2013 Asia-Pacific PR Agency Report Card
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2013 Asia-Pacific PR Agency Report Card

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Insight and analysis into Asia-Pacific's top PR consultancies.

Insight and analysis into Asia-Pacific's top PR consultancies.

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2013 Asia-Pacific PR Agency Report Card 2013 Asia-Pacific PR Agency Report Card Document Transcript

  • 2013 ASIA PACIFIC
  • True creativity. Proud to be 2013 China Consultancy of the Year. True creativity is fired by imagination. The vision to see what could be, unhindered by marketing discipline or communications channel. fleishmanhillard.com
  • the HOLMES REPORT CONSUL TANCY REPORT CARD ASIA PACIFIC Paul A. Holmes CEO Arun Sudhaman Partner and Managing Editor Greg Drury Partner and President - U.S. Operations Aarti Shah Senior Editor Annabel Davis Chief Internet Officer Amanda Busby UK Administrative Manager Patrick Drury Account Executive Celeste Picco Chief Administrative Officer James Beer/Logo Logo Design Anthony S. Picco Layout & Print Production The Holmes Report, Asia Pacific Consultancy Report Card 2013 (ISBN 978-0-9831883-9-1) is published once a year by The Holmes Group, Address: 271 West 47 Street, Suite 23-A, New York, NY 10036, USA Tel: (212) 333-2300; Fax: (212) 333-2624 Second class postage is pending at New York, NY, and additional offices. POSTMASTER: Send all address changes to The Holmes Report, 271 West 47th Street, Suite 23-A, New York, NY 10036. Individual copies of The Holmes Report Asia Pacific Consultancy Report Card 2013 are priced at $69.95. www.holmesreport.com 1
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific CONTENTS While there have been signs of a slowdown in some of the world’s major developing economies over the past 12 months, growth of the public relations business in the Asia-Pacific region continues to outpace the rest of the world. But the real excitement is not continued double-digit increases in fee income, but the fact that the quality of work in major Asian markets is now matching – and in the best cases, surpassing – what we see in the major Englishspeaking markets and parts of western Europe. Not so very long ago, the vast majority of the work we saw in Asia was dominated by either special events or straightforward media relations and product publicity. But today, the range of work handled by PR agencies in Asia is considerably broader: corporate social responsibility, high-end corporate reputation work, financial communications around mergers and acquisitions, employee engagement. And of course, PR firms in Asia are competing with a wide range of agencies – advertising and digital – in the content creation business, while also taking the lead in social media, helping their clients engage with customers and other stakeholders and do what public relations has always done best— build relationships. The good news is that even if overall economic growth in the region does slow, there is still plenty of room for growth in the PR business—driven by broader mandates and higher value services. The firms profiled in this edition of The Holmes Report’s PR Consultancy Report Card understand that. They are among the leaders in expanding the industry’s role, enhancing its stature, and growing its size and profitability.”The need for good public relations has never been greater—corporate reputations are more challenged than ever in the social media age, and PR is playing an increasingly central role in brand-building as marketers recognize the need to truly engage with their consumers—and the firms in this volume are all well-positioned to benefit, whatever the broader economic context. Paul A. Holmes Paul Holmes, Editor EDITORIAL.............................................................................................................................................................. 02 TEN WAYS TO DESIGN THE AGENCY OF THE FUTURE..................................................... 04 CONSULTANCIES OF THE YEAR.......................................................................................................... 08 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)...................................................................................... 12 ALPHABETICAL INDEX................................................................................................................................. 13 GEOGRAPHICAL INDEX.............................................................................................................................. 14 SPECIALTY INDEX............................................................................................................................................ 16 MULTINATIONAL, MULTI-SPECIALTY FIRMS................................................................................... 18 SPECIALISTS, BOUTIQUES, SMALL & MID-SIZE FIRMS....................................................... 44 2 www.holmesreport.com
  • WE-Ad-Holmes2.pdf C M Y CM MY CY CMY K 1 16/8/13 4:03 PM
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific TEN WAYS TO DESIGN THE AGENCY OF THE FUTURE by Paul Holmes THE FINANCIAL, POLITICAL, TECHNOLOGICAL AND media worlds have changed dramatically since the start of the 21st century. The global economic crisis, stagnation in the developed economies and growth in emerging markets, the rise of digital and social communications channels and the fragmentation of mainstream news outlets—these changes have all prompted new threats, and opened up new opportunities, for the public relations business. But to take advantage of these changes, public relations firms need new business models, new—and more diverse—talent, and new ways of thinking. To put it mildly, a public relations agency designed to meet the major challenges of the 20th century is unlikely to succeed in the 21st. Yet many of the world’s largest agencies, and a surprising number of midsize firms, continue to operate as if little has changed. Their infrastructure is a legacy from a different age, they have the same practice areas (often conflating actual practices such as corporate communications and product marketing, with industry sectors such as healthcare and technology), the same geographic structures, the same silos that served them (not always well) a decade or more ago. And many of them have failed to integrate new ideas, new technologies and new media, into the way they do business—often treating changes that ought to disrupt existing models as if they can simply be bolted on to the old model. Every time they do that, they miss an opportunity to create something genuinely disruptive, and they double down on their investment in traditional, vestigial, thinking—increasing their vulnerability to new firms with new ways of thinking. Many of the firms in this volume are already acting on some, perhaps many, of the ideas presented here. Some have radically restructured their business using their own ideas of what the future will demand. It’s doubtful whether anyone has all the answers when it comes to creating a new model for the public relations firm, but there are several ideas that all agencies should be exploring or considering. 1. Big data at the center Three years ago, I found myself in Davos—at a conference called Communication on Top—debating the future role of public relations in a shifting world. 4 www.holmesreport.com
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific My own optimistic view was challenged by Marshall Sponder, an expert in web analytics. His major complaint: that PR people did not understand how to use big data; his big prediction: that within a couple of years, every PR agency that wanted to be taken seriously would have a chief data officer, playing a significant role in the leadership of the organization. To say that progress on this score has been mixed would be extremely generous to the industry as a whole. There has been plenty of evidence that putting data and analytics at the center of communications can be incredibly powerful—the Obama re-election campaign is the most obvious example—but there has been incremental progress at best when it comes to using data to drive marketing and corporate communications more broadly, and only a handful of firms have anyone in a role roughly equivalent to Sponder’s chief data officer role. 2. Insight to drive meaningful creativity One reason data is important is that it lays the foundation for the kind of insight—into stakeholder attitudes, values, beliefs and actions—that ensure relevance. For too long, many public relations people—like the baseball scouts in Michael Lewis’s Moneyball who believed that they could identify a good baseball player based on little more than attitude, posture, and physique—have operated on the assumption that their years of experience alone meant that they knew a good PR campaign when they saw it. But all too often, the ideas they generated were creative just for the sake of it. They resonated with reporters, but not with the wider audiences they were intended to reach. They provided entertainment value but didn’t do anything to influence behavior. They were “great” PR ideas with no business benefit. Great data alone will not ensure great PR programming. But better data will lead to better insights. And better insights will lead to more creative public relations ideas—ideas that solve real business problems. 3. Understanding the human brain Edward L Bernays would insist loudly to anyone who would listen that public relations was “applied social science.” That was true in the industry’s early days, when Bernays and 6 www.holmesreport.com others were pioneering a new discipline, and it remains true today. What has changed is that we have new ways of understanding how the human mind words, how people decide what to believe, how they process information, how they make choices. the second. There is probably still a very good living to be earned that way—effective communication remains important; but firms that can help their clients earn the right kind of reputation—by helping to shape policy rather than explain it—will deliver and derive far greater value in the future. A PR PERSON WHO LOOKS AT A CLIENT FROM A TRUE JOURNALISTIC PERSPECTIVE SHOULD BE ABLE TO UNEARTH BOTH POSITIVE NEWS (AUTHENTIC STORIES THAT REINFORCE THE MESSAGES A COMPANY WANTS TO COMMUNICATE ABOUT ITSELF) AND NOT-SO-POSITIVE NEWS (HELPING CLIENTS IDENTIFY AREAS OF REPUTATION RISK). Most PR people could benefit from going back and reading Bernays’ classic The Engineering of Consent. But they should also be reading more recent volumes such as The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Made to Stick by Chip Heath, or Contagious by Jonah Burger. Or listening to neuroscientists like David Eagleman, who presented at our first Global Public Relations Summit in 2012 and provided numerous insights—some of them quite shocking—into the ways emotional responses can overrule the rational mind, and the unconscious supersede the conscious. Understanding the latest thinking in this area is essential for anyone hoping to change attitudes and behaviors. 4. Managing reputation is about more than just communicating reputation There are two necessary preconditions if a company is to have a good reputation (by which we mean a reputation that strengthens the relationship between a company and its key stakeholders, reducing risk and providing greater opportunity). First, it must earn that reputation; then it must communicate what it has done to earn it. The first of those things is by far the most important; traditionally, public relations firms have spent far more time and energy on This requires an understanding of corporate culture, and corporate values, and how to communicate them so that executives communicate them through their words and—infinitely more important—their deeds; employees believe in them and live them; and external stakeholders understand them and believe that they are authentic. 5. Becoming real brand journalists The public relations industry has always recruited former journalists. But historically, it has demanded that they stop acting like journalists. Their perceived value was their ability to craft stories that their former colleagues would find interesting or appealing. But that approach ignored their true value. Real brand journalism is not just about telling good stories, it’s about identifying and researching and developing those stories. By hiring people who think and act like journalists, and encouraging clients to allow these “brand journalists” full access, PR firms can provide tremendous value. A PR person who looks at a client from a true journalistic perspective should be able to unearth both positive news (authentic stories that reinforce the messages a company wants to communicate about itself) and not-sopositive news (helping clients identify areas of reputation risk).
  • Editorial Feature 6. Being truly channel neutral The ideal of channel neutrality has been on the communications industry agenda for decades. It has (at least theoretically) been at the heart of several approaches to integration—“orchestration,” “the whole egg,” and more. But it has proven incredibly difficult to realize, perhaps because the wrong people have been driving the process. True channel neutrality is difficult for advertising agencies, because the financial rewards of persuading a client to invest in one channel—paid advertising—provide an almost irresistible attraction. Given the choice between telling the client he or she needs a billion dollar ad campaign or a $100,000 PR initiative, most ad firms have found ways to convince themselves—and their clients—that the ad campaign is the best solution. (The new generation of digital firms has a slightly different challenge: by focusing on and recruiting for a single channel of communication, they lack the expertise to be channel agnostic.) But PR is not a channel, or a medium, or a vehicle; it’s a process. There is no reason why PR people should not be just as comfortable suggesting a flashmob as they are recommending a press conference; a mobile app rather than a media release; or even an ad campaign rather than a publicity program. No reason, that is, except that they lack the talent in-house. If a PR firm is staffed entirely with media relations experts, it is going to find channel neutrality just as challenging as any ad agency or digital specialist. 7. Eliminating internal barriers As public relations firms evolved, they traditionally broke their businesses down in a number of different ways: by the intended audience (practice areas such as consumer and corporate, public affairs and investor relations); by industry section (healthcare, technology, financial services); and—in the case of the largest firms—by geography. This made agencies more manageable— and created opportunities for senior staff—but it also erected barriers between the various business units, often creating obstacles to assembling the best people from multiple practices, sectors and geographies. Those barriers have become more problematic as communications challenges have become more complex. And ironically, there are more of those barriers at the largest agencies, which are often called upon the handle the most complex, global issues. Agencies need to ask themselves whether these vestigial structures still make sense. Is the “corporate” audience really so distinct from the “consumer” audience? If so, is a CSR campaign corporate (because a major objective in enhanced reputation) or consumer (because done right, CSR can help drive sales)? Wouldn’t your public affairs efforts be better served if they included an employee communications component, motivating ordinary employees to get involved? And does having a “digital” practice make any more sense than having a “print” practice or a “radio” practice? Or does it perhaps another barrier, one that actually makes it more difficult to come up with channel-neutral solutions? that the agency loses a great client counselor and gains a mediocre (at best) manager. Many firms have been experimenting with alternate career paths that keep their best PR people close to their clients, turning them into “client relationship managers” running complex global accounts, but there is still a perception that the top jobs in most agencies—the ones that earn the most money and the most respect—involve managing a practice or an office. That will need to change, as experts in data analysis, those with a flair for insights and creativity, those comfortable in the C-suite, and those whose expertise involves internal investigative journalism or content creation, demand public relations careers that are as fulfilling and as rewarding as those who are excited by the prospect of managing a P&L— or their own firm. 8. Recruiting differently 10. Make it matter There are people working in public relations firms today who are more than capable of doing many, perhaps all, of the things described so far in this article. There are (contrary to popular perception) PR people who understand and even love hard data; who have studied neuroscience and applied its findings to their work; who counsel their clients’ CEO on his actions as well as his words; who are just as comfortable recommending an ad campaign as a PR program, if it’s the right solution to a client’s problem. But there are not enough of them, and there won’t be enough of them until PR firms change the way they recruit and target a broader, more diverse range of people, taking a risk on hiring candidates not only from journalism and politics and finance, but from marketing and research and academia and a range of other disciplines that may seem completely unrelated to PR as we currently know it. The final challenge, another one the industry has been wrestling with for decades, involves making sure that all of this activity—improved use of data, better insights, application of the latest science, radical restructuring, recruitment and career mapping—pays off in business terms. Fortunately, there is recent research that provides a map for PR measurement. Fred Reicheld’s “net promoter score” approach has focused primarily on demonstrating that when consumers are more likely to advocate for a brand—by recommending it to their friends and peers—there is a real payoff in terms of future performance. (Similarly, when consumers are actively critical of a brand, there is a measurable negative impact on performance.) There is no reason why this methodology cannot be applied to other stakeholder groups, and public relations people should start every new campaign by asking, will this increase the number of advocates and reduce the number of detractors for the company, organization, product or service. And they should measure every campaign by figuring out who the ratio of advocates to detractors changed—and making sure management understands how that ratio is relevant to sales, profits and share price. 9. Creating new career paths Once those people have been recruited, agencies will need to offer them career paths that don’t necessarily look like the traditional trajectory of a successful PR executive. For one thing, that traditional trajectory has never served agencies as well as they might think. It has all too often resulted in promoting a great PR person until he or she is gradually shifted away from client work and into the management of a “P&L”—often with the result www.holmesreport.com 7
  • CONSULTANCIES OF THE YEAR Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific ASIA-PACIFIC CONSULTANCY OF THE YEAR: MSLGROUP A third consecutive year of 30 percent or better organic growth in Asia means that MSLGroup has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the region. While much of the focus has been on a series of acquisitions (seven in three years; experiential agency Luminous and production and design specialist King Harvests were added to the fold in 2012), much of the underlying growth has come from the increasingly close working relationship between what were once disparate and dispersed operations. There were new multimarket assignments from the likes of P&G, Coca-Cola, IKEA, Sony, Singapore Tourism Board, Haier, TAITRA, WalMart and United Technologies. MSL also picked up new business in local markets, including Facebook (India), McDonald’s (Taiwan), Disney (Taiwan), Microsoft (Japan), Dow Corning (Japan), Beam Global Spirits (Singapore), and Jack & Jones (China). Other major clients include Hyundai, Samsung, Huawei, the Business Software Alliance, World Gold Council, Astra Zeneca, and Dell. MSL now has 1,675 people in Asia, across 38 offices in nine markets, under the leadership of Glenn Osaki—who has led the firm since its early days in Asia—supported by a team that includes China veterans Johan Bjorksten and Par Uhlin (whose firm, Eastwei, was one of the better acquisitions of recent years); Indian leadership team Sunil Gautam and Jaideep Shergill, and VP of insights and innovation Gaurav Mishra.—PH creative insight process that has helped it create standout work for its clients. A good example was the ‘Grazed for Greatness’ campaign for new men’s fashion brand MJ Bale, a smart idea that boosted awareness and ultimately spurred a significant sales increase. The TBWA-owned firm won 14 pitches during the year - now boasting a client base that includes Nissan, Infinity, Energizer, PlayStation, IAG and Reckitt Benckiser - and is eyeing further expansion into Asia after launching in Singapore.—AS FINALISTS: Impact Communications Australia, Liquid Ideas, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, PPR CHINA CONSULTANCY OF THE YEAR: FLEISHMANHILLARD THERE’S no doubt that China is now the major engine for growth for FleishmanHillard in the Asia-Pacific region, with revenues from the mainland up by 45 percent, and the Hong Kong office growing by close to 20 percent. Regional president Li Hong took the helm of the firm’s China operations a decade ago, at which time the firm has just $1 million of business in the market. Focusing on helping overseas multinationals understand the Chinese market—with a more recent expertise helping Chinese businesses expand internationally, the firm has three offices (Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou) and two brands (Blue Current opened there in 2011 and is now a $1 million in its own right, serving clients including Chinese giants Gome, Huawei, and Li-Ning and global giants P&G, Philips, Mercedes Benz, Tiffany and Swatch. FINALISTS: BlueFocus, Edelman, Ogilvy Public Relations, Weber Shandwick FINALISTS: BlueFocus, MSLGroup, Ogilvy Public Relations, Weber Shandwick AUSTRALASIA CONSULTANCY OF THE YEAR: INDIA CONSULTANCY OF THE YEAR: ELEVEN PR ELEVEN has established itself as one of the brightest of Australia’s new constellation of consumer PR agencies, coming off a highly successful year that saw it grow revenues and win plenty of recognition. Founded in New Zealand in 2006, Eleven opened an Australian operation in 2011, benefiting from an impressive 8 www.holmesreport.com PERFECT RELATIONS IN India’s highly-competitive PR market, it takes a certain level of performance to remain relevant for more than 20 years. That Perfect Relations has done so speaks volumes about a pioneering sensibility that continues to drive growth at one of India’s biggest PR players. Still proudly independent, Perfect leaders Dilip Cherian and Bobby Kewalramani have
  • Consultancies of the Year created a vibrant agency culture that with relatively low senior turnover and a laudable commitment to training and development. The past 12 months, meanwhile, saw Perfect win some of India’s biggest PR pitches, for Infosys, Google, Airtel and Nokia. And the agency’s campaign work remains a enduring strength, highlighted by standout work for Coca-Cola and Acer. Now numbering more than 500 employees, Perfect’s success is evidence that good homegrown Indian PR firms need not sell to MNCs to realise their ambitions.—AS FINALISTS: Adfactors, Avian Media, Integral, MSLGroup JAPAN CONSULTANCY OF THE YEAR: BILCOM FOUNDED in 2003, digital marketing specialist Bilcom is a Japanese firm with a distinctly modern approach, offering a cohesive blend of marketing and PR services that range from planning to execution. The firm’s communications unit was launched in 2006 by company director Koji Nizaka, catching the eye when it won a Gold Lion at the inaugural Cannes PR Lions in 2009. Despite tough economic conditions, the firm’s innovative mindset has ensured resilient earnings, boosted by new business from Tommy Hilfiger and Lacoste, along with a smart YouTube campaign that has helped to personalise Konica Minolta’s corporate image.—AS Leading the Change FINALISTS: Dentsu Public Relations, FleishmanHillard, PRAP, Weber Shandwick KOREA CONSULTANCY OF THE YEAR: MEDICOM ONE of the most digitally-savvy PR firms in one of the most digitally-savvy PR markets in the region, Korea’s Medicom’s capabilities in the digital and social space were the key factor in sealing a 2012 deal to represent global public relations giant Burson-Marsteller in the Korean market. It now provides integrated digital and traditional services to more than half of its clients, including big names such as LG Electronics, MSLGROUP Awarded Asia Pacific Consultancy of the Year facebook.com/MSLGROUPAsia twitter.com/MSLGROUPAsia www.holmesreport.com 9
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific Shiseido, Nike, and Kiehl’s, served by about 140 account staff, and last year saw the introduction of big data and social intelligence services for clients such as Accenture and BMW. That helped the firm to healthy doubledigit growth in 2012, with new business from IBM, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, LG, Nongshim, the Australian Trade Commission, and the US Embassy.—PH FINALISTS: Communication Korea, Edelman, KPR, Prain SOUTH-EAST ASIA CONSULTANCY OF THE YEAR: OGILVY PUBLIC RELATIONS WORLDWIDE OGILVY’S massive, market-leading operations in China and Australia get the lion’s share of the attention, but it has long had a significant presence in South-East Asia, and in 2012 its operations there led the way in terms of growth, with the Indonesian and Malaysian operations up by about 25 percent each and its Philippines office up by better than 36 percent. The Singapore office, meanwhile, was named PR Agency of the Year by Marketing Magazine for the third consecutive year, while the Vietnamese office (Ogilvy was a pioneer when the market began to open itself up for business a few years ago) also made a solid contribution. New business came from the Indonesian Port Corporation, Zurich Insurance, World Kitchen, Panasonic, Singapore Tourism Board, APB Guinness and more. FINALISTS: Edelman, Fortune PR, Galaxy Communications, Vero PR NEW CONSULTANCY OF THE YEAR: ARTEMIS ARTEMIS Associates, founded in March 2011 by FTI veteran Diana Footitt, has quickly carved a niche for itself as an entrepreneurial boutique firm capable of delivering worldclass, international, independent strategic communications advice and flawless execution to an impressive list of clients: Berry Brothers & Rudd, CVC/Matahari Department Stores, Esprit, Estee Lauder, Fong’s Industries, Graff Diamonds, Hong Kong Airlines, IRC 10 www.holmesreport.com Limited, Louis XIII Holdings, Poly Property Group, the Mongolian government, and Samsonite. The firm made an immediate impact on the M&A front with its work on the Prada and Graff Diamonds transactions, with other highlights including work with the Government of Mongolia on the media relations surrounding its inaugural US$1.5b medium term note offering and advice to CVC on media relations for an offering involving Matahari, the Indonesian retailer.—PH FINALISTS: PRecious, SharpeLankester, Zeno CONSUMER CONSULTANCY OF THE YEAR: WAGGENER EDSTROM IT was no great surprise that Waggener Edstrom picked up three trophies at the 2012 SABRE Awards dinner in Hong Kong: it was a good haul for a midsize firm, but WaggEd has been doing good work in Asia since its acquisition of local technology specialist Shout in 2005. What was, perhaps, surprising is that the three winning campaigns were for an antismoking health education program on behalf of the Health Promotion Board of Singapore; a product media relations effort for the Ramen Emporium, with Japanese noodle restaurant IPPUDO in Hong Kong; and a promotional campaign for online travel company Zuji. In other words, there wasn’t a single technology assignment—long WaggEd’s bread-and-butter, among its winning work. That’s a testament to the success the Asia-Pacific operation has had in diversifying beyond the tech sector so that there is now a case to be made that after a year of better than 60 percent growth, the consumer practice is now its Astrongest in the region.—PH considerably in 2012, introducing a change communication practice, expanding its investor relations offer with the addition of former stockbroker Harold Shapiro, and opening a new office in Brisbane after picking up business from local clients such as Chandler Macleod, St.George Bank, Vita Group and BDO. High-profile work included change communication assignments:  first, the transformation of the OPSM brand, which won multiple awards; and second, the successful integration of leading accounting firms BDO and PKF during a period of intense competition and consolidation of professional service firms in Australia. Both showcased Sefiani’s ability to operate in the C-suite, counseling clients at the highest level and deliver real business results.—PH FINALISTS: FleishmanHillard, Pelham Bell Pottinger, Senate SHJ, Weber Shandwick DIGITAL CONSULTANCY OF THE YEAR: WEBER SHANDWICK A few years ago, you would have been hardpressed to even include Weber Shandwick in this category, but the firm has transformed its digital operation to good effect. That is in large part down to the development of an impressive digital studio led by Jon Wade, which has shown a commendable commitment to cutting-edge content creation on behalf of both clients and the firm itself. This has translated into significant digital growth for a range of existing clients, along with helping it net new clients such as the California Walnut Commission in China. Weber Shandwick may have been a little late to the digital party in Asia, but they are making up for lost time in a hurry.—AS FINALISTS: AKA Asia, Mango, Ogilvy Public Relations, Trimaran FINALISTS: Bilcom, Edelman, MSLGroup, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide CORPORATE AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONSULTANCY OF THE YEARS: FINANCIAL CONSULTANCY OF THE YEAR: SEFIANI LONG established as one of Australia’s leading corporate communications boutique, Sefiani broadened the scope of its operations ADFACTORS FOUNDER and chief executive Madan Bahal’s investments during difficult economic conditions are paying off, helping Adfactors— still India’s largest corporate and financial
  • Consultancies of the Year communications specialist—grow by around 20 percent in 2012. The firm continues to derive a large part of its revenues from the financial realm, thanks to extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, IPOs and restructurings. Major clients include some of India’s largest companies and overseas multinationals, most notably in the financial services sector: State Bank of India, ICICI Group, Larsen & Toubro, Jet Airways, Maruti Suzuki, Barclays Banking Group, Unit Trust of India, Aviva Life Insurance, Nissan Motor Company, Adani Group, JSW Group and GMR Group. Additions in 2012 included Vodafone, Citibank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Essar Group, Mahindra Group, and more.—AS/PH FINALISTS: Artemis, Brunswick, Ogilvy Public Relations, Strategic Public Relations Group TECHNOLOGY CONSULTANCY OF THE YEAR: BITE COMMUNICATIONS THE firm formerly known as Upstream may have dramatically reshaped its offering since being acquired by Bite, yet much of its success must be down to the reassuring management stability provided by David Ketchum and Paul Mottram. The duo are now supported by a solid Asia-Pacific management team, all of whom have played a role in ushering an innovative rollout of new services at the agency. The 2012 acquisition of search firm Red Bricks Media followed two earlier digital buys, turning Bite into a firm that is as comfortable handling digital marketing as it is running media relations activity. Bite grew its Asia-Pacific revenue by almost 15 percent in 2012 to US$8m, providing ample evidence that its strategy is bearing fruit, and all accomplished without a noticeable pipeline of global business for the US or Europe. For technology clients, Bite’s integrated marketing capabilities give it a clear edge, and the firm’s expansion into the broader B2B and consumer market suggests that neither Ketchum nor Mottram are about to slow down anytime soon.—AS FINALISTS: Hoffman Agency, Lewis PR, Rice Communications, Six Degrees   HALF PAGE HORIZONTAL w/bleed: 8.5 x 5.5 inches
  • FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific HOW WERE FIRMS SELECTED FOR INCLUSION IN THE CONSUL TANCY REPORT CARD? THERE are several criteria for inclusion.One is size. We made every effort to include the largest pan-regional agencies as well as the leaders in individual markets. Awards were another indicator of quality, and we included many firms that had won awards in their local markets or in international competition, such as the International Public Relations Association’s Golden World Awards. Finally, we gave special consideration to members of the various international networks of independent public relations consultancies, on the grounds that these firms are particularly focused on the kinds of international clients to whom this Report Card is distributed. Of course, we were dependent on the participation of the firms themselves. We contacted more than 150 firms to invite them to submit the detailed information we needed in order to create a thorough and accurate profile. Many of them failed to respond and several declined to participate. DO YOU EVER WRITE NEGATIVE REVIEWS OF THE FIRMS YOU INCLUDE? NOT usually. Firms are included because we believe they are good enough to recommend to our client-side readers. If we don’t think a firm is good enough to be included, we exclude it, rather than wasting our valuable space and our readers’ valuable time with a negative review. HOW DID YOU SELECT YOUR CONSULTANCIES OF THE YEAR? WE met with more than 80 of the firms included in this Report Card personally, sitting through credentials presentations and discussions about philosophy, culture, values, and strategy. In addition to those meetings we spoke with more than 100 clients and industry experts. In almost every case, we asked the individuals which firms they most respected. We also took into consideration growth and industry recognition such as awards, which provide us with a unique insight into the way participating consultancies think. Both historic positioning in a market— consistent leadership over time—and more recent accomplishments and performance were taken into consideration. HOW CAN MY FIRM PARTICIPATE IN NEXT YEAR’S CONSULTANCY REPORT CARD? SIMPLY contact our editor, Paul Holmes at pholmes@holmesreport.com. Be prepared to answer questions about your firm ranging from the general (what makes your firm different from its competitors) to the specific (recent new business successes, awards and recognition earned) and to include client references or testimonials. We will start pulling together information for the 2014 Report Card beginning in October of this year. IS THERE ANY COST FOR INCLUSION? ABSOLUTELY not. Because the Report Card reaches an extensive client-side readership—both in the U.S. and globally—several participating firms have chosen to advertise, but firms are included on merit, not because they have bought ads, and we would never exclude a firm that didn’t advertise. 12 www.holmesreport.com
  • Alphabetical Index A M R APCO Worldwide ....................................... 22 Adfactors PR .............................................. 44 AKA Asia .................................................... 44 Artmeis Associates ..................................... 46 Asahi Agency ............................................. 46 Ate Integrated Communications ................. 47 Avian Media ................................................ 47 MSLGroup .................................................. 36 Mango ........................................................ 64 Maverick ..................................................... 65 Medicom .................................................... 65 Mileage Communications ........................... 66 Rice Communications ................................. 72 Rowland .................................................... 73 Ruder Finn .................................................. 40 Ryan Financial Communications ................. 73 B n2n communications .................................. 66 Bilcom ........................................................ 48 Bite ............................................................. 48 BlueFocus Integrated Marketing Consulting . 9 4 Brunswick .................................................. 50 Burson-Marsteller ....................................... 20 124 Communications ................................. 67 Ogilvy PR Worldwide .................................. 38 C N O P DEC Communications ................................ 54 Dentsu Public Relations .............................. 54 PPR ............................................................ 67 PR One ...................................................... 67 PR Pundit ................................................... 68 PRAP ......................................................... 68 PRHub ....................................................... 69 Palin Communications ................................ 69 Pelham Bell Pottinger ................................. 70 Perfect Relations ........................................ 70 Porda Havas ............................................... 71 Porter Novelli .............................................. 38 The PRactice .............................................. 71 Prain .......................................................... 72 PRecious Communications ......................... 72 E Q EMG ........................................................... 55 Edelman ..................................................... 24 Eleven PR ................................................... 56 Eon ............................................................ 56 Qyvision ...................................................... 72 Cannings Corporate Communications ........ 50 Cognito Communications Counsellors ....... 51 Cohn & Wolfe ............................................. 51 Communications Korea .............................. 51 Comniscient Group ..................................... 52 Cosmo ....................................................... 52 Creative Crest ............................................. 53 D S Sefiani ........................................................ 74 SenateSHJ Group ...................................... 74 SharpeLankester ........................................ 75 Six Degrees ................................................ 75 Strategic Public Relations Group ................ 76 T Text 100 ..................................................... 76 Trimaran PR Asia......................................... 77 V Vector Group .............................................. 77 Vero Public Relations .................................. 78 W Waggener Edstrom ..................................... 78 Weber Shandwick ...................................... 42 Wonderful Sky Financial Group ................... 79 Wrights PR ................................................. 79 Z Zeno Group ................................................ 79 Zing ............................................................ 80 F FTI Consulting ............................................ 57 Fleishman-Hillard ........................................ 26 Fortune PR ................................................. 57 Frank PR .................................................... 58 G Galaxy Communications ............................. 58 GolinHarris .................................................. 28 Grayling ...................................................... 59 Grebstad Hicks Communications ............... 59 H Hamilton Advisors ....................................... 59 Havas PR Agatep ....................................... 60 Hill + Knowlton Strategies............................ 30 The Hoffman Agency .................................. 60 Huntington Communications ...................... 61 I INR ............................................................. 61 Impact Communications Australia .............. 61 In.Fom ........................................................ 62 Integral PR .................................................. 62 K KPR & Associates ....................................... 63 Ketchum ..................................................... 34 Kreab Gavin Anderson ................................ 63 Kyodo Public Relations ............................... 64 L Liquid Ideas ................................................ 64 www.holmesreport.com 13
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific GEOGRAPHICAL INDEX AUSTRALIA Bite ............................................................. 48 Burson-Marsteller ....................................... 20 Cannings Corporate Communications ........ 50 DEC Communications ................................ 54 Edelman ..................................................... 24 Eleven PR ................................................... 55 FTI Consulting ............................................ 57 Fleishman-Hillard ........................................ 26 Frank PR .................................................... 58 Hill & Knowlton Strategies............................ 30 Impact Communications Australia .............. 61 Kreab Gavin Anderson ................................ 63 Liquid Ideas ................................................ 64 Mango ........................................................ 64 n2n communications .................................. 66 Ogilvy PR Worldwide .................................. 36 PPR ............................................................ 67 Palin Communications ................................ 69 Porter Novelli .............................................. 38 Rowland .................................................... 73 Sefiani ........................................................ 74 SenateSHJ Group ...................................... 74 Text 100 ..................................................... 76 Waggener Edstrom ..................................... 78 Weber Shandwick ...................................... 42 Wrights PR ................................................. 79 Zing ............................................................ 80 CAMBODIA Vero Public Relations .................................. 78 CHINA APCO Worldwide ....................................... 18 Bite ............................................................. 48 BlueFocus Integrated Marketing Consulting . 9 4 Brunswick .................................................. 49 Burson-Marsteller ....................................... 20 Cohn & Wolfe ............................................. 51 Dentsu Public Relations .............................. 54 EMG ........................................................... 55 Edelman ..................................................... 24 FTI Consulting ............................................ 57 Fleishman-Hillard ........................................ 26 GolinHarris .................................................. 28 Grayling ...................................................... 59 Grebstad Hicks Communications ............... 59 Hill & Knowlton Strategies............................ 30 The Hoffman Agency .................................. 60 Ketchum ..................................................... 32 Kreab Gavin Anderson ................................ 63 MSLGroup .................................................. 34 Mileage Communications ........................... 66 Ogilvy PR Worldwide .................................. 36 PRAP ......................................................... 68 Porda Havas ............................................... 71 Porter Novelli .............................................. 38 Ruder Finn .................................................. 40 Strategic Public Relations Group ................ 76 Text 100 ..................................................... 76 Trimaran PR Asia......................................... 77 Waggener Edstrom ..................................... 78 Weber Shandwick ...................................... 42 HONG KONG APCO Worldwide ....................................... 18 Artmeis Associates ..................................... 46 Bite ............................................................. 48 14 www.holmesreport.com Brunswick .................................................. 49 Burson-Marsteller ....................................... 20 Cohn & Wolfe ............................................. 51 Edelman ..................................................... 24 FTI Consulting ............................................ 57 Fleishman-Hillard ........................................ 26 GolinHarris .................................................. 28 Grayling ...................................................... 59 Grebstad Hicks Communications ............... 59 Hamilton Advisors ....................................... 59 Hill & Knowlton Strategies............................ 30 The Hoffman Agency .................................. 60 Ketchum ..................................................... 32 Kreab Gavin Anderson ................................ 63 MSLGroup .................................................. 34 Porda Havas ............................................... 71 Ogilvy PR Worldwide .................................. 36 Ruder Finn .................................................. 40 Ryan Financial Communications ................. 73 SharpeLankester ........................................ 75 Strategic Public Relations Group ................ 76 Text 100 ..................................................... 76 Trimaran PR Asia......................................... 77 Waggener Edstrom ..................................... 78 Weber Shandwick ...................................... 42 Wonderful Sky Financial Group ................... 79 INDIA APCO Worldwide ....................................... 18 Adfactors PR .............................................. 44 Avian Media ................................................ 47 Bite ............................................................. 48 Burson-Marsteller ....................................... 20 Comniscient Group ..................................... 52 Creative Crest ............................................. 53 Edelman ..................................................... 24 Fleishman-Hillard ........................................ 26 Integral PR .................................................. 62 MSLGroup .................................................. 34 Mileage Communications ........................... 66 Ogilvy PR Worldwide .................................. 36 PR Pundit ................................................... 68 PRHub ....................................................... 69 Perfect Relations ........................................ 70 Porter Novelli .............................................. 38 The PRactice .............................................. 71 Six Degrees ................................................ 75 Text 100 ..................................................... 76 Waggener Edstrom ..................................... 78 Weber Shandwick ...................................... 42 Zeno Group ................................................ 79 INDONESIA APCO Worldwide ....................................... 18 Burson-Marsteller ....................................... 20 Cognito Communications Counsellors ....... 50 Cohn & Wolfe ............................................. 51 Edelman ..................................................... 24 Fortune PR ................................................. 57 Maverick ..................................................... 65 Mileage Communications ........................... 66 Ogilvy PR Worldwide .................................. 36 Porter Novelli .............................................. 38 Qyvision ...................................................... 72 Weber Shandwick ...................................... 42 Zeno Group ................................................ 79 JAPAN Asahi Agency ............................................. 46 Bilcom ........................................................ 48 Cosmo ....................................................... 52 Dentsu Public Relations .............................. 54 Edelman ..................................................... 24 Fleishman-Hillard ........................................ 26 GolinHarris .................................................. 28 Hill & Knowlton Strategies............................ 30 The Hoffman Agency .................................. 60 Kreab Gavin Anderson ................................ 63 Kyodo Public Relations ............................... 64 MSLGroup .................................................. 34 Ogilvy PR Worldwide .................................. 36 PRAP ......................................................... 68 Porter Novelli .............................................. 38 Text 100 ..................................................... 76 Vector Group .............................................. 77 Weber Shandwick ...................................... 42 Zeno Group ................................................ 79 KOREA Burson-Marsteller ....................................... 20 Communications Korea .............................. 51 Edelman ..................................................... 24 Fleishman-Hillard ........................................ 26 Hill & Knowlton Strategies............................ 30 The Hoffman Agency .................................. 60 INR ............................................................. 61 KPR & Associates ....................................... 63 MSLGroup .................................................. 34 Medicom .................................................... 65 Ogilvy PR Worldwide .................................. 36 PR One ...................................................... 67 Porter Novelli .............................................. 38 Prain .......................................................... 72 Waggener Edstrom ..................................... 78 MACAU Trimaran PR Asia......................................... 77 MALAYSIA APCO Worldwide ....................................... 18 Cohn & Wolfe ............................................. 51 Edelman ..................................................... 24 Fleishman-Hillard ........................................ 26 Hill & Knowlton Strategies............................ 30 In.Fom ........................................................ 62 MSLGroup .................................................. 34 Mileage Communications ........................... 66 Ogilvy PR Worldwide .................................. 36 Strategic Public Relations Group ................ 76 Text 100 ..................................................... 76 Weber Shandwick ...................................... 42 MYANMAR SharpeLankester ........................................ 75 Vero Public Relations .................................. 78 NEW ZEALAND Eleven PR ................................................... 56 Mango ........................................................ 64 Ogilvy PR Worldwide .................................. 36 PPR ............................................................ 67 Porter Novelli .............................................. 38 SenateSHJ Group ...................................... 74
