Steering Through the Storm: Can AI assist?

Authored by Shivaram Lakshminarayan, COO, Ruder Finn IndiaIn the age of instant information, crises can erupt and spread like wildfire. While speed will always be a critical denominator, evaluating all possible scenarios, its impact and outcomes cannot be ignored. A single misstep, a misinterpreted tweet, or a product malfunction can trigger a PR nightmare with lasting consequences for the brand and its customers. In this high-stakes environment, effective crisis communication is no longer a luxury—it's a necessity.Traditionally, crisis communications relied on carefully drafted press statements, well-orchestrated conferences, and television interviews to control the narrative and minimize negative publicity. This deliberate and controlled approach allowed organizations to prepare detailed statements and ensure accurate representation through direct outreach to journalists.In today’s data-driven world, AI enabled algorithms enable corporates to predict audience sentiments, their triggers and preempt any possible fallouts, which is particularly useful for identifying gaps before they become full-blown crises. AI has become a very useful tool for navigating crises enabling organizations to craft targeted messages, optimize response strategies, and mitigate damage effectively.The Power of Real-Time Data in Gauging Public SentimentIn any crisis, time is of the essence. Those of us in corporate communications and reputation management must always stay prepared. At all times. For anything. And we must be truthful and authentic in our narrative. Trying to "spin" the story for journalists, industry stakeholders, community leaders, or elected officials in the face of tragedies is futile.The advent of social media has transformed crisis communication. Organizations must now respond quickly and transparently to address issues and engage with stakeholders online. Managing real-time conversations and rapidly spreading information demands proactive and responsive communication efforts.Given the scenario, one of the most significant advantages of analytics in crisis communication lies in its ability to provide real-time insights into public sentiment. Social media platforms have become the primary battleground for crisis narratives.Tools like social media listening platforms allow organizations to monitor conversations, identify emerging trends, and understand how the public perceives the crisis. For instance, during a recent product recall, a company used social media analytics to identify a prominent blogger who was spreading misinformation. By promptly reaching out and providing accurate information, the company was able to prevent the misinformation from gaining traction and minimize potential damage.Crisis Prediction: Moving Beyond Reactive ResponsesCrisis communication has traditionally been reactive, but analytics enables a proactive approach. Predictive analytics analyze historical data to identify patterns signaling potential crises and enhance preparedness by examining past crises, customer sentiment, and weather patterns, allowing organizations to build early warning systems.In addition, analytics aids resource allocation by identifying likely needed resources, ensuring their availability. This proactive approach minimizes delays and streamlines crisis response. It can further help simulate crisis scenarios and test communication strategies, allowing organizations to refine messaging and identify weaknesses before a real crisis occurs.Moreover, a one-size-fits-all approach to crisis communication rarely works. Analytics empowers organizations to tailor their messages to the needs and concerns of specific demographics, transforming data into meaningful insights.Measuring the Impact: Learning from ExperienceAnalyzing past product failures, customer complaints, and market trends can help predict future issues that might lead to a crisis. Regular data analysis on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis reveals patterns and highlights significant coverage.While daily media coverage assessment can spot notable mentions, it can also lead to information overload and hinder PR teams. Stepping back to view long-term data helps identify the most important trends. For example, a social media spike may seem significant, but closer analysis might reveal it originates from a single, insignificant source. This detailed examination helps pinpoint truly important and actionable information.Analytics tools like SONAR are revolutionizing risk management. Now in its fifth iteration, our AI-powered SONAR platform simulates hyper-realistic crisis situations, enabling clients to test their preparedness. With interactive features, it identifies areas of concern for pre-emptive planning and proposes practical solutions. Multi-lingual, SONAR can simulate scenarios for single markets or global teams of up to 100 people, enhancing crisis planning effectiveness. The platform empowers organizations to identify planning gaps and propose practical, workable, real-world solutions and mitigate risks and respond swiftly.??The Way ForwardIn today’s fast-paced world, where crises can escalate in moments, analytics is indispensable. From early detection and real-time monitoring to data-driven decision-making, targeted messaging, and post-crisis evaluation, analytics provides the necessary tools to navigate perceptions and to protect reputation. Organizations leveraging analytics can better manage crises, customer experiences and emerge stronger. As technology evolves, analytics will play an even more integral role, driving innovation and better preparedness for the future.

Ashbury Communications and REKT Partners merge for integrated client services

Ashbury Communications and REKT Partners have joined forces to provide clients with a more comprehensive suite of services. This collaboration is formalized through a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).Ashbury, known for their expertise in financial sector content creation and media relations, will combine their strengths with REKT Partners' focus on reputation management and crisis communication. This alliance allows them to address a wider range of client requirements. The MoU strengthens their existing cooperation and paves the way for a more integrated service offering.wo firms to deliver an integrated service to clients.Adam Harper, Founder and Managing Partner of Ashbury, said: “It’s been a privilege to work with George and his team over the past three years and I’m delighted to be strengthening our relationship through this partnership. George’s deep experience in reputation and crisis management are a valuable resource for our clients and I look forward to working even more closely with REKT Partners to help our clients navigate the risks that they face.”“We believe there’s incredible strength in the model of best-in-class independent consultancies collaborating to expand client services. Our official partnership is a natural progression in our work together, and means we can provide an ever more seamless offer for clients with broader expertise. In the early days of REKT Partners, Ashbury was the very first consultancy we worked with, so we’re confident that we’re building on firm foundations,” said George Godsal, Founder and Managing Director, REKT Partners.

Pocket FM partners with One Source for PR mandate

Integrated marketing consultancy, One Source, today announced its partnership with the leading audio series platform Pocket FM for its public relations mandate. One Source will spearhead and build comprehensive communication strategies for Pocket FM across creative storytelling, and bring to life Pocket FM’s exciting growth journey and leadership in the audio entertainment space.   With a presence spanning India, USA and few other international markets, Pocket FM boasts a global community of 130 million listeners. For One Source, the mandate will be spearheaded by lead counsel on the account, Harsh Raj and his team, reporting into Co-Lead for Corporate Communication, Debaman Guin.Regarding the partnership, Rahul Nag, Director - Communications and Partnerships, Pocket FM, said “One Source impressed us with their focus on driving business impact and their commitment to partnering with brands. As we pioneered a new entertainment category globally with audio series, it was crucial to find partners who share our vision and align with our strategic approach. One Source proved to be the perfect fit, understanding our goals and aligning seamlessly with our strategy.”.Sandeep Rao, Co–founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer, One Source commented on the win, “This collaboration is a testament to the business impact work we have delivered with partners across the globe. Our focus as a consultancy has always been on growing our partners’ businesses, thereon growing ours. We are excited to collaborate with Pocket FM in the next phase of our mutual growth and build a category which is poised to disrupt the future of global entertainment”.One Source has offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru which service Indian and global market leaders across start-ups, BFSI, fintech, edtech, construction, e-commerce, fast fashion, manufacturing, packaging, business consulting, ICT, foodtech and more. Over the last seven years, the consultancy has seen consistent 100+% growth across partners and people, beating average industry appraisals along the way at 27% YoY.

CPRA unveils Australia's longest-running PR industry awards

The Communication and Public Relations Australia (CPRA) has unveiled details for the 2024 Golden Target Awards, Australia's longest-running and prestigious programme recognizing excellence in the communications and PR industry. This year's edition boasts exciting new features designed to celebrate a wider range of achievements.Elevated Recognition: Previously focusing on national and state awards, the 2024 program streamlines the competition into a single national programme. Agencies, teams, and individuals will now compete for top honors across five categories: Campaign, Agency, Education, Team, and Individual. This revamped structure ensures a more leveled playing field and allows for broader recognition across the country.Deeper Dive into Impact: Reflecting the growing importance of long-term communication strategies, the CPRA introduces a new "Sustained Campaign" category. This addition acknowledges ongoing campaigns that have demonstrated consistent effectiveness over an extended period. Additionally, recognizing the unique challenges faced by non-profit and pro bono projects, the CPRA has separated these categories, allowing for dedicated recognition of their impact.Strengthened Leadership: Leading the judging panel is the highly respected industry icon Jackie Crossman. Joining her this year as Deputy Judge is Amanda Little, a seasoned communications professional. This combined expertise ensures a rigorous and insightful judging process.Key Dates: Aspiring participants should mark their calendars. Early-bird entries close on Friday, July 19th, 2024. The shortlist of finalists will be announced on September 25th, followed by the much-awaited National Awards Night on October 30th at the esteemed ICC Sydney venue.The revamped Golden Target Awards offer a compelling platform for communications and PR professionals to showcase their exceptional work and gain national recognition for their contributions to the industry.

Kaizzen secures funding, eyes growth in booming Indian PR market

Leading Indian PR firm Kaizzen, known for its integrated communications approach, has secured funding from Maven Corporate Advisors in 2023. This investment has led to a shift in the company's ownership structure, with Maven acquiring a majority stake, according to sources. Vineet Handa, founder and managing director of Kaizzen, retains a significant share and remains at the helm, with no plans for his departure. Notably, Puja Handa has stepped down as director, while new board members Karan Singh Surjit and Krupa Dashsathbhai Limbachiya have been appointed. While the specific nature of Maven's involvement beyond financial backing remains unclear, sources indicate the investment is aimed at fueling Kaizzen's ambitious growth plans.Kaizzen has set its sights on doubling its turnover in the 2023-2024 fiscal year compared to the previous year, aiming to reach a target of ?50 crores. The secured funds will be strategically deployed to expand its service offerings in key areas like government relations and investor relations. Additionally, the company plans to leverage the investment to establish a presence in Dubai, further solidifying its regional footprint.Kaizzen's funding announcement comes amidst a significant period of consolidation within the Indian PR landscape. Over the past two decades, the liberalization of the Indian economy has seen a steady influx of international PR firms seeking a foothold, either through independent ventures or acquisitions of local players. Examples include Burson Marsteller's acquisition of Genesis PR in 2005, MSL's purchase of Hanmer and Partners in 2007, Cohn & Wolfe's acquisition of 6 Degrees PR in 2015, and WE Communication's acquisition of Avian WE in 2018. Notably, Edelman also acquired a 50% stake in R&PM, led by Roger Pereira, in 2005.India presents a unique scenario in the global PR market. Adfactors PR, an independent firm, stands out as the undisputed leader in terms of size. This independence stands in contrast to the challenges faced by international network firms struggling to achieve significant growth in the Indian market. As a result, India is rapidly emerging as a hotspot for these firms seeking expansion opportunities. Mid-sized and independent firms like Kaizzen are well-positioned to capitalize on their agility, creativity, and ability to better align their services with the working cultures of Indian companies. This unique offering could prove to be a major advantage in the competitive years to come.

