Anushree Bhattacharyya

Hakuhodo Percept gets aggressive on non-Japanese business

It plans to move away from the shadow of its Japanese agency by focussing on winning new businesses.

Established in January 2000, Hakuhodo Percept, a 50:50 joint venture between Hakuhodo Inc. and Percept, was created to service the Japanese clients of Hakuhodo. After 10 years, the network agency wants to move away from the shadow of its Japanese agency by aggressively getting other business on board, an idea supported by Woon Siew Hoh, the newly promoted regional creative director of Hakuhodo Asia-Pacific.

Hakuhodo Percept gets aggressive on non-Japanese business
Speaking on the plans, Hoh says, "Now, the focus will be on building the other network agencies by participating aggressively in creative pitches and bringing new clients on board. Hakuhodo's network agencies were introduced with the purpose of working on Japanese clients across the region, while Percept/H was created to focus on winning regional businesses."

Currently, 80 per cent of Hakuhodo Percept's clients are from the Japanese market, while 20 per cent are based in India.

Hoh, who has worked in developed countries where the choice of media is much more compared to the developing and undeveloped markets, believes that this experience will help in breaking the notion that Hakuhodo designs only print and television campaigns.

Says he, "Conventionally, Hakuhodo's presentation in India has always been about print and television campaigns. Moving forward, we would like to use various new media to talk to the consumers. Internationally, we are known for our work on the digital platform through social network sites, viral and other digital tools. We want to introduce fresh thinking using newer media."

Hakuhodo Percept gets aggressive on non-Japanese business
Speaking about the market characteristics of countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Hoh says that similar traits make it easier for advertising agencies to talk to the consumer. According to Hoh, for countries that have similar characteristics (such as Malaysia and Singapore), one can have one single idea for both regions. However, since Vietnam is comparatively less sophisticated, the ideas and execution need to be simple.

Thailand, on the other hand, is very different. Although humour-driven, the people are very emotional and quite similar to Indians who want to laugh or cry at the end of a programme. The execution of a campaign is very similar in these two countries.

The agency is looking at recruiting new talent to create a strong regional team. However, for the time being, the concentration will be on retaining the present staff. Hoh explains, "Yes, we do plan to increase our team in India, but gradually. We will concentrate on nourishing and building the present talent through workshops and various talent programmes, rather than focus on recruitment."

For Hoh, this is just the beginning of a new journey and he feels that his international experience and the regional expertise of the network agency, clubbed together, will help in creating new milestones.

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