highest levels of support,” said
Gordon, who will be based in
Ho Chi Minh City.
for JW Marriott Hong Kong.
Yeong most recently held the
same position at the Singapore
JW Marriott Hotel where she
worked for 16 years. On her
appointment, Yeong said: “I
am happy to be part of the
ﬂagship JW Marriott Hotel in
the Asia Paciﬁc region. Driving
revenue in our target business
segments, sustaining brand
image and retaining talent are
my primary focuses.”
senior VP for
arenas for World Sport Group
(WSG). Staiti will be based
in Singapore and will lead
WSG’s commercial role in the
consortium that will build and
manage the Singapore sports
hub. This includes managing
the sale of sponsorships and
advertising partnerships for
the hub, which is set to open
in 2014. “The development of
sports infrastructure across
Asia is a huge growth area and
I am very excited about the
limitless opportunities which
it offers to us at World Sport
Group,” Staiti said.
and Kim Lim
said of his new employer: “iris
is doing things other agencies
aren’t even thinking about,
it’s nice that they’ve found a
desk for me.” Lim comes to
iris following several years at
various agencies, including
Y&R and Publicis, as well
as working in the local ﬁlm
industry. Stevenson and Lim
will be based in Singapore and
will report to creative director
Thomas Arasi resigned
his position in late January
after only 18 months. The
speculation of a shake-up
of the casino’s top-level
management. In an email to
staff, Arasi said: “I have decided
to pause, take a breather and
spend more time with my
daughter and other family.”
His departure follows the
sacking in July of Steve
Jacobs, chief executive of the
Las Vegas Sands’ Hong Kong-
listed subsidiary, Sands China,
which runs casinos and resorts
FAREWELL TO LONDON
After 30 years in London, Incisive Media’s Online Information conference
is moving to Hong Kong. On 23-24 March, the HK Convention and
Exhibition Centre will host Online Information Asia Paciﬁc. Organisers
expect more than 80 international exhibitors and more than 1,000 people.
This will be the ﬁrst time the show, which examines the latest innovations
and ideas from the information world, will be held in Asia.
Asia’s ﬁrst yacht show will be held in Singapore from 8-10 April at ONE°
15 Marina Club in Sentosa Cove. Yachts on display at the Singapore
Yacht Show will be between 25m and 100m in length. The invitation-only
event is being organised by Informa Yacht Group, which is behind the
Monaco and Abu Dhabi yacht shows.
It’s here again.
The premier venue directory for event marketers
and meeting planners in Asia Paciﬁc.
MARKETING’S GOOD VENUES GUIDE - BE IN IT OR LOSE BUSINESS
• Over 4,000 hotels, bars, restaurants and nonstandard venues - all geared for corporate events.
• Conclusive coverage of the venue market in Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong,
Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. • Massive circulation
& readership of over 38,000 copies and 180,000 readers throughout Asia. • Asia’s indespensible
event planning tool.
CAS E S TU DI ES
10 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
CASE STUD IES
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 11
EVENT OBJECTIVE: To introduce Eikon
(pronounced icon) to customers in an immersive
environment where they could experience the
product and hear about its innovations from
Thomson Reuters’ senior executives, and to
generate interest and sales.
EXECUTION: Thomson Reuters and Jack
Morton co-ordinated the global campaign with
Gardner Nelson & Partners (NY). Go Live events
were hosted in 14 key ﬁnancial centres, including
Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Mumbai.
The target audience of top clients and
potential customers was sent “save the date”
cards in July and electronic and hard copy
invitations in September and October.
“Getting Eikon into our customers’ hands
was a critical component of our overall marketing
strategy,” said Hamish White, Thomson Reuters’
global head of marketing for trading focus.
“We knew this was a group of people who
were difﬁcult to impress so we asked Jack
Morton to design a range of experiential activities
that were eye-catching and innovative.”
Pre-event awareness-raising activities
were conducted in all 14 locations. The Eikon
marketing campaign kicked off in APAC in mid-
September with a street team engagement to
generate feedback for the “More/Less” video-
web campaign which continued in late October
and through November.
An extensive global TV campaign was run
on CNBC, including 30-second spots on CNBC
Asia, beginning with phase one in June and
continuing through summer with a heavy phase
two push in September through to November.
EIKON GO LIVE
OCTOBER – NOVEMBER
stations and the “New Era. New Tools” exhibition
with sales staff assisting.
RESULTS: The event attracted more than
2,300 attendees worldwide, including 750
guests in the four ASEAN locations: Red Dot
Design Museum in Singapore, Trident Oberoi in
Mumbai, International Forum in Tokyo and the
Four Seasons in Hong Kong.
Go Live garnered press coverage in more
than 26 countries. A total of 182 articles were
published about Eikon activity, 36 of which
were directly related to the ASEAN launches,
including stories in Bloomberg Business Week,
Finance Asia, Automated Trader, Thai Business
News, The Business Times, India Report,
Al Borsa, Financial Hub, India Infoline and
More than 3,000 people worldwide
participated in the “More/Less” campaign,
holding placards where they wrote what they
wanted to see more of and less of in the “new
era” of ﬁnance. The resulting videos are available
at the company’s website. Following Go Live, the
campaign’s website received 135,594 unique
visitors, almost tripling the year-end objective;
contact Eikon requests were nearly double the
target at 988 and Eikon received more than 100
mentions on Twitter, making it the 17th highest
referral site of more than 700 sites. Facebook
was third highest, leading to an average of seven
pages per visit.
“The creation of the product was very much a
collaborative effort centred on the user experience,”
said Lee Ann Daly, EVP and chief marketing
ofﬁcer at Thomson Reuters. “The campaign and
its engagement with people will contribute to the
continued development of the product.”
LESSONS LEARNED: “A key challenge when
working with a globally conceived message is
ensuring it is relevant and understood across
different cultures”, said Charles Robinson, VP
and executive producer at Jack Morton in Hong
“We worked with the local markets within
the four different Asian cultures involved in the
campaign to ensure the overall global message
and experience were consistent, while ensuring
each event resonated with the local culture,
language and business context.
“One of the best pieces of feedback
we received was how impressed our global
colleagues were with the high quality of ﬁnish
and manufacture of the environments we created
across the Asian events.
“While this is a continual learning process,
the success of the Go Live events demonstrated
that these are sound principles by which we
would work again.”
In India, TV spots ran on E Now. Out-of-home
advertising appeared in Tokyo’s Central
Station and print ads ran in Japanese business
publications. Go Live kicked off in London on 6
October and in ASEAN on 3 November with the
Intriguing design-focused venues were
chosen in each location and transformed into a
At every Go Live, Thomson Reuters’ senior
executives gave presentations introducing the
product. Guests then explored the Eikon demo
CAS E S TU DI ES
12 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
CASE STUD IES
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 13
EVENT OBJECTIVE: Starbucks Coffee
Hong Kong joined with the Caring for Children
Foundation (CFCF) to raise money for victims of
the Sichuan earthquake.
The event aligned with the company’s
guiding principle of contributing positively to
communities and the environment, and to its
holiday marketing campaign – “Share a Cup,
Share a Story” – to reinforce the brand’s home-
EXECUTION: Publicity commenced two weeks
prior to the event with an in-store announcement
attended by local media. Three major channels
were also used: an EDM campaign to Maxim’s
Group (business partner of Starbucks Hong
Kong), in-store promotions and collateral, and
point-of-purchase support, generating word-of-
During a two-hour period, 11,000 cups of
“passionately brewed beverages” were sold in
Hong Kong’s 110 Starbucks stores, which all
took part in the event.
RESULTS: There was a “signiﬁcant increase”
in store trafﬁc during the event and positive
feedback from customers.
Sales generated HK$320,000, all of which
was donated to the restoration project for
Guandu Bridge in Dakangzhen Jiangyou.
