ADNA plans to conquer China market with HuntHaggarty Asia buy

To extend its capabilities in China and Asia Pacific, creative research firm ADNA Global acquired HuntHaggarty Asia, a brand consulting and design firm founded by Susie Hunt and Steve Haggarty in 2007, for an undisclosed amount. This is ADNA’s second acquisition this year alone, previously buying Zebra Design for an undisclosed amount.

The acquisition brings founder Susie Hunt (pictured below) in to ADNA to head up Greater China as CEO. Based in Bejing, Hunt will champion ADNA’s support for clients – both inbound into Greater China as well as for outbound Chinese brands navigating the global marketplace. She will also be a partner in ADNA Global. HuntHaggarty Asia currently has more than 20 employees.

susie hunt adna

As well as advising multiple global brands on how to grow their relationships with Chinese and Asia Pacific consumers, HuntHaggarty Asia, famously developed communications and brand strategy, identity and retail brand experience with clients such as Google, Motorola, Dell, Revlon, United Overseas Bank, Benefit, Coca Cola and Cathay Pacific.

“ADNA provides accelerated customer knowledge and creative excellence for brand marketing. Through our first-party quantitative consumer data panel we have rapid access to 350 million consumers worldwide of which 33 million consumers are in Greater China,” David Mayo, COO ADNA said. “Creative excellence lives at this intersection of data and brand design in the rapidly growing China market.

When asked what potential issues could be faced by the agency post acquisition, Mayo said, “We have access to 33 million consumers on the Chinese mainland. The main issue - as with any new company - will be how to scale to absorb new clients. We already have a strong pipeline of business and talent - bringing it together is where Hunt excels.”

Mayo added that China is not “for the faint hearted”. “But as with everything we have done so far at ADNA South Africa, Australia and Malaysia, we want to build teams that can deliver in their own back yard but also come together as a stellar global team. We are not about pins on the map, we are about quality and community. The biggest trends in China that will continue to affect Southeast Asia are in the area of influencer content, behaviour and data and how these three elements are coming together around individuals to shape the way brands talk to their consumers without preaching, without selling and without patronizing them,” he added.

Hunt, previously also chairman of Futurebrand Asia Pacific, said: "HuntHaggarty has always been very focused on how to understand and empathise with consumers across the region through branding, identity and retail brand experience. I am delighted to have the opportunity to join forces with the world class team at ADNA.”

She added that both teams share the same disruptive, positive way of working. According to her, ADNA’s proprietary take on accelerated data to enhance creative effectiveness creates a fresh tool to successfully navigate the complexities of the Greater China market.

ADNA believes that the next wave of disruption in global branding will be through social commerce. Hunt said: "We can learn a lot from how Chinese consumers and micro-KOLs who are influencing brand relationships to inform social media strategies globally."

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