Specialist brand storyteller CP5 has announced a key addition to its management team, with Luke Clark joining Howard James to help co-lead the company — with a shared goal of helping its clients to drive the business recovery in Singapore.

Clark joins the team as Chief Executive and Partner. He and James, CP5’s Managing Director and Partner, form a leadership team with deep roots in Asia, and experience and knowledge that spans the entire business spectrum. And with a strapline declaring CP5’s mission as Business Content Unleashed, CP5 sees the current market as the perfect chance to make a difference.

“This company was formed out of a conviction that we wanted to do things differently,” said James. “We passionately believe there are no better conditions than now to put that into play.”

In its first two years of operation, CP5 collected a strong portfolio of clients, ranging from global banks and media companies, to leading brands across travel, healthcare, industry and more. “We’ve put content power back into our clients’ hands,” said James. “Our processes and pricing are simple, the story is yours — and we deliver to a level you’ll find in Reuters, Bloomberg, The Economist or BBC, the likes of whom we work with on occasion too.”

Delivering to this requires more than an elegant control of language. “Having been editorial lead, and sat in the client’s chair, I do know what irks people about agencies,” said Clark, who until recently was a silent partner on CP5’s board. “We want to be a place where your project is a priority for us, and will be run by us. And importantly, when discussion of strategy arises, we want you to know that you’re speaking to people with specialist industry knowledge of your field, your target audience — and proven ways to make the right connection.”

CP5 Chief Executive Luke Clark

Values first

Purpose and values were central to setting up a lean and flat organisation, modelled closely on a specialist consultancy. “I’ve made great friends in client circles,” said James. “Getting there requires that we be upfront from the outset about what we do and don’t do. And yes, on occasion we’ll suggest you try a different option. We’re in it to be proud of our work, to keep our promises, and to build for the long term. And we know that’s what good people want to work with as well.”

James and Clark, who hail from the UK and New Zealand respectively, have over 30 years’ shared experience working in Asia. From 2012 to 2017 they were colleagues steering the B2B and B2C editorial teams at Novus Asia (now John Brown Novus). James led the agency’s business content team, servicing a large number of MNC brands and government accounts, while Clark was the editor of the multi-award-winning Discovery Channel Magazine, as well as relaunches for Under the Banyan Tree, Ascott Living and Mapping. Clark also drove content projects for an array of consumer brands.

Prior to founding CP5, they independently collaborated on numerous projects.

“Howard and I have been seeking an opportunity to co-run a lean and quality-driven strategic business,” said Clark. “Despite appearances, now is the perfect time to ramp up that effort.”

On several occasions during his career, Clark has been news lead for strategic recovery efforts, ranging from the Singapore Tourism Board and TravelWeekly partnership on the award-winning newsletter Life In Singapore post-SARS, to shoring up regional messaging for PageGroup’s stakeholders as COVID-19 hit.

“To say I’m a crisis specialist sounds terrible,” he said, laughing. “But I do find these times motivating. It’s when editors can make a difference by telling factual yet positive stories, and bringing people together around shared convictions,” he noted. “I had several mentors who taught me that adversity brings the best out of those who dare.”

What’s in a name

The company is the result of detailed research, and council with those leading business. “We saw a gap for factual branded content that could drive Singapore’s regional business engine forward,” said James. “The result is CP5.”

His eyes flashed when asked about the roots of the company brand name. “We wanted something different that sparked discussion. Given our shared passion for music, we knew the ‘perfect fifth’ is the expression of pure resonance. Our idea was to be Content’s perfect fifth,” he said. “Plus, we liked the idea of something you could grasp — a content partnership in your hands.”

Despite recently trialling an opportunity within the private investment space, Clark said that the opportunity to help co-pilot a story-driven recovery plan for CP5’s suite of blue-chip clients was too good to pass up.

“There are only a few things I don’t agree on with Howard, and most of those involve rugby,” he quipped, noting that the black, red and white logo was the perfect amalgamation of New Zealand and Wales. “We definitely have passion for our work in common — and the desire to be unleashed on that keyboard.” He leaned forward. “We can’t wait.”