A is for Authenticity: Global Study from Cohn & Wolfe Defines Authenticity in the Eyes of Consumers and Reveals the 100 Most Authentic Brands

Reading about Volkswagen’s emissions scandal last year was like witnessing a chandelier fall and shatter all over the floor. The German carmaker who earned its global reputation for its engineering excellence and reliability was found to be cheating on emissions tests by installing software that could make their cars look cleaner, while they were actually emitting between ten to forty times the legal limit of the major atmospheric pollutant nitrogen oxide. That is a real crash.

When I got to this press release Global Study from Cohn & Wolfe Defines Authenticity in the Eyes of Consumers and Reveals the 100 Most Authentic Brands, published in April by global communications agency Cohn & Wolfe, I could not help but look for Volkswagen’s place in the chart.

(Source: Quotefancy.com)

Cohn & Wolfe has been studying authenticity as a guiding principle and business practice since 2012. In its latest release of Authentic 100, an annual index of global brands ranked by 12,000 consumers from 14 countries around the globe based on their perception of authenticity, it is revealed that there is a large “authenticity gap” between brands and consumers, with 75 percent of consumers surveyed indicating that brands and companies have a credibility problem.

The agency defines authenticity by citing seven attributes, which can be condensed into three distinct “drivers” of authenticity:

– Reliable: It demonstrates that authenticity is primarily about delivery to the consumer. The first is ‘delivers on promises’ and the second is ‘high quality’.
Respectful: It is simply about managing human relationships carefully. There are two attributes in this cluster; the first is ‘treats customers well’, and the second is ‘protects customer privacy and data’.
– Real: It is to many observers the most obvious interpretation of authenticity. So it is perhaps surprising that, to consumers, it comes in third. The two attributes that fall under this cluster are “communicates honestly’ and ‘acts with integrity’.

It always pays off to be real, and not just in monetary terms. Encouraging findings from this Cohn & Wolfe study are that approximately nine out of 10 consumers are willing to reward a brand for the authenticity it exhibits. 52 percent would recommend the brand to family and friends; 49 percent would pledge loyalty to the brand. In the 2014 edition of the same study, 47% of the surveyed consumers even said they would be happy to work for these authentic brands.

Consumers are no fools, they will find out sooner or later — it is just a matter of time. Boasting about the benefits and strengths of your products/services may work well at first but as time passes, the truth unfolds. Falling short of consumers’ expectations and not delivering on your promises inevitably devalue your brand image and drive consumers away in the long term.

While the cheating software may have helped the brand pass the emissions tests (at least for a while before the scandal broke out), it might not when it comes to the test on brand authenticity. Well, this is my belief — initially.

So it is surprising to see Volkswagen taking 71st spot on the list. Perhaps the following quote by Donna Imperato, CEO of Cohn & Wolfe explains this a bit:

“In fact, consumers will forgive the occasional corporate misstep if a company is upfront, and addresses the issue head-on.”

My takeaway from the survey? We can convince ourselves that there is always a silver lining — consumers are both forgiving and forgetful creatures.

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The blog was written by Abby Tsang, Editor at PR Newswire.

MEDIA NEWS: Asia Media Moves for the Week Ending 15 May 2016

PR Newswire’s Media Research Department makes thousands of updates to the database of journalists and bloggers that underpins our Agility media targeting and distribution platform.  Below is a sampling of recent media moves and news across Asia-Pacific from the research team.

 

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Economic Times

Ms. Annie Liu joined as Journalist (China News)

 

Indonesia

SWA

Mr.Sudarmadi joined as Senior Editor

Mr.Eddy Dwinanto Iskandar joined as Editor

Mr.Asep Mohammad B S joined as Editor

Mr.Teguh Sri Pambudi joined as  Senior Editor

Mrs.Henni T Soelaeman joined as Senior Editor

Mrs.Herning Banirestu joined as Reporter

Ms.Dede Suryadi joined  as Editor

 

Malaysia

Media Hiburan

Mr.Syafil Syazwan Jefri left as Journalist

Mr.Hairul Hasraf Niwan joined as Reporter

Ms.Nor Azira Hadi joined as  Reporter

Ms.Norhaslina Md Nor joined as Reporter

Ms.Wan Rahayu Wan Mohd joined as Reporter

Mr.Zulqarnain Abu Hassan joined as Reporter

 

