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The 2021 LatAm PR Consultancies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving numerous submissions and meetings with the best PR firms across the region.
Consultancy of the Year winners were announced and honoured at the 2021 LatAm SABRE Awards, which took place on 28 September. Analysis of all Finalists and Winners can be accessed via the navigation menu or below:
RPMA was born of a 2019 merger of PR1 and RMA, creating an integrated communications firm combining RP1’s expertise in M&A and crisis management as well as RMA’s experience in digital PR serving the tech and health sectors.
RPMA has offices in São Paolo and Minas Gerais, and has partnerships in Brazil’s Federal District, Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná and Bahia State.
Less than two years PR1 and RMA merged, RPMA registered $R26,000,000 (about $4.8 million) in fee income in 2020 and a headcount of 130 people. With the merger, the firms also brought two decades of experience and expertise in offerings from social media to crisis management — and the clients to show for it. RPMA works with more than 100 brands including Coca-Cola, Motorola, Rappi, Fischer Group, Polenghi, 3 Corações, Fini, and Bain Company. Motorola has been a client for 20 years.
In 2020, the mental health of employees was among RPMA’s priorities, which it backed up by educating its leaders in the subject through coaching, presentations, and courses. The agency takes societal issues seriously, too. RPMA has created internal committees focus on sustainability, diversity, and social actions. whose goal is to work strongly on inclusion in the selection process, with HR, and has signed the UN Global Compact. Fast-tracking diversity & inclusion has been set as a 2021 goal, which has included working with HR to create a more inclusive, transparent hiring process. Great Place to Work has named RPMA as an excellent place to work for 11 consecutive years.
RPMA’s response to the pandemic included creating a daily analysis service, tailored for each br and to allow them to track how Covid was affecting their businesses. In line with its integrated approach to marketing and communications, RPMA offers clients the gamut of services — planning, data intelligence, relationship (media, influencers and stakeholders), creation and design, digital communication and consulting. The firm has expertise in technology, retail, consumption, energy and infrastructure. It’s new methodology, Orbital, is based on identifying clients’ needs, and figuring out a solution within 24 hours. Case in point was the firm’s work for RaiaDrogasil, which repositioned the drugstore chain as part of the healthcare ecosystem equipped to confront Covid.
— Diana Marszalek
PRovoke Media’s 2019 Brazilian Agency of the Year, Approach has grown into one of Brazil’s leading corporate comms and CSR agencies since Elizabeth Garcia launched the firm in 1996.
Approach has offices in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasília, as well as a European presence in Lisbon.
Approach closed out 2020 as a 170-person operation that continues to group roughly 10% a year despite Brazil’s economic crisis. With longtime leadership (Approach’s four partners have worked together for more than a decade) a multidisciplinary take on working with clients, and expertise in businesses from construction to fashion, Approach has built an impressive client roster populated by the likes of Pepsico, Bradesco Seguros, Grupo Cataratas, Essilor, Prudential, Novo Nordisk. Among our new clients we have Grupo Reckitt, Nivea, Wella, Pierre Fabre, Museum of Holocaust in Rio and Marfrig. The last few years has seen the digital team double to 40 people, as digital services now account for 30% of Approach’s business.
Approach prides itself on a culture that draws and keeps talent thanks to the solid relationships that kept a 170-person team active and effect during Covid. In addition to founder Elizabeth Garcia, leadership includes Tatiana Coura, who has been with Approach for almost 20 years and is a managing partner; Oliver Duarte, head of the digital creation team; Hannah Drummond, a former client who is now COO of the São Paulo office. In 2020, Approach created a diversity committee and expanded training and engagement on DE&I and other ESG-related topics.
Founder Elizabeth Garcia’s multifaceted ability to leverage new opportunities that emerge regardless of circumstances has led in Approach to grow into one of the country’s leading corporate communications and CSR agencies during its two decades in business. During the last 12 months, the firm focused on strengthening clients’ reputations and credibility during Covid by being keenly attuned to shape and effect of the pandemic in Brazil, which wasn’t necessarily in line with Covid elsewhere, and adapting communications accordingly. Approach responded to a surge in demand for digital content by creating an influencer marketing team; The firm’s mapping and operational group doubled in size. The firm continued to champion sustainability, both in its client services but also in doubling down on its own commitment. The agency is a supporter of the UN Global Compact and a member of Cebds, the Brazilian council of companies committed to sustainable development.
— Diana Marszalek
Since its founding in 1980 by entrepreneur Francisco Soares Brandão, FSB Comunicações has made it a point of pride that the firm takes on the toughest, most high-profile assignments in the Brazilian market, such as the Platinum Award-winning work at our first ever Latin American SABRE awards for its work on behalf of the Brazilian Ministry of Sports and the 2014 World Cup as well as a host of public affairs and government-sponsored campaigns through the years.
FSB employs close to 500 professionals across three Brazilian offices in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Brasília.
It was an exceptionally difficult year for public relations agencies in Brazil, where the Covid pandemic hit particularly hard, and FSB was no exception. Nevertheless, the firm was able to hold revenues stable in local currency terms, even if the weakness of the Brazilian real meant a significant decline in US dollar terms. Still, the firm’s client list is the envy of many of its peers, as FSB continues to represent the likes of McKinsey, L'Oréal, Exxon Mobil, Engie, Nestlé, Huawei, Cosan, Banco BTG Pactual, the Government of Rio de Janeiro, and the Ministry of Infrastructure. And it was able to pick up more leaders over the course of the year, with new business from United Health Group, Eneva, Neo Energia, IRB Resseguros, Positivo, Ativa Investimentos, Z.Tech, and TAG.
