In our second Talent Talk interview in Singapore we spoke to Edwin Yeo, General Manager of SPRG, and asked him a few questions about life at SPRG, and what he thinks will be the big PR trends for 2015.
Name: Edwin Yeo
Role: General Manager
Established: 20 years total, 10 years in Singapore
Number of staff: 30
Key clients: Sentosa, Fox International Channels, Okamoto, Pearlie White, A+E Networks, NBC Universal
What sets SPRG apart from the crowd?
I would say our ability to adapt quickly to the changing market forces. We were one of the first agencies locally to take our clients onto social media, and also one of the first PR agencies locally to start a fully-fledged creative and advertising team in-house as clients had progressively looked for true integrated communications. Many large agencies would struggle to move so quickly, but our flat hierarchy where each local agency head reports directly to the Group Chairman allows us to be more nimble than most.
Can you define your culture?
Honestly, it's how well we treat our staff. We're very proud of our track record of staff retention. As a Group, we have a 90% record of senior management retention over the past decade. We empower our staff a lot, allow them room to grow, respect their time, provide constant career guidance and are pretty good with rewarding them for their endeavors. We have a nurturing culture, and we uphold the belief that mistakes are something one learns from, not gets fired over. Despite going through an economic recession, we've not had one retrenchment and I believe that's the same at Group level as well.
What do you look for in great talent?
The first thing is people skills. Regardless of whether you're editorial or creative or client servicing, you need to work well with others. We stress teamwork a lot in our agency, and we constantly break down walls between different departments to facilitate better interaction, which then leads to better understanding of the challenges each department faces, which then leads to better collaboration and better ideas. The second is entrepreneurship. As mentioned, we give a lot of autonomy, but employees need to be entrepreneurial for that to work, obviously. Staff that need to be spoon fed generally don't do that well in our environment.
What do you see as some key emerging trends in the communications industry in 2015 and beyond?
In Singapore, agencies are being asked to handle all aspects of communications under one roof. Clients are less inclined to split up their advertising, PR, social media and digital work into four different agencies and have grown to believe that synergy is better achieved if one company manages the entire spectrum of communication. 360 communications isn't that new, but now it seems like it's here to stay, unlike the previous life cycle, which sort of imploded after a while.