New PR Consultancies of the Year 2018 | Holmes Report

2018 New PR Consultancies of the Year

The 2018 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 were announced and honoured at the 2018 Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards on 11 September in Singapore. Analysis of all Finalists and Winners can be accessed via the navigation menu or below:

Winner: First Partners (India)

Since its mid-2016 launch, First Partners has built an impressive client roster, including 15 major players that are a healthy mix of multinational brands, large Indian corporations, government mandates and industry associations. During its short existence, the firm has also built a staff of 30, who support the likes of  Rolls-Royce (a global aerospace technology leader), global health food company Danone and the Indian conglomerate ITC across six fully-owned offices in the cities of Noida, Gurugram, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata.

Business surged for First Partners in 2017, with the agency experiencing 750% year-over-year growth. The firm handled one of the year’s most high-profile events — the launch of India’s first bullet train project, inaugurated by the prime ministers of India and Japan. The firm rallied massive media support for the project, and helped change public sentiment for the bullet train — which critics called wasteful given India’s ailing railway infrastructure — by positioning it as something Indians could be proud of. Elsewhere, consumer research for Danone made headlines by revealing urban India is protein deficient, just like its rural communities. Both of those campaigns won SABRE South Asia Awards, alongside work for reflecting the pedigree that founders Atul Ahluwahlia and Dilip Yadav bring from their time at Corporate Voice.

First Partners has also rolled out proprietary tools, including one that ties communications to business outcomes, and addresses them as such. Also last year, the agency created partnerships — including one with the ad agency Quantum Communications, helping give First Partners the heft it needed to win government clients that typically wouldn’t work with such a young agency. As a result, India’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs' (MOHUA) flagship programme Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission) is among First Partners' clients. — DM


On Purpose (India)

Founded by international agency veteran Girish Balachanrdan upon the mission of driving social change in India, On Purpose has built a non-traditional team made up of individuals from uncommon backgrounds, a move that fosters new approaches to helping brands envision and adopt their company ethos — and then deliver on them.  A former street artist is now the firm’s visual communications strategist, for instance. Individuals with previous careers ranging from radio announcing to working at Goldman Sachs have been tapped for tasks like editing, community building and research.

That, combined with the firm’s commitment to building campaigns around research, has garnered On Purpose’s offices in Delhi and Bangalore an impressive list of clients in the short time since its April, 2017 launch. The firm, for instance, has worked with Sesame Workshop India, creating a strategic framework to combat childhood obesity in India. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, through its support of the agency M4ID, tapped On Purpose to use storytelling to address the vulnerability of very young children in the state of Bihar, while the Raza Foundation hired On Purpose to promote arts and culture. On Purpose also works with companies that are not inherently purpose-driven, like those above, but want to further their own actions in the space.  Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages tapped On Purpose to work on CEO messaging, while Cisco charged the firm with creating a narrative laying out the company’s commitment to India. — DM