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Launch of P&G E-Center and Leadership College 2017: Last month, P&G announced a $100-M investment in Singapore with the E-Center – which brings digital solutions and capabilities from their global HQ in the U.S. to Singapore. In conjunction with this, they also had the 2nd Leadership College, where they aimed to build the digital capability of local SMEs.


To see full press release click here!


Launch of #GilletteSalutes: Gillette partnered with Singapore’s Ministry of Defense to jointly celebrate the 50th year of Singapore National Service and P&G’s 30th year in Singapore. Earlier this month, Gillette kicked off year-long celebrations to salute the NSmen of Singapore. This is in line with Gillette’s long-standing commitment to provide the best for every soldier – which dates back to World War I with Gillette shaving kits provided to all American soldiers.


To see full press release click here!


Measuring Marketing ROI for Your International Websites


Clear and detailed return on investment. The holy grail for any marketer. The true measurement of the efficacy of marketing activity and its contribution to the business’ bottom line.


In the past, measuring marketing ROI, even on a relatively limited scale, was immensely difficult due to the lack of sophisticated analytics and measurement tools. Businesses would find themselves unable to validate their expenditure on marketing, as they were completely unsure as to how, or what marketing activity contributed to the business’ bottom line success or lack of it!


Fortunately, with the ascent of marketing automation platforms, tracking software and website analytics tools, reporting with forensic accuracy on every element of your marketing campaign is now relatively straightforward.


As a result, more and more marketing departments are being pushed by their board or CEO, who regularly asking them:


“What is the return on investment for our digital marketing activity?”


And, for some of these departments, the answer might still be:


“We don’t really know for sure.”


For marketing departments today, the importance of being able to readily provide marketing’s performance metrics, the conversion ratios, customer attribution paths and overall marketing ROI, is absolutely essential – and completely possible.


Accurately measuring marketing ROI will help you to understand the effectiveness of a particular campaign, as well as validate your expenditure on certain marketing activities.


With a clear and detailed return on investment report, you will have access to information which allows you to make more data-driven decisions and, with granularity, predict the business’ future sales lead generation activity.


For large, multi-national corporations (MNCs), this problem may be more apparent. As a large, international organisation, it is highly likely that there will be multiple websites over different regions, all of which are managed by different teams who may not communicate regularly with their international counterparts and instead are operating in silos.


In addition, as these teams are operating in isolation, the metrics each department is monitoring and tracking may differ, and as a result, it becomes incredibly difficult and frustrating for international marketing directors to convey the ROI of their marketing activity.


It’s important to appreciate that, no matter the scale of your business, having clear alignment across your marketing and sales departments in regards to the metrics that actually matter (Key Performance Indicators) and the goals of your marketing activity, will allow you to build reports that actually demonstrate marketing’s true progress and performance.


With these points considered, you can start to create reports that will provide clarity across your business. All multi-national organisation needs to address such things as:


  • SMART Goals,
  • Key Performance Indicators,
  • Team & Website Management,
  • Cross-channel Analytics,
  • Cross-channel Reporting,
  • International Comparative Reporting,
  • How to measure ROI in B2B Markets.


Additional reading:


This resource: How To Get ROI Reporting Running for your International Websites and find out how you can improve the value of your organisation’s marketing team.


If migration of your website is on your horizon, try this resource: Eight steps to International Website Migration.

March 30, 2017

Sothebys_International_Realty Logo


Sotheby’s International Realty® Opens in Singapore!


Connecting Ultra High Net Worth Clients to Luxury Residential Homes through its Global Footprint and Digital Capabilities!


Sotheby's Pic


To see full press release click here.


To see full article in The Business Times click here.

Agoda Outside Review_Member Blog

Agoda’s business is built on innovation, technology, and travel. Agoda Outside their new travel newsletter supports these goals through outreach, research, philanthropy, and building connections.


