After years of creative work serving some of the world’s most well-known brands, the Creative Connectivity Agency Happiness Saigon was awarded the ‘Creative Agency of 2019’ title by Campaign Asia. Now, Happiness wants to shape a new era in the advertising industry in Southeast Asia by capitalising on its core business as a strategically-driven creative agency. It will expand its offering of consultancy services across the entire Business, Marketing, and Communications value-chain with the sole promise of triggering business for its clients.
How did the independent agency get there and why is it transforming into the Creative Consultancy sector? A look back to look forward
2015 & 2016: The introduction of Happiness Saigon and the Creative Connectivity Agency vision. Since its founding five years ago, Happiness has led the drive for meaningful change in the advertising industry. Starting with ‘Advertising & Beyond’ and ‘Everything is Media’ in 2015, Happiness was one of the first agencies in Vietnam to effectively grasp the importance of creativity on the brand and business building side of advertising, coupled with a focus on technological innovations that laid the foundations of its renowned power triangle of ‘Strategy, Creativity, and Technology.’
A philosophy that drives the agency is the ‘Everything and Everyone is Media’ mantra with the arrival of the participative Web 2.0, which eventually paved the way to a successful transition to a ‘Creative Connectivity Agency’ in 2016. A creative communication vision modelled on the ‘Web 3.0 or Connected Web’ technology, the agency built 3603 platforms to connect people with people and networks with networks. Happiness was the first agency to make it a mandatory step to move from consumer-centric thinking to consumer-journey centric thinking — a method that is now widely adopted by brands and agencies in Vietnam.
These core principles and strategies lead to successful campaigns with some of Vietnam’s top brands including Sunlight For Men, Pepsi PepCoin, Pepsi Dragon Dance, NIVEA Tailored Care, Tuborg Open, and many others.
2020: The Introduction of the Creative Consultancy Agency Vision
The marketing industry in Asia has gone through a significant evolution over the last few years with the rise of short-termism to the detriment of brand building. All of this is taking place while performance marketing and data-driven marketing strategies are used to drive short-term business results.
As such today, in 2020, two types of agencies can be distinguished from the crowd:
● The creative/digital agencies that focus on the Communication side of the equation while hanging on to the traditional offering and set-up, nearly all driven by personal agendas, egos, and business responsibilities to work within one creative silo. This trend is leading to a loss of creativity and innovation across the entire process as a slave to KPI’s.
● On the other end of the spectrum, this era is witnessing the rise of consultants and consultancies beholden to the Business & Marketing side of the equation, with their focus narrowly attuned only to the bottom line. They are talking the talk on Business & Marketing, but not walking the walk on Communication/Creativity to deliver against the KPI’s.
Happiness, with a core belief that ‘Creativity Means Business’ understands that there is a market gap in the middle and enters a new chapter in its history of impact and positive disruption. As a ‘Creative Consultancy Agency’, it wants to drive change and (significant) growth for its clients amidst the rise of ‘4.0 web or Experience Web’ and the increased client demand for integrated marketing communications and business solutions.
Alan Cerutti, co-founder, CEO & head of creative consultancy: “Creative quality is the most important factor driving sales in advertising, well ahead of reach and audience targeting. Businesses who are harnessing creativity and data in tandem have growth rates twice as high as businesses who don’t.”
Cerutti adds: “Creativity means business. Today, more than ever in Asia, businesses start realising that it’s important to cut-through in an effort to grab more market share. At Happiness, we want to be the one-stop reliable and accountable business partner taking care of the business and marketing & communication needs of our clients to grow their business. We believe that in a world of ‘experience’ and integrated solutions, it is Creative Thinking that will make businesses rise beyond commodity to drive exponential and sustainable growth.”
Today Happiness feels that clients need a strategically and KPI-driven partner to take the lead of the entire business, marketing and communication spectrum. Living up to its own DNA and capitalising on its core expertise and experience as a strategically driven creative agency, Happiness will provide end-to-end strategies and implementations on the entire Business, Marketing & Communications spectrum to deliver (significant) results and growth for its clients.
To do this, Happiness will continue to build on its foundations to once again leverage the alchemy of strategy, creativity, and technology, and channel Creative Thinking into providing services categorised under Happiness Consults (Business & Growth Strategy, Brand Strategy (incl. positioning, purpose) or Data strategies), Happiness Connects (Communication & Connectivity Strategies incl. communication planning and 3603 content providing), Happiness Works (Media-buying, Data Analytics, Performance/optimisation and dashboarding) and BLISS Makes (on/offline production).
The agency is further strengthened by key hires to complete the end to end marketing and communication
offerings to its clients: Son Nguyen joined Happiness in 2019 from Click/GroupM and is today head of clients across the business. Nhat Qui joined in April 2020 from Wavemaker/Group M and is now head of performance at Happiness. Together with Alan Cerutti, CEO and head of creative consultancy, and Gregory Titeca, executive creative director, the quartet of experienced talent comprises the core management of the 48-person strong agency in Saigon.
Gregory says: “The advertising world is changing fast, very fast. Brands are looking for solutions that drive successes both in business, marketing, and communications, creatives are looking for radically new ways of demonstrating the power of creativity. Both aspirations meet at Happiness”.