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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

SIA’s Scoot names BCW as PR agency in SG

Singapore – Scoot, the low-cost airline subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, has named global communications agency BCW as its public relation agency partner in Singapore, following a closed-door competitive presentation process.

Through the mandate win, BCW will work with Scoot to raise awareness of the brand and reputation in the market, along with the safe and gradual resumption of international air travel.

For Cindy Lim, market leader at BCW Singapore, they are excited to work with the airline, noting that Scoot has been a household name and an ‘innovation-driven, youthful’ brand, one that invokes a sense of adventure.

“Singapore is, and will continue to be, a critical hub for both travel and tourism and strategic communications in Asia-Pacific, and our focus will be on leveraging our earned-plus capabilities to reach people wherever they are for Scoot as it enters its next phase of growth,” Lim stated.

Meanwhile, Agatha Yap, director for communication, brand and marketing, market partnerships and loyalty at Scoot, commented that Lim’s team immediately won them over with their understanding of the industry, clarity of thought and creative energy. She further added that they are excited to be partnering with them on their corporate communications efforts in Singapore.

“We believe passengers’ urge to travel is alive and well. Post-pandemic, we are confident Scoot’s strong value proposition, coupled with an innovative, safe and Scootitude-fuelled travel experience, will meet the demands of mass leisure travellers,” Yap stated.

Scoot had recently tapped cross-channel marketing platform Insider to create personalized, multi-channel experiences for customers on its website, therefore improving their online customer experience (CX).

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

PR firm chief exec tapped by PH industry bodies to helm student programs

Manila, Philippines – PR and communications veteran Ferdinand Bondoy has been elected to the board of trustees of two communications industry organizations in the Philippines, namely Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP) and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Philippines.

Through the esteemed appointments, Bondoy has been tapped by both organizations to spearhead each of their leading programs dedicated to communications students in the country.

He is serving as the co-chair of IABC’s Philippine Student Quill Awards, the prestigious awards program in the field of business communication. Meanwhile, PRSP has named Bondoy as chair of the Students’ PR Congress, which has been rebranded to Students’ PR Con, its annual event for students’ learning; and Grand Prix, PRSP’s first hack sprint edition. Under his term at PRSP, Bondoy will be introducing and leading the first virtual edition of the said student activities.

Bondoy is currently the regional integration and chief executive director of integrated communications agency, COMCO Southeast Asia, which he co-founded in 2016. He also serves as the board director of the newly launched Middle East & Africa branch of COMCO.

Bondoy said that he sees the positions as an opportunity to give back to the industry by preparing the next generation of communications and public relations professionals and leaders, just like how he was honed in the field. 

“It has come full circle and I think this is the reason why I was given this position, to complete the narrative that the seed sowed yesterday are the fruits harvested today,” commented Bondoy.

As Bondoy leads the student-focused initiatives, his stellar scholastic record comes to light having been an academic scholar and graduating with Latin Honors back as a mass communication major. Jumping to become a young professional, Bondoy had been assimilated to IABC Philippines as he led projects for the digital communications committee of the Philippine Quill and Student Quill Awards and eventually served as an evaluator of the award-giving body.

Bondoy’s membership to IABC’s Board of Trustees will be until 2023, where he was named as corporate secretary and chair of the digital communications and public relations committee. Meanwhile, Bondoy’s election to PRSP’s board had been initiated in early 2021.

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Marketing Featured ANZ

Nick Healy joins Hotwire Australia as client services director

Sydney, Australia – Hotwire, the global technology communications consultancy, has appointed Samsung Electronics’ Nick Healy to the position of client services director. The role is a newly created one and will have Healy operate within the local Australian leadership team and strengthen the consultancy’s growth with existing clients and new business opportunities. 

Healy has had eight years with Samsung Electronics where he held various leadership roles within the communications and corporate affairs team across mobile and consumer electronics divisions. He brings a wealth of experience working with some of the world’s largest technology brands, as well as start-ups in consumer electronics, enterprise technology, IoT, networks, and gaming. 