  • Geographical Index PHILIPPINES Creative Crest ............................................. 53 Eon ............................................................ 56 Fleishman-Hillard ........................................ 26 Havas PR Agatep ....................................... 60 Ogilvy PR Worldwide .................................. 36 Weber Shandwick ...................................... 42 SINGAPORE APCO Worldwide ....................................... 18 Adfactors PR .............................................. 44 AKA Asia .................................................... 44 Ate Integrated Communications ................. 47 Bite ............................................................. 48 Burson-Marsteller ....................................... 20 Cohn & Wolfe ............................................. 51 EMG ........................................................... 55 Edelman ..................................................... 24 Eleven PR ................................................... 56 FTI Consulting ............................................ 57 Fleishman-Hillard ........................................ 26 Fortune PR ................................................. 57 GolinHarris .................................................. 28 Grayling ...................................................... 59 Grebstad Hicks Communications ............... 59 Hill & Knowlton Strategies............................ 30 The Hoffman Agency .................................. 60 Huntington Communications ...................... 61 In.Fom ........................................................ 62 Kreab Gavin Anderson ................................ 63 MSLGroup .................................................. 34 Mileage Communications ........................... 66 Ogilvy PR Worldwide .................................. 36 Pelham Bell Pottinger ................................. 70 Porter Novelli .............................................. 38 PRecious Communications ......................... 72 Rice Communications ................................. 72 Ruder Finn .................................................. 40 Ryan Financial Communications ................. 73 SharpeLankester ........................................ 75 Strategic Public Relations Group ................ 76 Text 100 ..................................................... 76 Waggener Edstrom ..................................... 78 Weber Shandwick ...................................... 42 Zeno Group ................................................ 79 SRI LANKA Ogilvy PR Worldwide .................................. 36 TAIPEI Bite ............................................................. 48 TAIWAN Edelman ..................................................... 24 GolinHarris .................................................. 28 Ketchum ..................................................... 32 Ogilvy PR Worldwide .................................. 36 Porter Novelli .............................................. 38 Strategic Public Relations Group ................ 76 Weber Shandwick ...................................... 42 THAILAND APCO Worldwide ....................................... 18 Hill & Knowlton Strategies............................ 30 Grayling ...................................................... 59 Grebstad Hicks Communications ............... 59 Mileage Communications ........................... 66 124 Communications ................................. 67 Ogilvy PR Worldwide .................................. 36 Vero Public Relations .................................. 78 Weber Shandwick ...................................... 42 VIETNAM APCO Worldwide ....................................... 18 Galaxy Communications ............................. 58 Mileage Communications ........................... 66 Ogilvy PR Worldwide .................................. 36 Vero Public Relations .................................. 78 Zeno Group ................................................ 79
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific SPECIALTY INDEX BOUTIQUE In.Fom ........................................................ 62 SharpeLankester ........................................ 75 BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS. APCO Worldwide .......................................18 EMG ........................................................... 55 CONSUMER MARKETING. AKA Asia .................................................... 44 Cohn & Wolfe ............................................. 51 DEC Communications ................................ 54 Eleven PR ................................................... 56 Edelman .....................................................24 Frank PR .................................................... 58 Galaxy Communications ............................. 58 GolinHarris ..................................................28 Grebstad Hicks Communications ............... 59 Impact Communications Australia .............. 61 Liquid Ideas ................................................ 64 MSLGroup...................................................34 Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide...............36 PR Pundit ................................................... 68 The PRactice .............................................. 71 Porter Novelli ..............................................38 Weber Shandwick ......................................42 Qyvision ...................................................... 72 Trimaran PR Asia......................................... 77 Zeno Group ................................................ 79 Zing ............................................................ 80 CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS APCO Worldwide .......................................18 AKA Asia .................................................... 44 Artmeis Associates ..................................... 46 Burson-Marsteller .......................................20 Cannings Corporate Communications ........ 50 Communications Korea .............................. 51 DEC Communications ................................ 54 Eon ............................................................ 56 FTI Consulting ............................................ 57 Fleishman-Hillard ........................................26 GolinHarris ..................................................28 Hamilton Advisors ....................................... 59 Havas PR Agatep ....................................... 60 Hill + Knowlton Strategies............................30 Impact Communications Australia .............. 61 Kreab Gavin Anderson ................................ 63 MSLGroup ..................................................34 Mileage Communications ........................... 66 Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide ..............36 Pelham Bell Pottinger ................................. 70 Porter Novelli ..............................................38 PRecious Communications ......................... 72 Qyvision ...................................................... 72 Rowland .................................................... 73 16 www.holmesreport.com Sefiani ........................................................ 74 SenateSHJ Group ...................................... 74 SharpeLankester ........................................ 75 Six Degrees ................................................ 75 Trimaran PR Asia......................................... 77 Vero Public Relations .................................. 78 Zing ............................................................ 80 CRISIS MANAGEMENT APCO Worldwide .......................................18 Burson-Marsteller .......................................20 Communications Korea .............................. 51 Galaxy Communications ............................. 58 Hill + Knowlton Strategies............................30 Ketchum......................................................32 SenateSHJ Group ...................................... 74 CSR Qyvision ...................................................... 72 DIGITAL Bilcom ........................................................ 48 DEC Communications ................................ 54 Eon ............................................................ 56 Mango ........................................................ 64 Medicom .................................................... 65 EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATIONS AKA Asia .................................................... 44 Fleishman-Hillard ........................................26 GolinHarris ..................................................28 ENTERTAINMENT The PRactice .............................................. 71 EXPERIENTIAL Eleven PR ................................................... 56 Mango ........................................................ 64 FINANCIAL SERVICES Artmeis Associates ..................................... 46 Brunswick .................................................. 50 Cannings Corporate Communications ........ 50 FTI Consulting ............................................ 57 Hamilton Advisors ....................................... 59 Kreab Gavin Anderson ................................ 63 Pelham Bell Pottinger ................................. 70 Porda Havas ............................................... 71 Ryan Financial Communications ................. 73 Sefiani ........................................................ 74 Strategic Public Relations Group ................ 76 Wonderful Sky Financial Group ................... 79 FULL SERVICE Adfactors PR .............................................. 44 Avian Media ................................................ 47 Bite ............................................................. 48 BlueFocus Integrated Marketing Consulting . 9 4 Comniscient Group ..................................... 52 Cosmo ....................................................... 52 Dentsu Public Relations .............................. 54 Fortune PR ................................................. 57 Galaxy Communications ............................. 58 Grayling ...................................................... 59 Huntington Communications ...................... 61 INR ............................................................. 61 Integral PR .................................................. 62 KPR & Associates ....................................... 63 Mileage Communications ........................... 66 124 Communications ................................. 67 PPR ............................................................ 67 PR One ...................................................... 67 PRAP ......................................................... 68 Perfect Relations ........................................ 70 Prain .......................................................... 72 Rice Communications ................................. 72 Strategic Public Relations Group ................ 76 Waggener Edstrom ..................................... 78 Wrights PR ................................................. 79 HEALTHCARE Cosmo ....................................................... 52 Palin Communications ................................ 69 INTEGRATED MARKETING Ate Integrated Communications ................. 47 Fortune PR ................................................. 57 Mango ........................................................ 64 Medicom .................................................... 65 INVESTOR RELATIONS Fleishman-Hillard ........................................26 LIFESTYLE Bilcom ........................................................ 48 LUXURY Trimaran PR Asia......................................... 77 MARKETING Asahi Agency ............................................. 46 Communications Korea .............................. 51 Mango ........................................................ 64 Medicom .................................................... 65 Vector Group .............................................. 77 FOOD MEDIA RELATIONS Ate Integrated Communications ................. 47 APCO Worldwide .......................................18 EMG ........................................................... 55
  • Specialty Index MULTISPECIALIST NON PROFIT TECHNOLOGY APCO Worldwide .......................................18 Adfactors PR .............................................. 44 Burson-Marsteller .......................................20 Cognito Communications Counsellors ....... 51 Creative Crest ............................................. 53 Edelman .....................................................24 Fleishman-Hillard ........................................26 GolinHarris ..................................................28 Havas PR Agatep ....................................... 60 Hill + Knowlton Strategies............................30 Ketchum......................................................32 Kyodo Public Relations ............................... 64 MSLGroup ..................................................34 n2n communications .................................. 66 Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide ..............36 Porter Novelli ..............................................38 Ruder Finn ..................................................40 Weber Shandwick ......................................42 Zeno Group ................................................ 79 Palin Communications ................................ 69 Burson-Marsteller .......................................20 Edelman .....................................................24 Fleishman-Hillard ........................................26 The Hoffman Agency .................................. 60 MSLGroup ..................................................34 n2n communications .................................. 66 Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide ..............36 PRHub ....................................................... 69 The PRactice .............................................. 71 Porter Novelli ..............................................38 Six Degrees ................................................ 75 Text 100 ..................................................... 76 Waggener Edstrom ..................................... 78 Weber Shandwick ......................................42 PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND ISSUES MANAGEMENT APCO Worldwide .......................................18 Burson-Marsteller .......................................20 Eon ............................................................ 56 Fleishman-Hillard ........................................26 Galaxy Communications ............................. 58 GolinHarris ..................................................28 Ketchum......................................................32 Kreab Gavin Anderson ................................ 63 Maverick ..................................................... 65 Porter Novelli ..............................................38 Sefiani ........................................................ 74 SharpeLankester ........................................ 75 Weber Shandwick ......................................42 SOCIAL MEDIA TRAVEL AND TOURISM..... GolinHarris ..................................................28 Grebstad Hicks Communications ............... 59 Impact Communications Australia .............. 61 NEW MEDIA Maverick ..................................................... 65 SPORTS MARKETING Hill + Knowlton Strategies............................30 DESIGN ART SPORTS PROPERTY People And Worlds Connecting Together TRIMARAN PR ASIA HONG KONG Ι BEIJING Ι SHANGHAI Ι www.trimaran.com.hk MACAU HOTEL WINE FINANCIAL MICE
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific APCO WORLDWIDE CHINA H HONG KONG H INDIA H INDONESIA H MALAYSIA H SINGAPORE H THAILAND H VIETNAM its acquisition by APCO a year ago) under Raj Kamble. INTERNATIONAL REACH Brad Staples MOMENTUM About $11.3 million of APCO’s $120 million worldwide fee income derives from its Asia-Pacific operations, with the strongest growth last year coming in South-East Asia. Key clients in the region include Corning, Diageo, Dow Corning, Huawei, Johnson & Johnson, MasterCard, pharmaceutical trade body PhRMA, and Walt Disney, while new business successes in 2012 included international assignments from Indian wind power company Suzlon, and Chinese printing company Toppan, which retained APCO to help it expand its business into the US. REGIONAL REACH About 100 of APCO’s 150 or so people in Asia are based in the firm’s four Greater China offices: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. There are another 30 in South-East Asia, most of them in Singapore but a scattering in Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, and a much-reduced Kuala Lumpur office. The Indian operations—the firm is now in New Delhi and Mumbai—are growing at a very healthy rate, strengthened in 2012 with the opening of a new Strawberry Frog office in India (the creative firm’s first office outside the US and first expansion since 18 www.holmesreport.com that turn into “movements”) to India, its first international market. TALENT Last year in North America was about change rather than growth. APCO formed new alliances (with former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice’s emerging marketing consulting business RiceHadley Group), launched new practices (focused on health and wellness and high-stakes events and transactions such as litigation and mergers and acquisitions), opened new offices (primarily in the Middle East) and bought new capabilities (through the acquisition of creative hot-shop Strawberry Frog). APCO is still somewhat smaller across the EMEA region than most of its multinational peers, deriving only about a quarter of its global revenues from its European operations. Its largest EMEA office in London, with a team of more than 50, and has evolved beyond public affairs to include a broad range of corporate reputation work while maintaining the firm’s C-suite focus. The Brussels office, meanwhile, remains focused on EU policy work. But the most impressive growth has come in the Middle East, where APCO acquired local consultancy Ji-Win two years ago. Brad Staples, who built APCO’s European operations over more than a decade, was named president, international, and chair of global development last year and now has responsibility for the Asia-Pacific region, where his leadership team includes Singapore-based Garry Walsh, managing director of South-East Asia; former Wall Street Journal reporter and “One Billion Customers” author James McGregor, chairman of Greater China; and managing director of the Indian operations Sukanti Ghosh. New additions included Ashley Knapp, formerly of Grayling, as director in the Singapore office; Frances Sun, from Hill+Knowlton, as managing director in Shanghai; and Raj Kamble, who is leading the Strawberry Frog operation in India. EXPERTISE APCO has been building out capabilities beyond its core public affairs expertise (still central to the firm’s offer in Beijing) for several years, and all six global practices— healthcare, financial communications, food and consumer products, energy and clean technology, insight, and the Studio Online digital division—are represented in the Asia-Pacific operations, although the focus is still very much on high-end corporate reputation, crisis and issues management, and corporate responsibility work. The firm also expanded its Strawberry Frog operation (a US ad agency, specializing in campaigns CULTURE Last year saw the introduction of The APCO Experience, a new employee proposition designed to provide all employees with individually tailored learning and career development opportunities through challenging and varied work and enhanced recognition, engagement and training. One significant statistic: an impressive 5 percent of APCO’s people were seconded to other offices in 2012, including transfers to Ulaanbaatar, Beijing, Shanghia, New Delhi and Mumbai. The firm also continues to expand its community service initiatives, as a member of the UN Global Compact and a partner of the Clinton Global Initiative, and pro bono agency for Yunus Social Business, founded by Nobel Prize winner Mohammad Yunnus.
  • National multi-office multi-specialty firms INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP The firm’s Champion Brands survey has helped to define a role for APCO—and others—in the corporate reputation arena, uncovering rising expectations and increased scrutiny when it comes to corporate conduct, as well as widespread agreement that companies have the ability to help form a economic development campaign, a SABRE award winner in years past, expanded in 2012, attracting more than $500 million in inbound investment contracts during the most recent summit. And the firm’s support for Rio Tinto’s giant Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia—including issues management and community outreach, as well as significant digital work—also continued in 2012. THERE ARE ENOUGH CLIENTS WHO RECOGNIZE THE VALUE OF INVESTING IN THE KIND OF SERVICES THAT APCO OFFERS—FROM TRADITIONAL PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND CRISIS AND ISSUES WORK TO NEWER CONCEPTS SUCH AS PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND CHAMPION BRAND-BUILDING—FOR THE FIRM TO CONTINUE ITS GROWTH IN THE REGION. better society, and that the best companies are advocates for their customers and other stakeholders. The survey sample included citizens in China, Hong Kong, India, Japan and Australia. The firm has also developed a new approach to crisis and risk management, with a predictive model designed to anticipate potential issues and protect reputation, and a new evaluation tool, which measures “return on reputation” in terms of consumer behaviour, financial value and more. PROGRAMS Some of APCO’s most interesting global assignments have their origins in Asia. The firm’s’s work on the Vibrant Gujarat THE FUTURE Sheer size has never been a priority for APCO, which continues to differentiate itself from other multinationals by its focus on the high-end strategic consulting segment of the business. There is probably still less demand for that kind of work in Asia, where some markets continue to view PR as a commodity. But there are enough clients who recognize the value of investing in the kind of services that APCO offers—from traditional public affairs and crisis and issues work to newer concepts such as public diplomacy and champion brand-building—for the firm to continue its growth in the region. BRAND APCO continues to do what it has always done—producing strong thought leadership papers and commentary on business and political issues, partnering on high-profile regional events, but has also raised its social media profile considerably, from new HealthScope blog to extended length video on YouTube to longer-form articles on digital documents site Scribd. Another major visibility-raising initiative in 2012 saw the firm providing media support and other services to Yunus Social Business, a global change agent founded by micro finance pioneer and Congressional Gold Medal winner Mohammad Yunus. www.holmesreport.com 19
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific BURSON-MARSTELLER HONG KONG H AUSTRALIA H CHINA H INDIA H INDONESIA H KOREA H SINGAPORE Pat Ford MOMENTUM After a strong 2011, progress in the AsiaPacific region stalled somewhat in 2012, As Burson-Marsteller underwent another leadership change. There was plenty of new business nevertheless, a mix of local companies and western multinationals: Ashoka University, Cranberry Marketing Committee, Haier, Hilton Worldwide, HSBC, IndoFood, L’Oreal India, Skype, VIPshop.com, Visa, Yuexei Property, and Chinese technology companies Tencent and WeShop. The firm also enjoyed significant growth with key accounts such as Coca-Cola, Ford, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft and Qualcomm, and saw a number of Asia-based clients—Huawei, Sony, Haier and Tencent among them—going global. REGIONAL REACH After watching many of its rivals catch up and overtake its fabled Asia-Pacific footprint in recent years, Burson-Marsteller—which celebrates its 40th anniversary in Asia this year—has begun to cautiously expand its presence once again. In 2010 it launched in Malaysia, and in 2011 it added a new office in Shenzhen. Significantly, it also inked a joint venture with Vietnam firm Chu Thi, giving it 20 www.holmesreport.com effective first-mover access to the booming market among international networks. The firm’s largest Asia-Pacific operations remain in the two fast-growing BRIC economies: India and China. In the former, the acquisition of Genesis, which now operates as Genesis Burson-Marsteller, established B-M overnight as a market leader in both size and sophistication; the firm offers comprehensive reach (seven offices) and impressive corporate expertise. In the latter, the firm has offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shanghai, with the Greater China presence rounded out by a strong Hong Kong operation that serves as the hub for much of Burson’s regional public affairs business but has broadened its base in recent years. The firm also has improving operations in Japan, Singapore, and Australia, and supplemented its Korean operation through a partnership with local digital specialist Medicom. GLOBAL REACH Burson-Marsteller reestablished itself as one of the premier public relations firms in North America under the leadership of regional CEO Pat Ford, who in 2011 moved on to new responsibilities, leaving stewardship of the US operations to Dave DenHerder. He inherits an operation with formidable strength in the key markets of New York (a much more balanced portfolio of business than two or three years ago) and Washington, DC; a US footprint that includes established offices in Boston, California (three offices), Miami, Pittsburgh and Texas (another three offices); and two new offices in Memphis and Minneapolis. Compared to most of its multinational peers, Burson-Marsteller is either—depending on your perspective—under-represented in the UK (the London office accounts for just 10 percent of EMEA revenues, compared to almost half at some US-based firms) or unusually wellbalanced. BM is a market leader in several key markets: in Brussels, where it has fees of around €11 million and real depth of expertise in energy and healthcare; in France, where the addition of i&e gives it a team of 140 and strong C-suite relationships; in Finland, where Pohjoisranta was the market leader; and in Africa and the Middle East, where the Arcay and Asda’a acquisitions are now well integrated into the overall operation. EXPERTISE Burson-Marsteller is anxious to “re-energize best practices” and “unleash next practices.” In Asia, that means building on the firm’s historic strengths in corporate and public affairs, crisis management, top-tier media relations, and the technology sector, while expanding its brand marketing practice, and adding content creation, digital and social media, and data analytics capabilities. The firm has also expanded its US-China specialty group, which helps the growing number of Chinese companies expanding into global markets. All of which is not say that BM will be backing away from its traditional strengths in corporate, crisis and issues, and public affairs. TALENT The appointment in mid-2012 of Donald Baer as worldwide chair and chief executive triggered a series of senior management moves, with the departure of Bob Pickard from his Asia-Pacific leadership role and the transition of highly-regarded BM veteran Pat Ford as interim CEO for the region (in addition to his role as chief client officer). There is a strong executive team in place, with Christine Jones (Australia), Margaret Key (Korea), Prema Sagar (India) and Matthew Stafford (who took over Greater China following the departure of Chris Deri). New talent includes Robert Kapp, who previously headed his own firm and played a prominent role on the US-China Business Council, as a strategic advisor on the US-China specialty group and Jane Zhang who joined from Pfizer as director of government relations, while Angelina Ong
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific was promoted to lead the firm’s Shanghai office. CULTURE During his first eight months in the CEO role, Baer has visited many of the firm’s offices around the world, and the consensus appears to be that he is more accessible than his predecessor. Ford too brings a wealth of experience, having been credited with a cultural recovery in the North American operations. The firm has also committed to a new global training initiative with the to research and analytics has only deepened, with the development of several new tools including a social media listening service called BursonPulse and a text mining operation called BursonPivot. The firm’s partnership with Penn Schoen Berland also continues to produce an impressive volume of original research: its Global Social Media Checkup examines how leading companies are using social media; its Twiplomacy study looks at the use of Twitter by world leaders. The firm has also been producing white papers on topics from communicating via Weibo to tracking regulatory issues in India. BURSON-MARSTELLER IS ANXIOUS TO “RE-ENERGIZE BEST PRACTICES” AND “UNLEASH NEXT PRACTICES. IN ASIA, THAT ” MEANS BUILDING ON THE FIRM’S HISTORIC STRENGTHS IN CORPORATE AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, CRISIS MANAGEMENT, TOP-TIER MEDIA RELATIONS, AND THE TECHNOLOGY SECTOR, WHILE EXPANDING ITS BRAND MARKETING PRACTICE, AND ADDING CONTENT CREATION, DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA, & DATA ANALYTICS CAPABILITIES. appointment of Gillian Edick as worldwide chair of training and development, introducing new programs focused on strategic counsel. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP Despite the departure of Mark Penn, whose research background was clearly a factor in the firm’s adoption of its “evidence-based” positioning, Burson-Marsteller’s commitment 22 www.holmesreport.com PROGRAMS WPP’s work for Ford around the globe has been consistently strong, racking up awards in every region, and BM’s launch of the new Ecosport at the Delhi Auto Show was a standout, picking up a SABRE Awards—one of five last year (along with work for adidas, Big Daddy Entertainment, Doublemint, Sennheiser and Virgin Money). Other highlights included generating media coverage for First Solar in Australia; making the case for the International Copper Association as a voice for sustainable development in China; connecting Pepsi with a new generation in India through sponsorship of T20 football; and providing public affairs and advocacy support to Monsanto in Indonesia. BRAND As Burson-Marsteller celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2012, it stepped up its community service initiative—donating $1.6 million in in-kind service worldwide—and celebrating in individual markets with events for clients and friends. Expect more of the same in 2013 as the firm celebrates its 40th anniversary in Asia, and Genesis celebrates its 20th year in the Indian market. The appointment of Judith Ostronic—formerly with Genesis—as regional director for new business and marketing should help raise the firm’s profile, as should Ford’s heightened visibility. THE FUTURE Since Bill Rylance stepped down from his 10-year tenure as chief executive of Burson’s Asia-Pacific operations five years ago, the firm has had three regional CEOs. So the most important priority is for the latest of them, Pat Ford, to bring a little stability to the role. Not that BM has been foundering, exactly. But it doesn’t seem to have the momentum of some of its peers. One challenge will be continuing to expand beyond the bedrock corporate and public affairs business to stronger consumer and particularly digital capabilities—as the firm did with its new Korean partnership.
  • TAKE ON THE WORLD Read how we built a global challenger brand lewispr.com/takeworld Digital communications from 25 offices globally
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific EDELMAN HONG KONG H AUSTRALIA H CHINA H INDIA H INDONESIA H JAPAN H KOREA H MALAYSIA H SINGAPORE H TAIWAN David Brain There was double-digit growth in Australia, where Michelle Hutton runs a 90-person operation but growth was more modest in Indonesia, where Stephen Lock took the helm of the market leading 120-person Edelman office. The firm has bounced back in Korea, where it has a team of close to 70, up by 30 percent last year under SB Jang, remains strong in Singapore (a team of 80) and enjoyed good growth in Malaysia. Things have been a little tougher in Japan, where the firm has a team of more than 30 and real strength in corporate and financial, and there are smaller operations in Vietnam (30 people) Taiwan (20 people) MOMENTUM INTERNATIONAL REACH Another year of very healthy (22 percent, despite the fact that some Edelman business was transferred to sister company Zeno as part of its expansion into Asia) growth saw Edelman consolidate its position among the market leaders in the region, ending 2012 with fee income in excess of $77 million (up from less than $50 million two years ago) and more than 1,100 employees across the region. New business wins included Bloomberg, Kimbely-Clark and Manulife Financial on a regional level, plus local assignments from Dettol, Diageo, Ikea, KFC, Mars, Zynga, the European Union, and UN Women. Edelman’s topline growth in North America was 9.8 percent last year, slower than in recent years but still well ahead of the average for its peer group, and the firm ended the year with fee income in the US of $383 million (factor in Canada, and the North American number is comfortably above $400 million). The New York headquarters and the Chicago office where the firm was born continue to be market leaders, but there was more impressive growth in 2011 from secondary markets: the Texas operation led the way (in part due to the acquisition of Houston-based Vollmer); but San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Washington, DC, all made strong contributions. The unrelenting upward trajectory of Edelman’s EMEA operation continued despite a difficult economy: the firm’s operations in the region grew by 15 percent during its last financial year (ending June 2012) and were on track for a healthy double-digit increase in the calendar year. The firm now has 1,150 people in 19 wholly-owned offices covering 19 markets, is a top three player in the UK, and has been growing impressively in the Middle East. REGIONAL REACH The biggest success story of the past couple of years is India, where Robert Holdheim has presided over growth of around 200 percent over the past couple of years, driven largely by the addition of the giant Tata account: Edelman now has fees of more than $10 million and a team of 275 in the market. China has continued its impressive performance and remains the largest part of Edelman’s now-consolidated Asia operations, with 220 people generating fees of around $19 million on the mainland, supplemented by a team of 70 in Hong Kong. 24 www.holmesreport.com EXPERTISE Edelman’s traditional strength—particularly in the US—has been in consumer and healthcare, but the largest practice in the Asia-Pacific region is corporate and financial, which accounts for 40 percent of the firm’s revenues across the region, and about half in markets such as Australia, Hong Kong and Indonesia, and includes expertise in corporate reputation, crisis and issues management, and corporate responsibility. The consumer practice is about a quarter of overall fees and is particularly strong in China. The tech practice is close to 20 percent, and includes some of the firm’s marquee clients such as RIM and HP. Healthcare accounts for less than 10 percent of revenues in the region. The digital practice, which contributes about 7 percent of revenues, is the fastest-growing part of the operation, and looks even more impressive when one accounts for the digital and social media work that is integrated into the consumer practice. TALENT David Brain is bringing the same sure touch to Asia that he demonstrated in EMEA, getting the best out of existing talent and supplementing it where necessary with new blood. Key appointments included Steven Cao, promoted to president of the firm’s Pegasus unit to oversee all China operations; Cornelia Kunze, who followed Brain from EMEA (where she led the consumer practice from Hamburg) as vice chairman, based in Mumbia; Ashutosh Munshi, a 10-year Edelman veteran, as co-lead for the consumer practice, also based in Mumbia; Chadd McLisky, former founder and CEO of the Edelman Indopacific group in Indonesia, as chair of the corporate practice, based in Jakarta; and Amanda Goh, returning from Edelman New York, as managing director of the Singapore office. The firm also brought in new talent: Tom Mattia, a veteran of senior in-house and agency positions, as chairman
  • National multi-office multi-specialty firms of the China operations; Gavin Coombes, from digital agency Profero, as president of digital; Cindy Tian, formerly with BursonMarsteller, as head of public affairs in China; and Gavin Anderson veteran Deborah Hayden as regional director of capital markets communication. CULTURE A significant investment in professional development since Brain took the helm has seen Edelman offer a mix of global initiatives (training in its public engagement model, its digital “belt” system, and its leadership Compass program); regional efforts (the media “cloverleaf” that offers grounding in paid, earned, owned and shared media); and local courses under the Edel U umbrella. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP In addition to the continuation of Edelman’s trademark Trust Barometer (which now includes nine Asia-Pacific markets), the firm has been producing plenty of global and local thought leadership. Its 8095 study, for example, focuses on millennials (born between 1980 and 1995) and their connections with brands; a separate Asian initiatives involved spending four weeks with members of the 70s generation in China, meeting their families and friends and listening to their opinions on a wide range of issues. Identifying another hot button issue, the firm also introduced its Privacy Risk Index, surveying risk managers and security professionals in 29 markets. PROGRAMS Some of Edelman’s best work saw it adding a local twist to its global efforts: so for Unilever’s Axe brand, for example, the firm selected young ambassadors for a social media campaign in Japan, designed to overcome the body spray’s “foreign” image. A REVIEW OF EDELMAN’S OPERATIONS IN THE MAJOR MARKETS ACROSS ASIA-PACIFIC REVEALS NO OBVIOUS GEOGRAPHIC WEAKNESS: IT HAS PERHAPS THE BEST BALANCED PORTFOLIO IN THE REGION. Other highlights range from a corporate brand positioning effort for Volvo in China, reinforcing the company’s environmental performance, to an effort showcasing thought leadership for the Business Software Alliance in India to community engagement for Tetra Pak in Korea. In the events arena, Edelman coordinated HP’s first ever global influencer summit, an event in Shanghai for 600 media and other opinion leaders, while a high-profile local campaign saw Edelman bring together 500 journalists for the grand opening of the Sands Cotai Central, generating 1,500 pieces of coverage for the new resort. THE FUTURE A review of Edelman’s operations in the major markets across Asia-Pacific reveals no obvious geographic weakness: it has perhaps the best balanced portfolio in the region. If there’s a criticism to be made, it’s that Edelman doesn’t seem to have as many of high-profile, mission-critical assignments in Asia—particularly in the corporate, crisis, and public affairs realm—as it now has in the US or Europe. If it can continue to build on its strong existing operations and move up the value chain, its recent success in the region should be sustainable for the foreseeable future. BRAND Edelman is clearly differentiated by its status as the only independent among the top 10; it has a clear point of view, articulated fearlessly by Richard Edelman and David Brain and others; and it promotes itself via a wide range of research, all designed to underscore its key strengths. The long-running and oftquoted Trust Barometer is the most prominent marketing platform, creating the foundation for media interviews, conferences and seminars. All of that makes a contribution to impressive share of voice and to one of the strongest brands in the business. www.holmesreport.com 25
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific FLEISHMAN-HILLARD HONG KONG H AUSTRALIA H CHINA H INDIA H JAPAN H KOREA H MALAYSIA H PHILIPPINES H SINGAPORE Lynne Anne Davis MOMENTUM The long-term growth story is impressive: Fleishman-Hillard’s Asia-Pacific operations have doubled in size over the past five years (without any acquisitions), elevating the firm from a challenger to a top-tier player in the region. Last year saw another 18 percent expansion, with offices in mainland China, Indonesia and the Philippines leading the way—all up by better than 40 percent. The firm added almost 200 new retainer clients—Japan Airlines, HP, China Wanda Group, Nestle, and Diageo were among the most notable— and another 60 doubled their spending with the firm, while 50 expanded their relationship with FH to include additional offices. The top 10 clients—a list that includes Philips, P&G, Visa, Li-Ning, Daimler, and GE and has an average tenure of more than six years—grew by 26 percent. REGIONAL REACH Fleishman-Hillard now has 19 offices in the region, matching the footprint of any of its longer-established competitors. There’s no doubt that China is now the major engine for growth, with revenues from the mainland up by 45 percent, and even the Hong Kong office growing by close to 20 percent. China 26 www.holmesreport.com is a powerhouse for many firms, but few of Fleishman’s competitors can make the same claim for Japan, which continues to make an impressive contribution to both regional revenues—up 10 percent in 2012—and intellectual leadership (it’s home to the Vox public affairs operation and the Blue Current digital and social media specialist offer). The firm’s Korea office is impressive, home to many major corporate and public sector accounts, and the relatively young Indian operation continues to attract both top talent and new business. There was additional growth last year in Indonesia and the Philippines (both up by 40 percent or more); Australia and Malaysia (double digit growth); and Singapore. INTERNATIONAL REACH Fleishman-Hillard’s North American business continues to be the home of 75 percent of its seven-figure clients, the birthplace of much of its most innovative thinking, and the engine of much of its growth ($100 million in new business last year). With 1,800 people spread across 48 offices in the region, FH has by far the broadest geographic footprint, with powerhouse operations in Washington, DC, (400 people spread across four brands); New York (200 people); the Midwest (500 in the St Louis headquarters and Chicago, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Detroit and Cleveland offices); as well as California, Texas, and Florida. Fleishman-Hillard has 16 offices in the EMEA region—not as many as the largest of its peers, but enough to give it comprehensive coverage of the major markets. The firm has considerable depth in key markets such as the UK, Brussels, and Germany; strength in Dublin, Paris, Rome and Moscow; and growing operations in Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Middle East. EXPERTISE Fleishman-Hillard has long been known for its strong corporate practice, and that part of the business—including a burgeoning public affairs capability—showed the strongest growth in 2012, up by 40 percent as the firm continued to target corporate consulting assignments and to work with clients such as GE, Visa, the Export-Import Bank of Korea, and the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan. The past couple of years have seen significant diversification, with the expansion of several brands well established in the US marketplace to Asia. The core FH business is now supplemented by FH Global Capital Markets Services, focused on investor relations, grabbing a place among the top five transaction advisors in the region by value of deals worked according to mergermarket; public affairs specialist Vox Global, based in Japan; and digital and social media specialist BlueCurrent, which added an office in China to its well-established Tokyo HQ. TALENT With 12 years at the helm of Fleishman’s Asia-Pacific operations, Lynne-Anne Davis is now the longest-tenured region CEO of any of the majors, and she has a leadership team with similar experience: Shin Tanaka in Japan celebrated 15 years with FH last year; China president Li Hong, Korean managing director Yvonne Park, Manila general manager Cosette Romero and Bejing GM Lydie Liu all have 10 years under their respective belts. While the firm continue to promote extensively from within, new additions included Miranda Cai as general manager in Shanghai; Brian West as head of the Asia reputation management and global crisis practices; Indranil Ghosh as GM in Mumbai; Rahul Mehta as GM in New Delhi; Don Anderson as senior VP, digital integration; and Sally Woo as the firm’s first regional head of talent development. There were promotions too, for Chomaine Chai (now GM in Kuala Lumpur); Miranda Cai (GM in Shanghai); and James Smith-Plenderleith (head of the regional healthcare practice).
