In our Talent Talk interview this month in Sydney we spoke to John Bailey, Managing Director of Ketchum Singapore, and asked him a few questions about life at Ketchum, and what he thinks will be the big PR trends for 2015.
Name: John Bailey
Title: Managing Director
Age of company: 10 years (8 years as ICON)
Key clients: Audi, Boeing, Bridgestone, Diageo, Gazprom, ICAEW, Procter & Gamble, Standard Chartered Bank, William Grant & Sons
Number of staff: 25
What sets your company apart from the crowd?
One of the features which helped us become Singapore’s largest locally-owned independent was a very stable senior management team, which translated into long-term relationships with our clients. The average tenure among our senior team is over seven years, and our longest-standing client has been with us almost 10 years. We’ve also built strong sector expertise in areas like travel & hospitality, premium beverages, automotive, technology and financial services, while our crisis management capabilities are recognised across the region.
Can you define your culture?
We’re still a tight-knit, entrepreneurial outfit, as befits a former independent. But as part of a top-5 global network we’re now more structured in our training, staff development, and knowledge transfer from other offices. Joining Ketchum dramatically expanded our horizons, not just in working with clients across multiple markets, but interacting with colleagues from around the network. We’ve tried to keep the relaxed, informal atmosphere which characterised our time as an independent and we have a staff “fun club” committee which organises internal social events at least once per month.
What do you see as some key emerging trends in the communications industry in 2015 and beyond?
The communications landscape is changing at warp speed, and agencies are having to change dramatically to stay relevant. Ideas and campaigns have to work across the whole spectrum of Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned media, so PR agencies are no longer focused just on generating earned media coverage for clients.
What do you look for in great talent?
A great attitude comes first, at every level of seniority. We can teach or polish someone’s professional skills if necessary, but if they don’t have the right attitude, we’re wasting our time.