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Digital and talent takes focus for Edelman

David Brain, Edelman Asia Pacific’s president and CEO, has set his sights on acquiring new talent and additional digital clout as key areas for the PR firm across Asia.

Brain (pictured), who replaced Alan VanderMolen as president of Edelman Asia Pacific on 1 January, described talent as a critical area for the company as it looks to grow its presence across the region.

Asia, he said was again booming, but like many of his competitors, finding skilled PR practitioners was a challenge.

“In all our offices we’ve got a constant active search for people and we’re managing all of our databases to identify who we think are the good talent in the region,” Brain said.

But in its key markets he said growing offices to 100 or more people was in its sights.

Under VanderMolen’s direction, Brain said Edelman Asia Pacific had grown to a US$50 million fee income business, which in a multi-market region like Asia puts Edelman on the cusp of having true scale.

“Scale in PR is important because scale means you can specialise. Once you can begin to build offices to 100 people you become deeply specialized and knowledgeable, which is what clients want.

“We are trying to get to scale in some of our markets so we can deepen our specialization, deepen the expertise we can offer to clients.

Across the key sectors of health, technology, corporate, consumer and public affairs, Brain said Edelman was strong. But he said digital was one area which set the agency apart from its competition.

In 2011 he said Edelman would continue its digital focus and will acquire possibly two purely digital agencies.

“That’s the difference you will see with us over the next two to three years. We are actively looking at digital agencies in India, Hong Kong, Korea and Indonesia.”

“I would be upset is we had not acquired two agencies by the years end.”

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