  • National multi-office multi-specialty firms CULTURE Davis has placed a heavy emphasis on workplace excellence, and the payoff is evident: in terms of diversity, the firm has 17 native leaders across its 19 office, and Mandarin-speaking graduates from American schools with the opportunity to work at FH offices in the US and transfer to Asian markets. Also in China, the firm is partnering with IT services provider iSoftStone to provide expanded digital and social media capabilities. WITH ARGUABLY THE BEST JAPANESE OPERATION OF ANY OF THE WESTERN MULTINATIONALS, AND A GREATER CHINA PRESENCE THAT EARNED CONSULTANCY OF THE YEAR HONORS THIS YEAR, THE CHALLENGE IN THOSE MARKETS IS ADDING SUPPLEMENTAL SERVICES— LIKE THE SOCIAL MEDIA-FOCUSED BLUE CURRENT AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS BRAND VOX GLOBAL—WHILE MAINTAINING QUALITY. a balance of male and female leadership; in terms of loyalty, the market leaders have an average of 10 years with the firm; in terms of talent development, nine VPs started at entry level with the firm. One reason the firm outperforms many of its competitors when it comes to retention is a solid, consistent performance to professional development, from the FH Digital Academy and Management Academy to parent company initiatives such as Omnicom University and the Omnicom China Talent Forum. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP Many multinational firms are investing in a China practice, helping Chinese companies expand into global markets, but FH has made a major commitment, launching a Chinese Masters Exchange program that provides Elsewhere, FH has created a specialist offer, Majlis, focused on helping clients engage with the Muslim world. PROGRAMS After picking up five Gold SABREs at our Asia-Pacific awards dinner last September, FH went on to scoop two Global SABRE Awards, for its work on Philips ‘+’ Project (as part of an Omnicom OneVoice team) and The Fukushima Conference, which brought people together in the wake of the terrible tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan. More recently, the firm has continued its work with Philips, providing both employee communications and customer engagement support across the region, focused on health and wellness; helped P&G leverage Valentine’s Day on social media in China for its Revive shampoo brand; assisted Japan Airlines with its relisting on the Tokyo Stock Exchange; and supported the launch of the Nissan Micro in India with a Bollywood-style video and a social media campaign. And the new capital markets group assisted on the acquisition of America’s AMC Theaters by Chinese entertainment giant China Wanda. BRAND Fleishman-Hillard was named our AsiaPacific Consultancy of the Year two years ago, and in 2012 received the Gold Standard Award for Regional Consultancy of the Year in 2012, adding to a recent track record of recognition that is as good as any firm in Asia and has elevated Fleishman’s profile considerably. The firm has now begun rolling out its new “Go Beyond” positioning, which seeks to redefine the boundaries of what a PR firm can do. THE FUTURE With arguably the best Japanese operation of any of the western multinationals, and a Greater China presence that earned Consultancy of the Year honors this year, the challenge in those markets is adding supplemental services—like the social mediafocused Blue Current and public affairs brand Vox Global—while maintaining quality. In India, where FH is not as well established, it’s about adding critical mass while keeping the focus on more strategic, consultative assignments rather than the low-margin commodity work that makes up so much of the market. www.holmesreport.com 27
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific GOLINHARRIS HONG KONG H CHINA H JAPAN H SINGAPORE H TAIWAN REGIONAL REACH GolinHarris doesn’t have as many dots on the map as most of its competitors, or as much critical mass, but it has demonstrated over the past two or three years the ability to grow in its target markets at a healthy pace. There are about 200 people spread across the Asia-Pacific, slightly more than half of them in the Greater China operation. In South East Asia, a strong Singapore hub is supplemented by an Indonesian office, a Malaysian presence and there are smaller, stand-alone offices in Japan and Australia, while other markets can be serviced through Weber Shandwick offices. Jonathan Hughes MOMENTUM GolinHarris is one of the smallest of the genuinely full-service multinationals: it has operations in all the major markets and some big, blue-chip global clients, but it lacks the critical mass to compete on an equal footing with giants such as sister agency Weber Shandwick. So, in 2011, it embarked on a radical transformation of its organization and its business model that has the potential to make GH a disruptive force in the global PR marketplace and to accelerate its growth. The new g4 model began its rollout last year in Asia, where the firm currently derives about 10 percent of its global revenues from a client list that includes a host of Hong Kong institutions (Hong Kong International Airport, HongKong Land), big regional brands (Jardines, New Zealand Kiwifruit) and multinationals (Citibank, Coca-Cola, Dow, Marriott, McDonald’s Unilever). New additions last year included considerable expansion of its key Unilever relationship; a global digital brief for Panasonic hubbed out of Singapore; a Cisco win in China that includes plenty of social media and realtime marketing work. All told, the firm grew by around 11 percent in 2012 and, importantly, doubled its bottom-line. 28 www.holmesreport.com INTERNATIONAL REACH GolinHarris is still a powerhouse in its Chicago headquarters market and has strengthened the rest of its North American operations considerably over the past five years, winning North America Consultancy of the Year. Always among the strongest of the multinationals in LA, its California presence also includes solid offices in Orange County and San Francisco. In New York, the firm now has the quality to compete with any of its peers. The same can be said for Washington, DC, where GH has invested considerable resources in recent years. In Europe, Golin remains powered by its impressive flagship UK operation, which again grew by double-digits in 2012, and won Consultancy of the Year honours earlier this year. The firm’s broader EMEA region is less well-developed but has begun to demonstrate a far more cohesive presence, spurred by strong operations in the Middle East and Romania. EXPERTISE A major element of Golin’s recent restructuring is the elimination of the traditional practice areas around which almost all other agencies organized. That doesn’t mean the firm will no longer offer clients the kind of expertise in consumer marketing (still the firm’s largest practice, accounting for two-thirds of its global revenues), corporate communications (a larger practice in Asia than in other regions), healthcare and technology, and public affairs, or that it will abandon specialist groups focused on high-growth segments such as employee communications, social responsibility or multicultural marketing. But it does mean that people are now organized into four key “communities”: strategists, a group that includes “big-picture thinkers” and practice leaders; Idea Creators, a group that includes writers, designers, producers, idea generators and content creators; engagement connectors, a group that includes traditional media and social media experts; and integration catalysts, who will serve as client relationship managers. In Asia, the firm’s Hong Kong operation is best known for corporate and government relations while other markets skew much more towards consumer marketing. The firm’s digital capabilities in the region have grown, thanks to a new digital studio operated by parent unit CMG. TALENT In 2012, Jonathan Hughes - one half of the duo that led GolinHarris with such distinction in the UK - relocated to Hong Kong to take charge of the firm’s regional operation. Hughes had earlier been named an international president alongside his UK counterpart Matt Neale, and his move to Asia was viewed as a signal of GolinHarris’ intention to actively elevate its Asian presence. Unsurprisingly, there has been a degree of senior-level turnover as Hughes makes his presence felt. China MD Darby Doll moved amid a restructuring of leadership in the critical market, while Southeast Asia MD Christina Cheang stepped down after five years in the role, succeeded by veteran agency development specialist Tarun Deo. Other key figures include digital head Simon Ruparelia;
  • National multi-office multi-specialty firms Hong Kong MD Jeremy Walker; and, Indonesia MD Djohansyah Saleh. CULTURE GolinHarris has two major priorities in Asia. The first, which began a couple of years ago, involves nurturing a sense of “family” in all develop) approach that it also offers to clients in workshop form, as well as Brand Voice, which helps define the appropriate channel, character and perspective for brand storytelling. The firm has also been pioneering in “real-time marketing,” with presentations at SXSW, white papers, and outreach to media and other influencers in local markets and chain Metro as it sought to position itself as a leader on the hot button topic of food safety. In Singapore, it has helped clients GlaxoSmithKline Pharma and GSK Consumer educate citizens on ageing health issues such as malnutrition, muscle atrophy, loose dentures, sensitive teeth and asthma. BRAND WITH A LOWER PROFILE THAN MANY OF ITS LARGER COMPETITORS, GOLINHARRIS HAS TO WORK EXTRA HARD TO STAY ON CLIENT RADAR SCREENS. THE PRESENCE OF HUGHES PROVIDES A NATURAL FOCAL POINT THAT WILL HELP CHANGE THAT, AS DOES THE RESTRUCTURING AND REPOSITIONING offices across the region—something that’s easier at a firm of Golin’s size than it might be at some of its behemoth competitors—to ensure that the various GH offices (and partners in other markets) work and speak as one. The second is ensuring that employees in Asia embrace the new g4 structure and strategy. The firm commenced g4 training in 2012, and plans to conduct its first major live training session in 2013. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP As part of the g4 initiative, Golin has developed several new cutting-edge products and services. Its overall planning process, Brand Story, includes a new creative development process called Black Swan, a four-stage (focus, discovery, isolate, the development of a global social media listening center and production studio called the Bridge. And it has developed an ideation platform it calls the Bright Collective to facilitate collaboration between its smartest creative thinkers from around the world. All of these initiatives are present, to one degree or another, in Asia, but Hughes will be keen to bring GH’s distinctive IP to life in the region. PROGRAMS With a lower profile than many of its larger competitors, GolinHarris has to work extra hard to stay on client radar screens. The presence of Hughes provides a natural focal point that will help change that, as does the restructuring and repositioning. GH will also continue its existing activities, such as partnering with China Daily to support the Asia Leadership Roundtable, to punch above its weight in terms of market presence and media coverage. THE FUTURE So far, GolinHarris’ execution against its longterm vision has been impressive, particularly in the US and UK. The firm’s strategic plan calls for its Asia-Pacific operations to contribute about 15 percent of revenues by 2015, a goal that, together with Hughes’ relocation, reflects the importance that is now attached to its operations in the region. To reach that objective, however, GH probably has to double in size, which means connecting its local operations in a more cohesive manner; expanding its practice area expertise; and, broadening its geographic footprint, possibly via acquisition, in specific markets. Always known for the quality of its creativity, GolinHarris has also been demonstrating its ability to help clients in the region wrestle with big substantive issues. In Hong Kong, the firm has been working with Airport Authority Hong Kong on a major public engagement exercise. In China, GolinHarris provided strategic guidance for supermarket www.holmesreport.com 29
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific HILL+KNOWLTON STRATEGIES SINGAPORE H AUSTRALIA H CHINA H HONG KONG H JAPAN H KOREA H MALAYSIA H THAILAND the firm’s operations in Africa and the Middle East), global chair Jack Martin decided to elevate Greater China to region status this year—a move that recognizes the size of the existing operation there (which accounts for about half the firm’s A-P headcount) and the prioritization of the market going forward. Other operations include well-established offices in Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore—with Indonesia the most obvious gap. INTERNATIONAL REACH John Morgan MOMENTUM With new leadership in place, Hill+Knowlton Strategies enjoyed doubledigit increases in some of the faster-growing emerging markets across the Asia-Pacific region in 2012, although overall growth was somewhat slower, with larger operations in more mature markets mostly flat. Still, any concern that the restructuring of the Asian operations—now three distinct regions— would make it more difficult to compete for and win pan-regional work was clearly misplaced: there were new multimarket assignments from Hyundai, Walt Disney, and Jarden Consumer Solutions, while the firm added to its portfolio of P&G business. Major local wins included Yuexiu Enterprises, Yi Li Milk and Sonoko in China; Coca-Cola in Australia; and Experia Events in Singapore. REGIONAL REACH H+K Strategies has about 500 people in nine offices in the Asia-Pacific, which means that despite a 30-year heritage in the region, it doesn’t have the scale of many of its parvenu rivals. After a restructuring 18 months ago that placed India and Australia in the AMEASCA region (which also includes 30 www.holmesreport.com The merger of Hill & Knowlton and Public Strategies at the beginning of 2011 to create what is now Hill + Knowlton Strategies had an immediate payoff in terms of critical mass, giving the WPP-owned business a boost in both Washington, DC, and Texas—where PSI had the bulk of its operations—and to a lesser extent in New York. The number one priority then involved getting the firm’s two traditional North American flagships, New York and Washington, DC, firing on all cylinders—a process that picked up steam in 2012.In EMEA, the flagship London office, which is still the largest in H+K’s global network, enjoyed its best-ever year in 2012, driven partly by several major pieces of Olympics-related business. The firm has grown its presence in Russia considerably with the integration of PBN; remains strong in both Brussels, the Netherlands, and the Nodrics; and is enjoying continued improvement in quality in the German market, while southern Europe has been surprisingly resilient. H+K also remains one of the best of the multinationals in the Middle East. EXPERTISE Once best known for its work in corporate communications (including an impressive crisis and issues management capability and a growing change and internal communications practice) and public affairs, Hill+Knowlton strategies has seen good growth in the marketing communications arena over the past couple of years, while the digital and social media realm—prioritized by Martin around the world—is obviously fueling a good deal of the agency’s growth. And H+K has depth of expertise across multiple sectors, most notable food and beverage, technology and telecommunications (where it has a robust analyst relations offer), entertainment, and financial services. TALENT There have been plenty of changes over the past 12 months, some forced (the elevation of Sconaid McGeachin to lead the AMEASCA region following the untimely death of Dave Robinson) and some strategic (the appointment of GolinHarris veteran John Morgan as president and CEO of Asia, replacing the departed James Heimowitz; the elevation of Ye Yu and Ivy Soonthornsima to copresidents in China). Other critical moves, as the firm seeks to put a new generation of leadership in place, include the promotion of Radhika Shapoorjee to president of the Indian IPAN operation and the addition of Paul Plowman, former director of communications for Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett, as CEO of the Australian operations. CULTURE The new leadership in the US has injected some new vim and vigor throughout the network, and outside the US that means a greater level of confidence that headquarters has the quality to deliver new business opportunities and serve business won in the regions—reinforced by the impressive travel schedule of global CEO Jack Martin, who has made several trips to Asia. It also means
  • National multi-office multi-specialty firms THE FUTURE THE DECISION TO ESTABLISH CHINA AS A REGION IN ITS OWN RIGHT (AND THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE FIRM MIGHT DO THE SAME FOR INDIA) SUGGESTS THAT HILL+KNOWLTON IS GOING TO MAKE A MAJOR INVESTMENT IN TWO OF THE WORLD’S HIGHESTPOTENTIAL MARKETS. that the firm is operating in a more cohesive manner, rather than as a confederation of (variable quality) offices. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP Globally, the new regime has been emphasizing improved digital capabilities, while seeking to export the research, insight and analytics expertise that has long been a mainstay of the Public Strategies approach to international markets. One interesting local success, meanwhile, is the new Hill+Knowlton Flight School offer, a crisis communications approach that helps clients test their abilities, plans, and protocols using an immersive, interactive simulation that draws heavily on social media. PROGRAMS When InterContinental Hotels Group sought to launch the first international luxury hotel brand targeted at Chinese travelers, it turned to Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ Shanghai office. The resulting introduction of Hualuxe attracted more than 90 top tier international and domestic media and earned The decision to establish China as a region in its own right (and the possibility that the firm might do the same for India) suggests that Hill+Knowlton is going to make a major investment in two of the world’s highestpotential markets. There’s plenty of room for growth, since H+K has fallen behind some of its rivals in the former and was a relative latecomer to the latter. Elsewhere in the region, the firm needs to continue adding digital and social media capabilities, and perhaps expand its geographic footprint to Indonesia, the region’s other obvious growth opportunity. top honors from the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association’s Adrian Awards. H+K also worked on the launch of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system in Thailand and India; helped Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand target Chinese consumers and promote more frequent flights from Australian cities; and re-launched CocaCola’s Namthip drinking water in Thailand, resulting in a 20 growth in sales. BRAND The good news is that with a 30-year heritage in the region, Hill+Knowlton has an impressive track record and good name recognition. The bad news is that it is perceived by many observers as slightly oldschool in its approach. The new generation of management across the region will need to inject some dynamism and convince potential clients that the firm can offer more cuttingedge social media expertise and content creation capabilities. www.holmesreport.com 31
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific KETCHUM CHINA H HONG KONG H TAIWAN under the “Pearl River Delta Working Group” banner since 2008), and a well-established Taiwan presence, adding up to more than 180 practitioners. Outside of China and India, the region is served via an affiliate network. There is a strong relationship with ICON Communications in Singapore and Australia, with the firms sharing clients such as FedEx, Acer, Lufthansa, United Airlines and Kodak. And in North Asia Ketchum has formed strategic partnerships with Hakuhodo in Japan, and Prain in Korea. GLOBAL REACH Kenneth Chu MOMENTUM After significant Asia-Pacific expansion in 2011, which saw Ketchum add Indian acquisition Sampark into a network that had previously revolved around a strong Greater China operation, Ketchum now has a more rounded offering across the region. The Greater China operation continues to shine, adding new business from P&G, Hilton Hotels, Nissan, Shanghai 21st Century Real Estate, Hong Kong Disneyland, Verizon, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Breguet and Garuda Airlines. In India, meanwhile, Ketchum Sampark remains one of the stronger corporate and financial firms, demonstrating another year of impressive growth. REGIONAL REACH Ketchum’s 2011 acquisition of a majority in long-term affiliate Sampark gave it an immediate boost in India, where Sampark was considered one the market’s strongest independents. That added to Ketchum’s formidable Ketchum Newscan Greater China presence, in which it also owns a majority, with five offices: strong operations in Beijing and Shanghai, impressive offices in Hong Kong and Guangzhou (working together 32 www.holmesreport.com Ketchum’s New York headquarters continues to offer an impressive breadth of capabilities in consumer, corporate and healthcare, and also provides a home for the Stromberg Consulting employee communications unit. The Chicago operation has grown in stature in recent years, with the Pittsburgh office rounding out its Midwest region. In California, there are offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, while the Washington, DC, operation continues to blend strength in healthcare with a formidable government relations operation. In Europe, Ketchum is almost certainly the market leader in terms of headcount, and has impressive reach, with 23 offices in nine countries and an additional 17 affiliates. Germany is the biggest operation, but the firm is also a formidable force in the UK; in Spain, where Tony Noel and Teresa Garcia Cisneros preside over a market leader; and in Austria, where Pleon Publico is the clear number one. The merger also makes the firm stronger in Brussels, France and Italy. EXPERTISE Ketchum operates across five practice areas in Greater China. The two largest—accounting for more than 40 percent of revenues—are corporate and technology, with particular strength in corporate social responsibility and crisis and issues management, and the firm’s corporate reputation work for FedEx. In 2011, the firm saw particular corporate and consumer growth in China, in the areas of travel and leisure, property, beauty and personal care, and automotive. Consumer remains Ketchum’s greatest strength in North America and EMEA, and has grown in Beijing, now including expertise in sports marketing, travel and leisure, and luxury goods, with a niche focus on China fashion brands (served in partnership with Beijing-based specialist New Success for Public Relations). In India, Sampark brings top-notch financial and corporate capabilities, along with a growing digital practice, and expertise in healthcare, infrastructure and media/entertainment. That complements an existing financial communications business, based in Hong Kong with considerable experience in IPOs and other transactions (ongoing clients include RCG Holdings, China Construction Bank, and CNOOC), although this has been challenged by volatile market conditions. TALENT One of the things that continues to set Ketchum apart from its multinational peers in the Asia-Pacific region is the strength of its indigenous leadership. The agency’s Greater China operations are led by partner and chief executive Kenneth Chu, president Betty Lo, and chief business officer Chris Lui, a 16-year veteran of the agency. In 2012, agency veteran Sean Fitzgerald arrived from the firm’s US operation to take on the roles of partner, EVP and Shanghai GM. Other office leaders include Nick Wheeler in Beijing; Marian Ma in Taipei; and Joe Tong in Guangzhou, who heads up the Pearl River business group in partnership with Simeon Mellalieu, general manager in Hong Kong. Key hires last year included brand VP Jane Morgan, who relocated from Ketchum London and Shanghai brand VP Corrie Wollet, who joined from Marina Maher. In India, meanwhile, Ketchum Sampark is headed by respected industry
  • National multi-office multi-specialty firms “ ONE INTERESTING BRANDING INITIATIVE WHICH HAS TAKEN ROOT IS MINDFIRE, A GLOBAL CROWDSOURCING PROGRAMME THAT ENGAGES UNIVERSITY STUDENTS, GENERATING IDEAS AND NURTURING TALENT. IN ASIA, THIS INCLUDES STUDENTS AT CHINESE UNIVERSITY AND TSINGHUA UNIVERSITY. veterans Bela and NS Rajan, supported by a leadership team that includes partner Girish Dikey, managing partner Ajay Sharma; partner Bakul S Gala; strategy head Annette Cremin; SVP Pranav Thakkar; and partner Sonia Kulkarni. CULTURE Ketchum parent company Omnicom has expanded its advanced management program in Asia, in conjunction with the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, inviting senior agencies executives from across the region, including several Ketchum managers. The firm’s Ketchum University has also benefited by the hire of Josh Campbell to a newly-created role in Shanghai, overseeing the training programme. The latter effort has seen particular growth over the past year, with Ketchum joining forces with the Institute of Public Relations and Strategic Communications (IPRSC) at China’s Tsinghua University in Beijing. The agreement is the first of its kind between a major PR firm and a premier Chinese academic institution, with the 2012 curriculum awarded full academic and professional accreditation by the IPRSC. The new curriculum focuses on five key areas of learning including creativity, strategic planning, new business development, advanced communications measurement and analytics, as well as digital and social media engagement. Training is further incentivized using a credit points system assigning employees bronze, silver and gold levels of distinction based on the number of hours training employees have attended. By the end of 2012, 60 percent of client servicing staff had achieved bronze standard and four had achieved gold. There has also been an effort to draw affiliates into the firm’s professional development fold. Ketchum was also one of the earliest firms to be granted official industry accreditation by the Council of Public Relations Firms Hong Kong. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP For the pas six years, since before corporate responsibility became a hot topic in China, Ketchum has been sponsoring a CSR award in conjunction with Chinese newspaper Guangming Daily. The firm has also conducted research into CSR in the region, finding that CEOs are not living up to public expectations in Chins, while international research includes surveys looking at media—Media Myths and Realities—which now includes India and China; the firm’s 2020 Food research which also included China; the Social Media Matters Survey which included Hong Kong; and the Leadership Communications Monitor. The firm’s leaders are also particularly active in industry organizations. Kenneth Chu is VP of the Shanghai PR Association and a council member of CIPRA, while Simeon Mellalieu is chairman of the Council of PR Firms of Hong Kong. Sonny Yang is also a CIPRA council member, and Greater China GM David Wong is vice chairman of the Shanghai PR Association’s IABC Training Centre. Both Chu and Lee also support a student competition at the Baptist University’s School of Communication, using real-life client assignments. BRAND Ketchum’s increasing geographic footprint in Asia is starting to to improve its name recognition in the region. One interesting branding initiative which has taken root is Mindfire - a global crowdsourcing programme that engages university students, generating ideas and nurturing talent. In Asia, this includes students at Chinese University and Tsinghua University, who are asked to brainstorm ideas online for real client assignments. The winner receives an internship at Ketchum. THE FUTURE After digesting the massive Pleon merger in Europe, Ketchum’s focus on Asia-Pacific seems clear enough. The firm now has majority positions in the key markets of China and India, and can credibly claim to operate leading operations in both of these critical sub-regions. The firm will doubtless be aware, though, of the need to build out its geographic footprint in Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, North Asia and Australia if it hopes to offer a genuine pan-Asian service. CAMPAIGNS Ketchum Newscan picked up two awards at the China Shanghai Public Relations Association Awards, for work on behalf of Ray Ban and Hilton Hotels. The firm also won a SABRE Award for a Ray Ban social media campaign, while its work for the Norwegian Seafood Export Council and Media Markt has also been lauded. Other campaign highlights include Lenovo’s Long Ride Home effort, which chronicled the seven-month journey of cycling fanatic Lee Minghay; P&G’s Camay Metro takeover in Beijing; and, the Hilton Huanying campaign that aimed to make Chinese visitors feel welcome around the world. www.holmesreport.com 33
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific MSLGROUP CHINA H HONG KONG H INDIA H JAPAN H KOREA H MALAYSIA H SINGAPORE REGIONAL REACH Glenn Osaki MOMENTUM A third consecutive year of 30 percent or better organic growth in Asia means that MSLGroup has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the region. While much of the focus has been on a series of acquisitions (seven in three years; experiential agency Luminous and production and design specialist King Harvests were added to the fold in 2012), much of the underlying growth has come from the increasingly close working relationship between what were once disparate and dispersed operations. There were new multimarket assignments from the likes of P&G, Coca-Cola, IKEA, Sony, Singapore Tourism Board, Haier, TAITRA, WalMart and United Technologies. MSL also picked up new business in local markets, including Facebook (India), McDonald’s (Taiwan), Disney (Taiwan), Microsoft (Japan), Dow Corning (Japan), Beam Global Spirits (Singapore), and Jack & Jones (China). Other major clients include Hyundai, Samsung, Huawei, the Business Software Alliance, World Gold Council, Astra Zeneca, and Dell. 34 www.holmesreport.com EXPERTISE MSL now has 1,675 people in Asia, across 38 offices in nine markets, giving it a larger employee base than any of its competitors, including perennial market leader Ogilvy— although competitors might quibble that many of those people work in areas outside of the traditional PR business (something MSL might see as a strength). It has four offices in China, including the well-regarded former Eastwei business, as well as operations in Hong Kong and Taipei. There are another eight offices across India, built around the acquisitions of Hanmer and 20:20, among others. Additional operations include Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, with the most notable gaps being Australia—not a big priority, despite (or perhaps because of) a well-developed, mature market—and Indonesia. In the US and Europe, MSL is best known for its consumer and healthcare capabilities. It has those in Asia too, but the most interesting developments have been in other areas. Last year also saw an expansion of the firm’s already formidable corporate capabilities with the launch of a specialist financial communications practice, headed by MSLGroup India chief executive Jaideep Shergill, and increased activity in crisis communications and change management. The acquisition of German corporate and financial communications firm CNC, which has offices in Japan and India, will strengthen those capabilities even further. The addition of Luminous and King Harvests means that the firm can now offer a wide range of experiential and content creation capabilities to supplement an already-impressive digital and social media capability via its Indian operations and Genedigi in China. INTERNATIONAL REACH With more than 1,300 people in 20 cities across EMEA, MSLGroup is one of the largest players in the region, but while client migration and the development of more multimarket business remains a priority, MSL has impressive local foundations in the markets where it has longstanding operations: France (home to Publicis Consultants), the Nordics (where the firm operates both the JKL and MSL brands), the UK, and Germany (now supplemented by its acquisition of corporate and financial specialist CNC). And MSLGroup has around 900 employees in 10 cities in North America. The New York operation is the strongest, with more than $100 million in revenues between the MS&L and Kekst and Company offices; but the firm also has a substantial presence in Atlanta and California (offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco); reasonable scale in Seattle via event firm PBJS; and, added heft in Boston after acquiring Schwartz. TALENT Somewhat remarkably, given that entrepreneurs frequently find themselves disillusioned after selling the firms they built, MSL has experienced no seniorlevel defections over the past three years, and so a remarkably stable leadership team—under regional chief executive Glenn Osaki—remains in place. New additions in 2012 include Kelvin Yeo, who joined from Burson-Marsteller as managing director of MSL Singapore; Lynn Chinnock, who joined as director of consumer marketing, also in Singapore; and Luminous and King Harvests MDs Antony Spanbrook and Laura Lee. Antoine Denry, a financial communications expert, transferred to Hong Kong from the firm’s Paris office to bolster the new offering.
  • National multi-office multi-specialty firms CULTURE Recognizing that multiple acquisitions and rapid growth can sometimes lead to a lack of cultural coherence, Osaki has chosen to focus a good deal of energy on internal communications, working to define a strong identity that makes people proud to work for a strong local firm and a giant global agency. The firm’s professional development program ensures a grounding in business fundamentals and new techniques and tools, while its the year, on topics ranging from e-commerce in India to an Asian perspective on the World Economic Forum in Davos. leadership team fight the perception that MSL is a loose confederation of acquisitions rather than a single, seamless business. PROGRAMS THE FUTURE One example of the way MSL’s new integrated offer works can be found in its work for Haier, led by Genedigi in China, but including large-scale experiential events; digital and online buzz; film, banners and other content; and media relations. For Citroen, Parent company Publicis has made a commitment to investing in public relations— particularly in developing markets—and MSL has already benefited considerably. It’s likely that any future deals will be designed to either fill in the few remaining blanks of supplement existing capabilities in growth areas like digital. Otherwise, the challenge for MSL is to start punching its considerable weight in competition for big chunks of regional business against some longer-established agencies. SOMEWHAT REMARKABLY, GIVEN THAT ENTREPRENEURS FREQUENTLY FIND THEMSELVES DISILLUSIONED AFTER SELLING THE FIRMS THEY BUILT, MSL HAS EXPERIENCED NO SENIOR-LEVEL DEFECTIONS OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS interoffice mobility program has seen 70 people work in other offices in an attempt to foster cross-border cooperation. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP Social Hive Index, MSL’s proprietary software and service for benchmarking social engagement, was developed by the team in India and creates a single dynamic score to assess the way organizations and influencers are engaging social media communities. Other new products include People’s Lab, a platform—also conceived in India—that helps organizations crowdsource insights and innovation, and PurPle (Purpose + People), a new approach to corporate responsibility and sustainability. The firm also produced 17 original reports and papers over the course of meanwhile, the firm provides senior level counsel on M&A, litigation and CSR. Other highlights include a storytelling campaign to help re-launch Brabantia in China; a creative, multi-platform consumer engagement effort for Perfetti Van Melle in China; and support for P&G’s “Thank You, Mom” Olympic sponsorship campaign in Asia. BRAND The past 12 months have seen a streamlining of the various brands that MSL acquired to create its Asia-Pacific operations, so that most of the public relations operations are now under the MSL name. In China, the former Eastwei and MSL China completed their merger under the MSL China brand. In India, Hanmer MSL was rebranded to MSL India. That should help Osaki and his regional www.holmesreport.com 35
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific OGILVY PR WORLDWIDE AUSTRALIA H CHINA H HONG KONG H INDIA H INDONESIA H JAPAN H KOREA H MALAYSIA H NEW ZEALAND H PHILIPPINES H SINGAPORE H SRI LANKA H TAIWAN H THAILAND H VIETNAM dividends. Elsewhere, South-East Asia led the way in 2012, with the firm’s Indonesian and Malaysian operations up by about 25 percent each and its Philippines office up by better than 36 percent. The firm also has significant operations in Hong Kong, Japan (where it also holds a stake in local giant PRAP), Korea, Vietnam—and to a lesser extent India, where it trails the market leaders. New in 2012 is a Myanmar office, and the firm is also looking at expansion into Pakistan. INTERNATIONAL REACH Scott Kronick MOMENTUM Still almost certainly the market leader in terms of revenues, Ogilvy was unable to match some of the challengers to that title when it came to growth in 2012, with fees across the region up by about 5 percent (despite very strong performance in SouthEast Asia). Having said that, there were plenty of impressive new business wins, including work from Amazon.cn, Cricket Australia, Dyson, Hyatt, Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks, Indosat, Logitech, Lubrizol, Mercedes-Benz, Nestle, Wangkanai Group, Western Digital, and Wrigley. REGIONAL REACH With 28 offices and 1,200 employees across the Asia-Pacific, Ogilvy continues to offer the broadest reach of any of the multinationals. The firm continues to lead in the two highest-revenue markets: China, where it has its own offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, as well as the H-Line brand, specializing in technology; and Australia, where the multi-brand strategy (consumer consultancy Pulse, public affairs firm Parker+Partners, financial specialist Howorth and more) continues to pay 36 www.holmesreport.com In the US, New York continues to impress, particularly in the consumer and healthcare categories, as well as social media, while Washington, under Rob Mathias, was one of the top performers in 2011, picking up a host of government business to bolster its social marketing credentials and earning our Public Affairs Agency of the Year trophy last year. Chicago has doubled in size over the past three years under Nathan Friedman, and the California operations (San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles) are also enjoying healthy growth. Beyond the general lack of critical mass, there have been two specific questions about Ogilvy’s reach in Europe: the first concerned the firm’s UK operations, which as recently as a couple of years ago were barely big enough to make the top 50 but today has 150 people; the second was that fact that some of the most impressive operations—SPN Ogilvy in Russia, Memac Ogilvy in the Middle East and others—are not wholly-owned and don’t actually report into the EMEA PR business but to their local ad agencies. That doesn’t seem to have stood in the way of impressive regional growth last year. EXPERTISE Ogilvy’s leadership in digital and social—it was an early adopter, and has been recognized by this publication and others for the breadth and depth of its capabilities—continues to drive growth, with the Social@Ogilvy unit delivering better than 34 percent growth in 2012. The firm also enjoyed strong growth in its public affairs practice and in the technology sector—long a strength in the region. Otherwise, the firm’s impressive full-service offer, which includes strength in both consumer (it was our 2011 Consumer Consultancy of the Year in Asia) and corporate is supplemented by market leading practices in employee engagement and sustainability. But perhaps the biggest development of the past 12 months, though, has been the expansion of the China outbound practice, led by Justin Knapp. TALENT In addition to a strong regional leadership team headed by Asia-Pacific CEO Steve Dahllof and China president Scott Kronick, Ogilvy also has strong thought leaders, including Thomas Crampton, head of Social@Ogilvy and one of Asia’s leading digital experts and Marion McDonald, who leads the firm’s strategy and planning function and is a measurement maven. The firm has a stable leadership cadre and a strong bench, while new additions in 2012 included media veteran Paul Gilfeather as head of content in Singapore; Simon Webb, who transferred from the firm’s Parker public affairs unit in Australia to lead strategy and planning in China; Cherry Velarde, formerly of Hill+Knowlton and Upstream Asia, as regional director of the technology practice; Alexandra Kelly, who previously ran her own firm, as managing director in Melbourne; and Andrew Ure, from the Australian Department of Climate Change & Energy Efficiency, as head of Ogilvy Earth.
  • National multi-office multi-specialty firms WITH 28 OFFICES AND 1,200 EMPLOYEES ACROSS THE ASIA-PACIFIC, OGILVY CONTINUES TO OFFER THE BROADEST REACH OF ANY OF THE MULTINATIONALS CULTURE PROGRAMS The big push over the past couple of years has centered around Dahloff’s emphasis on what he calls “what if” thinking, helping clients come up with big creative ideas that help them deal with demands of the “always on” media. The firm is also continuing its social media “belt” training system, content creation and storytelling workshops, and measurement workshops. Ogilvy enjoyed the strongest awards performance in its history in 2012, including six Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards, for IBM’s Mr. Bao campaign and Kleenex Cottonelle, which used Weibo and Pinterest to reach Chinese consumers; and for Pulse Communications’ media relations campaign, Ford Australia Goes Speed Dating. Other campaign highlights include the global “pambassadors” campaign, selecting brand ambassadors for the city of Chengdu and its conservation leadership; a Pinterestbased campaign for Kimberly-Clark’s Kleenex Cottonelle brand in China; IBM’s data-driven Mr Bao effort, which used Weibo to reach a business-to-business audience; and driving demand for Nestle’s new “BenNaNa” ice-cream treat. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP Two of Ogilvy’s most successful new practices—Ogilvy Earth, with its focus on sustainability, and Ogilvy Impact, a unique employee engagement unit—have their origins in the Asia-Pacific, and much of the related thought leadership continues to be generated in the region. The firm has also produced a number of thought leadership surveys and papers in the region, including a partnership with the School of Journalism & Communication at Renmin University of China that produced a report on “Social Media and Social Identity,” and a survey that formed the basis of a white paper focused on “Crisis Management in the Microblog Era.” And there has been significant investment in areas such as authentic content, storytelling and content creation, and measurement and evaluation. the firm continues to host its “Ogilvy on…” series of breakfast events, focused on topical issues. THE FUTURE There’s no doubt that the Asia-Pacific PR competition is getting tougher. MSL now has more people in the region, and firms like Edelman, FleishmanHillard and Weber Shandwick have been closing the gap on perennial leader Ogilvy in terms of quality. In other words, holding on to the number one spot is going to be tougher in the next few years than it looked in the recent past. For Ogilvy, the key challenges involve maintaining its leadership position in China, building on its regional best digital and social capabilities, and building an operation in India to match the rest of the region. BRAND Ogilvy’s regional leadership continued to be underpinned by a major presence at many of Asia’s largest and most significant events: for the sixth year, the firm was a partner of the World Economic Forum annual meeting for “new champions” in Tianjin, and for the WEF East Asia conference in Bangkok; it also continued its work with the Boao Forum for Asia. And the firm’s regional leaders continue to turn out impressive op-ed articles on a variety of topics ranging from the emotional content of brands to the need for more MBAs in the PR business. In Australia, meanwhile, www.holmesreport.com 37
