Sport/entertainment agency Gemba expands reach into Asia

Sports/entertainment agency Gemba expands its reach into Asia.

The announcement: 

Having cemented its spot as Australia’s leading sport and entertainment agency Gemba’s remit with existing clients continues to extend around the Asia Pacific region with active projects in nine markets with three multi-national brands.

These markets include China and India, two of the fastest growing sport and entertainment markets in the world.

In addition to a strong Asia Pacific focus, Gemba is working on a Strategy project in the Middle East and is completing Insight projects in Europe and South America for a global sport.

Gemba CEO and Director Rob Mills said: “The Gemba business has had a strong global orientation from its inception. We were always of the belief that the insights that underpinned the launch of the business were relevant globally. This year Gemba will record it’s strongest performance globally in terms of the number of markets that we operate in and the percentage of revenue coming from new markets”.

A key component of its Asia amplification is Gemba’s appointment of former adidas Asia-Pacific head Christophe Bezu to its board.

Bezu brings a wealth of sporting and marketing experience to Gemba. A keen marathoner and former French field hockey international, he served as head of the Asia-Pacific region for adidas from 2003 to 2011, overseeing a period of tremendous growth for the brand in the region and individual accolades for Bezu that included winning a prestigious Cannes Lion Award.

Prior to that role Bezu led the adidas Japan business since its inception in 1999 where his program of heavy investment in the brand paid off with a doubling of the business within three years.

In May 2011 Bezu joined clothing manufacturer Esprit as chief wholesale officer with a remit for 50 percent of the brand’s global business.

Bezu is currently the CEO and Director of Norwegian functional sportswear brand Odlo where he splits his time between the Zurich HQ and Tokyo.

His appointment is effective from February 2016 and he will be based in Tokyo.

Mills said: “Our five-year business plan has a predominant focus on the Asian region. Gemba has built great credentials and experience in the region and we are well placed to accelerate our growth in the coming years. Having worked with Christophe during his time in Japan, I saw first-hand his ability to build both businesses and brands. He has an uncanny feel for both sports and brands and we are incredibly excited about having him join the Gemba business.”
Mills said as part of the expansion strategy, Gemba is also seeking to make at least three other new appointments to be based out of Asia – one of which will see the creation of a general manager’s position to be based out of Gemba’s Shanghai office.

“Our business in China continues to grow and we have recently completed our first 2020 Olympic project in Japan. With a Rugby World Cup, Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics in the Asian region in the coming years, we believe Gemba is well positioned for continued growth.”

Speaking of his appointment Bezu said: “I have seen first-hand, as a client, Gemba’s thought leading approach to sport and entertainment marketing. In an industry that is often lacking rigour and strategy, Gemba has forged a great reputation as leaders in their field.

“The Asian market is obviously a critical component of the global economy and in turn so is the Asian Sport & Entertainment industry. I feel like it is an exciting time to join the Gemba board and look forward to helping grow its Asian business.”

Meanwhile burgeoning interest from the region has also prompted a new approach to the way Gemba conducts its market leading consumer insights programme.

Set to celebrate its sixth anniversary in China, Gemba’s extensive research arm will move its sport and entertainment research to a continuous tracking approach. This will allow Gemba clients to receive more timely insights that reflect the dynamic nature of the Chinese sport and entertainment market.

In addition to the Chinese research program and on-going studies in Australia and New Zealand, Gemba will also launch its proprietary research products in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

Mills said consumer insights lie at the heart of the Gemba business model with the company’s insights program offering clients confidence when making large investment decisions.

Source: Gemba media release


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