The money raised will help six villages and
12,000 people in need.
are doing business with good purpose, and
giving back to the community is better than
doing any marketing tactic,” said Teresa Shum,
PR and communications manager for Starbucks
Coffee Hong Kong.
LESSONS LEARNED: “We expected a surge
in customer visits during the two hours and
we thought that would pose a challenge to the
operation, but our partners successfully delivered
a consistently high level of service,” Shum said.
“We know that our customers are very
supportive of this kind of activity.
“This provides a good benchmark for other
COFFEE FOR A CAUSE
EVENT OBJECTIVE: To promote Mission
Hills on Hainan Island as a premium golf and
recreation destination in China and highlight
the resort’s role as a crucial component of the
Central Government’s plan to make Hainan a
leading global tourism destination by 2020. The
Mission Hills Star Trophy (MHST) is the ﬁrst Pro-
Celebrity Pro-Am event of international class in
Asia and is slated to become an annual event.
EXECUTION: The promotional campaign
began with a press conference in March 2010
and included TV, print, internet, social media and
outdoor billboard channels.
During four days in October, the luxury
golf resort hosted a bevy of international and
local ﬁlm and sport celebrities for a series of
The professional golf tournament boasted
Asia Paciﬁc’s largest individual prize purse of
US$1.28 million; the Pro-Celebrity event paid
US$100,000 to the winning team and a charity
dinner was held to raise money for UNICEF.
in A-list stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Hugh Grant,
Matthew McConaughey and Maggie Cheung.
They were joined by swimmer Michael
Phelps and golf legends Greg Norman, Sir Nick
Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Lorena Ochoa and
Annika Sorenstam, along with local golf stars.
A total of 20 professional golfers, 20
celebrities and 120 amateur golfers (VIPs and
sponsor invitees) took part.
RESULTS: Over four days, more than 500
international media outlets covered the event,
which was televised in 150 countries and
captured by more than 438 million TV households
Throughout the tournament, the event’s
website achieved 633 million page views on
various channels. A total of 85,000 messages
were uploaded and re-tweeted by the general
public to an estimated 1.7 million netizens.
“Since the MHST took place, we have seen
a signiﬁcant increase in guests at Mission Hills,”
said Ken Chu, Mission Hills’ executive vice-
“Many of these guests have directly attributed
their visit to the MHST.”
LESSONS LEARNED: “The MHST reafﬁrmed
our belief that Mission Hills can successfully host
the world’s biggest events,” Chu said.
“We would follow a very similar game plan
for any future MHST.
“We envision it growing into Asia’s equivalent
of Pebble Beach’s AT&T National Pro-Am, a
tournament that fans of golf and ﬁlm around the
globe eagerly anticipate.”
– HAIKOU RESORT
HAIKOU, HAINAN, CHINA
O P I N I O N
14 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 15
BY JOSH BLACK
As brand marketers and event
managers, we spend almost all our
time focusing on event-day execution.
But stepping back from the process,
ponder this question: Why do brands
run events or get involved with events?
The truth is there are many answers,
but the core reason is generally the
opportunity to communicate with a
target audience for your brand, product
or service. One hopes it will be a two-way conversation.
The problem is that 95% of the effort is going to only part of the
opportunity – the event day execution.
How you engage with your target audience before and after the event
is just as important, but often the opportunity rarely goes beyond collecting
name cards for a database that never gets
Let’s take a closer look at the pre-event
You can signiﬁcantly alter the perception
your target audience has of your brand through
some intelligent cost-effective brand-building
marketing ideas, including teasers, personalised
offers, sneak previews, search marketing and
This will ensure your target arrives at the
event ready to have a conversation – which has
been signiﬁcantly shaped by you.
I was fortunate enough to work on the
launch of Tropicana Pure Premium in South
Korea several years ago.
To shape brand perception pre-event in a
highly competitive juice market, we sent more
than 150 attendees an actual orange tree,
which was hand-delivered by a farmer. This was followed with a teaser
idea that saw us deliver a glass of juice to their desk the morning before
the event (putting the brand top-of-mind).
The ideas don’t have to win awards – they just need to be relevant,
timely and well executed to create or shift existing brand perceptions.
The way you engage with your target audience post-event is just
as important as pre-event, particularly given the investments made in
executing the event.
Time and time again, I see brands invest countless resources in
creating or sponsoring events, only to see their target walk out the door
after the event ends, taking the communication opportunity with them.
Collecting a target’s data and sending them communication materials
once, occasionally or infrequently is just adding to the noise created by
Thinking laterally will deliver better results.
Continue the conversation with customers through social media, give
them tools that add value to their lives and solve
real problems, and evolve the brand experience
through personalised outreach offers and
Event execution will always be critical
because this is where your target has a real
hands-on experience with your brand.
But don’t discount the value of using
resources for the pre and post-event
A little extra effort will ensure that members
of your target audience arrive ready to have
a meaningful dialogue with you – and depart
retaining, understanding and evangelising your
brand messages – well after the event has
Josh Black is chief operating ofﬁcer Asia,
Glue Agency, Singapore
Be prepared: Planning before and after the event can be as vital as the event.
“The way you engage
with your target
is just as important
particularly given the
investments made in
executing the event.”
BY KELVIN TAYLOR
A perennial challenge in our business
is to deliver a cost-effective event
without compromising the design
intent and innovation, while controlling
the design process and maintaining
the aesthetic without blowing the
Problems often occur when the
creative design process is undertaken
in isolation from the delivery stage
of the project. Planning and delivering a branded event that provides an
experience with that “wow” factor, but doesn’t cost the earth, requires a
holistic approach in which the creative and delivery aspects of the project
are shaped and massaged from inception to completion. This is not a
sequential process, but a dynamic process.
The normal project life cycle commences
with strategic planning, budget planning and
creative design, followed by design development
(usually involving multiple design changes),
design documentation (more changes) and
procurement that involves design changes to
meet the original budget.
Lastly, you have implementation where
contractors argue over the design (more
changes) and inevitably charge variations
because of required revisions.
The appointment of an external design and
project manager to oversee the project from
start to ﬁnish can alleviate all these issues.
The project manager is positioned as a client
advocate and sits between the client, designer,
event organiser and contractor by managing all
stakeholder expectations and obligations.
The role of the project manager starts with
the client brief where the project expectations, budgets and performance
criteria are documented. As designs are produced, in strict accordance
with client criteria, the project manager measures the building ability of
the design. Creativity must be matched with pragmatism. The designer is
encouraged to create and innovate, but in a setting deﬁned by practicality
If time, cost or quality cannot be delivered, the design needs to be re-
addressed prior to the client signing off. With this approach, any issues that
may otherwise raise their head in delivery are circumvented in the design
For the past four years we’ve managed the development and delivery of
the Tabcorp VIP enclosure at the Melbourne Cup, and this year we took on
Lexus. The key challenge for us has been dealing with the lack of up front
detail or design documentation, necessitating micro-management of site
contractors – or risking exposure to interpretation and misunderstanding.
With usual short time frames affecting the delivery of these projects,
an on-site presence was required to channel
communication to sub contractors. A central
point of contact between all parties is
fundamental to tailoring a solution to suit the
budget, protect the design intent and deliver
an event space according to the client’s
While there may not be a universal
panacea, anticipation and prevention are better
than standing back and waiting and hoping
everything will work out.
A project manager involved in the process
from start to ﬁnish can collaborate openly with
all parties and deliver an outcome to best satisfy
everyone – especially the client who pays the
Kelvin Taylor is marketing director of Diadem,
Good bet: Tabcorp’s VIP enclosure at the 2010 Melbourne Cup was a winner.
“A project manager
involved in the process
from start to ﬁnish
openly with all
parties and deliver
an outcome to best
AN INSIDE JOB
16 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 17
MARKET FO CU S : S I N GA P O R E
1616 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
MARKET FOCUS: SING APORE
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 17
It’s no secret what makes Singapore the perennial favourite of conference
organisers: security, stability, scenery, scintillating venues and service,
but is there enough of all this to meet the rapacious demand?The inﬁnity pool atop
Marina Bay Sands.