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific PORTER NOVELLI CHINA H AUSTRALIA H INDIA H INDONESIA H JAPAN H KOREA H NEW ZEALAND H SINGAPORE H TAIWAN H domestic business, which reaches many second tier cities. In India, The PRactice is a formidable force, especially in the tech sector and increasingly beyond. The firm also has a hub in Singapore, the Bentley Porter Novelli operation in Hong Kong, and branded operations in Australia and New Zealand (Auckland, Melbourne, Sydney). It covers the rest of the region through sister companies (FleishmanHillard in Jakarta, Blue Current in Tokyo) and affiliates (TQPR in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam). INTERNATIONAL REACH John Orme MOMENTUM Globally, Porter Novelli’s troubles continued through most of 2012, with the appointment of Karen van Bergen as chief executive in December bringing to an end a period of uncertainty and transition that were felt around the world—including Asia, where the firm does not seem to have taken advantage of the opportunity presented by its acquisition of Chinese powerhouse Shunya (in 2008) to build a strong regional presence. Having said that, there was some significant new business in 2012: Aston Martin confirmed the appointment of Porter Novelli as its agency of record in China, and the firm won a global assignment from Glenfiddich and continued its marquee work for HP and Procter & Gamble. REGIONAL REACH Porter Novelli is present in one form or another in most of the major markets across the Asia-Pacific region, but it continues to look more like a confederation of semiautonomous offices than a cohesive network. The Porter Novelli/Shunya operation in China is impressive, with a team of 100 consultants working across offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou—supplemented by Shunya’s 38 www.holmesreport.com Van Bergen takes charge of a firm whose North American operation has suffered in recent years, thanks to client departures and wholesale talent turnover that also included the exit of the firm’s global COO and international president. Amid the rebuilding, the flagship New York remains well-regarded for its consumer and healthcare communications. The Washington office is home to a strong public affairs practice and a major hub for the firm’s creative work. The Chicago and Atlanta offices have grown in stature in recent years, and the firm maintains a strong presence in California, offering technology, life sciences and public affairs expertise, bolstered by the acquisition of West Coast tech specialist Voce. There are smaller offices in Austin, Boston, Ft. Lauderdale, and Seattle, and north of the border in Montreal and Toronto. Porter Novelli serves the EMEA region through a mix of wholly-owned offices and network members. The wholly-owned offices are in the UK, where the firm has around 75 people, and strength in corporate, consumer and healthcare; Brussels, where a team of 40 has broadened beyond Belgian business into international accounts; the Netherlands, where a 20-person firm produces good creative work; France, where there’s a 15-person agency; and Iberia, where 60 people work across offices in Madrid, Lisbon, Valencia, Barcelona. EXPERTISE Across the region, Porter Novelli operates a balanced business across four primary practice areas: healthcare, corporate, technology and consumer brands. The technology practice is the strongest in India, where The PRactice is a market leader, supported by Singapore, which handles significant HP business. The China operation’s partnership with Shunya makes it a leader in the automotive business, but it has also steadily expanded its consumer and reach through P&G and Reckitt Benckiser, and its B2B capabilities via SKF. Porter Novelli also has a respectable digital offering. TALENT John Orme, a 30-year veteran of the firm and its most senior representative in the region, continues to serve as senior partner and head of Porter Novelli China as well as president of partner agency Shunya International and regional leader for operations in northern Asia. There’s new leadership in Singapore, with Jimmy Szczepanek stepping up from his consumer practice role to head the firm’s operation there, and there were new additions in Australia too, with Sally Hart—formerly of Hill+Knowlton—named principal of the firm’s consumer business. CULTURE Building a cohesive culture remains a challenge for a firm that doesn’t own all—or even most—of its branded operations in Asia. But Porter Novelli has had less of a problem with collaboration than you might expect—the leadership team communicates frequently—although it has sometimes struggled to get employees around the region to think like part of a global network rather than a string of local firms. For that reason, the agency has been expanding its training
  • National multi-office multi-specialty firms efforts and takes advantage of various Omnicom-wide professional development programs focused on the digital space INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP The months since Van Bergen took the helm have seen the agency rollout a number of new products and services designed to signal that it is still on the cutting edge of the revolution PROGRAMS THE FUTURE In China, Porter Novelli drew on research by client P&G to build “sleep” into Pampers’ brand equity, educating expectant and new mothers about the benefits of longer uninterrupted sleep to their babies’ cognitive development. The campaign encouraged new mothers to photograph their sleeping babies and upload the pictures to Pampers’ Chinese website, driving a 50 percent increase in Since Van Bergen’s arrival, there have been formal regional leadership appointments in EMEA and Latin America. She surely has plans for the Asia-Pacific region too. It’s certainly not too late for Porter Novelli to build on its relative strength in China, but distractions elsewhere— including the US, where the firm has had a tough time over the past two or three years— cannot be allowed to interfere with the creation of a genuine regional network in the world’s fastest-growing PR market. THE MONTHS SINCE VAN BERGEN TOOK THE HELM HAVE SEEN THE AGENCY ROLLOUT A NUMBER OF NEW PRODUCTS AND SERVICES DESIGNED TO SIGNAL THAT IT IS STILL ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF THE REVOLUTION SWEEPING THE COMMUNICATIONS BUSINESS sweeping the communications business: PN Sonar, a proprietary monitoring and analytics system that captures the entire conversation taking place about a brand or organization; PN Influence Modeling, which uses predictive modeling to identify the appropriate mix of content, delivery channels and stakeholders to influence a specific target audience to action; and most recently, PNConnect, a worldwide team of digital marketing experts that delivers brand publishing programs. In Asia, Orme is a guest lecturer at Tsinghua University in Beijing, where he teaches government and state-owned enterprise executives international media relations and crisis management. retail sales. In Australia, meanwhile, the firm has been working with Dairy Australia to continue raising awareness about the underconsumption of dairy products in the diets of Australian children by targeting mothers at a grassroots level. BRAND Despite a new brand identity system, including a new logo and color scheme, and a new graphic element, the reality is that the local brands remains better known in their local markets (The Practice in India and Shunya in China are the most obvious examples) than the Porter name is across the region. www.holmesreport.com 39
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific RUDER FINN CHINA H HONG KONG H SINGAPORE business—was the star performer last year, however, with growth of around 30 percent. The other big news was the expansion of operations in India: the firm opened its New Delhi office in October of 2011, and now has a presence in Mumbai and Bangalore as well. The rest of the region is served via a network of well-established affiliates in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Australia. INTERNATIONAL REACH Jean-Michel Dumont MOMENTUM After the spinoff of the US business now operating as Finn Partners, Ruder Finn is a $56 million business globally, with almost a third of that--$17.2 million—coming from its Asia-Pacific operations, which grew by about 20 percent last year, with the marketing business (Ruder Finn has been among the leaders when it comes to targeting affluent Chinese consumers and acquired brand and event marketing specialist Thunder Communications in 2011 to provide a conflict business) leading the way. There was new business from duty-free retailer DFS, the electronics and engineering association IEEE, Amazon, Baume & Mercier, Four Seasons, Harry Winston, and Trussardi, while the firm was able to grow some its significant existing relationships with the likes of Visa and Breitling. REGIONAL REACH By far the largest part of Ruder Finn’s AsiaPacific operation is in Greater China, where the firm has more than 150 people in offices in Shanghai (the regional headquarters), Beijing, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. The Singapore operation—which serves as a hub for regional and South-East Asia 40 www.holmesreport.com Globally, Ruder Finn is one the world’s three largest independent public relations agencies, a family-owned and managed firm with full-service offices across the United States— although its major strength is a New York office that focuses on four broad categories of business: health and wellness; global connectivity; life and style; and corporate public trust. The firm has been reduced in size recently by the spinoff of Finn Partners, but continues to provide a strong alternative to the giant, publicly-held multinationals. Ruder Finn’s UK operations have been progressing nicely since the appointment four years ago of managing director Nick Leonard, the recruitment of a new leadership team, and the pursuit of a diversification strategy that has seen the firm expand beyond its core healthcare business to add critical mass in growth areas such as technology, corporate communications and public affairs, and digital. But firm is still a relatively small player in Europe compared to its peers. EXPERTISE Historically, Ruder Finn’s strongest business in Asia has been its consumer-focused life+style practice, which includes a host of luxury brands in Shanghai and an impressive roster of automotive clients (Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Volkswagen) in Beijing. That business continued to grow in 2012, as did the firm’s well-established corporate social responsibility practice. Perhaps the best news, however, was the way in which the health+wellness practice—Ruder Finn’s strongest in the US and Europe—began to make significant inroads in Asia, with the transfer of practice leader Mai Tran from Beijing to Singapore helping secure new business such as the World Health Summit in Singapore. The arts+culture practice— another source of strength in the US—is also beginning to build a significant base of business in the region. TALENT Jean-Michel Dumont has a 25-year track record in Asia and in his fifth year as chairman of Ruder Finn Asia has built an impressive indigenous leadership team that includes Elan Shou, managing director of the China business; general managers Paul Yang (Beijing), Gao Ming (Shanghai) and Sharon Liao (Guangzhou); executive VP of health and wellness Mai Tran; Singapore market leader Poh Leng Yu; and India country head Radha Roy, a former partner at Genesis BursonMarsteller. A significant addition last year was John Mullins, former managing director of human resources for Burson-Marsteller Asia Pacific, who was named chief development officer. CULTURE The appointment of Mullins signals the desire to institutionalize what has to this point been a fairly informal culture. Among other things, he will be charged with leading the firm’s quality program as well as regional training and development systems—a necessity as the firm continues to grow. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP The fourth annual Ruder Finn/Ipsos China Luxury Forecast 2012 was published last year,
  • National multi-office multi-specialty firms WHILE THERE IS QUITE A GAP BETWEEN RUDER FINN AND THE MARKET LEADERS IN TERMS OF SIZE (SOME OF THEM HAVE FOUR OR FIVE AS MANY PEOPLE IN THE REGION), THE INDEPENDENT FIRM SHOULD BE ABLE TO CONTINUE TO COMPETE QUITE EFFECTIVELY BY FOCUSING ON WHAT IT DOES BEST—LUXURY GOODS MARKETING, AUTOMOTIVE PR, CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY once again providing insight into consumer behavior and purchasing trends in China and underscoring Ruder Finn’s leadership in marketing to affluent consumers. The report is now regularly quoted in international media as the benchmark for the industry in Greater China. The firm also launched the Ruder Finn Tsinghua CSR Index in partnership with one of China’s leading business schools, while its insights division rolled out a new training initiative, providing strategic training sessions to clients such as ABB, Siemens and VW. PROGRAMS Ruder Finn demonstrated its ability work on a pan-regional basis on behalf of the Breitling Jet Team—one of the leading civilian aeronautics teams in the world— promoting its first ever performance in Asia in Macao, and following up with support in Manila, Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. The firm’s creative credentials, meanwhile, were well showcased by the DFS Master of Spirits campaign in Singapore, (deemed so successful that it has been replicated in other markets around the world), quite effectively by focusing on what it does best—luxury goods marketing, automotive PR, corporate responsibility; making some strategic investments in areas where it has proven strength in its domestic market— healthcare, digital; and building out its presence in key markets—China and India. and the same client’s Master of Time campaign in Macao. BRAND Ruder Finn has sought to establish partnerships in the region that position its brand alongside global and local leaders. So the firm was the official partner with The Economist for four events in the region; CSR Asia for its 2012 Summit; it also worked with Fortune China on its CSR Ranking Launch and Bloomberg for its “Why Hong Kong Matters Today” event. The firm also supported the Tsinghua Strategy Competition. That keeps the Ruder Finn name in the news despite the fact that it doesn’t have the critical mass of some of its multinational peers. THE FUTURE While there is quite a gap between Ruder Finn and the market leaders in terms of size (some of them have four or five as many people in the region), the independent firm should be able to continue to compete www.holmesreport.com 41
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific WEBER SHANDWICK HONG KONG H AUSTRALIA H CHINA H INDIA H INDONESIA H JAPAN H MALAYSIA H PHILIPPINES H SINGAPORE H TAIWAN H THAILAND Tim Sutton MOMENTUM Continuing its strong recent performance in the Asia-Pacific region, Weber Shandwick saw revenues increase by 17 percent last year—a third consecutive year of doubledigit growth, which means the firm is up by 75 percent over the past three years. There was new business from Tesco, Wines of Portugal, Facebook, Boeing, Wrigley, Nutricia, and Carlson Rezidor. But perhaps the most significant “win” of the past 12 months saw Weber Shandwick successfully defend its 15-year MasterCard account. Another important development: the firm’s enviable portfolio of multinational clients (GM, GSK, Honeywell, Microsoft, Nike, Pfizer) has been supplemented by a growing roster of Asia-based businesses (Asahi Glass, Shanghai Tower, Temasek Holdings), which now account for almost 40 percent of its business in the region. REGIONAL REACH As recently as five years ago, Weber Shandwick had some major holes in its Asia-Pacific network; today, the firm has coverage of the region as complete as any of its rivals. The firm’s substantial mainland China and Hong Kong businesses continued 42 www.holmesreport.com to grow at a healthy pace in 2012—about 20 percent. The firm also continues to hold a market leading position in Singapore and top five spot in Australia. Its expansion into Korea, under the leadership of market veteran Tyler Kim, has been impressive (it was our Consultancy of the Year there last year and grew by about 60 percent), and last year it opened in Indonesia, quickly building a 30-person operation in what is fast becoming a critical market, and saw strong growth in Malaysia. Perhaps the most significant development of 2012, however, was the acquisition of longtime Indian partner Corporate Voice, one of the largest and most award-winning firms in the market. INTERNATIONAL REACH For four years now, Weber Shandwick has been consistently outperforming its peer group of publicly-trade multinationals. Under the leadership of North American president Cathy Calhoun, the firm continued to deliver strong growth in all of its major offices in the US, with the New York headquarters leading the way. Weber Shandwick is also a formidable player in Washington (where its own public affairs operation is supplemented by Powell Tate), in Los Angeles (where its operations include entertainment PR powerhouse Rogers & Cowan), and in Chicago and Minneapolis (strong in consumer and financial services respectively). Weber Shandwick continues to derive the largest part of its EMEA revenues from its UK operations, where it is probably the third largest employer of public relations talent after the government and the BBC. On the continent, the Paris office was the top performer, with income surging by 12 percent on the back of some Olympic bid work and strong local market growth—enough to earn it agency of the year recognition in local awards. There was strong growth in the Netherlands too, a more modest increase in Spain, but continuing economic challenges in Italy and the loss of the Samsung business in Germany made for tough years in both markets. EXPERTISE Weber Shandwick has a well-balanced portfolio of business in Asia, with considerable strength in the fast-growing consumer sector (up 35 percent in 2012), where key clients include General Motors, Nestle and Nike; in corporate (key clients are MasterCard, NTT Docomo, Exxon Mobil); in technology (Microsoft, NetApp, Samsung); and healthcare (GSK, Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb). But the biggest growth of 2012 came in the financial arena, with fees up by 80 percent on the back of continuing work for Temasek, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and others. The firm has also expanded its digital and social media capabilities, with its digital studio now operating out of four hubs around the region and employing a total of about 60 people. TALENT Since Tim Sutton’s arrival in 2007 to head Weber Shandwick (and other Interpublic CMG operations) in Asia, the leadership team has been remarkably stable: just two senior level departures and an average tenure of close to 10 years, with Korean market leader—now also Asia corporate practice leader—Tyler Kim the only significant outside addition to a team that includes longtime senior staffers such as David Liu in China, Baxter Jolly in South-East Asia, Ian Rumsby in Australia and Hitoshi Shioya in Japan. The most significant addition to the team in 2012 was Atul Ahluwalia and his team at Corporate Voice India—but they have really been part of the Weber Shandwick family for a decade or so. Other significant moves included naming Text 100 veteran Ava Lawler as managing director of the firm’s Australian operations; Charles Shen
  • National multi-office multi-specialty firms as general manager, Beijing; and Jye Smith as vice-president, digital. CULTURE Like several of its peers, Weber Shandwick has placed a high priority on developing indigenous talent—21 of its 23 vice presidents across the region are local hires—and is and “the social CEO.” On a more local level, the firm has published studies looking at how to engage Japanese consumers and build Chinese brands in global markets. PROGRAMS Four Weber Shandwick campaigns took home Gold SABREs last year, including the LIKE SEVERAL OF ITS PEERS, WEBER SHANDWICK HAS PLACED A HIGH PRIORITY ON DEVELOPING INDIGENOUS TALENT—21 OF ITS 23 VICE PRESIDENTS ACROSS THE REGION ARE LOCAL HIRES—AND IS INVESTING IN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES investing in professional development activities such as its Hothouse gathering, which brought together future leaders in Bali to discuss creative thinking, and its ongoing commitment to interoffice transfers. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP Weber Shandwick’s “Science of Engagement” research draws on experts in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and anthropology to examine both the principles of engagement (reciprocity, immediacy and more) and the “elements” of engagement, personal motivators that drive people to engage—and clearly establishes the firm as a thought leader globally. Other interesting research has focused on the ever-stronger connections between corporate reputation and brand perceptions, percent) in 2012 and expanding its influence in social media too. The firm also maintains a presence at high-profile events: serving as public relations partner for the annual Forbes Global CEO Conference. All of that means a strong, consistent voice for Weber Shandwick across the region. THE FUTURE With the integration of Corporate Voice into the Weber Shandwick network, the firm is now well represented in all major markets, with a strong, stable leadership team and a balanced portfolio of business. It needs to continue to emphasize its digital, social, and content creation capabilities—at least the equal of any in the region—and its high-level corporate and public affairs credentials, which should be strong enough to give it a shot at the largest, most critical assignments. Gillette Salute the Soldier Campaign, the latest iteration of Corporate Voice’s multiaward-winning work for the P&G subsidiary, and Mastercard’s regional Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World. More recently to celebrate the arrival of Nespresso’s most popular Limited Edition Variations flavors in Australia, the firm worked with some of Australia’s most celebrated chefs to create The Great Flavour Debate, while in Singapore, Weber Shandwick continued its support for the World Wide Fund For Nature’s Earth Hour effort for the fourth consecutive year. BRAND Weber Shandwick has been applying some of its award-winning digital content creation capability to its own marketing, relaunching its website (traffic was up by better than 50 www.holmesreport.com 43
  • ASIA PACIFIC: SPECIALISTS, BOUTIQUES, SMALL & MID-SIZE FIRMS Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific KEY TO LISTINGS: ABCDEF = online directory listing 44 www.holmesreport.com ADFACTORS PR Full-service PR firm with multi-specialist coverage INDIA H SINGAPORE ONCE known primarily for being India’s leading financial communications firm, Adfactors has grown to become the country’s largest PR agency, with genuine strength across a range of sectors and practice areas. Founder and chief executive Madan Bahal’s investments during difficult economic conditions are paying off, helping Adfactors grow by around 20 percent in 2012, bolstered by a Mumbai office that looks set to become one of the world’s largest PR agency operations. Bahal has been prolific in building out Adfactors’ capabilities, which now include corporate reputation, financial communications, issues & crisis, public affairs and consumer. In addition to its banking and finance heartland, Adfactor’s sectoral coverage spans energy, infrastructure, reality & construction, auto & engineering, technology, travel hospital & leisure, education, healthcare and sports. Founded more than a decade ago, Adfactors has been one of the fastest-growing public relations firms in the world over the past 10 years, with more than 300 people in a dozen main offices across the sub-continent (its network covers 40 local markets) and fees of around $17 million. The firm stepped up its staff training in 2012, with more than 40 of its leaders attending training in leadership, business strategy and professional service management. The firm was launched with a focus on corporate and financial communications, and continues to derive a large part of its revenues from that practice area, thanks to extensive experience in the mergers and acquisitions arena, and with IPOs and restructurings. However, a slowdown across capital markets, financial services and infrastructure means that a more rounded offer has proved crucial to ongoing success. The firm is led by tireless entrepreneur Madan Bahal. He is supported by a senior leadership team assembled from diverse backgrounds-business journalism, financial research, market research-but rarely from the public relations industry. The firm’s major clients, meanwhile, are a mix of some of India’s largest companies and overseas multinationals, most notably in the financial services sector. They include State Bank of India, ICICI Group, Larsen & Toubro, Jet Airways, Maruti Suzuki, Barclays Banking Group, Unit Trust of India, Aviva Life Insurance, Nissan Motor Company, Adani Group, JSW Group and GMR Group. The firm had a particularly strong new business run in 2012, adding major accounts such as Vodafone, Citibank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Essar Group, Mahindra Group, Hindustan Construction Group and Cairn Energy. “Adfactors is a well-run professional organization with which our association goes back about 15 years,” says Larsen & Toubro head of brand management and communication DM Morada. “Easy accessibility, prompt response, strategic perspective and a well-established public network are some of the strengths that have brought our relationship this far. While their competence in public relations in India is strong, we believe that the agency will grow stronger with their renewed focus on strategic resource sharing as required by most clients today.” Adfactors reaches out into the world beyond India through its membership in Public Relations Organization International, one of the largest networks of independent public relations consultancies, with 2000 consultants in 85 offices. The firm this year signed its first regional clients - Xpress Money and UAE Exchange - which it serves across the Gulf and South Asia.—AS AKA ASIA Corporate, consumer and internal communication SINGAPORE AKA Asia began life in 2009 as the Southeast Asian outpost of Greater China consultancy Impactasia. Even at that stage, the firm’s positioning in corporate and consumer marked it out as a very different animal from Impactasia’s travel and luxury leanings. So it came as little surprise when agency founders Kate O’Shea and Amy Wright spun off the firm as AKA when Impactasia’s Greater China operations were sold to Cohn & Wolfe in 2011. Now in its fourth year, AKA works across a variety of markets and sectors, including F&B, hospitality, fashion, the arts, automotive and aviation. AKA positions itself as a an agency that ‘exists to help brands unleash the business potential of public relations through fearless creative thinking.’ It is an approach that appears to be working; AKA has grown to 23 employees, with new business from Jetstar, Electrolux and Stanley Gibbons joining a client roster that already includes Diageo, Carlson Rezidor and Johnnie Walker. Both O’Shea and Wright have a shared
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific background, working together at Grayling Singapore. In 2012, the firm grew its senior ranks through the appointments of account directors Laura Scriven-Young and Emma Thompson, from Harrods and M:Communications, respectively. Campaign highlights included supporting Singapore Social Media Week for a second consecutive year, which involved collaboration with the likes of Facebook, Google, Deezer, Diageo, LinkedIn and Samsung. The firm also assisted Johnnie Walker’s global brand sponsorship of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team, and conceived and executed the PR campaign to drive awareness and consumer engagement for Jetstar’s ‘Take on the World’ brand marketing initative. “The team at AKA run like my very own communications department,” says Diageo Asia-Pacific communications manager Hwee Jen Yap. “I really treasure the strong relationship that we have invested in over the years. This has been integral to the success of the excellent, best practice work that has been created by the team. I know that when I have them on a project, I can expect to be delighted with their innovative and engaging ideas that will be brought to life impressively through their excellent executions.” Two-thirds of AKA Asia’s current work is regional, with the firm engaging local independents in other markets where necessary.—AS ARTMEIS ASSOCIATES SEE OUR ONLINE DIRECTORY LISTING AT WWW.HOLMESREPORT.COM Corporate and financial communications HONG KONG IN most of the major financial markets around the world, the high-end advisory networks— Brunswick, FTI, AMO—face stiff local competition. That has not necessarily been the case in Asia, where most local firms have focused on straightforward financial calendar work or the capable of delivering world-class, international, independent strategic communications advice and flawless execution to an impressive list of clients: Berry Brothers & Rudd, CVC/ Matahari Department Stores, Esprit, Estee Lauder Companies, Fong’s Industries, Graff Diamonds, Hong Kong Airlines, IRC Limited, Louis XIII Holdings Limited, Poly Property Group Co. Ltd., The Mongolian Government, and Samsonite. Services include reputation management, issues and crisis management, strategic investor relations, transaction communications, and local and international media relations. Artemis can compete credibly with its larger multinational peers because of the quality and experience of its leadership team. Footitt worked at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, at a number of investment banks, and headed Asian operations for Citigate Dewe Rogerson and for FTI (the former FD) before striking out on her own. Directors Vanita Sehgal and Agnes Chan have equally impressive resumes: the former as an investment banker with Lehman and head of the IR practice at Citigate Dewe Rogerson, the latter as head of the Hong Kong office of China Construction Bank Corporation. The firm made an immediate impact on the M&A front with its work on the Prada and Graff Diamonds transactions, with other highlights including work with the Government of Mongolia on the media relations surrounding its inaugural US$1.5b medium term note offering and advice to CVC on media relations for an offering involving Matahari, the Indonesian retailer. “The collective experience of the Artemis team has been invaluable to us,” says the firm’s Samsonite client. “It’s fantastic that we have a partner that not only understands our business, but is also able to provide us with the creativity and concrete results that support the growth of our business. Their ability to provide true strategic counsel across transaction, crisis and issues management, and global media and investor relations is something that really makes Artemis stand-out.” Artemis has strong partnerships with a number of firms in key markets globally, selecting the best fit for any specific client situation.—PH ASAHI AGENCY IPO market rather than challenging for strategic consulting or M&A assignments. Artemis Associates, founded in March 2011 by FTI veteran Diana Footitt, is preparing to change all that. The firm has quickly carved a niche for itself as an entrepreneurial boutique firm 46 www.holmesreport.com Marketing communications specialist JAPAN HISTORICALLY, there have been two public relations markets in Japan. Large Japanese companies have typically felt more comfortable working with large Japanese public relations firms, making it unusually difficult for US or UK agencies to break in to the domestic market. Meanwhile, western multinationals have more often sought out the international PR firms with whom they were more familiar. Asahi Agency is one of only a handful of Japanese public relations firms to have successfully bridged the divide, assisting multinational companies and overseas associations in their efforts to enter and operate in the Japanese market. Asahi was established in 1980. Chairman and chief executive Akira Nagashima has an MBA from the University of Minnesota and experience working in the United States and Japan in advertising, PR and marketing research, giving him a strong background in cross-cultural communications. Yoshizo Nagahama, president and co-founder, has 35 years of experience in public relations, advertising and sales promotion in the Japanese market, working for Japanese and overseas clients. Board director Keiko Takagi worked at IBM before joining Asahi to oversee several key accounts. The firm’s experience spans consumer and business-to-business marketing—although it has particular strength in the food and agricultural products and technology sectors— and its capabilities include advertising, sales promotion, and market research in addition to public relations. Major clients include Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma, Comité Interprofessionnel du Gruyère de Comté, Wild Blueberry Association of North America, Canada Pork International, and salesforce.com, and there was new work in 2012 from Burt’s Bees and description Gambero Rosso, which appointed the firm to handle its first event in Japan in 2012. Asahi also supported a Mongolian fashion designer Ariunaa Suri’s participation in the MercedesBenz Tokyo Fashion Week. The fundamentals of the business held steady in 2012, although the firm did see a slight increase in revenues as a result of the weak yen. “We have worked with Asahi Agency for 6 years now, and they have consistently delivered outstanding and effective ideas to build our brand awareness and help increase Comté sales on the Japanese market,” says Aurélia Chimier, who leads communications efforts for the Comité Interprofessionnel du Gruyére de Comté. “Asahi agency helps us to create a durable link between Japanese consumers, distributors and ourselves. It’s of prime necessity to have such a close relationship with a human-sized agency, which can act as a relay Comté office in Japan.”
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms While focusing on the Japanese market, Asahi has an international partnership with a leading network of independent firms, PROI.— PH AVIAN MEDIA SEE OUR ONLINE DIRECTORY LISTING AT WWW.HOLMESREPORT.COM Full-Service ATE INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS Integrated marketing firm with food focus SINGAPORE FOUNDED six years ago and long distinguished by an integrated approach to brand marketing, Ate Group restructured in 2006, creating three separate companies: its integrated marketing unit includes expertise in public relations and events, and is now supplemented by Ate Digital and Ate Ideas, which offers a wide range of creative products and services. The focus is on the lifestyle arena broadly, although the firm is probably best known for its depth of expertise in the food and beverage sector (although the name is not a reference to eating—“ate” is the suffix that means to make or do, as in create.) Ate was launched in 2006 by husband and wife team Aun Koh and Su-Lyn Tan, both former food journalists, while the public relations operation is now helmed by Suzy Goulding, who joined in 2012. Goulding relocated to Singapore in 2010 following a career that included several client-side roles in her native UK, and worked with Y&R before joining Ate to expand the PR business. The firm’s client list includes some notable lifestyle brands, including Louis Vuitton, American Express, the Culinary Institute of America, Alila Hotels & Resorts, Miele, Vertu, Singapore Tourism Board, Mr & Mrs Smith, and Unilever. New business included public relations and social media assignments from new restaurant clients: Brotzeit, a leading contemporary German bier bar and restaurant; new British gastropub The Ascot, and one of Singapore’s most popular restaurants, artichoke, together with its sister bakery Overdoughs. The firm also added The Entertainer, an international Dubai-based company offering a portfolio of incentive voucher books. The biggest win, however, saw Ate pick up a plumb assignment from Unilever Food Solutions, one of the world’s leading food service companies, which appointed the firm as its lead public relations agency for Southeast Asia. Ate will develop and deliver strategic communications campaigns in Singapore and will work with the company’s marketing teams to coordinate a network of PR agencies in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia.—PH INDIA SINCE India opened up its economy in the early Nineties, the nation’s PR industry has witnessed a boom in small owner-led agencies. The past decade, characterised by purring economic growth, has only accelerated this trend. Undoubtedly, many of these firms will fall by the wayside as the market matures. One that will not is nine-year old player Avian Media - one of the brightest of a bunch of entrepreneurial PR agencies that are helping to drive innovation in the country’s PR industry. Avian was founded in 2003 by Nikhil Khanna, a 15-year PR veteran who was formerly a director of corporate consultancy Good Relations. Khanna launched the firm with one anchor client, Airbus, which he had handled for a decade in the Nineties. Since then the New Delhi-based firm has grown steadily to the point where it now has operations in five cities, including Bangalore and Mumbai. Khanna is supported by an experienced leadership team: CEO and business partner Nitin Mantri joined in 2006 after working as a director at Pleon in Europe, overseeing the agency’s corporate and B2B practices. Girish Huria joined in 2010 as COO after more than a decade with Genesis BursonMarsteller, to oversee new business, strategic counsel, crisis and campaign planning. The leadership team is rounded out by associate director Manash Neog, who heads the firm’s public affairs unit. Last year, furthermore, Avian added three senior staffers to its ranks. Sudipt Arora came aboard as director of content and media planning; Sreyu Rakshit was appointed senior account director in Delhi; and, Sharmistha Ghosh joined as head of the firm’s CSR practice. In 2012, Avian grew by around 30 percent, reaching a staff strength of more than 100 employees across its five offices. Over the past 12 months, the firm refocused its efforts on what it calls the ‘3 Is’ - insights, ideas and impact. The first of these is developed via learning programmes and research partners; the second through a focus on creativity; and the third by using Impact Measurement to move away from output-based evaluation. The approach appears to be working. Avian launched content development and media planning services in 2012, along with a CSR practice, to go with existing practices in public affairs, digital and public relations. The firm also employs a dedicated knowledge manager who looks after external and internal learning programmes, launching a new programme called SEED that hired 10 graduates from postgraduate institutes for a one-year inducation programme. THERE was impressive growth in its traditional area of strength - corporate - including new business from Philips, Qualcomm, Qatar Airways and BDO Consulting, and a new public affairs mandate from Google. Avian also broadened their relationships with a number of existing clients, expanding into public affairs for PR clients Huawei, GMAC and BP; and adding digital to its Advanced Hair Studio, Huawei, Scomi and Tata BP accounts. Avian also looked consolidate business by developing more innovative pricing models, rolling out a performance-based matrix for such clients as AirWorks and IATA. All told, fee income reached $2.2m in 2012, with key clients including EADS Group, Viacom 18, JSM Corp, Punj Lloyd, Dalmia and BK Modi Group. Key campaigns included a tourism push for South Africa that showcased the country as a hospitable, value-for-money destination that caters to both budget and luxury travelers. A three-pronged strategy eventually saw visitor numbers surge by almost a quarter compared to 2011. For the Goethe-Institut and Max Mueller Bhavan’s celebrations of the Year of Germany in India, meanwhile, Avian developed a seven-city programme over 15 months that attracted people to the key Indo-German Urban Mela and helped build strong awareness of the various events. Avian also supported politician Arvind Khanna’s efforts to contest the state assembly elections by highlighting his philanthropic work. The campaign eventually secured Khanna the ticket, and he won the election with record margins. “The team is very efficient, friendly, accurate and responsive to our needs,” says South African Tourism marketing and communications manager Sherry Varma. “Avian Media stands with South African Tourism as an extended family and not an agency. We truly believe that their role as a PR agency contributes significantly to the success of South African Tourism.” Avian works primarily in India but has inked a series of deals to support international agencies: Kreab Gavin Anderson and Network One.—AS www.holmesreport.com 47
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific BILCOM Marketing and digital PR JAPAN FOUNDED in 2003, digital marketing specialist Bilcom is a Japanese firm with a distinctly modern approach, offering a cohesive blend of marketing and PR services that range from planning to execution. The firm’s communications unit was launched in 2006 by company director Koji Nizaka, catching the eye when it won a Gold Lion at the inaugaural Cannes PR Lions in 2009. While Japan suffered economically in 2009, Bilcom’s earnings remained resilient. The firm’s biggest client is pharmaceutical company Kyowa Hakko Hirin, followed by Konica Minolta. New accounts in 2012 included Tommy Hilfiger, Lacoster and H.I.S travel agency. Campaign highlights included the Konica Minolta man project, which aimed to personalize Konica Minolta’s corporate attitude via a YouTube movie that has so far received more than 250K views. While Bilcom’s PR unit is limited to Japan, the firm has already marked itself as being more expansive than many of its peers, opening operations in China and Japan.—AS BITE Full-service public relations HONG KONG H AUSTRALIA H CHINA H INDIA H SINGAPORE H TAIPEI IN the three years since Upstream Asia was acquired by Bite, the firm has dramatically reshaped its offering. The deal originally provided the Next 15-owned agency with a significant footprint in the Asia-Pacific region to complement its established presence in the North America and Europe markets as well as additional expertise in financial and consumer PR (supporting Bite’s ambitions to expand beyond the technology space) and a blue-chip client list in the region, including longtime Upstream accounts such as HTC, Siemens PLM, and SWIFT. For Upstream, the deal meant access to a global network and, crucially, the financial strength to continue its expansion in Asia. The latter aspect has reaped particularly rich dividends, with Bite’s Asian presence making substantial investments in the full range of digital marketing capabilities, rather than just focusing on social media like many other PR firms. In 2012 Bite Asia-Pacific acquired the Hong Kong operations of US search 48 www.holmesreport.com firm Red Bricks Media, to go with two other specialist acquisitions that had been made in previous years: OneXeno and Interlink Systems. The moves mean that digital work for Bite - including social media, web and app development, marketing and search - now accounts for more than half of its total revenue, up from 32 percent the previous year. For Upstream founder David Ketchum, the acquisition was the culmination of a strategy that began in 2006, which saw the firm listed on the London’s AIM market. The flotation brought funds for investment and acquisition - and gave Upstream an edge over its competitors in the Asia’s crowded tech PR market. Founded during the dotcom boom in 2000, Upstream’s progress has not always been serene, given the fluctuations in the technology sector, but the agency has always displayed an innovative streak. Much of this is down to Ketchum himself, who remains one of the region’s most compelling PR voices. Ketchum now sits on the Bite group board as Asia-Pacific president, supported in the region by long-time business partner and EVP Paul Mottram, a business marketing specialist and former vice president of corporate marketing at Global Sources who joined Upstream in 2001, and who joined the global Bite board in 2011. Bite’s Asia-Pacific management team has remained stable over the past year, led by a core of younger country heads that include Lancy Ma in China; Roger Marshall in Australia and Singapore; and Pranav Kumar in India. Group directors Rosemary Merz and James Park continue to lead the teams in Hong Kong and Singapore, while longtime Bite executives George Zhang and Kevin Chen were promoted to management leadership roles as group directors in Beijing and Shanghai. The firm’s mix of marketing services and digital capabilities is reflected in a stepped up thought leadership programme which, in 2012, included a white paper and series of roundtables across Asia-Pacific, focusing on such topics as B2B marketing, financial services prospects and CSR. That approach is complemented by Bite’s existing ‘point of view’ content methodology, which the firm has developed over several years. Bite grew by around 15 percent in 2012 to almost US $8m in revenue. Profit margins have doubled since 2010 and it is worth noting that Bite has achieved these returns without a noticeable pipeline of global business from the US or Europe. The firm’s major clients in Asia-Pacific include Adobe, ACE, BSA, Citi, CommScope, CNN, D-Link, Epsilon, FedEx, Hitachi Data Systems, HTC, KHI, Luminarc, Marriott, Motorola Solutions, Parallels, Qantas, Shanghai Tang, Siemens PLM, SWIFT, SAP, and Tencent. In 2013, there was new business from numerous sources, including CommScope, D-Link, Far East Energy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Indigo Living, Qatar Airways, NTT Communications, Sony Professional, and Timberland. In terms of campaigns Bite Asia-Pacific continued to deliver on its integrated marketing abilities. In Australia, Bite combined Adobe’s brand and latest Creative Suite software, with surf wear brand Quiksilver to generate a new framework for consumer engagement. The campaign grew Adobe’s ANZ social community by almost 70 per cent in just eight weeks, attracting 262 individual design entries, which were all created using Adobe’s Creative Suite 6. The winning entrant’s T-shirt design went into full production and appeared for sale in-store by early 2013. In China, Bite worked on behalf of Arc International’s Luminarc to win back trust after a competitor released a false statement about the potential dangers of tempered glass containers. Bite engaged Sohu.com’s Health Channel to conduct an online poll to explore consumers’ existing views on tempered glass and buying criteria, and also developed a website featuring educational messages, a product catalogue and brand and retailer information. An online interactive game called “Box Rush” embedded key messages about the different uses of tempered glass as key triggers to drive traffic to the website. This was supported by multiple PR and social media tools, including BBS chatrooms, Sina Weibo, as well as online advertising. The campaign saw a 95 percent increase in Weibo followers, while a post-campaign survey indicated that 90 percent of campaign participants had increased their awareness of the Luminarc brand, and more than 90 percent of engaged visitors were able to accurately describe the features and advantages of tempered glass containers, compared with approximately 30-40 percent before the campaign. “The Bite team in the Asia Pacific forms an integral part of my communications team to enable me to promote both the consumer and B2B brand across the region,” said Parallels Software APAC communications director Maimon Abdul Rahman. “They have played a key role in contributing well-grounded ideas to assist in communicating Parallels messages to both the media and analysts. They understand their local market and will highlight the right opportunities for us to profile the business.
