SINGAPORE - Branding agency Cowan, which works with clients including Coca-Cola, Nestle and Danone regionally, has announced three appointments to its Asian management team in Singapore:
- Nadia Romanis joins as client business director for Southeast Asia. She was most recently the general manager with Blue Marlin. She has experience in Asia and the Middle East, with Elmwood in Singapore and Jones Knowles Ritchie in London.
- Grace Astari Italiaander, formerly with Innnovation Kitchen and Design Bridge, joins the strategy team. She has experience in brand identity, packaging, communications, digital media, retail and creative innovation with both FMCG and luxury brands.
- Ridhi Sain joins the creative team from her previous position as design director with Holmes & Merchant. Her portfolio includes several global brands for Unilever’s Home & Personal Care divisions.
Cowan Asia CEO Paul Galesloot said the company is moving from project-based, execution-oriented work to retainer-based, strategic partnerships, and that clients are demanding a broader range of creative services, including e-commerce interfaces, digital content and shopper marketing.
"If you look at Asian companies, they do not necessarily have the structure like global companies where agencies are usually retained," Galesloot told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "In that kind of complex, where the project becomes more strategic and goes to different touchpoints, the agency has to be able to deliver whether it comes to user experience or a piece of packaging."
At the pan-Asia level, Cowan's clients are big names like Coca-Cola, Nestle and Danone while paper product company Vinda has been the agency's major client in China.
Asked about hiring women for all three posts, Galesloot said gender is less of an issue for him than cultural diversity. The agency's team of creative directors includes Catherine Murphy (Australian creative director for Asia), Nik Bedford (English creative director for Southeast Asia), Teru Yamabuchi (Japanese creative director for China) and Juan Tan (Malaysian creative director in Shanghai). In addition, Anh-Huan Tan is the agency's French-born Vietnamese strategy director for Asia.
"Cultural diversity gives strength to the agency especially when we are looking to create regional brands, as we need to find something that ties all different cultures together," said Galesloot. He added that the agency tries to have different cultures represented in both its strategic and creative teams whenever possible.
Romanis and Italiaander report to business director Kathy Walsh, while Sain reports to Bedford.
The agency said it will announce further senior appointments in its strategic and creative teams next month.