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Isentia strategy boss Hedvig Lyche exits agency as ‘content marketing fails to evolve’

Another senior leader is to walk from the troubled content and media monitoring agency Isentia Singapore, two years after its controversial acquisition of King Content.

Hedvig Lyche, Isentia’s global strategy head and Singapore general manager, is to leave the agency by the end of the month in order to start her own consultancy business.

Her departure follows that of commercial director Peter Bakker, who left King Content in January after six years, and Singapore strategy head Daniel Hochuli, who left to join LinkedIn in April.

Lyche first joined King Content in Singapore as head of Asia strategy after having spent the previous two years at MullenLowe Profero. Before then, she worked at Ogilvy and TBWA in Melbourne and Oslo respectively.

In 2015, Isentia bought King Content in a deal worth US$48 million. However, In August the company announced it had axed the King Content brand and had written off US$37.8 million of its investment. The company also closed King Content’s offices in New York and Hong Kong.

Speaking to Mumbrella Asia about her decision to leave, she said: “There has been a lot of change in the company after the acquisition by Isentia. It’s never easy on the integration front and it’s never easy going from a small, creative agency to a big corporate organisation. I wanted to make sure the team was supported during the transition, but we have come out of that now, so it feels like the right time to hand over.

“Content marketing also as a term or a craft has lost its focus and failed to evolve. We as an industry have to set some parameters around it as nobody really controls it. It’s now done by PR agencies and advertising agencies, and so it’s become a bit redundant. We need to put some frames on it otherwise it will no longer be a craft.”

Her comments echo those of Isentia’s chief marketing officer Richard Spencer, who recently called content marketing a “trendy” term through which to sell a “fairly traditional business model”.  

As such, Isentia has recently shifted focus within its content and strategy division – formerly King Content – away from short-term creative projects, to a long-term strategy led content offering.

Now the Singapore agency counts the National University of Singapore, Goodman Fielder and AIA among its client roster.

Meanwhile, in its recent annual report, Asian revenues were a bright spot for Isentia with an increase of 16 per cent to $32.9 million. However EBITDA fell 5 per cent to $6.6 million due the rationalisation of the regional business and writing off of bad debts.

Discussing her plans for the future, Lyche added: “I’m going solo. I will be here [in Singapore], and have a couple of partners in Europe and South East Asia. The focus will be on restructuring and internal management in companies to get companies ready for a different audience experience in the market.”

“It’s about preparing them for a more holistic system: focusing on employees and employer branding rather than looking at a brand from an outside perspective.”

Mumbrella Asia understands Lyche’s GM role will be replaced, albeit with a different job title, while the global strategy leadership will be left to the current team in place.

An Isentia spokesman said: “Hedvig has been instrumental to the growth of our business, particularly in the development of strong content strategies for our clients. On behalf of Isentia, we would like to thank Hedvig for her contributions and wish her all the best in her future endeavours. We will advise on our plans for the role in the very near future.”

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