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Over its 25-year history, founder and managing director Archana Jain has skillfully built PR Pundit into a top consumer PR firm, with a particular knack for handling clients in the lifestyle and luxury sectors. Since its outset, the agency has fostered creativity, storytelling and challenging the status quo as means to achieve clients’ goals, from building brand appeal to changing conversations. Case in point: PR Pundit embraced influencer marketing well before the idea of engaging content creators took hold. The agency’s expansive services include brand reputation management, business communications, community advocacy, purpose-driven communications, influencer marketing, social media management & performance marketing, crisis communications and media Training.
PR Pundit is based in India, with three offices in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The agency works across the country through affiliates in all of India’s major commercial hubs.
PR Pundit had a banner 2022 — a testament to the firm’s reputation as a top-tier consumer PR firm, particularly for the lifestyle and luxury sector. The agency won 50 new retainer clients last year, fueling an eye-catching 70% rise in revenue that brought fee income to INR505,621,003 (roughly US$6 million) from $3.5m in 2021. The agency expanded its headcount from 154 to 196 to service new business from Bioderma, Levi’s, Seiko, Dubai Tourism, Finnair, The Oberoi Group, Havmor Ice Cream and Tupperware, as well as existing clients including Estee Lauder, Moet Hennessy, Uniqlo, Adidas, Lexus, Rolex and Luxottica.
With people returning to work post-Covid, 2022 was a transformative year for PR Pundit, which took a range of steps to revitalize a culture of collaboration, innovation and creativity — with face-to-face interactions being essential parts of the process. To that end, the agency established a mentorship programme as well as internal and external training to address gaps resulting from staff spending the previous two years at home. PR Pundit now recognizes an expanded array of work through its recognition and rewards program and has instituted new benefits, like leave for pet owners. Women make up 76% of PR Pundit’s workforce and 100% of its leadership team leadership team. The agency has also paid special attention to the needs of working moms for decades, offering them a work-from-home option since 2004.
PR Pundit has made an art of bolstering luxury brands — a finely tuned skill exemplified in its 2022 work. Highlights of the year include the agency’s work for Italian watchmaker Panerai (an 11-year client), which last year included supporting the company’s Panarai Ocean Conservation Initiative with a beach cleanup that saw more than 200 students and volunteers collect 300kg of waste in two hours. Other showcase efforts included Pundit’s “It’s Kind of Delicious and Wonderful” campaign for Glenmorangie whisky, a multi-faceted effort to draw young people to the brand by showing that single malt scotch whisky is no longer a drink reserved for gentlemen’s clubs.
— Diana Marszalek
E-J Granleese launched History Will Be Kind (HWBK) in 2014 with the lofty aim of “creating moments in history for clients” by managing reputations, raising profiles, launching products, and starting movements. Her agency works with B2B and B2C brands across entertainment, technology, travel, property, SME, health, FMCG and not-for-profit sectors, on everything from strategy to crisis and reputation management to creative (including its Content Remix Lab and History Studio product suite) to business impact. HWBK’s mission last year was to deliver even more game-changing campaigns for clients and meaningful work for the team. It refreshed its service offer, baking social impact and innovation into its strategic planning process – from inclusive design to D&I-led campaigns – alongside committing to B Corp accreditation and introducing a director of reputation and impact role.
History Will Be Kind’s 23 staffers are based in Sydney; the agency also has an office in Melbourne.
The agency’s success in 2022 was driven by strong organic growth (33% from its top ten clients) and stability: 91% of revenue came from retained relationships, and the agency has a 92% client retention rate. Overall, fee income grew by 15%. A revamp of HWBK’s influencer and content co-creation studio, History Makers, drove a 200% uplift in revenue from this stream of work during the year. New clients included eBay, Sydney Airport Authority, Godfeys, ChristchurchNZ, PetSure and Little Moons, who joined a roster including Randstad, Google, Celebrity Cruises, Ferrero, Chromebook, Etihad and low-fee online share investing platform Sharesies.
