Southeast Asian PR Consultancies of the Year 2016 | Holmes Report
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2016 Southeast Asia PR Consultancies of the Year

The 2016 Asia-Pacific PR Consultancies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 100 submissions and meetings with the best PR firms across the region. Consultancy of the Year winners are announced and honoured at the 2016 Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards, taking place on 28 September in Hong Kong. Analysis of all Finalists (and Winners from 29 September) can be accessed via the navigation menu or below:

Southeast Asia PR Consultancy of the Year: Weber Shandwick (Interpublic Group)

Southeast Asia accounts for just 15% of Weber Shandwick’s revenue in the region, but the firm has a presence that includes offices in the major markets of Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia and has been growing at a steady rate in recent years—with Singapore and Indonesia both reporting revenue increases of close to 30% last year.
 
Singapore is the largest office, with an impressive client list that includes MasterCard, General Motors, Temasek, Emirates, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Rolls Royce, ION Orchard, NetApp, ST Engineering, Seagate, Exxon Mobil, Spotify, Abbott, Sport Singapore, Singapore Swimming Association, and new additions over the past 12 months such as BNP Paribas WTA Finals (SC Global), Standard Chartered Marathon, Takeda, Motorola. Perhaps most encouragingly, the firm’s successful work on the South-East Asia Games has led to a surge of interest in the sports marketing space as Singapore seeks to become a “sports hub.” The firm is now working with the World Tennis Association, the Standard Chartered Marathon, and Singapore swimming.
 
In Indonesia, a challenging political and economic environment has proved no obstacle to growth and Weber Shandwick has retained major clients such as Citi Indonesia, Singapore Airlines, International Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Group, MasterCard, General Motors, and Intel while expanding its digital capabilities.
 
Growth in Thailand and Malaysia has been more modest (but still in double digits) with the Kuala Lumpur operation picking up two sought-after local accounts, for Tanjung Aru Eco Development and Tenaga Nasional Berhad.—PH


Finalists


Cohn & Wolfe
(WPP)

Cohn & Wolfe made its debut in the South-East Asia region with the acquisition of Singapore-based XPR in 2011 and has continued to expand its presence in the market over the past 12 months. The firm’s Singapore and Indonesia offices both grew by very healthy double-digit percentages last year, and the Malayisan operation continued to be the top performer in the Asia-Pacific network, up by better than 40 percent for the second consecutive year.

One key is a strong regional leadership team. Karen Ho and Adrian Lee, who both joined as part of the XPR deal and serve as group managing directors based in Singapore and Jakarta respectively, while Jonathan Tan was promoted to associate managing director a year ago and leads the Kuala Lumpur office. Another factor in the firm’s strong performance is the continued expansion of its local digital team, and its emphasis on a more integrated approach.

The firm’s South-East Asia client roster includes the likes of APP (one of Cohn & Wolfe’s largest global clients), Adidas, Bosch, Dell, ExxonMobil, Ferrero, Fujitsu, iFly Singapore, Rockwell Collins, Sharp, and Tourism Australia, while there was new business over the past year from 3M, Colgate-Palmolive, Facebook, Mattel, Moet Hennessy, and Puma.—PH


Edelman
(Independent)

Edelman’s Southeast Asia operations, led by Iain Twine are — arguably — the biggest in the subregion, including 102 people in Indonesia, 92 in Singapore, 58 in Malaysia and 28 in Vietnam. That adds up to around $20m in Southeast Asian revenue, driven by 15% growth in Singapore, even as Malaysia remained flat and Indonesia and Vietnam both reported declines.


Much of the firm’s development, unsurprisingly, revolves around investment in digital and creative — which grew by double-digits in all three markets. In particular, the Singapore office has broadened its offering considerably to include digital and brand strategists, along with Edelman Intelligence’s research and analytics offering, working for a client roster that includes Unilever, Singapore Government, STB, Samsung, Symantec, Shell and GSK.

The Southeast Asia region comes under the leadership of Iain Twine, who has strong support from the likes of Singapore CEO Amanda Goh, Raymond Siva (elevated to CEO in Jakarta), Robert Kay (Siva’s replacement in Kuala Lumpur) and TT Nguyen (former Publicis Vietnam GM who arrived to lead Vietnam). — AS


EON
(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. Together these newly-formed business units delivered top-line growth of 24% in 2015 and a client portfolio that now spans 24 diverse industries and headcount that has exceeded 100.

Business, overall, is booming. Revenue is more than $5.5m while overall growth was 24% — EON PR registered at 8%, Dig at 194%, Tangerine at 40%, and Engage at a 7% growth. The company is already on track to outdo these performance metrics for this year. Clients include: Spotify, Viacom - MTV Music Evolution, Intel, Shell, McDonald’s, Diageo, Visa, Nike, Pfizer (new), Tourism New Zealand and Education New Zealand (new) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (new), among others. Notable work includes the regional launch of streaming music darling Spotify.  — AaS

Rice Communications (Independent)

Rice’s continued growth — it now numbers 29 people across Singapore and Myanmar — illustrates the increasing maturity of boutique public relations firms in Southeast Asia. The firm’s focus on workplace culture gives it a competitive edge over many of its larger peers, as does a leadership team comprised of Sonya Madeira, who founded Rice in 2009, and partner/director James Brasher.

2015 saw Rice submit once of its best years ever, growing 40% to reach US$2.54m in fee income. Once known purely for technology, Rice has increasingly diversified into consumer as well, to the extent that its top 10 clients include Hilton, Bosch, Subaru, Inmarsat, FICO, DBS, Kimberly-Clark and Palo Alto Networks. Over the past 12 months there was new business from LinkedIn, Servcorp, Ooyala, Tech Mahindra, Outbrain, LogRhythm and Vivaki.

About 80% of its clients are served in multiple markets, and many span the region. Campaign highlights include supporting Kimberly-Clark’s stakeholder relationships in Singapore; helping Inmarsat drive awareness of aviation safety and connectivity solutions; and, building greater profile for LogRhythm in Asia-Pacific. — AS