MARKET FO CU S : S I N GA P O R E
18 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
MARKET FOCUS: SING APORE
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 19
he rags-to-riches story of Singapore is
well known: how the country emerged
from the ashes of World War II to
transform into one of the world’s most
desirable city-states – with an enviable economic
growth rate to boot.
What may not be so well known is that
Singapore is continuously changing and forever
The city seems to be constantly under
construction and signs promising a “new and
improved” something are everywhere.
Thanks to a government that plans years
ahead to keep logistics running smoothly,
Singapore’s relentless transformation never
results in chaos.
It’s not surprising Singapore has been ranked
the world’s “Top International Meeting City” for
the past three years by the Union of International
Associations (UIA); and moved to second on the
“Top International Meeting Countries” list. (The
US and France are one and three respectively).
Singapore’s high ranking on numerous most-
desirable location lists is the result of a carefully First class: Marina Bay Sands, Sands Theatre and the Grand Ballroom have put Singapore on the world map. Centre of the universe: Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa, home to Universal Studios, has already booked 500 events for the year.
orchestrated campaign by the government
and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). While
the STB doesn’t disclose the exact number of
MICE events held each year, it revealed that on
average, more than 6,000 events are held in the
In 2009, Singapore attracted 2.6 million
business travellers, accounting for 27% of
all visitors. They spent roughly S$4.2 billion,
representing 33% of total tourist spending.
Projections for 2011 are robust: Resorts
World Sentosa (home to Universal Studios) has
already booked 500 events for the year and the
famed Marina Bay Sands has more than 300.
The Integrated Resorts (World Sentosa and
Marina Bay Sands) are only two of the myriad
of event locations in the city, but they are what
might be called the shining jewels in the crown of
Singapore’s MICE industry.
Yet, fabulous hotels and theme parks are
only part of the story.
Many cities have magniﬁcent hotels and
What makes Singapore so desirable can
be described as a conﬂuence of advantages,
beginning with its strategic location and secure
“One of Singapore’s key success factors
is its location,” says Paul Stocker, VP of MICE
sales for Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).
“Sitting at the heart of Asia, it is the gateway to
the world, including the two greatest developing
markets – China and India.”
“SITTTING AAT THEE HEAART OF ASIA, SINGAPORRE
IS THHE GAATEWAYAY TO TTHE WOORLD, INNCLUDINGG
THE TWO GREATTEST DEVELOPINGG
MMARKEETS – CCHINA AAND INDIAA.”
Paul Stocker – VP of MICE sales for Resorts World Sentosa
MARKET FO CU S : S I N GA P O R E
20 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
MARKET FOCUS: SING APORE
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 21
MMMAAAAA RRRKKKK EEEE TTTT FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS ::: SSSSIII NNNNGGGGAAAAAA PPPPPOOOOOO RRRRRREEEE
TO BOOK YOUR MARINA BAY SANDS EXPERIENCE
10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956 | +65 6688 3000 | email@example.com | marinabaysands.com
MAKE IT PERSONAL...
...MAKE IT MARINA BAY SANDS MEETINGS
Advanced technologies will never replace face-to-face interactions, a handshake,
a conversation, or an idea shared. And there’s no better place to share those ideas than at
Marina Bay Sands®
Meetings, Asia’s largest and most ﬂexible meetings and conventions space.
Global in scope, intimate in detail, with decades of Las Vegas Sands meeting experience, at
Marina Bay Sands Meetings it’s never business as usual, it’s business done right
Pulsating with life both day and night, Marina Bay Sands offers sensational experiences from
the culinary wizardry of “Asia’s Dining Destination”, the spectacular brands of The Shoppes at
Marina Bay Sands, home to The Lion King and coming soon, the iconic ArtScience Museum.
More importantly, particularly in this region,
Singapore offers unwavering political stability.
An event can be booked two years in
advance with absolute conﬁdence that no
political demonstrations or interruption of city
services (or worse, an airport closure) will
sabotage the event.
John Yan, MD for The Event Company
Staging Connections, has a list of reasons why
Singapore is such a desirable MICE location.
“It has one of the best airports in the world
with great connectivity and ﬂight frequency; a
modern, stable and technologically advanced
infrastructure; it is one of the safest countries in
the world and it has a wide range and variety of
food from all corners of the globe,” Yan says.
Add to that a diverse choice of facilities, top
creative talent, English as the ofﬁcial language
and warm temperate weather and Singapore is
tough to beat.
Moreover, Singapore has a very modern
infrastructure and MICE facilities have been
designed to handle technologically sophisticated
“The Singapore government has invested
heavily in positioning itself as a tourism and
events hub and it plays an important role in
ensuring that the quality and standards of the
facilities are the best possible,” Yan says.
At last count, Singapore boasted nearly 300
hotels and 46,000 rooms. Hotels range from the
small and trendy (The Scarlet in Chinatown) to
luxury chains (Shangri-La and Ritz Carlton) to
mega-resorts such as the Marina Bay Sands.
It’s safe to say there is a hotel for every
budget and for every taste: whether a bustling
business hotel in the heart of the city, a beach
resort or grand and historic accommodations
such as Rafﬂes or The Fullerton.
INTEGRRATED RRESSORTTS: MAARINAA BAY
SANNDSS & RRESOORTTS WWORLDD SENTTOSA
Boutique and trendy: The Scarlet hotel in Chinatown.
MARKET FO CU S : S I N GA P O R E
22 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
MARKET FOCUS: SING APORE
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 23
At Suntec Singapore, we make
sure your event is nothing short
of spectacular. A venue
designed with flexibility in
mind, a team trained to provide
unparalled service and a desire
to delight all our guests with
world-class cuisine are the basics
that we deliver to any event
Last October, Suntec Singapore
International Convention &
Exhibition Centre stood out
from competition and clinched
the “Best Business Events
Experience” award at the
Experience Awards organised by
the Singapore Tourism Board.
The only venue to have won this
award two years consecutively!
A name that needs no
introduction among local and
international event organisers,
Suntec Singapore has grown
from strength to strength as the
nation’s first purpose-built
convention centre advocated by
then Prime Minister Mr Lee
Kuan Yew to an award-winning
and world-renowned venue.
From hardware to software, our
venue is designed to deliver the
best experience, be it for event
organisers or their guests. Our
highly versatile space means
that there is always room for
ideas and creativity regardless
of the nature and size of the
event. But any seasoned event
organiser will know that
infrastructure alone will not
create an unforgettable event.
Impeccable service begins with a
well-trained and dedicated
team with a can-do attitude
who is always ready to go the
extra mile. This has been our
mantra since our inception.
A successful event is never
complete without the perfect
dining experience. At Suntec
Singapore, preparing first class
cuisine for our guests is simply
second nature. Whether it’s a
breakfast meeting for ten or a
lavish gala dinner for a few
thousand, our philosophy is to
provide quality meals using the
finest ingredients with a
personalised touch. With a
tantalising menu selection that
caters to diverse events rivaling
top dining establishments, our
name is synonymous with the
highest standards in cuisine and
Our award-winning culinary
team has served distinguished
guests from all over the world
including US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton, Chinese
President Hu Jintao, Prince
Albert of Monaco and Bill Gates.
Testament to our culinary
excellence, we were also the
official caterer for numerous
offsite events such as the
inaugural Youth Olympic Games
2010, Singapore Airshow,
President’s Scholarship Award
Ceremony & Dinner and the
Annual National Day Awards
Singapore was named “Top
International Meeting City” for
3 consecutive years and “Asia’s
Top Country and City for
Meetings” for 26 consecutive
years by various international
associations. Throughout the
years, Suntec Singapore has
been instrumental to the
sustained growth and
achievements of Singapore’s
MICE industry as the city-state
transforms itself to becoming
one of the foremost leading
business events destinations
Designed To Be The Best
Get it while it’s hot: The Red Dot Museum, Marina Barrage and Singapore Expo are all popular event locations.
