Is there room for more agencies?
Regional - We are just past the first quarter, and the market has already seen a slew of agencies open shop in Singapore. It's only natural to moot the question: Can a market like Singapore accommodate more agencies?
Probably yes, given the fact that the city is now increasingly gaining business traction, regionally or even globally but Charles Cadell, regional managing director, McCann Worldgroup - SEA, Australasia says their (new agencies') ability to thrive will depend on their ability to offer ‘unique solutions at a competitive price'.
"By and large, the new agencies are not servicing local business, but primarily international business serviced out of this market," Cadell adds.
This, Matthew Fanshawe, managing director, Euro RSCG Asia Pacific feels is the easier way out for them (coming in with existing clients) but ultimately, he says, they'll need local clients to survive long-term.
"The question is, is their objective to be acquired, or are they in it for the long haul? Either way, they have a tough but exciting road ahead of them," he says.
Jack Morton Worldwide's VP, director of operations, Charles Robinson says the agency's foray into Singapore was a natural progression given its clients' regional head offices that are based here and an increased emphasis on gaining better consistency and accountability of their event marketing portfolio, not only in Singapore but also in the region.
According to Robinson, Jack Morton's offering and positioning as a brand experience agency opened it up to a much wider group of clients beyond the traditional event agency competitors.
"For example in Asia last year we competed against PR agencies, advertising agencies and brand agencies as well as management consultants and content providers," he says.
Cowan echoes similar sentiment. The new Singapore ops has been established at the request of several of its existing network clients, and in response to a business opportunity that it had long identified.
Jill Murdoch, Business Director, Cowan Singapore, says the focus of the agency is to simplify brand choice. It is engaged with clients and brands who are looking to leverage the brand focus process not just across external consumer or shopper touch points, but also use it to deliver consistent brand messages and ‘package' programs across internal and stakeholder channels as well.
While the newer entrants seem to have a clear and differentiated focus in as far as their core offering is concerned, the broader implications for the market is what needs to be considered.
According to Fanshawe, the moves will definitely put pressure on the talent war and along with inflation, could drive wages up as talent is already a precious commodity in a competitive but relatively small market.
"Our industry is highly competitive by nature and we're used to ever evolving landscapes and rising to the challenge," he says.
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