ERA Communications has opened its first Cambodian office under its larger region-wide expansion as the Myanmar-based PR agency aims to adhere to the ethical development of the communications practice in Indochina.
Speaking to Cambodia Investment Review, Regional Managing Director of ERA Communications Anthony Larmon explained that the agency was first launched as Echo Myanmar in 2015 before merging in 2019 with a technology firm called Revo.
“After the military takeover in 2021 in Myanmar, we made the decision to expand throughout Indochina to protect the brand equity we had spent years earning and keep work coming to the team so we wouldn’t need to lay anyone off during a difficult economic time,” Larmon said.
The team of over 80 staff in Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and now Cambodia has serviced international clients such as; Coca-Cola, Unilever, Singapore Tourism Board, Facebook Inc. (Meta), the IFC/World Bank Group, and other regional and global leaders.
Addressing any questions of affiliation with Myanmar’s junta Larmon explains the firm is in no way affiliated with the Myanmar military adding their creative director had actually spent four months in prison for attending protests.
Offering a premium level of service
ERA Communications Cambodia Managing Director, Alex Dance, reflected on the local public relations sector explaining that regarding major competitors, the group didn’t believe their service offering is like anything currently being offered in Cambodia right now.
“PR is understood here almost entirely as media relations, and where ERA does offer this, our capability extends far beyond media relations and into areas of reputation management, behavior change, issues and crisis preparedness, stakeholder engagement and strategic planning,” Dance explained.
“We are out to prove that Cambodian communications professionals can do work that is recognized on a global level,” he added.
The agency has positioned itself as a premium local agency with Dance stating: “We are a premium firm, thus our pricing will be premium. However, not as expensive as the large international names that might already be in the market and certainly not as cheap as most local firms.”
“This approach to pricing reflects our differentiating factor, which is the level of involvement from our senior directors in the client work as well as the fact that our processes, our client work, and our people are what you would expect from working with a global PR network,” he added.
Changing the definition of public relations in Cambodia
Looking to the future locally ERA Communications aims to change the definition and scope of what public relations mean in Cambodia by increasing the level of education and abilities of its local employees.
“We would like to take a leading role in moving the PR industry forward beyond just media relations and into advanced PR offerings that more effectively consider and engage communities, employees, customers, and policymakers,” Dance said.
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“In addition, we would like to begin growing our connections with education institutions, engaging them for guest lecture opportunities, and nurturing young talent into communications experts. Cambodia is a rapidly developing market that we want to help grow and put on the map,” he added.
From a regional standing, Larmon explained the agency aims be one of the most prolific creators of award-winning, truly impactful communications campaigns. “We want to show that Southeast Asia is where the most exciting work in the world happens,” he said.