Ketchum and Hakuhodo Hook Up to Grow Global Reach

Omnicom PR Shop Looks to Expand in Japan

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In a move designed to broaden its global footprint Omnicom Group-owned PR agency Ketchum has entered into a strategic partnership with Hakuhodo, one of Japan's largest marketing communications firms.

Junji Narita and Jon Higgins
Junji Narita and Jon Higgins
The agencies hope that the collaboration will allow them to provide their current roster of clients with PR services in regions they were previously lacking in. "We believe [Hakuhodo will] be a key asset to us and our clients as we continue to develop our regional offer in Asia-Pacific," Jon Higgins, senior partner-international at Ketchum, said on his internal agency blog.

For Hakuhodo, in particular, this will enhance its global offerings in the areas such as corporate and brand marketing communications, media relations, crisis and risk management and corporate social responsibility. In a statement Junji Narita, president-CEO of Hakuhodo, said he believes the partnership is a good fit for both agencies because they "share a similar business philosophy and approach to client service."

Ray Kotcher, CEO of Ketchum, in a statement said the venture will provide his agency's clients with "deep local market insight and expertise."

Mr. Higgins will lead the global collaboration efforts between the two agencies and focus on building the relationship between Hakuhodo and Ketchum's neighboring Greater China operations.

Ketchum was recently named to Ad Age's Agency A-List 2008: The Ones to Watch list.

Omnicom announced its fourth quarter earnings today, which revealed that its PR practice continued to slide, showing a decline of 10.2% in year-over-year growth for the fourth quarter of 2008, and 0.4% slide in growth overall for the entire year. Other Omnicom-owned PR agencies include Fleishman-Hillard, Porter Novelli and Cone.

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