Communication Casa Bags Lark Finserv’s PR Mandate

Lark Finserv, a distinctive digital lending platform, designed to revolutionize the lending industry in India, proudly announces its partnership with Communication Casa, an innovative Public Relations and communication agency, to further enhance its strategic communications and strengthen its brand presence in the market.Since its inception in 2023, Lark Finserv has rapidly emerged as a pioneer in the financial services industry, persistently gratifying its clients with integrity, transparency and a commitment to financial well-being. With a pervasive portfolio of successful brand collaborations such as Yes Bank, Fin sire, NPCI, CAMS, Digi Locker, CERSAI, Sahamati, One Money, KFintech, and many more, the company has earned a reputation for its unique vision and strategic approach, and a commitment to exceptional services for all its clients.Communication Casa, spearheaded by the seasoned PR and communication specialist, Manauti Walecha, who has a remarkable 17+ years of experience managing over 150 clients, brings a wealth of expertise to complement Lark Finserv’s unique vision and strengths. With a highly skilled team of public relations and content professionals, Communication Casa has earned acclaim for its approach and track record of establishing impactful brand images and maintaining a strong, positive public image.“With Communication Casa, we wish to elevate our brand through effective communication channels. The agency has demonstrated performance history of delivering potent branding and communication strategies for their diverse clientele. We hope to receive compelling strategies for our brand as well”, said Rohit Pateria, Co-founder, Lark Finserv.At the heart of their dexterity lies the mastery of crafting captivating narratives, adept crisis communication management, and fostering authentic connections between companies and their intended clientele. Aligned with Lark Finserv’s mission, Communication Casa is set to provide the Fintech Start-up with the catalyst it needs to make its enduring mark on the industry.“With our experience and expertise in crafting varied communication strategies in different domains, like FinTech, AgriTech, Healthcare and many more, we believe our branding and communication approach will be effective for Lark Finserv and align with the Company’s goal ‘to build India’s largest and most meaningful Financial Service Company’”,said Manauti Walecha, Founder, Communication Casa.Communication Casa's commitment to offering high value and setting a standard of unparallel quality is showcased through its spectrum of fundamental services that span across sectors, including agriculture, FMCG, education, beauty, advertising & marketing, healthcare, travel and hospitality, insurance, real estate, NGOs, and start-ups. Leveraging its strategic approach and bespoke services, Communication Casa is poised to impel Lark Finserv towards procuring its vision to "empower individuals and businesses to achieve their financial goals through accessible and responsible lending solutions and being the lead provider of innovative and customer-centric lending services, driven by integrity, transparency, and a commitment to financial well-being."

FINN Partners acquires Paris-based Claudine Colin Communication

Global independent marketing and communications firm FINN Partners has acquired Claudine Colin Communication, a 25-person Paris-based PR agency focused on the arts and culture. The firm will be known as Claudine Colin Communication, A FINN Partners Company, and work alongside the sector-leading arts practice of FINN, headed by Philippa Polskin.Claudine Colin Communication, founded in 1990, is the leading arts PR firm in France and has been a long-term partner of Polskin Arts. CCC represents prestigious arts organizations in France, Europe, and abroad, including Musée national Picasso-Paris, musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, Pinault Collection, Palais de Tokyo, The Rencontres d'Arles, LUMA Arles, Lafayette Anticipations, Fondation Cartier, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Musée du Louvre-Lens, Mucem, Musée Marmottan Monet, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Beaux-Arts de Paris, Fondation Pernod Ricard, Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris, Cultural Olympiad for Paris 2024, 17th Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art, Art Basel across all shows (Paris, Basel, Miami, Hong Kong), and Fondation Beyeler. "We already have one of the largest and most esteemed arts practices in the PR agency world, and we are excited to expand and deepen this work by having Claudine and her team join us. We are also very pleased to enhance our presence in Paris. We currently have 15 people in that office, who work with sustainability, technology, consumer and health clients. Now we have added the premier practice in the French arts sector, and together we have 40 people in Paris. We look forward to working together as one team," said Peter Finn, CEO and Founder of FINN Partners.Claudine Colin said: "I founded Claudine Colin Communication over 30 years ago and developed the business both in France and internationally with a professional and committed team to support managers in the artistic and cultural sphere, both public and private, in designing and implementing the communication and influence strategy for their projects."I am delighted to announce that my team and I are joining FINN Partners, with whom we share the values of high standards, rigor and independence. We have worked closely with Polskin Arts, A FINN Partners company, for many years in the field of art and culture. It is a natural next step for us to join forces and further extend the scope of the select international projects on which we already collaborate.""Together we will offer our clients expertise in the fields of art and culture in Europe, the United States and Asia. With my trusted team, especially Anne-Sophie Decronumbourg and Anne Monéger-Laval, deputy directors, we will continue to develop our business alongside our clients, with whom we have long-standing partnerships based on our reputation for delivering excellent service that achieves real influence, recognition and public success."Philippa Polskin, who helped bring the firms together, said: "Claudine Colin Communication is recognized everywhere as the unchallenged leader in arts PR in France, as well as a major force in cultural communications throughout Europe. We welcome CCC warmly and are eager to continue our long history of collaboration with Claudine and her team, working side by side with them at FINN Partners at what is truly the forefront of cultural communications."   Polskin Arts, recognized as one of the world's largest and most prominent cultural PR practices, has a distinguished and extensive client base in the US and around the world, and for decades has worked on international projects in close collaboration with the sector-leading partner CCC in Paris, and the extensive FINN Partners network around the globe. The FINN Partners acquisition of Claudine Colin Communication coincides with the recent and ongoing strategic expansion of Polskin Arts, which has added key senior executives and extended its deep connections to all areas, for-profit and not-for-profit, of the rapidly evolving field of arts and culture.Claudine Colin Communication will be part of FINN Partners EMEA, led by Chantal Bowman-Boyles. With the addition of CCC, FINN Partners EMEA will have total fees of about $27 million and total staff of about 270 people. CCC will work closely with Polskin Arts to expand the FINN Partners practice in the arts and culture sector."France is the global center of art and culture, and we are proud and excited to have Claudine's team, with their unique knowledge and expertise, join us. Our office in Paris has a great reputation for delivering high-quality client service and for long-lasting client relationships – both attributes we share with CCC. I have enjoyed getting to know Claudine and her team over the last few months, and I am confident that together we will achieve even greater successes in France and across the region," added Chantal Bowman-Boyles.

Weber Shandwick CEO Gail Heimann to retire; Susan Howe to succeed

Gail Heimann is set to retire from her position as global CEO of The Weber Shandwick Collective, with Susan Howe, the current global president, slated to succeed her in November.After 28 years at Weber Shandwick and five years as the global CEO, Heimann's leadership saw the firm through significant changes, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Her tenure culminated in the agency being named Global Agency of the Year in 2023 and the establishment of The Weber Shandwick Collective (TWSC), encompassing 11 specialist Interpublic Group sister firms in areas like consumer marketing, public affairs, healthcare, paid media, and social-first creative.TWSC boasts extensive sector and service expertise across 11 brands with offices on six continents. TWSC’s diverse capabilities include organisational transformation, public affairs, and digital transformation. Throughout her illustrious career, she has been instrumental in building and enhancing the reputations of numerous Fortune 500 companies, working on iconic brands and campaigns across various sectors.Howe, who has been with TWSC for over 20 years, spent the last three as the global president, overseeing the firm’s four operating regions (North America, EMEA, APAC, and LatAm) and enhancing integration between TWSC’s partner agencies and practice areas.Previously, Howe served as the company's chief growth officer and chief collaboration officer, and she played a pivotal role in major client relationships such as AB InBev, Nestle, and Kellanova.Weber Shandwick does not currently plan to appoint a new president to replace Howe.Howe's appointment continues Weber Shandwick’s tradition of promoting CEOs from within the agency, a practice in place since its formation from the mergers of BSMG, Shandwick, and Weber over two decades ago.

PR Professionals wins communications mandate for Bihar Education Department

PR Professionals (PRP), the flagship of PRP Group, has been awarded the integrated communications mandate for the Department of Education, Government of Bihar. Secured through a competitive multi-agency pitch, the comprehensive mandate includes digital, public relations, and branding work along with Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) activities for the Department.Emerging as a major player in the education sector, this is the second prestigious and large-sized mandate that PR Professionals has secured this year. Earlier this year, PRP was entrusted with the integrated communications mandate for the Department of School Education, Andhra Pradesh.The integrated mandate for Andhra Pradesh includes the development and execution of extensive digital and media communication strategies aimed at generating awareness and impact of various transformative educational initiatives. PRP's work with the Department of School Education, Andhra Pradesh, covers several key programs such as the Supporting Andhra’s Learning Transformation Program (SALT), funded by the World Bank, Samagra Siksha, Mana Badi Nadu Nedu Programme, and the Jagananna Vidya Kanuka Programme. These initiatives are designed to bring substantial improvements to the state's educational landscape.“We are honored to be chosen by the Department of Education, Government of Bihar, for this critical assignment. We're committed to amplifying Bihar's educational efforts and showcasing their impact. This collaboration strengthens our resolve to develop impactful communication strategies that empower India's education sector,” shared Dr. Sarvesh Tiwari, Founder & Managing Director – PR Professionals.PRP has a proven track record in the education sector. It successfully tackled the challenge of promoting the Bihar School Examination Board's (BSEB) vision, mission, and goals to students and parents through digital channels. Their dedicated in-house digital team achieved remarkable results, not only meeting their objectives but also skyrocketing user engagement to millions. PRP's expertise extends to a wide range of educational institutions, including the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education Board (ICSE), IIT Roorkee, IIM Shillong, SGT University, Manav Rachna University, The Northcap University, MVN Group of Schools, and the Apparel Training & Design Center (ATDC) among others.Since its founding in 2011, PR Professionals has been a touchstone for quality and excellence in public relations and communications. In addition, the company has started many charitable endeavors. Businesses can become industry leaders by utilizing its end-to-end branding and personalized PR solutions. Having started small, PRP now has 12 offices in India and 6 branches abroad.

CHARLES & KEITH bolsters PR team with appointment of Ashley Neo

Singapore-based footwear and accessories brand CHARLES & KEITH has named Ashley Neo as its new Assistant Global PR & Communications Manager. Neo will be responsible for overseeing the brand's global public relations initiatives from the company's Singapore headquarters.Neo's primary focus will be on ensuring the brand's public image aligns consistently with its core values and brand identity. Neo brings a wealth of experience to the role, having honed her skills in previous positions at Access Communications, Estee Lauder Companies, and The PR People. Her diverse background in communications and experience with renowned brands positions her well to contribute to CHARLES & KEITH's global PR strategy.CHARLES & KEITH: A Global Fashion PowerhouseFounded in 1996, CHARLES & KEITH has grown into a leading global fashion brand. The company is known for its curated collections of footwear, bags, and accessories, designed with a focus on contemporary style and premium quality at accessible prices. With a growing network of stores worldwide, CHARLES & KEITH offers customers a convenient and enjoyable shopping experience.Ashley Neo's appointment underscores CHARLES & KEITH's commitment to building a strong brand image and maintaining its position at the forefront of the global fashion industry.

