Global profile: The Hoffman Agency

Headquarters location: San Jose, CA

Headquarters location: San Jose, CA

Total staff numbers in US

51

Total non-US staff numbers

46

Please list all office locations around the world, identifying which ones are affiliates, partnerships or wholly owned.

  • Wholly Owned

    San Jose, California

    Denver, Colorado

    Egham (London), England

    Munich, Germany

    Beijing, China

    Shanghai, China

    Hong Kong

    Tokyo, Japan

    Seoul, Korea

    Singapore

  • Affiliates

    PR Deadlines, Sydney

    CMCG India,

    Priority Communications, Selangor, Malaysia

    Dominguez Marketing Communications, Makati City, Philippines

    124 Communications Co., Bangkok

    Please describe how your agency is structured globally

    The keys to our global structure break down into three areas: financial, operational and the delivery of services.

    On the financial side, we've established profit/loss (P/L) at the regional level. Unlike the way typical agencies structure themselves financially, we do not maintain a P/L for each office. By rewarding our senior leaders in a region based on the region's success, we motivate our staff members in a given region to work as a virtual team.

    Operationally, the deployment of IT is centralized in our Silicon Valley headquarters. This enables us to be strategic (and consistent) through worldwide IT tools such as an internal portal and document management for global accounts. In addition, investments in infrastructure and resources can be made to ensure that the agency network runs 24x7 with no downtime.

    Turning to service delivery, we train individuals located around in the world in the art of managing multi-country programs as a global account lead. Currently, this type of resource resides in our UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and US offices. Typically, a multi-country client prefers the global account lead to be in the same location as its global or regional headquarters. Given our focus on the IT sector, the current locations of our global account leads cover the vast majority of opportunities.

    The global account lead provides a single point of contact to the client. This way, a client doesn't have to exhaust time managing five different agency teams in five different countries. The global account lead takes bottom-line accountability for the entire program across multiple markets.

    In short, the structure of the agency is geared to create truly virtual teams, facilitating collaboration across multi-country programs. We believe that we will eventually be able to do this better than any agency in the world. It's part of our DNA.

    Beyond structure, we're continually investing in areas like the Building Bridges Program (offers short-term assignments for account professionals in an overseas office) designed to enhance global collaboration and communications.

    Please list three of your biggest international accounts, with the following information:

    Regions where you service the account, and whether the work is done by an affiliate, partner or a wholly owned office of the firm

    What type of work is done on the account, including what practice areas are involved

    Length and type of engagement

    Management structure of the account (i.e. who leads the account and from which location, how many people work on the account globally, do you have any staff housed inside the company and where, etc.)

    How you bill the account

    Size of budget

  • Philips Semiconductors

    Execute PR program in Europe and North America.

    All work implemented by Hoffman Agency offices.

    The program incorporates product PR, executive elevation programs and a thought leadership campaign. It also involves our corporate communications practice.

    Program has been in motion for almost three years.

    Vice president in North America serves as the global account lead. A director in North America and a director in the UK lead the effort in their respective regions. Fourteen account professionals work on the program with regular visits to the client's HQ in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

    Agency bills time and expenses against an annual budget.

    iPass

  • Execute PR program in Asia, Japan and North America.

    All work implemented by Hoffman Agency offices.

    The program incorporates both corporate and product PR with a range of services (media training, broadcast outreach, thought leadership, etc.).

    Program has been in motion for two years.

    Vice president in North America serves as the global account lead. A director in North America and a director in Hong Kong lead the effort in their respective regions. Twelve account professionals work on the program.

    Agency bills time and expenses against an annual budget.

    Proxim

  • Execute PR program in Asia and Europe.

    All work implemented by Hoffman Agency offices.

    The program, focusing on product PR, media relations and analyst relations along with tours, incorporates both corporate and product PR with a range of services (media training, broadcast outreach, thought leadership, etc.).

    Program has been in motion for two years.

    A director in the UK and a director in Hong Kong lead the effort in their respective regions. Twelve account professionals work on the program.

    Agency bills time and expenses against an annual budget.

    Due to client confidentiality, we cannot release the size of the budgets.

    How have international revenues changed from one year ago? Revenue is defined as revenue generated by all regions excluding the region in which your agency is headquartered.

    Revenue has increased 22%. Revenue from clients with multi-country programs has increased 46%.

    How has international staffing changed from one year ago?

    No change

    Did performance meet or exceed expectations, or not? Please explain why. What external factors such as the war in Iraq, political issues, cultural issues, affected performance?

    After the SARS epidemic in Asia, uncertainty about the state of world affairs and the depressed state of the IT sector, we figured our global performance had nowhere to go but up. That proved to be the case.

    The past 12 months have seen a growing number of clients and prospects looking for PR support in multiple countries.

    What business have you won, or lost, in the past year due to a global consolidation of PR business by the client? Please list:

    Due to the Philips PR agency consolidation, we won the Philips Semiconductor business in Europe. When iPass reduced its number of PR agencies, we won corporate and product PR for iPass in Asia Pacific. Thanks to Dolby extending our US base, we won the business in China and Japan.

    Motorola's cell phone division consolidated its PR business with one agency, causing us to lose this business in North Asia.

    What regions are performing best right now and why? What regions are under-performing?

    The SARS epidemic brought PR activities in Asia to a grinding halt last year. As a result, there was a fair amount of pent-up demand for PR services in this part of the world after the first of the year. China continues to be a "must have" for any IT company looking for PR air cover in Asia. Surprisingly, Japan is back high on everyone's radar.

    We're also seeing strong demand in Europe, mainly focused on the UK and German markets.

    What region do you plan to invest more resources in this year than you did one year ago and why? What region are you decreasing investment in and why?

    Dusting off the business plan we developed in 1998, the mainland China market was called out as key to the agency's long-term success. Nothing has changed this belief; consequently, we continue to make unique investments in China. When our China GM needed to return to Hong Kong, we created a new position of director of Greater China services, to maintain her ties to the market. We continue to invest in "China education" through products such as www.chinahightechpr.com. We opened a second China office in Shanghai this year. We're working toward attaining WOFE status (wholly owned foreign enterprise).

    We have scrutinized the opportunity in India, but continue to view the PR market as too immature to justify investing in our own office. Instead, we'll continue to depend on partners in this market.

    What new region/country will you consider entering this year and why? Are you considering international acquisitions or organic growth?

    We plan to open a third European office in the Netherlands this year. Many IT companies are choosing the Netherlands as their European HQ because of geography and tax breaks. Plus, our largest global account, Philips, is headquartered near Amsterdam. These two factors make the Netherlands a natural for our third office in the region.

    Please describe some of the pro bono activities that you undertake internationally, or other ways that your firm connects with the international regions in which you operate.

    We advise our clients that pro bono work is a great way to plug into the local scene. Here are a few examples of our own pro bono work:

    We help the German American Business Association (GABA) get the word out in both the US and German markets.

    We provide PR support for the Korean IT Network (KIN).

    We provide training to the University of International Business and Economic in Beijing.

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