Healy joins Managing Director Jaime Nelson, Creative Director Jen Dobbie, and Strategy Director Drew Usher, to continue the momentum of the consultancy’s accelerated growth in Australia. In the role, Healy will also lead a communications team to support end-to-end storytelling capabilities offered to enterprise technology and innovation-led clients. 

Healy commented, “Hotwire has a strong history of consulting with the most innovative technology brands in Australia and in key global markets. With the technology sector evolving to become one of the biggest contributors to Australia’s economy, it’s an incredibly exciting time to join the team and open opportunities for clients through integrated communications services and experiences.” 

Nelson said Healy’s scope of strategic communications and technology experience make him an incredibly valuable addition as the consultancy strengthens its offering moving beyond traditional PR and communications roots into connected storytelling, marketing, and branding. 

“By bolstering not only our senior leadership team but our client services team, we’re building on our strong foundations to deliver a more integrated service that aligns to the needs of the brands we partner with,” said Nelson. 

The team has also hired new Program Managers Olivia Jarman and Allan Hunt. Jarman joins from The PR Hub where she was a senior account manager, while Hunt has moved across from Weber Shandwick where he’s been for the past two and a half years, most recently as a Senior Associate. 

The consultancy said the appointments follow stellar financial results from parent company Enero Group, reporting a net revenue year-on-year increase of 22.6% and operating EBITDA up 50% on the previous corresponding period. 

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Marketing Featured APAC

PR Newswire launches inaugural handbook dedicated to ESG comms in APAC

Hong Kong – PR Newswire, the press release distribution service under media company Cision, has launched its very first handbook dedicated to shine light on communications of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) across Asia-Pacific.

Said handbook covers the importance of ESG by spotlighting top companies’ practices such as Cisco, Apple, and American Express, wherein they shared how they develop effective strategies and best practices on communicating ESG activities to the media.

Some of the notable insights included in the handbook include 10 pointers on how brands can develop effective ESG communication strategies, eight common types of press releases to help brands craft news angles for their news as well as a list of company trendsetters that have already incorporated ESG strategies in their business endeavors.

According to the handbook, the common ESG press releases being shared on their platform include announcing key wins at industry awards, and sharing results of initiatives such as building environmentally friendly factories and introducing green solutions.

“ESG initiatives can shape and influence investors and the public’s perception of brands. In recent years, more listed companies are starting to pay attention to crafting ESG strategies and publishing data. The pandemic has accelerated interest in this burgeoning field, with more companies showing their commitment to areas such as sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI),” the company said in a press statement.

In the first half of 2021, PR Newswire distributed a growing number of press releases related to topics such as climate change and carbon neutrality across the APAC region. The number of releases distributed increased from 23 in January to 284 in June. 

According to the company, industries that are more active in ESG communications include energy, business technology, industrial automation, health/medical/biotech, consumer products and retail, and finance and insurance.

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Marketing Featured Global

PR agency Red Havas expands to China, other global locations

Australia – Global public relations agency Red Havas has announced its further international expansion to locations Spain, Germany, China, and Italy, as well as France, aimed at bringing these teams together with Red Havas offices across the US, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, UK, and the Philippines, as well as Indonesia, and Dubai. 

The move aims to give clients access to best-in-class thinking and the opportunity for seamless, integrated programs across four continents. Through the expansion, Red Havas also expects strengthened capabilities with the backing of the health network Havas Health & You under CEO Donna Murphy, and the global footprint and expertise of Havas Creative Group under its Global CEO Chris Hirst. 

The consolidation of these assets will allow the network to operate in a unified way across its seven disciplines around the world, namely health and wellness, corporate PR and reputation management, technology and e-commerce, consumer and lifestyle, and automotive and mobility, as well as travel and hospitality, and internal communications.

Red Havas said that there is a further expansion to be realized throughout 2021 to 2022, where it will be partnering with the other Havas Group specialized PR assets to address client needs. 

