10 Key Topics for Spikes Asia 2019

Asia Rising – the theme for this year’s Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity reflects the transformational shift that the Asian creative industry is going through.

Jaw-dropping technological innovations and domestic brands disrupting the local status quo have empowered the APAC creative industry to define its voice.  It’s a region that has found unique solutions to many of the issues faced by the industry worldwide. 

Spikes Asia 2019 will not only showcase the most exceptional work in the region but deconstruct APAC’s creative ecosystem.  Explore the 10 topics for this year Content Programme



1.  Brands in Culture

A conversation around ‘brands in culture’ needs to begin with the recognition that there are many different cultures – each with their own distinct identity – that make up the Asia Pacific region. We’re joined by a set of trail-blazing speakers who will take us inside the individual APAC markets, looking at the specific traditions and cultural contexts that make each area unique. You’ll hear how these leaders found ways to intersect at significant cultural moments or events to spark important conversations – at a local and global scale.

  • How can we define culture in each of the different APAC markets? What does ‘culture’ mean to brands and their consumers in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, The Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam or other parts of the region?
  • How can brands stay culturally relevant and encourage active participation from consumers across different markets?
  • How can local brands tap into global culture? And how are global brands finding a way to connect with local consumers?
creative effectiveness

2. Proving creative effectiveness

We need to find a way to marry short-term ROI with long-term creative strategy. There’s a decision for us to make over whether we should now focus more on effectiveness, and less on efficiency. We hear from local and global speakers on connecting exceptional creativity with commercial results.

You’ll discover why proving creative effectiveness is becoming more and more important across the APAC industry. Plus, you’ll see some of the world’s most effective campaigns brought to life and deconstructed on stage.

  • How should you be talking about creative effectiveness with your clients?
  • Short-term brand activations versus long-term brand-building: how do we make effective work long-lasting?
  • How can creativity drive true competitive advantage? And what are the world’s most creative organisations doing to instil a belief in the value of creativity?

3. Embracing inclusion, equality and diversity

What does ‘diversity’ really mean in each of the areas of the Asia Pacific region – and how is this different to the Western counterpart? We deep dive into what makes work from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, The Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam or and the other APAC markets unique – looking at representations of race, gender, religion, age, disability, class and sexual orientation.

We’re joined by a set of inspiring speakers who will outline new benchmarks for work that promotes diversity and inclusion – exploring the benefits for culture, society and brands. Plus, you’ll hear original perspectives from global, as well as regional, diversity champions on how to create inclusive workforces where creativity can thrive.

  • What are the dimensions of ‘diversity’ across different APAC markets? And why do brands and agencies need to understand these dimensions to survive?
  • What does a truly inclusive creative and leadership team look like, and what impact does this have on creative output?
  • What are the most creative companies doing to defy stereotypes, and what ground have they gained in competitive advantage, innovation and revenue?

4. Understanding the changes sweeping the creative industry across APAC

We need to know how agencies and brands in the Asia Pacific region are changing. We look at whether APAC’s legacy agencies will need to develop new skillsets and capabilities to survive. And whether big brands need to re-think their business strategies to stand up to innovative D2C challengers.

  • How can we build outstanding creative capabilities, whatever our company structure? And where will the best talent be in two, five or even ten years’ time?
  • Faster, better, cheaper: in an era of efficiency, can we really have all three?
  • Will creativity (once an agency-only currency) move in-house? Or will in-housing, ultimately, fail?

5. Driving digital and technological transformation

Technological innovation in the Asia Pacific region challenges the rest of the world. We explore practical examples of connecting offline and online and learn more about the ‘Next Big Thing’ for brands and agencies in APAC. You’ll hear case studies from some of the biggest brands in the region on how they maintain customer relevance in a mobile-first, 5G-enabled, voice-stimulated world.

  • What does best-in-class digital transformation look like? How can you evolve your business to navigate ongoing disruption?
  • How can we use data to anticipate the needs of customers in an online/offline retail environment?
  • How can we offer customers a frictionless experience by leveraging the new tools (facial recognition, voice technologies, chatbots) at our disposal?
  • Creative strategy and reaching the reluctant consumer

6. Understand the ideas behind the idea

We hear from strategists, psychologists, futurists and behavioural economists with unique insights into consumer trends and behaviour. Leaders share the human insights that have changed how we think about targeting, personalisation and reach. Plus, we explore how creativity can solve fundamental business problems.

  • Where can data and analytics inform campaigns and lead to real brand breakthroughs?
  • How can we take a more intentional approach to creativity which can solve wider business problems and brand challenges?
  • What kind of brilliant ideas and strategies are behind some of the world’s most effective creative work?
new rules

7. The new rules on brand purpose

Should all brands find a purpose? We hear from leading thinkers with case studies on how purposeful communications can drive brand loyalty and sales – and we examine how a misfire can wreak havoc with a brand’s reputation. You’ll discover the best global and regional practices and develop an understanding of cultural context in specific APAC markets (India, Indonesia, Japan, The Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam).

  • How can brands avoid being superficial and inauthentic when building a purposeful strategy?
  • Why do brands in the APAC region need to have a real (brand DNA-driven) reason to be purposeful?
  • Why is it that consumers can see through brands with a ‘fake’ purpose?
  • In a polarised society, what role does brand activism play? How can we achieve this authentically and meaningfully – without fallout?
brand experiences

8. Creating connected brand experiences

We need to look beyond the over-hyped buzzwords and understand how to create exceptional brand experiences to keep consumers constantly engaged. We take an all-encompassing look at multi-channel customer journeys – from the retail and eCommerce landscape to APAC’s emerging eSports ecosystem.
You’ll discover the true potential of voice technologies and see practical implementations of AI, AR and VR.

  • How can you connect with your consumers offline and online? How can new innovations allow us to merge physical retail and eCommerce (IoT, Computer Vision, Cloud Computing)?
  • From campaign messaging to digital platforms, to instore activations – how can we create unified experiences, so that there is no distinction between where one ends and another begins?
  • What potential do new technologies like voice and 5G (as well as AI, AR and VR) have for the future of customer experience and how can we exploit them to best advantage?
  • What are the new creative and collaborative opportunities for brands in the entertainment industry –encompassing music, sport, film, gaming and beyond?

9. Re-imagining storytelling

Storytelling: an overused word, undoubtedly. But it’s also the foundation on which this industry is built – great stories have the power to move us. Hear from global and regional creatives, filmmakers, authors and designers on how they conceive of and create work that resonates with consumers across generations.

Learn from the people who make audiences laugh and cry with stories across platforms.

  • How can we harness new immersive and innovative platforms to deliver traditional stories?
  • Where are the big, bold and brave stories that have succeeded across multiple channels?
  • What can we learn from the artists, creatives, writers, musicians and film directors who create truly memorable work?

10. Trust, ethics and transparency

We have a lot of work to do to restore trust, which has taken a battering in recent times. We need to fix the system if we want to create long-lasting and transparent relationships. We’re joined by a set of speakers who interrogate how we can respectfully engage consumers and drive meaningful value exchange. You’ll learn to navigate a world where communications channels, platforms and content continue to proliferate.

  • What can we learn from new challenger brands whose entire ethos – from material, product development, supply chain to advertising – is sustainably set up?
  • Personalisation in the age of data privacy: how can we remain relevant without bombarding the world at large?
  • The evolution of the influencer world: will influencers still be trusted by the public following recent backlashes? What implications will this have?