Agency Profile: O2 Consulting (Indonesia)

Agency Profile: O2 Consulting (Indonesia)

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What services does O2 Consulting offer?
O2 Consulting is a public affairs and communications consulting firm providing professional services on policy advocacy, strategic communications, and business advisory.

What size is the agency?
We design the company’s core team members for 10 to 20 people but can expand the size quickly according to the clients’ needs. The idea comes from blowfish, which can inflate or deflate their bodies to survive whatever circumstance before them.

Where are O2 Consulting’s offices?
We have an office in Dharmawangsa, South Jakarta. However, we have fully converted our operations online since the onset of the pandemic. In addition, we have undergone a systemic transformation to make sure collaborative working from home goes as smoothly as possible.

Do you have a particular area of focus?
The most significant chunk of our work comes from policy advocacy, and we are fortunate enough to work with and earn the trust of multinational corporations and international organisations. The focus areas vary; to illustrate the breadth, we can compartmentalise them as heavy-regulated industries (e.g., energy, financial technology), consumers and emerging sectors (e.g., food and beverage (F&B), city solutions), and non-profit causes (e.g., climate change, education).

Who is the founder and why did they start the agency?
Amalia Belmika and Jonathan Davin met while working together at a global communications firm. They established credentials in public affairs-clienteles like mining, oil and gas, and renewable energy. In addition, they also assisted crisis management and risk mitigation cases.

At that time, there was a distinct differentiation between public relations and public affairs. The former was seen as focusing on publicity, and the latter was more into lobbying. Our co-founders, who happened to deal with grassroots a lot, saw a white space for a consulting firm capable of combining those quasi-separated areas into a more holistic view of a situation. That was when they decided to relinquish their jobs and ventured into then an uncharted area.

Tell us about the leadership team.
Amalia serves as the Managing Director and Jonathan as the Associate Director. Amalia has worked many years in various sectors and often comes up with ways of connecting the dots most people overlook, providing clear direction to the team. Jonathan complements the dynamic by giving a conceptual framework and how it translates to the real world. Together, they lead the day-to-day team.

Additionally, O2 Consulting has a handful of professional advisers ready to deploy whenever requests come up, ranging from finance and research to brand and social affairs.

What is next for O2 Consulting? What is the five-year goal?
It took a few years to enter the market and establish our positioning in the burgeoning demand for public affairs and communications support. However, our journey has just begun; we learned that research prowess is a critical area where O2 Consulting can venture. Of course, there are already many excellent research firms in Indonesia, but we are confident we can make our mark by providing qualitative interpretation to make sense of the quantitative data before formulating a tangible strategy. This notion led us to create a business advisory offering, and so far, our proof of work has been satisfying. Yet, we are voracious for more.

In a sentence, describe your ideal relationship with a journalist.
Journalists are both esteemed professionals and discussion partners for us.

Tell us about a campaign you are currently working on or are particularly proud of.
Unfortunately, we can't share current projects due to the nature of our work in policy advocacy. But one of our most game-changing projects was a high-level, prestigious international development forum by an Indonesian Ministry. The issues were not simple, and for a few good years, the publicity remained ceremonial.

Finally, we came on board and assessed the situation based on the previous reports and testimonies and found out the problems. The Ministry and its partners agreed to our solution and trusted us to make changes. That year, the two-days forum generated over 590 articles published from 70 national and international publications. About 64 percent of the articles focused on the substance of the discussion. It was a wonderful experience for all of us involved, and it helped us earn recognition from the stakeholders.

Any key public affairs trends your agency is keeping an eye on?
Traditionally we tend to classify the primary stakeholders as government, business, academics, and so on. However, it is evident interest-based groups are growing increasingly influential, such as online ride-hailing app drivers and South Korean boy band fans. It is plausible that they might become a formidable voice to shape public opinion or even policy-making moving forward.

What skillsets do you look for in new hires?
First: logical, critical, and creative thinking. Dissenting opinions are always crucial in our service as we believe no one knows it all. As we look for different perspectives, our hiring policies are made open to every educational background. Currently, our team consists of economy, business, political science, law, international relations, and communications persons, and we are looking to broaden the mix more.

Second: a growth mindset believing “only the best is good enough.” This is our tenet, our vision, our impetus. Only individuals with the same attitude would be a perfect fit professionally and culturally for our consulting firm.

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