James Wright, the global CEO of Red Havas and the global chairman of Havas PR Global Collective, shared that the combination of a global pandemic along with the political and social atmosphere of the last two years not only left a dramatic imprint on global society but has dramatically and permanently changed the way people around the world consume media and content.

“We are now living in an era where consumption is more global, more diversified, more simultaneous, and at higher volumes than ever before across platforms. In response to this, brand demand for seamless and integrated communications across multiple platforms and regions continues to grow at an exponential rate. This expansion better positions us to bring the future of PR and communications to our clients anywhere and everywhere,” said Wright.

In September this year, Red Havas in Australia has also announced the appointment of Alexandra Bryant, former managing partner and creative principle of creative communications and content company Finchco Agency, to assume the newly created role of executive director for the Sydney office, tasking her to oversee the team’s performance, growth, and operations, including driving people and culture initiatives.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Latest report reveals present mental health state among PR practitioners in APAC

Singapore – A new report conducted by market research company YouGov and public relations professional body Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) reveals the current mental health state among the region’s public relation practitioners, including that 48% of respondents say they are going through a particularly stressful period in their life right now, with more than a third saying the pandemic has worsened their mental health.

According to the report, the main triggers of mental ill health faced by respondents are high workload (cited by 34% of respondents); long hours (33%); lack of reward or recognition for good work (29%); and not enough career growth (29%).

Furthermore, the report notes that due to these mental health issues, many respondents have said that they never or rarely exercise (32%), eat a healthy diet (24%) or get enough quality sleep (23%).

There has been a focus on mental health among women PR practitioners, with 39% of them having experienced a loss of interest in activities or social interactions in the last 12 months (versus 27% of men); and 37% have experienced significant changes in sleep schedule or appetite (versus 28% of men).

“The PR profession has been, as ever, resourceful and resilient in the face of the huge professional and personal challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. But that resourcefulness and resilience has its limits,” said Tara Munis, head of PRCA Asia Pacific.

In terms of mental health support from their employers, the report has found that 32% of the region’s employers have not communicated with staff around mental health during the last year – a number rising to 49% in Singapore and 48% in Hong Kong but dropping to 8% in Vietnam and 20% in Thailand.

In addition, 48% of employers do not provide mental health resources to staff. Again, this figure varies significantly, and is more than 50% in Singapore (69%), Hong Kong, Malaysia (both 59%) and Indonesia (52%).

Francis Ingham, director general at PRCA, commented, “Across the world, PR and communications leaders are increasingly recognizing the importance of positive mental health in their organisations, their clients, their teams, and themselves.”

Despite the mental health issue prevalent across the region’s PR practitioners, 39% of respondents say that the COVID-19 pandemic has improved their mental health than say it has worsened it (35%). In addition, 88% of respondents say they would be comfortable talking to a co-worker about their mental health problem.

Outgoing PRCA SEA Chair Lee Nugent said that as employers, they can and must make changes in regards to mental health support, noting that providing information, support and resources is just one part. He also added that they need also to ensure that they are creating a workplace culture where it’s fine for someone who needs help to say so, and then provide access to mental healthcare in the way that many of us already provide access to physical healthcare.

“The research suggests that around 29% of organizations currently offer their people access to initiatives such as EAP programs that provide professional, expert help to those who need it. I’d like to see this figure climb rapidly in the coming months. Just as importantly, it’s our responsibility to also address those critical issues that, perhaps, sit at the heart of the problem. We owe it to our people to put actions in place to deal with endemic over-working, for example, and to address poor people management both where it exists inside our own organizations and in the client/agency dynamic,” Nugent added.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

PRSP to hold its annual congress for students virtually in November

Philippines – The Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP) has announced the first-ever virtual, interactive, and nationwide edition of the Students’ PR Congress, its annual event for students to learn more about the public relations industry from leading practitioners in the field.

