Newly-launched celebrity video messaging and shoutout platform Sqwift has appointed Be Strategic to lead its PR efforts in Southeast Asia, beginning with Malaysia. The appointment is for three to six months and follows a pitch held in August 2020, as the Singapore-based company looks to solidify its position and build region-wide awareness for its product, Sqwift Stars. According to Sqwift, Be Strategic is the first agency to be granted this remit and will be responsible for all of its press-related materials, engagements and curated content. 

Sqwift is targeted at the general public and individuals who follow celebrities. As a top-of-the-line marketing tool, however, the target is niche brands, small businesses and start-ups. Meanwhile Sqwift Stars rolled out in July this year and is a personalised video messaging platform that allows A-list celebrities to connect with their fans one-on-one on a direct and personal level. It has adopted the concept of only onboarding A-list celebrities to create a premier and exclusive platform for celebrities and users alike. Some of the local celebrities it has onboarded include Neelofa, AC Mizal, Nora Danish, Fazley Yaakob, and Nelydia Senrose. The company also has bigger goals of establishing a cross-border community of the most influential talent in the region, to foster collaboration and raise awareness for causes through exclusive events and charities.

According to co-founder Ranjeet Rustogi, the decision to appoint a PR agency in Malaysia is seen as a strategic reflection of its goals of fostering collaboration and raising awareness for causes. Rustogi said the company hopes to fast track its expansion into the regional market. At the time of writing, Sqwift Stars has A-list stars from four countries across two continents, including Indonesia, Australia and India. The stars come from a wide range of industries and disciplines ranging from athletes, comedians, magicians, DJs and movie producers. At the rate that it was expanding, the founders of Sqwift felt that it needed a partner like Be Strategic to help guide and direct its efforts to further strengthen its brand presence and marketing efforts.

"Sqwift is in the business of creating real and meaningful experiences for users by bridging the gap between the elite figures in every discipline and the people who look up to them for inspiration. And more than that, we see the opportunity for expansion to the rest of the region as a top-of-the-line marketing and product launch tool for niche brands, SMEs and startups that cannot afford hefty endorsement fees or deal with convoluted contracts with weeks, if not months of lead times," he explained.

He said this is where Be Strategic comes in with its experience and expertise. Sqwift believes that the agency is in the best position to tell its story and build meaningful relationships and partnerships on its behalf.

Ashvin Anamalai, chief strategist of Be Strategic told A+M that its contract is based on the number of celebrities onboarded. Tentatively, it is working towards 300 celebrities and subsequently taking the conversation from there. The agency added that it was chosen as it understood and developed a strategcy that most closely embodied the company's vision.

The agency added that its vision for the brand is to always achieve what its client wants for the business. "In this case, what we hope to achieve is wide-spread awareness  for Sqwift, as well as increased positive chatter in the online space - as brand advocates we truly believe in the potential of the product, and their mission of establishing cross border collaboration to raise awareness for different causes is something we can get behind," Anamalai said. Be Strategic's clients include Castrol Malaysia, Lazada Malaysia, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation and Quill Automobiles.

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