NEW YORK--Ogilvy & Mather is seeking to capitalise on the overseas aspirations of Chinese companies by launching a new North American practice focusing on this area.
The China practice will be based in New York and overseen by new hire Lyndon Cao, formerly general manager of the China Daily. Cao will report to Ogilvy & Mather global CEO Miles Young and will also work closely with Ogilvy PR North Asia president Scott Kronick and Ogilvy PR global public affairs MD Jamie Moeller.
Ogilvy is already the biggest international PR agency in China, and one of the biggest international advertising agencies in Asia-Pacific. The firm has helped several Chinese companies expand into the US including, most recently, conglomerate Fosun International.
The launch comes as Chinese investment in the US increases, despite the high-profile failures of giants CNOOC and Haier to complete US acquisitions.
"We have had some high-profile fiascos, but if you look at the numbers its doing pretty well," said Cao. "Chinese investment in the US is growing and a lot of things are happening. Chinese investment is mostly welcome at a local state level."
Cao admitted that Chinese companies need to better understand US audiences , particularly if they want to overcome the perception of unsafe products. He also noted that the rapid growth they have benefited from in China may not be so readily accessible overseas. "They need to play by local rules."
In addition to Fosun, the practice's clients include Lenovo, Air China and the Chinese city of Chengdu. The Ogilvy China practice will offer investor relations, corporate positioning, branding marketing and government relations.
"Not only do we handle the global marketing and communications work of more than a dozen Chinese firms, but the rate at which we are welcoming Chinese delegations to our offices in New York, Washington, Brazil and throughout Europe is astounding,” said Young. “We have wanted to establish a formal practice for some time and have found the right person in Lyndon to lead this.”
“It's like returning home,” said Cao. “In establishing China Daily's operations in the North American market for the past four-and-a half years, I have built up an extensive network of like-minded experts with ideas that need an international network like Ogilvy & Mather to incubate. For me, there was really no other global network with such a focus on China.”
Prior to joining China Daily to lead its US operations, Cao worked in Ogilvy PR’s Public Affairs and Branding States Practice in Beijing helping governments and public sector institutions build and improve their communication capabilities.