Mathew Franshawe CEO, Malaysia & Singapore
Euro RSCG Worldwide is a new breed of Communications company that provides its worldwide, regional, and local clients with solutions for publicity and marketing as well as institutional and interactive communications. Aside from the abovementioned Euro RSCG, Euro RSCG Worldwide, founded in 1991, has three other core brands: Euro RSCG 4D (Marketing Services & Digital), Euro RSCG PR (Corporate and PR Services), and Euro RSCG Life (Healthcare).
Euro RSCG responds to revolutions in business and technology by constantly challenging industry conventions and pioneering new paths. It’s done with an embedded awareness that the emergence of information-empowered consumers has made the communications landscape a global game of cards. If so, then effectively forming connections between brands, consumers and communications channels with unbridled passion and integrity puts Euro RSCG at the head of the table. Furthermore, in every country Euro RSCG is found, including Malaysia and Singapore, the localization of the agency is appreciable. The vibrant mingling of cultures, languages and personalities they’ve got going on over there brings a warmth to their new PJ office which overrides the kind emanating from the well-chosen overhead lighting that illuminates the large, uncluttered space. They’ve got a league of personable, intelligent, imaginative and dynamic individuals working in an atmosphere where there are practically no barriers to productivity. Literally. The unique and contemporary workspace is designed to encourage and facilitate interaction. Virtually wherever a person is seated, all that’s needed to reach any other colleague from the CEO to the despatch boy or the tea lady for that matter is a slightly raised voice! At a glance, there’s an absence of a discernable line between managerial levels in the form of private offices or fancier desks for the Up-Tops. Only a sprinkling of meeting rooms and the Finance department share in common a sense of embankment behind discreet plates of glass.
Yet, there is no tendency to muddle about here; quite the opposite actually. When ADOI visited with Matthew Fanshawe, CEO of Euro RSCG Malaysia & Singapore for an update on its Kuala Lumpur operations, it was confirmed that for all their multiplicity, everyone at Euro RSCG marches to the beat of the same drum—towards uncovering and exploring new opportunities for clients as a single collective force.
So what has Euro RSCG been up to these past couple of years?
It has been a busy time for Euro RSCG both globally and locally. Globally, under our CEO, David Jones, Euro RSCG won significant global accounts in Reckitt Benckiser and Jaguar, in addition to significant assignments from Orange, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Schering Plough, to name but a few.
What do you consider are some of Euro RSCG’s major accomplishments?
We were named “Advertising Network of the Year” by Campaign Magazine in 2006 and “Global Agency of the Year” by Advertising Age in 2006. Plus, we were ranked as the largest agency by global accounts in ’06 and ’07, also by Ad Age. Our Healthcare network is the 3rd largest in the world and expanded significantly with Sanofi-Aventis last year. Regionally, we’ve won major new business, and were top of R3’s Business League table for most of 2007, including the December issue.
How are things going in Malaysia?
On the local front, we spent the past year refocusing the agency and bringing in some new, senior talent to continue building our momentum. This is paying dividends, as evidenced by our rising client base, and the increased recognition of our work in Malaysia. Last year we won awards at Cannes, as well as Kancils. To date this year we have won 2 awards with many more to come. When we moved to this new office in October last year, it symbolized this re-focusing for Euro RSCG KL.
What are your visions and beliefs?
We believe in Clients, People and Ideas. Our vision is to create brilliant, integrated ideas that deliver top-line growth for our clients. A client of ours once said integration is like ‘weapons of mass destruction’—everyone talks about it, but nobody has seen it done. It is a word that gets thrown around a lot. I think the channel, per se, is not important. Measuring it and then improving its effectiveness is. I also believe it’s important to empower our people to challenge convention in order to break new ground to help our clients get to the future first. We value honesty and transparency, and believe in nurturing our people in the Process through ongoing training programmes that we run and also annual events such as CBI Idol (Creative Business Idea Idol). CBI Idol is an internal contest where everyone in the agency is invited to compete in groups of two, including Finance, Studio…everyone. This does not just concern proposing ideas for clients, but perhaps suggestions on ways to improve ourselves. The best ideas are presented to the client, or simply implemented internally.
— Francois de Riviere, Head of Strategic Planning, Malaysia & Singapore
What makes Euro RSCG unique?
We have a unique structure that we call the Power of One, where clients deal with one communications agency with one management team, one bottom-line, as opposed to different departments or affiliated companies. In short, Power of One means one Chief, one Team, one Brief, and one Big Idea—what we call a ‘Creative Business Idea’—which works across all media to build the client’s business. Creative Business Ideas are transformational, change business strategy and drive profitable growth.
This ensures that the focus is on the client’s business, not generating revenue for a particular department or company within the organization. On the Agency side, it provides flexibility in bringing people with different skill sets, expertise and experience together at the start of each project, where the team can challenge each other to develop the strongest possible ideas.
This integration of teams from creative, planning, account management, digital and events is very much in line with the Agency’s philosophy about Breaking Down Walls within the company, and getting the agency focused on what we do best—come up with creative business ideas to drive product sales and build a brand.
In your view, how is Euro RSCG different from other agencies?
In Malaysia we’re a mid-sized agency that provides the benefits of a large international network with the agility and ethos of a hotshop. More importantly, we adopt a very hands-on approach in working with our clients. Each member of our Management team, be they CEO, MD or CSD, is directly involved in managing our Clients’ business on a day-to-day level and spends extensive time with our Clients.
Tell us a little-known fact about Euro RSCG in Malaysia…
I’ll share several little-known facts. Firstly, we are more than just an advertising agency. We are a Communications Agency. In addition to advertising services, we also offer marketing services like digital, data and direct marketing. In fact, last year, our network was named the world’s largest digital agency by AdWeek for the 5th consecutive year. Second, we offer stand-alone brand consultancy services, aside from the more traditional strategic planning services for existing clients. Euro RSCG as an agency has invested more heavily in various strategic planning tools, and has a unique perspective built around understanding the momentum inherent in a brand, the category or Prosumer (our term for influential consumers who are well-informed and set the tempo for the market). Another little-known fact is that through our sister Agency MPG and MediaContacts housed with us here, we are able to seamlessly provide media services for traditional and online planning and buying, as well as specialised services such as sports marketing through Havas Sports, which counts Air Asia amongst its clients in Malaysia.
Your thoughts on creative awards?
Obviously, these are important given the business that we are in. However, the client’s business comes first. Awards are the icing on the cake—the recognition that comes with producing great creative work. Last year alone, our creative work was recognized at Cannes, One Show, the London International Advertising Awards and the Asia Outdoor Awards, to name a few. We have also recently added a few key creative hires such as Ramanjit Gulati, who is an award-winning copy-based CD whose work has been recognized at Cannes, D&AD, Asia Pacific Ad Fest. Another is Hital Pandya, an award-winning Senior Art Director who has 5 Cannes Liones under his belt. Award shows allow agencies to showcase leading edge ideas or craft in the same way that the automobile industry uses ‘concept cars’ at their shows.
What does the future hold for Euro RSCG?
We believe that with our unique strategic toolset and approach combined with our Power of One structure, it is possible for an agency to be big and entrepreneurial, global and creative. Also it’s not just about being the largest ad agency in the world—we want to be the most digitally integrated agency in the world.
Your last word on the communications business?
Creative Business Ideas can rock your world!.
CEO, Malaysia & Singapore (Left to right)
Executive Creative Director
Francois de Riviere
Head of Strategic Planning
Malaysia & Singapore
Business Development Director
Malaysia & Singapore.