PRSP is the country’s organization for communication and PR professionals. With the inaugural virtual edition of the said congress, it will be launching the theme ‘Decoding Content: The Journey to PR for Good’. This year’s theme aims to help participants navigate the new media landscape and tackle the different stages of the content journey.

The event aims to address today’s issues of information overload and misinformation as the pandemic pushes for everyone’s stronger reliance on communications and digital platforms. The Students’ PR Congress aims to help look at media and communication in a more hopeful and progressive light. The event will be a full-day event and will be held this 20 November 2021.

Ferdinand Bondoy, chairman of PRSP Students’ PR Con, commented that digital and new media are not the future anymore, but are the present, and the organization wants to invite students to explore these new frontiers along with the challenges and opportunities they bring.

“We are excited to bring the PR Con to students of public relations, communications, marketing, advertising, and related disciplines in the Philippines. Despite the pandemic, digital platforms have given us the opportunity to bring people from all over the country together to learn and engage in an interactive way,” said Bondoy.

Meanwhile, Norman Agatep, president of PRSP and also the president and managing director of PR firm Grupo Agatep, said, “Students of Communication have always been a significant sector that the PRSP has been reaching out to over the years. As such, we have designed pillar programs that aim to supplement their classroom learning, fuel their interest in public relations, and ignite their desire to pursue careers in our industry. This year’s PR Con will give all participants an exclusive glimpse of what their lives as PR professionals could be like.”

Interested participants can learn more about the PRSP Students’ PR Con 2021 through its official Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Publicis Groupe welcomes Elya Eusoff as new general manager for MSL MY

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Publicis Groupe today has announced the appointment of Elya Eusoff as the new General Manager for MSL Malaysia, the communications network’s PR firm. Eusoff will lead and further strengthen MSL’s end-to-end integrated communications offerings while accelerating the Groupe’s innovative influence proposition using the ‘Power of One’, the network’s ethos.

Eusoff joins MSL from Ruder Finn, where he was responsible for overseeing the integrated marketing communications efforts of the agency. Prior to that, he led the public relations department at Bonsey Jaden. Eusoff brings a wealth of experience in public relations, digital marketing, and marketing communications to his new role as general manager.

Margaret Key, CEO for APAC & MEA at MSL, said, “I am pleased to welcome Elya to the MSL family. The industry is evolving, and MSL has developed an exceptional approach to client service that prioritizes digital media and social influence. Elya’s extensive understanding of digital PR and influence will undoubtedly ensure that we can put together the best, most agile solutions that ultimately drive business impact for our clients.”

Meanwhile, Neil Hudspeth, CEO of Publicis Groupe Malaysia and Global Client Lead for Asia Pacific at Publicis Groupe, said, “Public Relations has evolved rapidly to become a crucial component for brands trying to win in a platform world. With a digital content and experience-first approach coupled with the right Influencer and earned media strategies, I am looking forward to accelerating our holistic customer-centric PR solutions that will continue to drive our clients’ and the Groupe’s growth.”

Eusoff on his appointment, “I’m excited to be joining MSL during the rise of the platform era. With platforms serving consumers with abundant amounts of content, I am eager to collaborate and create humanized, relatable campaigns in collaboration with the leadership team of Publicis Groupe in realizing the client’s business objectives.”

MSL’s network in the Asia-Pacific has been growing rapidly over the last few years and currently includes 25 offices spread across APAC markets such as China, Singapore, India, Japan, and South Korea, and also Hong Kong, and Taiwan, among others. MSL’s activities in the Asia-Pacific region are coordinated by its Singapore hub and overseen by Key.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Edelman extends remit for APAC vice chair, appoints new head of corporate

Singapore – Edelman, a global communications firm, continues to strengthen its senior leadership lineup in the Asia-Pacific region, as it has recently expanded the role of Michelle Hutton, currently the CEO of Edelman Australia and vice chair for APAC to expand her remit in her vice chair role to now cover client and growth responsibilities. Meanwhile, the firm has also promoted Susan Redden Makatoa, currently the group managing director at Edelman Australia, to the role of head of corporate for APAC at Edelman.

