Meet Cassandra Ong, the founder of OtterHalf and a former Growth and Marketing Lead at Tripadvisor, Chope, and Foodpanda. Cassandra has over 12 years of experience and has led multiple marketing and global partnerships teams.
She started her tech-focused agency recently, leveraging her experience in technology companies to showcase that she understands the growing demands of the tech industry but also has the practical execution skills to meet the demands of fast-growing clientele.
We want to feature her story and experience through this segment. It is her first venture as an entrepreneur.
Here are five questions with Rachel Wong, Founders Doc
Her marketing achievements include the creation and execution of a viral video that received 1.2 million views at Chope and consistently exceeded 25% order growth rates month after month at Foodpanda. Her foray into the global partnership field has resulted in her leading brand partnership efforts and achieving millions of brand impressions for Tripadvisor Asia Pacific, particularly in non-English markets such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, where there were disparities in Tripadvisor platform usage compared to similar local platforms in the region.
She was later tasked with leveraging global partners across multiple countries, and she was able to place over 8,000 Tripadvisor-branded window stickers at restaurants and hotels without incurring additional marketing costs during the pandemic. Cassandra successfully negotiated and established strategic partnerships with industry leaders such as Google, Visa, Changi Airport Group, and CapitaLand Malls during her time at Chope.
When you can’t find Cassandra working, she is travelling with her family, exploring new places in Singapore and also, playing netball.
Sell us your company/service in 300 words?
OtterHalf is a marketing consultancy agency specialising in assisting tech companies in their growth. The agency was founded after experiencing a tech layoff where the entire marketing function was made redundant. Recognising the opportunity amidst hiring freezes and redundancies, the team, with over 10 years of experience in marketing, partnerships, and design in the tech industry, saw a gap they could fill. What sets us apart from other agencies is the team’s on-the-job experience working at tech companies as well as my expertise in leading and growing marketing teams at various growth stages of tech companies, including foodpanda in its early stage, Chope during its growth stage, and Tripadvisor at its mature stage. This firsthand experience enables us to deliver effective execution strategies for tech companies.
The agency offers services such as hourly consultancy, project-based campaign launches, and fractional marketing team support. We also provide customised proposals tailored to the specific marketing needs of businesses. OtterHalf has been engaged by companies for various purposes, including developing brand identities and guidelines, launching marketing campaigns and partnership programmes to drive conversions, end-to-end strategic partnership development and management, content creation and social media management (such as TikTok and Instagram), as well as influencer curation and management on a retainer basis.
What is stopping you from having the largest company in the world?
The question I need to ask myself is whether having the largest company in the world equates to success for me. Is it my aspiration to achieve that level of size? Whilst I find great joy and fulfilment in growing tech companies, I also recognise the importance of maintaining the quality of our services and output. Currently, I believe it is best to keep my agency relatively boutique, as scaling too quickly could result in a decline in the quality we deliver.
Additionally, as a service provider, it is crucial to rely on hiring exceptional individuals who align with OtterHalf’s purpose and mission, and who can consistently deliver high-quality output with the aid of effective tools. Until I develop a reliable playbook that guarantees successful scaling, I am content with where I am right now.
If you could change one thing about the tech industry in Southeast Asia, what would it be?
As a mother to two girls, aged two and five, everything education-related stays close to my heart because my kids are directly impacted by it. So naturally, I’m concerned about the environment they’ll grow up in and the role of education in shaping them. With almost a decade of experience in tech and marketing, I’ve noticed a few areas in education that can benefit from improvement:
Firstly, we need more products and services that teach not just coding but also focus on character building, values, and life skills like financial literacy.
Secondly, some companies play on parents’ fears by using fear-based marketing tactics. I do hope we can reduce the prevalence of marketing messages like “Is your child struggling with maths? Try our solution!” and instead promote a more positive and supportive approach.
Additionally, we are now aware of many tools that can amplify our productivity. Using Canva means that you don’t have to be a design guru to create stunning visuals. Similarly, OpenAI’s dall-e-2 lets you generate incredible photos without being a professional photographer. The accessibility to tools will only become more astounding in the next 30 years.
While a lot of steps have been taken to ensure that every child in Singapore has a well-rounded education, there is definitely more room to grow in terms of cultivating curiosity and resilience in the next generation. These qualities go beyond textbooks and trendy apps, and they are crucial in shaping individuals into extraordinary leaders who can adapt and excel in any situation.
If I could change one thing, it would be to shift the focus of education in tech away from solely hard skills like coding and towards the development of soft skills. It’s a big ask, but I remain hopeful for a future where this shift is realized.
Name one person in the region, who is making a difference in technology?
Sam Altman. His name keeps popping up on my social feed lately, and the fact that I regularly interact with his product, OpenAI’s ChatGPT, makes me realise the impact of his efforts. It has truly transformed lives, at least for mine and my team, and has become an integral part of my daily work routine. Whenever I need to brainstorm ideas or seek guidance for outlining blog articles, I turn to ChatGPT. In fact, the content on my website, http://www.otterhalf.co, was developed through a continuous two-week conversation with ChatGPT. My husband even complained that I spent more time conversing with ChatGPT than with him during those initial two weeks!
What would you want people to remember you for, 100 years from now?
I want to be remembered as an individual who is known for rising after every setback. Also, demonstrating through my actions that anything is achievable if you have the determination to pursue it. I also hope the mere mention of my name fills my daughters with an overwhelming sense of pride, even in a world where I am no longer present.