Perception Management founder and president Millicent Danker is not only one of Malaysia’s most respected public relations practitioners, she is also one of the most familiar professionals in the Asia-Pacific region, with a track record of senior leadership including two terms on the board of the International Public Relations Association and senior roles in IPRA in Malaysia and the Public Relations Consultants Association Malaysia—all of which led us to name Perception Management as our inaugural South East Asian Consultancy of the Year last year.
Danker began her career as a journalist with Malaysia’s New Straits Times Group and spent several years on the corporate side of the business with Malaysian national oil company Petronas before launching Perception Management International 12 years ago. The firm began life as a boutique providing strategic communications counsel and media relations as well as editorial and copywriting services. Over the past decade, however, the firm has evolved into a specialist in strategic stakeholder relations work, particularly in emerging markets, with significant expertise in key message development, spokesperson coaching, crisis and issues management, stakeholder perception audits, NGO and investor relations, corporate positioning and also CSR and communications policy development. Danker also heads a communications training business, Mentor Communications Resources.
It has also expanded its influence significantly beyond the Malaysian market where it has its headquarters, positioning itself as an expert in culturally-sensitive emerging market public relations and establishing an office in London—in partnership with veteran U.K. corporate communications expert Roger Hayes—to coordinate international projects; an African hub in Zambia led by Mildred Kaunda that will manage work across the continent; and a representative office in India, and—new in 2008—an operation in Ho Chi Minh City. The firm has also brought in Martin Manen, formerly with Malaysian multinational Sime Darby, as chief executive in
The firm continues to work with international clients such as Prudential and Unilever and with leading Malaysian brands TM and University Malaya, as well as several publicly-listed companies, government-linked companies and financial institutions. The major addition last year was the Malaysian Ministry of International Trade & Industry. Interesting work has included stakeholder dialogues and NGO-relations around sustainability issues on behalf of Malaysian Palm Oil; the development of position papers on illegal logging and wildlife trade and moderating dialogues with U.S. environmental lobbyists in support of Malaysia-US free trade negotiations; stakeholder perception audits and planning recommendations on behalf of the Companies Commission of Malaysia and leading Malaysian brands; crisis simulation and spokesperson coaching for DiGi-Telenor over almost a decade; crisis management for a mobile service provider; and the development of a social responsibility policy for a leading government-linked organization.
Another highlight last year was the production of the firm’s first international conference, in London in August, focused on business opportunities in emerging markets, and is planning to institutionalize its work in that arena with the support of partners such as the Islamic Development Bank, Asia House, the Malaysia-Europe Forum and the ASEAN-UK Business Forum.