Moving beyond external communications at McGallen & Bolden

by Seamus Phan, lead strategist & creative director, McGallen & Bolden Pte Ltd 

The PR industry is facing an upheaval, primarily due to the decline of mainstream media, where traditional media channels such as newspapers, magazines, and broadcast stations are facing dwindling subscribers in this side of the world. To counter the decline, some media has adopted a “gated content” philosophy, while consolidation continues to happen.

Beyond PR to social media

It is not uncommon to see PR agencies transform these days, and many mainstream and larger PR agencies have progressed to also offer a variety of digital marketing services, primarily targeting at the current favorite – social media.

And it makes perfect sense. Social media, as both a paid and owned media platform, is ideally synergistic with the earned media that a typical PR agency has focused on for a long time. By marrying earned media with paid and owned media, a PR practitioner has more nuanced control and leverage to create more compelling content that can go a lot further than earned media alone.

We are no different. We need to transform and adapt to thrive in these challenging times. We too offer digital marketing services in conjunction with traditional PR services.

Walking inwards, with internal communications and training

What sets McGallen & Bolden apart from its peers is that we also offer training, specifically training programs aimed at business leaders, on areas such as quality management, service quality, sales and marketing.

Corporate training is a facet of internal communications, and we believe that everything starts from within. A corporation can improve its external communication with stakeholders when it first address internal communication needs.

We actually started out in our agency lifecycle with a strong training component. In fact, in the 1990s when we began, we offered a variety of corporate training programs based on our background and expertise, which included training programs for manufacturing and other businesses on ISO 9000, ISO 14000, business process re-engineering (BPR), and service quality (customer service). And we do also offer training programs related to PR too, including media training and crisis preparedness and communication, which are uniquely based on Crew Resource Management (CRM) practices from the established aviation industry.

Keeping pace with training pedagogy

We have kept pace with corporate training, with the evolution of classroom training, to facilitated training, to interactive training.

We have extensive experience in developing interactive training programs with testing, based on the Apple Mac platform since the late 1980s. These days, we use interactive video as our interactive training platform of choice, as more people gravitate towards video as a primary content type.

In 2016, we launched IntrinSelling™, a proprietary sales training program refined from nearly a decade of sales training program development for large enterprises in the past, to help clients deliver better sales performance through more effective communication and discernment of prospects’ and customers’ needs. This training program has already been implemented for a variety of clients in the consumer and luxury goods sectors.

Since 2015, we collaborated with Capt Michael Caston, a retired airline captain with over 40 years of flight and field experience, to launch a series of aviation training programs for airlines and pilots, focusing on decision-making, leadership transition, and crisis communication, at Flight Leaders ( I was privileged to present a speech based on snippets of our proprietary training program at the globally recognized airline training expo, APATS 2016 (Asia Pacific Airline Training Symposium), on leadership transition for airlines. Another training program is “Leadership Secrets at 30,000 Feet”, where skillsets from pilots such as clear communication, crew resource management (CRM), multi-crew cooperation (MCC) are taught to corporate executives in a realistic flight simulator, to help improve leadership and corporate transformation.

About McGallen & Bolden Pte Ltd (

McGallen & Bolden Pte Ltd is a small digital marketing, public relations and training consultancy based in Singapore, serving clients throughout Asia. The firm was first founded as a design studio in 1991, and then as a corporate training and marketing communication partnership in 1994, and later incorporated in 2008. The agency has served diverse clients, and is especially adept at providing strategic counsel and field execution for clients in Internet security, enterprise software and computing, consumer technology and gadgets, medical and related fields, and also consumer products in beauty, fashion and lifestyle. The agency built up core internal expertise in holistic communication, including being one of the early pioneers in the Internet, offering website hosting, website design, software development, etc in the mid 1990s. The agency embraced social media and digital video at the onset of such trends, and kept pace with internal expertise honed and primed for delivering efficient, effective and creative digital and communication campaigns for any client.

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