The new announcements follow the firm’s recent senior appointments of Adrian Warr as CEO of Edelman SEA, and John Kerr as the vice chair for technology at Edelman APAC, effective by 1 October.

In her expanded role, Hutton will leverage her experience in building Edelman’s integrated solutions offering in APAC to evolve the firm’s client-centric approach, ensuring Strategy, Creative, Data and Digital sit at the heart of all client business and growth efforts. 

As such, Hutton will now also oversee the firm’s regional client leadership, new business and marketing initiatives going forward, ensuring each of these areas build on the firm’s vision to deliver truly integrated work for its clients. 

Meanwhile, Redden Makatoa will lead Edelman’s reputation and advisory practice across the region, reporting into Stephen Kehoe, Edelman’s CEO for APAC, and Dave Samson, global vice chair of corporate affairs. She brings over 20 years of experience in leading reputation management and advisory services across business, government and not-for-profit sectors. Having joined Edelman in February 2020, she has already led the firm’s Australia clients through the unrelenting challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With these moves, we are creating a more powerful, client-centric organization than ever before in APAC. We’re an agency that has never stood still; our pioneering spirit continues today and we have a collective hunger to deliver impactful and effective integrated work for our clients, with a One Edelman mindset,” said Stephen Kehoe, president and CEO for Asia-Pacific at Edelman.

Other notable Edelman corporate moves in the region include updating the lineup for Edelman China, as well as updating its creative team for its APAC team.

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Marketing Featured APAC

PRCA extends governing PR body to Asia-Pacific

Singapore – Global public relations professional body Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has announced that it is now extending its presence to Asia-Pacific with the launch of PRCA APAC, replacing the narrower governing body PRCA Southeast Asia.

With the PRCA APAC, the PR body has also announced the appointment of inaugural co-chairs namely Caroline Hsu, managing director for APAC at The Hoffman Agency; Carolyn Devanayagam, executive vice president and APAC head of corporate at Weber Shandwick; and Nitin Mantri, CEO at Avian WE. The appointments are part of a further strengthening of the Board to represent the whole region.

As part of the changes, current PRCA SEA General Manager Tara Munis will relocate to Hong Kong as the new head of PRCA Asia-Pacific, and further team appointments will be made in Singapore and Thailand.

“We’ve been lucky to call Singapore home since 2018, cultivating a passionate and driven PR community. That passion and dedication to support our industry has inspired incredible membership growth in not only neighbouring countries but to the entire Asian Pacific region. I’m excited to get started in Hong Kong and continue to provide word-class support for all our members,” Munis stated.

Meanwhile, former PRCA SEA Chair and regional director for APAC at Archetype Lee Nugent commented that PRCA’s commitment to drive further professionalism, raise standards and provide representation will be of great benefit to what he believes is the most exciting and vibrant part of the world for PR and comms.

“It’s been a real honor to have represented PRCA Southeast Asia as its inaugural chair over the last three years and I’m terrifically proud of the progress we’ve made. Now is the perfect time for geographic expansion and, as my tenure comes to an end, I couldn’t ask for a more inspiring set of leaders to hand over to Carolyn, Caroline and Nitin – as our three new co-Chairs take on PRCA’s next phase of growth across APAC,” Nugent said.

For Francis Ingham, director-general at PRCA, by representing the industry throughout the whole of APAC, providing professional links between fellow practitioners all around the world, and continuing to collaborate with local associations, they can address the challenges and embrace the opportunities in front of our industry even better than ever.

“Our three co-chairs are highly respected figures from across Asia-Pacific, and it’s a pleasure to welcome them to their new roles, and to the PRCA’s Global Advisory Board. I’d like to offer my profound thanks to Lee Nugent for his chairmanship over the past three years. His drive and dynamism has embedded the PRCA in the wider region,” Ingham concluded.