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms Their collective effort has provided measurable results and represents a great return on investment. They demonstrate not only the trait of simply “getting it done” but more importantly getting the PR strategy to work. That is true value and an asset to me as a client.” The Bite acquisition means that the firm’s presence in Asia is supplemented by a true global network. And to provide comprehensive coverage of the region, Bite continues to work with independent partner agencies in various Asian markets.—AS BLUEFOCUS INTEGRATED MARKETING CONSULTING Full-service public relations CHINA OVER the past 16 years, BlueFocus has established itself as the largest independent public relations firm in China, with more than 1,000 employees in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and 23 regional offices and 2012 revenues of more than $80 million. In early 2010, the firm because the first Chinese PR agency to go public, listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and suggesting that its growth would not end at its domestic borders. Last year, the firm inked a strategic alliance with Japanese giant Dentsu and In early 2013 the global scope of its ambitions were confirmed when the firm took a 20 percent stake in global PR holding company Huntsworth, providing it with access to a network of offices in Europe and the US. The firm is distinguished by its impressive media relationships, which extend beyond the major cities through an unparalleled regional network; by a strong team of senior consultants; by the quality and stability of its client roster—companies such as Cisco and Lenovo have been working with Blue Focus for more than a decade—and increasingly by its strong credentials in growth areas such as crisis communications, corporate social responsibility and digital public relations. It also has burgeoning capabilities in event marketing, public opinion monitoring, and training, which has helped the firm access larger marketing and branding budgets. BlueFocus opened its Beijing headquarters office in 1996, its second office in Shanghai in 1997, moved into Guangzhou and Chengdu in 1998 and added Xi’an in 2000, before expanding to create what is almost certainly the most comprehensive network in the market— now more than 20 cities—in 2004. It has grown consistently by between 20 and 50 percent a year since then: last year’s revenue growth was around 40 percent, with the automotive, consumer products and technology sectors leading the way. The firm now serves more than 100 clients, including blue-chip brands such as Lenovo, Canon, Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover, citizen, Baidu, Chrysler, Mead Johnson, Volkswage China, Dongfeng Fengshen Automobile, Mengniu Dairy, AMD, BMW, Sony Ericsson, Wanda, Beijing Automobile, The Great Wall, the Kunlun Mountains car, SKYWORTH color TV, Shell, Tencent, Siemens, Sony, Pepsi Cola, Beijing modern and Cisco. Jaguar Land Rover was the most prominent of 10 new clients to join the Bluefocus stable in the past year. www.holmesreport.com 49
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific The senior leadership team is, not surprisingly, among the deepest in the Chinese marketplace, with a reorganization in 2012 designed to position the firm for continued growth. Former CEO Zhao Wenquan and former president Mao Yuhui are now CEO and president respectively of the BlueFocus Communication Group. Ding Xiaodong and Luo Bin have been appointed as president and COO respectively of BlueFocus Integrated Marketing Communication (the new name for the former PR group), while Xiong Jian is now president of BlueFocus Digital. All three have been with the company for 10 years or more. Interesting assignments included a customer relations management and content curation assignment for Mead Johnson, providing personalized and customized services to consumers, opinion leaders and the media. Another significant highlight was the launch of BlueView, a large-scale data management and application platform that incorporates a public opinion monitoring system, media reporting, and a reputation management process.—PH BRUNSWICK Financial communications specialist HONG KONG H CHINA WITH the globalization of the financial markets, and in particular the rapid growth in the number of cross-border transactions, most of the leading firms focused on financial communications and mergers and acquisitions have expanded into international markets. UK-based Brunswick has been in the vanguard, opening first in the US and in 2004 establishing its first Asia-Pacific office in Hong Kong. The plan was to create a business that could provide clients in any of the world’s major financial centers with the same high-level strategic advice on a range of special situations (mergers, acquisitions, restructurings, and more), crisis counsel and broad reputation management support, with seamless international operation encouraged by the firm’s worldwide partnership structure and “one firm” culture. The strategy was vindicated immediately: shortly after Brunswick’s arrival it was retained by CNOOC (the China National Offshore Oil Corporation) to assist in its ultimately unsuccessful bid for America’s Unocal. Seven years later, Brunswick’s Asia-Pacific operations, which now include an office in Beijing and a new outpost in Shanghai, have grown under the leadership of Tim Payne—a longtime Brunswick executive who was also responsible for establishing the firm as a player in the US M&A market—to around 50 people 50 www.holmesreport.com and established itself as one of the leaders in Asia for financial comms, M&A and crisis management. 2011 was another strong year, as Payne consolidated growth by investing in senior leadership. Cindy Leggett-Flynn relocated from New York to Hong Kong to become managing partner. There were also three key external hires: Rose Wang, who joined as partner after previously heading marketing and government relations at Cisco China; former Morgan Stanley Asia-Pacific corporate comms head Po Ling Cheung, who came aboard as founding partner of Brunswick Shanghai; and, Susan Ho, hired by the Hong Kong office as a partner after serving as global head of brand at Standard Chartered. The firm also promoted two executives to partner level in Hong Kong: 10-year agency veteran Joseph Lo, and Tong Zhao. After assisting Goldman Sachs on its China reputation challenges in 2010, Brunswick continued to forge a reputation as a go-to firm for companies in peril, handling Sino-Forest’s response to the attack by short seller Muddy Waters, and through the establishment and investigation of its independent committee, appointed to review the allegations. Brunswick is also advising Gucci, which is facing allegations of malpractice at some of its stores in China, helping the company engage with key stakeholders at a national local and provincial government level. More traditional financial fare included supporting Yum Brands on the privatisation of its Little Sheep fastfood chain; advising PCCW on the listing of its business trust in Hong Kong; and supporting Chow Tai Fook’s likely forthcoming IPO. In addition to those assignments, new clients included Bain Capital; BBVA; China Sunergy; Sateri; Nokia; ShangPhama; China Tricomm; G Resources; Tencent; Kraft Foods; Financial Times; PPR; Sohu; PSA Peugeot; Visa; Edenred China; Gymboree; and, ATV. Existing retained clients include Citic Pacific, Sinopec, TPG, Baidu and PCCW. Brunswick now has 17 offices in 11 markets, and further expansion in Asia-Pacific is expected—India, Japan and Australia are obvious targets.—AS CANNINGS CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS Corporate and financial communications AUSTRALIA STW Group, Australia’s largest marketing and communications company, consists of 70 spe- cialist companies, including those that make up the Ogilvy public relations operation in Australia (STW has a complex joint venture relationship with Ogilvy parent WPP), but corporate and financial specialist Cannings continues to operate autonomously under its own brand, with a key focus on the mergers and acquisitions arena but with extended capabilities in corporate and financial communications, investor relations, crisis and issues management and even public affairs. In 2009, it incorporated the operations of Savage & Partners, another STW firm, and in 2012 it acquired Purple Communications to expand its footprint to Perth. Chairman Graham Canning founded the firm in 1998 after a career in journalism and public relations (with the Australian Financial Review and Burson-Marsteller, among others), and has close to 40 years of experience in the field. Managing director John Hurst, another veteran of the Financial Review, joined in 2008 to expand the firm’s reach and network. Senior partner Luis Garcia has a background that spans journalism (the Review and Sydney Morning Herald) and politics (as chief of staff to the leader of the opposition in New South Wales) as well as communications. The remainder of the leadership team including partners Nigel Kassulke and Michael Mullane and directors Craig Badings and Kathryn Lamond—a strong, stable leadership team. Cannings has expertise in financial communications (including mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, and other high-profile transactions), issues and crisis management, and corporate positioning, with supplemental expertise in areas such as media training (one new product in 2012 focused on helping female executives communicate more effectively) and internal communications. The past 12 months also saw the launch of a new social media monitoring service. While market uncertainty continues to impact the M&A arena, Cannings enjoyed a strong year in 2012, ranking seventh in the Asia-Pacific region on mergermarket’s 2012 League Table of PR advisors, working on Whitehaven Coal’s $1.9 billion acquisition of Aston Resources; the creation of the $1.2 billion AMP Retail Trust; the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board’s $1.2 billion investment in Barangaroo South; the $350 million ASX listing of 360 Capital Industrial Fund; and Norton Gold Fields A$230 million takeover by Zij in and Sumitomo’s $430 million acquisition of Isaac Plains Coal Mine from Aquila. Past and recent clients include: BG Group, Boral L td, Diageo, AMP, Veolia Environmental Services, Henderson Group,
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms Smith & Nephew, Cochlear, Bell Potter Group, Western Union, Allan Gray, Baker & McKenzie, Clayton Utz, Hanson, Inglis, Sunsuper, Finsia, NAB/MLC, CPPIB and Barangaroo Delivery Authority.—PH COGNITO COMMUNICATIONS COUNSELLORS Multi-specialist INDONESIA COGNITO was established by Burson-Marsteller veterans Yanti Pramudya, Lim Hock Jin and Sri Lestari in Jakarta in 2000. Since then, the firm has grown to become one of the most respected PR firms in the increasingly sophisticated and substantial Indonesian market. It was named the Indonesian PR Agency of the Year in 2005 and one of the Top Five PR firms by Journalist Choice in 2010. Pramudya has more than 20 years of experience in public relations, as a communications manager for Tetra Pak and was account director at B-M, specializing primarily in financial communications and crisis and issues management. Hock Jin is a former journalist who worked for B-M in Singapore and Jakarta, with a focus on capital markets communications. And Lestari has expertise in corporate and marketing communications and issues management, drawing on experience as a communications consultant for the World Wide Fund for Nature Indonesia and as a media relations specialist at Burson-Marsteller Indonesia. They lead a team of around 30 that provides support primarily to blue-chip multinational clients in the technology, mining, business services, financial services and consumer products sectors. A majority of those clients have been with the firm for at least five years, a long-term commitment that reflects the trust placed in Cognito’s services. Major clients include BP, GE, Accor, Fonterra, and Banpu, while new business in 2012 came from Sun Life Financial Services, P&G, Fortinet, and Computer Associates. Interesting assignments ranged from helping to manage labor disputes to a large number of crisis trainings and simulations. Accoring to Devy Maulina, marketing manager for PT Heinz ABC Indonesia, Cognito “performed very well and exceeded our expectation by delivering unique, strategic communications concept and strong media relations to our initiative. We have trusted Cognito to manage our communications programs for other brands under Heinz ABC Indonesia.” Adds Evan Lewis, vice president, communications, for Accor Asia Pacific, “Cognito has designed PR programs that leverage Accor’s strategic partnerships, business development plans and corporate social responsibility initiatives in Indonesia. These have generated extensive media coverage for Accor and its hotels in the Indonesian media and have helped consolidate the group’s position as the leading hotel operator in Indonesia.” The firm works exclusively in the Indonesian market, where it continues to serve as a local partner of choice to a number of international agencies.—PH COHN & WOLFE Consumer marketing specialist CHINA H HONG KONG H INDONESIA H MALAYSIA H SINGAPORE FOR many years, Cohn & Wolfe relied on the extensive networks of its WPP sister agencies when its clients had needs in the Asia-Pacific region. But in early 2006 the firm dispatched veteran counselor Doug Buemi to Shanghai to establish a branded presence in the world’s fastest-growing PR region. Buemi and his successor Jake Drake helped raise the firm’s profile in China and beyond—work for Ford was of particular note—but it is only over the past couple of years, with the acquisition of Hong Kong’s impactasia and South-East Asian firm XPR (which brought with its offices in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia) that Cohn & Wolfe began to look like a senior player in the region. Following those two deals, Cohn & Wolfe now has about 120 people in Asia—80 of them in Greater China and the rest in South-East Asia—under the leadership of a team with a plethora of local experience. Greater China chief executive Susan Field edited two travel-related magazines in Hong Kong and was a senior PR executive with Ramada and food services group Goodman Fielder before launching impactasia in 1990 and building it into one of the region’s top consumer specialists. She is supported by a trio of managing directors: Lydia Shen in China and Louise Huckfield and Jeff Chan in Hong Kong. The XPR acquisition, meanwhile, brought in strong leadership in the South-East Asian offices: Adrian Lee leading in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur and Gavin Foo at the help of the Singapore operation. The two deals also brought in new strength in technology, healthcare and corporate communications to supplement the existing consumer marketing capabilities, and added depth to the firm’s digital and social media expertise in the region. And the client list grew, obviously, with names such as Mandarin Oriential, Pernod Ricard (C&W handles the company’s high-profile “modern gentleman” contest in Hong Kong), Guinness, and RollsRoyce, among others. New business over the past 12 months included an assignment from The Hub, a designer fashion trade show debuting in Hong Kong, and in India—where the firm opened under the leadership of Charlotte Chunawala—from solar company AEG, Havaiana, The Hatch (a company that provides mentoring, funding and full support for high potential start-ups), and MYA Health Credit. As a result, the Asia-Pacific region contributed about 40 percent of Cohn & Wolfe’s overall growth in 2012. Highlights included the award-winning work Silver Ribbon Campaign for MSD Pharmaceutical, recognized by the Shanghai Public Relations Association. “We have worked with cohn&wolfe-impactasia for close to two years, starting initially with a small project that has grown into a relationship that includes regional co-ordination support for us across Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Australia,” says George McFerran, managing director, Asia Pacific for job portal eFinancialCareers. “This is reflection on the success of the public relations programme to date. We are an online recruitment portal, and the work Cohn & Wolfe-impactasia does for us is largely offline. We measure the amount of traffic and click-throughs generated for us through the website. They consistently deliver quality work supporting our efforts with both a b2b and b2c audience.”—PH COMMUNICATIONS KOREA Corporate and marketing communications with strong crisis capabilities KOREA FOUNDED in 1987, Communications Korea was a pioneer in the country’s public relations business, and over the past three decades has been able to develop the kind of strong local roots that enable it to maintain a leadership position even as western multinationals have established and grown their own operations in one of the region’s most sophisticated and lucrative markets, offering a range of services from marketing communications to crisis management, working on critical issues in the public and private sectors. More recently, it has www.holmesreport.com 51
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific developed four specialized service offerings in the crisis arena; CommStem for crisis management system building; CoMPlete for media training; CommBination for M&A communication; and CoBlenders for post-merger Integration communications. Chief executive Kim Kyong-Hae previously served as Seoul correspondent for Reuters News Agency and economic editor of the Korea Herald and also served as the president of the Korea Public Relations Association in the early 90s and winning PR Man of the Year honors in 1994—before many of his current competitors became active. In 2011, he was called in by the Korean Navy after one of its ships was attacked by North Korea and sank, providing advice on rebuilding trust with the civilian population after some initial miscommunication. He is now supported by two directors: Hazel Kim is the expert in marketing strategy and business communication, with outstanding media relationships; Kenny Ji specializes in destination marketing, promoting both Las Vegas and New Zealand in Korea. Major Korean clients include BON Jook (Porridge); BON Bibimbab; BON Dosirak (Box lunch); VIPS; Skinfood; T-ime Education; and SUNY Korea. Major international clients are Fairmont Hotel; Destination New South Wales; Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority; ETS; UAE; AYANA Resort & Spa; and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation. After several years of sluggish growth in Korea generally, 2012 was a slightly better year, helped by some interesting high-profile assignments. Most notably, perhaps, the firm helped BON Jook, a food brand, respond to blogger criticism, and worked with Kyowon Group to provide marketing support for its Wells Water Purifier. According to the client: “CK presented us with well-designed PR strategy and tactics based on accurate marketing analysis. We have been very pleased with their services: feature stories which contain good insights, urgent press releases, photo sessions, advertorials, press conferences.” CK is a member of several international networks, including Eurocom, and partners with international agency APCO; Four Communications in the UK; and EMG in Netherlands.—PH once every 3,000 years and is said to herald an era of prosperity, fecundity and knowledge. The blue lotus is described in literature as “unerring, true and good,” which might seem like a pretty lofty aspiration for a public relations firm, but is one that Blue Lotus co-founder and chief executive N. Chandramouli remains determined to live up to, even after a name change. In 2012, Chandramouli continued to make good on those goals, three years after defeating tough competition from several bigger, higher-profile names to net the Holmes Report’s Indian Consultancy of the Year. The firm was renamed as the Comniscient Group in 2011, reflecting the growth of several sub-units under its overall umbrella, including PR firms Blue Lotus and i9; monitoring house bluebytes; online reputation agency Blue Online; and research and publishing house Trust Research Advisory. Chandramouli is supported by a leadership team that includes VPs Kiran Joshi, Debaditya Chaudhry, Gopu Ramamurthy and Parthiv Kamani. 2012 was a year of stabilization after the changes in 2011. An engineer by training, Chandramouli has also placed a serious priority on systems, using a PPT (People, Process and Technology) approach for gathering, managing and leveraging knowledge within the firm. This was taken a step further in 2010 with the launch of TrustPulse, a powerful tool that measures stakeholder trust in brands across a 61-component matrix. Chandramouli seems determined to place more faith in science than in art, and for that he can only be commended. In 2012, the company’s annual Trust Survey of Indian businesses and individuals again attracted considerable mainstream attention. Key clients include Dun & Bradstreet, Global Hospitals, Seven Hills Hospital, DHL, Matrimony.com, CBazaar.com, Imperial Servcorp. Blue Lotus has its own offices in nine Indian cities and works through affiliate in six other cities. Globally, the firm collaborates with several international agencies depending on the requirement on a case-by-case basis. —AS COMNISCIENT GROUP JAPAN Full-service public relations group COSMO occupies a unique niche in the middle ground between the large Japanese advertising agency-owned public relations firms, many of which have impressive media contacts and local knowledge but limited strategic INDIA THE former Blue Lotus drew its name from the mythical blue lotus flower, which blooms only 52 www.holmesreport.com COSMO Full-service with healthcare specialism capabilities, and the Japanese operations of US multinational agencies, which often provide good processes and sound strategic thinking but don’t always have strong local relationships. Led by Kumi Sato, an Americaneducated former McKinsey consultant who took over her parents’ firm in the early 80s, Cosmo looks to combine the best features of both those groups—and for the most part it succeeds, consistently ranking among the top independent firms in the region, a preferred partner for Anglo-Saxon agencies without their own Japanese operations. Founded in 1960, the firm worked primarily with Japanese companies through its first 30 years, but changed its focus when Sato took the helm, focusing on providing assistance to US multinationals looking to establish themselves in Tokyo (today about 75 percent of its clients are multinationals). It also moved beyond the media relations realm to offer strategic communications consultancy, and today is best known for issues-driven work, with expertise in advocacy and public affairs, crisis and issues management, corporate positioning and reputation management, internal communications and corporate social responsibility, with a focus on the healthcare, food and food science and services sectors. Sato continues to lead the firm and remains one of the leading figures in the Japanese public relations industry, having been named as one of 50 Stars of Asia by Business Week magazine and one of 50 Leading Women Entrepreneurs of Japan by Forbes and picking up PR Agency Head of the Year honors at the 2010 Asia-Pacific PR Awards and one of the first two SABRE Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement presented in the region. Other members of the leadership team include chairman Paul Hasegawa, formerly a president with ACNielsen Japan and a veteran of advertising agency positions with I&S (now I&S/BBDO) and Ogilvy & Mather Japan; and COO Ryuji Kondoh, who oversees the healthcare division, with support from cardiologist Dr. Hiroya Kumamaru, who joined as in-house healthcare advisor. Justly recognized for its work in the healthcare and food and nutrition sectors (it is known for introducing the first female oral contraceptive in the Japanese market and handling various regulatory and safety issues for US beef producers), the firm is differentiated by a thoughtful, research-driven approach to sensitive issues. It draws on its proprietary Key Opinion Leader Research process, which provides insight into stakeholder attitudes, decision making processes, and the issues they perceive as being of primary importance,
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms and in 2011 launched Pharmed+, a proprietary live database of medical health professionals. The expertise of its leadership team is also supplement by a network of partners that includes leading think-tanks, industry associations and professional bodies, and the firm partners with Social System Design Institute, one of Japan’s preeminent think-tanks influencing Japanese policy. The challenging Japanese economy continues to inhibit growth in the PR industry as a whole, but Cosmo has picked up new business from clients such as Chugai Pharmaceutical, Nippon Boehringer Ingelheim, Japan Vaccine, and Abbott Japan, and has an outstanding track record when it comes to client retention: longstanding client include the American Medical Devices and Diagnostics Manufacturers’ Association, the United States Meat Export Federation, Kikkoman Corp., and the Norway Seafood Council. Recently, the firm has also been working with several Japanese pharma companies with global ambitions. Interesting work includes the Spiriva/COPD awareness campaign for Boehringer Ingelheim, drawing attention to a widespread disease that very few people know about. Cosmo’s campaign relies heavily on social media-unusual for a pharma company in Japan. Says Jason Young, head of the respiratory marketing department for Nippon Boehringer Ingelheim: “Cosmo has been a great partner…. [Its] strong strategic thinking and vast knowledge of the Japanese market helped us find innovative solutions in the development and execution of a novel disease awareness program. Cosmo was an instrumental partner for NBI in bringing insight to action through the social-mediadriven Iki iki Jinja COPD campaign, which has allowed us to help more patients suffering from respiratory disease in Japan.” Cosmo continued to work internationally through the Health Collective Network (which it helped found, alongside Red Door Communications in London and Cooney/Waters in New York) and Public Relations Organisation International, one of the leading networks of independent public relations firms.—PH CREATIVE CREST Multi-specialist INDIA H PHILIPPINES THE core philosophy at Creative Crest is “Yato Dharmah, Tato Jayah,” which translates as “where there is truth, there is victory.” That philosophy translates into an ethical approach to public relations, which combines with an emphasis on creativity—big ideas applied to challenging assignments—that makes Creative Crest one of the most distinctive and successful of the new generation of Indian public relations firms. Although it began as an IT specialist, the firm quickly diversified into corporate and consumer PR and added expertise in corporate social responsibility—an area of increased emphasis for Indian companies in recent years—but unlike many of its peers in the Indian PR business it focuses exclusively on public relations, drawing on third-parties for other marketing activities. “Creative Crest has always displayed a serious commitment towards CSR and sustainability,” says Chitra Bhatia, director A meal for two? Or a few? Or many? What makes a great meal are the right ingredients, measured carefully and presented in a most attractive and appetising manner. This is when food is given a thought. At Integral PR, we look at food and the diverse cuisines of India, as content, knowledge and insight. We make sense of it all, thus appealing to relevant audiences and creating opportunities for our clients. Knowledge Creates Opportunities Delhi | Mumbai | Kolkata | Hyderabad | Bangalore | Chennai www.holmesreport.com 53
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific of Hughes Communications. “They work in promoting our educational programs across the country. It has helped in advancing careers and opportunities for those who are even located in areas that have been left untouched by development.” Founded in 1999 by former executives of WPP’s Live World subsidiary—an interactive agency specializing in online communities and social networking—the firm is led by chief executive Kapil Rampal, a former journalist whose experience includes work for NBC, CNBC, Hindustan Times, and the Times of India, and directors VS Kumeria, previously a senior executive with a large pharmaceutical company and SK Swamy, an advertising and marketing veteran who also serves as chairman of RK Swamy BBDO. They have since been joined by a handful of senior executives including Vasu, head the entertainment practice in Mumbai; Chaitanya Kumar, who leads the finance and real estate practices; Darshana Vyas, leader of the hospitality practice; and Yashvir Nikhanj, who manages the mining practice. Creative Crest now has more than 40 full-time people in offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai, supplemented by consultants who bring specialized expertise: physicians to assist with the firm’s healthcare work, geologists to add expertise to its dedicated mining practice. The past 12 months have seen a significant expansion of the firm’s global capabilities—it manages international PR efforts for several Indian clients—and of its activities in the e-commerce sector, which is resurgent in the Indian market. The result is a return to healthy growth, with strong client retention (the firm works with InterGlobe, ACS, Aditya Birla Group, Gammon, GIIP, Hughes, Imperia Structures, Rio Tinto, A1Books, Avake Technology, and Clinova, among others) and new business from the likes of National Textiles Corporation, British Columbia, Frasers Hospitality, Knotty Kart, Reeleezee, and Siemens. Says Satyendra Pandey, marketing head for Reeleezee, “Creative Crest has been aligned towards making a difference in our business. The agency delivered a successful national campaigns at a very short notice. We are very excited to work with an agency that understands our business and strategically work with us to achieve our business goals.” Last year saw growth in international work, including the Siemens and British Columbia assignments. In addition to its own offices in India, the firm has an outsourcing office in the Philippines, 54 www.holmesreport.com and has established a KPO (under the PRKPO banner) focused on public relations.—PH DEC COMMUNICATIONS Corporate and consumer PR with strong digital capabilities AUSTRALIA AGATA Kenna was a respected vice president of corporate communications in the Sydney office of Weber Shandwick before launching DEC Communications in August of 2008. She sought to position DEC as “a creative boutique with business smarts,” working across—and sometimes at the intersection of—the consumer and corporate segments, delivering the quality of strategic thinking associated with larger, global agencies, but without all the bureaucracy and with an added focus on customer service and bold creative solutions. Kenna has been joined at the helm by CEO Michael Henderson—a veteran of Australian agencies Spectrum Communications, Blackie McDonald and Gotley Nix Evans and of client work with Google, YouTube, Blackberry, Electronic Arts and more—who also serves as head of digital. Client services director and head of consumer Kirsty McRae, who joined in 2012 from WHERE, has worked with P&G, Unilever, Nike, Bacardi, and more. Head of corporate Natalie Cameron has worked with London and Sydney with clients such as Macquarie Group, Pepper Australia, and the Aboriginal Employment Strategy. The firm’s corporate communications practice works primarily with business-tobusiness clients in the property, technology, and financial and professional services sectors, providing corporate reputation management, corporate brand building, crisis and issues counsel, and internal and stakeholder communications. The consumer and lifestyle practice offers event management and integrated marketing capabilities as well as more traditional brand PR. And its digital and social media team has expertise in community engagement and blogger relations, ensuring that digital thinking is embedded in every client program. Last year was a year of consolidation after strong growth over the previous four, but DEC still managed to double the size of its technology practice, expand its social media expertise, and pick up new assignments from clients such as Club Med, McWilliam’s Wines, Merrell, Sydney Airport Retail, Rolls-Royce Automotive, Woolworths (Baby & Toddler Club), and DDI. The team of 16 continues to work with Macquarie Group, Sydney Airport Retail, Pepper Australia, Mirvac, PPG Industries (Taubmans), RollsRoyce Automotive, McLaren Automotive, ING Direct, Mahindra, Inspire Foundation, Mars and more. Interesting work included the Aboriginal Employment Strategy, a multi-channel campaign involving media relations and direct engagement with federal and state government, business leaders and other key stakeholders, driving positive social change for Indigenous Australians. For Rolls-Royce, DEC managed a major issues management program in Australia, while the firm also launched Mahindra’s first passenger vehicle into the Australian market, and organized the first wing-suit jump over Sydney Harbour for Contour Cameras, which filmed the stunt to create a video that went viral. ”DEC PR has been a trusted and valued communications partner to the AES for three years,” says Aboriginal Employment Strategy CEO Danny Lester. “During this time, we have come to rely on their professional approach to deliver effective strategic and integrated communications, as well as at times highly reactive responses, but always in line with our business goals.” Adds Nikki Hills, founder of Mouths of Mums, “We have consistently been impressed by the team’s passion for, and deep understanding of, the digital media industry, as well as its extensive experience and relationships in the space.” The firm has also moved quickly to establish itself as an employer-of-choice in the Australian market, with a strong commitment to professional development, mentoring and team building. DEC has offices in Sydney and Melbourne, and manages campaigns across Australia and New Zealand—and occasionally beyond.—PH DENTSU PUBLIC RELATIONS Full-service public relations JAPAN H CHINA DENTSU Inc, the fifth largest advertising group in the world, bestrides the Japanese communications industry like a colossus and wields a tremendous influence over the Japanese media. The public relations industry in Japan, meanwhile, has remained quite small relative to the strength of the Japanese economy and the size of the Japanese advertising industry, focusing primarily on product publicity and struggling to attract the brightest and most ambitious young professionals. So it is no
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms surprise that until recently Dentsu Public Relations, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, has been largely over-shadowed by its parent company. But the changes in the media landscape that are evident in global markets—declining trust in institutions, fragmentation of media channels, the growing influence of the Internet, the rise of citizen journalists—are also having a significant impact on Japan. In the wake of the TEPCO nuclear crisis, and high-profile issues faced by such companies as Toyota and Olympus, Japanese institutions are being subjected to greater scrutiny than ever before on issues ranging from corporate governance to social responsibility and the Japanese public relations industry is being forced to respond. Dentsu PR—the largest firm in the market, with 228 employees in its Tokyo headquarters and an Osaka branch office—is not surprisingly taking the lead. One key benchmark: almost half of the firm’s people have achieved accreditation as PR planners through the strategic public relations training offered by the PR Society of Japan. The firm has also made significant investments in digital and social media, launching a new internet reputation management offer in partnership with Gala Buzz, TMI Associates, and Chartis Corporate Solutions Dentsu Public Relations was founded in 1961, when public relations in Japan was still in its infancy and over the past four decades has been involved in numerous high-profile projects, from the Osaka Expo that showcased Japanese industrial achievement in 1970 to the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s efforts in the 1980s to take advantage of the liberalization of the beef market to work on the Nagano Winter Olympics in the 1990s. Over the years it has built up a formidable network of relationships (a database of 4,800 media outlets, 1,700 companies and 16,000 media representatives) and played a leadership role in the professionalization of the PR industry through its membership in the Public Relations Society of Japan, the Japan Society for Corporate Communications Studies, the Foreign Press Center Japan and the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. The deregulation of many aspects of Japanese business in the 1990s, which also brought an influx of overseas multinationals, changed the nature of Japanese public relations and Dentu PR’s business, its service offering expanding beyond traditional media relations and special events to include investor relations, corporate social responsibility consulting, crisis and issues management, brand building, sector expertise in healthcare, and a suite of e-public relations services. Japan’s continued economic stagnation has meant that the PR market has declined since 2008. For the fiscal year ending March 2012, Dentsu PR recorded net sales of ¥8,022 million, a marginal increase on 2011 numbers. Dentsu is still clearly the market leader, and benefits from a management team with unrivalled experience in the market. In 2011 it named Takehiko Chikami as its new president and CEO after Shigeki Ishimatsu stepped down to serve as an advisor. Chikami, who joined from parent company Dentsu, is supported by four executive officers: Mitsuaki Yamamoto, Akio Kikuchi, Koji Ohta, and Megumi Fujino. Yamamoto, like Chikami, joined Dentsu Public Relations from Dentsu Inc last June, and oversees the Corporate Management Division. 30year agency veteran Kikuchi leads the communication design division and Ohta heads the account services division. Fujino is in charge of the firm’s Kansai branch. In 2012, Dentsu launched a new leadership communication program, providing public speaking coaching services for corporate leaders. Dentsu treats its client list as proprietary, but that list includes 48 companies featured on the 2011 Fortune Global 500 list and 56 of the Nikkei top 225, and while the firm is probably best known for its stellar list of Japanese clients it represents a growing number of overseas multinationals. The firm won the 2012 PRSJ Grand Prix for a corporate communications campaign on behalf of the Japanese Red Cross Society, a high-profile effort that supported the organization’s relief efforts after the 2011 earthquake. That programme followed the firm’s Fukushima recovery campaign for Joban Kosan, which won an AsiaPacific SABRE Award in 2011. The firm also led some interesting work for Starbucks Japan, The firm has opened an office in China to support the expansion plans of Japanese companies into the region’s other major market, and in 2010 entered into a joint venture with Chinese PR powerhouse BlueFocus to launch Dentsu BlueFocus Public Relations Consulting, a PR agency with a network spanning 23 cities in China. The firm also continues to work internationally with various affiliates. Separately Dentsu Inc signalled its global ambitions in early 2013 by buying US firm Mitchell Communications as the first step in an international Dentsu PR Network.—AS EMG International business-to-business marketing and media relations CHINA H SINGAPORE EMG was established in 1991 by founding partners Greg Farrett, a veteran of marketing positions with Pitney Bowes and GE, and Willem van de Velde, former European PR manager for GE Plastics, and while www.holmesreport.com 55
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific it is headquartered in the Netherlands its clients come from every corner of the globe, and the overwhelming majority of its assignments are multinational or even global in nature, providing business-to-business marketers with unparalleled expertise in the technology and manufacturing sectors, drawing on a global media database that includes 15,000 international editors from trade, business, online and broadcast media. From its Dutch headquarters, the firm has successfully implemented pan-European and North American media relations campaigns, but nine years ago it decided that if it was to be equally effective in the Asia-Pacific it needed a physical presence in the region and opened in Shanghai, following it a three years later with a presence in Beijing and in Singapore. The past 12 months saw a significant expansion of the firm’s regional footprint with the launch of a regional network, EMG Asiacom, which consolidated alliances with long-standing strategic partners in India, Japan, South Korea and Australia. The network provides clients with a single point of contact to develop and implement multimarket programs across Asia or direct access to a single market partner agency, and has contributed to continued growth, with new assignments from 3M, Losberger, Rockwell and BENEO last year and a heightened profile in the chemicals sector, in biotech, and in materials and packaging. Meanwhile, Helen Han, general manager in Shanghai since 2010 has helped the firm to consolidate its position as one the leading industrial and business-to-business specialists in the China market. The firm continues to stick to what it does best, although it has added capabilities in areas such as crisis communications, digital and social media and corporate responsibility to meet specific client needs, and is seeing strong growth in its senior executive media training practice. EMG specializes in international programming, working with its own operations in Europe and China, an associate office in Singapore, and with Eurocom—the network of independent business-to-business agencies it founded in 2002—as well as with its new EMG Asiacom network to deliver multimarket solutions.—PH 56 www.holmesreport.com ELEVEN PR Consumer and experiential NEW ZEALAND H AUSTRALIA H SINGAPORE ONCE saddled with a reputation for humdrum media relations activity, a new generation of Australasian PR firms are rapidly reshaping their traditional roles, taking on a more central brand-building position and developing eyecatching award-winning work. Eleven PR is one of the more prominent players in this new wave. The TBWA firm was launched in New Zealand in 2006 and opened an Australian operation in 2011. Eleven’s offering is built around a strong creative insight process, which the firm has supported by bringing in a range of specialist planners, creative and digital experts, and by its access to the wider TBWA network. Eleven has also developed and patented its own media analytics tool called Explore, which is used to evaluate mainstream and online media coverage. The agency was founded by Kelly Bennett, the former managing partner at TBWAPR. In Australia, Eleven is led by Rob Lowe, who previously worked at One Green Bean and Freud Communications. 2012 was a highly successful year for Eleven. Revenues grew and the firm won Agency of the Year honours from both Mumbrella and Campaign Asia, along with two Gold Lions and one Silver Lion at Cannes. All told, Eleven Australia won pitches for 14 new PR clients and more than twice as many projects. Key clients include Nissan, Infinity, Energizer, PlayStation, IAG, Reckitt Benckiser, GSK, Tourism NT, Paymark, Knauf Insulation, Macquarie Private Wealth and Beam Inc. Eleven’s work provides ample proof that its next-generation approach to public relations is working. For fashion brand MJ Bale, the firm devised a smart campaign to build awareness of its sponsorship of the Australian cricket team. Merino sheep were fed grass from the Sydney Cricket Ground, with the resulting Australian cricket team suits being ‘infused with victory’. MJ Bale eventually saw a 520 percent increase in tailored suit orders. “We require a PR agency that understands this and can deliver results by using communication and promotional strategies that utilise our market leading position and deliver campaigns that are effective and uniquely PlayStation,” says Sony Computer Entertainment director of sales and marketing David Hine. “To that end, Eleven PR is a valued partner to Sony Computer Entertainment NZ.  Their work is critical in the process of driving excitement in our campaigns and adding value to the PlayStation brand.” In addition to New Zealand and Australia, Eleven has opened an office in Singapore and is eyeing further Asian expansion. The agency also works closely with Omnicom sibling Fleishman-Hillard.—AS EON Corporate and public affairs, with strong digital capabilities THE PHILIPPINES FROM an initial focus on event management, Eon has grown to become one of the Philippines’ strongest stakeholder engagement firms, with broad public affairs and reputation management capabilities and an expertise that cuts across multiple industry sectors. It is distinguished by an emphasis on research that underpins a more strategic approach that looks to deliver business solutions, not just communications campaigns; and a focus on building trust that makes it an ideal affiliate for Edelman. Chief executive Junie Del Mundo established Eon in 1998, having previously spent 13 years as a diplomat, serving in the Philippine Embassies in Paris and Dakar and at the Philippine Mission to UNESCO in Paris. He is an expert on reputation management and corporate responsibility, is active in the Public Relations Society of the Philippines, and in 2010 was a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. He is supported by president and chief operations officer Leana Carmona-Farrales; assistant vice president for client services Malyn Molina, a veteran of positions at Ogilvy and several local firms; cofounder Jeannie Javelosa, who is also director for creative strategies; and corporate affairs director Rondell Torres, who leads corporate communications and CSR work; and business development director Nico Reyes. Recent years have seen significant expansion of the firm’s digital communications capabilities, a natural extension of its focus on engagement and relationship building. A distinguished client list includes AES, Blackberry, BMW, Cisco, Delta, Diageo, Lafarge, LinkedIn, McDonald’s, Nescafe, SC Johnson, Shell, VSA and VMware. Highlights of the past year included work for the Department of Finance and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, driving awareness for the Philippine hosting of the 45th Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting; the Join the Pact Campaign of Johnnie Walker
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms Philippines, which aimed to educate Filipino consumers and motorists on the importance of practicing responsible drinking; and its celebration of “30 Years of McDonald’s magic in the Philippines.” “EON’s strategic thinking and flexibility in working with clients are a couple of things I really love about working with them,” says Arlene Manalo, retail marketing manager, Pilipinas Shell The firm was also active on the thought leadership front, launching the first Philippine Trust Survey—an outgrowth of the global trust barometer survey conducted by Edelman—to assess public trust in five key institutions: the Church, government, private industries, non-government organizations, and the media.—PH FTI CONSULTING Corporate and financial communications AUSTRALIA H CHINA H HONG KONG H SINGAPORE THE strategic communications practice of FTI Consulting (formerly FD) is one of two genuinely global corporate and financial communications consultancies, a perennial leader in the financial transactions business and other high-stakes, high-profile corporate issues. In the Asia Pacific region, the firm employs approximately 80 people across offices located in Beijing, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Mumbai, Perth, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney and was ranked once again as the number one firm in the region in terms of both the volume and value of deals worked in the mergermarket ranking of M&A advisors. The business launched in Asia in 2005 and has since grown organically and through acquisition, focusing on financial communications, corporate communications, and crisis and issues management, for both multinationals coming into the Asia Pacific region as well as local companies looking to drive their visibility in markets around Asia Pacific. The firm has also expanded its public affairs capabilities, with its Asian and Australian offices worked closely with operations in policy centers such as Washington DC, Brussels, and London; and it continues to leverage the broader management consulting capabilities of its parent company, particularly in areas such as corporate finance, forensic accounting, global risk and investigations, and technology. The Asia business has been led since 2011 by chairman Ray Bashford, who previously headed headed corporate and media relations activities for JP Morgan Asia-Pacific. Jim Kelly is transitioning to the role of chairman of Australia and day-to-day operations there are being driven by Justin Clark, and Shaun Duffy, based in Sydney and Perth respectively. The firm has also recently welcomed back Paul Downie, who will be based in Perth and will expand the link between the firm’s Australia and Asia client bases. The Greater China operation, meanwhile, has been given a boost by the transfer of senior managing director Cara O’Brien, a veteran of the firm’s New York headquarters. FTI has particular expertise in both the natural resources and financial services sectors, driving large scale, crossborder corporate communications and financial communications programmes for many marquee global brands such as BlackRock, BNY Mellon, Rothschild, and Pacific Equity Partners. In the second quarter of 2013 FTI Consulting advised mining infrastructure business Bis Industries—a company owned by KKR—on plans for a $1.2 billion IPO and listing on the Australian Securities Exchange. The firm also works with many leading resource companies in Australia including Lynas, Aurora Oil and Gas, and GlencoreXstrata. Its M&A work, meanwhile, included advising Bright Foods (the second-largest Chinesebased food manufacturing company) on its £1.2 billion acquisition of UK Weetabix; supporting Religare Healthcare Trust’s IPO in Singapore; and consulting on one of Asia’s biggest deals for the first half of 2013, which will see Malaysia-based SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad and Norway-based Seadrill integrate their tender rig businesses under SapuraKencana’s ownership. In Australia, FTI assisted toll road operator Transurban to announce its proposal to build a road in Sydney valued at more than $2.6 billion, and advised the owners of Port Botany and Port Kembla, two recently privatised shipping ports that were acquired by the NSW Ports consortium for more than $5 billion. FTI Consulting also has a strong focus on the development and delivery of thought leadership in both Asia and Australia, helping educate the market and elevate how strategic communications is viewed and executed throughout the region. The FTI Consulting team has developed and hosted a number of industry events including a panel discussion on crisis and reputation management in Hong Kong and events dedicated to best practices in financial disclosure and transparency in Beijing and Shanghai. In Australia, the FTI Consulting team has sponsored an International Association of Business Communicators event on CEO social media communication practices, held panel discussions on politics and corporate governance, and produced regular thought leadership pieces for industry and clients on investor relations and communications.—PH FORTUNE PR SEE OUR ONLINE DIRECTORY LISTING AT WWW.HOLMESREPORT.COM Full-service, integrated communications INDONESIA H SINGAPORE AS one of the leading independent firms in Asia’s fastest-growing economy—Indonesia’s mineral wealth could make it the seventh largest economy in the world by 2030, according to some observers—Fortune PR has been one of the best-performing public relations firms in Holmes Report 250 global ranking over the past three years, with steady double and even triple-digit growth giving it headcount of 100 and fee income of close to $10 million. That performance indicates a focus on innovation that belies Fortune’s age—it was a pioneer in the Indonesian market—and the kind of thorough on-the-ground understanding you would expect one of the region’s leading independent agencies. The firm focuses on domestic clients, but also uses its membership of the Worldcom PR network to give its staff and clients international exposure. Fortune PR also benefits from being a part of the broader Fortune Indonesia Group of communications companies, through which it is able to offer an integrated services that includes advertising, events, and design. Its own expertise spans five divisions following a restructuring in the past two years: Headline! provides media relations and media monitoring services; Mocca provides advertising and brand activation services; DiBe provides digital communications services; Prodev focuses on CSR communications and social marketing; and Verbrand provides marketing research and brand communication strategy services. The past 12 months also saw the formalization of technology, healthcare and consumer groups, and the addition of a Singapore office. The agency is led by president/director Miranty Abidin, who is supported by managing director Indira Abidin. After two key hires in 2010—former Nestle marketing director Himawan G Adibowo arriving to become client service director, and Mayana Budi www.holmesreport.com 57