“Simply put, the facilities in Singapore are
world-class. They are comparable to top facilities
anywhere else in the world,” Yan says.
Aside from a surfeit of hotels, there are
numerous choices of off site venues.
Singapore has its share of exhibition halls,
including Suntec, Singapore Expo, Rafﬂes
City and the Waterfront Conference Centre;
not to mention the new facilities offered at the
And, for a city not known for its edge, there
are a surprising number of unique and quirky
Bernard Oh, Group CEO of the Audience
Motivation Company Asia, says his favourite
venues innumerable, but when pressed says:
“We love Marina Barrage and quaint spots such
as TheatreWorks and Red Dot Museum, but at
the end of the day, it all depends on our clients’
requirements and the experience we want to
There’s no doubt Singapore offers a plethora
of world-class hotels and off site venues, but as
any good event planner knows, the “hardware”
is only one part of the equation.
Both Oh and Stocker made a point of
mentioning Singapore’s “software” – what
Stocker calls “a robust pool of talent that
businesses will be able to tap into”.
“What you can ﬁnd in Singapore is not only
an efﬁcient service industry, but a diverse pool
of talent from various countries and hence,
knowledge of their culture, language and, of
course, preferences, giving Singapore a unique
edge,” Stocker says.
Oh says his company works with a number
MARKET FO CU S : S I N GA P O R E
24 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
MARKET FOCUS: SING APORE
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 25
“I BBELIEVVE SINNGAPOORE HAAS WORLD-CLASSS
SUPPPORTT INDUSSTRIES IIN PLACEE.”
John Yan – MD of The Event Company Staging Connections
A city of diversity (clockwise): The Fullerton Hotel, Chinatown’s architecture and Suntec City.
First-class destination: Singapore has many reasons for attracting companies, including its ﬁnancial centre.
of different vendors and gives high marks to XXX
Studios, which recently assisted his team on an
event for SingTel.
Yan says it is against company policy to
name speciﬁc companies it works with at The
Events Company, but says its suppliers – most
of whom it has worked with for years – deliver
But even diamonds have their ﬂaws and
Singapore is no exception. In a sense, Singapore
is the proverbial victim of its own success. One
of Singapore’s main advantages – its small size
– can sometimes be a disadvantage.
The immense popularity of Singapore as
an event destination keeps local talent and
resources in short supply. Both Oh and Yan
mention high costs as one drawback to hosting
an event in the city.
Though bullish about Singapore, Oh
concedes the city does have its shortcomings,
saying: “Singapore is ideal for many business
meetings, conferences, summits and exhibitions,
but she can also project a sense of ‘been there
done that’, which doesn’t make her an ideal
location for incentive trips”.
Oh also cites a lack of large off site venues in
Singapore as a challenge. He mentions holding
events in helicopter hangers in Kuala Lumpur and
New Zealand and a 14th century Gothic building
in Barcelona as examples of locations that added
a special touch to the overall experience created
by his company.
Yan also cautions he sees challenges in
supporting industries because supply is racing
to keep pace with demand.
“I believe Singapore has world-class
support industries in place. However, given the
current demands, most of the good resources
are stretched extremely thin, hence it is very
important for the country to bring in external
resources to continue developing local people,”
Shortage of talent is an oft-cited complaint
of industry insiders. It’s not that there aren’t
talented people, but there simply are not enough
of them to optimally support the event industry
As a result, Yan says people are working
long hours for extended periods of time, leading
to fatigue and burnout.
With unemployment hovering at roughly 2%,
this is a problem that will take time to solve.
However, no industry is without challenges,
and no city will be the perfect ﬁt for every event,
but Singapore comes pretty close.
Its good strategic location, political stability,
top-notch and diverse facilities and infrastructure,
pool of world-class talent and nearly year-round
sunshine are just some of the reasons Singapore
is such a favourite MICE destination.
If you think the island nation is the right
location for your next event, act quickly because
Yan has one piece of parting advice.
“Book your hotels and venues as early as
possible. Singapore is the now destination.”
As we progress further into 2011, the Lion
City is roaring loudly, moving forward, developing
new venues and attractions and waiting with
arms wide open.
MARKET I N TELLI GEN CE
26 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
MARKET INTELLIG ENCE
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 27
n mid-January, UFI, the Global Association
of the Exhibition Industry, released its sixth
Global Barometer Survey, which conﬁrmed
the exhibition industry had left behind the
depressed business environment of the past
two years and is moving positively ahead.
The data was collected in December
2010 from 173 companies in 54 countries,
including UFI members and in the US, members
of SISO (Society of Independent Show
Organisers) and AFIDA (Association International
de Ferias de America) in Central and South
Results continue to demonstrate signiﬁcant
regional variations with a smaller exposure to the
downturn in the Middle East and Africa and an
After weathering the economic storm of the past two years, the exhibition
industry is set to move into calmer and more prosperous waters,
according to the latest Global Barometer Survey from UFI.
earlier recovery in Asia Paciﬁc and the Americas
than in Europe. The conﬁdence level – now the
impact of the economic crisis on their exhibition
businesses is over – has signiﬁcantly increased
in the Americas during the past six months, and
has reached a level of optimism similar to the
Asia Paciﬁc region.
UFI’s survey shows a majority of those
surveyed in three regions (Americas, Asia Paciﬁc
and Middle East/Africa) registered an increase in
proﬁts of more than 10% in 2010 compared with
Europe has also shown signiﬁcant
improvement with a majority of survey
participants now expecting “stable” or better
operating proﬁts compared with 2009.
A “bottoming-out” of the decreased turnover
experienced since 2008 has occurred in all
regions, and a majority of companies worldwide
anticipate an increase in turnover during the ﬁrst
half of 2011.
Most signiﬁcant is the change in perception
of the current impact of the economic crisis.
Today, almost 50% say they have put the
crisis “behind” them and are looking positively to
However, it’s not until the third quarter of
2012 that a real end to the crisis is foreseen.
Those questioned are still sensitive to the
potential for renewed economic difﬁculties,
which they say may occur because of the “state
of the national/regional economy”, “internal
management challenges” and “global economic
uncertainty”. Finally, companies were asked
to identify the three most important issues for
their business in the coming year, out of a list
In all regions except Asia Paciﬁc, the top
three were: the state of the national/regional
economy; global economic uncertainty, and
internal management challenges (ﬁnance, human
resources, staff and training).
The issue of local/national competition
within the exhibition industry ranked fourth in
almost all regions and third in Asia Paciﬁc.
When only looking at the most important
issue identiﬁed in each region, a majority
of respondents in all regions (56% in the
Americas, 42% in Asia Paciﬁc, 62% in Europe
and 43% in the Middle East/Africa) rank the
state of the economy ﬁrst (at either the global or
Source: The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry
Would you say that the impact of the
“economic crisis” on your exhibition
business is now over?
(As declared in December 2010 and – lighter charts – June 2010)
Yes No, I still feel its impact
Eight of the most important issues for
your business in the coming year
Distribution of all issues selected
(As declared in December 2010 and – lighter charts – June 2010)
Source: The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry
State of the national/regional economy Global economic uncertainty
Internal management challenges
(eg. ﬁnance, HR, staff and training)
Local/national competition from within
the exhibition industry
Environmental challenges (customer
expectations, regulations, etc.)
Competition with other media (eg. internet,
virtual trade shows, social media)
Integration with other media Others
Asia Paciﬁc Europe
Smiles all round: Congressional delegates at the Marina Bay Sands are optimistic about the future.
Brighter prospects: The UFI’s latest survey predicts the exhibition business is set to grow again.
