Byravee Iyer
Sep 30, 2015

Dentsu Aegis' John Brown bets on Asia expansion

Dentsu Aegis Network’s recent acquisition of John Brown Media is leading to regional expansion. Having already set up operations in Hong Kong in June, the agency is now readying itself for business in Singapore, with a view to enter other markets in the region.

Andrew Hirsch
Andrew Hirsch

“We’ve started with some projects with big brands,” said Andrew Hirsch, CEO of John Brown Media Group. “Every time we open up a conversation with a client we realise how eager they are. The business is going to move really quickly – not only in response to the fact that we didn’t have this type of business before but also because clients are seeing this as a major advantage to tap into.”

John Brown sits within the network’s media and performance business iProspect but operates as a separate brand. The aim is to launch it in every market that Dentsu is present in.

According to iProspect's APAC CEO Ruth Stubbs, the deal gives the network the opportunity to rethink the SEO side of the business. “Instead of looking at content that was at the end of the spectrum, we thought about converting them quicker with content that draws them in much faster,” says Stubbs. This potentially includes developing content with optimised words and then putting it onto mobile and social platforms that are already populated with a target audience.

Stubbs feels content will help accelerate the contribution of performance marketing to the media pie. “We feel very passionately about it and it really gives our performance business a bit more sparkle,” she added.

The London-based content company began operations in the 80s, working on the print and digital magazines of Virgin, Chelesea FC and RBS. Since then, the company has grown to 250 people across London, Hong Kong, Dubai and South Africa, producing more than 250 print magazines and apps for blue-chip clients.

Hirsch said the firm is currently working on two projects that it hopes to launch within the first quarter of 2016. It will be looking to hire at least 10 more people in Singapore “and expand very quickly from there”.

Hirsch said that while client budgets are much bigger in the US and Europe, Asia is demonstrating speed and agility. It is his view that advertisers are moving much more quickly in the region because of the lower minimum entry point. “When your budget is 100k that decision is much easier to make.”

As for conversion metrics, Stubbs said that having a content strategy that is consistent across the consumer journey makes attribution far more instinctive. "We're still in the amplification game and reach is a testament to how well optimised it is."

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