Founded by Rigmor Berthier, Cecilie Gauthier and Hui Ting Lee in 2015, Lime Agency is an award-winning branding and marketing agency based in Singapore, offering a range of services for all creative needs. Lime Agency believes in respectful client-agency relationships, building brands for businesses with a purpose, and helping to create a purpose for traditional brands. Working with more than 170 clients during the past 5 years, Lime Agency takes pride in doing things differently.
For this weeks NBAS Talks business profile, we talked with Rigmor Berthier, CEO and Co-Founder of Lime Agency. In this article, Rigmor shares her thoughts on the benefits of doing business in Singapore, what innovation means to her and Lime Agency, as well as how technology enables innovation in the marketing and branding industry.
The Singapore government invests heavily in start-ups
According to the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), Singapore is one of the most innovative cities in the world, hosting an ecosystem of companies and organisations which are experimenting with new ways to solve the most challenging problems in the world today. From multinational firms to start-ups, companies are choosing Singapore to create, test and export innovative solutions to Asia and beyond. We asked Rigmor what it means to be the founder of a branding agency based in Singapore.
“Being based in Singapore gives us direct access to the Southeast Asian market. Also, many of our bigger clients’ regional offices are based here. Even with COVID-19 where we are all depending on online meeting solutions, it is preferable to be in the same time zone as your clients. Besides, the Singapore government is investing heavily in start-ups and this is creating opportunities for us. For example, Lime Agency has been giving the portfolio companies of PIXEL (an initiative by Infocomm Media and Development Authority – IMDA) online marketing and branding workshops throughout the lockdown due to COVID-19 as well as Phase 2 in Singapore” Rigmor says.
Innovation has caused a shift in the agency sector
We hear the term “innovation” everywhere. According to Forbes, innovation is defined as the introduction of something new or different. The act of innovating leads to the introduction of new ideas, devices or methods. We often hear about innovation in industries such as healthcare, agriculture and finance. But what does innovation mean for marketing and branding agencies?
“I think the main pitfall of innovation is not innovating. What I mean is, it is very easy to keep doing things as we are used to without really thinking more long-term or how we can improve our ways. In my opinion, to succeed with innovation is to start asking questions. How can we change our methods? How can we help our clients better? How can we improve our products and services using tools out there?
The agency industry has evolved a lot over the years. In the past, the rule of thumb was that agencies were kept on 2-3 year retainers where they delivered almost all of the marketing materials to a certain brand. To win these retainers, the agencies would put in a big amount of work to show their creativity, ideas and quality of the team, also called “pitching”. The problem we are facing today, as an industry, is that we see a move towards shorter and shorter retainer contracts. Usually, this comes from a good intention to be more lean or agile. However, the clients are still asking the agencies to present well-prepared pitches, which is very time-consuming for an agency to develop. Thus, agencies are finding themselves in a situation where more people than before are working for free to win pitches instead of using their time to work on paid projects.
As you can guess, this is not sustainable as people need salaries. From a client-side, they want to follow trends and are getting “innovative” in how they are asking agencies to be more agile. This is not necessarily a negative thing, as it is good to be pushed to be more lean and innovative in the pitching process from an agency perspective. However, keeping the old “pitching method” for small, short-term contracts does not make sense economically. Being in this industry for many years, I can assure you that a lot of agencies do not dare to say no, in fear of losing a prospect or client. Innovation is not just about technology, it is also about doing things differently to create and make the best use of competencies, skills and knowledge. At Lime Agency, we dare to say no and we dare to do things differently,” Rigmor states.
She further adds, “We can also see that many agencies are losing ground because repetitive tasks like advertisement resizing and reformatting are now solved by Google tools automatically. Don’t get me wrong – it is a good thing. It is good that technology can relieve humans from these tasks. Naturally, agencies that traditionally had a full team of people doing “adaptation” work, would no longer need these resources. By effect, innovation has caused a shift in the agency sector.”
Technology is saving us time
Companies are always looking for ways to get an extra edge, and one way to do so is to take advantage of technological innovation in their industry. We asked Rigmor if and how technology enables innovation in the marketing and branding industry.
“I think the main thing technology does to enable innovation in our sector is allowing for time to innovate. Marketing automation tools, targeting tools, reporting tools, efficient legal and financial tools free up time to work on pressing issues to come up with creative ideas for our clients. In other words – technology is saving us time. However, in our industry, innovation is making us both more and less efficient. By this, I mean, we are having access to all this data, and if it is used right, brands can really succeed. However, if we rely too much on the tools, without understanding the mechanics behind it, brands might get into a boring routine, missing out on the key data they have in front of them.
A concrete example of how technology enabled innovation for Lime Agency was when we created Just-startup.com. The common saying in our industry is that between speed, quality and low cost, you can only choose two. One of our key client segments is start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs. They require expertise, fast and on a low budget. We managed to come up with a solution that can fulfil all these criteria. On our entrepreneur resource platform, you can get access to quality expertise in marketing and branding at a lower cost, as we leverage on earlier projects in order to deliver unique designs and key advice from past learning. With technology, we built this platform easily, but the innovation comes when we are able to offer quality advice, fast, and at a reasonable price. Furthermore, the fact that it is an online platform makes it possible to scale this service globally. We can be physically in Singapore, but help start-ups around the globe,” Rigmor shares.
The Lime Juicer Methodology
Innovation is one of the keys to growing a business and increasing competitiveness in the market. Lastly, we asked Rigmor what innovation means for Lime Agency’s competitiveness in their industry.
“In 2017, we launched a concept called “The Juicer”, which is a unique co-creation methodology to support clients in delivering quality work within a short period of time. We did not invent this method as it has already been used before by other companies in what they usually call “design sprints”. However, when we started to introduce this methodology to almost all of our standard projects, this gave us a competitive advantage for clients that were in a hurry or had limited time available, especially when needed to engage all stakeholders for an important project such as rebranding. So far, we have already conducted more than 30 Juicers, and since April 2020, we have also started to organise such Juicers 100% digitally,” Rigmor ends.
For more information, please visit: https://lime-agency.com/