28 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 29
Elaine Wong and Elizabeth Armstrong create
unforgettable events for Standard Chartered’s
wholesale bank. Jaimie Seaton uncovers
the secrets of their success.
C O V ER S TO R Y COVER STORY
28 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 29
C O V ER S TO R Y
30 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 31
Revved up: Exotic entertainment was on offer for people at the White Night F1 welcome dinner in 2010. Make it memorable: Elizabeth Armstrong and Elaine Wong believe events should provide an experience clients will never forget.
Armstrong, global head of marketing, and
Wong, director, global head of events and
sponsorships – both in the wholesale banking
division of Standard Chartered Bank – cater to
their bank’s elite clients.
The list includes the senior management of
other ﬁnancial institutions, multi-nationals, local
corporates and governments.
Based in Singapore, this dynamic duo put
on an amazing 500-plus events worldwide last
year with a global team of only 40, nearly half of
whom work part time.
Though their budget is conﬁdential, they
say it is considerably smaller than some of their
Even so, their mantra is always the same –
quality and personalisation.
“We deﬁnitely don’t do some of the events
that our competitors do,” Wong says. “The
big-branded events cost a lot of money and the
budgets we spend don’t run in that league. What
we do is more personal and on a smaller scale.
“In terms of relationship-building, I think
it’s more effective to do smaller one-to-one
“WE’RE CATERING TO A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE
EVERYTHING IN THEIR LIVES. WHAT CAN WE GIVE THEM? AT THE
END OF THE DAY, IT’S THE THOUGHTFULNESS THAT COUNTS.”
Elaine Wong – director, global head of events and
sponsorships at Standard Chartered Bank
hen Elizabeth Armstrong and
Elaine Wong plan an event
they expect the execution to be
perfect, but attending one of their
events should never feel like work. They want
guests to feel they are at a warm and comfortable
social occasion, perhaps in the living room of an
old and trusted friend. And, like any good hosts,
Libby (as Elizabeth is known) and Elaine ensure
guests have everything they need.
If the event is at a beach resort, sunscreen,
slippers and a good book to read by the pool
– all in a beach bag – might be presented. For
a golf weekend, a sun hat and some new golf
balls could be on offer. For an event in an exotic
location, it would not be unusual to receive a
small item by a local artist.
“These things don’t cost a lot, but we want
guests to know that we’ve thought about the
experience,” Wong says.
“We’re catering to a group of people
who have everything in their lives. What can
we give them? At the end of the day, it’s the
thoughtfulness that counts.”
C O V ER S TO R Y
32 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 33
Adds Armstrong: “It comes back to our
strategy. On the wholesale side, we’re not into
mass client acquisitions. Where our competitors
have used sponsorships, a lot of that is about
building the business and having a big-branded
proﬁle, which for us, is delivered through the
MAKING THE CONNECTION
During a lengthy conversation in a conference
room on the 13th ﬂoor of Standard Chartered’s
new ofﬁces at Marina Bay Financial Centre, the
pair discussed their mission at the bank, their
philosophy about events, experiences working
with outside vendors and some of their pet
Armstrong, a native Australian and Wong,
from Malaysia, clearly have a relaxed working
relationship: the kind where the two ﬁnish each other’s sentences and praise one another
But their easy-going manner belies how vital
their work is for the bank. Standard Chartered
has recorded seven consecutive years of record-
breaking proﬁts – a remarkable feat in view of the
ﬁnancial crisis – and the wholesale banking side
accounts for 80% of its bottom-line.
“The key dynamic in wholesale banking is the
relationship-driven approach done through the
front line with people and human relationships,”
Armstrong says. “That’s how we market the
bank. Our role as the marketing function is to
make those interactions more effective.”
Armstrong describes a four-pronged event
“We have the events that we participate in,
such as the International Monetary Fund Annual
Meetings and Davos (the World Economic Forum)
where we’ll send delegates – our chairman and
senior managers – to meet with clients in bilateral
“The second important approach for us
are proprietary events – where we develop
something like a forum, symposium or road
show – which target our clients speciﬁcally; and
that takes it back to our strategy of deepening
our relationships with clients.
“None of our events are done for acquisition,
it’s all about deepening existing relationships,
and with these events it’s only us talking to our
clients. We’ll have Paul Krugman [the Nobel
Prize-winning economist] or Condoleezza Rice
[former US Secretary of State] or our own people,
such as our chief economist, Dr Gerard Lyons
who is fantastic at speaking. The attraction of
our clients to those events is very high.
“The third area is sponsorship and branded
events, but we don’t do many of these because
we can’t guarantee that we’ll reach our clients.”
(Events such as the Marathon and
sponsorships such as Liverpool are run by
the consumer bank and the corporate affairs
department).Driving its dollar further: Standard Chartered’s F1 events have become hugely popular with clients.Life in the fast lane: Luxurious suite and outdoor viewing area at the F1.
C O V ER S TO R Y
34 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 35WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
“We do sponsor very small niche industry
events such as Euroﬁnance or Marine Money,
where we have more control. We’re there for
branding and the ability to inﬂuence the agenda,”
“There are other banks there as well, so
our expertise is in front of the other banks and
obviously their clients.”
As she began to explain that the fourth prong
is hospitality to thank clients for their business,
Wong jumps in and says: “That’s the fun one”,
and Armstrong adds: “Yes, that’s the fun one. All
of them are fun.”
Hospitality takes the form of large global
events such as F1, the World Cup, big cultural
festivals such as Chinese New Year and
Deepavali and golf days.
“At the heart of hospitality is developing
good, quality and informal times,” Armstrong
“Just relaxing, enjoying each other’s
company, getting to know each other better. In
the case of Formula 1, we’ll introduce clients to
our chairman and other top executives, so it’s a
networking opportunity as well.”
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE EXECUTION
After discussing the bank’s 150-year history and
its network in Asia, Africa and Middle East, the
conversation turned to events and how each one
is used to strengthen the bank’s relationships
“All of the clients who are coming to our
events go to other banks’ events, so we can only
differentiate on detail,” Armstrong says.
“The clients genuinely relax and enjoy our
events because of the relationship that we have
with them. I’ve worked in banks almost 10 years,
and that’s the thing that always strikes me at
Standard Chartered: the genuine friendships
that have developed over the years.
“That’s what I’ve seen the whole time I’ve
been here, and that’s really what our brand is
Wong adds: “We have a pyramid approach
to our events, relative to the level of the
relationship. We have different events targeted
to the chairman versus what we have for the
middle ofﬁce. We’re building relationships from
the bottom to the top.
“As a result, there’s quite a big calendar
around both ends of the spectrum. You don’t
want to create event fatigue with your clients,
and the second thing is you want to ensure that
the calibre of your execution is ﬂawless.”
To this end, Wong is working towards
forming a global and strategic relationship with
the vendors she uses for events.
“That’s deﬁnitely the direction we want to go
in … to align ourselves with a few vendors that
we trust and who know how we work,” Wong
“THE CLIENTS GENUINELY RELAX AND ENJOY OUR EVENTS
BECAUSE OF THE RELATIONSHIP THAT WE HAVE WITH THEM.”
Elizabeth Armstrong, global head of marketing, wholesale banking
at Standard Chartered Bank
You can bank on it: Standard Chartered provides guests with gift packages to enhance the experience. XXX insert caption here.
“For example, I’ve worked with the same
event company for the past three F1s and they
know exactly how it works and I know exactly
what I can expect from them.”
The company is Key Events and it was
started in 2008 by Janet Wong and Barbara
Heng, childhood friends who had worked
together for 20 years in the tourism industry.
In fact, the impetus for starting the company
came after Janet worked (freelance) with Libby
and Elaine on the F1 in 2008.
“I enjoy working with them,” says Janet in
reference to the Standard Chartered team.
“They have vision and their direction is very
clear. They know what they want and they get us
to deliver. There is nothing wishy-washy about it.
It can be difﬁcult because they are very exacting,
but they direct us well.