Arla taps Citypress to boost brand recognition, consumer trust

Arla Foods, the UK's biggest dairy cooperative, has selected Citypress, an employee-owned communications agency, as its new consumer PR partner. Citypress won the contract after a competitive pitch process.Building Brand Strength Through Creative CampaignsCitypress will be responsible for developing and executing campaigns that elevate consumer confidence in Arla and establish it as the UK's most recognizable dairy brand. This will involve creative strategies for Arla's core products like Arla Cravendale, Lurpak, and Arla Protein. Hill & Knowlton (now Burson) previously held the account.Arla's Vision: Inspiring Consumers and Redefining DairyNicola Morgan-Hulme, Arla Foods UK's communications director, expressed her enthusiasm about the partnership. Citypress's strategic approach, innovative ideas, and extensive experience in the food and beverage industry impressed Arla.“Citypress impressed us with their strategic vision and brave creative thinking. Their deep sector experience in food and drink, passionate team and ambition for brand-defining work really shone through. As one of the UK’s largest food companies, we have a vision to break out of category conventions and inspire consumers to eat well. By building awareness in the overarching Arla Masterbrand, we aim to position Arla as the most trusted dairy brand that fuels our consumers and helps them to feel good. We look forward to working with the Citypress team who will support us on this journey,” said Nicola Morgan-Hulme. Citypress: A Team of Creative SpecialistsThe Citypress team, led by senior directors Ruth Lee (creative specialisms) and Rory Fletcher (food and drink clients), will spearhead the Arla account.Lee is thrilled about the opportunity to create engaging campaigns that celebrate the benefits of dairy. Citypress's recent investment in creative capabilities will further enhance their work for Arla's impressive brand portfolio.With Arla on board, Citypress adds another major player to its client list, which already includes Nestle, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Pilgrim's Europe, Aldi, and Molson Coors.

Jack Daniel's chooses Halpern for UK PR push

Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey, owned by Brown-Forman, has named Halpern its new UK PR agency after a competitive selection process. Halpern will be responsible for developing and executing a consumer PR strategy to boost brand awareness and relevance among new audiences.The agency's focus will be on crafting creative campaigns with a cultural twist. This aligns with Jack Daniel's goal of reaching new demographics in the UK market. Halpern takes over from Tin Man Communications, which previously held the account, but Jack Daniel's had been without a PR agency for roughly 18 months.Halpern's work will encompass Jack Daniel's No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey and flavored offerings like Honey, Fire, and Apple. The agency will develop a strategic media plan that includes influencer partnerships and engaging consumer activations.UK head of Jack Daniels Eduardo Toledo said: ‘‘We are delighted to welcome Halpern as our new partner. Their innovative approach, deep understanding of the brand, and passion for creative storytelling truly set them apart during the pitch process. We are confident that Halpern will help us craft compelling and creative opportunities that resonate with our consumers and further enhance Jack Daniel’s legacy in the UK.”

Stefanie Wong joins Visa as Corp Comm Manager for Hong Kong, Macau

Visa has appointed Stefanie Wong as the Corporate Communications Manager for Hong Kong and Macau. Based in the Hong Kong office, Wong will oversee integrated communications, stakeholder engagement, and strategic planning for the region. Her role is pivotal in supporting Visa's mission to enhance brand relevance, visibility, trust, and purpose. Wong's extensive experience in communications is expected to significantly contribute to Visa's strategic objectives in these dynamic markets.Previously she worked with Edelman for more than 12 years.

Norsiah Juriani Johari joins MBSB Group as Head of Communications & Branding

Norsiah Juriani Johari has been appointed as the Group Head of Communications and Branding at MBSB Group, a leading financial services provider in Malaysia. Johari transitions to MBSB from Astro, where she held the position of Director of Group Marketing. Her extensive experience includes significant roles in marketing and communications at JCORP and CIMB.Johari brings a wealth of expertise to MBSB, where she is expected to enhance the bank’s communication strategies and branding initiatives. Her appointment aligns with MBSB’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its market presence and brand identity in the competitive financial sector. The move is seen as a strategic step for MBSB to leverage Johari’s diverse experience and industry knowledge to drive impactful communication and branding efforts. Norsiah Juriani Johari Joins MBSB Group as Group Head of Communications and Branding

Ashmita Pillay joins Marico as Head of Corporate Communications

In a recent LinkedIn post, Ashmita Pillay announced her departure from Tata as GM- Corporate Communications after a remarkable 14-year tenure. Pillay expressed her gratitude for the support and friendships she built at Tata Motors. She will now be taking on the role of Head of Corporate Communications at Marico Limited, a leading consumer products company. Pillay is enthusiastic about this new chapter and is looking forward to embracing the "Mariconian way of life" while maintaining strong communication fundamentals. Her transition marks a significant move in her PR journey as she shifts industries to bring her expertise to Marico?. She wrote on her LinkedIN: "After an eternity with @TataMotors, I am moving on. It has been an absolute pleasure and an inspiring journey. Will miss that place, I called Home for over 14 years. Thankful to all there for all the love, mentoring, empowerment and most importantly friendship. I have joined Marico Limited as Head of Comms and looking forward to this new chapter in my PR journey. New industry calls for a reset while fundamentals remain strong. Looking forward to the hashtag#Mariconian way of life."Prior to Tata Motors, Pillay worked as Manager at ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Limited for a brief period. She holds a PGD in Public Relations and Event Management from the University of Mumbai.

Ruder Finn promotes Brian Witte as head; Pamela Phua joins as Singapore GM

Ruder Finn Asia, a global communications firm, announced key leadership changes in Southeast Asia. Brian Witte has been promoted to Head of Southeast Asia Corporate Practice, while Pamela Phua joins as the new General Manager of Ruder Finn Singapore.Both Brian and Pamela will report directly to Elan Shou, Managing Director of Ruder Finn Asia-Pacific.With over a decade at Ruder Finn Asia, Brian brings a wealth of experience advising major corporations like Visa, 3M, and DBS. In his new role, he will focus on fostering collaboration between clients across Southeast Asia and identifying new business opportunities in the region's dynamic market.Pamela joins Ruder Finn Asia with more than 20 years of experience in marketing, branding, and strategic communications. Previously, she was with Ogilvy, leading new business development for PR and influencer marketing across Asia.Brian said: “I am honoured to step into this position and excited to build on the strong foundation we've established in Singapore and across the region. Southeast Asia is a dynamic and rapidly evolving market, and I look forward to leveraging our corporate practice and regional expertise to help our clients navigate its complexities. My focus will be on fostering collaboration and identifying innovative strategies that drive business growth and strengthen a positive reputation for our clients".Pamela said: "I am excited and honoured to join the acclaimed Ruder Finn Singapore team and look forward to driving creative strategies that will elevate our clients' brands and reputations. My aim is to ensure we deliver impactful results and stay ahead in the dynamic communications landscape".

Communications agency launches in the UAE, a UAE based creative & communications consultancy, has officially launched operations across the country. Founded by seasoned and senior PR and communications professional Omar Khan, is a new service that offers bold, creative ideas, bespoke communication strategies and highly professional PR consultation to small-medium is a service curated for entrepreneurs, start-ups and SME’s to support with ideas, strategies and consultation related to brand awareness, PR or marketing strategies, events, product or service launches, social media campaigns and other creative communication tactics. The nature of the service allows a client to purchase bespoke and creative proposals based off a given brief, whilst retaining full autonomy and rights to bring the idea to life themselves, or through partnering with one of’s preferred and recommended partners. At the helm of the new consultancy is Founder and CEO Omar Khan. With over a decade of professional experience within the PR and communications industry in the UAE, Omar brings together strategic-thinking and highly creative campaign ideas across a range of consumer-focused industries, including hospitality, F&B, luxury fashion and lifestyle.The concept of is simple. Ideas have value. Whether they’re part of an overall brand strategy, cool concepts for a new business proposal, or part of an internal brainstorm that leads to a fully-fledged executable experience, these all take time, effort and creative insight to develop and deliver. believes that it’s important to remunerate agencies, freelancers and creative professionals for the work involved with producing an idea. While most current agency models include these services as part of their overall fee structure, offers the choice of a more affordable ‘pay as you go’ model, where clients can purchase bespoke strategies with creative ideas on an ad hoc basis. Each client is provided with an idea that is meticulously produced with relevance to the brief, taking into consideration current trends, insights and data from reputable and locally relevant sources. is suited to entrepreneurs, start-ups and SME’s who want creative ideas and professional consultancy to help elevate their businesses, but may not necessarily be able to afford hefty retainer fees for communications and related services.Founder-CEO Omar Khan commented: “The PR and Communications industry needs a shake-up. With Dubai alone seeing a 550% annual rise in global SMEs attracted to the emirate, we need to be able to provide affordable communication services to a phenomenally fast-growing market segment that wants big, bold and creative ideas to help take their businesses to the next level. However, with hefty retainer fees predominantly the only option provided by reputable agencies in the Middle East, many SME’s are unfortunately unable to afford the investment. This is where comes into the picture. We provide individual project and tailored rates depending on the scale of the brief, offering more cost-friendly alternatives for clients whilst still ensuring strategic, creative and relevant thinking at its highest level. I’m very excited to be launching in the market and look forward to working together with clients, the industry and the region on bringing big ideas to life that are both memorable and impactful.” also acts as a conduit to leaders within the communications and creative industry. Placing emphasis and value on the quality of its creative ideas, the service works seamlessly with its network of professionals to ensure flawless execution of the ideas it produces. Whatever the client brief may be, is able to give brands the professional guidance and direction they need to drive awareness to new audiences, delivering satisfaction to clients and contributing to the overall success of the regions flourishing SME ecosystem.Raised in the UAE, Omar’s background draws extensive experience across a range of consumer-focused industries, particularly across hospitality, F&B, luxury fashion and lifestyle. He began his career managing operations for several leading establishments in London, before transferring his many years of knowledge and skills to handle PR and communications for global and local brands in the Middle East.Throughout his career, he has worked with International brands including Marriott International, The Hyatt Group, Four Seasons, Rixos, Taj Hotels, World’s 50 Best, Deliveroo, McDonald’s UAE, Dyson, General Motors, Loro Piana, GUCCI, Hugo Boss, Patek Philippe, LINDBERG, VIACOM and many more.