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific Utami joining as new business development director—the firm added Fardila Astari, a veteran of the not-for-profit sector, as client services director in 2011, and Ati Mochtar, an expert in integrated marketing, as group business director in 2012. Major clients include Citilink, the Indonesian national low cost airline, for which the firm provides branding, PR, advertising, event, and social media support; international household products brand Tupperware; and Bank BTN, one of state-owned banks for which Fortune manages an education program targeting low income communities. New clients in 2012 include Telkom Indonesia, Zurich Insurance, Henkel, Tencent Mobile, Aqua Danone Nations Cup, Enesis Group, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Sinde, KEHATI Foundation, Tata Motors, KLM-Air France, World Toilet Day 2012, Singapore International Foundation, and Indonesian Legal Wood. Highlights included the Tupperware Green Living Campaign and BNC’s savings education campaign, which were among the honorees at our Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards dinner. The firm also handled a rebranding initiative to Citilink, and supported the UN’s World Toilet Day initiative. “I have worked with the Fortune PR team on government relations, localization, video production and media analysis projects,” says Maggie Tan, senior manager, corporate communications for Henkel in Southeast Asia. “In every project, I am assured of Fortune PR’s senior management strategic counsel and support…. Overall, I find the Fortune PR team to be customer-oriented and committed to helping its clients achieve their objectives.”—PH FRANK PR Consumer marketing specialist AUSTRALIA IN its native UK, Frank has grown from a scrappy underdog to one of the market leaders in consumer public relations, thanks to big thinking, no-holds-barred creativity, the ability to provoke a reaction, and tons of what its founder Graham Goodkind calls “talkability,” which means traditional media relations amplified by word-of-mouth. It’s an approach that would probably have resonated in the down-to-earth Australian market anyway, but when Goodkind and partner Andrew Bloch sold to holding company Photon (now Enero) back in 2007, they quickly seized the opportunity to export Frank’s approach and attitude to the antipodean market. The firm’s approach has evolved since then 58 www.holmesreport.com to what it calls “public reactions,” working across multiple channels—digital, social and experiential as well as traditional media—to deliver campaigns, and more recently added an “agendaneering” approach, which draws on the journalistic experience of staff to hijack the news agenda for its clients’ ends. It has also added a new measurement system, which focuses on awareness, acknowledgement (engagement and endorsement) to action (ultimately, sales and behaviour change). The firm’s Australian leadership team has changed too, with the departure of founder Myf McGregor and the appointment of a new team led by managing director Peter O’Sullivan, a 15-year veteran of the UK and Australia who worked as a journalist for ABC and Sky News and led broadcast PR specialist TVC in London before joining Australian market leader Professional Public Relations, where he was national head of consumer. He is supported by associate director Amy Whittaker, formerly of Burson-Marsteller and director of talkability Jason Lees, formerly of One Green Bean in Australia and Cake and Lexis in the UK. The new team has hit the ground running, expanding and diversifying the firm’s client roster with clients such as Air Pacific (soon to be Fiji Airways), Blow Dry Bar, Jack Daniel’s, Intercontinental Golf Resort & Spa Fiji, Maxwell International (distributors of brands like Lowepro, Acme Made, Joby, Tamron, Cokin) and Travel Insurance Direct, joining a roster that includes BlackBerry, the Singapore Tourism Board, Electronic Arts, George Weston Foods (Tip Top), and Reckitt Benckiser (for brands including Clearasil, Durex, Party Feet and Veet). The firm has expanded its social media capabilities and forged partnerships with local events companies to integrate more experiential work into its programming. Highlights include engaging space legend Buzz Aldrin to leverage an ATL campaign for UBank; saving the soles of Australian women with the Party Feet Fashion Week campaign involving a Prince Harry lookalike; launching BB10 for BlackBerry; and creating buzz for Jack Daniel’s first new product launch in 10 years: Tennessee Honey. For Electronic Arts, the firm body-painted League legend Jarryd Hayne as the character Prophet from the game Crysis 3, and for the latest Need For Speed game turned a Lamborghini Gallardo into a Sydney taxi, offering rides to celebrities and media contacts and generating buzz by capturing the image of a local police officer taking a photo of the game just as new laws banned motorists from using mobile phones for any purpose while driving. (The firm then offered free rides in the cab to local police.) “The Party Feet Save Our Soles PR activity was an excellent initiative for the Scholl Party Feet brand this year,” says Emma Ensor, category manager for Reckitt Benckiser. “Frank PR created and delivered a strategy that met the brief and our objectives; amplifying the Fashion Week sponsorship with a unique take on the Prince, and creating buzz about the brand on and off-line, including among some of Australia’s top fashion commentators!” Frank has offices in London, Manchester and New York and works across multiple markets for several clients, including BlackBerry. From the Sydney office, the bulk of the client work is focused on Australia, but several clients engage Frank to work in both the Australian and New Zealand markets.—PH GALAXY COMMUNICATIONS Full-service firm with strong public affairs and crisis capabilities VIETNAM FROM its origins as an investment consultancy to its current position as one of Vietnam’s leading independent public relations firms, Galaxy Communications has been helping international companies promote and protect their brands and their reputation in the Vietnamese market for close to two decades. Over that time it has developed a strong understanding of the local media environment and business climate, and a familiarity with the standards and expectations of the growing number of multinationals who want to reach its population of 87 million consumers. With 75 people spread across offices in both key cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Galaxy offers strategic counselling, public and media relations, marketing communications, event management and digital media services, with particularly distinctive expertise in crisis communications and government relations. Its clients span the IT and telecom, FMCG, financial services, healthcare and energy. And it can draw on the resources of the broader Galaxy Group, which includes production capabilities, mobile marketing expertise and magazines and online media. The firm is led by partner and managing director Le Thu Quyen, who joined in 1994, became a partner in 1999 and was named managing director five years ago. An expert in government relations and crisis communications, she also sits on the board of the International Management Institute of Vietnam. Managing partner Pham Thanh Nga
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms joined Galaxy in 2000 a client services director and has 15 years of marketing communications experience. The office in Ho Chi Minh City is led by Nguyen Thi Trang Nhung, who joined Galaxy in 2008 and has broad marketing experience. The past 12 months have been challenging for the Vietnamese PR sector, following a credit slump that slowed both corporate growth and consumer spending, but Galaxy has survived where some of its peers did not by delivering exceptional customer service and innovating with new offerings. Its client portfolio continues to boast some impressive names: Microsoft, Cisco, Motorola, HP, Hitachi, Unilever, Friesland Campia, Heineken, Citi Group, Standard Chartered Bank, Deloitte, Roche, Sanofi Aventis, and Mubadala among them—many of them with the firm for five or 10 years Highlights included the launch of Windows 8 for Microsoft and the SEAA 2012: Fit to Win meeting for Unilever, which brought together executives from around the region to discuss the consumer goods company’s future. The firm operates primarily in domestic markets, but has the ability to handle pan-regional assignments in cooperation with long-term partner Hill+Knowlton Strategies.—PH Grayling works across multiple practice areas, including corporate and consumer communications, event management, public affairs (a particular focus of the UK parent company), and financial public relations. The firm has also stepped up its digital capabilities, its training offer (from messaging to media preparedness to storytelling), and its sports marketing practice, which since its inception early in 2010 has launched Singapore’s largest ever professional boxing event and introduced the parkour discipline to local Singapore media. Major clients include British Airways, CIPD, Electrolux, Fedex, ICAP, TNT Express, Qantas, Unilever Food Solutions, Western Union, and Zespri International. Around half of Grayling’s work involves multi-market or pan-regional activity, and the firm can call on numerous affiliate relationships in markets in which it is not based. Regional clients include British Airways throughout Asia Pacific and Rolex and Unilever Food Solutions across Southeast Asia.—AS GREBSTAD HICKS COMMUNICATIONS Consumer firm with strong travel and tourism focus has more than made up for that shortfall, and with a strong retention rate, Grebstad Hicks has continued to expand. It works with leading brands in the travel and tourism sector (Orient Express, Maybourne Hotels, One&Only, Raffles, Starwood, Silverseas Cruises and more recently Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts); in food and beverage (Aqua Group. Zuma, ROKA and Morton’s of Chicago in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai); and has added social media work for clients including Moët Hennessy Estates & Wines Collection, Canadian Tourism Commission and Central Coast Vietnam. Highlights include working with Swire Properties to introduce Opus Hong Kong, Frank Gehry’s first residential project in Asia, for top tier international media, and continuing its partnership with Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, Asia’s premier wine and spirits exhibition. Says Vinexpo general manager Robert Beynat: “GHC Asia are effective press consultants, whose experience and professionalism are expressed with friendly reliability.” With five offices in the region, Grebstad Hicks now delivers multimarket work for several clients. It can also reach out to affiliates in markets such as Japan, Australia and Korea for pan-regional work.—PH HONG KONG H THAILAND H CHINA H SINGAPORE GRAYLING Full-service HONG KONG H CHINA H SINGAPORE H THAILAND HUNTSWORTH-OWNED Grayling opened its first office in the region more than a decade ago, when it acquired a single-client Singapore consultancy, Star PR, which provided support to longtime Grayling client and aerospace engine manufacturer Rolls Royce. Since then, the firm has expanded its regional presence to include offices in Hong Kong (opened in 2003), Thailand (2006) and Shanghai (2011), and has about 50 people in the region. Asia-Pacific management is led by regional MD Bruce Shu after Middle East and AsiaPacific CEO Guy Taylor stepped down from active leadership. Shu’s four-year tenure, since arriving from Huntsworth sibling Citigate, has been characterised by an overall return to stability, along with long-awaited expansion into mainland China. The big news for Grayling was Huntsworth’s decision to sell almost 20 percent of its equity to powerhouse China PR firm BlueFocus. Huntsworth CEO Lord Chadlington hopes the deal will boost Grayling’s presence in Asia, by giving the firm access to BlueFocus clients and capabilities. THE burgeoning middle class and higher disposable incomes in Asia have turned many analysts bullish on the region’s travel and tourism sector, and Grebstad Hicks—a 15-year old specialist firm founded in Hong Kong by two travel industry veterans—is well positioned to take advantage. Indeed, recent years have seen a steady expansion of the agency’s footprint, with offices in Hong Kong and mainland China now supplemented by operations in Singapore and Bangkok, now offering marketing and media relations support to hospitality, property and luxury lifestyle brands. Lynn Grebstad has a background in the Hong Kong hotel industry, working with The Regent and the Peninsula Group before starting her own agency, while partner Paul Hicks is a former BBC broadcaster and travel journalist. Together they lead a team of 70 that includes managing directors Gary Kitching (South-East Asia) and Gary Yu (China); regional associate director Rosetta Hon, an eight-year GHC veteran who leads interoffice accounts; and regional business development and marketing director Nicola Monks. The firm has also expanded its digital and social media capabilities, particularly in mainland China. While European clients have been less active as a result of the recession, growth in China HAMILTON ADVISORS Corporate and financial communications HONG KONG WHEN Robert Grieves left his position as president of Edelman’s Hong Kong operations in 2009 to launch his own firm, he opted to name the new business not after himself but for Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the United States Treasury, who once wrote that “I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be”—not a bad philosophy for a public relations firm. Grieves could easily have leveraged the equity in his own name. He enjoyed a 12year career in journalism for The Times, The Economist, Time magazine and Forbes, before spending seven years at BursonMarsteller, five years as head of marketing and communications in Asia for Merrill Lynch, and three years as head of global communications for The Bank of New York, in addition to his stint at Edelman. He has recruited a high-caliber team to help him build the business, including managing director Anne LeBourgeois, a 21-year veteran of JP Morgan Chase; and senior consultants Ying Ying Liu (a specialist in executive and training with a focus on global cultural diversity), Yuan Liu www.holmesreport.com 59
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific (and expert in land use issues), and newcomer Antonia Au, who previously worked with iPR Ogilvy and as head of financial communication at Imagination (Asia). The entire team offers strong local and international media and investor relations, supplemented by expertise in to crisis, mergers and acquisitions, initial public offering, corporate social responsibility, and intercultural communications. All of that is underpinned by a commitment to what the firm calls “concierge service,” which means that all clients receive personal attention from senior management. Last year saw the addition of new clients in the financial services and property sectors— the firm’s client list includes Harvest Real Estate Investments, Engel & Voelkers, Genworth Lifestyle Protection, AGS Four Winds, and Henry Wiltshire—contributing to moderate growth. The firm’s work for Engel & Voelkers was particularly noteworthy, focusing on the German property broker’s increased commitment to the Asian market, and Hamilton also handled a crisis communications plan to help a state-owned enterprise deal with the defection of several property experts. Hamilton Advisors provides communications counsel in Hong Kong and mainland China through a team of English, Mandarin and Cantonese speakers.—PH Agatep is a living legend. I am blessed to have known him and to have learned from him.” Today, Agatep Associates is an integrated communications agency best known for its corporate work, including expertise in issues and crisis management and media training, although the firm also maintains a marketing public relations practice and can draw on additional capabilities in advertising, direct marketing, and special events—with digital capabilities a relatively recent addition. Sector experience includes airline, automotive, banking, pharmaceutical, energy, consumer products, fast food, telecommunications, real estate, consumer electronics, leisure and resorts, shipping, and insurance clients. Charlie Agatep continues to serve as president and CEO of Agatep while Audrey General, a veteran of the travel and tourism sector, serves as managing director and COO. The firm represents a list of clients that includes Chevron, RP Thermal, the National Tourist Office of Spain, PS Bank, Sitel, Giordano, Tao Corporation, Merrell Shoes and Kohl Industries. While the majority of Agatep’s work is focused on the Philippines, it does handle regional assignments through its relationship with Havas or partnerships with other firms such as Ruder Finn in Singapore.—PH HAVAS PR AGATEP THE HOFFMAN AGENCY Multi-specialist best known for corporate work Technology PR firm PHILIPPINES CHINA H HONG KONG H SINGAPORE H KOREA H JAPAN CHARLIE Agatep is an entrepreneur and pioneer, one of the founding fathers of the Philippine public relations business, having struck out on his own in 1983 after his former employer, Mobil Oil, sold off its local retail operations. Agatep Associates was launched five years later, on a shoestring, and has grown over the past 25 years on the back of its founder’s focus on client service, award-winning work (no agency has won more local Anvil awards) and proselytizing on behalf of his own firm and the PR business in the Philippines. It became Havas PR Agatep earlier this year, as part of a rebranding of the French company’s various PR holdings. Agatep is “a guru, a shaper of many professionals who have learned from his artistry and mastery of the craft,” says Presidential press secretary Sonny Coloma. “He has helped elect candidates, sell industry-leading products, shape public opinion and influence diverse audiences across multiple sectors of the market and society. Indeed, in my book Charlie SINCE appointing Beijing-based veteran Chris Tang to head its Asian operations four years ago, The Hoffman Agency has recovered much of the momentum that helped the firm establish itself as one of the top technology specialists in the Asia-Pacific region. Tang’s decision to depart the agency in 2013 means that Hoffman expects a new Asia-Pacific MD onboard by the middle of the year. With its origins in northern California, The Hoffman Agency’s tech-sector heritage is no secret, and it continues to work with some prestigious tech brands, including Google, YouTube, Docomo, Symantec and SAP. At the same time, founder Lou Hoffman has leveraged the firm’s continuing independence to drive an entrepreneurial culture that aims to place a premium on storytelling capabilities. A single regional P&L also remains a key point of difference. After record revenue growth of 30 percent in 2011, spurred by the regional win of PayPal’s PR and social media account, Hoffman’s 2012 60 www.holmesreport.com was less spectacular. Headcount grew by 20 percent to around 70 people across the region, while digital income jumped from such clients as Acer, LeFeng, Western Digital and Evernote. Hoffman’s improved China capability was reflected in the development of a new offering that supports mainland Chinese companies looking to build stronger global brands. The firm has handled specific work in this regard, for ZTE, China Mobile and China Unicom. Elsewhere, Hoffman broadened its focus beyond the tech sector, handling work for the Thailand Pavilion at the Yeosu Expo 2012 in Korea. Leaving aside Tang’s departure, senior leadership has remained stable. The senior team that includes North Asia VP Shingo Nomura; China GM Dong Chen; Korea GM Yonnie Woo; Singapore GM Mayda Jutahkiti; Hong Kong GM Jenny Chan and VP of global operations Lydia Lau. New business included Twitter in Korea; Acer China; Hong Kong’s Kellett International School; Global Foundries across the region and global support for Japanese social gaming player GREE. They join a client roster that features PayPal, ARM, Google/YouTube, RS Components and Alcatel. Campaign highlights included a high-profile brand-building campaign for China Mobile in Hong Kong. In China, the firm’s regional retainer with PayPal saw it develop numerous creative solutions to help a company that does not have a domestic licence to conduct business in the country. Hoffman’s work for Twitter in Korea also stands out, involving a combination of traditional PR and broader marketing. In Japan, the agency supported Hitachi Consulting’s efforts to rebuild a Japanese city that was destroyed by the 2011 tsunami. And in China, Hoffman handled a crisis assignment for Olcaro, triggered by an employee strike in Shenzhen. “As one of our most trusted partners we can always rely on the Hoffman team for strategic, hands-on counsel and support whenever we need it,” says Jabra China managing director Jonas Li. “The team works seamlessly with us to effectively achieve our business goals, and has helped us to significantly strengthen our share of voice among the media and connect more deeply with our key audiences.” Roughly half of Hoffman’s Asia-Pacific work involves multi-country programmes. Aside from its six offices in the region, it works with partners in other markets.—AS
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms HUNTINGTON COMMUNICATIONS INR Full-service PR SOUTH KOREA SINGAPORE WITH a 20-year pedigree, Huntington Communications is one of the most established independent public relations firms in Singapore, with a team of about a dozen providing corporate communications, crisis management, employee relations and marketing and media relations support—along with a more recent digital and social media offer—to a roster of loyal clients, most of which have been with the firm for at least three or four years. They stay at least in part because of Huntington’s ability to increase coverage, awareness and share of voice through savvy PR. For a small agency, Huntington can claim a massive amount of media experience. Managing partner S Kumar has a background as a financial and political journalist, a research analyst and a crisis communications consultant. Senior partner Lena Soh-Ng, is another media veteran, having previously worked in broadcasting, print media and public relations, and is also a past-president of Institute of Public Relations of Singapore. Account director Winnie Lee can draw on experience as an editor for technology and lifestyle publications, and senior account director Marguerita Tan was a print journalist with publications such as Frequent Traveller, Maxim, Family, Tiger Tales, Singapore Business Visitor and Time Out Singapore.ind The firm is equally adept at handling corporate and marketing communications assignments, with a client list that includes a healthy number of major multinationals as well as some local market leaders; the biggest names are IKEA, Watsons, 3M, Fuji Xerox, and Loreal Fragrances, while 2012 saw the addition of several clients in the home furnishings space, including Saporiti Italia from Milan. Revenues were steady, with high-profile projects such as Vivid Sydney (promoting the cities light festival) and the launch of a $50 million flagship complex for high-end furniture retailer Space. Huntington works primarily in Singapore, although recent assignments have ranged from a launch event for a jewelry client in Malaysia to a press trip to Tokyo on behalf of a skincare brand. Most international assignments are handled through membership in IPR, a group of independent agencies in major markets around the world.—PH Full-service PR HAVING established itself over the course of more than a decade as one of Korea’s leading independent public relations firms—with a full-service offer that includes corporate communications, issue management, crisis communications, stakeholder relations, and marketing communications, it was named Public Relations Agency of the Year by the Korea Advertising and Public Relations Professionals Association in 2010—INR has spent the past couple of years expanding its digital credentials. In 2011, it launched its Online Buzz Insight Service(OBIS) to analyse online public opinion around products, brands or issues. In 2012, it formalized a digital communications service with a focus on social media. INR was founded in 1998 by Kevin Lee, who worked in the Korean national tourism office and served as head of Oricom Public Relations as well as spending time in the Seattle office of MWW, and Peter Lee, a veteran of Ogilvy Public Relations and leading Korean agency Prain. The two continue to serve as co-presidents, and both play significant roles in the broader PR industry, Kevin having served two terms as president of the Korean Public Relations Consultancy Association and Peter working as an advisor of Korea Ministry of Culture Sports & Tourism. The firm has broad capabilities in the consumer and technology realms, with clients spanning multiple sectors: agriculture; consumer products; food, beverage and spirits; and hospitality and tourism. Major clients include Japan National Tourism Authority, Asics Korea, Intel, Estee Lauder, Acer, Canada Pork International, Kyobo Book Center, Obigo, Ticket Monster, and The Happiness Foundation of Korea. New additions in the past 12 months include Sealy Korea, Baskin Robbins, Dunkin Donuts, Hysan Place, City of Dreams of Macau, Mercure Seoul, Budweiser, Hoegaarden, Corona, Suntory premium Malts and Wild Blueberry Association of North America. Interesting assignments included a major initiative for the Japan National Tourism Authority, designed to attract Korean tourists to Japan, and an award-winning campaign to promote the Singapore government’s pavilion at 2012 World Expo, held in South Korea. The firm also handled social media and blogger outreach for Macau’s City of Dreams, prompting Charles Ngai, director of public relations for Melco Crown Entertainment, to praise the firm: “From the initial consultation, guidance and service offered to the actual work, INR team always delivered a professional and timely service for the client requests. They took time to understand our requirements, provided valuable advice, and were flexible and accommodating when dealing with unforeseen issues. INR’s experience and knowledge proved invaluable.” INR is the exclusive Korean partner of PROI Group, largest network of independent public relations in the world.—PH IMPACT COMMUNICATIONS AUSTRALIA Corporate and consumer PR with strong social media capabilities AUSTRALIA WITH a dozen or so consultants on staff, Impact does not have the size or depth of many of the other firms featured in this report, but it punches well above its weight in terms of its client list, its track record of industry awards, and its reputation for work in both the business-to-business and consumer space. Founded in 1999 by directors Allison Lee (formerly of Fleishman-Hillard) and Nicole Webb (ex-marketing manager at Universal Press), the firm has differentiated itself via an approach that is insightful, connected and bold and an approach to client relationships defined in a manifesto that stresses “bold ideas and compelling campaigns,” and a commitment to telling “the truth, however unpalatable.” It’s an approach that has proven particularly popular with challenger brands or companies dealing with a difficult media environment. The firm’s business-to-business team is known for producing thought leadership campaigns on behalf of clients across the finance, education, recruitment, human resources, talent management, community services, arts and technology sectors. The consumer team has expertise in categories such as fresh fruit, turf, household cleaning products, kitchen supplies, appliance and children’s literature. And both teams are supplemented by a growing digital and social media capability, underscored by a recent white paper—authored by Lee—on the Truth About Brands and Blogging. While the impact of the recession in Australia has been quite mild, the firm’s New Zealand business has been affected. Still, there was plenty of new business in 2012, from clients such as Ambition, Technology; Defence www.holmesreport.com 61
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific Force Recruiting, the Australian National Maritime Museum in the B2B arena; and consumer clients such as Nescafé Dolce Gusto, Glad Wrap, and Uncle Toby’s. Longer-term clients include Think Education Group, SHL, Unisys Australia, Scholastic, Chux, and Horticultural Australia. Impact picked up a Gold SABRE Award for its work promoting turf to Australian homeowners on behalf of Horticulture Australia and Turf Australia, a campaign that generated nationwide coverage in print, online and broadcast media. Other highlights included launching Chux’s environmental range of products via a sampling promotion and community reward program on Facebook and creating a thought leadership campaign for specialist recruiter Ambition, Technology. “When selecting a PR agency who could take our business forward, Impact demonstrated not only a passion for its industry, but also excellent credentials in PR, branding and communications management,” says Andrew Cross, managing director of Ambition, Technology. “To date we have not been disappointed with the results they have achieved for us and we are now in our second year of partnership.” Adds Megan Francis, senior brand manager at Chux parent Clorox: “In selecting IMPACT, I looked for an agency who could be a true brand partner. PR can be a clever way to create brand strategy. I wanted an agency to help identify and drive that strategy, whilst creating a business case.” Impact works in Australia and New Zealand and is a member of the ECCO network of independent public relations firms.—PH IN.FOM SEE OUR ONLINE DIRECTORY LISTING AT WWW.HOLMESREPORT.COM Boutique PR consultancy SINGAPORE H MALAYSIA FOR anyone with an entrepreneurial bent, the public relations industry offers rich opportunities. In mature PR markets, it has become commonplace for senior executives at large firms to strike out on their own, offering clients an attractive combination of senior-level counsel, agility and attention. In recent years, this trend has firmly taken root 62 www.holmesreport.com in Singapore, and In.Fom is one of a handful of boutique PR firms that have emerged to capitalise on shifting client requirements. The agency was founded in early 2011 by the experienced duo of Mike Liew and Voal Voal Wong, both of whom count plenty of big agency and big client experience on their CVs. Liew is a corporate and crisis specialist with a 20-year track record, including stints at Burson-Marsteller, GolinHarris, Upstream Asia and Visa. Wong, meanwhile, previously headed Hill + Knowlton’s regional technology practice. The firm the duo has created has a broad focus, covering corporate/financial, enterprise and consumer tech, and lifestyle/FMCG, with an enhanced content capability that includes in-house design skills. The name is a play on having an inspired frame of mind, and the firm’s progress suggests that this mindset is working. In a volatile marketplace, In.Fom boasts strong staff retention growing from five to 10 consultants and losing just one support staffer. After launched with two retainer clients Sabic Asia and APF Group - In.Fom secured major retainers from Huawei Devices and Microsoft Singapore (which has since expanded to include Asia-Pacific project work) in its first year of existence. In 2012, the agency added the regional remit for CA Technologies along with business from City Square Mall, MandarinaKids, Marina Bay Sands, XinMSN, NTT Data, Travelmob, Sky 100 and the Singapore Business Advisors and Consultants Council. Accordingly, the agency grew around 60 percent in 2012 around S$1.6m in revenues. Campaign highlights included a six month campaign to launch Windows 8 in Singapore, and supporting the launch of Travelmob.com across seven markets in Asia. “In.Fom has impressed me constantly with its quality of work, industry knowledge and strong focus on a strategic and integrated approach to PR,” said Microsoft commercial and consumer PR lead Verdayne Nunis. “Over the last year, the In.Fom team has worked tirelessly on major launch campaigns from Windows 8 to Surface in Singapore that has showcased its expertise and hands-on approach to delivering great PR results.” In.Fom handles regional work for SABIC Asia, working with local agencies in China, India and Japan. The firm can also count on partner agencies in Asia-Pacific markets.—AS INTEGRAL PR Full-service PR INDIA INTEGRAL PR, one of India’s largest public relations firms, is just one unit of DTA Consulting, a corporate advisory firm that offers a broad range of services—from government affairs to media research and analysis to competitive intelligence—designed to help companies doing business in India. Integral itself has a staff of around 75, offices in 12 major state capitals and provides corporate communications and marketing public relations support, investor relations, media relations, thought leadership programs, government affairs and crisis communications, and social media. The firm’s 360° degree approach—which it calls Focal Point Management—is designed to help clients forge mutually-beneficial relationships with central and state governments, regulatory authorities, NGOs and opinion leaders, the media, consumers, and other key stakeholders. Last year, Integral consolidated its social media team together with its marketing communications consultants within a new practice called IPR Social, which focuses specifically on consumer engagement - in one case creating Victorian-styled ‘jam’ bottles for a client’s music event. After a year of change in 2011, Integral delivered eye-catching growth in 2012 under chief executive Sharif Rangnekar, who is supported by a leadership team that includes COO Ajay Lamba, president Harmindar Singh, and Sonia Sharma in Karnataka/ Kerala. New arrivals in 2012 included VP Vineet Madhukar in New Delhi and principal consultants Ruchi Malhotra and Shweta Agarwal. Integral grew by more than 20 percent growth in 2012, and has also retained over 90 percent of its team across all levels. That latter figure is possibly a reflection of a somewhat ‘bohemian’ work environment, which aims to encourage individuality and free thinking among staffers. Growth was broad-based, but indicated that Integral’s combination of public affairs and public relations is becoming increasingly appealing to clients grappling with a larger variety of stakeholder challenges. The firm’s PR business was up by 20 percent while public affairs grew eight percent, driving overall fee income to US$4.6m. New clients included Red Bull, Groupe SEB, Apple, Gerdau, VLCC, BASF, EU Tourism, Holcim Liberty Shoes, The Leela Palace Hotel,Rexam, Snickers and
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms Symbiotec Infotech - an impressive new business haul that reflects Integral’s ability to build multi-stakeholder campaigns that blend public relations with social media and public affairs activity. Key existing clients include Reckitt Benckiser, Deloitte, Coca Cola, Pedigree, Barista Lavazza, General Motors, Beam Inc, Pearson Inc, Emirates Airlines, Air Arabia, Emirates Holidays, WH Smith, Delhi Duty Free, Durex, Dettol, Jim Beam and Teachers. Notable campaign work demonstrates the agency’s commitment to what it calls “multiconstituency management”, supplemented by a news and research arm, and its ownership of an NGO - Advantage India. The firm’s work for MNP stood out, developing a radio campaign that included content such as jingles and messaging. For other clients, Integral has broadened its horizons considerably, selling merchandise and actively involving itself at the more sales-focused end of the spectrum. For Groupe SEB, meanwhile, Integral handled a sensitive crisis situation revolving around a battle with the company’s Indian partner. And for Barista Lavazza, Integral developed a range of engagement programmes, focusing on such areas as music, literature and fashion. “Grounded in reality, and with a clear understanding of our business needs and overall company philosophy, Integral PR has time and again suggested strategies which have proved invaluable towards achievement of laid company objectives,” said Barista Lavazza COO Nilanjan Bhattacharya. “We are happy to have them as our partners and look forward to many more years of fruitful association with them.” In addition to its Indian offices, Integral can call on a South Asian partner network to provide support for clients. Seven years ago, the firm became the first Indian agency inducted as a partner of Public Relations Organisation International, a network of independentlyowned public relations firms with operations in more than 28 countries. The relationship gives Integral’s clients access to some of the best independent firms in key European markets and beyond. —AS KPR & ASSOCIATES Full-service public relations KOREA ESTABLISHED in 1989, KPR & Associates is one of the most experienced public relations firms in the Korean market, and with 105 fulltime professionals it is also one of the largest, differentiated from the majority of its local competitors (including the Korean offices of many multinational PR firms) by the full-range of services it can offer, which includes consumer and sports marketing, events and promotions, digital and online marketing, corporate and financial public relations, and issues and crisis management experience, as well as sector expertise in information technology, healthcare, and the public sector. The firm experienced healthy double-digit revenue growth again in 2012, despite difficult economic conditions and an increasingly competitive local market, with several recent innovations—in March of last year it launched a Social Communication Research Lab to study social media trends and inform its client work— leading the way. The firm has also formalized a corporate social responsibility practice, leading by example: its own CSR effort, the KPR Collegiate PR Idea Contest, celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. Last year saw the addition of several big brand name clients: AstraZeneca (Brilinta), Citibank, Cook Medical, Fuji Xerox, KT Smart Home, LG Life Sciences, Lotte. com, Monsanto Korea, Mundipharma Korea, Pulmuone, Siemens Seoul and YES 24. The firm also continued to work with long-term clients such as Airbus (a client for 19 years), Hankook Shell Oil (17 years), 3M (15 years), CA Technologies (14 years), Lockheed Martin (13 years), and LA Inc., The Convention and Visitors Bureau (11 years). Other clients include Symantec Korea, Toyota Motor Korea, Jeju Free International City Development Center, Dow Corning Korea, GSK (Boostrix, Cervarix, Havrix), Singapore Airlines, Singapore Tourism Board, and SAP Korea. The firm won a Gold Stevie Award at the 2012 International Business Awards for ”Happy House,” 3M Scotch Brite’s official blog in Korea, which provides information and tips to homemakers via its virtual avatar, Mrs. Brite. Meanwhile, the Fuji Xerox Korea blog, which KPR operates, won the grand prize at the Korea Blog Awards in 2012 for the second consecutive year, recognized for its high-quality content and promotion of open communication with salaried workers, its primary audience. In addition to its domestic work, KPR handles several pan-regional public relations assignments, working primarily with international PR agency MS&L. In January 2008, the two firms partnered to launch the MSL Korea brand.—PH KREAB GAVIN ANDERSON Corporate and financial communications, public affairs HONG KONG H AUSTRALIA H CHINA H JAPAN H SINGAPORE THE merger in early 2009 of Omnicom-owned Gavin Anderson & Company and European corporate public relations specialist KREAB brought together one of the most established financial PR brands in the Asia-Pacific region with an expanding global firm relatively new to this part of the world to create an operation with a substantial regional footprint—branded offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, as well as six cities in Australia and New Zealand and strong affiliates in other key markets—and a global network that includes 350 consultants serving 500 clients in more than 25 countries. Gavin Anderson & Company was ahead of its time in terms of recognizing the importance of the Asia-Pacific marketplace, perhaps because its eponymous founder was an Australian with global experience. As a result, the firm has had a presence in the region for 30 years and has been a pioneer and a leader in capital markets communications in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and Australia for most of that time. It has advised on the largest ever cross-border financial transaction in Japan; the first ever contested bid for a company in Japan; the first ever contested takeover of a Chinese company; the first takeover of one independent Chinese company by another; on Asia’s largest ever non-privatization IPO; and on seven of the ten largest IPOs in Singapore in recent years. 2012, however, was a year of significant change for Kreab Gavin Anderson (KGA) in Asia-Pacific, with the firm’s key senior leaders all departing for pastures new. An aborted MBO that involved senior KGA executives in the UK and Asia eventually led to the departures of Asia and Japan heads Richard Barton and Deborah Hayden, respectively, while Singapore MD Terence Foo also left. In their place, Kreab Gavin Anderson appointed Jonathan Kushner as Japan managing partner, and Walter Jennings to the same role in Hong Kong. In Singapore, Jenny Yeo was promoted to the top role. The firm has about 120 people in the region, with about 50 in Australasia, 25 in Tokyo, and 15 each in Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore. In recent years, KGA has been able to expand in areas outside of the financial communications experience for which it is best known, continuing the expansion of its broader corpowww.holmesreport.com 63
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific rate and public affairs business. In Hong Kong, for example, it established a dedicated public affairs practice—complementing an existing offer in China that works on both inbound and outbound business—while social media capabilities were expanded in both Hong Kong and Australia, focused on corporate reputation and business-to-business work. Additional growth came from clients in the sovereign wealth fund, private equity, industry, retail and government sectors.—AS KYODO PUBLIC RELATIONS Multi-specialist PR firm JAPAN THE first notable thing about the media in Japan is just how much of it there is: in 2005 the number of daily newspapers printed exceeded 70 million, the equivalent of 644 newspapers per 1000 adults (compared to 352 in the U.K.; 313 in Germany; 233 in the U.S.) and the five largest newspapers each sell more than four million copies daily, more than any of their largest Western counterparts. The public service broadcasting company NHK is second in size only to the BBC and directly employs roughly 12,000 people, and more than 120 companies provide commercial terrestrial broadcasts. About 3,000 magazines are published weekly or monthly. The second notable thing is that the rules of engagement with Japanese reporters are very different and have the potential to cause problems for those more familiar with Western media. Kyodo, one of the largest and oldest of the independent Japanese PR agencies, has built its reputation largely on its ability to help clients reach the right media with the right message. Several of its media relations specialists are former journalists from top national dailies such as the Yomiuri Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun. It has experience working with large circulation national newspapers to highly targeted trade publications, often hand-delivering press releases to the appropriate editors, reporters and television news directors and providing briefings on the salient background issues to ensure that news is seen in the appropriate context. Close personal relationships with reporters mean that the firm is often consulted on feature stories long in advance of publication, creating opportunities for clients. That expertise means that Kyodo has a strong local client base—about 75 percent of its clients are Japanese companies—but also appeals to a growing number of overseas 64 www.holmesreport.com multinationals who require an in-depth knowledge of local media. One of its key sponsors in this regard is Japan’s Ministry of Forestry, Food and Agriculture. For a firm that prides itself on stability, 2011 was not a year that Kyodo executives will remember fondly. Founder Sakae Ohashi departed following a fraud scandal, and the agency was forced to take a number of steps to reassure clients and the market that the situation was under control. Kyodo veteran Akira Yamada stepped up to take on the roles of president and CEO. Japan endured a turbulent 2011 in terms of PR spend, and results from Kyodo were not available as this report went to press. As of the end of 2010, the firm employed around 300 people and boasted billings of 4,603 million yen. Its client roster includes Adobe, Warner Japan, DHL, Finn Air, Malaysian Tourism in Japan, Disney Japan, Amazon.co.jp, UNICEF, Michelin Guide, L.L. Bean, JATA, Johnson & Johnson, AGF, Etihad Airways, Tokyo Tower, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Tokai University. In 2010, Kyodo also inked a new partnership with Yahoo Japan to help its clients access the online giant’s corporate news section. In addition the firm introduced a new report that explores China’s mass media and PR environment, along with a DVD of a seminar on Chinese PR. With its 48 years of PR experience in Japan, Kyodo focuses primarily on the domestic market, but it works through several networks, including its own operations—there are branch offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul and Brussels—and a strong collaboration with Ruder Finn. The firm is also part of GlobalCom PR Network, a worldwide group of independent PR and marketing communications agencies. —AS LIQUID IDEAS Consumer marketing explain its enthusiastic embrace of new digital and social channels. Last year saw two significant moves to expand the firm’s operations. In May, Gregor brought in Samantha Allen, most recently managing director of the global consumer practice for Ogilvy PR Worldwide, as agency director. And in August, the firm launched a dedicated content practice, staffed by designers and video producers, who support the public relations and social teams with a wide variety of creative content. That helped to drive a year of solid growth. Major clients such as Carlton & United Breweries extended their relationship with Liquid Ideas to include brands such as Victoria Bitter and Carlton Draught. Other long-standing clients include Kellogg’s, Kraft, Singapore Airlines, Westfield and Treasury Wine Estates, and there was new business in 2012 from Citibank, ASFA (the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia), Gloria Jean’s Coffees, Coles Liquor and Nestle/ Peter’s Ice Cream. Highlights included the Victoria Bitter “Back to its Best” campaign, which celebrated the return of Australia’s most loved iconic beer back to “full strength” (4.9 percent ABV) after cutting alcohol content in a bid to avoid excise taxes; CSR work for the R U OK? Foundation, a charity focused on suicide prevention; and an “edible fashion” campaign, which brought the worlds of food and fashion together for high profile retailer, Westfield Sydney. “When I first moved to Kellogg’s Australia from the UK, I asked the local media which PR agencies they would recommend,” says Gareth Lucy, public relations manager, Asia Pacific, for the food giant. “The name that kept coming up, time and time again, was Liquid Ideas. And now, nearly two years later, they are still delivering above and beyond our every expectation.” The firm focuses on Australia but occasionally partners with Pead PR in New Zealand, an affiliate within the IPREX network.—PH AUSTRALIA WHAT’S a “liquid idea”? When Stuart Gregor launched a firm with that name in Melbourne in 2000, it was an idea that helped shift product for the firm’s earliest clients in the wine business. But as Gregor’s firm has expanded into the broader lifestyle arena (and in 2007 added a Sydney office), the term has come to mean something more, the kind of ideas that start conversations, strengthen relationships and change behaviors. “Liquid Ideas are designed to flow through the social plumbing that connects our world,” the firm says—which helps MANGO Marketing communications including PR, experiential and digital AUSTRALIA H NEW ZEALAND IN 1995, managing director Claudia Macdonald launched a PR firm within DDB Group that aimed to undertake PR on behalf of the ad agency and its clients. Renamed Mango in 2005, the firm has since become one of New Zealand’s best-known marketing communications agency, with 18 staffers working across
