Hill+Knowlton Strategies today unveiled its new China platform, the Shanghai Addition, at Cannes Lions.
An extension of the agency’s global centre of creativity strategy in London, the Shanghai Addition will see H+K connecting Chinese brands with different audiences and markets around the world.
Richard Millar, H+K UK CEO, and Simon Shaw, UK chief creative strategist, will lead the new Shanghai platform, which is made up of H+K’s existing staff there. The Shanghai Addition is already working with clients including Huawei, Honor and Envision, among others.
Through clear creative strategy and use of H+K’s extensive global network, the agency seeks to “serve the global ambitions of Chinese brands” by helping them grow quickly and effectively in new territories, said Jack Martin, H+K global chairman and CEO.
Speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific in Cannes, Millar said the skills of the London creative strategy centre will help develop the Shanghai offering.
“It’s been borne out of a response to the demands of the clients we work for in China from London,” he said. “What they want to see is rapid mobilisation of the best talent that the total network can provide, on the ground, next to their headquarters [in China].”
Agency executives working for Chinese clients across the globe will work together with the Shanghai Addition to service the brands’ demands in specific markets. Millar gave the example of a Chinese energy client working extensively in Germany, meaning the German H+K executives will work closely with the Shanghai Addition executives, and travel to China to offer closer, tailored services to the client.
Shaw said the ambition from Chinese brands to grow beyond their domestic market has developed from government support and the fact that “there are now a lot of fantastic Chinese brands”.
“We’re even seeing Chinese brands leapfrogging the domestic market and building a global brand from day one,” he said. “They want a global footprint, and we want to work with them in a much more fluid way that puts the right, client-centric team with the client, rather than whoever happens to be geographically closer.”