Japan PR Consultancies of the Year, Asia-Pacific 2015 | Holmes Report
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2015 Japan Consultancies of the Year

Our 2015 Asia-Pacific PR Consultancies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 100 face-to-face meetings with the best PR firms across the region.

Winners were announced at the Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards in Hong Kong on 23 September. Analysis of all consultancies across geographic and specialist categories can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or below.

Japan Consultancy of the Year — Dentsu PR (Dentsu, Inc.)

With eight Asia-Pacific SABRE Award nominations this year—a record for a Japanese firm—Dentsu Public Relations demonstrated strategic thinking and creativity across a variety of disciplines and industry sectors, from a spectacular “adventure” promotion designed to revive the tourist appeal of Miyako Island to a music-themed campaign to market miso soup to millennials to a sports marketing initiative supporting Dole’s sponsorship of the Tokyo marathon.

The firm also worked with blue-chip brands and market leaders such as Starbucks Coffee Japan, the Japanese Red Cross Society, the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry & Fisheries, Ministry of Health Labour & Welfare, Ministry of Economy Trade & Industry, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and more. Net sales last year were in excess of ¥10 million, up 11 percent from the previous year, and the firm now has more than 250 people under the leadership of president and CEO Takehiko Chikami.

The firm also continued to cement its position as thought leader in Japan, publishing two books (PR management with strategic thinking, and the 7th edition of Communicating: A Guide to PR in Japan) and commissioning two major research studies: a survey of the PR capabilities of listed Japanese companies and a review of crisis communications capabilities in Japan.—PH

Finalists

Cosmo Public Relations Corporation (Independent)

Through the first half of its 55-year existence, Cosmo focused on supporting Japanese companies as they sought to communicate with global stakeholders; but since Kumi Sato took the reins in 27 years ago, Cosmo has expanded its focus to include a host of western companies—Sato’s background as a management consultant in the US—and has refined its focus, leveraging its considerable experience in the healthcare sector to establish itself as the undisputed leader in that space. It’s an approach that has paid off handsomely: consistent profitability, and healthy growth during a period in which Japan’s GDP has rarely expanded by more than low single digits. It now has a team of 40, serving a blue-chip client list that includes Takeda, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Chugai Pharmaceuticals, Abbott Japan, the American Medical Devices & Diagnostics Manufacturers Association, Novo Nordisk, 3M Japan, and more, with new business last year from Amgen, Astellas Bio Pharma, Celgene, and AstraZeneca’s flagship oncology portfolio. Its capabilities have expanded to include public affairs, digital and social media, and crisis communications, although its core expertise continues to revolve around its ability to engage and influence key opinion leaders in the healthcare space.—PH

PRAP (Independent)

When PRAP was founded in 1970, most of its clients were based in Japan. Then, in 1990, the firm broke out of the local market and, since then, half of its impressive client list has been foreign-affiliated. The firm now employs 270 people across Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai, as well as being a member of PROI for international reach. PRAP has worked with its longest-standing client Takashimaya Department Stores since its founding. In addition, American giants P&G and McDonald's are two of the firm’s oldest non-Japanese clients. At the helm is CEO Satoshi Sugita, who started with Burson-Marsteller in New York in 1973. He joined the board of PRAP Japan in 1990. The firm’s expertise focuses on media training, crisis communications, and consumer marketing. Among its high-profile work in the last 12 months, PRAP assisted McDonald's with its crisis communication efforts centered around contaminated products.— AaS