Agoda hopes the newsletter will inspire you to learn, think differently, and visit places you haven’t been to before. Content will come from a wide variety of sources, as well as original research. This month, they are sharing with you their latest white paper, on foreign independent travel.


Subscribe to their newsletter by clicking here and let them know if you have feedback here.


Happy reading.


Here is a snapshot of what the newsletter looks like:

Agoda Newsletter Snapshot

Stamford_american_international_school_Mar 1




Singapore, March 23 2017, Angry Birds and Rovio veterans teamed up with the brains from CERN and Oxford to create the best science learning game on the planet, Big Bang Legends. The first game by Finland-based learning game studio Lightneer, integrates both casual and fun gameplay with educational content about particle physics. The Game launches today in Singapore and is available for free download from Appstore.


Peter Vesterbacka, Co-Founder of Lightneer, says “Finland and Singapore are world leaders in education and technology, both top the global PISA scores, but with wholly different mindsets. It’s great to launch our first game in Singapore bringing the two leaders together.”

Big Bang Legends app is free to download. For a monthly subscription of 1.49 SGD, users can go ad-free and gain access to exclusive video learning content tailor-made by expert professors from Oxford & CERN. Game levels consists of puzzles and mazes, various kinds of antimatter monsters and collectible rewards. The periodic table becomes familiar when collecting and upgrading all 118 unique characters with special superpowers, and by playing, teach the element names and symbols.


Lauri Järvilehto, CEO of Lightneer says: “We want to make the playful and inclusive Finnish model accessible to everybody in the world to get great learning results through fun learning.” “Five years ago we’d joke that one day we’ll teach quantum physics to five-year-olds. Now we’re seeing five-year-olds playing Big Bang Legends and having conversations about quarks, protons and atoms. It’s pretty amazing.”



Lightneer’s team consists of Finland’s game industry veterans with backgrounds at companies like Rovio, Digital Chocolate and Gameloft. Lightneer’s advisory board includes global gaming and science legends such as Oxford Professor Marcus du Sautoy, CERN Head of Global Outreach Rolf Landua and former Mattel and Sega CEO Tom Kalinske.


As the global lead market, the game launches in Singapore today. Student game workshops were led at schools, such as Stamford American International School (SAIS) whose students first beta-tested the concept yesterday. “”, says Craig Kemp, Head of Education Technology at SAIS.


Big Bang Legends_Stamford_Blog

Stamford_american_international_school_Mar 1


20 MARCH 2017 (SINGAPORE) – Stamford American International School ( wrapped up an amazing Nobel Laureate 2017 series with its third visitor on Monday, March 20, with a visit from Dr. Peter Agre, the 2003 Nobel Laureate for Chemistry, for his research concerning channels in cell membranes.
As part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, our Biology and Chemistry DP students were treated to an intimate masterclass with this esteemed mentor, where they shared Q&A with Dr. Agre as his medical research gave them plenty of food for thought regarding their questions on Malaria and the role of science in day to day life.


Dr. Agre’s fascinating discovery which earned him the Nobel Prize succeeded in isolating a membrane protein that he realized must be the long-sought-after water channel out of and into cells. This discovery opened the door to a whole series of biochemical, physiological and genetic studies of great importance for the understanding of many diseases of e.g. the kidneys, heart, muscles, nervous system, eyes and secretory glands. He then went on to donate his life’s work to aquaporins working with a vast team of professional researches in many given interrelated fields. He emphasised that “Science comes from a community even though the Nobel Prize was awarded to me as an individual”. He also celebrated the international friendships he built throughout his career with fellow scientists. He urged students to recognize the value of science on society and build “scientific friendships” which can overcome different political views. With shared experiences, scientists may produce results that one cannot predict.


