Earlier this month, I travelled to Hong Kong to support a client for a media tour we helped organise. Thales, a global technology leader in defence, aviation, space, transport, and security, had recently set up a cybersecurity operation centre in Hong Kong – its first in Asia Pacific – and was keen to invite media from across Asia for a tour of its facility. I was there to facilitate and host the media, planning interviews and photo opportunities for their broadcast stories, ensuring the client’s messages were accurately depicted. As a result, we secured substantial media interest and even had a number of good stories published!
While it was a fruitful trip for me personally, it would not have been possible without the team’s relentless effort to identify suitable story angles that resonated with the media. Beyond that, it was the solid relationships built over time with journalists across the region, that really made the event a bigger success than it would have been.
As the hub agency in Asia for many of our clients, we constantly keep in close contact with journalists from varying beats and media titles across the region. These relationships formed with our media friends are one of our most vital assets. Calling ourselves experts in the Asia PR landscape, it is important to have in-market knowledge of the media landscape and industry beyond just Southeast Asia. This is where we have been fortunate to be able to turn to colleagues from other offices or network of partner agencies for insights.
I work closely with Joel, one of our Hong Kong-based colleagues, on the Inmarsat account, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications. For several years now, we have been providing them media relations and communications support across Asia Pacific. Although Joel and I don’t work in the same office, distance has never been an issue or hindered the way we service the client. In fact, I’d like to think it has made us more sensitive to the cultural differences or industry maturity of each market, something that has worked to the client’s benefit.
Working across regional markets isn’t all work and no play, either. One of the fiercest, toughest professional sporting events in the world, the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) concluded a few weeks ago in The Hague after crossing four oceans, touching six continents and landing in 12 host cities. I had the privilege to watch the race at one of the in-port villages in Guangzhou in February this year with Joel, as we worked alongside the client to further amplify their brand through events like this.
Indeed, work does take me places! The opportunity to travel and work across the region is partly why I love working at RICE. I learn so much each time I work on a cross-regional project.
To date, my biggest nerve-wrecking moment is being left onsite with a client in an unfamiliar place. It’s times like these that you feel quite handicapped, realising how much you value having a reliable team to fall back on. That said, with every adversity, I also believe there lies an opportunity for growth and lessons to learn. Being alone with the client means you have to stand up for yourself and project confidence. Preparing myself for scenarios like this, I read up as much as possible before any client event, and anticipate questions that may arise whether from the client or journalist.
With only 72 hours in Hong Kong, I did not get much time out to try some of the food I wanted to, but I did grab a cup of locally-brewed coffee, walk down the streets nearby the hotel and breathe a little.
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