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2011 Asia-Pacific Consultancies of the Year

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Editorial by Paul Holmes

The public relations business in the Asia-Pacific region has rebounded quite impressively from the global economic crisis, which hit the region in 2009. The alacrity with which multinational corporations resumed
business as usual in the region was evidence that most companies recognize the region—home to
two of the world’s largest and fastest-growing markets—is going to be a major source of any future growth. It was also evidence that they understand the importance of managing both corporate reputation and brand image as stakeholders become increasingly sophisticated about the choices they make.

At the same time, giant corporations with their headquarters in the region—market leaders in their local
markets—are expanding not only to neighboring markets but into the global arena. These companies need advice on a wide range of issues, from global standards of governance to reaching consumers in more developed markets to overcoming the prejudice that still exists in North America and Europe against firms from China, India, and other developing areas.

In addition, 2010 saw the continued expansion of digital and social media in the region, with companies
and government agencies embracing new channels to communicate and engage with consumers and other key influences. Under the circumstances, it is no surprise that public relations in the Asia-Pacific region—and the firms profiled in this publication—are thriving.

But there are challenges ahead. The business will need to develop a more consultative, strategic approach to meet the increasingly sophisticated challenges faced by its clients; it will need to recruit and retain top talent, persuading people that public relations is a worthwhile and rewarding career; it will need to fend off competition from other disciplines which believe they have the skills to help companies communicate and engage with their stakeholders; and it will need to coalesce around a measurement standard that emphasizes business rather than media results.

If the industry in the Asia-Pacific region can meet these challenges, the potential for growth over the next decade is nothing short of spectacular.