I had just left my previous agency and was trying to figure out a company name for my own new venture. I wanted the option to build a brand which could stand on its own, and I felt calling it my own name was too narcissistic, plus sometimes it’s nice to pretend you’re not the boss - which is a lot harder if your name is the company.
Incidentally, Sarah Lian, an actress who I had met a while ago through a mutual friend, asked me to handle her PR as she wanted to shift her public perception. Sarah had started a company called Suppagood two years back at this juncture, and it was mainly because of her own experiences dealing with the entertainment industry. She discovered that many middlemen who helped booked MC (master of ceremonies) jobs for her, were sometimes taking a larger cut than she was even getting paid, and felt it wasn’t fair to the talent actually doing the work.
“Why the name Suppagood?” I asked.
“I believe in honesty and transparency, and that’s why it’s not just good, it’s Suppagood”, she said. This is also why our official colours are black and white - referring to both these principles.
Having worked with her for a few months doing her PR (getting her interviews with relevant publications, and helping her input more of her personality into each media encounter), I really admired her professionalism (she is always on time and doesn’t whinge) and having the privilege to vet her interview questions, it was clear that she was in the industry for the right reasons and stayed true to her values. Also… she had a logo (logos are so hard to create).
It’s been four years now since we opened the PR arm, Suppagood PR, and upon reflection, these are some of the pillars of why we both feel blessed to have this business partnership together.
From day one, we both had full management control of our businesses, including finances. Our roles were also unambiguous, I handled the PR, and she handled the Talent. We were also weary of potential pitfalls we’ve heard of other business partnerships, so we had an easy to understand director’s resolution as to what each party would do for each other, and an assigned mediator should there be any arguments. Over the years, it is inevitable to evolve, and it’s always refreshing to know we can adjust and make changes that feels fair to both.
Everyone wants a thriving business, but we both believe in doing it right, and we want for each other to succeed. Which means we are always looking out for each other in different shapes or forms. Be it referring clients to each other, attending events together, solving a HR issue, or branding advice - if we can, we will. In essence we trust that each holds the other in the highest regard, we always give each other the benefit of the doubt. I’ll steal one of Sarah’s favourite quotes here: “The more I work, the luckier I get”. We both know that we need to put the work in, and that success doesn’t happen overnight - nothing just comes easy, and we both work hard at it. Our values are encapsulated in the acronym ‘HEART’ - Humble students of life; Excellent ethics; Always personalised; Resourceful futuristic thinking and Team oneness. These values form the DNA of our work culture.
This is the bedrock of why we can communicate well. The mere fact that she engaged me initially to handle her PR really showed the value she places in branding herself (and now others) and the value that PR brings to the table. We both place importance on branding, and understand it takes time and consistency to make an impression. It also helps that we share similar creative identity preferences, and we both know how to work some design programmes. We’ve never had to really enforce it, but one of the caveats to me creating Suppagood PR was that Sarah would have say over the creative identity - fortunately we’ve always agreed with each other on this point (we have great taste!).
Straight Forward Communication
I consider myself lucky because Sarah is so straight forward. I think it has a lot to do with her time spent in Canada, or maybe that’s just how her brain is wired. We express any negative feelings or make known a mistake quickly, and not brew on it, thinking it is malicious. We get it out of the way, apologise if need be, then just don’t hold any grudges. We are quite easy going in that sense, and we point things out to each other to improve, not to put down. We keep each other in check.
Because we share the same core beliefs, we may operate independently, but synergise effortlessly. We also share different perspectives of branding which come together to aid our clients, giving them the best possible solution for them. While we are huge advocates and cheerleaders for the Suppagood Talent who are each so niche and distinct in their own way, and have valuable messages to communicate; we are equally passionate about all the remarkable brands we have come to represent for their public image from tech startups to beauty, music, fashion, lifestyle, luxury and pharmaceutical brands. We are quite old fashioned in the values we hold, yet have huge interest in everything the internet has to offer and how we can innovate to our advantage.
No matter who our client is, we are always conscious of their brand. After all, we believe in win-win, and that doesn’t just apply to just the Suppagood Collective (what we call both PR and Talent together) but our values extend to our clients too.
It’s no mistake that there are a lot more elements that come into play in terms of business, and we couldn’t do it without the phenomenal people who have joined the Suppagood family. However, it certainly is more fun with a partner you can unload and share, without judgement, knowing they have your best interest at heart.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eugenie Chan (right in image above) is a Public Relations Professional and Director of Suppagood PR. Appropriately named Chief Angel, she has worked with clients from various fields including beauty, tech, health, lifestyle, education, F&B and more. Together with Sarah Lian (left in image), Director of Suppagood Talent, they are the formidable force behind the Suppagood Collective.