When Maverick first set out on its journey exactly 10 years ago this month, we had an audacious ambition: to be the most respected communications consultancy in Indonesia.
We weren’t content to be a Public Relations agency as Public Relations mostly meant media relations; we also didn’t want to be an agency, doing the bidding of clients who may not necessarily know better on what’s good for their brands.
So we set out to play in the field of communications and to be consultants first and foremost, with agency work as the support for our consultancy services.
A decade has passed. How have we done?
Let’s look at the desire to be “most respected” first. On a scale of 10 I’d say we have hit an 8 or even a 9. The client list we have is nothing to scoff at with the likes of Acer, Airbus, Airbus Military, Brand A, Coca-Cola, Nestle, HM Sampoerna and SMAX.
Then there is the Crisis and Issues Management practice which makes Maverick the go-to firm for many of the nation’s largest and most established law firms needing litigation support, multinationals facing labor unrest or consumer food companies having problems with their products. The client list is equally impressive but the nature of the work precludes us disclosing their names.
Where social media is concerned, we officially set up Raconteur, our digital storytelling division, a year ago and already it is making a name for itself as the digital consultancy that delivers results, not hype. In the beginning of this year it won a huge account in SMAX snacks. It has also handled the launch of a Google Chrome campaign, just introduced Evernote to the Indonesian online community and is working to help the Taiwan Trade Office (TAITRA) promote the island-nation.
There is also Gauge, our media monitoring and analysis division that continues to establish itself as the most comprehensive and high quality service of its kind in Indonesia, in spite of newcomers to the industry. It’s addition of social media monitoring and analysis as a service has also been a hit to our clients.
And last but not least, we have Brio our newest division that leverages Maverick and Raconteur’s experiences and knowledge as practitioners to provide training to corporations in need of communications and crisis management skills. It was set up this year and already it has hit all the financial targets we have set for it.
Together these divisions add up to an offering greater than the sum of themselves. This is good news for clients who may need and want a full spectrum of communications advice and service.
All, this, however has been possible because of two things. The culture and the people in Maverick.
We like to think that we have a culture that is unique and un-replicable by other competitors. It is a culture where individuals are continuously challenged to produce their best, and then go one step further. At the same time it is a nurturing culture where each and every Maverick has the responsibility to support and encourage their co-workers to greater heights and successes.
This has resulted in some startling results and one of them is the emergence of a second echelon of thought leaders in Maverick that are often invited as keynote speakers. Our Vice President Nur Shilla Christianto, for instance, has spoken on Crisis and Issues Management and Raconteur Head Hanny Kusumawati is blazing a trial of talks from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur to Almaty (where she’s currently speaking at Tech Forum Central Asia).
My partner Lita and I are very proud that we are probably the only PR firm in Indonesia where the owner or No. #1 Person is not the one hogging the limelight. We like to grow talents and love to see our people shine and surpass us in recognition and talent.
We have many proud moments in Maverick but the proudest moment happened only a couple of weeks ago. One of our senior consultants turned down an offer from a rival International PR firm that was offering triple the consultant’s salary in Maverick.
The consultant turned them down and did not demand from us a huge salary raise for staying. When we asked the consultant why, they replied that they share the same vision as us, that Maverick provided them with the opportunity to try new things and that they felt that they “belonged” to the family-like culture in Maverick.
That makes all the hard work, the heartbreaks and the struggles over the past decade eminently worth while.
Finally, of course, there are our clients. One of our clients told us that when her boss asked her about Maverick prior to appointing us, she replied that the difference with Maverick is that we choose our clients.
That is true. We find that we can really make a difference when we have clients who understand or really want to understand how communications can help their businesses perform better. Working with them is a joy and a serendipitous journey of learning and discovery. We hope to work with them for at least the next 10 years, if not more.