June 14th, 2013 / 3:42 am
I was honoured to speak recently in Bangkok [pictures here] at the Asia-Pacific unveiling of ‘Humanitarianism in the Network Age’ (HINA), a groundbreaking new United Nations social media study.
HINA examines the implications for how a world of increasingly informed, connected and self-reliant communities will affect the delivery of humanitarian aid. It lays out some of the most pertinent features of these new technologies, such as SMS, social media and others, and identifies the opportunities and difficulties in applying them.
With so much social media content published by multinational corporations aimed at marketing to affluent consumers, I find this excellent report refreshing because it addresses the aspirations and interests of many millions of people who don’t normally make it into the everyday digital story frame.
March 26th, 2013 / 4:06 am
On March 23rd I was honoured to address the Bangladesh Brand Forum seminar in Dhaka.
In my presentation, I argued that:
- social media is revolutionizing the way the world communicates and it is powering the public relations industry’s global ascendancy
- in Asia, PR has traditionally been a relatively minor and subordinate part of the marketing mix but now it increasingly occupies centre stage
- because public relations is at its essence a social networking business, it is well positioned to thrive in the digital domain, especially in a region where mobile communications are the new marketing battleground
- media relations and publicity will always be a key part of PR, but now creating content, building communities, understanding analytics and applying the psychology of persuasion are all part of the picture
- PR will always be about the art of relationships, but increasingly it is a measurable communications science
October 8th, 2012 / 12:38 am
[The following draft is a rough translation into English from the article above which appeared in Bisnis Indonesia]
The public relations industry is a relatively new line of business which is seeing swift growth, especially in the Asia-Pacific region as most multinational companies are partnering with PR firms in building their communication to the mass media as well as to the public. Bisnis Indonesia had an opportunity to meet with President and CEO of Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific Bob Pickard to gain some insights on the PR industry’s competition in the region.
How do you see the development of the PR industry in Asia-Pacific?
We see that there is a tremendous growth of the PR industry in Asia-Pacific. We recognize that there are three things that were traditionally imported from West to East. The first is money invested in communications campaigns, the second is ideas, and the third is talent. But now Asia-Pacific exports all three of these things – here we have the money, the diverse ideas and a lot of human resources. There are many Asia-based multinational companies that have developed into big global players, and it creates a major market for the PR industry in Asia.
How much does a company usually spends for communication strategy?
Many companies in Asia-Pacific spend $1 million or more every year for public relations programs, covering the entire region. For instance, if a company which is headquartered in one country has branches in some other countries, such a budget would covers PR activities for all the markets. However, there are also companies which would spend $250,000 per year for their regional PR activities.
What is the strategy usually used by a PR company in order to reach their markets?
Currently, we are seeing a change in the communication model. Previously, the number of media outlets was so limited that every company tried to tell their story only through mainstream media. But now, social media is growing. It really helps PR companies deliver the clients’ message to the public.
Furthermore, communications built between companies and their stakeholders is no longer a one-way street, but more of a two way conversation. In the social media sphere, people can easily share any input with companies. In this context, every PR firm has to listen to what the clients need, understand the target audiences that they want to reach and also incorporate input from media before they can create effective strategies.
Do you think competition in the PR industry is tight enough?
There are hundreds of PR companies these days and some of them are located in Indonesia. This surely creates competition among the firms, especially in terms of the budget levels proposed to the clients. There are relatively small PR companies which would normally compete on price, while there are also PR firms that play at the higher level and compete on quality. Such firms provide premium thinking such as building a corporate reputation, handling CSR activities and they also become commercial consultants for the clients. Competition in the PR industry is not excessive. There is still a lot of room to develop. The PR industry is at a relatively early stage of development, unlike advertising which is already a more mature business.
With respect to price competition, does this pose a significant threat to big PR companies?
Not at all, in fact it provides opportunities for PR companies to be established and to thrive. The presence of new [Asian] PR firms provides new ideas that the more established PR firms should learn from.
Does each PR firm need to have special skills?
It is ideal for a PR firm to have the capability to meet the clients’ needs in all sectors. Nevertheless, PR firms need to build deep experience and knowledge by domain. In our experience, we don’t just cater to one sector or a single industry, but we do try to extend expertise across geography and practice (that includes building our networks with governments). This is crucial to build reputation and trust in a PR firm.
What needs to be done by a PR firm in order to grow?
Try to see how it was 20 years ago, before social media arrived on the scene. Brands from companies could only become worldwide because they were published in traditional media. The change has been very rapid. Currently, rising Asian companies are becoming top global brands because they utilize social media platforms. PR firms cannot escape from this evolution and they have to use social media as a strategy to drive clients’ communications. One day, there might be an Indonesian company which builds a truly international brand on a social media platform.
February 20th, 2012 / 1:37 pm
July 9th, 2011 / 2:16 am
July 4th, 2011 / 5:41 am
January 27th, 2011 / 8:30 am
Worldwide communications for these emerging corporate champions is powering Burson-Marsteller’s business forward in Asia-Pacific on a profoundly digital platform.
November 12th, 2010 / 3:06 am
A few months ago, Maria Lazarimou, CEO of Advocate Burson-Marsteller invited me to speak at the “Who’s afraid of social media?” conference in Athens, Greece hosted by the Institute of Communication. Here is the video of my presentation to the audience, about 500 strong and very savvy (unfortunately time did not allow a Q&A):
February 24th, 2010 / 12:00 pm
Check out Burson-Marsteller’s interesting new study on the social media communications of Fortune 100 companies:
- The climate change PR disaster
- Humanitarianism in the network age
- The marketing might of modern public relations
- Guest lecture at SMU on Asia social media
- An end to ‘time zone chauvinism’
- The PR industry remains strong
- climate change
- crisis communications
- guest post
- media relations
- national brand
- PR industry
- social media
- speaking platforms
- Is PR a young person’s game? http://t.co/gHdaWZAgfp | Agency demographics skew young but the key is diversity rather than age of experience
- RT @communicateasia: NYT reporter decries PR use of media databases. Has the practice gotten out of control? http://t.co/e2pOFOlok3
- The climate change PR disaster: http://t.co/F5bIHgIN48 | via @holmesreport & @ArunSudhaman
- RT @digible: A brief guide to China's media landscape: http://t.co/hYHDwlqXRx | @danwei
- Creative tools for communicating climate change: http://t.co/jCnbmN3v7t | Speech by @AndrewRevkin at the 'Crowds & Climate' conference
- The classic Bob Newhart TV interview video: http://t.co/oQy7ZFGSAb | A favorite media training clip which I used many times in past
- The #PR function needs to be braver: http://t.co/KXp1fPIRfl | Unilever’s Sanchez is spot-on | via @MarketingEds
- @LPlus Thanks for the warm welcome to the Advisory Board. I am looking forward to helping drive the PR effort for @CrowdWeek #crowdweek
- I'm excited about joining the Advisory Board of @CrowdWeek: http://t.co/VW1JnF0HVu | Communications for the collaboration economy | @LPlus