Dr. Peter Agre is a Professor of Biological Chemistry and Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as well as the Director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute at the Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. His laboratory became widely recognized for discovering the aquaporins, a family of water channel proteins found throughout nature and responsible for numerous physiological processes in humans including kidney concentration as well as the secretion of spinal fluid, aqueous humor, tears, sweat and the release of glycerol from fat. Aquaporins have been implicated in multiple clinical disorders including fluid retention, bedwetting, brain edema, cataracts, heat prostration and obesity, and if aquaporin could be manipulated, it could potentially solve medical problems such as fluid retention in heart diseases and brain edema after strokes. Water transport in lower organisms, microbes and plants also depend upon aquaporins.


Dr. Agre also delivered a keynote address to 400 Stamford American Middle School Students from Grades 7 and 8, and Parents at the Reagan Theater finishing off with a humorous rendition of a science ditty which included 102 of the scientific elements attracting a large cheer from his appreciative young audience.
Dr. Agre’s visit to the School marks the final visit in a series of three Nobel Laureate visits to Stamford American this academic year that included His Excellency Jose Manuel Barroso, the 11th President of the European Commission and Former Prime Minister of Portugal, who received the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the European Union and Prof. Robert Engle III 2003 Nobel Laureate for Economics and Michael Armellino Professor of Finance at New York University’s Stern School of Business, New York/USA.


The 2017 Nobel Laureate Series is a joint collaboration with the International Peace Foundation. Stamford American regularly invites expert mentors to the school to inspire and work with its students through its Global Mentor Program. Past mentors have included Retired U.S. General David Petraeus, actress Jane Seymour, football superstar Roberto Carlos and U.N. Environmental Program Goodwill Ambassador John Francis.


Dr. Eric Sands, Superintendent of Stamford, had this to say, “We empower our students to be all that they want to be. Despite their vast accomplishments, I am convinced that our students were touched by these Nobel Laureates, who shared not only their successes but their personal journeys throughout their research especially the impact school had on their early formative years”.
About Stamford American International School

Prof Peter Agre with Stamford Students

Manpower Logo

Survey Results Snapshot:


Job seekers will benefit from a modest hiring pace from April to June 2017, as hiring intentions among Singapore employers continue to be conservative. Once the data is adjusted to allow for seasonal variation, Singapore’s Net Employment Outlook stands at a +8%, a slight dip from the +9% of the previous quarter. Of the 700 employers surveyed, 13% expect to increase staffing levels while 5% anticipate a decrease, and 81% foresee no change.


Survey Infographic:


MPS_Infographis_Member Blog


ManpowerGroup interviewed over 58,000 employers across 43 countries and territories to forecast labor market activity in Quarter 2 2017. All participants were asked, “How do you anticipate total employment at your location to change in the three months to the end of June 2017 as compared to the current quarter?” (Look at Page 7 of Full Q2 Survey for Additional details )


To see full Q2 survey results click here.


To see full press release click here.

Stamford_american_international_school_Mar 1

24 FEBRUARY 2017 (SINGAPORE)Stamford American International School  was thrilled to welcome on Friday, February 24 Prof. Robert F. Engle III, the 2003 Nobel Laureate for Economic Sciences, to its campus as part of its 2017 Nobel Laureate Series to deliver a unique classroom session to the School’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme’s Economics students. Prof. Engle, an expert in time series analysis of financial markets, delivered a mini-lecture on the topic of The Prospects for Global Financial Stability.


Stamford American students had the opportunity after Prof. Engle’s lecture to ask the Nobel Laureate his thoughts on topics such as the trend towards national protectionalism and economic reforms and their impact on local and global economies and also unemployment. The month-old Trump Administration and the possible economic effects of its proposed policies were also of interest to Stamford American students.


On what the future holds and how to shape the world, Prof Engle encouraged and said “You are the future and we need to make sure the future looks substantially better than the past.”


Prof. Engle is best known for his research on the concept of autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity (ARCH), a method for statistical modeling of time-varying volatility. His findings, known as the ARCH model, have become a tool that financial analysts use for asset pricing and evaluation of portfolio risk. The ARCH model is most relevant in markets in which the investment returns of an asset are assessed against its risks, and in which stock prices and returns could exhibit extreme volatility. It was Prof. Engle’s research on ARCH that he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2003. The Michael Armellino Professor of Management and Financial Services at New York University’s Stern School of Business is a sought-after expert, who has been interviewed by major publications and television networks around the world.


