If we wanted to sum up 2023 in one word here at Vero, we couldn’t.
The marketing industry found this year challenging, to say the least. Global economic uncertainty prompted cutbacks in marketing and media budgets, the demand for meeting revenue goals and doing more with fewer resources was especially pronounced.
Despite various data and surveys indicating a more pessimistic outlook among marketing professionals, the communications industry demonstrated resilience, adaptability, and innovation. The rapid rise of artificial intelligence, once (and maybe still) debated as a potential threat to the industry, has opened new opportunities for transformative growth and efficiency. We also saw a heightened focus directed toward sustainability, transparency, and authenticity, pushing the industry to prioritize ethical practices and genuine engagement with audiences.
Vero embraced all these challenges and opportunities and strived to stay on top of the game. Though complex to navigate, these industry shifts inspired significant changes in our operational landscape and empowered us to redefine our business goals and client relationships. Our story in 2023 is a testament to our genuine commitment, rooted in resilience, as we adapt and grow in an ever-evolving landscape.
Before we bid farewell to 2023, we look back at our own transformative journey.
A leap into the future with Rover
AI, as we all know by now, is no longer a buzzword; it is the future of the marketing industry. The official launch of Rover, an AI-first PR agency in Southeast Asia, is additional proof that the “future” is already happening right here, right now.
Rover, which operates alongside Vero’s existing presence in the region, acts as an incubator for AI-powered brand campaigns and processes, producing work for new and existing clients and seeking partnerships with other AI-focused stakeholders in the PR industry, including AI applications, trade groups, non-profits, academics, and thought leaders.
Rover provides a wide range of PR and Creative services for clients across sectors, leveraging AI-powered tools to improve workflow efficiency, digital content, and output accuracy. The agency is also equipped to provide AI consulting and literacy training for brands seeking to embed best practices for AI within their organizations and in-house communications and marketing teams.
Major partnerships, bigger campaigns
Amidst lingering macroeconomic concerns, Vero saw pitches and proposals converting into new business wins. Thanks to the exceptional work by our teams across departments in the region and the trust our partners have placed in our capabilities, we pitched 380 new campaigns – more than one pitch per day! – with an impressive win rate of 70%, and we built campaigns for 129 clients this year, many of which resulted in tangible growth metrics.
We are proud to have welcomed the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to our client roster in Thailand, driving awareness campaigns on all the uniquely Singaporean experiences and increasing travel and tourism from Thailand to Singapore. In Indonesia, we worked with the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) to build the organization’s reputation in Southeast Asia and foster its mission to unlock green energy access. In the Philippines, where we just marked our second anniversary, we led Prime Video’s media relations efforts. Across the region in multiple markets, we continued to grow our relationship with partners including Royal Canin, SP Group, Dyson, and Duolingo.
Strengthening ties with our established client partners while simultaneously cultivating new relationships with prospective clients remains a central focus for us at Vero.
Staying on top of the game
Our office in Vietnam has come a long way – from a decade of presence through a local partnership to officially setting up a team in 2019 and being named PR Awards Asia-Pacific’s Mid-Size Consultancy of the Year. We owe this sweet victory to the dedication of over 50 talents in Ho Chi Minh City, who have passionately fostered numerous collaborations with leading brands over the years.
Beyond Vietnam, our “Grow Green” campaign with Booking.com Thailand also achieved exceptional success, clinching three prestigious awards from PRCA APAC Awards, PR Awards Asia, and SABRE Awards Asia Pacific. It stands as a testament to the power of one campaign to make a lasting positive impact—reshaping perspectives, earning recognition, and setting a new standard for excellence in purposeful sustainability narratives.
These recognitions serve to reinforce our belief in the transformative power of communication and inspire us to future greatness
Vero leaders take center stage
A voice becomes powerful when it carries a message that ignites minds and sparks positive change. In an industry full of noise, our leaders made their voices heard.
Vero COO Raphael Lachkar’s panel talk at the 2023 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France centered on the communication industry’s role in elevating climate communications and curtailing greenwashing. This was also the main topic during VP of Culture Vu Quan Nguyen-Masse and Group VP of Communications and Operations Umaporn Whittaker-Thompson’s speeches at AdFest in Pattaya, Thailand.
Vu Quan also joined an insightful discussion on the future of work at the Singapore Business Federation Forum in Hanoi, while Indonesia Operations Director Lye Alangdeo talked about the growing power of influencers in branding at the recently concluded Citra Pariwara Advertising Festival in Indonesia.
We are incredibly grateful and honored to have participated in conversations shaping the marketing industry. We look forward to leading more meaningful dialogues and knowledge-sharing in the coming year!
Impactful insights and thought leadership
There’s a good reason we’ve taken center stage in some of the important dialogues in the marketing industry this year: we do our homework. Vero has invested heavily in white papers, surveys, studies, and in-depth editorial pieces that allowed us to dive deeper into topics that matter to our stakeholders, clients, team members, and peers.
