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Published Veröffentlicht 27/02/2024

The 2024 opportunity in Indochina

By Jeremy Seow

In the dynamic landscape of global business, the Indochina region’s economic potential, strategic location, and rapid infrastructure development have been turning heads in boardrooms worldwide. The peninsula that encompasses Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand and Vietnam is rich with opportunities.  

At Allison, we value the work first and foremost. To drive impact in these Southeast Asian markets, we collaborate closely with preferred partners who extend Allison’s capabilities and impact. Our partners bring local footprint, together with a wealth of cultural and industry knowledge and relationships – from which our teams and clients benefit richly.   

ERA Communications is a member of the Allison Preferred Partner Program, enlisted to work on behalf of the agency in Indochina, where we collaborate on client work in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar (Burma). Through this partnership, we operate as one cohesive team, delivering success on multi-market client work and showing up more impactfully on regional and multi-market business opportunities.  

I had the chance to ask Anthony Larmon, Founder and MD of ERA about the opportunity for brands in Indochina. Here are his thoughts.  

Jeremy: Anthony, from where you sit, where do you see the advantages or opportunities for organizations in the region?  

Anthony: The Indochina region, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, has very strong fundamentals, is naturally diversified and in a position to really grow. There is a surge in economic power and market demand both in B2B and B2C, presenting a unique moment in time for organizations – particularly those who are not yet in these markets and at risk of being left behind or being late to the game.  

Now, for the clients who do have a presence, this increase in attention from local and multinational players alike is making things very competitive. As a result, this is creating a greater need for world-class communications and creative consultancy to win shares of wallets, trust, attention – choose your currency.  

This is the reason we set up ERA, to help our clients navigate and streamline communications in these highly diverse markets that, when taken together, represent an enormous opportunity. We want to make it easier, and more meaningful, to run great work here where we know how to push the envelope to create value. These markets are hungry for superior creativity and quality, and our partnership with Allison facilitates that.  

Jeremy: What do you think this means for Allison’s clients?  

Anthony: One of the most important things to come from this partnership is a deviation from a very inefficient status quo that has been bothering me for a long time. Specifically, client organizations in Singapore or elsewhere reaching out to firms in Singapore to pitch for work in our markets where these agencies have no real presence or market knowledge, who then, to maximize their own fees, go on to outsource to affordable agencies of varying quality and ways of working in each country.  

I find that this paradigm results in one of two things. Either, (A) the work in the “smaller markets” is deprioritized and never actually gets executed as part of the contract; or (B) the work is done simply or only at the bare minimum to tick a box. In either case, clients may not see that they are missing the opportunity they have clearly identified for themselves in these countries. It is very frustrating to me because it prevents the best work from being done.  

It’s important to me that ERA has a presence in all Indochina markets, from Vietnam to Thailand, to avoid this and to standardize the work quality, project management and client experience. When we retain planning control, or get to pitch, our work stands heads and shoulders above the rest.  

We sincerely appreciate, and want others to recognize, the leadership and innovation Allison is demonstrating in helping their client partners capitalize on the immense value offered by our region, rather than treating it as a footnote in regional briefs. I believe this gives Allison’s clients access to some of the most proven local professional communications solutions available in our diverse and exciting markets. It also gives local industry professionals the opportunities to do more for stakeholders in their markets, and grow themselves as global PR professionals.  

Jeremy: It sounds like you care a lot for these markets! What do you love so much about Indochina as a PR professional and business leader?   

Anthony: Indochina is a dynamic and ever-changing marketplace, offering the challenge of writing new rules for communications and pushing boundaries. As a lifelong reputation manager, I get a lot of satisfaction in guiding clients through emerging market risk in such a way as to give them the confidence to fully, and properly, engage with these culturally rich and often mysterious places.   

My approach, which is consistent in ERA’s work, is about fostering a deeper connection and understanding of the unique opportunities present in these markets for many different types of organizations, from governments and NGOs to private industries.  

Working in stakeholder engagement, you often see culture, reputation, technology and strategy overlap in ways that result in unique problems. These call for the unique solutions that lead to some of the most award-winning and noteworthy work!  

Jeremy: What does the future have in store for us in Indochina?  

Anthony: What I am seeing now, and what I expect to see in the future, is that more brands are abandoning the distributor or light-touch model: in favor of controlling their own narratives and destinies in these markets, where simply being available is no longer enough.   

My prediction for corporates: as business gets increasingly competitive, the need to differentiate themselves as employers, members of the local community, and as responsible business partners will drive their success in Indochina. This will be done entirely in the way they choose to engage their stakeholders through the types of localized programs for which our firm is well-known.   

If you would like to find out how we at Allison can support you across this dynamic region, please reach out to Jeremy Seow ([email protected]). Today, Allison supports our clients in Southeast Asian markets that include Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.  

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