History Will Be Kind cultivates diversity in its team and its client work, with strong female leadership, a pay parity commitment and eight nationalities; it is also a founding member of the Migration Taskforce. HWBK has fostered a ‘coaching culture’ across the agency, and has launched a BeKIND benefits package, with gold-standard leave and family-friendly policies covering volunteering, caring, study, miscarriage, fertility, maternity and family violence support, as well as flexible working, wellbeing days, mental health, sport and mindfulness opportunities. It also launched Project Nurture, an integrated internship and university engagement programme.
To harness the power of generative AI, HWBK carries out weekly use case stress testing across creative, copy, coding, testing, UX, research and more, and has established a Labs programme with 10 clients. It also continued to champion entrepreneurship with its licensed product diversification strategy, Collective Ventures, shifting into owned-product development and business incubation. HWBK’s top work of 2022 included two SABRE-shortlisted campaigns: first, the Australian launch of the Little Moons mochi ice cream brand, using TikTok, a vintage ice cream truck to drive trial and talkability, co-created content with influencers, leading to impressive reach, brand engagement and business results. Its ‘All Inclusive Photo Project’ with Celebrity Cruises changed representation in travel imagery, commissioning photographers to create the world’s first open-source, diversity-focused image library, with thousands of visitors and a significant hike in cruise bookings that beat all targets. The agency also worked with Randstad to launch RecruitAble, a pilot program to find jobs for 100,000+ Australians with disability.
— Maja Pawinska Sims
Kiri Sinclair founded her eponymous firm in 2009 to deliver integrated communications, including PR, digital, experiential and social media marketing, to B2B and consumer clients from an office in Hong Kong. The female-owned and operated firm has expanded to mainland China and Singapore and still operates with a core tenet of impacting business through compelling narratives, through local and regional expertise. In its 14th year, the firm continues to progress around its ‘team first’ philosophy: that putting its 36 staffers across Asia Pacific above all else leads to business success. The agency worked with clients across the property, financial services, consumer goods and services, retail, professional services, technology, travel and tourism, arts and culture, hospitality and events sectors.
Sinclair operates across APAC, with hubs in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore.
Over the past year, despite the lingering post-pandemic challenges in the mainland China market, Sinclair achieved our highest revenue since pre-2020, with a 12.5% year-on-year revenue increase. Strong client partnerships are a testament to the quality of the agency’s work, as shown in the 55% of revenue attributed to organic growth. Sinclair also surpassed its target of 50% portfolio retention, achieving over 90%. Long-term client partners include organisations such as FWD, Invest HK, IWG, Sino Group, Miele, Sotheby’s and Swire Properties. The agency also won dozens of new, profitable remits from the likes of brewer Asahi, McDonald’s, the Construction Industry Council, Design Miami, Regala Sky City Hotel and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
As a female-owned and operated agency with a team that is 89% female – including a 75% female senior management team – gender equality is in Sinclair’s DNA and the agency has a strong focus on developing the careers of female leaders and young professionals. Its supportive culture is based on a non- hierarchical structure, flexible workplace policies, a focus on diversity and inclusion, engaging learning programmes, which led to a 72% staff retention rate in 2022, up 12% from the previous year. Every team member has a mentor and the agency has a paid internship programme and a robust schedule of internal and external learning opportunities, from mental health training to AMEC certification. New senior hires included Anusuya Mitra, who joined in early 2023 as director of corporate communications from FedEx, where she led corporate comms and marketing for APAC.
Stand-out work during the year included building influence for international auction house Sotheby’s among younger Chinese consumers – the collectors of the future – through a new ‘Red’ social media platform, strengthening and underlining McDonald’s Happy Meal sustainability credentials with the help of a Baby Shark campaign, and achieving high stakeholder engagement for events to attract new talent to Hong Kong’s construction industry. In 2022, Sinclair launched #ConversationsThatMatter, an insights series dissecting PR and marketing trends from ESG to gamification, which grew its LinkedIn following by 15%. It also produced a report in China – “Two Sessions: Setting The Tone For Full Recovery And Beyond”. The agency offers up to 10% of its time to non-profit organisations, earning it ‘Caring Company’ status from the HK Council of Social Service for nine consecutive years. In 2022, Sinclair supported several causes at pro-bono or at cost, including a long-standing partnership with UNHCR to raise awareness of global refugee crises. In 2023, it started work with Feeding Hong Kong in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goal of Reducing Inequalities
— Maja Pawinska Sims
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