Havas brings Red Agency to Singapore, wipes out Siren brand

Havas Group owned Australian PR firm, Red Agency, has opened its first international office in Singapore. Simultaneously, the Havas Worlwide Siren PR brand which was founded in 2010 and acquired by Havas in 2011, will cease to exist from today. All Havas Worldwide Siren staff will now be integrated into Red Agency which will focus on PR, social media and content marketing.

Red will be locally led by Allanjit Singh. Singh was also recently appointed managing director of Havas WorldwideSiren (now renamed to Red Agency), as well as head of social for the Havas Creative Group Singapore.

Currently Red Agency Singapore is managing a cross-industry client roster that includes Sony, Brocade, Sophos, TD Ameritrade, Tokio Marine, Sanofi-Aventis, Air France-KLM and UD Trucks. A number of new clients will also be announced in the coming weeks. According to Singh, the agency was also looking to build its local operations and make several hires such as experiential lead amongst others.

“We are planning very strategic hires in terms of our consumer PR practice team. This will ensure that different entities feed off synergies in strategic planning, ideation and performance measurement,” said Singh in a conversation with Marketing.

When asked how the agency plans to stand out in a cluttered market such as Singapore, James Wright, CEO of Red Agency Group said the local market is “desperate for an agency which is transitionally strategic” in nature. He added that the local market has a major scope for engagement in social ideas and events, but Singapore based clients need to be more adventurous and take on calculated risks.

“We aim to bring our borderless creative approach to clients in Singapore in order to provide them with an advantage in the market and deliver great business outcomes,” said Wright. Wright said that to succeed in today’s fragmented media world, agility combined with speed is the key.

When asked if the new agency offering would take away a piece of the pie from the creative and media arms of the Havas Group, given the wide scope of offerings it has, Wright said that each Havas business unit plays to its strength.At the macro  level globally, the PR  industry is taking back rightfully its.

“Today we are pitching against ad and PR agencies both,” said Wright. He was of the view that over the years, the ad and media industries have in fact been the ones biting into the PR pie.

“Now we are taking it back," he said, adding that social has always sat with PR in its earliest iterations because PR people are more experienced and skilled at having a conversation with stakeholders.

"But nearly all marketing agencies are now engaging in conversation. Ad agencies used to just do analogue, linear communications - you had a message, you had a channel and you delivered it. Now it's more about dialogue with feedback loop, social has opened this up," he said. He added:

PR has always been less about controlling the message and more about managing the message.

However, with the rise of social, ad agencies have started to get into the space of trying to manage the message. He added that as more of these lines get blurred, clients have started viewing PR agencies as strategic partners, especially as they look to come across to consumers in a more humanised manner.