One of the things that sets FSB apart from the competition is a strong, veteran leadership team that has been steady at the helm for many years now. The firm is led by founding partner and chairman Francisco Soares Brandão and partner and CEO Marcos Trindade, who has been with the firm for 30 years. Other veteran partners include Alexandre Loures, former marketing director of Ambev; Diego Ruiz, who has worked for several Brazilian multinational groups including JBS and Marfrig; and Flavio Castro, who has been with the firm for more than 20 years.
As ever, FSB was involved in many prominent issues in Brazil and beyond last year. For example, the firm worked with the Prefeitura de Maricá, a small city in Rio de Janeiro state, to publicize a proposal for a universal basic income, achieving national and ultimately international attention and turning the project into a worldwide reference for those studying the issue. The firm also won the top award from trade association Aberje for its work on behalf of energy company IBP, adding to a trophy case already overflowing with SABREs and other top regional awards.
— Paul Holmes
Imagem Corporativa is not the largest independent in Brazil, but it is among the most respected. Founder and chief executive Ciro Dias Reis, a former journalist who founded the firm in 2001, has been relentlessly focused on two things that set his firm apart: first, on providing quality strategic advice, particularly in corporate and public affairs, but increasingly in digital and social media; and second, in developing both practices and a profile that is international as well as domestic, notably through the firm’s membership in the global network PROI.
Offices in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília and Recife are home to a team of more than 50 professionals serving the Brazilian market, while its affiliation with international network PROI provides it with access to global markets.
The Brazilian real lost about a third of its value against the US dollar in 2020, which makes Imagem Corporativa’s financial performance look much worse than it really was. While the Covid-19 pandemic certainly took a toll—headcount was down as well as revenue—the firm had a steady year under the circumstances. Key clients such as Sanofi, SAP, Casino, Merck, Nissan (global companies); Porto Seguro, XP Inc., GPA, Marisa, Moura (Brazilian groups) remained loyal, and there was new business from OEC, Dell, SIndigas, Arkema, Vital Strategies, Mattos Filho, FH, Fiserv, Grupo Cornelio Brennand, DP World and more.
Ciro Dias Reis, CEO, is a former journalist, worked for some of the most important Brazilian news media (Folha de S. Paulo, Exame, Gazeta Mercantil) and was communications/public affairs director at Brazilian automobile industry association Anfavea. He is a former president of the Brazilian trade association Abracom and a leader within the Brazilian industry. He has a management team that includes Vanessa Ramalho, partner director; executive directors Flávia Mangini and Sharon Treigue; and managers Rejane Rodrigues and Gisele Benedetti.
One of the high-profile projects of last year involved corporate positioning work for techn ology leader SAP in Brazil. In addition to positioning the company as an innovative and relevant player beyond its core business, Imagem Corporativa worked to strengthen the reputation of CEO Cristina Palmaka, holding her up as an example of "the new management style” and differentiated female leadership. The campaign generated more than 400 articles in Brazil and resulted in a 40% increase in social media followers and engagement.
— Paul Holmes
Pedro Cadina launched Vianews in 1985, creating a firm now active across Latin America. In 2016, Vianews became Hotwire’s official LatAm partner, facilitating the tech agency’s work throughout the region.
Vianews is based in São Paulo and is active Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, and Chile in addition to Brazil.
Vianews came out of 2020 ahead, registering 42% growth in the Brazilian real and 13% in US dollars. The lift stems from new business from Zoom, Facebook, DOW, Opentext, Stibo Systems, Autopass, Fortics, ConnectoWay, UM Telecom, Nextracker, joining client roster populated by McAfee, Arab Banking Corporation Brazil, Commvault, Sovos, Arqia, Rakuten Marketing, VTEX, Telcomp. With a staff of roughly 45, and about 20 active clients a year, Vianews is about to cast its net wider; The firm is expanding and hiring in the US with an eye on business in the states.
Vianews stepped up its DE&I efforts at the start of 2020, creating a committee that has monthly meetings, produces newsletters, hosts online events featuring speakers addressing issues like LGBTQ and racial equality, women’s empowerment and more. The firm simultaneously is developing policies designed to solidify it as a safe and inclusive workplace. Founder and CEO Pedro Cadina is still running the agency he launched 36 years ago, with an executive team including COO Estela Bernardes, key account coordinator Joseane Carmo and business development head Gabriel Perri. Digital head Juliana Frutuoso was among 2020’s major hires.
Vianews is a regional leader in technology, financial and telecom sectors, and rather than spread itself unsustainably thin, the agency focusses its offerings around three primary services: PR, content marketing and digital marketing. Which doesn’t mean the firm is staid. In 2020, Vianews rolled out new offerings including social selling marketing, account-based marketing and outbound marketing. Among Vianews’ showcase 2020 work was its SABRE Award-winning PR support of Zoom’s Connecting People During the Covid-19 Pandemic campaign.
— Diana Marszalek
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