Deutsche Bank names Victor Jiang as Co-Head of Tech, Media & Telecommunications

Deutsche Bank AG has appointed Victor Jiang as the co-head of its technology, media, and telecommunications division for the Asia Pacific region, marking another significant addition to its team.Jiang comes from China International Capital Corp. (CICC), where he served as Asia co-head of TMT and head of Southeast Asia investment banking, according reports.With an 11-year tenure at CICC, Jiang is recognized in Greater China's investment banking sector for his strong connections with major technology firms like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Baidu Inc., and NetEase Inc.During his time at CICC, Jiang managed transactions worth $80 billion in mergers, acquisitions, and capital markets, the memo noted. At Deutsche Bank, he will collaborate with Andy Chakravorty.Since early 2023, Deutsche Bank has been actively recruiting, attracting talent from other banks including prominent Wall Street institutions such as Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Morgan Stanley.

Ex-Edelman veterans unite to form Stratagem Corporate Advisory

Former Edelman colleagues Susan Redden Makatoa and Peter Fraser, alongside legal expert Mick Bainbridge, have announced the launch of Stratagem Corporate Advisory.This new firm brings together a wealth of experience specifically tailored to support boards and executives. Stratagem offers a comprehensive suite of services, including:  Corporate communications and executive training  Public affairs navigation  Issues mitigation and crisis management  Legal and regulatory engagementStratagem's unique structure allows them to provide legal privilege from the very beginning, a significant advantage when dealing with sensitive matters.Leading the ChargeSusan Redden Makatoa: A CPRA Fellow with over 20 years of agency leadership experience, previously serving as Edelman's Head of Corporate, APAC.Peter Fraser: A seasoned former political advisor and corporate affairs senior counsel, who held the position of lead government relations counsel Australia at Edelman.Mick Bainbridge: Founder of Operational Legal and a renowned advocate for veterans across Australia. Mick has extensive experience collaborating with government and non-profit organisations.This combined expertise positions Stratagem as a powerful ally for boards and executives navigating today's complex business landscape.Stratagem's Managing Director Susan Redden Makatoa said: "We have all been working on complex, high-stakes matters in recent years, which need calm, considered and informed counsel. So, we’ve formed a team with extensive corporate, government and legal expertise to guide our clients through multi-stakeholder corporate, government affairs and legal/regulatory challenges and opportunities." (Image Left to Right : Peter Fraser, Susan Redden Makatoa, Mick Bainbridge.)

Everest Ventures Group names Kelvin Yeo as PR Manager

Everest Ventures Group in Singapore has appointed Kelvin Yeo as their new Public Relations Manager. Kelvin brings extensive experience in communications and media relations, having previously worked at YAP Global, Cobo, and HTX. In his new role, he will focus on enhancing EVG's media presence and strategic communications.Kelvin has a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations and Mass Communication from Murdoch University. Everest Ventures Group is a leading Web3-focused venture studio, dedicated to driving the mass adoption of digital assets through incubating technology infrastructures and advising startups globally?.

Jessica Brophy assumes new role as Director of Communications at Xero

Jessica Brophy has taken on a new role as Director of Communications for Australia and New Zealand at Xero. She has been with the company for over five years, previously serving as Head of Communications for Australia. Before joining Xero, Jessica gained valuable experience in agency-side roles at Six O'Clock Advisory, Truth Agency,, and Mango Communications?.Xero, a global small business platform, has recently introduced new subscription plans in Australia. These plans, which became available on July 1, 2024, are designed to provide streamlined accounting and payroll solutions for small businesses. The new plans include Xero Ignite, Xero Grow, Xero Comprehensive, and an enhanced Xero Ultimate plan?.

Ryde Group names Suraj Raj as Group Corporate Communications & Branding Manager

Ryde Group has appointed Suraj Raj as the new Group Corporate Communications & Branding Manager. Suraj, who brings over 14 years of experience in marketing, strategic communications, PR, and brand management, will be based in Singapore.Suraj previously led the communications and branding initiatives for the Renewables & Sustainability business units at Surbana Jurong Group, where he was instrumental in enhancing the company's market presence and sustainability efforts. His extensive experience across various industries positions him well to drive Ryde’s communications strategy.At Ryde, Suraj will oversee the marketing team, focusing on elevating brand awareness, managing media relations, and implementing impactful communication strategies. His role will also encompass promoting sustainability initiatives, a key area of focus for the company as it continues to expand its footprint in the mobility and quick commerce sectors.This appointment comes at a pivotal time for Ryde Group, which has recently seen a significant surge in its stock price following its IPO earlier this year on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The company, headquartered in Singapore, provides a range of mobility solutions including on-demand and scheduled carpooling and ride-hailing services, as well as quick commerce and digital payment services through RydePay.Ryde Group’s recent partnerships, such as the collaboration with Mobile-health Network Solutions to enhance telehealth services, and its secondary share listings in Frankfurt and Stuttgart, underscore its commitment to growth and innovation in the mobility sector. The company’s stock has been performing well, reflecting investor confidence in its strategic direction and market potential??.

Beyond referrals: Building your doctor brand in the digital age

In today's digital world, personal branding is no longer a choice for medical professionals; it is a need. The conventional approach of a doctor developing their business primarily through referrals and word-of-mouth is altering. Patients are increasingly using the internet to investigate doctors before scheduling an appointment. As a result, it is critical for doctors to have a robust digital presence. Doctors need to showcase their domain expertise by sharing invaluable information to patients thereby gaining trust as well as building a community. Doctors can build a personal brand through public relations by engaging with the community, sharing expertise in media and journals, and participating in public events. This approach showcases their knowledge and care, creating trust without direct advertising. Here’s how PR can help doctors create a personal brand without advertising themselves.Create a Professional Website:Your website serves as your practice's digital front door. Make sure it matches your professional image, is simple to use, and informative. Please provide details about your training, job history, services offered, and any related certifications. Update information often to demonstrate your commitment to staying current in the business.Optimising online profiles:Fill out and update your entries on review websites, professional networking sites, and healthcare directories on a consistent basis. Provide a professional biography, specific contact information, and details about your practice. This raises awareness and accessibility for prospective patients seeking reliable medical practitioners.Patient testimonials and reviews:Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive feedback on reputable review platforms. React professionally and compassionately to both positive and negative feedback. This improves your online reputation and demonstrates your dedication to patient pleasure and continuous improvement.Engaging Social Media:Choose social media platforms that support your career goals. Provide informative health advice, news, and updates on an ongoing basis. Interact with your audience by responding swiftly to messages and comments. Social media is a great way to personalise your practice and engage with people on a more personal level.Educational content:Distribute instructional and useful information in your field of expertise. These might be quick 3D films, infographics, or blog posts. Establish yourself as a thought leader in your business by providing intelligent comments that are relevant to your target audience.Continuous Monitoring:Set up Google Alerts for your name and regularly monitor your web visibility. Correct any incorrect information immediately, and take aggressive actions to protect your internet reputation by monitoring patient evaluations.Using Telehealth Platforms:If appropriate, consider offering telehealth services and advertising them online. Emphasise the accessibility and convenience of virtual visits, and provide patients with clear instructions on how to schedule them.Online Security and Privacy:Make internet privacy and security a top concern. Instruct your employees on the most secure ways to handle patient data on the internet, and ensure that all applicable data protection and healthcare regulations are followed.Creating a personal brand through a digital presence is a dynamic and continuing endeavour. It's an excellent tool for doctors looking to recruit new patients, build trust, and cultivate a loyal patient base. You can efficiently establish and maintain a strong digital brand by creating a professional website, using social media, publishing high-quality content, optimising for search engines, maintaining your reputation, networking, and remaining up to date. By doing so, you not only improve your profession but also positively contribute to the health and well-being of your community.

SGCA Awards to empower young talents to shape future of communication

The 11th Sharjah Government Communication Award (SGCA) is set to revolutionise innovation and creativity for university and school students with two awards: the Universities Challenge, in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates University, and the Artificial Intelligence Skills Camp (AISC), in partnership with the Artificial Intelligence Journalism for Research and Forecasting (AIJRF).These awards offer young innovators the chance to design and present groundbreaking projects that enhance applied education in technical fields and artificial intelligence. Participants are nominated by relevant partners, ensuring precise evaluation of their outstanding capabilities and potential.H.E Alia Bu Ghanem Al Suwaidi, Director of the Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB), stated, “One of the key objectives of the SGCA is to shape the future of communication in the Arab region and promote it globally. This is why we target young university and school students, because when we develop their capabilities and creativity, we invest in the future of communication. We are dedicated to the continued development of the new generation of communication champions who contribute to shaping this field through innovative solutions and ideas.”Universities Challenge honours student-led communication innovationsThe three-day Universities Challenge targets university students from GCC countries, bringing together creative students to compete in designing and presenting projects that achieve tangible social returns and foster positive interaction between government institutions and society. This includes developing new services that enhance institutional performance and establishing digital platforms that facilitate government-citizen interactions. The challenge aims to honour the best project, stimulate a culture of innovation among university students, and develop their intellectual and practical skills, paving the way for them to become future leaders in government communications and contribute to its improvement.H.E Prof. Ahmed Ali Murad, Acting Vice Chancellor of the United Arab Emirates University, commented: “The UAEU’s participation in the SGCA aligns with the vital role of effective partnerships in translating national visions and strategies, and shaping a bright future in the UAE. This is achieved through communication and idea exchange with various entities, the adoption of government models and concepts, and tools to create positive change and innovative solutions that empower individuals and communities.”He added: “Through this partnership, the university organises the 3rd challenge to encourage local and international students to innovate and design outstanding projects that utilise government communication mechanisms in content creation, serving as crucial decision-making tools that impact individuals and build strong, civilised communities. The focus is on aligning with the fast-paced technical developments globally and their impact on content creation.”AISC: Boosting technical creativity in AIThe Artificial Intelligence Skills Camp (AISC) returns for the second consecutive year at the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF), targeting students aged 12-17. AISC provides an exceptional creative environment that educates students and enhances their practical skills in artificial intelligence. The camp offers a comprehensive understanding of AI basics, its practical applications, and integration into daily life.The camp aims to teach students AI applications in the production and management of government, media, and service content, providing skills to produce various media content forms. Participants will receive educational materials from certified instructors in AI and the Metaverse, gaining insights into AI across various fields and learning the fundamentals of this modern technology. Prizes will be awarded by a jury for outstanding projects at the camp's conclusion.Dr Mohamed Abdulzaher, CEO of AIJRF, emphasised the award's significance and its key regional and global roles, noting: “Since its inception, the SGCA has been a pivotal and global incentive for many government entities and institutions. It is more than an award honouring excellence; it is an essential educational and motivational tool, boosting effective media content creation in government communications and fostering robust media strategies.”Dr Abdulzaher also highlighted AIJRF's four-year partnership with SGMB, underscoring: “We believe in the importance of this award and the global positive impact it delivers annually. The award’s transparency and clear scientific and organisational standards open new horizons for all government entities worldwide to compete and showcase the best government communication practices in the human service field.”

