New PR Consultancies of the Year 2019 | Holmes Report

2019 New PR Consultancies of the Year

The 2019 Asia-Pacific PR Consultancies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 125 submissions and meetings with the best PR firms across the region. 

Consultancy of the Year winners are announced and honoured at the 2019 Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards, which take place on 12 September in Singapore. Analysis of all Finalists and Winners can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or below:

Winner: Era Myanmar (Myanmar/Independent) 

For a firm that didn’t even exist this time last year, Era Myanmar is making an impressive showing on our SABRE Awards short list. The agency’s campaigns for the likes of Coca-Cola and the Myanmar’s postal and telecommunications agency are among finalists in categories including cause-related marketing, marketing to women, multicultural marketing, public affairs, telecommunications and trade relations, and also helped it lead all firms with five IN2 SABRE Awards.

Less than a year after its inception, Era Myanmar is also the country’s largest integrated marketing comms agency, born through the merger of leading PR firm Echo and digital agency RevoTech. The goal: combining traditional PR and technology to develop integrated campaigns that go beyond supporting our clients’ businesses and reputations to build lasting relationships with their most important audiences. In short, delivering ways for clients to better, and more creatively, reach today’s complex and connected consumers.

Under the direction of Echo founder Anthony Larmon and former RevoTech business development director Saw Thura Win, Era's upward trajectory is moving at rapid speed. Launched in March, Era today has a staff 80-plus strong. Based on confirmed earnings, the agency’s combined fee revenues combined are expected to nearly double to $1.8 million by the end of 2019.

ERA's key existing clients are Coca-Cola (consumer & corporate), Facebook, Huawei (corporate), Myanma Posts & Telecommunications (largest local telco), Microsoft, Dagon Beer, IFC/World Bank, Thilawa Special Economic Zone (Myanmar's only active special economic zone) and Golden City mixed-use development. New business wins include UnionPay, Ministry of Hotels & Tourism, Maybelline, MPT Money, Tetra Pak, Honor Smartphones, Hong Kong & Shanghai Hotels (Peninsula Hotel), Carlsberg Asia and Nestle. — DM


GCI Health (WPP)

WPP’s GCI Health may be an established name elsewhere, but in Asia-Pacific, it’s a start-up. The agency opened its doors in Singapore at the start of 2019 as a new hub office of WPP’s only global specialist health PR agency, and has already grown from one to eight employees and exceeded its target revenue for the whole year. It’s been such a strong start that the agency will be opening two more offices in the region soon, an objective that was originally planned for 2020.

The agency is led by Asia-Pacific MD Rikki Jones, a career health specialist who has now been GCI Health’s founding leader in two regions, having also set up the London office five years ago. She is supported by director Gayatri Narayanan – most recently Takeda’s APAC communications director and who has also worked with Edelman in Singapore, Bangalore and New York – and head of media Payal Sadhwani, who brings a decade of healthcare experience from agency roles in Singapore and Malaysia.

The team arrived in Asia with GCI Health’s singular forward vision: to be the best health communications agency in the world, bringing the best of what it offers globally, but customized for the needs of the region and its national healthcare systems. The agency operated under four core service areas: life sciences, market access communications, consumer wellness, and strategic consulting. It has already facilitated a number of roundtable discussions for the industry on best practice health behavior change, which it will continue to roll-out across the region. — MPS

On Purpose

Girish Balachanrdan founded On Purpose in 2017 after 19 years of international experience in leadership roles at Ketchum, WE Communications and Avian Media, with a mission of driving social change in India.

On Purpose has built a non-traditional team of individuals from uncommon backgrounds who foster new approaches to help brands articulate and adopt their purpose, including strategic media and crisis experts, editors, animators and video producers. Creative visualizer and designer Dhun Chokkar, for instance, was previously a street theatre performer.

The agency increased fee income by 200% in its second year, and now has a team of 12 plus a diverse set of freelancers across Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kerela. Senior hires included consulting partner Meera Krishnan, previously CEO of Lexicon PR and ex-head of comms at Huawei, and head of strategy Diksha Sethi. Client wins over the year included Asian Development Bank, Central Square Foundation, Kaiterra India, and NGOs Swasti, Breakthrough India, National AIDS Control Organisation and World Wildlife Fund.

The firm’s commitment to building campaigns around research has garnered On Purpose an impressive list of purpose-driven clients since its 2017 launch. Its clients and campaigns over the past year included: ReNew Power, India's largest clean energy company; Smart Power India, a Rockeller Foundation subsidiary in India focusing on rural electrification; employer branding for Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages; promoting adoption of solar rooftops in seven states for the India Asian Development Bank; launching the State Energy Efficiency Index for The Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy; and launching Baghirathi Group’s electric vehicles division. — MPS

Paper & Page 

Co-founded in Bangkok two years ago by Robert Woodrich (a native Canadian who worked in Burson-Masteller’s Thai office) and Witsuda Atjanakul, the agency’s design director, Paper & Page has an impressive client roster for any agency, let alone such a young one. Key clients include Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Double Tree, American Pulse Association, Deutscher Fußball Botschafter, ECPAT International, KT Corporation (formerly Korea Telecom) and both the US Dry Bean Council and USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council. The 11-person staff operates out of Phnom Penh, Jakarta, Manila and Ho Chi Minh City in addition to its Thai headquarters; Paper & Page’s reported annual turnover ringing in at almost €1m.

Some of that success speak to Paper & Page’s differentiating focus — using digital platforms to promote agricultural products regionally. The agency’s biggest campaign of the year focused on promoting American agricultural products throughout Southeast Asia for a coalition of clients, using the hashtag #USPulses as well as influencers to drive demand and for legumes, also known as pulses.  Pager & Page also worked with Korean telecommunications firm KT Corporation to successfully promote their WhoWho app in a new market (Thailand) using influencer marketing and online advertising, driving a 62.1% download increase in the first month. — DM