Earlier this week, news broke of the CUE Group taking up a majority shareholding in the Bonsey Jaden Group. The investment will help enhance the network’s expansion across Asia and the United States. Campaign Brief Asia spoke with Bonsey Jaden’s Group CEO Daniel Posavac to find out more.
What constitutes virtuosity?
It is a term that gets bandied about in the music industry, generally referring to a musician’s technical prowess, the ability to dazzle with a magnificent blend of technique and artistry. But, virtuosity can come in different models, alluding to great technical skills that can be applied across industries, no matter how seemingly disparate.
For Daniel Posavac, it was precisely this realization that led him to shift from a floundering musical career to start a journey that would lead to establishing Bonsey Jaden, one of the fastest-growing Asian digital agencies with a flair and passion for building power brands. “I know what a successful musician is and I was not that,” he laughs. “My day job back then was digital marketing. I was working in a small agency and playing music at the same time. Then, I realized that the band wasn’t going to make it, that I was better at marketing than I was at music.”
It was a decision that led him to start Jaden Social, a music-first digital agency in 2012. The venture eventually led to a partner inviting him to seek market gaps in Singapore by late 2013. “Once you start a business, it’s all-consuming, we didn’t even think about it. Once it was on, it was on,” Posavac recalls, “The leap happened very quickly, we didn’t have time to think. There wasn’t a lot of consideration. It was all-natural momentum and doors opening.”
Most transitions can be tumultuous but for Posavac, the shift from music to marketing was seamless, something that the 37-year-old CEO considers an organic bleed-over. “There seems to be quite a natural flow out of music and into advertising and the creative industries. That probably has something to do with the way that we think,” he says, “Most music is storytelling. Marketing is strategic storytelling. The most successful marketers and brand builders are masterful storytellers. If you think strategically and tell great stories, you can succeed in digital marketing.”
In a nutshell, this is the essence of Bonsey Jaden: strategically telling brand stories effectively in the digital landscape. It is easy to draw parallelisms of Posavac’s work for Bonsey Jaden and a musical conductor. Instead of bringing a musical score to life through a bevy of instruments, however, Posavac and his team use a variety of platforms to come up with desired results, relying heavily on a highly refined sense of what works in the digital space to tease out nuances, emphasize elements, and essentially breathing new life into how a brand is perceived by an audience.
In many ways, Posavac’s background also gave Bonsey Jaden the hallmark of the work that it does: a steadfast fidelity to brand authenticity, something that he credits to his background in music. “Coming from the music industry, we tend to use our gut and our heart quite a lot in the way that we operate. A lot of times when you come into the advertising world, it’s all about channels, media and assets. We never really bought into that; we’re a lot more considerate about what we do,” Posavac says, “Authenticity is really a key differentiator between success and failure. It is the way to stand out in a super crowded, busy landscape. It is not always easy but that’s the North Star that we look for.”
“The most successful marketers and brand builders are masterful storytellers. If you think strategically and tell great stories, you can succeed in digital marketing.” – Daniel Posavac.
A virtuoso isn’t always the one who has his profession down to a fine art but the one who lives for it. This is something that Posavac takes to heart as a core part of his leadership style. “We do serious work but you need to enjoy what you do. You need to believe in it beyond being a 9-5. I didn’t start this because I needed a job. I did it because I really enjoy the work that we do,” Posavac shares.
This is essential because the business of building brands entails executing meticulous work in backbreaking agility. It is a space, however, that Posavac thrives in. “What I love about this industry is that it’s completely dynamic and evolving on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. Not everyone is comfortable with that, it’s a tough industry. But the ones that love it? They make that a weapon, a powerful tool that they use to continuously evolve.”
Because the digital landscape is constantly shifting, being able to effectively leverage emergent technology is crucial. Posavac believes that creativity and technology work together beautifully and are not mutually exclusive. Instead of suppressing creativity, technology enhances specific areas of the creative process. The trick is to approach new tools with purpose and intention and find the technology that fits a brand’s business objectives best. “Focus is very, very critical. There are so many tools at our disposal, it’s very easy to get carried away. Doing one thing really well, no matter how small, is going to get you better business and brand results than spreading yourself too thin.”
In order to achieve this, Posavac is a huge proponent of the power of data to inform decisions that build brands better. “What we love about the digital landscape on the business side, is that you don’t have to be assumptive. Data can be incredibly powerful if you’re using it as an enabler to drive insights. It tells you very quickly what is working and what isn’t, showing you where you need to shift, to adapt.”
This is what made the partnership with the technology-focused CUE Group a logical progression for Bonsey Jaden. The alliance would complement their core agency strengths and propel the further expansion of the agency’s capabilities on a grander scale. “We always put the brand at the center of every brief, this has been a key driver of our growth and our success,” Posavac says, “We are excited to partner with a technology-led group who are deeply invested in developing proprietary solutions and products which will certainly give us additional tools for developing best-in-class experiences for our clients.”
Founded in 2018, the China-based CUE Group’s expertise lies in digital technology. Initiated by industry elites and jointly invested by world-renowned investment institutions, CUE Group attaches great importance to research and development, emphasizing a pragmatic attitude to producing substantial value for customers. “There are relationships you build that go beyond work. This partnership now allows us to deliver full-service solutions across all APAC markets, especially into markets like China, Korea, and Japan. It also enables us to tap into a suite of technology solutions that are backed by best-in-class expertise within CUE across e-commerce, retail, IP, big data, and AI.”
Given the robust arsenal the partnership is slated to give Bonsey Jaden, the team has embraced it with much fervor. “We have never been shy about our ambitions and the partnership with CUE is absolutely a growth driver for us, which is exciting for our teams. Bonsey Jaden is full of talented young leaders, who are hungry to grow, and I am confident our partnership with CUE will only further fuel this appetite,” Posavac shares.
With this partnership in place, it is easy to see how Bonsey Jaden’s clients can benefit from the enhanced creativity and technology dynamic it brings. The acumen and experience that CUE Group enables Bonsey Jaden to streamline its processes, making them more agile and adept in responding to its client’s needs. “Speed is very important in our industry. Typically, we would have to head outside to outsource different technologies and solutions. Having these as part of our group means the tools are at our disposal as soon as we have a need for them.”
Achieving virtuosity entails readily and quickly adapting to change while delivering stellar results. It is precisely this that Posavac aims to achieve with CUE Group. With an exciting horizon of possibilities that the partnership with CUE unlocks, it is an alliance that allows Posavac and his team the opportunity to do what they do best, only better. It takes a certain kind of dedication to build a brand’s authenticity more creatively over a myriad of platforms while addressing the needs of their consumers with better resonance. “The cycle of opportunity is incredible so you have to keep pace with the changing times,” he says, “A brand is a business at the end of the day. We know what we have to do in order to drive success for our clients, we have to build their brand.”