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We See Things
OCTOBER 15, 2018 //     

Upwards and Onwards: Building a best-in-class mid-sized agency in Singapore

By: Serina Tan

Two weeks ago, our Singapore team hosted a party to officially open our new office – an amazing space on level 38 in a prime building that overlooks the gorgeous cityscape. We had an incredible turnout, and were delighted to celebrate this milestone together with our past and present clients and business partners. We were also honored to have Co-Founder and Vice Chairman Andy Hardie-Brown and Co-Founder and Global President Jonathan Heit, join us in the celebration.

But this party meant so much more than just breaking in a new office space. Our move 25 floors up within the same building may seem uneventful to some. But it represents the remarkable progress we have made since our establishment here in 2014 – an achievement that far surpassed our imagination. Let’s take a trip down memory lane…

I began my journey with Allison+Partners in February 2014 from my apartment in Malaysia, initially working on a couple of project clients. As A+P’s first employee in Southeast Asia, I certainly never dreamed that one day, I would work together with such a wonderful team in such a stunning office.

In June 2014, we won our first retainer account and I had to move back to Singapore with my family to formally kickstart our office. I was allowed to hire my first "sidekick." Somehow, even though A+P had no office, no presence, no brand and only a couple of clients in Singapore, I managed to convince a young, laid-back, phone-addicted millennial to join us as an entry-level consultant. The rest is history.

From a solo journey, we embarked as a team of two. We didn't have an office, worked from home and met once a week at Gloria Jeans. It was a dream job for many.

We won a few more clients. Three months later, we moved into a two-seater office in Regus. I was ecstatic, as we didn’t have to roam around anymore. At our tightest, we had four people squeezed into that tiny room. Subsequently we moved to a five-seater, then a 10-seater office. Every time we moved, the team relished that growing achievement. However, we still didn’t have any sense of belonging because we were in a serviced office. 

Eventually in September 2015, we moved to our first permanent space. Finally, we found a home and were no longer nomads. Our close-knit A+P family was involved in putting every part of the office together, from selecting the cabinet colours, wall decorations and $600 ergonomic chairs. I used to go to the shops after work to pick up loose furniture, many pieces of which we’ve managed to bring to our new office so we can retain some physical memories of our journey. 

Like our previous space, our new office is a collection of our team’s ideas and contributions. As a progressive agency, we want to build a meaningful space that inspires our team to do great work.

Each time we move, our culture board -- the first item I received from the company -- travels with us. No matter where we move and how large we grow, our strong culture and core values of collaboration, entrepreneurship, empowerment, passion and excellence will always remain the guiding principles of how we operate. 

During our short four-and-a-half year journey, we’ve grown the team from one to 15. We’ve won world-class accounts and prestigious awards, including the recent 2018 Holmes Report “Best Regional Campaign for APAC.”

None of these achievements would have been possible without everyone’s hard work and support -- from my boss Andy’s constant support, to the trust of my first hire Lewis,  who is still with us today; to the invaluable mentorship from Shen our trusty consultant; to the collaboration of our global team and the loyalty of our clients. The Singapore team is grateful for the part everyone has played in getting us to where we are today, both in the success of our agency and in our swanky new office space. 

Serina Tan is general manager of Allison+Partners Singapore office.

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