contentgroup: Canberra ⇒ Australia ⇒ Singapore ⇒ World!

contentgroup: Canberra ⇒ Australia ⇒ Singapore ⇒ World!

Ever since 2013, contentgroup has had the express vision of becoming the world’s leading content communication agency for government and the public sector by 2020.

We don’t shy away from this vision. In fact, we talk about it first thing, every Monday morning, and we’re certain it’s going to become a reality.

‘World leading’ is difficult to measure in some ways. For me, world leading means going global, or at least having a strategy in place for doing so.

So, when our CEO David (Pembroke; the notoriously “big picture” guy, sometimes wears orange pants?) and David (Polglase; more down in the details, recently cultivated a beard) sat me down and said: “Lydia, do you want to go to Singapore?” I responded with an emphatic “Yes”.


The plan? To visit Singapore as part of the Canberra Business Chamber’s trade mission to begin scoping what a contentgroup presence might look like in the nation state. Would there be people in this thriving Southeast Asian country who’d be receptive to understanding what we do? Could our method, our approach and our culture work in highly and successfully diverse Singapore? Ultimately, would there be work for contentgroup in Singapore?

Panic did set in when I realised that the agenda for the mission included a function at the Australian high commission, to which I seemed bound to attend characteristically under-dressed. Thankfully, the office rallied to ensure I was suitably suited and sandalled for the snazzy occasion.

Near-wardrobe malfunctions aside, I flew to Singapore (direct, thanks for asking, as Singapore Airlines now jets straight outta Canberra) with an unfettered enthusiasm brewing in my belly. I couldn’t wait to speak about contentgroup, to speak with potential strategic partners and clients, and to other Australian businesses that have set up shop in Singapore.

It was a whirlwind trip. But on the plane back, I managed to group my insights in to three main baskets:

Establishing a business

These insights are the broad range of organisations, websites and individuals have set up foreign businesses in Singapore or help those who have or want to. They include everything from the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (the economic reciprocity agreement between Australia and Singapore) to Austrade and Austcham contacts, to the Singapore government’s own ‘Why Singapore?’ website, the Economic Development Board.

The business landscape

Did you know that in terms of ease of doing business, Singapore ranks 2nd globally, only trailing New Zealand? Neither did I, but it bodes well.

Another thing I picked up along the way was that it just feels as though the Singaporean government is really backing genuine innovation. I know, I know, feels isn’t a measurable metric, but when it’s in contrast to the culture of risk aversion that seems to pervade the Australian public service, the Singaporean government’s openness to “failing fast” was one I couldn’t ignore.

The communications for government industry landscape

For this piece of the puzzle I committed to a whole lot of good ol’ fashioned Googling. The upshot? That broadly, the Singaporean public service is already speaking contentgroup’s language. The Ministry of Communications and Information’s purpose is to “ensure that [government] policies are communicated clearly, and Singaporeans understand how they will benefit from them.” Ring a bell? It’s sure not a far cry from our own mission of “helping government and the public sector strengthen communities and improve the well-being of citizens through effective content communication”.

So where does all this leave contentgroup and its plan to go global? I might just leave you with the final two slides of my presentation I gave to senior management following the trip. I think you’ll get the picture:

Canberra ⇒ Australia ⇒ Singapore ⇒ World ⇒ Infinity and Beyond!

Have you done business in Singapore? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.


Lydia holds a Bachelor of History from the University of Sussex as well as a Masters in History (Genocide Studies) from the University of Amsterdam. Her communications experience includes working in the not-for-profit, public and now private sectors. Fortunately, given her chosen career path, writing is her absolute favourite activity (especially when flanked by a coffee and a dog).

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