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

Southeast Asia Consultancy of the Year — Cohn & Wolfe (WPP)

Cohn & Wolfe is a relative newcomer to the Asian market, dispatching veteran counselor Doug Buemi to the region in 2006 and doing some interesting work for Ford in the early days before making a serious push into the region with the acquisition of Greater China’s impactasia and Singapore-based XPR in 2011. There was more change last year, with the appointment of Edelman, Weber Shandwick and Burson-Marsteller veteran Angelina Ong as president, Asia-Pacific, a role that ties the disparate parts of Cohn & Wolfe Asia—now an 11-office network—together.

The engine of the firm’s growth over the past 12 months has been its operation in South-East Asia, which grew by 22% last year, and Malaysia in particular, which under the leadership of Jonathan Tan has grown at close to twice that rate. Clients include AkzoNobel Dulux, 3M Malaysia (for the company’s water purification business) and newer additions Tetra Pak Malaysia (for a consumer recycling campaign), Colgate Palmolive, and Munchy’s Malaysia. The firm also has a presence in Singapore, the Philippines, and Indonesia—home to Asia Pulp & Paper, which has become one of Cohn & Wolfe’s major global accounts.—PH

Finalists

Edelman (Independent)

In Indonesia, where Edelman has more than 100 people and ranks among the market leaders, revenues were flat last year—partly the result of Stephen Lock’s departure and partly the result of local political and economic conditions—but elsewhere across the region, growth was impressive. Malaysia, where the firm has a team of 66, was up by better than 20 percent, while Singapore (where the firm has close to 100 people) and Vietnam (35) both saw 15 percent growth. Leading clients include Chevron and the European Union in Indonesia, the Government of Malaysia and the Government of Sarawak in Malaysia, Nokia and Adidas in Vietnam, and Unilever and Symantec in Singapore, while new business came from Audi, BP Castrol, Indosat, Nivea, Shell, the Singapore Tourism Board, and several additional Unilever brands. The Southeast Asia region comes under the leadership of Iain Twine, who has strong support from the likes of Chadd McLisky (founder of the Indonesian operation), Singapore CEO Amanda Goh, Raymond Siva (rewarded for driving impressive growth in Malaysia with a new role as MD in Jakarta), and Robert Kay (Siva’s replacement in Kuala Lumpur). New additions last year included Catriona Muspratt-Williams from Mediacom as head of Edelman Berland in Singapore and Julien Courant from OgilvyOne as managing director of consumer and digital in Indonesia.—PH

EON (The Philippines, Independent)

“Events Organizer Network" (EON) was founded in Manila, Philippines in 1998 by the triumvirate of career diplomat Junie del Mundo, artist/writer Jeannie Javelosa, and Ambassador Romeo Manalo. Since then, EON has created its own niche in the PR industry and in 2015, embraced evolution with the rebirth of the company as EON The Stakeholder Relations Group. With this, came four business units: EON Public Relations, ENGAGE for Public Affairs and Government Relations, TANGERINE for Creatives and Events, and DiG for Digital. Not only does EON have proven longevity and the willingness to evolve, but the agency has also followed a remarkable growth trajectory. What started out as a three-man company in 1998 is now composed of nearly 100 professionals. EON's total public relations fee income for 2014 was $3m. EON is now regarded as one of the leading and the biggest public relations and communications consultancy firms in the ASEAN, representing some of the top local and global brands in the country including Shell, McDonald’s, Diageo, Nike, Spotify, Wyeth, Lafarge, Visa, FedEx, BMW, HP, Intel and Cisco. At the helm, remains Junie del Mundo as CEO of EON, overseeing EON’s work in the following sectors: Airlines, Alcohol, Automotive, Construction, Education, Energy, Entertainment, Financial Services, Food and Beverage, Fuel, Government, Healthcare, Industrial, Insurance, International Organizations, Management Consultancy, Real Estate, Sports Apparel, Technology, Telecommunications, Transport and Logistics. Among its notable work for the year, the Shell FuelSave Celebrity Driving Challenge. - AaS

Fortune PR (Indonesia, Independent)

Despite recent challenges resulting from lack of external demand, Indonesia is still one of the three fastest-growing G20 economies (behind only China and India) and Fortune PR is one of its oldest (established in 1983) and largest (fee income reached $3.5 million last year) public relations firms. It is also one of the region’s best—its seven Asia-Pacific SABRE Award nominations this year were more than several of the major multinationals, and showcased the firm’s wide range of capabilities, from a campaign to reduce the stigma of children with disabilities on behalf of Save the Children to a digital initiative to build the confidence of Muslim women for Wardah Cosmetics, to promoting Akzo Nobel’s Dulux brand and its sponsorship of the Indonesian Color Run. Other clients are primarily large Indonesian companies, with a handful of multinationals mixed in: IPR Forum Korea, Bumi Serpong Damai, OAIB Turkey, Pani Resources Indonesia, HKTDC, KKP (The Ministry of Maritime and Fisheries Affairs), Express Mulia Perdana, AMSL Indonesia, Indocement, LinkedIn, Oracle, GSK.—PH

Vero (SE Asia, Independent)

The independent and employee-owned Vero PR agency has two notable brands—Vero PR and Vero Content Creative—that provide expertise around local market insights, creativity, innovation and technology. A decade after launching, Vero now has 25 professionals across three markets. The agency’s overall business is on track to be up 13% to 15% this year with particularly strong growth from digital. The firm also won numerous multi-market assignments. When it comes to geographic expertise, Vero points out that Singapore is no longer “the be-all end-all” in Southeast Asia and is making investments across the region, including: Bangkok, Yangon, Ho Chi Minh City with affiliate offices in Phnom Penh and Vientiane. The opportunity that Vero foresees is this: with China slowing, Southeast Asia is becoming more attractive and, with this, a realization that all of the diverse markets in Southeast Asia cannot be served through a single office in Singapore. Among its clients: Uber, Nok Air, Business Software Alliance, UTS: INSEARCH, Ooredoo, Toyota, Blued, Johnson Controls and International Labor Organization. One of its strongest campaigns of the year was "Thailand's Most Sustainable Family" that includes outreach into schools, partnership with a government agency focused on STEM, thought leadership on sustainability and finally a contest to find and reward "Thailand's Most Sustainable Family." - AaS