Z7 Communications to represent Rixos Premium Saadiyat and Club Privé

Z7 Communications, the Dubai-based integrated luxury brand communications and events agency, has been appointed to represent Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island and Club Privé by Rixos Saadiyat Island, the all-inclusive, all-exclusive five-star resort.Located on the pristine, sparkling white sands of Saadiyat Island, overlooking the Arabian Gulf, Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island is where exclusivity and luxury define every experience, every time. A palatial resort with a Mediterranean design, the hotel connects the centuries-old traditional Arab culture with its oriental court gardens and extensive water features.With 288 rooms and suites and 12 exclusive villas, Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island offers 12 distinct dining destinations, including four a la carte restaurants covering a range of cuisines from Japanese to Italian. The resort boasts a range of unique facilities, including a sprawling pool complex, its very own waterpark, a well-equipped gym, tennis courts, the Rixy Kids Club, as well as the largest spa on Saadiyat Island with an impressive Turkish hammam and wellness centre, offering relaxation and fun for couples and families alike.“We are delighted to welcome Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island and Club Privé by Rixos Saadiyat Island, a landmark destination in the UAE capital, to Z7’s portfolio of luxury hospitality clients. We look forward to supporting the resort’s growth across the GCC, working closely with the hotel team to deliver excellent hospitality, that will make a lasting impact both within the region and beyond,” said Zeina El-Dana, Founder and CEO of Z7 Communications.

WE UK launches strategic advisory board to deepen expertise

WE Communications, an independent communications agency, has announced the formation of a local strategic board in the UK deepening its core sector expertise with specialties in AI, tech, sustainability and health. This new initiative aims to provide external insights and advisory support to clients and team members navigating a complex and fast-moving business environment through seminars, events, and training."In today's volatile business and political landscape, it's crucial for organisations to not only be prepared for the unexpected but think about what’s next," said Laura Gillen, Managing Director of WE Communications UK. "Our strategic board will play a vital role in helping our clients and teams address pressing issues such as rapid technological advances, regulatory challenges, and political instability."The founding group members will advance the agency's commitment to driving people to positive action and will be formed of independent experts and influential leaders from across multiple sectors: Jane Wakefield, former BBC technology reporter with two decades of experience in journalism, said: "I hope my many years of experience as a technology journalist can help inform WE's clients and make sense of the ever more complex tech landscape we live in." Wakefield's deep expertise will help clients navigate emerging technologies and their implications.  Dr Fiona Adshead, Chair of the Sustainable Healthcare Coalition, bolsters the group’s expertise in addressing sustainability and healthcare challenges. "I'm excited to bring my wealth of experience as an influential wellbeing, public health, and sustainability leader to this new initiative," she said. Her insights will help clients understand the intersection of health and sustainability.Bernard Marr, best-selling author and futurist, brings his forward-thinking perspective on the applications of AI. "In an era of technology and business transformation, it's crucial to anticipate and understand emerging trends," Marr said. "WE Communications' commitment to innovation aligns perfectly with my own values."  Dr Max Pemberton, Daily Mail columnist, said: "With my experience both working in the media and on the NHS coal-face, I hope I can bring valuable insights into the ever-changing healthcare landscape for both the WE team and their clients."  Saeed Atcha, MBE, CEO at Youth Leads UK, adds the important voice of younger generations to the board. "I'm excited to be bringing the perspectives of young people to the forefront," Atcha said. "Gen Z and Gen Alpha are incredibly socially aware and engaged, and they are actively contributing to their communities."Gillen concluded: "Our strategic board members, as knowledge leaders, will empower our clients and team to see beyond market complexities and seize new opportunities with confidence."

FINN Partners unveils FINN Luxe, a tailored offering for luxury brands

Global marketing and communications giant FINN Partners has announced the launch of FINN Luxe, a specialized offering catering to the unique needs of the global luxury sector.This cross-sector initiative leverages FINN Partners' existing expertise in premium and luxury brands, spanning industries like travel, wellness, food & beverage, fashion, beauty, and more.FINN Luxe goes beyond traditional marketing by incorporating FINN Partners' established art division and its purpose & social impact practice. This holistic approach allows FINN Luxe to:Craft culturally relevant communication strategies that resonate with today's luxury consumers who increasingly value purpose-driven brands.Navigate the complexities of the luxury market, which faces challenges like diversification and the growing importance of social and environmental responsibility.The newly launched practice has already secured its first major client, Habacoa, a superyacht marina development. This adds to FINN Partners' already impressive luxury portfolio, which includes names like Mandarin Oriental, The Dorchester Collection, Berry Bros. & Rudd, and Bloomingdales.The luxury playbook 2024: Charting the courseTo mark the launch of FINN Luxe, the agency has released "The Luxury Playbook 2024." This comprehensive report, developed in collaboration with FINN's global intelligence teams and market research firm Mintel, provides valuable insights into the current state and future trends of the luxury industry.FINN Partners CEO & Founding Partner, Peter Finn, said: "Our teams around the world have had the privilege to support premium and luxury brands for many years now. As FINN Partners grows, it is important for us to show that we value and nurture the deep knowledge and experience needed to guide our clients across luxury lifestyle sectors.""From branding to PR to thought leadership and digital marketing, the mission of FINN Luxe is to combine the best of both worlds: the network of a global firm and the niche knowledge of a boutique agency. Our point of view on luxury is clear. Whether we communicate on heritage, design, craftsmanship, service, experience, innovation or values, we do it with authenticity and cultural relevance," said Gregory Cole, Senior Partner for Luxury EMEA.

Vultr taps SourceCode as global PR leader

SourceCode Communications, a technology PR and marketing agency, has been appointed as the global lead agency for Vultr, the world's largest privately-held cloud infrastructure platform.This expansion builds on SourceCode's successful work with Vultr in the UK, where they were named the agency of record in late 2023. Leveraging their established partner network, SourceCode will now manage Vultr's PR efforts across North America, Latin America, France, Germany, Spain, and the Nordics. This global leadership role comes without a formal pitch process, a testament to SourceCode's impressive results.The London-based team will oversee a unified global PR strategy, collaborating with Vultr's existing PR teams across various regions. Additionally, SourceCode will spearhead executive thought leadership initiatives for Vultr in the US, marking a new chapter in their collaboration.Founded in 2014, Vultr boasts over 1.5 million customers in 185 countries and recently earned recognition as Dell Technologies' AI Provider of the Year for the Americas. They compete with industry giants like AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft, and others.“Vultr is growing rapidly around the world and we need the best communications partners. We are excited to be working with SourceCode to manage and drive our global communication programme through our North American and LatAm teams, as well as through their partner network across Europe. The work SourceCode has delivered has been game changing for us and so we are excited about harnessing that across more geographies,” said Vultr chief marketing officer Kevin Cochrane.  Since its UK launch in September 2023, SourceCode UK has flourished, expanding its offerings to include analytics, executive brand management, and most recently, SourceCode Demand Cloud, their innovative marketing-as-a-service platform.Giles Peddy, managing director and EVP, SourceCode Communications UK & Europe, said: “When clients expand geographies and services it is testament to the quality of work our team is delivering, and investment in building cutting edge new tools and services. Vultr operates in one of the hottest areas of technology and our ability to help shape the future of the brand is exactly what SourceCode was built for.”The agency's recent promotion of Kristen Stippich to US Managing Director further bolsters their leadership team.

Suzy Goulding on what makes an effective sustainability strategy works in APAC

In an exclusive interview with Adgully Asia, Suzy Goulding, Asia Lead at Salterbaxter and Head of Sustainability for APAC & MEA at MSL Group, shares her insights on developing impactful sustainability strategies for diverse sectors. Goulding emphasizes the importance of sector-specific challenges, the client's ambition, and corporate confidence in driving sustainable changes. She also discusses the integration of purpose into sustainability strategies, enhancing employee engagement, managing organisational change, and emerging trends that will shape sustainability strategies in the APAC region. Additionally, Goulding highlights how Publicis Groupe differentiates itself in the sustainability consulting space within the region.Can you describe your approach to developing effective sustainability strategies for clients across diverse sectors?There are lots of elements to take into account when helping a client develop their sustainability strategy. Of course, sector-specific challenges need to be taken into consideration, for example legislative and compliance changes or sector-driven expectations. But also important is assessing a client’s level of ambition (are they just looking to tick legislative boxes or do they want to be sector leaders in sustainability?) and corporate levels of confidence around implementing sustainable changes.How do you integrate purpose into sustainability strategies to ensure they resonate with both internal and external stakeholders?Rather than talk about ‘purpose’ I think it makes more sense to talk about ‘materiality’ i.e. what matters most to both internal and external stakeholders when it comes to what a company produces or offers and what is the potential positive and negative sustainable impact of those products / services? Of course, any sustainability strategy should also be aligned to a company’s purpose in that it should set the tone for how that purpose is implemented and amplified both within and beyond the business.What are some successful methods you've used to enhance employee engagement and internal communications around sustainability initiatives?Key is involving employees in a company’s sustainability journey from the outset. Only then will you ensure you have understanding and crucially buy-in for what will inevitably be change within the business. You must ensure first that there is buy-in and commitment from the leadership and that this is communicated clearly throughout the business, at every level. Employees need to also understand how and when they can play an active role in sustainable change and what it means for their particular job. Meet employees where they are – get to understand and utilise the ways in which they communicate within and across departments and peer groups. And finally, you need to be able to answer the ‘what’s in it for me?’ question. Most of us are uncomfortable with change so we need to know why we should care about those changes, how they will affect us personally, and how we can get involved in implementing those changes.How do you manage change within organisations to align them with new sustainability goals, and what challenges have you encountered?Change is only possible within organisations when everyone from the top down is invested in that change. So a lot of stakeholdering and advocacy is always needed. Getting buy-in from the leadership is usually the easy part as we tend to be invited in by C-suite to help them drive progress. Common challenges include getting middle managers on board who typically will have KPIs built around efficiencies, sales or productivity. And they are crucial to have on-side because it is usually through this layer of management that you can connect and engage with other employees. So you need to meet them where they are and talk about sustainable change in a way that resonates with them. How will it make their jobs easier? How can it help drive efficiencies? How will it make them stand out from competitors?Can you share an example of a successful stakeholder management or consultation process that significantly impacted a client’s sustainability efforts?We worked with a large electronics company on developing their regional sustainability strategy across Southeast Asia. The challenge was a lack of understanding and confidence around what sustainable changes they should be making and how to get started. Our strategy was to get under the skin of the business by spending a lot of time with business units and interviewing teams and individuals so we understood their challenges and could help identify possible opportunities for addressing those challenges in a sustainable way; we then involved as many employees as possible in the development of the sustainability strategy – brainstorming ideas, encouraging them to collaborate across business units and challenge each other. This approach meant that when we launched the strategy we had immediate buy-in – crucial to ensure that strategy turned into action – and actions that felt achievable, thus helping to build that much-needed corporate confidence to set them up for success and more ambitious actions in the future.What emerging trends in sustainability do you believe will shape the strategies of companies in the APAC region over the next few years?The APAC region is seeing sustainable change within companies at a slower pace than Europe or the US, as the legislation is not there yet in a lot of countries to help drive change. This will evolve over time. Many APAC countries are already witnessing the impact of climate change and the havoc that severe heat or rainfall can cause; so I am hopeful that in the absence of legislation that this exposure will convince more companies to take sustainability seriously.We are an innovative region and the solutions to many sustainability challenges will be found via the way we innovate in products and services. Companies in APAC need to recognise the commercial and reputational benefits to be had by investing in innovative solutions to these challenges.AI is already transforming the way many of us do business, and I see great opportunities for deployment within sustainability, not least because the biggest headache for most companies who are looking to comply with sustainability legislations or simply want to become more sustainable businesses is data collection and analysis on energy use, utilities use, etc. AI has the potential to make this process faster and more accurate.How does Publicis Groupe, particularly MSL and Salterbaxter, differentiate itself in the sustainability consulting space within the APAC region?Publicis Groupe is serious about both its own sustainability commitments and how it can help its clients on their sustainability journey. If we look at advertising first, the Groupe has developed proprietary tools and processes designed to help companies take a more sustainable approach to developing and executing campaigns which reduce emissions without negatively impacting consumer reach and engagement. For example, our emissions tool A.L.I.C.E. (Advertising Limiting Impacts & Carbon Emissions) can measure carbon footprint of campaigns from the shoot through to deployment. The data can then be used by Groupe agencies and clients to make informed decisions on where more sustainable approaches can be adopted for future campaigns.The combination of Salterbaxter (our sustainability consultancy network) and MSL (our reputation and comms consultancy network) means we can offer clients end-to-end sustainability support and advisory, from strategic development, material assessment and ambition-setting through to narrative and messaging development and campaign development to amplify sustainability achievements. We are the only holding company who can offer credible sustainability expertise coupled with a creative approach to communicating sustainability to maximise competitive and reputational advantage. We believe that’s a pretty compelling and powerful proposition.

