Developing the transformation roadmap for the Advertising industry

The Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Singapore (4As) is the industry association for the Advertising and Marketing sector in Singapore. The 4As seeks to elevate the sector through education programmes, industry awards and competitions, talks and seminars, and collaborations with other industry associations.

The 4As recognized the need for a holistic assessment of the industry stakeholders—creative and media agencies, digital platforms, media owners, ecosystem enablers and the association itself—to determine how the industry should grow in the foreseeable future. The industry suffered from a flight of talent to and overall disruption by tech giants, rapid digitization of information causing a shift towards digital advertising, the introduction of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, and an increasingly fragmented landscape arising from the demand for specialized services.

Hence, the 4As sought a partner to formulate a comprehensive strategy to guide the development of the industry for the next three to five years, and engaged Eden Strategy Institute as its consulting partner.

Eden deployed a methodology comprising an exhaustive literature review of the current trends and disruptions facing the industry and a series of in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with managing directors of international and local agencies, to extract a vision for their agencies and the industry, primary challenges, and the required skills in order to overcome those challenges.

We analysed the insights gathered and drafted a set of strategies designed to address the challenges of the industry point-by-point, shifting mindsets to more fully embrace digital advertising, empowering and accelerating the growth of small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and ecosystem enablers such as ad-tech or digital exchanges, and driving talent towards the industry through closer association with academic institutions and skill development partners.

We developed an operationalization plan that included business models, interconnections and dependencies, required forms of government support, and implementation partners. To ensure smooth implementation, we worked closely with 4As to establish the viability, priority, and sequencing of the plan, and facilitated its resulting merger with the Institute of Advertising Singapore.

Created with Sketch. “The Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Singapore (4As) needed firstly to ratify our own assessments of what where the key factors impacting both local and international players in our industry. We also needed a broad sector by sector viewpoint on problems faced by our industry players, as well as the necessary research done to validate these viewpoints. Finally, we needed to be able to present a plan of action done delivering year-on-year progression over three years, that was comprehensive enough to address mainstream problems, and raise the value-add of professionals and agencies in the industry, with particular focus on local practitioners. We appointed Eden as our consultant for this, because Eden demonstrated clearly the ability to understand our industry, as well as the ability go “beyond the brief” to develop what we considered to be workable solutions. The working relationship with the Eden team was at all times professional and pleasant, and they also demonstrated a good understanding of and ability to interact with Govt Agencies such as Dsg, IMDA and ESG. Coming out of the engagement, we have adopted pretty much all of Eden's recommendations, which is a clear sign of confidence and acceptance of their work. One example of the impact from the engagement was that it led to a merger between ourselves and another leading Association in our industry. I would not hesitate to recommend Eden to other clients because our experience has been rewarding and professional, with good attendant results.”

- Mr Bernard Chan, Chief Executive Officer, The Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Singapore