Staff Reporters
Jun 29, 2020

Asia-Pacific Power List 2020: Cheryl Goh, Grab

After solidifying the Grab brand following the acquisition of Uber's Southeast Asian business, Goh's marketing and communication skills were put to the test by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asia-Pacific Power List 2020: Cheryl Goh, Grab
Asia-Pacific’s 50 most influential and purposeful marketers

Cheryl Goh

Group VP of marketing 

Returning member

Cheryl Goh has had a ring-side seat to the rapid evolution of Grab from just a taxi-hailing app into Southeast Asia’s largest online superstore, and she has tried to keep her marketing strategies apace with these rapid changes. Her endeavours are sandboxed between two events that have had a telling impact on brand Grab.

Through much of 2019, Goh was busy improving Grab’s brand perception, which took a serious knock after its acquisition of Uber’s SEA business. Net promoter scores had tanked, and Goh had to work overtime to improve this metric.

To rebuild trust, Grab and Goh focused on the fundamentals: being more open in communication, improving customer response, setting new guidelines for how the brand communicates with customers across touchpoints and building new capabilities to support customers. This helped boost the NPS score to a level higher than it had been before the Uber acquisition.

To be a better marketer, Goh has made it a ritual to have an immersion experience after every major marketing meeting, where her team spends time on ground to understand driver-partners, merchants and consumers better. Feedback is shared with the product teams and the wider organisation.

Over much of 2019, the marketing team at Grab has evolved to support the many new Grab businessesfood delivery, financial services and travel. To build capacity for the team, Goh worked with engineering to develop an artificial intelligence-based marketing tool, to devise more personalised marketing campaigns.

As quickly as Grab scaled up the business, Goh has also witnessed the crippling effects of the pandemic, with Grab announcing its own layoffs and business impact. However, Goh has tried to focus her marketing efforts on Grab’s new brand campaign, 'Connected by Good', launched in conjunction with the release of the second edition of its annual Grab for Good: Social Impact Report.

A key boost is providing approximately 6,000 local businesses in Southeast Asia with US$3.5 million in free ads through the Homegrown Heroes initiative. Even as it looks to stabilize its own business, Grab will help create personalised ads for these small local businesses by selecting a combination of ad backgrounds, icons and images most relevant to the merchant’s business. These ads will be featured on the most prominent spaces of the Grab app for a five-week period starting July, and on social media for select merchants.

Goh can be found on Twitter at: @cherylgoh

Asia-Pacific’s 50 most influential and purposeful marketers


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