Singapore-based Coconuts launches branded content division Grove

Singapore-based media company Coconuts has launched Grove, a discrete branded content unit. Tara Rattanaphas has been promoted to managing director Grove Coconuts brand studio. She was most recently marketing director and Thailand country head at Coconuts. 

While branded content on Coconuts started with articles and videos on the site, embedded within its hyperlocal news, Grove represents a different model. It will focus primarily on branded content that appears not on Coconuts’ own eight web properties but on the channels owned by marketers. 

The list of marketers currently using its services includes mall developer Siam Piwat in Thailand, Genting Cruise Lines in Hong Kong and regional clients like Hilton and Moet Hennessy. 

Rattanaphas said: There was a gap in the market in terms of content and production – between expensive, unattainable creative agencies who work on an older model and the online freelancer platforms. We are in between those two. 

“The quality may vary with a freelancer but we have our own teams. We ensure the clients have consistent quality, very competitively priced and fast.” 

Grove currently includes a 16 member team, including a video production unit. According to Rattanaphas, Grove is also starting to get into the events and activation space. 

On the move away from branded content on the site to a different model, Rattanaphas said: “Clients like our voice and style but don’t necessarily want to advertise on Coconuts. Which is why we thought starting a studio makes sense for us, now.”

Asked if this was due to the content on Coconuts which strays into potentially brand-unsafe territory, Rattanaphas said: “It is a way to address that – if we have a luxury brand who is uncomfortable alongside content that is viral since it is funny or scandalous. We often find C-suite level professionals really like Coconuts. They find it very entertaining and would like our inputs on their content but wouldn’t necessarily advertise with us. 

“Instead, we bring a perspective that helps them tell their brand story in a way that really engages people.”

Asked about the remuneration model, Rattanaphas said it is a mix of retainers and on a per assignment basis. She said: “We are really flexible. We are happy to work on a project by project basis which is another big point of difference between us and larger agencies or studios.

“Clients come to us when they have a new product or location launch and they need someone to bring their brand vision to life in social media and on their site. 

“Often, it is something that combines video with written content.”

Speaking of the name, she said: “We decided on Grove since it conveys growth and the imagery fits with coconuts.”


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