Telum Talks To… Lars Voedisch, Principal Consultant, Director at PRecious Communications on the Agency’s 10th Anniversary
Congratulations on PRecious' 10th anniversary! How has the business evolved since it began?
Back in the days, PRecious was pretty much a boutique agency, providing PR advice and strategy consulting to organisations. Over the years, we managed to pull in home-grown and international talent, to make PRecious what it is today - one of the top PR firms in Asia Pacific with presence in 7 countries.
Today, clients increasingly ask for services that reach beyond the traditional PR approach. They need strategic advice from a trusted partner that understands their business. They are looking for a more integrated proposition, which combines traditional and more innovative digital capabilities. We are seeing growing demand for thought leadership content and a need to support clients with their sales, investor relations, employer branding and internal communications efforts.
PRecious' Singapore office has recently been certified as a Great Place to Work. What's your ethos to building an enjoyable agency environment?
We have indeed recently been recognised by the Great Place to Work Institute, which conducts independent surveys with corporations all over the world. Nearly all of our staff said that they feel safe at work, that they are treated fairly, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, or race. They think that management is approachable.
Around 90% said that they are given many responsibilities, that their job is challenging.
As a growth-focused agency, we want to cultivate an innovative spirit, which is only possible with the right team environment and culture.
Further efforts we made have been doubling the paternity leave, allowing young fathers to support their partners with caregiving duties. We have equal pay scales for men and women and a slightly larger number of women heading our practices or country offices.
PRecious has also expanded its presence across Southeast Asia, including the recent Philippines office. What’s a piece of advice you have when it comes to overseas expansion for agency business?
Southeast Asia is the next frontier for global brands due to its young population and booming digital economy that is characterised by its strong adoption of mobile commerce. We have been aggressively strengthening our presence across the region to better support our clients in their different marketing strategies.
The Philippines are just one example. We are also doubling down on headcounts in almost all the other offices throughout the region, and also plan to cover the remaining white spots very soon. Stay tuned for that!
We see a competitive advantage in our ability to provide these regional capabilities and local expertise in every market we operate in.
What do you think are the key trends or issues that will keep you busy in 2023?
China’s delayed opening, rising interest rates and inflationary pressures are being felt across the region. Firms have been revising growth plans, they put ambitious projects on hold, and some adjust headcounts. We expect this trend to continue next year, putting some of our clients and partners in a difficult spot.
At PRecious, we are trying to provide support, helping to find solutions and to get the word out to the different stakeholders. Sometimes, tough decisions have to be made, which is never easy, but it can be challenging to get the message right. It’s important that marketing budgets aren’t cut too much, as the middle to longer term growth outlook for the region remains intact.
What are some goals for 2023 - both for yourself and for the agency?
We continuously strive to increase our offerings, not only by expanding our local presences in Southeast Asia and possibly beyond, but also by delivering a better, more measurable experience for our customers. Clients expect brand benchmarking and industry insights across different media and social channels and advice on how to improve their share of voice and message penetration.
We plan to drive research and analysis around issues that affect customers. We want to help marketers control their narrative and understand how messages are felt across channels.
As the company grows, my role has to evolve as well: to focus more on longer term strategy, to further build and groom a leadership team that - at the end of the day - can run the organisation, even without me.
Personally, I hope to bring my family overseas to discover new places together and meet our friends and relatives in Europe and other parts of the world.
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