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New micro network for independents across SEA launches, HQ in SG

Tanner Nagib, former regional client service director at Hakuhodo Singapore, has founded a micro network of independent agencies named Beatnk, headquartered in Singapore.

Nagib (pictured) told A+M that Beatnk aims to offer clients with integrated strategic and creative solutions they need to stay relevant in today’s multichannel world. Although Nagib thought of the concept in early 2018, he only got it going in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The micro network’s three key objectives are enabling as many brands as possible to leverage on a professional and highly qualified talent pool to upscale their marketing/branding/communication/advertising needs; to give the smaller independent outfits an even better chance in competing for the larger pies in the market; and to enable SMEs, start-ups and smaller companies a realistic opportunity to work with some of the best without the price tags traditionally expected in that relationship.

The agencies under Beatnk are claimed to be “experts in their respective fields with deep specialisations, and have independent ownerships with founders or owners invested in the business”.

Southeast Asia is Beatnk’s primary focus, with the network already in Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Agencies already in the network are Malaysia’s Mad Hat Asia, Trapper Media Group, Hot Pictures, and Tish Events; Singapore’s McGagh Communications and Studio Daydream; and Thailand’s TJT Creative Labs. It also brought on board US-based UX/UI agency SquareFlair. The network is also looking to establish partnerships with agencies in Indonesia and Indochina soon.

Nagib explained that Beatnik is the origin word for the network’s name, which means a young person in the 1950s and early 1960s belonging to a subculture associated with the beat generation. “The major difference between the hippies and the beatniks is that the hippies were more aggressively political and public than the beatniks were. The beatniks were a smaller group that was centered around art and artists,” he added.

According to Nagib, Beatnk aims to bring together creative innovators who embrace equality and inclusion to create more inspiring creativity that people want to experience time and time again. It looks for collaborators that not only match with clients’ dynamics, but also benefit existing partners on more levels. “We will do our best in ensuring there isn’t duplication of expertise,” he said.

For example, while Mad Hat Asia headquartered in Malaysia is a communications agency with a focus in lifestyle PR, McGagh Communications headquartered in Singapore specialises in B2B and corporate PR. Through this, they can leverage on each other’s expertise for more effective collaborations. He also clarified that the independent agencies are not shareholders at Beatnk and vice-versa. Hence, the vested interest really lies with talent and delivering on creatively effective work.

When asked about the challenges he foresees Beatnk will encounter in Southeast Asia, Nagib listed diminishing budgets and a fragmented marketplace. He also said that as the micro network currently does not have any global or regional clients, it is focused on building an understanding for its approach and proving to the market that the theory of borderless collaboration among independent talents will help bring brands creatively effective business solutions.

Beatnk joins Local Planet International, a privately-held agency network, as the next network comprised of independent agencies. While there are plenty of similarities between the two, Nagib said Local Planet, for instance, focuses on channels, platforms and vehicles, i.e. media as a solution, whereas Beatnk deep dives into the brand challenge first followed by the output to its collaborators based on what would benefit the brand best. For example, not everything is a big idea solution nor is everything a social solution.

“Sometimes solutions can be for a distribution issue or a retail experience issue. As Beatnk we don’t claim to be experts in everything but our collaborators are. What we do best is to understand the real challenges in partnership with our clients and then define the solutions from there onwards ensuring the right team with the right expertise can deliver on the right solutions without the multi-layered cost of multi-tiered talents/ or agencies to ensure budgets are maximised,” he explained.

Nagib was with Hakuhodo for six years and oversaw the overall P&L for portfolio of a number of brand accounts. He also led teams of up to 50 members in servicing, planning, creative, media, digital and social teams across APAC. After leaving Hakuhodo, he had stints with Ogilvy Malaysia as digital transformation lead and Brazn as chief business officer. With over 20 years of experience, he also worked at Nexus Event Management and Leo Burnett.

(Read also: Hakuhodo Singapore regional client service director Tanner Nagib exits)

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