Media Q&A with “Branding in Asia”: The latest thoughtful creative work beats celebrity content anytime
Content marketing is an emerging form of marketing in South Korea as it is incredibly hard to get and hold the consumers’ attention in this tech-savvy country. To succeed, content needs to be creative, offer value while being infused with your brand’s core value propositions. This interview features Bobby McGill, founder of ‘Branding in Asia’, an online publication that features creative work and insights on branding, advertising as well as marketing, across the Asia-Pacific.
- Could you please tell us a bit more about yourself?
I’ve been writing professionally since 1997. After spending most of my 20’s writing and performing hip hop music, I got a lucky break during university that landed me a short-term staff writing position with the San Francisco Examiner covering the Dot.com boom.
With that sitting atop my nearly-blank writing resume, I was able to talk my way into gigs writing for all manner of publications until 2002 when I decided it was time for a change and headed to South Korea – where I’ve been ever since along with stints in Bangkok and China.
Over the course of my time here I’ve founded two magazines, the most recent being Branding in Asia Magazine, earned a Masters in English Literature and then a Ph.D. in International Studies, and am currently lecturing on branding and marketing at a university.
It’s been a busy and fun ride, but selling everything I had and moving to Asia with two suitcases and a guitar was one of the best decisions I ever made. Sorry, I’ve never been good at “brief.”
- What specific stories is Branding in Asia usually on the lookout for?
Branding in Asia is one of several advertising trade publishers in Asia, covering the work of advertising agencies and brand marketers, featuring news, creative work, profiles, and insights. We are a trusted source of information formarketers seeking to understand what’s happening in the advertising, marketing, and branding industries across the region.
Our readership includes professionals from around the world looking for the latest campaign coverage, interviews, new hires, and other industry trends.
We’ve also launched several popular original features that are solely penned by contributors such as “Two Ads I Like and One I Don’t,” and “One Under 30: Young Creative Spotlight.”
- From your media experiences, what are some of the best journalist practices you have come across? Anything PRs should avoid doing?
There is a lot of good work being done out there in the media, so I’d be hard-pressed to narrow it down to one or a few. The coverage I’m most interested in is creative work, especially with insights from the people that are actually creating it.
In terms of what PRs should avoid? Having done my share of marketing communications writing over the years on the side, I have a full appreciation for people in that industry – it’s not easy to create a buzz or stir excitement in a reporter with something that, at times, might not be that exciting.
So, my advice is don’t oversell it. It’s a branding basic – be true, be proud, tell it like it is, and see if it resonates.
- What should PR professionals take note of when pitching to Branding in Asia?
To continue the point I made in the previous question: Go easy on the hyped-up language. Most reporters cut the salesy, self-promotional prose anyway, so just shoot straight. “Here’s what our brand has done or is doing, this is why it matters, this is how we did it, and where we look for it to go.” Done.
- What trends & developments are you currently keeping tabs on in the Branding/Marketing scene?
I think probably the most interesting for me is the evolution of creative ad and marketing work in the developing, as well as developed markets in Asia.
You look at a lot of markets where the ad work has traditionally been celebrity-driven, with brands putting their products or services in the hands of a trending star and telling them to smile and say the brand name as many times as possible while hamming it up for the camera. That’s starting to dissipate. More and more you’re seeing thoughtful, resonant creative work that strikes a deeper, more enduring chord with consumers when it’s done right. I love that – especially stuff coming out of up-and-coming shops.
- What’s unique about Branding in Asia and how does it differ from other media?
As we hit four years since we started, we’re the rising new kid on the block in a field of well-staffed, well-financed competitors.
We’re really proud of the niche we’ve carved out and will continue to expand upon that with the hope that we can make a worthwhile contribution to covering an exciting, ever-evolving region.
This article is contributed by Hwajin Choi, the Audience Development Executive in Korea at PR Newswire. If you would like to be featured, please get in touch with her at email@example.com