Matthew Miller
Aug 30, 2013

Edelman launches research and analytics unit in Greater China

HONG KONG - Edelman has established a Greater China presence for its research and analytics subsidiary, Edelman Berland, with Fergus Clarke as head of research.

Fergus Clarke
Fergus Clarke

Clarke has relocated to Hong Kong from Abu Dhabi, where he was the company's head of research for South Asia, Middle East and Africa.

Edelman Berland, established in September 2012, offers a suite of services including analytics, media monitoring, measurement and online communities. 

Two people are working in Hong Kong now, and another four will be starting in Shanghai and Beijing in "the very near future", Clarke told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "Beyond Greater China, the next stops are Singapore and Australia." Clarke declined to put a figure on the eventual workforce, saying only that the plans are ambitious. The unit is already working with one multinational client and one local client out of the Hong Kong office, he added.

Establishing a presence in the region is about creating a conduit for insights to be imported from around the world to benefit clients here, as well as exported from Asia to the rest of world to benefit clients there, Clarke said. It's also about providing a quality level that is sometimes lacking, he indicated. 
"All of the major research players here have strong people," Clarke said. "But it's certainly been the case, and clients have spoken to me about it, that the quality of work does vary more than one would expect." The way Edelman Berland is structured ensures uniform quality, he added.

Clarke said the unit's offering is distinct from other research companies. "We are more focused on communications and how research can inform superior engagements with an organisations' stakeholders, be they customers or other stakeholders," he said.

Edelman Berland's outputs also differ from the competition, he continued. "We don't talk like other researchers. We don't deliver dry, powerpoint charts or stack after stack of stuff. We deliver quite specific recommendations that are about improving relationships and making better communications. Always tied back to what the client's business objective was."

The unit also focuses on providing insights at the speed the market demands. "We're in a 24/7, real-time world, and yet a lot of research products, we still expect our customers to wait weeks or even months to get delivery of insights," he said, referring to more traditional research companies. "We've moved on from that." Clarke referenced the 2011 acquisition of PluggedIN, by Edelman Berland predecessor StrategyOne, as a move that has enabled the company to provide real-time insights. 

David Brain, president and CEO of Edelman Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, called the addition of Edelman Berland in Greater China "a significant upgrade in our ability to provide real-time analytics, benchmarking and insights".

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