Singapore

L’Officiel Singapore

Mr.Kenny Loh joined as Features Editor

 

South Korea

Newsweek Korean Edition

Mr. Jin-Woo Cha left as Senior Editor

 

Taiwan

 

Harvard Business Review (Chinese Edition)

Ms. Li Yu-Yee replaced Ms. Zhang Yu-Wen as Editor

 

 

 

To see the rest of the recent media moves and news across Asia-Pacific click here

 

 

Charmaine Chow is the Media Research Manager for PR Newswire. For more media related news, follow us at @PRNA4media.   

Meet the Media: Business Capital Asia

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Have you ever needed industry-specific information and details on key businesses across the region but find it time-consuming to gather information about individual companies? Business Capital Asia (BCA) offers a convenient solution to C-level executives and potential investors by profiling businesses, keeping them informed of the investment and development opportunities that deserve special attention in these economically tumultuous times.

Published by Business Capital Intelligence (BCI), BCA is an online B2B bi-monthly magazine, offering timely insights on investment opportunities, products, solutions and services across the region. Several renowned companies have been featured in its latest issue, including Tong Eng Group, Aurum Land, UM Land and Hatten Group. BCA has established its credibility by attracting 35,000 subscribers comprising top-level management professionals, investment consortiums, venture capital companies and individuals with a net profit of USD five million and above.

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“A lot of the times, when you are looking for vendors of a particular product or service to complement your own organisation, you are spoilt for choice,” said Mohan Raj Valliappan, Founder and Research Director at BCI. “Every vendor or solution provider that you speak with is going to say they are the best, but there is always a need to substantiate such claims of one’s standing amongst counterparts. Our magazine offers companies the platform to put their best foot forward and market themselves as preferred solution providers who can best caters to their needs.”

The magazine covers industries from environmental technology, ICT, maritime, manufacturing and telecom, to food & beverage, travel and tourism, and construction and property.

According to Mohan, “These industries have the most need when it comes to sourcing for vendors and investment opportunities. Many times, someone who is looking to invest a sizeable amount of money would look at safe, low-risk investments like property development or open up a food and beverage franchise. These are the industries that make the economy work.”

His decision to start BCI stemmed from his experiences in the events and online digital marketing industries, where he encountered numerous clients who were spending large amounts of money to become an event vendor just to reach out to their target audience or clients attending events, in hopes of finding suitable vendors to address their needs.

Soon, Mohan realised there was “a huge gap between giving the right information and making money”. He said, “Quite often, the company organising the event or conference is more focused on making money rather than giving the right information for investors to learn more about solution providers. We are trying to bridge that gap by providing detailed, useful information in our magazine.”

In order to ensure they only feature the best of the best, BCA’s research team lays the groundwork by investigating companies’ value propositions and key differentiators, as well as determining what makes them tick. Besides reading a wide selection of international business magazines and researching the internet, the team also speaks to senior management officers, corporate associations and its members, to gather credible information to best present the companies they work with.

As most companies are hesitant to reveal such detailed information, Mohan’s approach towards them is simple.

“Having integrity in speaking about your company builds your business in the long run, because that differentiates you from the rest, especially those that are offering similar services,” he elaborated.  “There also needs to be a platform where they can showcase their credibility alongside prestigious projects, and BCA can help them with that.”

When asked if BCA will only feature MNCs, Mohan was resolute in his belief to maintain the magazine’s diversity by writing about SMEs and recognising their successes.

“The Asia-Pacific region is a fertile ground for MEs that are up and coming. Although these established companies are not as large as MNCs, they are still earning about 20-30 million per annum.”

Mohan strongly believes in quality over quantity, which is not only reflected in the magazine’s editorials, but also within the team at BCI. Rather than overseeing a group of 100-200 individuals, he works with the core team and their auxiliary staff who are equipped with skill sets that enable them to effectively communicate clients’ messages through writing, graphic design and marketing.

“We basically have a team of individuals that are able to understand a company’s main differentiator, flow that objective down the lines and present our content accordingly, to what the real time news is all about,” he said.

