Balance of economic power shifting to Asia, driving country-wise PR mandates says Lee Nugent EVP & Regional Director APAC at Archetype

In March this year, the two merged firms Text 100 and Bite, were formally launched under a new brand name, 'Archetype'. The companies had been merged in September 2018 by Next Fifteen Communications, its holding company under a new CEO Helena Maus.

Lee Nugent characterised the client response to the change in the brand name as positive.

Six months after the launch of the new brand, PRmoment India caught up with Lee Nugent, EVP & regional director APAC at Archetype in Gurugram to talk about the impact of the new brand on the PR market in India and why PR leaders in APAC are bullish on India and the wider APAC market.

Balance of corporate power shifting to Asia 

"The change of brand name is a big one and it signals to the industry that a new beginning has been made on a 30-year legacy. It's also a recognition of the fact that the old agency model of working with global PR briefs is not going to work anymore", said Lee Nugent.

As the balance of power inside corporates shifts to Asia, Nugent says the era of a global head of PR sitting in the US or in London deciding on PR strategies for Asia is on the decline.

Companies, in countries such as India and China, want to develop their own regional specific approaches to PR strategy.

Pointing out that in APAC, from his point of view, the expertise from both firms was already available on the ground; Nugent added that the rebranding allows Archetype to offer expert services country-wise. This could range from traditional PR to lead generation via digital.

Client response to the brand change 

Lee Nugent characterised the client response to the change in the brand name in the Indian market as positive. He shared that Archetype has added 22 news clients recently including firms such as Havells, Jabra, Ericsson(5G networks), Wells Fargo and British Council.

For Ericsson, Archetype is handling the mandate across APAC from a hub centred from the PR firm's India office. 

Nugent explained that, for Archetype, in India, traditional media engagement remains a core area (owing to the fact that it's one of the few world markets where print media is still growing). 

Apart from Archetype is offering digital services; Nugent also said that there has been of doubling of the creative mandates in the last 12 months. This growth is coming from areas such as video and creative strategy.

The firm also continues with B2B services and government advocacy as distinct from public affairs.

Traditionally known for its strength in tech PR, Nugent says wryly that the description of Archetype as a tech PR makes him wince a bit as technology is now a horizontal rather than a vertical environment for companies. The all-pervasive influence in technology has led to companies in non-tech hardcore consumer sectors seeking a tech defined brand strategy.

Nugent also shared that Archetype has had its best every growth in Asia in the last six months and India has contributed 30% of the revenue in the region.

Nugent opined that the impact of the trade wars with the US remains to be seen on the China PR market. He said that as of now there has been no change in the budgets but there may be some tightening of discretionary spends.