Grupo Agatep CEO bags 2018 AMIC Communication Award

Posted on: June 11, 2018 at 4:58 am, in

In a very tight selection process, Grupo Agatep Chairman and CEO Charlie Agatep has been chosen as the AMIC Asia 2018 Communication Awardee of the Asian Media Information and Communication Center. He received the award June 8, 2018 in  a gala dinner in his honor at the Hotel Fortune Inn Valley View, Manipal, India,

The Award given to Agatep was one of the highlights of the 26th AMIC Annual Conference which was held at the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) in Karnataka, India. The theme of this year’s AMIC conference is “Disturbing Asian Millennials: Some Creative Responses.”

“This award is especially humbling because past honorees are some of the most prominent Asian communicators”, Agatep said. “Joining this incredible roster of communication scholars and experts is a recognition of my life’s work and greatest passion. I will be forever grateful to AMIC for choosing me as this year’s honoree.”

For more than a decade AMIC has been recognizing individuals from all over Asia for the work they do in the field of communication and media development. Agatep is the latest addition to AMIC’s previous roster of awardees including Dr. John Lent, Prof. Eddie C. Y. Kuo, Dr. Nora Quebral, Dr. Florangel Rosario- Braid, Dr. Binod Agrawal, Dr. K. E. Eapen, Dr. Hidetoshi Kato, Dr. Georgette Wang, Dr. Crispin Maslog, Tan Sri Dato’ L. Krishnan, Dr. Alwi Dahlan, Mr. Jakob Oetama, Dr. Shelton Gunaratne, Mr. Wijayananda Jayaweera, Mr. Juan L. Mercado, Dr. Alan Hancock, and Dr. David Robie.

Before receiving the AMIC Communication Award, Agatep has already been recognized by local and international award-giving bodies.  In 2006, he was named the ‘PR Professional of the Year’ by the Asia Pacific PR Awards in Hong Kong. That same year, he was also given the Communication Excellence in Organizations (CEO Excel) Award by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). Just last year, Charlie Agatep received the Gawad Panday, the highest award given to a PR practitioner by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP).

Agatep has also authored a book designed for PR professionals and students entitled “Winning the Anvils.” The book, which contains Anvil Award-winning case studies, showcases Agatep’s excellence in PR and shares tips on how to make PR campaigns that make a lasting impact on the lives of its target publics. The book is an outcome of the record breaking 145 Anvils which Agatep has won since 1972.

Agatep, known as the Philippines’ “PR Guru” , is a communication icon in the Philippines. In 1988 he established Agatep Associates Inc., now known as Grupo Agatep, an integrated marketing communication agency that develops consumer marketing and public relations campaigns for a variety of brands. With 30 years of operating experience, Grupo Agatep tells compelling stories on traditional and digital media to sell ideas, products and services, and to build, enhance and protect brand reputations.

The ‘strong leader’ fallacy

Posted on: May 29, 2018 at 9:53 am, in

There is a widely held perception that strong leaders who talk tough and get their way, who dominate government colleagues and the political party to which they belong, and who make the big decisions all by themselves are the most successful and effective leaders. In a recent cover story in Time magazine, author Ian Bremmer may have sneeringly identified such leaders when he wrote that “we are in the strongman era” and cited Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte as examples of the most prominent “strongmen” of the century.

While the term “strong leaders” may be interpreted in many ways, it is usually taken to mean those leaders who concentrate a lot of power in their hands and will freely use that power to get what they want. Admirers of President Duterte believe he is exactly the kind of strong leader that we need in order to move projects forward. They may be right. Mr. Duterte has shown on many occasions that indeed he can make things happen through the use of brutal power. In the words of Inquirer columnist Randy David, Mr. Duterte’s approach to power is based on “the methodical use of the coercive power of the state in order to intimidate dissenters, critics, skeptics, deviants, and noncooperative individuals who, in his perception, are not taking him seriously.”

Be that as it may, in his book “The Myth of the Strong Leader,” Oxford University professor Dr. Archie Brown debunks the notion that the more a leader dominates his political party and Cabinet, and arbitrarily makes the big decisions, the greater he is as a leader. Brown argues that while some strong leaders emerge more positively than negatively, “power amassed by an
individual leader paves the way for significant errors at best and disaster and massive bloodshed at worst.”


Of course there is general agreement in many democratic countries that a “strong leader” is a good thing. No one ever says, “What we need is a weak leader.” Yet the simple weak-strong dichotomy is a very limited way of gauging individual leaders. There are other more desirable qualities of political leadership besides pure strength, which better describes weightlifters and long-distance runners. Such qualities include honesty, modesty, moral uprightness, intelligence, articulateness, willingness to seek disparate views, flexibility, boundless energy, courage and vision. We don’t expect a leader to possess all these qualities but they are part of the essential requirements of an effective leader.

And this has to be emphasized. Brown said: “Effective government is necessary everywhere, but due process matters. When corners are cut because one leader is sure he knows best, problems will follow, and they can be on a disastrous scale. Due process means involving all the senior politicians with relevant departmental
responsibilities in the decision process. It also means that the actions of government should be in conformity with the rule of law, and the government should be accountable to Congress and the people.”

Leadership is often reduced to a simple dichotomy: the strong versus the weak. Though we tend to dismiss consultative styles of leadership as weak, it is often the most cooperative leaders who have the greatest impact.

