The Hoffman Agency claims to be only Western PR firm making most of its revenue from Asia

The Hoffman Agency celebrates 20 years in Asia today with the claim to being the only US- or European-based PR firm that makes most of its money in this region.

The Hoffman Agency's Singapore team

The Hoffman Agency’s Singapore team

The company founded by American Lou Hoffman has global revenue of US$11.5m from its offices in Asia, Europe and the US, with US$6.2m coming from Asia.

In an interview with Mumbrella yesterday, which is to run in full next week, the agency’s founder said Hoffman said that the agency’s success in Asia did not owe to a single large client win rather the “cumulative effect of doing a good job executing” across a range of clients that have included Google, AsiaMalls, Nutanix and Uber.

The firm positions itself as a communications consultancy that offers an alternative to the conventional PR agency model that “worships the P&L in each office” with a single P&L to encourage collaboration across network offices.

In a press statement from the company, Hoffman described the Asia experience for his firm as “amazing, fun, torturous, weird.”

Maureen Tseng

Maureen Tseng, The Hoffman Agency’s first Asia hire

The Hoffman Agency’s first staff member hired in Asia was Maureen Tseng in 1997. She still works for the agency as director of client services in Singapore.

Hoffman’s longest running client partnership is Google, a relationship that started in 2001.

The firm has offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.

Among the firm’s most notable campaigns over the years is its work for WWF’s global green movement Earth Hour, “Use Your Power”.

Hoffman told Mumbrella yesterday that an essential tool in PR that is often missing is the ability to tell a story – an anecdote.

Sharing the story about the launch of The Hoffman Agency in Asia, he said that catalyst for the agency’s expansion happened in 1994 with a press tour in Asia for Hyundai Electronics (now known as Hynix).

“At the first press conference in Tokyo, the local PR agency had neglected to mention that the format for overhead projectors in Japan — LCD projectors were still a curiosity back in 1994 — was different from the format of the overhead projectors in the U.S.”

“The Hyundai executive put the first foil on the projector ready to sing the virtues of the latest technology only to see roughly 20 percent of his information cut off at the screen. The journalists reacted with a gasp and then absolute, utter silence.”

“While this theme of “things not going according to plan” continued throughout the press tour, the mishaps gave courage to what was then a 42-person company to expand globally starting with Asia in November 1996.”


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