“The way Barbara and I work, if there is
a problem, we don’t hide it from the clients.
Whether it’s logistics or budget, we meet and
ﬁx it. Libby and Elaine are different because they
want to hear it and work out a solution.”
Elaine Wong says that what sets Key Events
apart is that she trusts them to get the job done.
She commends their attitude and drive, not to
mention their great contacts in sourcing even the
most obscure items.
“Everything you brief them on gets done,”
Wong says. “That’s very important because you
have to top yourself every year; you have a regular
group of clients who keep coming back.”
THE SUITE LIFE OF FORMULA 1
“The thing I’ve always really admired about
Elaine,” says Armstrong, “and I’ll take the
example of F1: in 2008 the event was fantastic,
and yet she could come back in 2009 and make
it more fantastic.
“And then, when 2009 was so incredible,
she comes in 2010 and blows everyone out of
the water. It’s all the little ideas she has for the
Wong responds: “You have some clients
who come back for all three [F1] events year
after year. You have to up the ante because you
don’t want to give them the same experiences.
“For me, success is for the client to want to
come back for the same event each year. It’s
the hospitality that we create around the event
[F1] that really differentiates us from other banks,
from our competitors who have bigger budgets.
“We don’t sponsor any cars, we don’t
sponsor drivers, we just have the hospitality
suite, so what we do with the suite is really
different. We secure the same place every year,
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXX ininininininininininininininninininininniniinninininininnnininininininininnnininninininnininniniiinininiiiininininnnniniiniii serserserserseseserserserserserereserseserseserserserserseserserserserserserserserserssessersesereeesersersseseereesersererserserserserserserserssersesersersereserserrsersereserserersesserserserserserrrrs rseresess t cct ct ct ctt ct ct ct ct ct ct ct ct ct ct ct ct ct ct cttt ct ct cct ct ct ct ct ct ct cttt ct ct ct ct ct ct ct cttttt ct ctttttt cttttt ctt cttt ct ct ct ct ct cccttt ctt cctt cttt ccttt cct ccct ccct cccccccccccccccaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptappaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaaptaptaptpapapaptaptaptaptaptaptaptptaptaptaptaptaptptaaptaptaptaptapaptapaptaapapaptaptptaptapppppppapttaptaptaptappppppaptaaptaptpapaptaaaaptpaaptapaptapta ttptptttttaptttpaptaptpaptaptapttaptaptapptaapppt onioiononionionionionionononioioniononononionionionionionioionionionionionionnionionionononiononionionioniononionionononiononioniononononononionoonononnnionnnonionnionoonionononononoononnnoooooooooononnonion heheheheheheheheheheheeehehehehhehehehehhehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehhehehhehehehehehehehhehehehehehhehehehheeheheeheeeeheeeeeheheheeeeeeheheheeeeehheheeheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere.re.re.re.rerererere.reere.re.re.re.re.re.eere.rererere.re.re.e.re.re.re.eeeeeeeeere.rere.reeeerereerererrrrrrre.errrereereee.re.rrrrererrrrre.
C O V ER S TO R Y
36 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 37
opposite the pit, and we make it unique and
something we own.
“Key Events works very closely with
Kingsman, which is the appointed production
crew that the Grand Prix uses to build the suites,
and they’re great to work with.
“We don’t use the typical banquet table with
10 chairs. We change it, we make it loungy with
different sections for different things. We bring
in a masseuse, we have wine tastings and we
use the suite to its full potential. We have a lot
more activities going on at our suite than, I think,
The reason, it’s pointed out, is because
not all guests are F1 fans and Armstrong and
Wong want to create an enjoyable experience
for everyone. Activities such as a wine tastings
can also act as icebreakers.
“You have to create opportunities for the
guests to meet people, aside from our bankers,”
Wong says. “Say they want to meet CEO Y
from company X, you have to create these little
opportunities for them to mingle.”
VICTIMS OF THEIR SUCCESS
Wong and Armstrong are very good at what they
do, which is great for the bank, but can make
their lives more stressful. The bottom line is that
a lot of people want to attend their events.
“The nightmare stories are when people just
turn up,” Armstrong says.
“You’re already completely oversubscribed
because it’s such a popular event and people
will turn up on the day; clients from other
countries who are not necessarily clients of [the
wholesale bank] but clients of another part of the
“They’re suddenly standing in front of
you and getting quite stroppy and you have to
conjure tickets up from thin air. Touch wood,
we’ve always been able to do it.”
Wong adds: “I think the worst part is
managing expectations of staff at the bank
because everyone wants to come and I’m the
evil person saying no. These are people a lot
more senior than me and I have to push them
back. It’s tough.”
Adds Armstrong: “The hardest thing for
me is being the victim of the success we’ve
had over the past ﬁve years. We tend to
get asked to do a lot more bank-wide. Because
internally, we’ve built up a very strong reputation
for doing excellent work, we get a lot more
work, yet relative to the amount of work we’re
doing, my head count hasn’t increased.
“I’m asking the same people to stretch
themselves so much further and that’s tough.”
Despite the challenges, it all comes back
to the clients and their enjoyment of the
“The feedback from our clients is that they
ﬁnd the level of detail to be so much better than
other events and that’s rewarding,” Armstrong
says. “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that
people really underestimate the signiﬁcance of
how an event can reposition your brand with
“The way we are approaching and
executing our events has been a very strong
driver in repositioning us from the friendly but
transactional bank, to a strategic and trusted full
service wholesale bank.”
For Wong and Armstrong it all boils down
to one goal – strengthening the bank-client
“All of this is about building that relationship
so you have the right to go in and visit the client,”
“Our events strategy is pivoted around
building the trust to give you the right to have
that conversation. A lot of blood sweat and tears
goes into it, but it’s worth it.”
Maintaining high standards: The bank’s events – complete with gifts and other treasures – are so popular that unconﬁrmed guests often turn up.
“I THINK THE WORST PART IS MANAGING EXPECTATIONS
OF STAFF AT THE BANK BECAUSE EVERYONE WANTS TO
COME AND I’M THE EVIL PERSON SAYING NO.”
FEATURE: EV EN T S P O N S O R S HI P
38 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
FEATURE: EVENT SPONSORSHIP
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 39
here’s something of a leap of faith in
writing a cheque – often a large one –
to sponsor a sporting, cultural, TV or
charity event. Depending on the size of
the cheque, you will have some inﬂuence, but
certainly not control over the event.
The cheque also puts you in an alliance with
the event’s creators, other ﬁnanciers, customers
and fans. If things go wrong, you all go down
However, if you back the right horse, create
the right ﬁt and build the right strategy, event
sponsorship offers rewarding and sustainable
gains. Successful and well-attended events
create a halo around all those involved, including
Because of this unique opportunity to
create a lasting impression on consumers by
sponsoring something they are passionate
about – or enjoy – more marketers are shifting
budgets to sponsorship.
A SPORTING CHANCE
Globally, sponsorship is an increasingly
important element of the media mix. According
to IEG, a unit of GroupM, global spending on
sponsorships of sports, causes, festivals, the
arts, entertainment tours and associations is
projected to rise to US$48.7 billion in 2011, from
$46.3 billion in 2010 – an increase of 5.2%.
In Asia Paciﬁc, approximately US$11 billion
is forecast to be spent on sponsorships in 2011,
up from roughly US$10 billion in 2010.
Sport is by far the biggest category in
sponsorships, accounting for 68% of dollars
spent in North America in 2010 (Asian numbers
have not yet been released by IEG). That number
is expected to remain unchanged this year but
globally, sponsorship spending on sports is
expected to increase 6.1%, according to IEG.
While sport sponsorship remains dominant,
other categories – notably entertainment – are
becoming increasingly important.
