The difficulties of scaling up a strong local market operation into an effective regional network remain formidable in Asia-Pacific. But 20-year-old Impact Asia made the leap from one office to four in 2009, overcoming a difficult economy and underscoring its international ambitions.
The agency splits is business equally between multinational and local clients and makes much of its ability to put senior people onto all accounts, rather than simply rolling them out for the pitch. Crucially, Impact offers a refreshing honesty when it comes to its focus, accepting that the bulk of budgets lie in execution, rather than strategic insight.
After two decades, Impact is—by regional standard—a mid-sized player, focusing on consumer and B2B. The agency is well-known for a traditional strength in travel and tourism, but has successfully diversified beyond this base to represent such clients as Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Friesland. Other key accounts include Fairmont Hotels and Finnair.
“Impact Asia is a highly professional, prompt and efficient agency that anticipates and exceeds our needs at all times,” says Mandarin Oriental group PR manager Sally De Souza. “Extremely skilled PR practitioners, they have a deep and thorough understanding of how the media work in all categories.”
Susan Field founded Impact in 1990 after several years of working in the hospitality industry. Field retains an ambassadorial role for the agency, with day-to-day management handled by group MD Sarah Woodhouse. In 2009, the agency made two significant hires, luring Amy Wright and Kate O’Shea from Grayling to join its Singapore office. The duo proved instrumental in Impact’s selection to Diageo’s Asia-Pacific PR roster earlier this year.
Overall revenues grew by six per cent in 2009, despite the recession, with the agency taking advantage of lower operating costs to open new offices in Beijing and Singapore. Highlights of the year included its work for the Hong Kong International Art Fair, and the agency also handled a delicate comms brief for Friso, using digital communities to connect with mothers following the melamine baby milk scandal.—AS