2020 Best PR Agencies to Work For, Asia-Pacific | PRovoke Media

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Best Agency to Work For is possibly the only predictive award that PRovoke Media gives out. By this, we mean there’s a direct correlation between the agencies on this list and those that take home our biggest honor (often times at some point in the future) — Agency of the Year recognition. That’s, in part, because firms that take culture seriously tend to attract and retain smart and creative talent who, in turn, produce stellar work. It’s a simple formula but one that’s easily overlooked amid the breathless pace and tremendous pressures that are a seemingly inevitable reality of agency life. But this pace is exactly why agencies shouldn’t underestimate the power its culture has on the work its employees produce, factors that have only increased in prominence amid the turbulence of 2020.

The firms recognized on the rankings include a few holding company firms, but mostly independents. Some have generous benefits, others prioritize professional development or interesting work that keeps talent engaged. All participating firms can also obtain their own results. (For more information on this, see FAQ.)

The top ranked agency in each category will be recognised at the 2020 Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards. which will take place virtually on 24 September.


#1 Archetype (Next15) 

Text100 was always a perennial contender for best workplace honours in the various regions in which we run the research. So it's reassuring to see that the firm's focus on employee culture has survived its rebranding as Archetype. If anything, the new brand may have given Archetype's leaders an excuse to further refine the firm's pioneering focus on staff satisfaction, which is built on the revolutionary notion that employees can be treated like adults.

The flexibility that accrues from that approach resulted in excellent scores for Archetype across all categories, with the agency's 300+ staffers pointing to an accepting and ambitious environment. "Kindness, curiosity and ambition are embedded in our culture and can be found in everyone," says one staffer, while another lauds the lack of bureaucracy, encapsulating, in a nutshell, the continued appeal of Archetype's workplace culture, at a firm which has avoided staff reductions despite the significant impact of Covid-19. 

 #2 APCO Worldwide (Independent)

#3 Weber Shandwick 

#4 The Hoffman Agency 


#1 AKA Asia (Singapore/Independent) 

After taking top honours in 2018 in this category, and winning Consumer Agency of the Year in 2019, it's another honour for Singapore's AKA Asia in 2020, thanks to a relentless focus on ensuring the firm's growth does not outpace its enviable employee culture. Amid this year's unique challenges, that has meant a renewed focus on listening, transparency and mentorship, along with increased flexibility and investment in training and development, particularly as it relates to creativity. The firm provides dedicated internal channels for moral/ethical issues, along with a buddy system for new joiners, and — notably — has honoured its 2020 bonuses despite difficult economic conditions.

Unsurprisingly, AKA's 40 staffers are some of the happiest in the business, describing the culture as familial, fearlessly creative and transparent. "The flat structure, how our bosses empower us to be creative and take the lead regardless of your designation/role in the team, the emphasis on work-life balance," is how one staffer describes AKA's positives. "Every individual is engaged and driven," adds another. "This is testament to great hiring but also a culture of growing leaders at every level by removing barriers and uplifting them to have the confidence to act and do their jobs. This ultimately benefits clients as every level is switched on and has a point of view."

#2 PR Wire (Sri Lanka/Independent)

#3 Allison+Partners 
(Regional/MDC Partners) 

#4 Honner 

#5 Mutant Communications (SEA/Independent)


#1 GCI Health (Regional/WPP) 

It may seem strange to see one of WPP's best performing PR firms in the small category, but GCI Health only entered Asia-Pacific in 2019, and has already established itself as a go-to destination for healthcare PR. The firm's 16 staffers benefit from industry-leading professional development, benefits and wellness programmes, helping to underpin a retention rate of 94%. The culture is described by one staffer as "open, collaborative and nurturing", while the firm's focus on diversity and inclusion also attracts plaudits.

"The fact that they appreciate working mothers, diversity and women in leadership and don't just talk but demonstrate these values everyday," says another employee. "During my job interview we spoke about work-life balance and my goals more than just my CV and skillset. Each day at my company, I am encouraged to do my best and try out new ideas even if they fail. During these trying times and the stress of Covid-19, their true commitment to employee health, support for young parents etc. has really been tested and proven so reassuring."

#2 Alexander PR (New Zealand/Independent) 

#3 Hotwire (Australia/Enero)

#4 On Purpose (India/Independent) 

#5 IN.FOM (SEA/Independent)