WE said it has been on a journey of transformation in the region, focused on three key areas.
Firstly, capabilities. WE now has a nearly 100-strong team of integrated specialists - 20 per cent of its APAC headcount - in non-media relations roles, thanks in part to 15 specialist hires within the past year. To better equip its teams, the agency launched a global data and analytics tool stack across the network. WE also broached new partnerships with like-minded agencies to offer an even wider range of expertise.
Secondly, people. The APAC team has continued to grow in the past year, up 13 per cent to nearly 500 employees across 12 cities. A series of development programmes are offered on topics ranging from digital literacy in community management and social CRM in China to enhancing presentation and media pitching skills in India. There are also schemes to support flexible working, mental health and LGBT+ employees.
Thirdly, 'POV'. Now in its third year, the agency's global WE Brands in Motion study in 2019 garnering more than 40 pieces of earned coverage globally, including its first ever Chinese language coverage in China and mainstream business coverage in Australia. WE also launched its Purpose in China study.
Revenue in APAC grew 10 per cent to $27.5m in 2019, led by India (+65 per cent) and China (+18 per cent). New work was secured with 137 clients, valued at $5.9m, up from $4m the previous year, including Blackberry, Danone, FC Barcelona, Nestle, Samsung and Subway.
Judges's comment: "Very solid performance in the region, an important amount of new business generated, interesting campaigns developed, an important focus on people and on the integration of the local agencies to the network"
Weber Shandwick said 2019 was a true test of its enterpeneurial resilience in Asia Pacific, amid as one of Asia’s most volatile years of the decade. But it emgered strongly, with double-digit profit margin and almost 80 award wins. Achivements included: growing the insights team to include specialists in data science and business analytics; launching the "C4" service offering, to encourage integration; and producing effective campaigns for clients including Hotels.com, Air New Zealand and Humane Society International.
Sling & Stone