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms PR, experiential, activation, social media and events. The agency also now has well-regarded affiliate offices in Sydney and Melbourne. A former journalist, Macdonald is one of New Zealand’s most experienced PR practitioners. She is supported by GM Bob Glancy, who previously led PR for Xbox in New Zealand and ran his own firm. In 2012 new hires included senior account director Kate Carter and account director Sean Brown. Despite the lingering effects of the 2012 recession, Mango performed well in 2012, retaining the majority of its clients and winning a number of new retainers, including Fullers GreatSights Bay of Islands, Fonterra, Coca-Cola Oceania, Pink Batts, Meridian, Auckland Racing Club/Ellerslie, Travel Channel, PlaceMakers and Tourism Fiji. They join a client roster that features Specsavers, Qantas, Lion Wines & Spirits, McDonald’s, Google, Igloo, MOTAT and Tourism Holdings. Campaign highlights included issues and crisis management for Qantas, Tourism Fiji and Motat; launching the Fullers GreatSights Bay of Islands ‘Freedom Friday’ campaign; the Spectacle Wearer Of The Year Awards 2012; launching the KIWI BLUE ECO-TWIST bottles via Sustainable Fashion Show at the 2013 Ellerslie International Flower Show, Christchurch; and, helping Lindauer launch a new TVC in celebration of the ‘Girls Nights Out’ - via a tiered champagne fountain which was suspended above two LCD screens playing the TVC whilst ‘tears’ simultaneously fell gently from the screens and into the fountain. “There are few other New Zealand agencies which hold the breadth and depth of experience that Mango does,” says Sala Toganivalu Lesuma, regional director of Tourism Fiji in New Zealand. “In only a matter of seven months Mango has already pitched and managed a number of very successful campaigns and famils for Fiji which have garnered great coverage and huge audiences. Mango has also been instrumental in assisting in our crisis management programme, dealing expertly with a number of small crisis issues – such as a recent resort fire – and the most recent crisis, Cyclone Evan.”—AS MAVERICK Issues management and new media INDONESIA DESPITE a name and attitude that hints at a hankering for rebellion, 11-year-old Maverick is now firmly established as one of Indonesia’s most respected corporate consultancies. The agency describes its approach as one that “takes no prisoners”, a mindset that has reaped rich dividends in a country where the next corporate crisis is rarely too far away. In addition to its core strength in crisis management and litigation PR, Maverick has also developed a strong CSR capability: an important offering in a country that faces several environmental and social issues. The firm can also claim pioneer status in the development of Indonesia’s social media scene, having launched an online monitoring and evaluation service called Gauge and playing a critical role through its organisation of Pesta Blogger - the largest national blogger gathering in the country. In 2011, the firm launched two new divisions: Raconteur, which provides strategic digital consultancy and social media monitoring; and, training and coaching program Brio, which offers modules in media handling, crisis management and social media. These were followed in 2013 by a stronger focus on research and analysis, including the recruitment of a senior researcher to integrate online and offline media monitoring results in pursuit of more valuable business insights. The agency was launched in 2002 by Ong Hock Chuan and Lita Soenardi. Technical advisor Ong is a veteran journalist who has worked across Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Indonesia, before heading Ogilvy PR Indonesia. Soenardi, meanwhile, is a corporate leadership specialist who also worked at Ogilvy PR Indonesia. Felicia Nugroho leads the training division and also manages the marketing communications practice while Crivenica Alam is on maternity leave. Charlie Tjokrodinata, who completed an internship at Maverick last year, joined as head of research. Jonathan Tenggara has been promoted to head of the digital division, replacing Hanny Kusumawati, who now serves as creative rirector for the consultancy. Nur Shilla Christianto is vice president, and heads the corporate communications practice for the consultancy. The corporate practice remains the biggest contributor to Maverick’s revenues, thanks to a number of crisis and issues management cases in 2012. Major retainer and project clients include Airbus, Airbus Military, Nestlé, PT. Pacific Food Indonesia and Sampoerna Brand A. In 2012, the firm added new business from PT. Freeport Indonesia and The Ministry of Trade of The Republic of Indonesia. Maverick works with a range of international and regional agencies when necessary.—AS MEDICOM Marketing PR, digital communications specialist KOREA ONE of the most digitally-savvy PR firms in one of the most digitally-savvy PR markets in the region, Korea’s Medicom’s capabilities in the digital and social space were they key factor in sealing a 2012 deal to work alongside global public relations giant Burson-Marsteller in the Korean market. Established in 1997, the firm initially focused on building a full-service public relations offer, quickly establishing itself as one of the market leaders. But the past couple of years have seen a major investment in digital and social media and in big data mining. In 2012, the firm launched SNS Minsim (developed in partnership with Konan Technology), using targeted mining technologies to collect and analyze public opinion related to this year’s general elections. It also partnered with UX Korea, a digital marketing firm, to introduced Big Foot, a system that estimates the influence of company’s Facebook page. And with Redwood Interactive, a social media marketing agency, and UX Korea, it is offering an integrated Facebook marketing solution called Skull Key. As a result, Medicom now provides integrated digital and traditional services to more than half of its clients, including big names such as LG Electronics, Shiseido, Nike, and Kiehl’s, served by about 140 account staff, and last year saw the introduction of big data and social intelligence services for clients such as Accenture and BMW. The new service offerings helped the firm to healthy double-digit growth in 2012, with new business from IBM, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, LG, Nongshim, the Australian Trade Commission, and the US Embassy (for social media sentiment analysis). Other major clients include Cathay Pacific, Auction, Loreal, Pulmuone, Delmonte, and Sungkyunkwan University MBA. In addition to its domestic market, Medicom can now offer clients access to international reach through its partnership with Burson-Marsteller.—PH www.holmesreport.com 65
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific MILEAGE COMMUNICATIONS Full-service PR with strong crisis capabilities SINGAPORE H CHINA H INDIA H INDONESIA H MALAYSIA H THAILAND H VIETNAM THE US-based multinational public relations agencies face tough competition on a marketby-market basis throughout the Asia-Pacific region, but there are relatively few local firms with a multi-country presence and most of those tend to be run by expatriates with multinational agency experience. Singapore-based Mileage Communications is an exception. Founded in 1992 by former Straits Times journalist and Singapore Airlines and United Overseas Bank communications executive Yap Boh Tiong, the firm now has 11 offices in seven markets, making it the largest Asia-based network in terms of its geographic footprint. The headquarters operation in Singapore coordinates most of the firm’s regional business. It has considerable experience in the consumer, healthcare, technology and shipping sectors and expertise cross corporate, consumer, financial and crisis communications, with the latter an arena in which Mileage can boast a wealth of experience, having handled crises ranging from the Nicoll Highway collapse in Singapore to the sinking of the Hyundai 105 cargo ship off Singapore to health problems related to the weight-reduction drug Slim 10. Beyond Singapore, Mileage provided crisis support in the wake of the bombings at Marriott Islamabad and JW Marriott/Ritz Carlton in Jakarta. The firm is also a member of the Maritime Technical International Network, which provides rapid response media relations and public affairs support to the shipping industry. The firm’s first venture into the regional arena came in 1999, through a joint venture in New Delhi (the Indian operation now also includes offices in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore) and proceeded with new offices in Kuala Lumpur in 2000 and Jakarta and Bangkok in 2002, each of them run by experienced local professionals with strong market knowledge. The firm added its first China office late in 2009, and last year expanded into Vietnam, through an investment in local firm IPRO Communications (now Mileage IPRO Communications). The leadership team includes Patsy Phay, an expert in financial communications based in the Singapore headquarters and responsible for clients such as Rabobank and State Street Global Advisors; Malaysian partner Nancy Yeoh, who leads the firm’s efforts for lifestyle clients such as Cartier and Hilton Hotels.; 66 www.holmesreport.com Sunil Puri in India, who manages programs for the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Visit Britain and The Economic Development Board of Singapore; Thai general manager Vichai Lerlitchai, who has a strong background in the hospitality sector; and in Indonesia, Carlina Patuwo, who has a background in human resources as well as communications. Revenues grew by an impressive 30 percent—crisis work and investor relations leading the way—and the firm’s client list continues to impress: Senoko Energy, Insight Vacations, World Gold Council/State Street Global Advisors, HotelClub.com. In addition to its own operations in Asia, Mileage is a member in the Public Relations Global Network, an alliance of independent firms in 40 markets around the world and last year entered into an exclusive partnership agreement with Ozma of Japan to support Japanese companies in its various markets. —PH N2N COMMUNICATIONS Multi-specialist with strong technology credentials AUSTRALIA ORIGINALLY focused on Australia’s welldeveloped information technology and telecommunications sectors, n2n communications embarked on a strategy of diversification several years ago, expanding into new sectors ranging from consumer products to government to corporate (with a particular focus on clean technology and environmental issues), and perhaps more significantly into the digital and social media, leveraging its high-tech heritage to build a reputation as one of the leaders in that growing market. The diversification strategy triggered a period of healthy growth for the firm: it has more than doubled in size over the past five years—2012 saw a very healthy 20 percent increase in fee income, the vast majority of it from existing clients—and now employs a team of 34 across a balanced portfolio of business. That growth came from a strategy focused on expanding the scope of work for core clients such as GE, National Broadband Network, General Electric, Facebook, Cisco and the Digital Switchover Taskforce. Other high profile assignments included work with Cisco on the “next generation workplace,” including a high-level event in association with The American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore; helping Facebook increase awareness of how young people can stay safe on the site with the launch of a national anti-bullying campaign, Be Bold Stop Bullying; and a stakeholder relation campaign for the Department of Broadband, Communications & the Digital Economy to support the switch from analog to digital television. One key to the growth of its existing business (and 100 percent client retention) was the expansion of digital and social media services: the firm developed and launched an integrated media newsroom for the Digital Switchover Taskforce; delivered a comprehensive online and social media strategy for NBN Co; grew the digital portion of its thought leadership program for GE Capital; and conducted a digital and social media audit for Transport NSW. And in November, the firm partnered with Deloitte to host an industry event called “Digital Disruption: Journalism at the Speed of Bytes.” The firm continues to differentiate itself from others in a highly-competitive market through the quality of its relationships with the media, as evidenced by a strong stream of referral business delivered by reporters and editors from key publications; for its emphasis on measurement, with key performance indicators established in partnership with the client ahead of every campaign; through a structure that builds multifunctional teams designed to address specific client needs rather than fit neatly into industry sector or practice area silos; and through an emphasis on attracting and retaining top talent. The senior leadership team has quality in depth. Founder Nicky Dowling has more than 15 years of experience in public relations consultancy as an advisor to CEOs and senior management at Australian and multinational corporations including Sun Microsystems, Hutchison Telecoms 3, and NEC, having previously worked as national group manager in the technology practice at Edelman’s Australian operations. Joint owner Jaime Verco has 15 years of communications experience, with an emphasis on online channels, having been part-owner of Australia’s largest digital agency before its sale a decade ago to Deloitte. They are joined by managing director Vanessa Liell, a specialist in the clean tech sector; group account directors Liz Hirst, Kate Hines and (new in 2012) Laura Tallett; and head of strategy Katie Curran, another new addition. In addition to its Australian network of affiliates, n2n is meeting client demand for regional support—Cisco is one company using the firm’s international reach—through partnerships with Asian and international agencies.—PH
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms 124 COMMUNICATIONS PPR Full-service public relations Full-service PR THAILAND AUSTRALIA H NEW ZEALAND CONTINUED political turmoil has wreaked havoc with many of Thailand’s business sectors in recent years, and the PR industry is no exception. In that context, the performance of 124 communications—one of the country’s largest and most sophisticated firms—has been resilient, and veteran consultant Nimitz Modrakee’s firm is now well positioned to take advantage of a more stable environment. Founded in 1988 with a focus on technology, 124 has broadened its offer considerably but remains one of the strongest independent public relations firms in Thailand (as well as one of only a handful of PR firms listed on an Asian stock exchange). After initially making its name for providing a broad range of services— including  corporate communications, investor relations (including IPOs), issues and crisis management, government relations and  public affairs, and marketing communications—to blue-chip corporates and government agencies, 124 shifted its focus last year, adding a focus on alternative and renewable energy communications. Under current Thai laws, the public is empowered to voice its opinion on any industry thought to be endangering the environment. Businesses involved in mainstream production and manufacturing require public assessment and approval before being granted a licence to operate. This has created considerable confusion among different stakeholders, and a surge in NGO activity, requiring expert guidance of the kind 124 has always sought to deliver. 124 remains noted for its high levels of proactivity and creativity and its commitment to client service. Modrakee, previously a management consultant to the National Science and Technology Development Board and chief consulting officer to The Telephone Organization of Thailand, Port Authority of Thailand and Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, has surrounded himself with several other seasoned executives: managing director Sopawadee Chanthaworn, who worked her way up through the agency’s ranks; chief strategist and creative director Thongchai Chansevikul, formerly of Leo Burnett, FCB and Lowe Worldwide; public affairs manager Watit Prasomsap; and executive director Inthira Chaion-nom. 124 focuses exclusively on the domestic market. It is also Ketchum’s affiliate in Thailand.—AS/PH WITH more than 170 people and 500 clients across a truly national network of eight owned offices in Australia and New Zealand (Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Auckland and Wellington), PPR has established itself as the biggest public relations brand in its domestic market—and in 2012 parent Young & Rubicam Group embarked upon a mission to expand the firm’s reach, launching PPR North America in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, under the leadership of former Accenture corporate communications chief Fred Hawrysh, and promising a European presence in the coming months. The Australian operations, meanwhile, will continue under the leadership of Richard Lazar—who has led the business since his appointment as managing director of 1982—and agency founder Peter Lazar, who continues to serve as chairman. They lead one of the most experienced management teams in the region, including executive directors Sally Haysom (Eastern region and New Zealand) and Peter Harris (Western region); and general managers Lee McLean (Brisbane), Michael Pooley (Sydney), Jonathan Tudor (New Zealand), Dena Vassallo (Adelaide), Bridget Marcou (Melbourne), and Nicole Moody (Perth). The stability of that team has been a key factor in the “one team” approach that has enabled PPR to deliver seamless service across its multiple practices and offices. New additions in 2012 include Jorn Sanda, formerly of Exelite, Hill & Knowlton and Hotwire, who adds to the firm’s strategic capabilies as senior creative counsel; and social media expert Neil Collins, who previously developed Vodafone’s social and video strategy and program and led social strategy for ING Direct. The firm also continued the expansion of its service offering, most notably in the content creation arena, expanding its strategy planning, video production and distribution, and content management capabilities, and making a number of strategic acquisitions: experiential agency Sublime; Style Counsel, a fashion marketing and PR firm; and PSS, a video creation and distribution company. Revenues have been steady in recent years, at just above the US$20 million mark. Major clients include Emirates Airline, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Dell, Unilever, South African Tourism, Randstad, ExxonMobil, Hills Holdings, Melbourne Spring Fashion Week and Jenny Craig (New Zealand). New business in 2012 came from ALDI, the Department of Manufacturing Innovation Trade Resources & Energy, the Department of Broadband Communications & the Digital Economy, NSC, Redkite, Air Pacific, Pharmaco NZ, the Emirates Melbourne Cup Carnival, Western Union and more. The firm continued to work on the award-winning Australian Year of the Farmer campaign, engaging Australians in rural, regional and metropolitan communities to celebrate the achievements, history and future of Australian Farmers. Alongside Burson-Marsteller Korea, it worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade to manage and execute a communications campaign promoting the Australian Government’s participation at 2012 International Expo in Yeosu, Korea. And for Asia Pulp & Paper, PPR worked on the global announcement of a commitment to sustainable forestry management. The firm also hosted the PPR Australian Resources Showcase Pavilion at two of Asia-Pacific’s premier mining industry events, Mines & Money Hong Kong and China Mining, Tianjin. With an impressive track record of working trans-Tasman, PPR clients serviced in both Australia and New Zealand include blue-chip brands such as Emirates Airline, Randstad, Dell and Bunnings. Regional assignments include the work for APP. And the firm’s new international capabilities—along with its relationships with other WPP companies—provide genuinely global reach.—PH PR ONE Full-service KOREA KOREA may have the strongest indigenous PR industry of any market in Asia. While several of the giant multinationals have strong operations in Seoul, the market leaders tend to be local firms like PR One, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2013 with growth of close to 30 percent, a team of 130 and fee income of more than $14 million. Like many of its peers, PR One has expanded beyond mere publicity to offer the full range of public relations services as well as an expanding range of digital and social media tools (a new SNS service analyzes public opinion online and offers strategic solutions), and events. www.holmesreport.com 67
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific The firm is led by co-chief executives JaeYoung Cho and Beak-Soo Lee, with a strong senior team that includes directors Hyung-Jin Moon and Chul-Hee Park—most of whom have experience with large international agencies and or in client-side positions. Clients include Chartis (former subsidiary of AIG General Insurance Group), Bosch Korea, Pulmuone, Ministry of National Defense, Korea Hydro & Nuclear, Samsung Electronics, Groupon, Maserati, Nespresso, and Diageo Korea. New additions in 2012 include Qatar Airlines, Hyundai Card and 10 others. There was strong growth in the public sector in particular: clients include Korea Tourist Service and the Agency for Traditional Market Administration. “PR One is specialized in national PR environment and has many PR experts who are proficient in both online and offline PR sectors,” says Jin-Hyung Moon, PR director of Chartis. “That is the main reason why PR One can provide the best PR consultancy in any situation. PR One offers much more than PR consultancy to Chartis such an actual run-up so PR One can help them to settle successfully in South Korea business environment.” On the international front, PR One works with Cohn & Wolfe.—PH PR PUNDIT Consumer public relations INDIA PR Pundit, which celebrated its 15th anniversary last year, has risen to prominence in the increasingly crowded Indian public relations market in part because of its ability to deliver strong media results for clients even in the absence of conventional news. The firm prides itself on its ability to work with features editors to develop story ideas, deliver outside-thebox solutions and a creative approach that maximizes opportunities even for clients with limited resources, and on a commitment to client service that has resulted in one of the best client retention levels in the market. PR Pundit employs a team of 40 professionals, led by founder and director Archana Jain, a 20-year veteran of the communications world with experience in industry sectors including automobiles, consumer goods, financial services, media and entertainment, retail, and travel and leisure and experience in high-profile corporate work including mergers, restructurings, crisis communications and new product introductions. She is supported by a 68 www.holmesreport.com newly-formed management development group that includes Arpana Kumar Ahuja, another 20-year veteran of the industry who formerly served as director of corporate communications for Encyclopaedia Britannica; Charu Raizada, formerly of Enterprise PR and Perfect Relations; Gauri Kohli, a specialist in luxury and lifestyle brands; and Parul Suri, whose works spans media and entertainment, education, retail and healthcare clients. Last year saw the return of Karishma Gupte, who is working with several key clients and on business development. Despite the sluggish economy, there was steady growth in 2012, with new clients including Ananda in the Himalayas, Arttd’inox, Australian Wool Innovation, Cremica, Damiani, Elle, Fisher & Paykel Appliances, JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity, Kama, Mettl, mydala, Naturals, Nautica, Nirmal Bharat Yatra, PR Fonroche, Quikr, Sothebys and voylla.com. The firm continues to work for Accor Hospitality, Apollo Munich, Bata, Blue Foods, Chopard, Christian Louboutin, Fossil, Kingdom of Dreams, Lifestyle International, McDonald’s, Moet Hennessy, NDTV, Panerai, Piaget, Radio Mirchi, Royal Sundaram, Swarovski Elements, TOD’s, TTK Prestige, United Breweries Ltd., Vacheron Constantin, and Wills Lifestyle. A particular highlight was the agency’s campaign for the appointment of Sourav Ganguly as brand ambassador for Apollo Munich. The news was communicated via a webisode, a Bollywood-style trailer for “Ganguly, the movie,” which was viewed for than 500,000 times and drove a 350 percent increase in traffic to the Apollo Munich website. The firm also launched a high-profile sanitation and hygiene awareness and behaviour change campaign for WASH United and Quicksand; introduced the Christian Loubotin brand, its store and accessories in India; and supported Accor’s presentation of an evening with Moulin Rouge to celebrate the company’s French heritage. “It has been a successful and pleasant journey to work with PR Pundit who have been driving our media relations for the past four years,” says Jean-Michel Cassé, senior vice president, operations, for Accor in India. “PR Pundit has not only demonstrated enthusiasm and passion but has shown a huge commitment towards the group’s success…. PR Pundit are more of consultants to Accor than mere media managers.”—PH PRAP Full-service firm JAPAN H CHINA MANY industry observers believe PRAP to be the second or third largest public relations firm in all of the Asia-Pacific region, lagging only Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide—with which it enjoys a strategic partnership—and Japanese ad agency-owned rival Dentsu in fees. It easily beats out most of the multinational firms with a pan-regional presence despite the fact that it focuses more or less exclusively on the Japanese market. Today it has 257 employees in its Tokyo headquarters and in a Chinese subsidiary that works primarily with Japanese companies seeking to do business in China. That’s enough to generate billings of around 4.2 billion yen ($44 million), a slight increase in its 2011 performance, accomplished against tough economic conditions. Founded in 1970 with a focus on working with Japanese companies, PRAP was one of the first indigenous firms to offer public relations services to foreign multinationals operating in Japan, and until recently overseas companies continued to represent about twothirds of the firm’s business. That reliance has shifted in favour of Japanese clients, although like many agencies in the country, PRAP does not reveal its client list. Founder and chairman Hisashi Yajima, who passed away at the end of 2012, was one of the pioneers of Western style public relations in Japan and a leader of the industry in the market. In 2007, he passed on the role of CEO to Satoshi Sugita, a veteran of BursonMarsteller, who leads a strong senior team that includes executive managing director Takashi Izumi, a founder of the company and one of Japan’s premier practitioners in crisis and issues management communications; and directors Norinobu Mori, Naomi Fudeya, Junko Koyama, and Minoru Fujita. In 2011, Sugita authored a 293-page Japanese-language book on PR strategies in China, representing the firm’s focus on that market. It also moved offices to ARK Mori Building, a prominent Tokyo landmark, in the process raising employee morale. Best known for its corporate and financial expertise, PRAP works across multiple practice areas, including marketing PR, crisis communications, corporate communications, investor relations, public affairs, and mergers and acquisitions, and has dedicated research and creative capabilities, the latter offering event planning and print production services, among others. Its clients are drawn from
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms a broad range of industries, but there are specialist groups devoted to the healthcare, technology and finance sectors, and the firm has considerable experience working with public sector clients. Increasing demand for strategic public relations, rather than just publicity, is a trend that benefits PRAP more than many of its more media-centric rivals. One factor driving this change appears to be increased interest in issues management—particularly related to government regulation—and crisis preparedness. The firm also established a digital influence unit to improve its services in the fast-growing online arena. And, to mark its 40th anniversary three years ago, it set up the PRAP Japan Public Relations Chair at Keio University, a credited course that features PR professionals as speakers. Publicly identified clients include some of the biggest names in international business: Baskin-Robbins, Boeing, Cisco, Federal Express, Gartner, Hitachi Maxell, Johnson & Johnson, Levi Strauss, Mattel, Max Factor, McDonald’s, the Ministry of Land Infrastructure & Transport, Nippon RentA-Car Service, Oracle, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Qantas, the Singapore Tourism Board, and UBS Securities. Indeed PRAP has been recognised by P&G as being its best Japanese partner, for two years in a row. In addition, the firm received the FMCG giant’s Integrated Execution Gold Award. In 2002, PRAP entered into a strategic business relationship with Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, and Ogilvy parent WPP took a 20 percent equity share in the company. In 2003 PRAP Japan listed on the JASDAQ stock exchange. The firm also has its own offices in Beijing and Shanghai.—AS PRHUB Technology specialist INDIA JUST eight years old, PRHub has established itself as one of a new generation of entrepreneurial Indian firms offering an alternative to the traditional industry leaders, with an approach that emphasizes process rather than just media placement and depth of management over the focus on the founder that remains prevalent in the Indian PR business. The firm’s initial focus was on the businessto-business technology space and PRHub has developed considerable expertise in IT, with a focus on sectors such as business process outsourcing, Internet companies, telecommunications and semiconductors, but it has been expanding its consumer tech credentials and added expertise in healthcare, professional services, engineering, and renewable energy. More recently, it has been expanding its footprint in the retail, manufacturing and hospitality sectors and expanding its digital, social and content creation capabilities. The firm is also building a dedicated team of research and intelligence professionals, and has another group focused exclusively on brand consulting and strategy. Founded and chief executive Jai Xavier Prabhu David has experience as a copywriter, journalist, strategic advisor, consultant and entrepreneur, and is joined at the helm of the firm by Sumathi M Chari, head of strategy and planning, and Jaya Sara Varghese, who looks after clients in Bangalore, the firm’s largest office. The past 12 months have seen a considerable investment in training, as the firm seeks to develop talent internally. After 35 percent growth in 2011, last year saw another strong performance, with fee income up by about 20 percent. The firm retained most of its key clients—IEEE-SA, Freudenberg Group, Microchip, SEMI, Sheffield Hallam University, Polaris Wireless, Pearson (Schools), Hannover Fairs, Indiaplaza, UnitedWay Bengaluru, Indiaproperty.com, Marlabs—and added 13 new accounts. High-profile assignments ranged from supporting the Anita Borg Institute’s efforts to promote more women executives in the Indian technology industry to broadening the visibility of Freudenberg Group in India to building momentum for IEEESA’s smart grid campaign in India to creating a visibility campaign for Sheffield Hallam University in the Indian market. “We engaged PRHub for our India market introduction beginning in late 2011,” says Michael Doherty, director of marketing, Polaris Wireless USA. “Their performance, professionalism and expert guidance exceeded our expectations. PRHub delivered a comprehensive calendar of media and analyst briefings which resulted in highly favorable coverage, leading to a significant increase in company awareness and traffic to our company website. PRHub was able to achieve these results in a relatively short timeframe and by effectively coordinating between our US and India headquarters and with our local strategic partner.” PR Hub is part of the Globalcom network, one of the largest independent agency networks in the world.—PH PALIN COMMUNICATIONS Healthcare public relations specialist with burgeoning non-profit practice AUSTRALIA THE healthcare public relations market is not nearly as developed in the Asia-Pacific region as it is in Europe and North America, with healthcare lagging some way behind the technology sector—with which it shares a need for strong specialized expertise—in terms of volume of business and the number of specialist firms focused on that business. But most observers expect to see significant growth over the next few years, and the few boutique healthcare firms such as Australia’s Palin Communications appear to be well positioned, occupying a space between the giant multinationals—many of which have a small healthcare team within a full-service setting—and individual practitioners offering personal counsel. Palin’s great strength is in the disease awareness arena, working for government agencies, nonprofits and pharmaceutical companies on large-scale assignments that aim use educational public relations techniques to increase public consciousness, diagnosis and treatment of conditions ranging from prostate cancer to psoriasis, winter coughs to hearing disabilities to broader men’s health issues. It’s an approach captured in the firm’s new positioning, as a firm “Where evidence based PR drives health-related change.” Launched a decade ago by Martin Palin— previously head of the $1 million healthcare business at The Rowland Company—the firm has grown over the last decade to include a team of about half a dozen consultants, led by Palin, with significant contributions from and Karina Candia (newly-promoted to senior account manager in her seventh year with Palin); three-year veteran Lauren Sharkey; and new addition Ishtar Schneider, a US import. The past 12 months saw a serious commitment to educating the healthcare market about the potential for PR, as Palin established a certificate course in healthcare PR that has been deployed by clients including Cancer Council Australia and Guide Dogs NSW, and stepped up its thought leadership and social media efforts. That leadership is one reason Lawrence LaPointe, CEO of Clinical Genomics, calls Palin “the ‘go to’ team in healthcare PR.” The payoff was a strong year, with new ethical pharmaceutical projects for clients such www.holmesreport.com 69
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific as Shire, Biogen and Idec, supplementing the firm’s ongoing work at GlaxoSmithKline; an expanding portfolio of not-for-profit clients including the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the Deaf Society of NSW, and the Grains & Legumes Council; new biotech assignments for Clinical Genomics and others; and a series of longer-term projects for research organisations keen to showcase the results of funded projects (Garvan Research Foundation, the Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation). Among the highlights of the past year, Palin worked with GSK on a program that sought to facilitate major changes—urging greater transparency—to the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct, while enhancing the corporate reputation of GlaxoSmithKline Australia.—PH PELHAM BELL POTTINGER Corporate and financial SINGAPORE UK financial PR heavyweight Pelham Bell Pottinger (PBP) launched its Asia-Pacific presence in 2010, led by David Wynne-Morgan - one of the shareholders in Pelham before its sale to UK holding group Chime Communications. Wynne-Morgan retains a 49 percent stake in Pelham Bell Pottinger’s Asian operations, with the remainder controlled by Bell Pottinger Private, which spun off from Chime following a management buyout in 2012. Pelham’s Asian debut was immediately successful netting two big accounts in the shape of Golden Agri Resources and Temasek Holdings. The firm has since established itself as a major full-service player in Singapore and Malaysia, winning the Platinum SABRE Award at the Holmes Report’s AsiaPacific SABRE Awards for its work on behalf of Golden Agri Resources. That campaign reflects the best of PBP, deploying a sensitive stakeholder relations programme that ultimately improved its client’s behaviour. The firm’s Asian positioning reflects its UK heritage, leveraging its C-suite approach, and its ability to bridge ASEAN companies with the West, and vice versa. As CEO, Wynne-Morgan divides his time between Asia and Europe, bringing to bear 30-year track record in global public relations, including a lengthy stint with Hill & Knowlton as chairman and journalist experience at the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Sunday Times. In 2012, the offering was bolstered by the arrival of Pier Pottinger, group deputy chairman of Bell Pottinger Private, who 70 www.holmesreport.com relocated to Singapore. MD Ang Shih-Huei was elevated to CEO, while financial veteran Eunice Lua was promoted to oversee the agency’s financial practice. PBP also recruited Mark Worthington, a former BBC news correspondent with 15 years of communications and journalism experience in Asia and Europe, to head of the agency’s corporate practice. In 2012, growth was again strong, including new assignments from UEM Land and eFinancialCareers. In particular, there was significant growth across the corporate practice, with the firm now working for a number of clients operating in Iskandar Malaysia, including strategic developer Iskandar Investment. The firm’s existing client roster includes Baker McKenzie in China, Parkson Retail Asia, Legoland Malaysia, Golden Agri-Resources, and Kelly Services. PBP’s most significant campaign in 2012 was the development and execution of the media strategy for the highly successful launch of LEGOLAND Malaysia in September 2012. “Pelham Bell Pottinger Asia has delivered extraordinary results for us against our PR and media objectives in 2013,” says eFinancialCareers senior marketing manager Hamish Haldane. “From the outset they challenged and improved our communications strategy, and continue to provide comprehensive market insight and experience to our account. Their dedicated account team has worked closely with us to implement the strategy with highly effective execution, and they have also raised the awareness and PR skill levels internally by being a true consultative partner.” The firm works with affiliates across Asia, and can also call on Bell Pottinger’s international network outside Asia.—AS PERFECT RELATIONS Full service INDIA IN India’s highly-competitive PR market, it takes a certain level of performance to remain relevant for more than 20 years. That Perfect Relations has done so speaks volumes about a pioneering sensibility that continues to drive growth at one of India’s biggest PR players. Perfect’s wholly-owned 16-office national network means it offers rather more than the metropolitan coverage favored by many of its rivals. The firm focuses on an offering it calls “image management”, and offers specialist divisions covering CSR, public affairs, healthcare, entertainment, digital and technology. Last year, the firm also launched a new reputation audit tool, focusing specifically on Indian companies aiming to go global or attract international investment. It has particular expertise in crisis comms and public affairs, thanks in large part to the experience of co-founder Dilip Cherian, a consultant and lobbyist of considerable repute. Cherian’s high profile is reflected in his regular presence on the international speaking circuit, and the former journalist’s connections within India are unparalleled. He is supported at Perfect by co-founder and group chief executive Bobby Kewalramani, another lobbying veteran with experience of working at Birla Group and the Times of India. 15-year Perfect veteran Valerie Pinto serves as CEO, while other key figures include director of strategy and planning Devdarshan Chakraborty; VP of operations Shashikant Someshwar; VP of talent management and South regional head Rajesh Gurram; and, VP of strategy and direction Rohan Kanchan. The agency believes its approach to talent is a key differentiator; in a market where aggressive churn is the norm. Perfect has developed an agency tracker that links employee performance to client performance, helping it evaluate and determine training and development needs. Employee retention averages five years, perhaps explaining an client retention of seven years. Entrepreneurialism is also encouraged, with no fewer than five divisions run as independent companies by Perfect employees. The firm’s offering is also supported by a number of internal products, that cover such areas as media evaluation, CSR reporting, and media ‘readiness’. Perfect continued to grow at a double-digit clip in 2012, to more than 500 employees, with fee income believed to be in excess of $10m. New business was led by such wins as Infosys, Google corporate, Nokia, Honda, Jubliant Group, Airtel, Essar Steel, Danone Water, Pepsodent, Pizza Express and the Rolex Awards of Enterprise. The firm also retains clients at an average of more than seven years, with long-term partnerships including Coca-Cola, Mercedes, Diageo, ITC Limited, Tata AIG and Mattel. Overall growth was led by consulting, consumer, education, technology, digital PR, finance and government practices. A revamp of investor relations also reaped dividends as Perfect benefited from a growing thirst for services beyond media relations. Perfect’s intellectual leadership, led by Cherian’s broad media profile, retains a
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms strong edge. The firm runs PR workshop at the country’s leading business schools, while the Perfect Relations Foundation mentors startups on image strategy. Meanwhile, the firm’s internal activities also play a key role in developing talent, via a new internal reward and recognition programme, along with a comprehensive training system. The firm’s employee audit revealed improvements in the organization’s overall score among staffers. Perfect’s campaign work always catches the eye, and 2012 was no different. It supported the Rolex Awards for Enterprise in New Delhi, a 10-month project that involved a 360 degree marcomms programme to boost awareness and participation. The firm also helped Uninor navigate the cancellation of its mobile licence, converting subscribers into brand advocates. Perfect also led a couple of high-profile campaigns for long-term client Coca-Cola: the My School effort to improve sanitation and drinking water in rural and semi-urban schools; and the Coke Studio fusion music platform. The firm also oversaw Acer’s Olympics’ sponsorship programme and helped launch Pizza Express in India. “Perfect Relations worked with us to identify the right mix associating the brand ideology with the entertainment-centric media and target audience reach,” said Kamlesh Kumar Sharma, GM of public affairs and communication, Coca Cola India & Southwest Asia. ”This was instrumental in amplifying excitement, experience and appreciation for collaboration between artists throughout the activation. From building a strong pre-Coke Studio launch buzz to enhancing the property’s media connect, and successfully exploiting the music aspect afterwards, the advisory successfully got eyeballs and share of mind, which will help establish Coke Studio as a unique music platform in the years to come.” Perfect remains an independent player, yet attracts regular acquisition interest from the global networks. The firm focuses specifically on South Asia and is a member of the Public Relations Global Network.—AS PORDA HAVAS Financial communications HONG KONG H CHINA FRENCH holding company Havas operates some of the leading full-service public relations firms in Europe, but in international markets is perhaps most prominent in the financial communications arena, with operations like EuroRSCG C&O in Paris and Maitland in London supplemented by Abernathy MacGregor in the US and Porda Havas International Finance Communications Group—an alliance created in December 2010 between Havas and Porda International—in the increasingly important Greater China market. Based in Hong Kong, with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, Porda Havas now operates as part of the AMO network, which includes specialist financial communications firms around the world. It offers expertise in financial media relations, capital market transactions (mergers and acquisitions and IPOs), investor relations, and crisis communications. Porda Havas now plays a critical role in the network, a role that will only expand as IPO activity in Hong Kong—where the firm has a healthy market share—continues its recovery and as Chinese companies increasingly focus on the global financial markets. Founded by James Chang, chairman and CEO and a 20-year veteran of communications and mass media in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the PRC, and Carly Lam, executive director, who has 10 years of experience in financial public relations, Porda organized the Western China Development Summit in 2002 and was the first home-grown public relations agency appointed by the State Council of the PRC to do so. In 2011 it added senior vice president, China, Paul Sham, who has worked for a number of international PR networks in the region; and in 2012 it acquired investor relations boutique Elite PR, adding the firm’s leaders Cindy Xin and Bunny Lee to its senior team. While the Hong Kong IPO market continues to be slower than participants would like, Porda Havas handled 11 IPOs in 2012, including the launch of China International Marine Containers, the first conversion of B shares to H shares, and the listing of China Yongda Automobile Services, a 4S car dealer. The firm also added 17 retainer clients, for which it now provides a mix of public and investor relations services.—PH THE PRACTICE Technology, entertainment and consumer. INDIA BASED in Bangalore, the city that is traditionally known as India’s Silicon Valley, The PRactice began life 12 years ago to service the many young tech companies that were sprouting up. Fast-forward to today, and the agency has grown into one of the country’s strongest independent players. Much of this is down to the savvy and energy of founder Nandita Lakshmanan, who has built a firm that counts strong relationships with several blue-chip tech brands. Qualcomm, Oracle, Infosys, AMD and ETS are all clients and, significantly, almost a good proportion of the The PRactice’s revenues come from repeat business. The agency’s core mantra is that PR is a boardroom function. This remained true in 2012, during a year that saw steady growth at the firm, thanks in part to a new system that better optimizes its resources and results. The firm counts solid creative abilities in the areas of digital production, social media and advocacy, and possesses a reputation for providing thoughtful solutions that address a client’s most important communications problems. Lakshmanan is supported by the firm’s four principals: Vivek Rana, Meghana Krishna, Shane Jacob and Sandhya Thukaram. In 2011, there was new business from HP, Oracle, Intuit, Dr Reddy Labs, SKF, MU Sigma, Adobe and Tenvic, generating a slew of interesting assignments. The firm oversaw HP’s biggest CSR initiative of the year, the Write & Read programme that included a series of creative writing workshops for school age children. For the third year in a row, the firm lent its support to the annual Khemka Forum on Social Entrepreneurship as the Khemka Foundation again brought together various parties to talk about how social change can best be facilitated. The PRactice organized a plenary that looked at how the media can spur change in this area and also hosted a number of podcasts with social visionaries and entrepreneurs in the days leading up to the event. The agency’s work for the Infosys Prize - a research award for groundbreaking academic work - also yielded strong results, generating significant buzz in the media. Last, but not least, The PRactice’s work for biotech firm Mahyco aimed to dispel myths around genetically modified crops, and was shortlisted for an Asia-Pacific SABRE Award. “The PRactice has been a true communications partner for HP India, one who can always be relied upon for solutions, creativity and sound counsel,” says HP India influencer relations manager Seema Dawar. “The team has both a strategic orientation as well as the agility to quickly change tactics as needed.” The PRactice remains affiliated with Porter Novelli, although speculation about an acquisition continues to percolate.—AS www.holmesreport.com 71
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific PRAIN  Full-service KOREA  KOREA’S thriving PR market has long been a magnet for innovation in Asia, with 13-year-old Prain representing one of the country’s leading local lights. The agency now counts as one of the biggest players in Korea, with 130 staffers. For this, Prain can thank an outlook that places a premium on knowledge management and a highly collaborative culture. Founded by Jason Yeo, the agency is run day-to-day by Sungbong Lee, a veteran of Korea’s in-house client environment. Other key staff include EVPs Wooyoung Choi, Jisun Lee and Sungbin Jang, an issues management public affairs expert who previously spent eight years as head of corporate relations at Visa Asia-Pacific. In 2012, the agency also hired former journalist Sanghyun Park as EVP, focusing on media relations. Prain now sits as one unit within PCG, an integrated communications group, that features a range of dedicated units, covering everything from digital, design, sports marketing, research and advertising. Last year, the firm expanded its scope of services to include movie marketing and movie star management. Prain itself has a blue-chip client roster, including such names as Nike, Samsung, JS Foundation, NBA Asia, HP, SK Telecom, Danone, Hite Beer; Novartis; and Pfizer. 2012 was not a great year for the firm, though, because of a slowdown in public sector and government spending before the presidential election. In terms of campaign work, Prain now works for the office of the Korean president, helping to set the agenda for the president’s communications to the nation.Prain is an affiliate of Ketchum in Korea.—AS PRECIOUS COMMUNICATIONS Corporate communications firm SINGAPORE LAUNCHED early in 2012, PRecious Communications is one of a new generation of firms with the potential to make life even more uncomfortable for the established agencies in what is already a competitive Singapore market. Founder Lars Voedisch was most recently director, Asia-Pacific, for social media 72 www.holmesreport.com analytics firm Commetric, and previously held director positions with Hill & Knowlton and Fleishman-Hillard, as well as working in-house as managing media consultant for Dow Jones. He has counseled clients including AT&T, Citi, Coca Cola, DBS, DHL, Honda, ING, Motorola, Panasonic, Porsche, Procter & Gamble, Yahoo!, and Vmware. Combining traditional expertise in corporate reputation management, media training and crisis communication with an emphasis on a very modern mix of in-depth media analytics and digital integration, and with expertise that spans the consumer branding, hospitality, luxury, retail, travel and technology sectors, PRecious has quickly built an impressive client portfolio that includes names such as Evernote, InMobi, McAfee, Singapore Institute of Management, Yahoo! and luxury fashion label Zardoze. ”Although an emerging player in the crowded communications industry, PRecious Communications has surpassed our expectations and continues to impress us on a daily basis by combining strategic insights and strong regional media relations,” said Veranne Wong, marketing manager, South East Asia for McAfee. PRecious works primarily in South East Asia, but has the resources and relationships to assist clients in markets such as Australia, Dubai, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand—and even in Europe or the US.—PH QYVISION Corporate and consumer PR with strong CSR credentials INDONESIA EDUCATED in Australia and Singapore, Qyvision founder and managing director Vinna Novetri worked in marketing and business development positions with several Indonesian brands before launching her own public relations firm in July of 2010. The plan was to provide genuinely strategic public relations consulting with the cost efficiency that comes from an independent boutique structure, and that plan has been realized to an impressive extent: the firm picked up an Asia-Pacific SABRE Award—for its work on the “I Can” campaign for telecommunications company PT. Tower Bersama Infra—last year, and this year scooped the public sector campaign of the year honors in the PR Week awards. Novetri works alongside co-founder and business development director Dandan Hamdani and senior consultant Rudi Mansyah, whose expertise includes corporate communications, media relations, event management, issues and crisis management, and public affairs. They lead a team of 10 that can offer broad experience in lifestyle PR and corporate communications, with a growing expertise in corporate social responsibility and community relations. Despite the recession, growth has been impressive: the firm has tripled in size over the past couple of years, with clients include home appliances company Modena; real estate developer Kota Baru Parahyangan; TelkomVision; PT Tower Bersama Infrastucture; the Sand Macao resort; and DW2 Property, which operates resorts in Bali. “Qyvision PR has experience and a good reputation in conducting media events and media relations,” says Niken Suryo, corporate communication at Merck. “Their preparation has always been mature and detailed” Adds Ingrid Warsito, brand and corporate communication manager at TelkomVision: “Within three months Qyvision PR’s team has been successfully established TelkomVision’s corporate brand TelkomVision in the public, especially through mass media publications national and regional.”—PH RICE COMMUNICATIONS SEE OUR ONLINE DIRECTORY LISTING AT WWW.HOLMESREPORT.COM Full-service SINGAPORE NOW four years old, Rice Communications’ rapid growth provides ample evidence of ambitions that reach well beyond Singapore. The agency was founded at the start of 2009 by Sonya Madeira, a well-respected industry veteran of Text 100 India and EastWest PR. It now counts more than 15 executives, and was shortlisted by the Holmes Report as New Consultancy of the Year, before ranking as one of the fastest-growing firms in the region in 2010. Madeira’s regional perspective is evident in the agency’s revenue split: more than 70 percent of all retainer clients are services across multiple markets in Asia-Pacific. And Madeira has also been attracting recognition herself, winning the SICCI-DBS Award