Brown cited President Harry Truman as a real “strong leader.” In contrast to self-styled “strong” leaders who seek to achieve their goals through intimidation and dominance, Truman was an instinctively consultative president, delegating significant authority to his colleagues — especially his two secretaries of state, George Marshall and Dean Acheson. Brown wrote it was characteristic of Truman’s style that the most outstanding foreign policy achievement of his presidency is known as the Marshall Plan, not the Truman Plan. Truman was modest not only about his own status, but about the powers of the presidency itself. While many US presidents felt the need to exaggerate their powers, Truman said: “I sit here all day trying to persuade people to do the things they ought to do without my persuading them. That’s all what the powers of the president amount to.”

* * *

Charlie A. Agatep is chair and CEO of Grupo Agatep.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer last May 29, 2018.

Ad industry shifts to ‘customized’ digital content

Posted on: March 2, 2018 at 2:47 am, in

MANILA- Customized online advertisements will help engage today’s “discriminating” consumers, a marketing professional said on Thursday.

Companies are creating ads to target various consumer interests instead of just uploading content originally meant for TV, Norman Agatep, president and managing director of Groupo Agatep, said.

“There’s a great effort to customize because there are so many types of individuals on the internet and you’ve got to taper the content that you’re giving them online in a way that engages one on one as they interact with their device,” Agatep, chairman of the Ad Summit Pilipinas 2018, told ANC.

“The idea is to surround the customer with a brand story and find the appropriate media that will communicate to that consumer in a way that’s relevant to him or her,” he explained.

Philippines is world’s top social media user: study
The increased use of mobile devices and social media in the last few years gave brands “a mix of choices” when it comes to advertising, David Guerrero, creative chairman of BBDO, said.

He said brands and marketing professionals need to adapt to the trend and to deliver value at every touch point.

Today, Agatep said, brand success can be measured by social impact and in creating an environment for brands to flourish and to engage “discriminating consumers.”

“In today’s scenario and during the ad summit, we’ll be investigating new ways that we can measure these brand success apart from profit,” he said.


This article is originally published in

How to win an anvil

Posted on: January 19, 2018 at 3:06 am, in

Carlos Agatep creates a guide for practitioners and students in the field of public relations

When I was in college, I remember my public relations (PR) professor telling our class: “PR is the most underrated field in the communication industry. Far too many people discredit the art in it, but without PR there would be no development, everything would be chaos.”

With its primary purpose to build up the communication function of an organization, it is a critical tool that helps an entity to send a message across, disseminate information, and involve the public. Kenya-based media analyst and communication strategist ZaCkayo Ochieng posited a good question to ponder on when he wrote: “Now think of society as a bigger organization. What role would public relations play in its development?”

In the Philippines, organizations like the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP) monitor the continuous progress and maturity of the country’s PR industry and ensure that it shapes the society for the better. Presented annually by the PRSP, the Anvil Awards marks the yearly development of the field’s practice. It is the symbol of excellence awarded to outstanding public relations programs, tools, and practitioners.

Just recently, Carlos Agatep, the chairman and CEO of Grupo Agatep and considered one of the pioneers of the Philippine PR industry, published his first book Winning the Anvils. A book for both PR practitioners and students, Winning the Anvils explains the true worth of the Anvil Awards and shares Carlos’ ways of winning them, because if anyone knows how to truly bag an Anvil, it’s him. Grupo Agatep currently holds 137 Anvil Awards—59 gold Anvils, 71 silvers Anvils, three grand Anvils, three platinum Anvils, and one special Anvil for excellence in brand building and reputation management, to be exact.

Representing case studies that should be of interest to public relations and communication practitioners and anyone else interested in reputation management, the book features the summaries of over 60 of the 137 Anvil awards won by Grupo Agatep for 41 companies and individuals.  The book tells the story of each Anvil Award—the specific objectives of every project, the intended target publics to reach, the strategies and methods undertaken to achieve the objectives, and the overall results.

“This book is directed to the men and women in many organizations who are involved in their company’s reputation management and persons who are given management responsibility for reputation issues but who lack expertise in the area. If you belong to any of these entities, this book will help you understand the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects and the planning, strategies and skills required to implement them,” Carlos wrote in the introduction of the book.

In the book’s foreword, the director of Philippine PEN Dr. Ricardo Suarez Soler wrote: “Charlie Agatep defiantly takes a different view: He asserts that public relations is an honest, truthful, professional, calculated, and intentional exchange among PR organizations, their clients, and their audiences to create reciprocally valuable benefits with the emphasis on honest and truthful.” With this work, Carlos has fortified himself as a living pillar of the industry. He’s considered to be one of the best practitioners in the country, and, currently working on his second book My Journey to Saturn, Carlos Agatep shows no signs of slowing down. As Dr. Soler puts it: “He is one hell of a practitioner who has put his hammer full force on the anvil of fame and recognition.”

This book, however, isn’t about flexing muscles. More than a guide for professionals and students, it ultimately serves as a tribute to the flourishing public relations practice in the Philippines. It raises the bar and advocates the real essence of public relations.

“In a way, Winning the Anvils is a book about socially responsible companies and what they have been doing to give back to the community. By winning the Anvils, these companies are bringing humanity to their organizations,” Carlos wrote. “They believe they have a responsibility to ‘give back’ to society, to provide environmentally friendly products and services, to innovate company procedures for the good of all their clients, and to improve the lives of marginalized individuals, especially in the countryside. They undertake projects which are ‘infrastructures of goodwill to help others,’ yet in the end they enhance their good name and protect themselves during bad times.”


This article on how to win an Anvil award was originally published by The Manila Bulletin on January 19, 2018.