Prof. Engle’s visit to the School marks the second in a series of three Nobel Laureate visits to Stamford American this academic year. In January, Stamford American welcomed His Excellency Jose Manuel Barroso, the 11th President of the European Commission and Former Prime Minister of Portugal, who received the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the European Union, for a full day visit to the School. Stamford American will receive at the end of March a visit from Dr. Peter Agre, the 2003 Nobel Laureate for Chemistry. The 2017 Nobel Laureate Series is a joint collaboration with the International Peace Foundation. Stamford American regularly invites expert mentors to the school to inspire and work with its students through its Global Mentor Program. Past mentors have included Retired U.S. General David Petraeus, actress Jane Seymour, football superstar Roberto Carlos and U.N. Environmental Program Goodwill Ambassador John Francis.

Skarbek Associates Limited (Singapore Branch) have published the following article on strategy implementation in The Lawyer.


To download the PDF, please click here.


Skarbeck - Not Like Yesterday Screenshot


Cyber Warfare Comes to Your Yahoo Inboxes


“There are two types of companies: those that have been hacked, and those who don’t know
they have been hacked”. John Chambers, former CEO of CISCO


Yesterday’s announcement that Yahoo was hacked in 2014, potentially by a nation state,
appears to have been a shock to the company that was looking to acquire them for
$4.83bn, Verizon, but will have been less of a surprise to those who attended a recent
Skarbek breakfast on Cyber “drone strikes”. Yahoo appears to have exhibited many of
the failings that Skarbek identified and may risk the drastic consequences that were
highlighted at the event.


Ed Butler cited John Chambers’ quote to highlight to the seminar attendees that the cyber
threat is all too real and relevant for every type of business and individual. In his role as
Head of Risk Analysis in Pool Re, Ed is looking at the threats posed by cyber terrorism
and how these perils can be modelled. Although the threat actors are different the
consequential losses could be very similar. The focus of the session was on increasing
understanding of where the threat could come from, the potentially catastrophic impact
of that threat and what organisations can do to mitigate these risks.


Where do threats come from – who is out to get you


The talk started with an exposé from Chip Chapman, former global head of counterterrorism
in the UK MOD, on the sheer scale of cyber-attacks – for example, there are now
7 trillion spam emails a year in the US alone. The multiplicity of people, organisations
and nations posing a cyber threat and the sophistication of their tools and resources
means that it is not a question of IF organisations will come under threat, but WHEN and


As the Yahoo story shows, cyber warfare is already a reality – cyber allows opposing sides
to obtain data on individuals’ whereabouts and activities, but also “meta data” –
information which can be used to infer even greater insights – for example, once a
person’s Facebook account has been hacked, attackers can learn about their pets’ or
children’s names and use this to guess the victim’s passwords. The many people who
use the same password for their Yahoo account and their banking or other site s become
easy targets for financial fraud. For the military, these insights allow them to target and
disable infrastructure or individuals. In a commercial setting, your life might not be on
the line, but the commercial consequences can be fatal to your organisation.


The UK Government has recently acknowledged the growing scale of the threat by
announcing that GCHQ intends to erect a national firewall to protect against malicious
hackers. Whilst this move is raising privacy concerns, the reality is that a threat on this
scale is going to warrant equally dramatic measures to contain it – and that individuals
and companies on their own will be seriously challenged to protect themselves in the new
cyber reality. In a further sign of just how seriously they are taking the threat, the UK has
also established the National Cyber Security Centre with the goal of ensuring that the
people, public and private sector organisations and critical national infrastructure are
safer online.


