Birthday celebrations usually involve a huge party, lots of food and sometimes, copious amounts of alcohol. In that regard, The Hoffman Agency’s 20th Anniversary Celebration in early November ticked all the boxes (except the bit about booze because it’s too expensive here in Singapore).
While it was exciting to join in the celebration, what made it more special for the Singapore team was that we were expecting quite a few esteemed guests, including our CEO, Lou Hoffman, who would be dropping by Singapore with his wife (co-founder) and parents, as well as general managers from the offices across the region.
In the days leading up to the festivities, it was not uncommon to see colleagues scurrying in and out of the office as they nailed down the logistics needed to make this event a memorable and fun one for our guests. At the risk of sounding clichéd (not to mention sappy), it was also genuinely comforting to see everyone come together to not only celebrate the occasion, but help one another out to ensure everything went smoothly.
Despite being a guest of honour, Lou didn’t just focus on fun and food — he took time out from his busy schedule to chair Prata and PR, a panel of branding and communication experts from Asia Pacific and Silicon Valley to discuss the future of communications and brand building in a constantly evolving digital world. Lou also spent time with students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic to discuss the basics of PR and share his thoughts on where the industry is headed.
Speaking of the future of PR and communications, bear in mind that 20 years ago when a company had a press announcement, it usually involved the PR team calling up the journalists and faxing them the news release.
The world looked to Asia as a cheap labour market for manufacturing, so it was a very different climate than it is for today’s PR and communications industry. Despite that, Lou took a leap of faith in 1996 when he decided to expand a tech-focused PR consultancy to Asia. Even though he had reservations about setting up shop here, his passion about the potential opportunities Asia could provide saw the Agency enter Singapore as its first destination.
Fast forward 20 years to 2016, and the Agency has offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. As Lou said, “Because passion, more than any other quality, enables entrepreneurs to find a way through obstacles that would stop anyone else.”
Passion definitely abounds within the Agency, and it’s evident in the work we do. But to come up with great ideas and initiatives doesn’t take just passion, it takes the right mix of people. And that’s what I enjoy most about working at Hoffman — the people. Jumping to the “dark side” after spending four years as a tech journalist took a fair bit of faith as well, but it’s knowing that the people I work with aren’t only my colleagues, but my friends, has made the transition much easier. And it’s that culture of camaraderie and the encouraging of wild and sometimes crazy ideas that makes The Hoffman Agency what it is today.
Happy 20th Anniversary to The Hoffman Agency!