Langham Jakarta promotes Anindhita Indira to Sr. Marketing Manager

The Langham Jakarta has announced the promotion of Anindhita Indira to Senior Marketing & Communications Manager. In this newly expanded role, Indira will oversee all aspects of communications, marketing, and branding for the luxury hotel.Indira joined The Langham Jakarta in 2021 and brings over seven years of experience in the hospitality and beauty industries. Prior to her promotion, she played a key role in developing and implementing successful marketing campaigns for the hotel.Indira’s promotion comes at a time of continued growth for The Langham Jakarta. With her proven track record and deep understanding of the luxury hospitality market, Indira is well-positioned to lead The Langham Jakarta's marketing and communications efforts to new heights.

Shaype hires SPEAK Communications as PR partner

Australian fintech innovator Shaype has hired SPEAK Communications as its new public relations partner. SPEAK will handle all traditional communications, media relations, and press office activities for Shaype, focusing primarily on the B2B space with strategic B2C integration.This partnership comes as Shaype continues to experience significant growth. The company secured $21.4 million in Series C funding in September 2022, showcasing investor confidence in their embedded finance platform. Shaype's platform allows businesses of all sizes to seamlessly integrate financial services into their offerings, creating a more streamlined and customer-centric experience.With SPEAK's expertise in crafting compelling narratives and Shaype's groundbreaking technology, this partnership promises to propel Shaype's brand awareness and solidify its position at the forefront of the fintech revolution.

Sonal Choithani joins Hindustan Zinc as Chief Brand & Comm Officer

Sonal Choithani has been appointed as the Chief Brand & Communications Officer and Head of Market Development at Hindustan Zinc. She previously served as the Chief Brand & Communications Officer at Vedanta Limited for five years.Choithani shared the news of her new role on LinkedIn, stating, "Glad to share I'm starting an exciting, new role with the iconic Hindustan Zinc - the world's 2nd largest Zinc and 3rd largest Silver producer."With expertise in corporate communications, public relations, branding, corporate affairs, advertising, advocacy, reputation management, and CSR, Choithani has worked across a variety of industries including banking, finance, consumer goods, electronics, manufacturing, renewable energy, power, heavy engineering, and metals & natural resources, including Fortune 50 companies.

PRCA APAC unveils diversity, equality and inclusion charter

The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) APAC has launched its first-ever Asia-Pacific ‘PRCA APAC Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (D,E,&I) Charter’’.In response to the growing imperative to prioritise D,E&I in the work of all PR professionals, the PRCA APAC DE&I Committee is proud to launch a comprehensive Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (D,E&I) Charter. This Charter is designed to promote an inclusive and diverse public relations industry across the Asia Pacific region, addressing systemic barriers and guiding industry best practices.This 7-point charter, which has been produced with input from PR and communications practitioners in the region, is one of the many ways that the industry can work towards achieving this goal. It is meant to serve as a set of industry guidelines that PR practitioners can use to guide their work and promote a culture of respect, equality and inclusion.Charu Srivastava, Chair of the PRCA APAC D,E&I Committee and Co-Founder at TriOn & Co, said: “We believe that establishing a robust charter is essential in driving positive and real change within our industry. Our goal is to provide industry practitioners with practical guidelines that promote a culture of respect, equality, and inclusion. These guidelines set a strong foundation for us to build upon as we strive to be an industry that is truly diverse, inclusive and equal in all manners.”

SAP names Julia Madden Head of Communications for SEA, Australia, & NZ

SAP has announced the appointment of Julia Madden as the new Head of Communications for Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, based out of Singapore. This strategic move comes as SAP continues to strengthen its communications and public relations efforts in the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region.Julia Madden, who joined SAP in 2021 as the Head of External Communications for SAP Australia and New Zealand, brings a wealth of experience to her new role. Prior to her tenure at SAP, Madden held significant public relations positions at Barclays Bank in London. Her extensive background in communications and her proven track record at SAP make her an ideal choice for this leadership position.SAP's decision to elevate Madden reflects the company's ongoing commitment to enhancing its presence and impact across Southeast Asia and the broader Asia-Pacific region. This appointment aligns with SAP's broader strategic initiatives, which include significant cloud revenue growth and key partnerships aimed at driving digital transformation in the region. For instance, in Q1 2024, SAP reported a 35% increase in cloud revenue in the Asia-Pacific and Japan, underscoring the region's importance to the company's global strategy?.In her new role, Madden will focus on advancing SAP's communication strategies, leveraging her expertise to support the company's objectives in digital transformation and innovation. This appointment also coincides with SAP's broader efforts to foster economic and social impact in the region through collaborations with organisations like the ASEAN Foundation. Such partnerships aim to empower youth and underrepresented communities by providing digital skills training and promoting sustainable development?.Julia Madden's promotion is a testament to her leadership and the critical role of effective communication in SAP's mission to support businesses in their cloud transformation journeys across Southeast Asia and beyond.

Weber Shandwick appoints Farah Zuber as APAC Head of Communications

Weber Shandwick, a leading global communications agency, has appointed Farah Nurili Zuber as Vice President, Head of Communications for Asia-Pacific (APAC). In this newly created role, Zuber will oversee the firm's integrated communications efforts across the region, focusing on a broad range of stakeholders.Zuber brings over 14 years of experience in marketing and communications, having worked with renowned agencies such as Ogilvy Public Relations, ARC Worldwide, Edelman, SPAG FINN Partners, and Redhill. She boasts a specialization in corporate communications and reputation management within the technology, finance, and governance sectors. “Farah’s extensive regional experience in reputation management and her deep understanding of the business landscape are instrumental in driving our next growth phase. Her appointment demonstrates our commitment to delivering greater value to our employees, clients, and partners in the region. We are thrilled to have her with us,” said Tyler Kim, APAC CEO at Weber Shandwick. Farah said: “It is exciting and an honour to be part of Weber Shandwick, an agency renowned for delivering value-driven, earned-first work for decades. Additionally, the agency’s culture, which deeply embraces diversity and well-being, is truly refreshing. I strongly believe these two elements - the commitment to the work and to people - are what makes a brand successful and meaningful. I look forward to contributing to the agency’s growth moving forward.” Weber Shandwick is part of the Interpublic Group.

Value 360 Secures INR 10 Crore in New Contracts in Q1 2024-25

Value 360, part of V360 Group, India’s leading PR and communications consortium, has closed the first quarter of FY 2024-25 with a strong client acquisition streak. Riding a steady wave of growth, the firm has added INR 10 crore worth of new business to its portfolio.  Successfully navigating highly competitive multi-agency pitches, V360 Group has onboarded industry giants such as FedEx, Digi Yatra, ResMed, Pernod Ricard, Central Park, Omega Watches, 4700 BC, Novotel, and FNP (formerly known as Ferns and Petals) The stellar line-up of new clients underscores the agency’s rich expertise in creating comprehensive, end-to-end communication strategies for clients across industries.  Kunal Kishore, Group CEO & Co-Founder – V360 Group, said, “These new partnerships are not merely ‘wins’ for us, they represent the trust and confidence that leading global brands have placed in V360 Group. We are grateful to our new partners, and will collaboratively craft impactful narratives to accelerate their growth journey and elevate their brand value. The first quarter of the fiscal year has been replete with significant milestones for us, giving us the impetus for continued growth in the future.” Through its multiple wins, V360 Group has demonstrated exceptional adaptability and capability of managing a diverse clientele. The distinctive set of new clients - global logistics leader FedEx, healthcare innovator ResMed, alcoholic beverage giant Pernod Ricard, and lifestyle front-runner Omega Watches, among others – is a testament to the agency’s ability to tailor its approach and craft compelling, industry-specific narratives that spark meaningful engagement.  V360 Group’s reputation as a partner of choice for industry-leading brands is further solidified through its integrated approach towards communication. The agency puts forth an end-to-end strategy, encompassing digital marketing, traditional PR, and influencer marketing, strengthening its ability to connect with target audiences across channels. In doing so, the agency is transforming the landscape of PR and digital marketing, while providing award-winning campaigns for its partners.