At the same time, there has been a shift
in the types of brands using sport sponsorship
according to Mike Rich, CEO of GroupM ESP
for Asia Paciﬁc, which manages roughly US$800
million of sponsored (multi-year) engagements
out of Asia, including broadcasts, events and
Marketers are dashing towards event
sponsorship opportunities at a breathtaking
pace and while the rewards are real, so are the
risks. Jaimie Seaton reports.
MMaarrkkeetteerrs aarree dashhiinngg ttoowwarrdds evveenntt
spponnsoorrshhipp oopppporrttunniittiiees aatt aa brreeatthhttakkiinng
ppaacce aanndd wwhhiillee tthhee rreewwarrddss aarree rreeal,, soo arree tthhee
rriiskks.. JJaaiimmiiee SSeeaattoonn rreepporrtts..
The 2010 Formula 1
Canadian Grand Prix.
FEATURE: EV EN T S P O N S O R S HI P
40 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
FEATURE: EVENT SPONSORSHIP
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 41
“IF YOU ARE SMART AND CREATIVE, YOU
GENERALLY CAN FIND A FIT. BUT THE KEY IS THAT
THE BRAND UNDERSTANDS ITS OBJECTIVE.”
Chris Robb – managing director of Spectrum Worldwide
“Historically, it’s been the more obvious
categories such as beer, tobacco and ﬁnancial
services that have used sport sponsorship to
great affect,” Rich says. “Over the past few
years, however, there’s been an increased use
of sports sponsorship by fast-moving consumer
goods (FMCG) brands.”
Rich believes that one cause of the parallel
shift is that sponsorship offers a different and
often more engaging form of communication
“If advertising is what brands say, then
sponsorship is more about what they do.
“Increasingly, FMCG brands are realising
the intangible beneﬁts sponsorship can deliver,
while the brands that have traditionally focused
on sports sponsorships are branching out into
Key among the beneﬁts are awareness and
power of association.
“Small brands can be catapulted onto a
national or global stage by associating with
big assets and big brands can re-enforce their
status by partnering with equally big assets,”
“Major sponsorships have the ability to
engage mass audiences in multiple markets,
but more than this, they provide brands the
opportunity to engage with consumers through
a connection,” Rich says.
“The real beneﬁt of good sponsorship is that
the platform allows you to talk to your customers
about something they want to hear, that is, if
my brand likes what you like, we automatically
have a connection. Layer on top of this the on-
ground engagement opportunities for product
marketing and you can see why brands are
increasingly seeing the value of the medium.”
A GAMBLE WORTH TAKING
Proctor & Gamble, a company that has
traditionally relied on conventional TV advertising,
has discovered the value of sponsorship and
last month announced it would be the exclusive
sponsor of Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent
The show, to be called Head & Shoulders:
China’s Got Talent will integrate Olay and
Gillette products into the programme, along
with shampoo. Commenting on the deal in early
January, Li Chen, deputy general manager of
external relations for P&G Greater China, said:
“P&G and its brands aim to foster a strong
emotional bonding with the Chinese consumers
by being part of the show.”
Sponsorship also provides brands an
opportunity to reward existing customers, while
attracting new ones, by demonstrating the
exclusive beneﬁts available.
American Express has a long history of
sponsoring dining programmes (since 1963) on
a global level. In Singapore, American Express is
sponsoring the fourth instalment of the Celebrity
Chefs Event Series. In conjunction with the
Asian Food Channel (AFC), American Express is
sponsoring a series of cooking demonstrations
and ticketed dinners for members of the public,
with separate sessions organised exclusively for
“Sponsoring the Celebrity Chef Series is the
perfect ﬁt to our overall premium dining strategy
and partnering with AFC allows us to extend
our brand exposure across the Asian region,”
says Simon Kahn, country manager of American
Across the Causeway, American Express
sponsored the Time Out Food Awards in Kuala
Lumpur in November.
“In Malaysia our research has shown that
dining deals are one of the key expectations
that our customers have from a credit card,”
says Lim Su Ching, vice president of American
Express Business for Maybank.
“The Time Out KL Food Awards was the
beginning; to tell our customers that we are going
to tie up with a key player in the dining ﬁeld. As
we work with Time Out, we’ll use that positioning
to meet with dining establishments in the upper
end of the market and then structure the deals.
This will be relevant to our customers.”
Lim says the sponsorship has the dual goal of
rewarding existing customers in Malaysia, while
“creating an awareness that dining is a space in
the market that American Express owns from a
credit card perspective”.
Credit cards sponsoring F&B-related events
is hardly a surprising or unique strategy, but for
other brand categories the decision might be
THE RIGHT FIT
“Any product can use sponsorship so long
as there is a ﬁt,” says Chris Robb, managing
director of Spectrum Worldwide, which develops
events for sponsorship.
“If you are smart and creative, you generally
can ﬁnd a ﬁt. But the key is that the brand
understands its objective. The real advantage
of sponsorship, if it’s well thought out, is that
people have the opportunity to experience the
brand – sample the beverage, take a test-drive
in the car or experience a service. They go away
from that experience and associate it with your
brand. With a newspaper advertisement, people
may read it and forget it.”
DHL’s involvement with national and global
events illustrates how sponsorship can be
leveraged to strengthen brand leadership. The
company has been the ofﬁcial logistics partner
for Formula 1; IMG’s Fashion Week; the Volvo
Ocean Race; the presenting sponsor of the 2005Give yourself a sporting chance: Brands are using popular events such as rugby’s Bledisloe Cup to engage with consumers.
Riding home a winner: Sponsorship provides brands an opportunity to reward existing customers.
Source: Group M
Worldwide Media Marketing Forecasts, Autumn 2010
Marketing USD m
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 f 2011 f
Sponsorship 10,250 11,110 12,100 13,370 14,910 16,610 16,510 17,088 18,100
YOY % change 6 8 9 10 12 11 -1 4 6
Sponsorship 7,400 7,800 8,500 9,500 10,600 11,702 12,100 12,700 13,000
YOY % change 4 5 9 12 12 10 3 5 2
Sponsorship 4,700 5,200 5,800 6,400 7,600 9,500 10,000 10,400 11,000
YOY % change 9 11 12 10 19 25 5 4 6
Sponsorship 25,950 27,910 30,500 33,670 37,910 43,012 44,100 45,988 48,450
YOY % change 6 8 9 10 13 13 3 4 5
f = forecast
FEATURE: EV EN T S P O N S O R S HI P
42 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM
FEATURE: EVENT SPONSORSHIP
WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 43
British Lions Tour of New Zealand and was also
involved with the 2010 Bledisloe Cup in Hong
Kong. It recently signed on as a worldwide
partner of Rugby World Cup 2011.
“It’s not just about sponsorship for DHL,”
says Michael Corcoran, global project manager,
Rugby World Cup for DHL.
“We see these as business and logistics
partnerships, as we lend our expertise to these
global events. From the full range of partnerships
DHL is engaged in, this helps bring to life the
fact that DHL is the enabler of global events in
GIVE IT A NAME
In Asia, title sponsorship is becoming increasingly
important. Spectrum Worldwide manages
Standard Chartered’s marathon in Singapore
and developed the Cycle Challenge, whose title
sponsor is OCBC Bank.
OCBC Cycle Singapore is in its third year
and each year the commitment of OCBC has
grown – from SG$1 million in 2009 to SG$1.4
million in 2011. It will be SG$1.6 million in 2012.
Koh Ching Ching, head of group corporate
communications at OCBC Bank, says OCBC’s
investment has increased each year because it
is pleased with the results.
“Our absolute overriding objective with the
title sponsorship is to deepen our engagement
with the Singapore community and to entrench
the OCBC brand in the minds of all participants,
so they will associate the event – and cycling –
with the bank,” Koh says. This year, OCBC Cycle
Singapore has a new partner.
Nissan will sponsor the most popular of
the nine individual courses – called the Nissan
Challenge – within the event.
