Holmes Report 21 Jul 2011 // 11:00PM GMT
In just its second year, Singapore-based Rice Communications has already begun to attract attention. Founded in 2009 by former EastWest PR partner Sonya Madeira Stamp, the firm has quickly assembled a team of close to 20 professionals and a client list that includes Emerson Network Power, Inmarsat, InMobi, Mobile Marketing Association, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, and Openwave Systems. The firm has fee income of around S$1.4 million, and has already turned away a couple of potential acquirers.
Maderiea has experience with a number of multinational PR firms including Weber Shandwick, Hill & Knowlton, and Text 100 India and has strong technology credentials, having worked with clients including Emerson Network Power, Hewlett-Packard, Inmarsat, LogicaCMG, Microsoft, SAP, and Oracle. Account director Suzanne Yap is another technology sector, veteran, with more than 11 years of experience in Malaysia and Hong Kong. So it’s no surprise that the firm’s initial successes have come primarily in the technology sector. But Rice has recruited senior professionals with broad expertise in corporate and marketing communications, healthcare, public affairs and stakeholder outreach, social media, media training and events and clearly sees an opportunity for growth in other areas.
The firm’s combination of experience and nimbleness seems to appeal to a cross-section of clients, from global multinationals to small to medium sized companies focused on business-to-business markets. The firm has also worked closely with SPRING Singapore, the island nation’s economic development agency, to provide media training and PR services to local startups. New projects over the past 12 months included work for new projects for AOC, Aviation New Zealand, Bayer, eBay, Huthwaite, Kingdee, Nokia, NetIQ, Out There Media, Panalpina Group, Progress Software, TUV SUD, Singapore Emulsion Fuel, Sycamore Networks, and VOCANIC.
All those new assignments helped the firm hit 40 percent growth in its second year of business, and a growing specialty in the mobile arena—built on its relationship with the Mobile Marketing Association—also made a strong contribution. Interesting work included managing PR, communications and logistics for 2010 Mobile Marketing Association Forum in Asia; serving as lead agency as Inmarsat launched its first global handheld satellite phone in Singapore; and support for Swiss company Panalpina Group as it launched its first logistics facility dedicated for the oil and gas sector in Singapore.
“We chose to support the creation of Rice as an anchor client,” says Chris McLaughlin, VP external affairs, Inmarsat. “They have not disappointed us, providing hard work and creativity, within budget and on time. We recommend Rice.” Adds John Nicholson, chief executive officer, Aviation New Zealand: “We used Rice at short notice to develop a campaign around the New Zealand presence at the Singapore Airshow. Sonya and team got stuck in, came up with imaginative ideas, secured some top quality media interviews, arranged placement of material in targeted media and achieved consistent messaging through all the media we used. The Rice team was attentive, responsive and very personable.”
About 70 percent of Rice assignments have a pan-regional focus.—PH