Multi-market Reach with a Local Touch10 years ago
Sonya Madeira Stamp provides an independent agency’s perspective on the challenges of achieving reach across a large region.
Reach is one of the major challenges that small PR agencies face. In order to be competitive, client offerings have to be distinctive without depriving potential clients of any of the services that they might enjoy with another agency. Being able to operate effectively in other markets is a necessity, in order to compete effectively with larger multi-market agencies, whose network ensures them a reach far beyond that of a smaller agency with offices in a single market.
By working in partnership with like-minded firms in other countries, agencies like Rice Communications can offer a stable of clients extensive coverage all across Asia and the region.
This regional reach is only possible by letting other agencies run events and carry out other public relations activities in-country for a portion of the fees paid, a win-win situation for both agencies. The network also offers the opportunity for reciprocal relationships, should overseas agencies require local representation.
Naturally, the requirements for regional reach differ according to a client’s readiness. Broadly, clients fall into three categories: organizations who are making their first forays into Asia using Singapore as their regional base while maintaining some minimal outreach into key regional markets, companies that are starting to see traction in a few countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia and are allocating a portion of their project budgets for that outreach, and companies that are ready to plan for in-country activity as their regional presence grows. Each of these scenarios requires different strategies, and an independent agency is more able to be flexible in supporting client growth.
It is as easy for us to manage a CEO visit to Indonesia as it is to handle a press conference in Singapore, and we also get the home ground advantage of knowing that whoever is dealing with our clients has familiarity with local media. This also minimizes any sort of misunderstanding due to cultural differences, as well as smoothing over any language difficulties that may arise. In the event that more integration is needed, it is easy enough to send across a consultant or two to interface with the in-country agency.
This is a very efficient use of resources, making use of our partners’ contacts and media relationships. Even the cost of travel and accommodation for a consultant is a small price to pay for the effectiveness of having someone local at hand to handle any situations that may arise. Furthermore, our in-country partners are ideally placed to counsel on locations and other expenditures, offering local knowledge that would be difficult to acquire at any price.
Working with an independent agency and its regional partners offers substantial benefits. A central account servicing team can develop a strong knowledge base around a client and its products or services, while managing multiple agency relationships on behalf of the client. In addition, this arrangement allows for lower fixed costs for regional reach, while still allowing the agency to tap local experts in-market as required, so that the agency can be focused on achieving deliverables and KPIs.
Membership of an independent public relations network is well worth the effort and cost, and pays dividends in terms of extending an agency’s reach and effective operations. It has allowed us to offer our clients a regional reach with the right amount of local flavour every time.
Sonya Madeira Stamp is Founder and Managing Partner of Rice Communications Pte Ltd. After spending 15 years in India and Singapore working at leading agencies, Sonya set up Rice Comms in 2009. Based in Singapore, Rice Comms caters to companies seeking to strengthen their profile across the Asia-Pacific region. It is a part of the Oriella Network, an alliance of 15 communications agencies in 20 countries around the world.mail the author
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