One Source lands Corporate Communication for Appstrail Technology

Integrated marketing consultancy, One Source, today announced that it has won the  corporate communication mandate for Appstrail Technology, a digital transformation firm focused on  accelerating complex and lengthy transformation journeys of businesses. One Source will lead and develop Appstrail’s reputation across earned media through a variety of solutions. Appstrail Technology is headquartered in Mumbai with a Center of Excellence (CoE) in Bangalore. Specializing  in Salesforce, Full Stack Development and GenAI Services, they enables organizations to transform digitally by  offering tailored solutions across focused industries. From being and extended arm to startups for product  development to owning the end-to-end transformation for enterprise. Their AI based Distributor Management System (DMS) with offline capability built for Bharat boost productivity and provides visibility of end customers  to brands. For One Source, this mandate will be spearheaded by Lead Counsel on the account, Kopal Gupta and  her team, reporting into Co-Lead for Corporate Communication, Debaman Guin.  Shomil Shetty Co-Founder, Head of Business, Sales & Strategy, Appstrail Technology expressed his enthusiasm  about the partnership, stating, “In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, effective communication is paramount.  At Appstrail, we are dedicated to guiding businesses through their digital transformation journey with precision  and clarity. Partnering with One Source aligns perfectly with our commitment to delivering comprehensive  solutions and sharing our success stories with a broader audience. We believe that One Source's expertise in  integrated marketing and brand building will amplify our market leadership, enabling us to reach and inspire  enterprises nationwide with our unique solutions and approach”.  Speaking about the partnership, Sandeep Rao, Co–Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer, One Source, stated: “We are excited to partner with Appstrail Technology. They are at the forefront of digital transformation,  representing the cutting edge of innovation in today's market. Together, we aim to bring out the essence of  Appstrail's transformative journey, ensuring that their strong narrative resonates with the right audience at the  right time.”  One Source has offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru which service Indian and global market leaders  across start-ups, BFSI, fintech, edtech, construction, e-commerce, fast fashion, manufacturing, packaging,  business consulting, ICT, foodtech and more. Over the last seven years, the consultancy has seen consistent  100+% growth across partners and people, beating average industry appraisals along the way at 27% YoY.

BPG UAE appoints Camilla d’Abo as EVP of Communications & Content

BPG UAE (Bates PanGulf), a leading integrated marketing agency part of WPP, today announced the appointment of industry veteran Camilla d’Abo as its new Executive Vice President of Communications & Content.D’Abo will play a key role in driving BPG UAE’s continued success in delivering high-impact MarCom solutions and integrated campaigns for regional clients.“Our people are our greatest asset, and we are delighted to welcome Camilla d’Abo to Team BPG UAE,” said Avi Bhojani, Group CEO, BPG. “A powerhouse of talent and a business leader with a strong track record, Camilla will undoubtedly energise our ‘CX first and Integrated by Intent’ positioning.”Extensive experience and proven leadershipD’Abo brings over 25 years of expertise in the regional MarCom sector. Throughout her career, she has built and led award-winning teams, and has a proven track record of success. She has also founded and successfully managed several of the Middle East’s leading PR agencies.In her new role, D’Abo will oversee all aspects of BPG UAE’s Communications and Social Content Teams. She will work closely with Darius LaBelle, President BPG UAE, and other members of BPG’s Group ExCo.“Having followed BPG’s success story over the past four decades, I am thrilled to be joining at the helm driving the integration of communications and content into the next chapter of BPG 3.0,” said Camilla d’Abo, EVP Comms & Content, BPG.“I believe that being part of a CX focused brand agency with multiple specialist practices is a powerful advantage in the communications sector,” D’Abo added. “I look forward to bringing innovative thinking and integrated strategies that make a real difference to the team, agency and clients.”A strong track record of client successBPG UAE currently manages communications and content for some of the world’s leading organizations, including KPMG, DHL Global Forwarding, Sony MEA, and Warner Bros Discovery. The agency also works with regional clients such as Al Nabooda, Trojena, and Wasl.“We are incredibly excited to welcome Camilla to BPG UAE,” said Darius Labelle, President, BPG UAE. “Her experience perfectly aligns with our vision for the future. Camilla’s deep understanding of the regional MarCom landscape and our integrated capabilities will be instrumental in propelling BPG forward. Her commitment to championing sustainable and purpose-driven marketing will be a major asset to our team.”

TBWA HAKUHODO names Junko Hara as Corporate Communications Head

TBWA HAKUHODO has named Junko Hara as the new Head of Corporate Communications. In her new role, Junko will lead the agency's comprehensive communication strategies, enhancing its presence in both Japanese and global markets.Junko brings over 20 years of experience in branding, communications, public relations, and crisis management, working with a range of global and domestic companies, including tech firms, startups, and agencies.Chris Iki, COO of TBWA HAKUHODO, expressed his enthusiasm about the appointment, saying: “Junko’s strategic insight and extensive experience in both tech startups and agency environments make her an invaluable addition to our leadership team. Her ability to bridge cultural perspectives and drive innovative communication strategies aligns perfectly with our vision for the future.”

Ex-Eulogy honchos launch new PR powerhouse Woosah

Susie Dullard and Phil Borge-Slavnich, former directors at Eulogy, are taking their expertise to the next level with the launch of their own agency named Woosah.Dullard, a seasoned strategist with eight years at Eulogy, boasts experience at Weber Shandwick and Four Agency Worldwide. Her impressive client list includes Headspace, Coca-Cola, and National Grid.Borge-Slavnich, a Eulogy veteran with two separate tenures as managing director, also brings a wealth of experience from agencies like 1000Heads and Threepipe. His clients have ranged from Pride in London to Oracle.The agency's name, inspired by a scene in "Bad Boys II," signifies a state of composure. As Borge-Slavnich explains, Woosah embodies a two-fold approach: identifying untapped communication opportunities for clients and fostering a sense of calm and confidence amidst challenges.Their decision to strike out on their own stems from a desire to leverage their senior experience in an industry increasingly reliant on automation. They believe clients crave seasoned guidance, and Woosah offers just that – a blend of senior expertise with an agile delivery model.Dullard echoes this sentiment, highlighting a yearning to return to a more hands-on approach, something senior agency roles often limit.Woosah hits the ground running with their first client, Equity Energies, a sustainability consultancy from the FTSE 100 listed DCC. Woosah played a key role in developing Equity Energies' brand and communication strategy, with plans for future campaigns in place.Equity Energies' marketing director, Toby Costar, is effusive about Woosah. He highlights their infectious enthusiasm, storytelling prowess, and ability to meet tight deadlines.Woosah promises a fresh perspective in the communications landscape, combining extensive experience with a dynamic approach.

ContourGlobal hires João Duarte to lead renewables push

João Duarte, a seasoned communications professional with over 16 years of experience at Italian energy giant Enel Group, has taken on a new challenge as the global head of communications at ContourGlobal. This US-based electricity producer is undergoing a significant shift towards renewable energy sources, and Duarte's expertise will be crucial in supporting this transition.Duarte's responsibilities will encompass a wide range of communication functions, including corporate communications, brand strategy, media relations, digital communications, and employee engagement. ContourGlobal operates across a vast geographical spread, with a presence in 18 countries. The company boasts a market capitalization of $1.98 billion and is currently generating 27% of its power from renewable sources. Their plans involve accelerating the decarbonization of their operations and actively developing new renewable energy projects.Duarte's impressive track record at Enel included overseeing global and regional communication functions, leading a global rebranding initiative, and spearheading communication efforts for the power distribution business line on a global scale. He also played a key role in crafting communication and brand strategies for Gridspertise, a B2B spin-off company.In his new role, Duarte will report directly to ContourGlobal's president and CEO, Antonio Cammisecra. Duarte expressed his enthusiasm about the company's transformative journey and ambitious plans for renewable energy growth, particularly during this critical decade for climate action.Duarte emphasized the growing importance of renewables and the shift in investment away from fossil fuels and towards clean technologies. He envisions the ContourGlobal brand becoming a powerful symbol, demonstrating that achieving Net Zero emissions is not just achievable but also a commercially and industrially sustainable path forward.Duarte's accomplishments extend beyond his work at Enel. He holds the distinction of being the first executive officer of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management in 2007. He is also a member of FERPILab, the think tank of the Italian Public Relations Federation.

Nurjaha Arora joins Skoda Auto Volkswagen as Head of Group Comms

Nurjaha Arora has joined Škoda Auto Volkswagen India as Head of Group Communications. She announced her new role on her LinkedIn profile. Prior to joining Škoda, Nurjaha led corporate communications at APM Terminals for over eight years. She served at Crompton Greaves Pvt. Ltd. for over a year. For more than ten years, Arora worked with Siemens India Ltd. She has also been associated with Legrand, Pidilite Industries Limited, and Technologies and Management Consultants.

Younion Brand Experiences partners with Pitchfork for strategic communications

Pitchfork Partners Strategic Consulting LLP, a Mumbai-based firm with a pan-India presence, has secured the strategic communication mandate for Younion Brand Experiences, a pioneering experiential marketing company.The mandate was awarded to Pitchfork Partners for its extensive expertise in managing strategic communication for both Indian and global businesses. The consultancy's goal is to assist Younion Brand Experiences in expanding beyond the B2B segment into the B2C segment, while also establishing it as a leading company in data, design, and event brand experiences.Pitchfork Partners will develop and execute Younion Brand Experiences' comprehensive communication strategy. This includes planning and formulating key messages, implementing effective campaign strategies, enhancing brand awareness, and engaging with relevant stakeholders to inform them about the company's offerings.Younion Brand Experiences, formally known as Younion Focused Marketing Services Pvt. Ltd, is a trailblazing brand experiences company established in 2010. Since its inception, the company has transformed how brands engage with their audiences. Younion believes that marketing is not just about transactions but about creating meaningful relationships and crafting experiences that resonate on a personal level. Their unique approach combines Events, Data, and Design to create immersive, memorable experiences and drive results-oriented marketing campaigns that leave lasting impressions."Pitchfork Partners brings a wealth of knowledge and a proven track record in strategic communication. This partnership is a significant step in our journey to enhance our brand presence and connect with both B2B and B2C audiences. We look forward to leveraging their insights to create memorable brand experiences and drive result-oriented marketing campaigns," said Shajesh Menon, Founder & CEO, Younion Brand Experiences.Jaideep Shergill, Co-Founder, Pitchfork Partners Strategic Consulting, said: "Younion Brand Experiences' commitment to creating transformative brand interactions is inspiring. At Pitchfork Partners, we are excited to support their journey towards broader market reach and greater brand recognition. Together, we aim to elevate Younion's brand presence, expanding their reach from B2B to B2C, and positioning it as a pioneer in experiential marketing. This collaboration is an exciting opportunity to leverage our combined strengths and create impactful, memorable experiences for their audience.”