All in all, we published more than 45 insightful articles and exciting business announcements in 2023 that amassed over 143,000 engagements across Vero channels and gained over 100 pieces of news coverage across the region.
Sustainability in motion
We recognize that our commitment to sustainability did not and should not end with signing the Clean Creatives pledge in 2022. So this year, we embarked on more tangible initiatives to practice what we preach and welcomed partnerships with brands and organizations sharing the same mission.
In May, we published a Greenwatching playbook, providing brands with a conceptual framework to navigate the complexities and grey areas of sustainability business practices. This was followed by a Philippines-focused sustainability paper that allowed us to offer more practical advice on environmental stewardship.
Our vocal stance on refusing to work with fossil fuel clients also strategically positioned us in a comfortable advisory role for organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Myanmar, UNICEF in the Philippines, and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) in Vietnam. Together with these organizations, we created high-impact campaigns that contribute to our collective mission of fostering sustainability and social responsibility.
And in case you haven’t heard or seen it yet – we also transformed a part of our Vero Super Campus in Bangkok into “The Good Shop,” a pop-up where our team members can buy and sell pre-loved fashion items. Inspired by our team’s passion for fashion and genuine commitment to a more sustainable lifestyle, The Good Shop is a learning venture for Vero to gain more direct insights into young professionals’ shifting preferences and ethics toward fashion, develop a deeper understanding of the second-hand industry, and become better consultants for clients looking to pivot to slow fashion trends.
Through these collaborative efforts, we have actively participated in shaping a future where positive change is not only advocated but diligently striven for. In that spirit, we’re excited to be planning more sustainability initiatives for 2024.
New Singapore office and groundbreaking business units
We capped off an eventful year in style with the opening of our new office in Singapore. We are thrilled to finally expand Vero’s presence to Southeast Asia’s most competitive market. Vero’s Singapore office will be led by industry veteran Lin Kuek, who brings with her a wealth of strategic insights and extensive experience in consumer and corporate communications.
We also launched several new business verticals and services this year. The formation of our Mobility team across Thailand and Vietnam builds on Vero’s extensive experience servicing leading mobility actors, spanning the automotive, logistics, travel and hospitality, travel-tech, and ride-hailing industries. Made up of 10 mobility experts, the Mobility team offers bespoke capabilities to navigate the high-octane landscape of mobility in Southeast Asia.
Vero further intensified our influencer marketing expertise through InFluent, an integrated and regionalized approach to influencer marketing featuring standardized guidelines and tools designed to resonate with brands and creators in the ASEAN region. InFluent was created to replicate the unified processes and workflows powering some of the most successful cultural industries such as A&R, publishing, and distribution in the music industry.
And we are proud to officially invest in our events management capabilities through the VeroXperience, which is dedicated to redefining brand event experiences across our markets. This new business unit specializes in coordinating and executing various events, from brand and product launches to conferences, fan meets, and VIP workshops.
Stronger emphasis on healthy office culture and work-life balance
Prioritizing employee welfare has been a constant commitment at Vero, as we understand that our success endures when our employees feel happy and valued. Our quarterly engagement surveys and regular assessments of employee satisfaction have given us insights into what our team needs and how Vero can provide each member with a work environment that fosters personal and career growth and inspires creativity.
We specifically wanted to make sure we were at the forefront of DEI standards. At our scale and in the context of our region, we looked into specific barriers to women’s growth. First, we researched our own data and found that we did not encounter gender pay gaps. Then, we identified that a critical factor hindering progress for talent identifying themselves as female was confidence and concerns about the perception of their qualifications. In response, our management and shadow board are designing policies set to be launched in 2024.
Nearly two years since we implemented an unlimited leave policy across our offices, we’ve seen employees take more days off to travel to their dream destinations, develop new hobbies, and prioritize self-care. The Vero team has taken a total of 2,841 days off in 2023!
But since we know everyone worked extra hard, we’re making sure they can take off more with the introduction of the Vero Company Break, a new annual ritual where all Vero offices go offline for five days. This year, in the holiday spirit, we scheduled our downtime for the last week of the year: from December 25th to January 1st. This is an opportunity for our more than 240 employees in Southeast Asia to fully relax, rejuvenate, and enjoy a well-deserved break.
We also recognize that giving our teams some days to step away from their work desks and indulge in some carefree fun together fosters tighter bonds and nurtures a greater sense of teamwork and purpose.
On our offsite team building activities this year, we took the teams to the island of Bali in Indonesia, Ho Tram town in Vietnam, Antipolo in the Philippines, and Bangkok in Thailand for memorable and fun-filled experiences.
It has been quite a year – one filled with gratitude and a wealth of invaluable lessons. We thank all our clients who allowed Vero to accompany them on their own unique journeys this year in 2023. To our media partners, your collaboration has been instrumental in bringing our creative visions and initiatives to a broader audience.
So, let’s take time to appreciate the eventful year we’ve had before we look forward to even greater success and good memories in the one to come. Here’s to 2023, and we’ll see you in 2024!
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