Whoever attacked Yahoo may only have been interested in accessing the details of a few people. However, this is a clear example that cyber warfare is already affecting every one of us and that this threat must be taken extremely seriously.


The catastrophic impact of cyber threats


A cyber-attack can destroy your business. It is important to understand the true cost of a breach. As well as the direct cost of downtime and lost revenues, changes in legislation mean that companies face potentially huge fines for data breaches. Yet even these pale into insignificance when compared to the potential reputational risk and impact on share price for publicly traded companies. Yahoo is experiencing this at first hand – there is talk that its $4.83bn deal with Verizon is at risk which could have a direct financial impact of $145m if the break clause is triggered with significant potential ramifications for Yahoo’s share price. The comments being made across social media starkly reveal the scale of the loss of trust in the company.


It isn’t just big organisations that are vulnerable. The UK Government estimated in 2015 that the average cost to a company of a cyber-attack of business disruption was up to £2m, but then identified multiple other financial consequences such as lost business, cash spent responding to incidents, fines and compensations payments, lost assets and damage to reputation which could add hundreds of thousands of pounds to the total cost.


Cyber-crime is growing at an incredibly fast rate – Grant Thornton estimated that the cost of cyber-crime in the EU was just over $62 billion in 2015 alone, with a further $81bn in Asia Pac and $61.3 billion in North America. John McFarlane, CEO of Barclays summarised the scale of the threat by likening it to the “Black Market on steroids.” As Ed Butler said, “Why go to all the trouble of a bank heist, when you can be really smart and access the money online?”


Where do threats come from?


Corporate and personal cyber-attacks come in all shapes and sizes, from the individual looking to gain access out of intellectual curiosity, to governments and non-state actors seeking to obtain commercially or personally sensitive information for destructive purposes and criminals looking to make money.


Whilst the nation state attacker may generate the big headlines, some of the greatest threats come from within your own organisation. It’s easy to think about the disgruntled employee out for revenge. There are also the sub-contractors – cleaners or repair people who come in with apparently legitimate reasons and then access sensitive information. They can knowingly wreak havoc on an organisation’s data and systems. However, one of the greatest challenges that organisations can do something about– are the “Pretty Dumb People” – the individuals working for your company or as sub-contractors who click on a spam email allowing an electronic intruder to download malware or ransomware, the people who write their passwords on a piece of paper and leave it taped to their computers, the staff who connect to unknown networks in cafes without adequate protection or forget their laptops when they leave.


What can you do about it?


The entire organisation needs to own and address the threat. Given the almost unassailable scale of risk and multiplicity of vulnerabilities within organisations, the speakers underscored the critical importance of having and effectively executing plans that not only minimise the risk of a breach but also acknowledge and prepare for the high likelihood of a system and data being compromised.


Traditionally, many organisations have seen this as an IT issue, but the event underlined that the threat targeted the very existence of an organisation and that all stakeholders had a role to play in both mitigating and dealing with the consequences of a data breach. As Chip put it, “Cyber security is an information and data assurance issue, not an IT issue.” Given its central importance, it was vital that cyber security risk be considered in the same way as any other existential threat to an organisation and be owned by all members of the Board, senior management team and ultimately the entire organisation.


The complexity of the challenge becomes clearer when it is analysed in a structured way – this grid highlights 45 potential domains along which an organisation can be attacked and hence the foci along which systems needed to be secure. This grid is further complicated by the fact that these domains are actually operating in 3 dimensions – every function within an organisation plays a role in addressing the issues and third party stakeholders such as suppliers and customers are also implicated.


Fig. 1 The Contestable Domain of Cyber Space


Skarbeck Figure 1


The other great challenge is mitigating cyber risk when it is a fast-moving target – technology changing at an ever increasing rate – the rise of the Internet of Things is dramatically increasing personal and organisational vulnerability – most of us have no idea that wearing a smart watch makes our data much more accessible by those with nefarious aims.