JvM China wins smart's co-branding creative business

Creative agency JvM China has recently triumphed in a competitive pitch to secure the global co-branding creative business for the legendary car brand smart. As smart's new global agency, JvM will spearhead a series of innovative co-branding initiatives for both the brand and its products. Their comprehensive services will include scouting and selecting co-branding IPs, brands, and celebrity partnerships, negotiating rights, and devising and implementing co-branding strategies and creative solutions. During the pitch, JvM China leveraged its extensive experience in the luxury automotive market, both domestically and internationally, to offer a full-package proposal for smart’s global co-branding efforts, encompassing insights, strategy, creative, and integration of global co-branding resources.Eric Yang, CEO of JvM China, commented: "It’s an honour to partner again with such an iconic brand. Given the rapid changes in the global automotive industry today, there are numerous challenges and opportunities in brand and product communication. We are excited to innovate and create impactful and effective work with smart together.”Stella Yao, Head of Global Marketing for Smart, added: " The smart brand has previously enjoyed a successful long-term collaboration with JvM China. In this pitch, JvM China impressed us by integrating their extensive co-branding resources with excellent integrated marketing communication capabilities. We are very much looking forward to our upcoming projects.” The collaboration with JvM China takes immediate effect.JvM CHINA is part of the JvM Group, founded in Hamburg/Germany, with now over 1100 people with 33 offices in Europe, Asia and the US. JvM CHINA with offices in Beijing and Shanghai offers all modern communication services with additional special services in sports marketing with JvM SPORTS and pop culture marketing with JvM NERD.

Bloomingdale Public Relations appoints Vikram Kharvi as CEO

Full-service communications consulting agency Bloomingdale Public Relations Pte. Ltd has announced the appointment of Vikram Kharvi as its new CEO. With over 27 years of strategic communications and marketing expertise, Kharvi is set to lead Bloomingdale PR into a new era of growth and innovation.Diana Fernandes, Founder and Group CEO of Bloomingdale Public Relations Pte. Ltd., expressed her excitement about Kharvi's appointment: "We are pleased to welcome Vikram to our leadership team. His extensive experience and innovative approach to communications will be pivotal in driving Bloomingdale PR to new heights. Vikram's leadership will enhance our capabilities and unlock new opportunities for expansion and creativity. With Vikram at the helm, we are poised to elevate our operations and further solidify our position as a key player in the Industry."Vikram Kharvi has held senior roles at leading firms such as Adfactors PR, Tata Housing, Sampark PR, ANSSI Wellness, and Indian Express. His expertise in public relations, corporate communication, and traditional and digital marketing demonstrates his capability to lead Bloomingdale PR with exceptional confidence and vision. Kharvi's appointment aims to leverage his extensive expertise to drive Bloomingdale PR's strategic initiatives. He will focus on growth, operational excellence, talent development, and expansion into untapped geographies."I am honoured to join Bloomingdale PR," said Vikram Kharvi. "Having known Diana for over a decade, I have always been inspired by her tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit. This role is more than a professional milestone; it's an opportunity to work with a dynamic team that shares my passion for excellence. Together, we will elevate Bloomingdale PR to new heights, transforming it into a powerhouse of strategic communication and brand excellence. I am excited to embark on this journey and drive impactful change across industries and borders."

Brooks Running taps Sunny Side Up for UK, Ireland marketing push

Seattle-based performance running shoe brand Brooks has selected Sunny Side Up as its official UK agency following a competitive selection process.Brooks, a partner of major running events like Parkrun, Run Through, and The Great Run Company, equips athletes like reigning British 1500m World Champion Josh Kerr.The B Corp agency, Sunny Side Up, boasts a diverse client base spanning food, beverage, health, nutrition, sports, and travel. They'll focus on acquiring new customers for Brooks through media relations, crafting brand experiences, strategic partnerships, and influencer marketing campaigns.Sunny Side Up founder Nick Woods (pictured) will lead the Brooks account, reporting directly to Lee Emanuel, Brooks' UK and Ireland marketing manager. Emanuel emphasized the ongoing potential for Brooks to connect with runners and fitness enthusiasts across the UK and Ireland. He said: “We’ve seen strong growth YOY over the last decade, but we continue to strive to connect with existing and new runners to our brand. Our pitch process was rigorous and highly competitive, with a number of very strong agencies presenting some fantastic plans and thinking. Sunny Side Up really impressed us with their reading of our current situation, their relationships, their enthusiasm for the opportunity we have and their energy. We believe they’ll increase the eyeballs on our brand, especially among dedicated and fitness runners.”

WATATAWA names Stephen Robertson as new MD

WE Communications agency, WATATAWA, has announced the appointment of Stephen Robertson as their new managing director. Effective immediately, Stephen brings his impressive 30 years of experience in strategic communications across Asia-Pacific to the role.Throughout his career, Stephen has provided counsel to a wide range of regional and national corporations. His expertise lies in areas like corporate reputation management, strategy and positioning, crisis and issues management, and stakeholder engagement. Stephen is adept at navigating complex situations involving leadership, reputation, and regulations. He understands the critical role of communication insights, media savvy, and precision in achieving successful business outcomes for clients.Prior to his new role, Stephen held various regional consulting leadership positions. He is known for his hands-on approach, tackling communication challenges with a blend of logic and creativity. Stephen fosters close partnerships with clients' business and communication leaders to deliver effective strategies. He is a past president of the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Singapore, further demonstrating his leadership and commitment to the region.Under Stephen's leadership, WATATAWA is poised to strengthen its presence in Singapore and across APAC. He will report to Nitin Mantri, Regional Executive Managing Director for APAC at WE Communications. Stephen succeeds Simon Pangrazio, the former Managing Partner, who will be departing the firm on July 5th.Kass Sells, CEO, International, WE, said: “This transition is a passing-of-the-torch moment to the next -generation of leadership and an example of how WE invests in and develops our leaders from within. A long-time business partner to Simon, Stephen is a seasoned communications professional who knows the market, our people and our clients, with a strong vision for the future of WATATAWA. At the same time, I want to extend our gratitude to Simon, who was instrumental in building the WATATAWA business and the team we have today.” Stephen said: “I am grateful for the opportunity to lead WATATAWA and maintain the high bar that Simon has set. It has been a privilege to work closely together over the decade and to develop a business and consulting model that is as relevant to our clients as ever and encourages and engages our people.”

SPAG FINN Partners lists top 50 influential Indian doctors on social media 2024

SPAG FINN Partners, a leading health communication and integrated marketing agency, unveils its list of "Top 50 Influential Doctors on Social Media - India 2024" under its ChangeMakers series. This initiative on Doctor's Day celebrates the remarkable impact of Indian doctors who are driving significant change through their digital presence on platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.  Our ChangeMakers' series, underscores our commitment to highlighting the transformative power of digital health communicators. By advancing health literacy and fostering a culture of wellness, these exceptional doctors are not only reshaping how medical information is shared but also significantly contributing to public health improvement," said Aman Gupta, Managing Partner at SPAG FINN Partners.  SPAG FINN Partners' Influencer Marketing offering spans diverse health niches, ensuring brands find the perfect match for their communication and marketing campaigns.  With a robust network of over 1,000+ active health influencers and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) across major platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn, this list ensures brand connects with influencers who resonate with their target audiences. Selected for their expertise, engaging content, and community impact, the top 50 doctors on this list on each platform are pivotal in shaping conversations around health and well-being in India and beyond.  Mahesh Devrani, Partner at SPAG FINN Partners, emphasized the agency's unique approach to influencer marketing and said, “As a health specialised marketing agency we release this list to promote and celebrate a culture of transparency, trust, and evidence-based wellness, empowering our community with credible, impactful information. By showcasing the top 50 influential doctors on social media, we aim to emphasize the critical role of health information in the AI age. This initiative is designed to inspire a collaborative environment where individuals are empowered to take control of their health, guided by trusted and knowledgeable voices in the medical community  “In the evolving landscape of health and healthcare, influencers have become pivotal in shaping how people perceive and access health information. A collaborative, guided and ethical approach that brings together influencers, health experts, communicators, and the public is crucial to harnessing this trend’s full potential.”added Aman Gupta.  The purpose of recognizing these influential doctors is to highlight their contributions to public health education and advocacy. This list also aims to facilitate meaningful partnerships that amplify the voices of health experts and drive tangible impact. These, in turn, can bridge gaps between medical professionals, innovation and the general public, enhancing the reach and effectiveness of health-related information.

V Spark secures PR account for ImagesBazaar, a leading stock image provider

V Spark Communications, a brand management firm based in New Delhi, has been entrusted with the media communications mandate for ImagesBazaar, the world's largest bank of Indian visuals.With a vast collection of over 15,00,000 images and videos, ImagesBazaar has emerged as a popular platform for creative professionals worldwide looking for authentic Indian imagery. The collaboration between V Spark Communications and ImagesBazaar represents a significant step forward in visual communication, intending to enhance India's international portrayal.Kanika Chhabra, Founder of V Spark Communications, expressed her delight about the partnership: “V Spark acknowledges the value of authenticity, and ImagesBazaar is leading the way in preserving the authenticity of images in a world where AI is taking over. We aim to highlight their commitment to introducing authentic Indian imagery to a global audience.”Deepak Verma, COO of ImagesBazaar, also commented on the collaboration: “ImagesBazaar hopes to achieve the objectives regarding availability of authentic images for everyone through V Spark’s creative approaches. They have an impressive track record, a wealth of industry experience and the methods adopted by them are detailed and well-researched.”ImagesBazaar is committed to showcasing all aspects of visual communication about India around the world by using its extensive collection of images, videos, illustrations and 3D imagery. For ImagesBazaar, this partnership represents a strategic move towards improving brand credibility and image management, leveraging V Spark Communications' 13-year experience. By collaborating, the two organisations are poised to set new standards for visual storytelling and brand representation.

TEAM LEWIS names Pravin Nair as senior campaign manager in Singapore

TEAM LEWIS has appointed Pravin Nair as their new Senior Campaign Manager, stationed in Singapore. Nair transitions to TEAM LEWIS from Helix / Navigate PR, where he served as an Account Manager. His extensive background in public relations spans various sectors, including government, B2B, maritime/shipping, and corporate industries.During his tenure at Helix, Pravin managed public relations efforts for clients in the maritime and B2B insurance sectors. His earlier professional experiences also include working with government and corporate clients. Nair holds a degree in Media Studies and Public Relations from Murdoch University.

Sudarshana Dutt joins Skipper Ltd as GM for Brand & Corporate Communications

Sudarshana Dutt has joined Skipper Limited as General Manager, Brand & Corporate Communications. She announced her new role on LinkedIn, stating, "Excited to begin as DGM - Brand & Corporate Communications at SKIPPER LIMITED! Thrilled to leverage my expertise in brand strategy, communications, and team collaboration to drive impactful narratives."Prior to joining Skipper, Sudarshana handled communications for Tega Industries for over a year. She also worked for Ideal Group as Marcom Head for more than three years. Additionally, she has been associated with Esarjey Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd., Posterscope, and Laqshya Media Pvt. Ltd.