Crazy capers brand firm with success

Corporate training firm among 44 honoured at annual branding awards

Focus Adventure's corporate team-building programmes are memorable experiences which help reinforce the company's branding and generate repeat business. -- PHOTOS: FOCUS ADVENTURE

CENTRAL bankers have climbed poles to catch trapezes, Apple employees counted the seeds in a giant decorative papaya and Home Team Academy policemen waded through Bintan swamps to rescue fake princesses while dodging paintballs.

Crazy capers at first glance, but all part of the serious work of corporate team building carried out by Focus Adventure.

Director Andrew Chua told The Straits Times that the firm has more than 2,000 clients, ranging from government agencies and universities to international financial institutions and telcos.

'It's across the board - anything from finance, manufacturing, IT, hospitality... all major clients,' said Mr Chua.

The firm, which started in 2004, runs around 800 events a year with 35,000 participants.

About 90 per cent are from Singapore with the rest from Malaysia, Indonesia, China and India.

'Singapore being a regional headquarters for most MNCs (multinational corporations), we are able to leverage on that for a lot of countries in the region. You'll see we have all the MNCs, from A to Z,' added Mr Chua.

The firm's impressive growth has also been achieved without spending a single cent on advertising, he noted.

'Most people will be taken aback, but the quality of the experience tells it all. People I meet on the street will come say hi to me, and say: 'I remember Focus Adventure, you gave me such a good time.'

'Even 10 years down the line they remember hanging off a 25m-high tower and screaming their heads off. That says a lot for our branding.'

The company relies on word of mouth and around 80 per cent of its clients are repeat customers.

Its success in branding has made Focus Adventure one of the 44 organisations singled out in the Singapore Prestige Brand Awards (SPBA) yesterday.

Focus Adventure won under the category of Promising Brands, awarded to organisations that have been in operation less than eight years.

Established Brands are for those between six and 30 years old, Heritage Brands for ones over 30, Regional Brands for organisations with a presence in at least five overseas markets, while government agencies and non-profits fall under the Special Merit section.

Other organisations that won the award this year under various categories include non-profit community health-care provider Sata CommHealth, networking equipment maker Aztech, travel package website and the World Toilet Organisation.

The awards, now in their 10th year, are jointly organised by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (Asme) and Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao.

They are meant to honour entities for their extensive planning and execution of branding strategies, said Asme.

Asme said the award 'serves as a benchmark for good brand building, and is an excellent springboard for brands pursuing expansion plans both locally and abroad'.

Organising committee chairman Chan Chong Beng added that the award 'has been a catalyst for brand owners to use branding as a competitive leverage to expand market share and grow their profits'.

Asme said the most popular brand winner in each of four categories would be decided by popular vote and announced at the award presentation ceremony early next month.

People can vote for their favourite brands via SMS, and instructions and further details will be announced later this month, Asme said.

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