In its April/May issue released on 15th April 2016, the team has bagged a few noteworthy projects. Recently, the magazine did a special coverage on the 2016 Singapore Yacht Show, one of the premier boating shows in Asia- Pacific, and will cover the International Property Awards in its upcoming issues.

Mohan added, “We will also be working closely with various franchising sources to address the various food and beverage franchising opportunities available in Asia-Pacific. We often see a lot of franchising coming from the west to the east, so we are trying to focus on whether there is an opportunity for franchises in this region to go west.”

BCI plans to roll out more digital solutions such as EDM advertising and leverage the power of social media to advertise clients’ messages. Also, Mohan aims to eventually publish the magazine in different languages and delve into events management. Whilst the team has aspirations for the company and the magazine, their ultimate goal for now is to be the go-to resource for individuals and companies, through their publication.

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Individuals and companies interested in joining the team or advertising in the magazine may email Mohan or drop him a message on LinkedIn.

About Mohan Raj Valliappan:

Mohan Raj Valliappan has over 22 years of business development experience in various industries ranging from property, manufacturing and ICT to transportation, airports and events. He enjoys reading up on a wide range of topics, including current affairs and major corporate acquisitions. Mohan believes, “It’s not about the sector that you work in, it’s about what you can bring to the sector, the difference that you can make.”

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*Editor’s Note: PR Newswire has rolled out a new online survey, titled “2016 Journalists’ Working Status and News Gathering Habits in Asia-Pacific”, to explore how the new era of digital communication has impacted the professional lives of journalists. The short survey welcomes input from the media community in six major markets – Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan, and is open for participation until May 16, 2016Stand a chance to win an iPad Air by taking part in the survey

Janice Tan is the Audience Development Executive in Singapore at PR Newswire. If you would like your publication to be featured, please get in touch. Follow us on Twitter for more media-related news.

MEDIA NEWS: Asia Media Moves for the Week Ending 29 Apr 2016

PR Newswire’s Media Research Department makes thousands of updates to the database of journalists and bloggers that underpins our Agility media targeting and distribution platform.  Below is a sampling of recent media moves and news across Asia-Pacific from the research team.

 

 

Hong Kong

Sky Post

Mr. Patrick Ng joined as Editor

Ms. Cynthia Chak joined as Senior Reporter

 

Indonesia

CNN Indonesia TV

Mr.Avandi Wiradinata joined as Senior Producer

 

Malaysia

The Edge – Malaysia

Ms.Kathy Fong joined Executive Editor

 

Singapore

Cleo- Singapore Edition

Ms.Jo Upcraft left as Editor

Ms. Chua Kit Wei replaced Ms.Kamei Cheong as Lifestyle Editor

Ms.Lui Kai Ying replaced Ms. Katherine Teo as Editorial Assistant

Ms.Claire Starkey joined as Editor-in-Chief

 

South Korea

Maeil Business Newspaper

Mr. Jack Son left as Senior Reporter

Mr. Jong-Seong Hong left as Reporter – Enterprise Management News Division

Ms. Yu-Jin Lee left as Reporter – Distribution Economic News Division

Ms. Hee-Young Cho joined as Reporter

Mr. Jack Son joined as Reporter

Mr. Seong-Hoon Song joined as Reporter

Mr. Seung-Hoon Lee joined as Reporter

Mr. In-Soo Kim joined as Chief of Social News Division

 

Taiwan

Business Weekly

Ms. Sandra Chiu replaced Mr. Zhang Yi-Jun as Managing Editor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see the rest of the recent media moves and news across Asia-Pacific click here

 

 

Charmaine Chow is the Media Research Manager for PR Newswire. For more media related news, follow us at @PRNA4media.        

7 Do’s and Don’ts When Pitching Mashable Asia

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Mashable is currently one of the most popular virtual news websites, producing a wide variety of content ranging from hard news to the latest developments in the technology, entertainment and lifestyle industries, as well as web culture and internet trends in its “Watercooler” section. The site boasts 45 million monthly unique views and is a hit among 18 to 40 year olds.

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Not long ago, Victoria Ho, Mashable Asia’s Editor, shared her thoughts on changes in the Singapore media landscape and the debate between print and digital media in our Media Q&A. Ho has over 10 years of experience in the media industry and was previously a senior editor at Migme, a social entertainment platform. She also wrote for The Business Times and The Straits Times in Singapore, as well as TechCrunch, ZDNet, the Nikkei Asian Review and Women’s Wear Daily.

