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

2015 Australasian 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 Winners and Finalists across geographic and specialist categories can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or below.

Australasian Consultancy of the Year — Cannings Purple (WPP)

Last year marked a decade in business and a defining year for Cannings Purple as culture the firm rallied under the banner ‘Greater Together.’ Like many agencies, this reflects an integrated approach across its practice areas: investor relations, corporate affairs, government relations, design and digital. So far, the new vision seems to be paying off remarkably.

Fee income for the 12 months to June 15 was up by a very impressive 110%. The shop is now 27 consultants and support staff who manage more than 100 active clients across its offices in Perth (main), Sydeny and Canberra. Among those clients are Straits Resources, Sirius Resources Base, Captain Cook Cruises, Thermomix and Gold Royalties Response, among others. Well-connected Australian businessman Norman Moore is chairman, while Warrick Hazeldine leads as managing director.

Earlier this year, the firm developed and launched Perth’s only executive-level, social media training seminar. ‘Masterclass: Social Media’ — a tailored, high-level strategy session which assists executives to identify how social media can improve their reputation, communication and ultimately, their company’s bottom line. The masterclass is run by director of design and digital, Jamie Wilkinson and “demand has been high since its launch in early 2015.” Notable work includes the #heartofgold campaign for Gold Royalties Response Group in early 2014 that brought together a dozen gold miners to be a unified voice in response to the Western Australian Government’s royalty review.—AaS


N2N Communications (Independent)

After a decade or so of steady growth, N2N Communications has doubled in size over the past five years, diversifying from its technology heritage into corporate and consumer work and the government and financial sectors, and establishing itself as one of the top 10 firms in a still-fragmented Australian market. It has also developed quite a reputation for creativity, with more than 25 local and international awards—including this year a Cannes Silver PR Lion for its Airbnb “Stay with Pride” campaign. (Sister agency Fuel Communications went one better, picking up Gold for its work with Optus on the Clever Buoy campaign.) Last year was expected to be a challenge, with the Department of Communications “Digital Switchover” campaign—a flagship client—coming to an end, but N2N won more than $1.5 million in new business from the likes of Airbnb, Uber, Blackberry, the Australian Sports Commission, Vocus, and Kayak to more than hold its own. It continues to work with Facebook, Schneider Electric, American Express, Infor, Australian Subscription Television Association, and Forum Group, with the transition of the last 12 months creating what managing partner Vanessa Liell and partner and director of digital Jamie Verco consider to be a better balanced portfolio. In addition to “Stay With Pride,” which included media relations are the Sydney gay and lesbian Mardi Gras festival, the firm also led the “Sporting Schools” campaign for the Australian Sports Commission and “ShopSmall” for American Express.—PH

Ogilvy Public Relations (WPP)

With fee income estimated at around $130 million as the result of 12 percent growth last year, Ogilvy Public Relations is still the number one multinational in the Asia-Pacific region, and Asia is still the number one region for the WPP-owned agency. While China attracts the lion’s share of attention, Ogilvy remains a leader in the Australian public relations market, which is noted for its fragmentation—one reason that OPR presents itself there as a confederation of specialist boutiques rather than a single giant entity. The impressive components of the overall offer include the self-explanatory Ogilvy PR Health; corporate and business-to-business technology specialist Howorth; employee engagement boutique Ogilvy Impact; brand marketing agency Pulse; market leading public affairs business Parker & Partners; and [email protected] The leadership team is equally deep, with former Howorth managing director Kieran Moore serving as CEO, and longtime employees Graham White (15 years) and Leon Beswick (eight years) leading Howorth and Health respectively, while relative newcomer Richard Brett (a veteran of UK creative boutique Shine) breathing new life into Pulse. Great work includes Microsoft’s “Joined Up Innovation” corporate image campaign, media relations efforts for, and Pulse’s work for eBay.—PH

Professional Public Relations (WPP)

The past two years have seen Professional Public Relations—a market leader in Australia for four decades—establish a truly global footprint, opening offices in North and Central America, Europe, and most recently India. But its Australia and New Zealand operations—offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, and Auckland—remain formidable, with 150 consultants working with 500 clients, including McDonald’s (a client for 35 years), Emirates and Dell (10 years-plus), ExxonMobil, BHP, the American Chamber of Commerce, APP, and South African Tourism. There was new business over the past year from IGA, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Fisher & Paykel and Hugo Boss, Compass Group, South32, BHP Billiton, NickJr, and Wargaming. The leadership team has expanded too, with Richard Lazar continuing at the helm, and new additions include a new talent director and a director of insights. The firm continues to offer a broad range of expertise, in consumer (tourism is a particular strength) and technology, as well as corporate communications and public affairs—and in recent years digital and social media too, via its PSS (Point Shoot and Send) content and channel management tool. One highlight last year was working on the launch of the “Why, Why Not?” campaign for Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, mobilizing young people to film a video that would be played at the UN Summit in New York.—PH

Sling & Stone (Independent)

Launched five years ago as Click PR, Sling & Stone adopted a new name in January of 2015 but retained the personality that distinguishes it from the competition. The firm has always focused on challenger and disruptor brands—receptive to its hustle and creativity—but the past 12 months have seen an influx of larger, more established clients from beyond the traditional software sector that had been the focus for the first five years. Xero (a leader in cloud accounting); Prezi (a globally successful presentation platform); CampaignMonitor (an Australian email marketing platform); and Destination Wellington—joining longstanding clients (Australia’s biggest online retailer), Bigcommerce (one of Australia’s most successful software startups), FileMaker (an Apple subsidiary), and more. The result is that revenue has doubled over the past year, as has headcount, with additions such as associate director Kya de Rome from Hotwire. The firm worked with cloud accounting powerhouse Xero to secure high-profile media coverage and expand share-of-voice as it “newsjacked” rivals such as MYOB and Intuit, and used content creation and community-building to showcase the creative work at DesignCrowd.—PH