Agency Profile: Redhill

Agency Profile: Redhill

Telum is looking to highlight the diverse and vibrant agencies in the Southeast Asian PR agency landscape in upcoming editions of our PR Alert. We want to encourage networking, business opportunities, and to celebrate the great initiatives being worked on around the region. If you'd like your agency to be featured, get in touch.

What services does the agency offer?
Redhill is a full-service agency that offers public relations and communications services across markets and industries around the world. We provide strategic counsel on communication strategy, public relations, crisis communications, digital marketing, social media, design, content, research, event management and more.

Our bread and butter is creating campaigns that generate positive impact for brands and help them increase their market share, and build brand reputation and credibility with target stakeholders.

Where does your agency have an office?
While Redhill is headquartered in Singapore, we have offices and teams in major cities in various regions all over the world including Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Berlin, Sydney, Mumbai, Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Washington D.C.

Do you have a particular area of focus?
When we started in 2014, our first few clients were venture capital firms and technology startups. Through them, we were able to establish our reputation for agile, impactful communications work.

While VCs and financial services firms remain a key focus area for us, we have since expanded our capacity to serve clients in myriad verticals - from telecommunications, luxury and lifestyle to aviation, healthcare and enterprise technology. The list of industries we work in is ever-growing but one of our newest areas of focus in particular, public affairs, is where we are enhancing our ability to cater for government agencies and offices, as well as private sector entities that wish to engage with the public sector.

Who is the founder and why did they start the agency?
Redhill was founded by Jacob Puthenparambil and Surekha Yadav. Their combined respective experience in public relations and journalism led to their observation that communications agencies were focusing on getting coverage at the expense of integrity, which was leading to a loss of trust and the erosion of value in PR efforts - and by extension, the industry's overall reputation. Simultaneously, they also envisioned the creation of a pioneering communications agency with deep Asian roots that could work across global markets and industries.

Thus, Redhill was founded to focus on building brand reputation by creating impact and value instead of only concentrating on exposure.

Tell us about the leadership team.
Redhill’s leadership is underpinned by our diversity, with business unit heads that come from different countries and walks of life. Together, they enrich us with their years of experience and their specialisations in different areas add a collective wealth of depth and creativity to the management team. Over three-quarters of Redhill leaders are women, a natural consequence of our merit-based hiring practices.

Irrespective of their background, each member of Redhill works very hard. But this also means we know how to let loose (when the occasion calls, of course)!

What is next for your agency? What is the five-year goal?
Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Redhill still managed to achieve incredible growth, which resulted in us coming in at 67th place out of 500 regional companies on the Financial Times’ Asia-Pacific High-Growth Companies rankings. In March this year, we were included in the Enterprise 50 in Singapore - The first PR agency to be listed.

We intend to build upon this momentum to drive international growth and expansion over the next five years and beyond. We’re looking at acquiring agencies in select markets to establish our footprint there, increasing our local headcount, and expanding our reach for existing clients. Besides our annual ASEAN Youth Survey, we are also developing more Redhill-branded content across different platforms - so stay tuned for that!

In a sentence, describe your ideal relationship with a journalist.
Collaborative partners who can trust each other in the creation of impactful, credible stories
Tell us about a campaign you are currently working on or are particularly proud of.
Our ongoing work with Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok, a luxury hotel in Thailand, has been some of our most memorable to date. As personalisation is central to the brand’s DNA, we incorporated this into our strategic plan to launch the hotel and its various F&B outlets in eight Asian markets, including custom made media gifts, story telling yet informative press releases and intricate event concepts for media within the domestic market. Our creations, such as custom candles that evoke the scent of nearby Lumpini Park and a three-act play depicting the love affairs of the spiritual muse of Ms. Jigger, their Italian cocktail and Cicchetti bar, have garnered continuous widespread coverage and affection from key opinion leaders and the media - cementing Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok’s reputation for ‘ridiculously personalised experiences’.

In an industry decimated by the global travel restrictions, and a media completely preoccupied with the pandemic, Emirates needed to reconnect and remain relevant with target audiences in Japan and India that could no longer fly. The resulting brand repositioning campaign focused on finding new ways to reach audiences with meaningful content. Non-flight-related angles, such as food, beauty, and sustainability, were leveraged through influencer engagements, food contests, world “day” celebrations, and activations with Emirates staff members, while the airline’s cargo arm, SkyCargo, provided a source of uplifting stories around the transportation of PPE, vaccines, and other critical supplies.

Any key PR trends your agency is keeping an eye on?
One of the trends we have been seeing is that there has been an erosion of public trust in government leaders and societal institutions, to the point that the private sector must step in to play a greater socio-economic role. However, many in our industry believe that this is largely due to misinformation and digital amplification. So - as communications professionals - we must understand how to help organisations regain that trust and avoid the pitfalls of inauthentic postures.

Also, the pandemic underscored how important PR was to driving company growth. We are seeing more integration of in-house and agency communications teams by companies. PR budgets are also being tied to sales figures and market share. We will need to evaluate the metrics that we measure for success to ensure an accurate reflection of the role that PR plays in solving business challenges.

Crisis management is also under the spotlight as brands learned important lessons from their responses to the pandemic. We will see companies being much more proactive towards crisis management and including the marketing or communications heads when making decisions to respond to crises.

What skill sets do you look for in new hires?
In all new hires, we look for energy, a keen sense to learn and grow, and joy for both what they can bring to the business and what the business can bring to them. They should be honest and understand their role within the team, but also be willing to seize opportunities and build resilience through pain. Comfort and growth don’t ride the same horse.

For senior team mates, we look for people who can hit the ground running, mentor juniors, manage with empathy and have an adept sense of account coordination, as well as bring a fresh approach to improve the agency’s operations.

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