She hopes online readers will have an educational and enlightening experience when browsing through the website and view it as a definitive news source. With this in mind, how can communications professionals add value to Mashable Asia and maximise the chances of their story getting picked up? Ho provided a list of Do’s and Don’ts to bear in mind when pitching to the Asia team.

DO explain the importance of the story. “Explain in one to two sentences what the company does and what is significant about the piece of news without the big story in front, whether it is a new product or change of leadership. It saves the journalist a bit of time. If they can’t immediately Google someone they can make a call on whether it’s something to jump on,” said Ho.

DO follow up. “Sometimes people see the email on the go and they forget to come back to you. I think it is okay to follow up. I have no hard feelings towards people who bug me. Following up also helps the PR person shape the pitch differently or reveal different facets of the story that may not have been obvious at the start to the reporter,” Ho explained.

DO respond to questions you have answers to. If they are off-the-cuff questions that do not require quotes or if the journalist needs more background information, reply in the interest of time. Ho elaborated, “This helps the story go through. If the journalist thinks, ‘Well it’s pending and I don’t know anything about this company’, they’ll just file it away. By the time an official response comes back, your story would be old. PR professionals need to know their client well; do some reading up on your client’s news and have a deeper understanding of what the update is, what it means and how it impacts people.”

DON’T pitch without knowing the publication’s editorial direction. Rather than doing a blanket pitch for each media segment, research in detail about each media outlet’s reader demographics and the type of news it covers, and customise your pitch to suit the outlet’s content.

“I get pitches all the time for stories that don’t suit Mashable’s readership. I think it is not difficult to notice what our readership is,” revealed Ho. “We cover news all the way to Internet memes for readers between the ages of 18 to 40 years. I receive pitches from people thinking that we are Buzzfeed, including listicles and enterprise news. It is really easy to just take a look at our website and know that we’re not covering B2B news. Re-angling a pitch trusting that the journalist will make a call on it is more valuable than a blanket pitch.”

DON’T be intrusive. “Don’t send an email and ring within the next half hour to ask if somebody got your email. I think emails generally do reach their destination, so it’s not necessary to ask,” said Ho. “Since journalists are always in meetings or on the go, it would be much better if you could resend the same email and say ‘Just wanted to put this back on the top of your inbox’. This would be a less intrusive way of following up.”

DON’T oversell your story. Do not over promise journalists on what will happen at an event or the topics your clients are able to speak on. “I’ve gone to events where people have said everything just to get me there, such as ‘It’s exclusive’, which is not true because three other journalists were present when I showed up. It is the PR professional’s job to manage the media’s expectations and let us know what your clients can or cannot say, as well as how the event will provide us with a deeper understanding of other issues related to the company if we cannot quote their spokesperson.”

DON’T use a clickbait headline for your press release. “I always get that in subject headers,” said Ho. “If the story is good or if there is a really good reason why you should use a clickbait headline, well it might not be a great one but at least you didn’t betray your readers. However, at the end of the day, writing a headline just for the clicks alienates your readers.”

Think you might have a pitch that will interest Mashable Asia? Contact Victoria Ho today. Don’t forget to follow Mashable Asia on Twitter and Facebook to keep abreast of their latest news and feature stories.

From Mashable to Reuters, not all media outreach is created equal, and earned media coverage can seem elusive to even the most seasoned communications professional. Download our eBook 10 Tips to Leverage the Power of Storytelling for best practices on earning more media pickups and grabbing audience attention through multimedia assets. Also download PR Newswire’s latest 2016 PR Calendar to keep up with major news events and deliver targeted quality content to effectively hook your audiences.

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*Editor’s Note: PR Newswire has rolled out a new online survey, titled “2016 Journalists’ Working Status and News Gathering Habits in Asia-Pacific”, to explore how the new era of digital communication has impacted the professional lives of journalists. The short survey welcomes input from the media community in six major markets – Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan, and is open for participation until May 16, 2016Stand a chance to win an iPad Air by taking part in the survey

Janice Tan is the Audience Development Executive in Singapore at PR Newswire. Follow us on Twitter for more media-related news.