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Former Allison+Partners APAC VP and Appier comms lead Susanna Hughes opens PR firm

Former Allison+Partners APAC VP and Appier comms lead Susanna Hughes opens PR firm

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Former vice president of PR firm Allison+Partners, Susanna Hughes, has started her own PR firm Framework Communications. Hughes was previously with technology company Appier, where she helmed the role of director of communications for APAC for two years and four months. Starting with a team of one, Hughes (pictured) told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that her main priority to start with is getting a good stable of clients. While she is not hiring at the moment, she is keeping an open mind about growing the agency. With Framework Communications, Hughes said she looks to help growing businesses to streamline their messaging and begin to build a foundation of awareness through media coverage and strong content.

Although majority of her experience in tech, with an emphasis on B2B and working with startups, Hughes intends to go beyond pure tech industry, and hopes there will be opportunities to do so. The agency is currently working with clients in various areas as such fintech, proptech, and AI, aiding in boosting their brand awareness as well as build and strengthen media relations.  

The agency will currently have a physical presence in Singapore, but Hughes is looking to expand it across UK, US, and Asia. "I also believe that 2020 made many people comfortable working with business partners remotely, and when it comes to content development and messaging and the like, I would certainly be happy to support organisations in other countries," she added. Hughes also said she had previous experience helping foreign businesses enter new markets, particularly when it comes to navigating the media landscape, so she hopes to apply it and work with Singapore or SEA-based clients to build awareness in the region. 

Hughes spent 11 years with PR agency Allison+Partners prior to working at Appier. In total, she has 13 years of agency experience. She last helmed the role of vice president for the Singapore market, overseeing the growth of tech and corporate practice in Singapore, managing strategic, integrated campaigns for local, regional and global clients. 

According to her, this move has been an idea she has thought about on and off for a few years, but held off as she wanted to obtain some in-house PR experience to become a more well-rounded practitioner. The year 2020 also led her to think about the parts of PR she enjoys the most and where she'd most like to be spending her time, which ultimately led to her decision to form Framework Communications.

Commenting on the PR industry in 2021, Hughes said it is going to be an even more transitional year than 2020. "Now in 2021, we have a better handle on what we’re dealing with when it comes to the [COVID-19] virus and we’re hopeful that we’ll see improvement in some of the global political situations. What this means for PR is that media and audience interests will be shifting rapidly from vaccine news to government news, all while keeping an eye on things such as how we navigate working lives and travel," she said. Thus, PR professionals need to be monitoring these changes to make sure brand strategies and story lines stay timely and targeted.

"Nothing beats being informed," Hughes said, adding that it is not just about knowing when to hold a story or push a pitch, but also about consistently being open to inspiration. "You’ll never know where you could weave in an alternative point of view or share another side to a story if you’re not consuming as much information as possible," she said.

The PR scene seems to be buzzing with activities this month. Just last week, AIA Singapore's head of brand and corporate communications Joanna Ong-Ash also left the company to launch her own communications consultancy, Bravery Communications. The new agency is said to set out to help brands create compelling narratives that connect bold ideas with the right audience. Meanwhile, another PR firm The Mango Agency also saw a change of leadership following a management buyout, and has rebranded to Upcycle Communications, where its two former directors are currently taking the helm.  

While Hughes acknowledges that there are several other independent experts and boutique agencies with strong skillsets, she told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that she wants to take a collaborative approach with other PR practitioners rather than a competitive one, and see how they can work together to share ideas, expertise and business opportunities.

Related Articles:
The Mango Agency SG rebrands to Upcycle Communications under new management
AIA SG's brand comms head Joanna Ong-Ash exits to start PR consultancy
Criteo's former regional SEA-Pacific lead Alban Villani joins Appier to propel Europe expansion




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