As Adamson sales rapidly increase around the world, the company is expanding in every territory. Their Asia Pacific territory, which includes Australia and New Zealand, has grown to the point where it is now choosing a dedicated base in South-East Asia, and a new Managing Director. Meet Ben Millson, who started heading up the operation in November.
Ben’s history and experience in the industry is diverse and long. He started working for record labels in London just out of college, including Sony, Columbia, Acid Jazz, and Ninja Tune. He then started his own label and small recording studio, cranking out underground hip hop. This led to a job with AV and staging giant Adam Hall, before a stint with an AV supplier in Manchester, and on to an international sales management position with top-of-the-line mixing desk manufacturer Cadac.
Ben traversed the globe with Cadac, taking in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. With Cadac firmly in the heart of musical theatre and broadcast, he got to know most of the globe’s major audio players. Back in 2013, d&b audiotechnik tapped Ben to take on their sales management and technical sales specialist position in Asia for their burgeoning brand, and he settled in Singapor
Which now brings him to our favourite Canadian PA manufacturer, and a new headquarters in Thailand. “We’ve decided to establish our base in the northern city of Chiang Mai,” explains Ben. “In terms of costs, it’s a lot easier than somewhere like Singapore. It’s central to our whole territory, it’s up-and-coming, and it’s got a good airport. Overall, we think it’s good for business, and good for our families.”
With the whole world to choose from as his workplace, and roots in the UK, why is Ben attracted to working in APAC? “To me, Asia is a lot more interesting and raw,” Ben offers. “In terms of developing new business, you can get more involved with your customers and do more to develop the market. For someone in my job, it’s a much more hands-on territory than Europe.”
To grow Adamson’s share of the Australia and New Zealand market, Ben’s initial strategy is to continue the momentum they have recently built up. “It’s great that Eighth Day Sound have invested heavily in Adamson recently,” remarks Ben. “I have existing relationships across that part of the market from my last job. We want to build on the initial growth we’ve created and spread out more. We’d like more customers in the mid-size rigs in the market, which our S10 line array is picking up already. While a lot of the influence in the hire market in Australia and New Zealand comes from riders written in Europe and the US, there are also a lot of big bands that come from here and go the other way. I see Australia and New Zealand as more aligned with those markets, as opposed to subject their whims.”
Adamson has made deeper in roads in Europe than it has yet made in APAC, claiming that the majority of European top grossing festivals are now run on their PAs. Converting Australia and New Zealand to that level of penetration is going to be a long game. “You can’t expect big rental companies to drop their existing stock and change brands; it takes time,” counsels Ben. “However, most of our main competitor’s flagship products are aging, and their newer products are pricey and not yet on the riders, so there’s opportunities for us there. Times are changing; Adamson is making a name for itself with the world’s FOH engineers and system techs. My job is approaching the right people to sell it to. Once you’ve done that, the quality and ROI sells itself, to a degree.”
It’s not just the black t-shirted live production companies Ben has to convince. “I’m assuming that the Adamson brand is underexposed to engineering consultants at the moment,” theorises Ben. “When you move out of rental and into installation projects, most major jobs in South East Asia are specified by consultants based in Hong Kong, Europe, or the States, and consultants tend to stick to what they know. So part of the plan will be to approach these consultants and to expose them to what Adamson has to offer”