The Insurance sector hasn’t caught up with dealing with cyber risk


For those who think of the cyber threat as just another risk that can be insured against to protect a company, Ed explained that the business of cyber insurance was still at an early stage. In order to insure a risk, its nature and scale must be quantifiable. This is relatively easy to achieve for a natural disaster such as a typhoon. However, there is a lack of data on cyber breaches and the systemic losses that could arise as a result – not surprisingly, it is not something that people or companies tend to publicise – as demonstrated by Yahoo’s mega-breach only becoming public 2 years on. In his role as an advisor to the Cyber Re reinsurance business, Ed is playing a role in understanding how to manage and finance the insurance of cyber risk. Regardless of the solutions, the scale of exposure that companies face mean that they cannot look to insurance alone to rescue them.


The four elements of a Cyber Plan


The discussion at the seminar went on to identify ways to address cyber risk, starting with a careful evaluation of an organisation’s “data crown jewels” – what was most precious to it and therefore warranted the highest degree of protection. It was up to the Board to have a clear handle on what types of data breach could cripple their businesses and to prioritise investment in protecting their critical data and preparing for the consequences of a potential breach.


When it comes to addressing the threat, it isn’t sufficient to think like an “armadillo” – with a tough layer on the outside but a soft underbelly. An “onion model” of multiple layers of defence is required. This multi-faceted approach was another reason why attention was needed at every level from the board down to ensure adequate protection. Every organisation needs a plan which addresses the four key elements vital to minimise the risk and potential impact of a threat: Avoid – Detect – Survive – Recover.


So far, Yahoo does not appear to be delivering on these four elements. In terms of “Avoiding”, Yahoo’s password protection mechanisms were in place but used outdated and inadequate methodology. A process as simple as mandating frequent password changes may not have prevented the breach, but potentially limited the damage considerably. When it comes to “Detecting,” it’s taken 2 years for the attack to be made public. In terms of “Surviving,” there appear to be gaps in its plans to mitigate the impact – for example, Yahoo customers in the Skarbek team still haven’t received any communication from the company alerting them to the issue and giving them advice as to what to do about it and the announcements from the company have been limited. Only time will tell if they are able to recover…


Why effective strategy implementation is critical to addressing cyber threats


Having a Cyber Plan is a key starting point, but it is insufficient. Even in the best firms, 70% of strategies do not get fully implemented. A Cyber Plan must address ways in which to protect itself from attack and ways to respond to one, focusing on the four elements identified above. These plans must all involve all the key stakeholders including HR or Facilities who can help mitigate the cyber risk that staff and contractors pose as well as suppliers.


Even once a plan is in place and fully implemented, it needs to be maintained and updated – cyber threats are continually evolving and companies’ strategies need to keep pace with this.


Final thoughts


In summary, cyber threats are growing exponentially and evolving rapidly. The threat is very serious as business can be the target of the spotty faced teenager, state and non-state actors, criminals and terrorists. Your plans to defend and plans to respond must be revisited and adapted on a regular basis. It is vital that organisations intensify their response including integrated risk management, crisis management and continuity plans. Every organisation’s cyber strategy needs to be challenged and tested on a routine basis. Most importantly the initiatives, projects and day job responsibilities must be fully understood and fully implemented. It may sound like paranoia, but this talk highlighted the reality that cyber is a very persistent, present and increasing threat that we ignore at our peril. But, before we sink under the weight of the challenge, the speakers also offered the message that many of the counter measures are common sense and low cost; as ever effective strategy implementation can make a difference.


About Skarbek Associates


Effective strategy implementation lies at the heart of Skarbek Associates work. When it comes to Cyber Security, the company specialises in providing an integrated approach to solving clients’ problems in developing and implementing an effective cyber strategy. Across both the plan to defend and the plan to respond they are able to ensure effective implementation coordinating the multi-disciplinary parts of the jigsaw necessary for a complete cyber strategy. Skarbek also provide ‘red-team’ events for boards and management teams together with capability building to increase readiness and resilience.



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