“On face value, it may be seen as unusual
for Nissan to sponsor a category within a cycling
event, but we view the sponsorship as the
perfect ﬁt,” says Ron Lim, general manager of
sales and marketing for Tan Chong Motor, which
handles Nissan marketing in Singapore.
“It’s the ideal platform for us to showcase
the Nissan crossovers because they are vehicles
for people who enjoy a healthy, outdoor lifestyle,
and this is exactly the audience segment that
OCBC Cycle Singapore attracts.
“The main goal for the Nissan Challenge
sponsorship is to engage directly with both
existing and potential customers to ultimately
drive sales. We really want to integrate the
Nissan brand into their lifestyles, so it’s about
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?
In sponsorship marketing, there are tangible and
intangible components contributing to return-
Tickets sold, ratings and event feedback
or coverage provide tangible value, while brand
association and emotional connection are the
“It’s the intangible results that we use to
measure the success of the sponsorship,” Koh
says. “Everything else, such as attracting new
customers, is secondary. The OCBC Cycle
Singapore sponsorship has provided new
business opportunities, and we have signed up
more cycling-related retailers, but this is all a by-
product of the brand association with cycling.”
GroupM’s Mike Rich agrees. “The marketer
has always focused on measuring tangible
beneﬁts because that’s the easier bit to
“But that’s only half, or less than half of
the story. The intangibles, which include the
emotional connection with consumers, is what’s
really interesting, and sponsorship can impact all
of the softer (intangible) beneﬁts quite effectively.
We don’t think it’s any harder than measuring
By connecting on an emotional level with
one group, a brand may alienate another. In
sponsoring one sports team, a brand may
develop a loyal following among its fans and
become taboo to fans of the rival team.
And there is always a risk, particularly with
event sponsorship, that the experience can leave
“If your brand is associated with a badly
executed event, in 30 seconds it will be tweeted
and posted on Facebook,” says Spectrum
Driven to succeed: Tan Chong Motor’s Ron Lim handles Nissan’s marketing in Singapore.
Worldwide’s Robb. When forming emotional
connections with consumers, brands need to
be sensitive and cautious. And they need to be
“It tends to work over the long term,” explains
GroupM ESP’s Rich.
“Moving these softer metrics doesn’t happen
overnight. It takes time and companies have to
be committed. Longevity is often a tenant of
Rich and Robb see Asia as a developing
market, but challenges remain, including the
need for clients to understand the importance of
“The general rule of thumb is that if a
company spends $1 on an event sponsorship,
they should spend $2 on activation, but many
aren’t doing that,” Robb says.
The use of sponsorship is in a transition
period. Brands that have historically focused
on sports events are branching out into other
categories, while a more diverse group of brands
are harnessing sponsorship’s ability to reach
consumers on multiple platforms.
Research and empirical data point to a
continued upsurge in the medium’s use.
“Consumers are getting more sophisticated
and demanding more from the brands they
associate with,” Rich says. “Brands need to be
communicating more about themselves and
sponsorship is a vehicle that enables them to do
“SPONSORSHIP TENDS TO WORK OVER THE LONG
TERM. IT TAKES TIME AND COMPANIES HAVE TO
BE COMMITTED. LONGEVITY IS OFTEN A TENANT
OF GOOD SPONSORSHIP.”
Mike Rich – CEO of GroupM ESP for Asia Paciﬁc
Good timing: Global giant American Express sponsors the Time Out Food Awards in Kuala Lumpur to keep the brand synonymous with eating out.
PAR TY CR A S HER
44 Q1 2011 WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM WWW.MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.COM Q1 2011 45
hat’s the worst thing that could happen to your event. No one
turns up, (or no one important turns up)? The servers are lazy,
slow and unresponsive? You run out of food or drink? The
heavens open up on your alfresco extravaganza and the “prop” Moroccan
tents turn out to be just that, leaving your guests soaked to their well
It could be worse. Take the scenario of the press, you know, coverage,
column inches, exposure, publicity.
In your mind, and in the approved strategy document for the event,
you envisaged a big front-page splash, perhaps a vignette at the end of
the news on several TV channels, maybe even an additional spread in the
social pages of the Saturday broadsheets with ﬂattering photos of your
A-listers (or better still your CEO) having a great time at the event and all
tastefully featuring your logo in the background.
Keep dreaming, oh and don’t lose that strategy document, you’ll need
it to mop up the tears after the CEO, CMO, the board and even some lower
downs (who are disgruntled at not being on the invite list in the ﬁrst place)
rake you over the Korean barbecue coals for failing to get appropriate
Press coverage for your event – like the journos themselves – can be
unpredictable, scarce, unhelpful and even negative. Of course, coverage
can also be wonderful, helpful, edifying and afﬁrming ... and the forensic
evidence you need to prove the event was a success.
However, the media doesn’t always co-operate, they can’t always see
your bright shiny vision and sometimes selﬁshly run their own agenda.
The ﬁrst hurdle the press presents is actually getting an RSVP out of
them. Their belief is that as long as they turn up with a business card and
some attitude they can cruise through registration whether they are on
the list or not. Or it could go the other way, where you are overwhelmed
by RSVPs in the initial stages, until without notice, your healthy press
presence evaporates on the night because everyone seems to have had
a better offer.
All you are left with is the cheery but powerless blogger with 64, not
particularly high-level followers, who’ll turn up anywhere for a bit of nosh
and a natter and who might tweet that the cupcakes were “to die for”,
which won’t necessarily help make your case next time you want to run
But Little Miss Tweet-Tastic isn’t the only member of the media you’d
probably be better off without at your event. You could end up with a
journo who’s drawn the short straw.
They lost out to a more senior reporter on the event they really wanted
to go to – “sports brand presents night of beer guzzling and fried food
featuring virtual golf”. Now, instead, they have been sent to the launch of
the “home furnishing fair” – you should probably be thankful if the best you
get is no coverage at all.
Or maybe you’ll get the “junior”, usually sent along in the same
circumstances as the above. The junior has several advantages over more
seasoned journalists – because of their low remuneration they will likely be
overjoyed at the thought of a few cocktails, some stomach-lining canapes
and a gift bag at the end of it all.
If the junior does turn up there’s every chance they’ll be too
inexperienced to spot little ﬂaws in the service at your event, like the fact
the servers are updating their Facebook status (“stuck in room of badly
dressed ancient people – please airlift me out”) much faster than they are
refreshing people’s drinks.
The junior is also delighted and surprised easily and isn’t too hard to
impress, and they won’t, like some more experienced journos, stand around
pulling at the loose threads of your event and sending their dissatisfaction
virally around the room.
However, with the enthusiastic junior, their best drinking years are all
ahead of them and their meagre income means Chivas and Martini’s are
usually out of their ﬁnancial reach, so access to them at your event could
mean the party’s over for them faster then you or they would like.
Still, as you help pack the junior scribe into a taxi at 7.30pm you can
probably be certain they will say something nice the next day about the
event … only to have it spiked by their editor as “too fawning”.
So how do you get a positive review and some good useful PR? Put
on a great event, act like you don’t need publicity and indicate in a coy
way that the only reason you invited the journalists is so they can have a
… it could work. PC
Any press is good press, right?
Audience Motivation Company Asia 24
American Express 41
Banyan Tree 6
Bintan Lagoon Resort 6
Glue Agency 14
Group M 38, 42
Hong Kong Disneyland 7
Incisive Media 8
iris Singapore 8
Jack Morton 11
JW Marriott 8
Key Events 34
Khiri Travel 8
LaSalle Investment Management 35
Marina Bay Sands 8, 21
Master Card 4
Mission Hills 13
Oneº 15 Marina Club 8
Proctor & Gamble 41
Resorts World International 21
Shangri-La Asia Limited 5
Singapore Expo 6
Spectrum Worldwide 41
Standard Chartered 30, 32
Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre 4
The Event Company / Staging Connections 23
Thomson Reuters 10, 11
World Sport Group 8