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms for Most Promising Indian Entrepreneur in Singapore, and the CMO Asia Woman Super Achiever Award. 2012 was a busy year for Rice, with the firm broadening its portfolio of clients, strengthening its social media capabilities and providing a wider range of services that includes strategy, content creation and community management. Madeira is supported by James Brasher, who arrived from Lewis PR as director and partner. Other senior figures include director Archana Muthappa and partner Grace Eio. Rice’s growth has been fuelled by an ability to fuse marketing services with classic PR counsel. After early gains in the tech sector, Rice has successfully broadened its focus to include consumer, corporate and digital media. The firm now works such clients as Inmarsat, Smoothie King, FICO, National Instruments, Subaru and Hilton Worldwide. Other notable clients that Rice serviced in 2012 include the Festival of Media Asia 2013, GE, Mars, and Bosch. Revenues remained stable in 2012, while profitability increased. Key assignments included supporting the introduction of Hilton Worldwide’s Carbon Offset Program for events and properties across Southeast Asia. The firm also launched the Smoothie King brand in Singapore, and began working with FICO to raise the company’s profile in Southeast Asia. Rice also worked to build and strengthen Buddy Media’s profile and drove Malaysiafocused outreach for National Instruements. Finally, Rice launched M&M’s flagship concept store at Changi Airport. ”Rice came highly recommended by several industry contacts and, having now worked with them, we absolutely understand why,” says IAB Singapore executive director Ranji David. “Sonya, Donna, Grace, Rasy and the rest of the team are a delightful group of committed professionals who provide strategic communications counsel with a good dose of warmth, humour, and personalized attention that goes above and beyond expectations. With an understanding of the Digital landscape and an impressive portfolio of Clients from within the space, their ability to take a ‘birdseye view’ of the industry has been integral in supporting our work at the IAB, and certainly much appreciated.” Rice is a member of the Oriella Network of independent agencies and is also Hotwire’s affiliate in Singapore.—AS ROWLAND Corporate communications AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIAN corporate communications specialist Rowland was founded in Melbourne by current chairman Geoff Rodgers as Rodgers Communication in 1992—it celebrated its 20th anniversary last year—and took the Rowland name two years later, via a license agreement with the global firm’s advertising agency parent Saatchi & Saatchi (parent of a now-defunct global PR agency that bore the Rowland name). Today the firm is one of the largest in the Australian market and recently formalized a strategic alliance with Fleishman-Hillard, providing it with access to a network of 80 offices around the world—including a Sydney operation, which complements Rowland’s substantial presence in the Queensland market. The firm’s heritage is in corporate communications, but it now describes itself as “business and communication advisory firm,” and in 2009 restructured itself into six practice groups: corporate affairs, which includes media relations, issues management, financial communications and stakeholder audits; crisis management; government relations; people and culture, which includes both internal and change communications and training and coaching services; stakeholder engagement, including community relations and CSR offerings; and a creative department, strengthened through the addition, via merger, of a multimedia capability. The latter capability was strengthened in 2012 when branding consultancy Lumino was merged into the Rowland business, leading the establishment of a specialist integrated marketing communication practice. In addition to Rodgers, the leadership team includes managing director Helen Besly, a veteran of Burson-Marsteller; director Alasdair Jeffrey, whose career includes six years in the UK, where he worked at Brunswick; and chief operating officer Kelly Robinson, a veteran of Hill & Knowlton. The most notable addition of 2012 was Lumino’s Pip McConnel-Oats, who was named executive group manager, creative, after the merger. In addition, Jo Osborne was promoted to join the leadership ranks as senior group manager. After strong growth in 2011, fee income held steady in 2012, despite concerns over falling commodity prices in the second half of the year. Rowland has always had impressive depth in the resources and energy, infrastructure and property sectors, with major clients such as Xstrata, Sibelco, Rio Tinto Alcan, Idemitsu, Toyota, Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal, Aurizon, Santos, Wesfarmers, QIC, Gold Coast Rapid Transit, Sunwater and Coles. The past 12 months saw some diversification, however, with the addition of clients such as Echo Entertainment (gaming) Serco (facilities management), ESRI (GPS data mapping and data management), a State Government Tertiary Education Reform initiative, and Xstrata Nickel. The firm picked up a regional SABRE Award for its work on behalf of Sibelco (making the social, environmental and economic case for sand-mining on North Stradbroke Island) as well as state and national honors for its financial communications, issues management and community relations work. In addition, Rowland was appointed by Alliance Aviation to undertake investor relations for the company’s initial public offering and ASX listing. The firm also introduced the first generation of a proprietary community engagement application, Powered by Rowland. “Rowland has become an integral advisor to our business,” says Paul Smith, sustainability manager at Sibelco. “Their integrated approach, insight and knowledge of our objectives have helped us successfully communicate across multiple channels, including cinema, television advertising, online, print and press. Working with their experienced teams from government relations through to multimedia and design has ensured delivery of strategic solutions to the highest standards.” Rowland has been expanding its international work for clients via a team of six consultants who take a “fly-in, fly-out” approach to highprofile overseas issues, such as work in the Philippines with a major mining client to build local support and government approval during the prefeasibility stage of a proposed multibillion dollar mine development.—PH RYAN FINANCIAL COMMUNICATIONS Financial services specialist HONG KONG H SINGAPORE THE financial services sector remains one of the mainstays of the Hong Kong business community, and while many of the market’s full-service firms have experience working with banks and other financial institutions, Ryan Financial Communications is a true specialist, a homegrown independent firm with local knowledge and deep domain expertise. Launched in 2007 by former financial reporter Damien Ryan, a veteran of new organizations including Bloomberg with market www.holmesreport.com 73
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific experience that spans the US, Australia and Asia, the firm has expertise in corporate positioning, issues management, media relations, training and thought leadership work for a client list that includes banks, brokers, funds, and professional service firms. Initially focused on media relations, the firm has matured into a more strategic, trusted advisor role, providing clients with insight into brand and reputation, local market dynamics, the competitive landscape, and regulatory issues. Another shift has seen an emphasis on “controlled content, which includes expanded digital and social media capabilities, delivering podcasts, videos, webinars and by-lined thought leadership. Major clients include Standard Chartered Bank, Hamilton Lane, Liquidnet, Matthews Asia, Societe Generale, Falcon Private Bank, Newedge and Omgeo, and there was new business last year from S&P Capital IQ, Amundi, Pioneer Investments, Navis Capital Partners, Royal Bank of Canada, Yishan Capital Partners, Stratton Street Capital, Rothschild Global Financial Advisory Group, contributing to very impressive 30 percent growth last year. Highlights included the acquisition of Robeco Group by Japanese financial services group Orix; the launch of structured products in a sensitive Singapore retail market; repositioning of the equities division of a global bank; and marketing the Indonesian real estate investment opportunity to European investors. “Ryan Financial has played a crucial role in helping Pioneer Investments to develop a regional marketing strategy and to work with our internal marketing team to implement such a strategy on the ground in Asia,” says Jack Lin, head of Asia and Middle East for Pioneer. “Ryan Financial is very knowledgeable about the Asian media landscape and the team is proactive in engaging regional media on our behalf as per our marketing plan.” Adds Kevin Russell, managing director and global head of brand and communications at Newedge: “We are able to trust Ryan for their discretion but also their ability to get the job done with the minimum of fuss. They are a professional but down-to-earth consultancy and behave with integrity and act with diligence on our behalf.” The addition of a Singapore office two years ago and a team that includes a number of Mandarin speakers, has enabled Ryan to offer much broader regional reach—it has advised clients on markets from Japan to Myanmar to Vietnam.—PH 74 www.holmesreport.com SEFIANI Corporate and financial communications and issues management AUSTRALIA LONG established as one of Australia’s leading corporate communications boutiques, Sefiani broadened the scope of its operations considerably in 2012, introducing a change communication practice, expanding its investor relations offer with the addition of former stockbroker Harold Shapiro, and opening a new office in Brisbane after picking up business from local clients such as Chandler Macleod, St.George Bank, Vita Group and BDO. Sefiani has long offered expertise in corporate and financial communication, crisis and issues management, and public affairs, but its consumer brand engagement practice (in partnership with experiential agency Our Friends Electric) has been growing, and social and digital media are now fully integrated into all practice areas. It also works across multiple sectors, including banking and financial services; professional services; retail; property; mining; the environment and sustainability; education; and travel and tourism. Founder and chief executive Robyn Sefiani was president of the South Asia region for international public relations giant Edelman before striking out on her own, and directors Sarah Craig and Nicholas Owens both have extensive experience in senior roles with large multinationals, so when Sefiani makes the claim that it can deliver big agency experience in a boutique environment—in which every account gets attention from one of those senior executives, or newcomer Shapiro—the firm is not exaggerating. Major clients include Luxottica (OPSM), St. George Bank, Hotels.com, AMP Capital Shopping Centres, The Tax Institute, HCF Australia, PKF Accounting & Business Advisory(now BDO), Allen & Overy, SITA Australia, ARUP, Crescent Wealth and Boart Longyear. New additions in 2012 included publicly-listed telco retailer Vita Group, national accounting firm BDO following its integration with PKF, publicly-listed building products group CSR and its energy efficiency division Bradford, Western Sydney Institute TAFE, and transport company Border Express. High-profile work included change communication assignments: first, the transformation of the OPSM brand, which won multiple awards; and second, the successful integration of leading accounting firms BDO and PKF during a period of intense competition and consolidation of professional service firms in Australia. The firm also continued its work for Hotels.com continued, leveraging the annual Hotels Price Index, growing Facebook fans, and activating a high-profile “glamping” pop-up hotel in parkland adjacent to the Sydney Opera House overlooking Sydney Harbour. Says Chris Beer, president, Asia-Pacific, for Luxottica: “We have worked in close collaboration with the talented team at Sefiani for 11 years across the full remit of public relations:  from investor relations when we were listed on the ASX as OPSM Group, to ongoing corporate communications and reputation management after Luxottica acquired OPSM, to consumer brand engagement for our retail brands. In the past year the leadership teams of Luxottica, OPSM and Sefiani collaborated successfully on the OPSM transformation across Australia and New Zealand, which achieved all our communication objectives by any measure. The skills and engagement of Sefiani’s senior team in our business is something we value highly. They understand our business and always come up with good solutions. ” The focus of Sefiani’s work is in Australia and New Zealand, but it does refer overseas work to a global affiliate network.—PH SENATESHJ GROUP SEE OUR ONLINE DIRECTORY LISTING AT WWW.HOLMESREPORT.COM Corporate and crisis communications NEW ZEALAND H AUSTRALIA THE merger in mid-2007 of New Zealand public relations consulting firm Senate Communications and Melbourne-based Scaffidi Hugh-Jones created one of the biggest and best firms in the region, one focused on highstakes, high-margin strategic communications services—reputation management, crisis and issues management, change communications, and social marketing (with cross-cultural expertise in Maori communications) as well as an expanded training offer and an impressive digital and social media offer— and particular strength working in issues-rich sectors ranging from healthcare to energy and mining. Today, Senate SHJ has close to 40 people working from offices in five major cities—
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms Auckland, Wellington, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra—as well as strategic partners in Perth and Hobart, providing comprehensive coverage of Australia and New Zealand. And it has international connections through its affiliate relationship with London-based crisis communications consultancy Regester Larkin and its membership in the Public Relations Organisation International network. Perhaps most importantly, it has a powerful leadership team with extensive experience representing blue-chip clients in international markets. Senate was founded in 2003 by a team of former Porter Novelli executives led by managing partner Neil Green, previously CEO for the international agency in Australia and New Zealand. He is joined by partners Peter Hehir (founder of giant UK consultancy Countrywide); Tracey Bridges, an expert in social marketing and issues management; Kim Palsenbarg, former head of her own consultancy; and Raphael Hilbron, former head of Vodafone New Zealand’s corporate responsibility team. Scaffidi Hugh-Jones was founded a year earlier by Rupert Hugh-Jones, former general manager of the Turnbull Porter Novelli operation in Melbourne and an expert in stakeholder engagement and issues management, and Angela Scaffidi, former associate director of Porter Novelli and communication specialist for McKinsey & Company, who are supported by a trio of senior execs in Sydney: corporate affairs veteran Nerida Thorburn; Susan Redde Makatoa, a corporate and financial relations specialist and Naomi Mermod, whose focus is on the healthcare sector. Last year saw the departure of Rupert HughJones, who left to take up a role as head of international media relations at Etihad Airways. Former journalist Simon Clarke was appointed general manager in Melbourne, joining from his most recent role as director of communication for the Australian Uranium Association. With fee income in excess of $8 million (US), Senate SHJ saw growth in the energy and resources and healthcare sectors and in its issues management and financial communications practices—the latter as a result of an assignment to handle the New Zealand Government Mixed Ownership Model (partial asset sale) programme. Major New Zealand clients include the Accident Compensation Corporation, BP Oil, Healthcare of New Zealand, Maritime New Zealand, Merck Sharpe Dohme, New Zealand Refining Company, NZ Steel, NZ Treasury, Petrobras, Public Trust, and Veolia Transport Services, with new assignments in 2012 from CentrePort, Google, Lumley Insurance, Trans Tasman Resources and Vector. In Australia, the firm represents Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bayer, the Department of Sustainability and Environment (Vic.), Future Fund, Novartis, Skills Victoria, and Woolworths, with new business last year including Australian Red Cross Blood Service, Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (Vic.), Riyadh Schools, and the Australian Medicines Industry. Interesting work last year included a regional relocation campaign for Evocities; the continuation of a SABRE-winning cholesterol education campaign, Australia’s Cholesterol Crossroads; and the launch of a report, Medical Milestones, for the Australian Medicines Industry. The firm is also working with GSK and the National Asthma Council, Asthma Australia and the Pharmacy Guild on a new report about asthma in Australia.—PH Policy FutureLook that helps clients engage with policymakers as early as possible; and, the ‘immersive’ 360SimInc crisis simulation. Aside from Lankester and Sharpe, the firm has hired former Citigroup regional public affairs director Michelle Madamba to lead its Singapore operation. Since launching in June 2012, Sharpe Lankester has grown to around £750k in fee income in Asia-Pacific, and is forecasting around £1.5m in the region by the end of 2013. Key clients include the Government of Mauritius; Johnson & Johnson; Doosan Corporation; Cerebos Pacific; PXP Asset Management; and the Executive Sector. Aside from its three offices in Asia, SharpeLankester also works with partners - The Consultancy in HK, Huntingdon in Singapore, and News Communications in Korea.—AS SHARPELANKESTER Corporate and technology Boutique corporate and public affairs specialist MYANMAR H SINGAPORE H HONG KONG THE rise of credible boutique PR players has been a relatively recent phenomenon in Asia-Pacific, spurred in large part by senior executives who have left the big networks in search of a more entrepreneurial environment. The latest agency to fit this template is SharpeLankester. The firm is owned by Charles Lankester, an industry veteran who spent several years at Weber Shandwick and Edelman, and Andrew Sharpe, formerly of UBS and Morgan Stanley. Like many boutique players, SharpeLankester offers a strong degree of senior-level counsel. Unlike many, however. the firm also prefers to be paid by results. Also marking it out as a rather different animal from many smaller PR firms is SharpeLankester’s geographic footprint. Based in the UK, the firm has a decidedly Asian bent, reflecting Lankester’s long career in the region, with offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Myanmar. The firm’s digital capabilities are also a notch above most of its rivals, thanks to a 40 percent investment in Battenhall, the new social media firm led by highly-rated UK specialist Drew Benvie. SharpeLankester focuses on three primary services - market intelligence, reputation management and investor relations, which it fulfils via five core products: a Digital Reputation Influence online analysis tool; Reputation Risk Index which maps stakeholders against risk scenarios; a Policy and Legislator Index; a SIX DEGREES INDIA IN India’s increasingly sophisticated PR market, it is customary to hear global and local firms characterised by their differences. According to this narrative, global agencies bring better systems and processes, planning and talent. Local firms, meanwhile, are often perceived as being more agile and customer-focused. In reality, there is enough evidence to suggest that both sides of this divide are taking more successful steps to bridge whatever gaps that may still exist. And few agencies better personify this trend than Six Degrees, an independent firm formed four years ago by former Text 100 leaders Zach James and Rishi Seth. Text has often functioned as something of a nursery for superior Indian PR talent, but in recent years it has had some trouble hanging onto its brightest stars. By the end of 2011 Six Degrees had grown to more than 70 people, headquartered out of New Delhi and supported by offices in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. The firm positions itself as a more consultingoriented player than some of its peers, with a leadership team that features several agency veterans. Co-founders Seth and James bring 15 years experience of India’s PR industry to bear. Seth, who also serves as CEO, also spent stints at Perfect Relations and Genesis BursonMarsteller before his tenure at Text 100. James, meanwhile, was president at Text 100 and also launched its second unit Vox PR and its GRO offshoring practice. At Six Degrees, they are supported by Delhi GM Karan Punia, another Text 100 veteran with significant technology experience. The firm prides itself in particular www.holmesreport.com 75
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific on strong client and staff retention; none of its senior staff departed over the past 12 months. While Six Degrees’ client portfolio remains largely tech-focused, it has successfully expanded into some specific vertical sectors, including infrastructure, hospitality and capital goods. The firm offers a comprehensive set of services - including corporate governance, sustainability, digital and crisis, along with the usual suite of stakeholder relations. The agency’s rise has also been aided by a singular focus on customer satisfaction, at a time when market-wide servicing levels - thanks to a recessionary environment - have slipped. Growth has been bullish, with the agency growing by 25 percent to around $1.9 million in fee income. The firm’s major clients are Nokia and HCL Technologies, while new business in 2012 included Ericsson, Ingersoll Rand, Hilton Group and Honeywell Process Solutions. Campaign highlights included supporting Schneider Electric on its acquisition of Luminous, and helping Nokia launch its critical Lumia model in India. Acquisition interest already swirls around Six Degrees, which currently supports The Hoffman Agency and Ruder Finn in India. —AS STRATEGIC PUBLIC RELATIONS GROUP Full-service PR firm best known for financial communications work HONG KONG H CHINA H MALAYSIA H SINGAPORE H TAIWAN STRATEGIC Public Relations Group has established itself as a leader in the Hong Kong public relations market—and beyond—by offering a unique combination of international experience (founder Richard Tsang was head of Burson- Marsteller’s financial communications practice in the region before striking out on his own), local expertise (the firm has been handling mergers and acquisitions, IPOs and ongoing investor relations assignments in Asia since 1995, long before its new competitors started their international expansion), and geographic reach: SPRG has nine offices spanning Greater China (Hong Kong, the mainland and Taiwan), Singapore and Malaysia, supplemented by its membership in the PROI network, which has offices in 100 cities. 76 www.holmesreport.com Unfazed by the global financial crisis and the recent invasion of US and UK-based corporate and financial PR networks—Tsang and most of his leadership team lived through the Asian market crisis in the late 90s and survived the SARS crisis of 2003—the firm continues to thrive. The firm enjoyed another year of solid growth in 2012, ending the year with fee income in excess of $20 million, and staff of 300 serving more than 250 retainer clients. It also continues to be a leader in the Hong Kong IPO market handling 12 listings in 2012, for companies such as ASR Holdings, China UT Holding, Merry Garden, Perfect Shape, Sheen Tai, Synertone and more. The firm also ranked number four in Asia by volume of M&A activity, according to mergermarket. SPRG would be an impressive operation even if financial communications was the full extent of its business. But despite the fact that the firm remains best known for its work in the capital markets, the reality is that it has broadened its business considerably over recent years, and offers a diverse range of public relations services—corporate and marketing communications, corporate social responsibility, event marketing, issues and crisis management, digital and social media, and media and presentation training—in a broad array of sectors, from travel and technology, and from healthcare to fashion, all of which has helped to fuel the growth of its business outside Hong Kong. Tsang launched SPRG with just seven employees (remarkably, five are still with the firm) and has prospered by hiring local experts in each market and by offering a host of entrepreneurial opportunities to its own people by launching new divisions and new offices. The Hong Kong operation, which is still SPRG’s largest, has three specialist groups: one focused on financial relations for local companies; another on financial relations for Chinese companies; and a third offering full-service marketing public relations. In China (where SPRG has about 80 people in offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou), the firm has a mix of technology, consumer and corporate clients. In Singapore, the offer includes sports and lifestyle PR as well as some corporate and financial work. In Taipei, the firm has expertise in healthcare and social responsibility. Clients include more than 150 listed companies—Air China, Bank of China, CITIC Telecom, Galaxy, Lenovo, Techtronic, Rusal and Vale among them; a host of financial services companies, including China Mercantile Securities, Deloitte, ICICI Bank, ING, Merrill Lynch, Oppenheimer Funds, Skandia, Union Bank of India, and Zurich; and numerous government bodies and trade associations, among them the Chamber of HK Listed Companies, the HK Institute of Directors, and Hong Kong Trade Development Council. On the marketing and branding front, meanwhile, the firm works with Gucci, Jimmy Choo, P&G, Swarovski, adidas, Amway and other consumer brands, as well as healthcare companies Pfizer and GSK. In China, meanwhile, the client portfolio includes global brands such as BlackBerry, BT, Dow, Google, Lindt, and Volkswagen. Highlights in 2012 include an international assignment for Russian aluminum giant Rusal, “Bridging Russia and Hong Kong: From Russia with Love,” which involved both traditional and digital community outreach, special events, a five-part TV documentary, and a nine-episode radio program, building the company’s profile in Hong Kong. The firm also earned a Stevie award for its investor relations efforts around the SBI Holdings IPO. SPRG is also one of the most awarded firms in the region. After picking up the Asia-Pacific Network of the Year honor at the Asia-Pacific PR Awards two years ago, the firm was named Financial Consultancy of the Year at the first SABRE Awards dinner in Singapore, and later gained recognition from Marketing magazine to round out a unique triumvirate of awards. Most recently, Tsang received an Outstanding Individual Achievement award from this publication, and his firm was named Local Hero: PR Agency of the Year by Marketing magazine.—PH TEXT 100 Technology public relations specialist CHINA H AUSTRALIA H HONG KONG H INDIA H JAPAN H MALAYSIA H SINGAPORE TEXT 100 was one of the first technology public relations firms from the west to expand its operations into Asia, opening an office in India 17 years ago to represent multinational clients such as BT and Microsoft, and following in quick succession with offices in Australia, Singapore and Japan. Today, the firm operates a network of 18 offices across the Asia-Pacific region, employing about 40 percent of the firm’s worldwide workforce. Since 2008, drawing on its heritage in the technology space, Text 100 has moved to rapidly position itself as a leader in the fast-growing digital and social media arena, offering a sophisticated package of services that includes blogger engagement strategies, the use of social media news releases and social networking campaigns, and also
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms providing training on virtual worlds and other online media. By 2012, the firm’s focus on digital communications was showing particular progress in Asia-Pacific, helping it win the Holmes Report’s Digital Consultancy of the Year, thanks to a service offering that now includes a broad range of content development, community management, and owned media creation and management. Indeed Text 100’s digital offering is as advanced as any in the region, including a digital certification training program that conducted more than 115 courses across the region in 2012. Further training investment was made last year via Marketing Prof Pro, an online training hub designed for teams to improve digital and social media consulting skills using courses developed by industry experts. Text 100 continues to act as a consulting and support hub for the global agency and for Next Fifteen sister brands. The agency’s global outsourcing unit in India has expanded considerably, and now provides content development services, media monitoring, research, reporting and analytics services. After establishing a design hub in Malaysia in 2011, Text 100 expanded this unit to a digital hub last year to non-traditional communication offerings such as web and app development, SEO, and measurement services. Text100 extended the suite of services in August 2012 to cover analytics. The digital hub now comprises a team of six specialized designers and analysts. The hub recorded over 138 percent growth in design revenues, highlighting the demand for such services to support client’s communications including IBM, Lenovo, Fuij Xerox, KAYAK, PayPal, and SolarWinds. In 2012, Text 100 also expanded further into the travel and tourism space, launching a digital study into the sector that generated more than 30 direct sales leads. In 2012, Text 100 realigned its Asia-Pacific leadership under regional director Anne Costello, following the departure of regional COO Steven Murphy. In 2013, the firm announced promotions for three longstanding Asia leaders: Yeow Mei Ling was promoted to MD of Greater China; Min Chow took charge of Malaysia; and, Erica Pompen was put in charge of Japan, while continuing to lead key regional accounts and drive client service and consultancy excellence. The only notably departure was China managing consultant TT Yang. For its 2012 fiscal year, Text 100’s topline fee income grew almost 7.5 percent on the year before. The standout office was Australia, which grew by more than 36 percent, while India also improved by four percent. The firm’s client satisfaction survey recorded that 85 percent of its clients are happy with the work being delivered, while retainer client retention is almost 70 percent in Asia. Text100 APAC’s top ten key regional clients include Adobe, Cisco, Fuji, IBM, Lattice, Lenovo, NXP, SanDisk, Symantec, The Mathworks, VMWare, and Yahoo!. Text100 has nine regional clients that it has successfully partnered with for more than five years including; IBM, Lenovo, Cisco, Adobe, Symantec, NXP, FCI, Barclays and VMware. In addition to its 18 offices in the region, Text 100 works with licensed partners in Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan, and affiliates in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.—AS TRIMARAN PR ASIA Consumer and corporate PR, with a focus on luxury markets HONG KONG H CHINA H MACAU THE past few years have seen an increased emphasis on putting the “relations” back in public relations, but Trimaran has been ahead of that curve for quite some time, with an emphasis on “positive, passionate and premium relations” for clients. Co-founded in 2005 by former investment banker Michelle Cheng and business leader Pansy Ho, the firm has always focused on building mutuallybeneficial relationships between a diverse range of corporate and consumer clients and their most critical stakeholders in ways that deliver meaningful business outcomes. Trimaran has long focused on the Chinese premium market from its headquarters in Hong Kong, but 2012 saw aggressive expansion, with the opening of Trimaran offices in Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai and Macau. The firm continues to provide in-depth knowledge and understanding of high net-worth individuals in those markets, with experience across multiple sectors, including property, hospitality, finance, fine arts and wine, meetings and conventions. It has expertise in media relations, financial communications, new product launches, and special events, supplemented by design and production capabilities. Revenue has increased by 42 percent in 2012 to more than HK$20 million (US$2.5 million) and the team grew from 15 to 40, including a graphic design team in-house. New business came from Boucheron, Yung Kee Restaurant, Poggenpohl, Gaggenau, Strato, Sergio Rossi, Jimmy Kitchen Shanghai, Jaxcoco, Cyclone Cycling Limited, ISF Academy, BSC Group, Fuji Photo, Louvre Museum, Opera Gallery, Tai Fung Bank Macau, and United Events (organizer of Sesame Street Live, Le Crazy Horse). The firm continued its work with major clients such as Altaya Wines Limited, TSL Jewellery, Capella Singapore, Residence Hotels & Resort, Global Tourism Economy Research Center, National Properties, Ambassadors of Design, Estee Lauder, Van Cleef & Arpels. Event highlights included the inaugural Global Tourism Economy Forum in Macau— founding partners Michelle Cheng and Pansy Ho led all aspects of the event from liaising with government and speakers to PR and sponsorship—the New World Cyclone Cycling Championship and a fundraising campaign for the Louvre Museum in Hong Kong, and effort that raised HK$10 million. The firm also worked on a pro-bono basis for the wedding of Kenneth Fok and Olympic gold medalist Guo Jing Jing. Henri Louyette of the Louvre praised the firm’s event as “a beautiful evening: a perfect setting, good food, and all orchestrated perfectly by Trimaran, which handled the event in a very professional way.” In addition to its own offices in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China, Trimaran has handled projects in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and even Europe, through various partner agencies.—PH VECTOR GROUP Marketing public relations JAPAN MANY of the leading public relations firms in Japan are associated with the country’s larger advertising agencies, but Vector Group actually got its start—back in 1993—as a sales promotion agency, launching its public relations operation in 1998, and restructuring to focus primarily on PR in 2000. Today, the firm specializes in strategic marketing PR, with strong digital media capabilities—including expertise in blogging and search engine optimization—and for about half of its clients works alongside ad agencies such as Dentsu and Hakuhodo. The group actually includes two public relations brands, Vector Antil and Vector Platinum, both of which offer a mix of PR planning, branding, investor relations, risk management, marketing research and events services to clients in multiple sector—they have specialist teams in automotive, fashion, financial services, food, healthcare, retail, technology and government work. Vector Group is led by founder and www.holmesreport.com 77
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific chief executive Keiji Nishi, with Hajime Hashegawa (formerly an executive with the Japanese postal service) leading the Antil business and Saori Kiryu (who joined in 1998) leading Platinum. The biggest news of 2012 was the decision to list the firm on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, a move that reflects ambitious growth plans, not only in Japan (where fees were up by about 25 percent last year) but in China and the ASEAN region, where the firm has established new subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Singapore and Jakarta. Significant international work included the first Tokyo Girls Collection fashion event (well-established in Japan) in Shanghai, where 3,000 attended, and a press trip for ASEAN media, who visited the Tohoku area in Japan to view the post-earthquake recovery progress as guests for the Japan Tourism Agency.—PH VERO PUBLIC RELATIONS Corporate communications THAILAND H CAMBODIA H VIETNAM H MYANMAR BRIAN Griffin’s career included high-profile, high-stakes communications challenges in both North America (helping the Centers for Disease Control launch a major anti-obesity initiative) and in Asia (working with Nike in Vietnam as it came under fire for its labor practices in the developing world) before he launched Bongkok-based Vero Public Relations in 2007 adding a Ho Chi Minh City office in 2008 and a Myanmar operation in 2012. Vero is a genuinely full-service firm, equally adept in the marketing realm— helping companies sell more products and services—and in the corporate reputation arena, where its ability to handle complex and often controversial assignments in a way that balances local market understanding with global awareness and best practices sets it apart from the competition. The firm specializes in developing thoughtful narratives on behalf of its clients, drawing on its staff of experienced writers and storytellers to articulate clients’ positions in a way that takes into account business, political and social realities. It’s an approach that translates into expertise in public affairs, labor and environmental issues, executive positioning, crisis communications, corporate social responsibility programming and cause marketing campaigns. A final point of differentiation is the firm’s embrace of digital and social media. The firm has experience in developing blogs, microsites and video content for use online, finding new 78 www.holmesreport.com channels through which clients can engage with their stakeholders, and recent years have seen the addition of a new video editing suite and video production unit, put to good use last year with the development of a series of video shorts designed to reach audiences via both the web and mainstream media. After launching in Myanmar, meanwhile, the firm has begun to offer international clients ‘immersion visits’, consisting of meetings with key stakeholders, including journalists, regulators, NGOs and local trade groups. 2012 was a record year for Vero, with fee income growing by more than 20 percent. A strong Southeast Asian economy helped, with Thailand’s resurgence playing a key role in Vero’s success, along with Myanmar’s emergence. The firm grew by 20 percent during the year, thanks to steady clients such as Microsoft, the EU, Business Software Alliance, LANXESS, BlackBerry, Conergy, and dunnhumby. Vero operates almost exclusively in the Thai, Vietnamese and Cambodian markets, but has a global reach through its membership in the Waggener Edstrom global alliance program and is the local partner of choice for several other firms in the region.—AS WAGGENER EDSTROM Full-service PR with strong technology heritage HONG KONG H AUSTRALIA H CHINA H KOREA H INDIA H SINGAPORE IT was no great surprise that Waggener Edstrom picked up three trophies at the 2012 SABRE Awards dinner in Hong Kong: it was a good haul for a midsize firm, but WaggEd has been doing good work in Asia since its acquisition of local technology specialist Shout in 2005. What was, perhaps, surprising is that the three winning campaigns were for an antismoking health education program on behalf of the Health Promotion Board of Singapore; a product media relations effort for the Ramen Emporium, with Japanese noodle restaurant IPPUDO in Hong Kong; and a promotional campaign for online travel company Zuji. In other words, there wasn’t a single technology assignment—long WaggEd’s bread-and-butter, among its winning work. That’s a testament to the success the Asia-Pacific operation has had in diversifying beyond the tech sector. Indeed, there’s a case to be made that after a year of better than 60 percent growth, the consumer practice is now Wagg Ed’s strongest in the region, although its technology and corporate practices continue to impress and the firm saw healthcare revenues soar. The practice now covers public health education, nutrition, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, hospitals and healthcare providers, health IT and wellness. And of course the firm’s expanding Studio D digital capabilities, which added content development and broadcast services as well as expanded insights and analytics offerings in 2012, are among the best in the region. Waggener Edstrom’s 2011 growth was impressive, with revenues in the region up by 27 percent. The firm managed to top that in 2012, hitting 30 percent, with the fledgling Indian operations leading the way with better than 40 percent growth. There was new business from consumer brands such as Bangkok Airways, The Body Shop, Changi Airport Group, Cole Haan, Diageo, General Mills, Jetstar, Kowloon Watch Company, Moet Chandon, Pernod Ricard, Samsonite, Tourism Authority of Thailand, and Unilever; healthcare clients such as Elsevier and Fortis Healthcare Singapore (as well as a number of confidential pharmaceutical companies); technology companies like Akamai, Mediatek, Microsoft, Sony, Visa; and corporate assignments from Asian Paints, CEVA, Jebsen, Osram, and Skillsoft. Shout founder and longtime regional CEO David Ko stepped away for a sabbatical, but it is a testament to the strong, stable leadership team he has created that Matthew Lackie, former vice president of the firm’s South East Asia operations, was able to step in without any apparent disruption. There were several new hires, including Antoine Calendrier, who joined as regional corporate practice lead and was then promoted to China general manager; Bhuvnesh Chawla, general manager for North India; and Zed Nooruddin, VP of Studio D. In addition, Meilin Wong Sandberg was promoted to vice president, business development and marketing and Emma Richards was name VP of the firm’s Global Alliance of affiliates. Overall staff turnover was below 15 percent, an impressive number for the hyperactive Asia region. Examples of the firm’s best work include the ongoing assignment for the Singapore Health Promotion Board—host of the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health—which has made use of the insights and analytics offer to create a dashboard that monitors the impact and influence of its campaigns online. Wagg Ed also led a multi-faceted regional campaign for Mercer, the human resource consulting firm, including LinkedIn outreach. And for CSL, Hong Kong’s largest mobile communications operator, the firm created the one2free Fast
  • Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms Love Film Competition, helping to move more than 16 percent of one2free’s subscribers to its 4G network. “With the Waggener Edstrom team’s professionalism and strong understanding of the industry and client’s requirements, they have never failed to provide sound advice and identify appropriate PR opportunities,” says Rachael Low, marketing manager, Fujitsu Singapore Waggener Edstrom has its own offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore and has Global Alliance Network partners in most other key markets.—PH WONDERFUL SKY FINANCIAL GROUP Financial PR clients in the pipeline), and has continued to expand its roster of retainer clients. Interesting assignments included three of the top IPOs of the year: People’s Insurance Company of China, Haitong Securities, and Inner Mongolia Yitai Coal Company; the firm also helped CSOP Asset Management to establish itself as Hong Kong’s largest and best-known RQFII manager. “What we like most about WSFG: quick response and proactive thinking,” says the firm’s Fantasia Property client. “[They] really go extra miles to understand our business and market and that shows in how well you help us tell our story.” Adds PICC: “WSFG colleagues… thrived against tight schedule and heavy workload; [they] were there for us 24 hours, and the level of professionalism made visible contribution to our successful listing.”—PH HONG KONG WRIGHTS PR A one-stop shop for financial communications needs, Wonderful Sky has successfully combined financial public relations, investor relations (including shareholder identification and targeting servces), corporate branding, financial printing, and investor-focused events such as international roadshows—an approach that provides clients with a unique depth and breadth of experience as well as cost efficiency. Leveraging Hong Kong’s status as a gateway between Greater China and the rest of the world, WSFG has grown to become one of the largest financial specialists in the region, with a team of 200 spread across offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, serving more than 180 clients. The focus is on eight sectors— basic materials, technology, media, telecommunications, consumer, energy, financials, industrials and utilities—but the client portfolio extends from local startups to Chinese multinationals to US asset management companies. Wonderful Sky is the only financial PR firm listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange. The firm is led by chairman and executive director Tianni Liu, a 20-year veteran of the financial markets who has worked on numerous M&A and IPO assignments, and chief executive Jessie Sun, who previously worked for China International Capital Corporation and also has extensive IPO experience. A new addition in 2012 was chief operating officer Winny Yip, who has handled IR for several listed Chinese companies. While the IPO market that provides much of Wonderful Sky’s revenue stream has been subdued in recent years, the firm handled 16 offerings in 2012 (with several more Full-service public relations AUSTRALIA NOW in its 25th year, Wrights was launched in October 1988 by Douglas Wright—a veteran of media, with the Adelaide News; politics, in the Prime Minister’s office and as a lobbyist for the mining industry; and the agency world, with Ogilvy—and partner Gordon Coulter. Based in Melbourne, it expanded into the Sydney market in the early 1990s, providing it with national reach that has since been expanded to cover most major international markets through the firm’s membership in the Worldcom network of independent agencies in 92 markets—in which Wright has been an active participant. The firm is perhaps best known for its work on some of Australia’s most prominent events—over the past 12 months it has managed public relations for the illustrious Melbourne Cup Carnival, St Kilda Festival, Royal Melbourne Show and the Melbourne International Three Day Event—and its strong media relations capabilities. But the reality is that Wrights can also deliver strategic issues, crisis and reputation management capabilities, supplemented by key messaging— new and existing clients have been flocking to its message development workshops—and stakeholder identification and engagement, supplemented over the past couple of years by burgeoning digital and social media capabilities. The past 12 months have seen healthy growth, with many clients reining in their advertising spend and looking for greater return-on-investment from PR. Wrights has added consumer brands Ella’s Kitchen and Bulldog, and social media technology specialist Peazie to its client base, but the majority of the growth has come from existing clients, an impressive list that includes the Victoria Racing Club (a client from more than 15 years), Hungry Jack’s (10 years), and Honda Australia. The firm’s work with the Victoria Racing Club and the Melbourne Cup Carnival—elevating the global positioning of the carnival and partnering with sponsors, government and tourism bodies; hosting and managing events with similar bodies for the VRC as well as managing crisis and issues preparedness and social media outreach. The firm’s work for the 2012 Royal Melbourne Show also drew plaudits: “Wrights PR led a hugely effective public relations campaign for the 2012 Royal Melbourne Show, demonstrating a fresh approach year on year, impeccable media contacts and excellent planning,” says Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria chief executive Mark O’Sullivan. “Wrights is an extension of the RASV team and continues to innovate while keeping business objectives front of mind and delivering superlative results.” Another significant development last year saw the promotion of Melbourne-based Lauren Zammit to the role of general manager. Overall, the firm maintains an impressive commitment to developing its own talent, a commitment that has been rewarded with low turnover levels.—PH ZENO GROUP Multiservice firm best known for creative consumer work SINGAPORE H INDIA H INDONESIA H JAPAN H MALAYSIA H VIETNAM INITIALLY little more than a conflict brand for parent company Edelman, with its focus primarily on the consumer space, Zeno has emerged in recent years as a strong, independent firm with its own personality—the emphasis is on the fearless and the unexpected; a blend of business that spans consumer, corporate, health and technology; and now its own global footprint. The past 12 months have seen the addition of Asian offices in Singapore, Jakarta, New Delhi, Tokyo, Malaysia and Vietnam (as well as operations in London, Amsterdam and Sao Paolo), with an office in Beijing expected to open soon. For the most part, the Asian offices are staffed by Edelman veterans, under the leadership of regional managing director John Kerr, who launched Edelman Digital in 2006 and grew it into an operation with 80-plus people in the region. Other key employees www.holmesreport.com 79
  • Consultancy Report Card 2013 Asia Pacific include Misty Maitimoe, who grew the former Stratcom (now Zeno Stratcom) into one of the five largest public relations agencies in Indonesia, and Amit Misra, previously was responsible for Edelman’s Delhi operations, where he grew the team from 8 to over 100. Amit has extensive experience in marketing communications. The most significant addition since launch is Jeremy Seow, former director of planning and insights at Ogilvy One in Singapore. Together they lead a firm with more than 60 people in the region, generating fee income of $4 million, serving a client list that includes EMC, Emirates, Far East Organization, Facebook, Frisian Flag, Intel, Lebua Hotels, Nivea, Proctor and Gamble, Samsung, SK Planet and Yahoo!—with Bain, Intel, Nivea, Samsung and SK Planet added since launch. Digital is at the core of the offer, accounting for about two-thirds of revenues. The firm’s “e-motion design” is designed to forge emotional bonds with consumers—focusing on brand purpose as much as product attributes—across multiple platforms: paid, owned and earned. For example, the Zeno team oversaw the strategy and content and community management for the launch of the BlackBerry Z10 across 13 Asia-Pacific markets. The Zeno China team, meanwhile, won an internal Proctor & Gamble award for its work on the Crest Weibo account, while Zeno Vietnam handles earned media (including digital, social media, media and government relations) for the launch of Nivea’s new brand platform: S.A.S.S.Y. On the corporate front, meanwhile: “Team Zeno has been instrumental in driving the 80 www.holmesreport.com corporate reputation programme for Vertex in India, including managing the stakeholder communication and engagement programme around Vertex’s acquisition of Shell Transource, positioning the company as a premium player in the domestic BPO space and in establishing the new identity of the company,” says Gurpal Singh, COO of Vertex. “The team has also supported Vertex in managing employee engagement activities to support talent acquisition nationally. The quality and attitude of the client servicing team has been outstanding.” In addition to its own offices, Zeno has a strong affiliate network including offices in the Philippines (EON) and Thailand (Spark). ZING Consumer marketing PR with growing corporate capabilities AUSTRALIA CONSUMER and lifestyle public relations specialist Zing was launched in 2000 by Preya McMahon, a veteran of the marketing communications practice at Edelman and of the PR industry in both Australia and the US, and has quickly established itself as one of the most creative firms in the Australian market—and increasingly beyond it. While Zing has its roots in traditional consumer public relations, it is differentiated from the dozens of firms that can say the same thing by its creative approach—ideas that deliver the promised “zing”—and by execution that integrates digital and social media, experiential, and other elements for a roster of big name brands in the entertainment, sport, retail, consumer technology, fashion, and food and beverage categories. The management team includes general manager Jocelyne Simpson, who like McMahon has international experience (the UK); Kate Whitehair, head of experiential and events; and TingTing Li, group financial officer. The firm made two significant changes in 2012, appointing a new creative director, building on its strength in that area; and hiring a strategy director to focus on delivering the kind of insights that fuel strategic ideas. Growth was a very impressive 20 percent, with new business successes including McAfee (for its consumer and sponsorship business); Nescafe (PR and experiential work); National Australia Bank (consumer); and Woolworths. And the firm continues to work with longtime clients including Johnson & Johnson and Nikon. Highlights included launching the McAfee and Life Education sponsorship via a high-profile media launch event with then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard in January 2013, and the announcement of a global partnership between client Underwater Earth and Google, enabling Internet users to experience a “virtual dive” and see the Great Barrier Reef and other marine areas up close. “In my 25 years in the market, this was the best PR launch I’ve ever had the privilege to bring to market,” says Jacqui Donovan, vice president of marketing, Asia Pacific, for McAfee. “Every national news channel; all tierone media. The best branding and cutest, most impactful videos…. I’ve worked with many PR agencies across APAC and International markets and Zing is second to none!”—PH
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