COVID-19 Comms: Media Angles in the Post-Pandemic World

After two months of lockdowns and restrictions, the COVID-19 situation in APAC is lightening up. Markets such as Mainland China, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam are soldiering on with their economic activities and recovery plans to catch up with revenue gaps. With the latest developments, media angles have also evolved. Earlier this month, media outlets told PR Newswire that their focus was on corporate social responsibility efforts and human interest stories on goodwill contributions. With markets transiting to the recovery stage, how will editorial directions shift in tandem? We speak to two Hong Kong-based journalists Cynthia Chak, Senior Reporter of Sky Post and Rick Boost, Regional Editor at Marketing Magazine to get their views on the post COVID-19 media coverage. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1719"] News articles on hard news topics such as rentals/leases, quarantine policies and employment support have been on the rise since early May. (Source: Cision Communications Cloud)[/caption]   According to data from the  Cision Communications Cloud®, some hard news topics are gaining traction in the Hong Kong media landscape since early May when social distancing measures were eased. They include pertinent issues such as rental and leasing concessions in the embattled retail sector, the introduction of quarantines and monitoring of inbound travelers, and the employment support scheme and subsidies to provide support to the workforce. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1151"] News articles, which include keywords such as rent, leasing, market, rent relief, rent reduction, Individual Visit Scheme, Concessionary rent and concession, have been trending in the Hong Kong after the peak of the COVID-19 situation. (Source: Cision Communications Cloud)[/caption]   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1649"] News articles on product launches, promotions and corporate announcements have seen a resurgence from late April in Hong Kong. (Source: Cision Communications Cloud)[/caption]   During the peak of the pandemic in March, most companies avoid issuing corporate news releases, especially those on award announcements, product launches and talent appointments. However, the number of news on product launches and corporate announcements rebounded from mid-April, with more companies resuming business. The Media’s Perspective   Rick Boost Regional Editor (Hong Kong), Marketing Magazine Editorial outlets are exposing any bright sides to the situation and their benefits in these stressful times. Some of the issues that have emerged are how people from all walks of life are working from home and how those, who are not as tech-savvy, are picking up digital skills. However, I think these story angles are evolving as we reflect on working in a post-pandemic world. Some aspects will resemble post-apocalyptic hyperboles on rebuilding societies, while some changes will be short-lived until normality resumes. Covering B2B industry news Hearing about industry awards these days immediately gives people a mild shock. Awards are from the “before time” when people could still meet in physical groups. The first thing to consider about writing such news is the safety precautions of organising these events and if there are interesting methods that have allowed events to retain some element of glamour or fun. PR professionals often forget that journalists are more likely to cover smaller events that provide concrete and well-organized information than potentially huge events with no real information on hand. Providing figures, quotes, and a clear description of the details give us what we need far more than a hundred adjectives about how wonderful the news is. If a product can help people during this awful time, don’t just say it’s great, explain to us what it does.   Cynthia Chak Senior Reporter(Local news), Sky Post During the outbreak phase, I mostly reported on the depressing situation in the travel and F&B industry and how industry players are coping with the decline in market revenue. The media focused on stories on corporate social responsibility and contributions from good Samaritans. Now, we follow up on the state of the economy such as government employment protection policies, subsidies from various parties, and the disbursement of funds to people. On the consumer market: Theme parks and major shopping malls are key areas in my current news focus. During the lockdown, malls experienced such a significant reduction in footfall that they became ghost towns and shops are no longer renewing their leases. Although the infection rates have subsided, the Individual Visit Scheme, which allows travelers from Mainland China to visit Hong Kong and Macau, remains halted. How are retailers dealing with this roadblock? How brands can retain their customers through lucky draws and gift vouchers? How landlords are subsidizing rental rates to tenants? On the education sector: Besides addressing the emotional toll that the COVID-19 situation has imposed on students, the resumption of classes in secondary schools raises concerns on the adequacy of hygiene measures in campuses. For graduating students in universities, how will their job prospects be affected, and which industries are providing internships that can lead to full-time job opportunities? On public health concerns: Sports facilities, such as swimming pools, have re-opened. Will sports activities spark a second wave of the outbreak? I will also look into stories that provide updates on how the impact of public health conditions by easing local social-distancing measures. On the business world: Some key questions on my mind: Which industries have stopped hiring new talent? What are the latest developments on resuming government services, such us conducting driver’s license tests?   RELATED:  COVID-19 Comms: Turning a Crisis into Media Opportunities   This article is written by Kate Wong, Audience Development Manager at PR Newswire and Yannis Leung, an Audience Development Intern, who is an English Studies undergraduate at the City University of Hong Kong.  

2020-05-28 14:29

COVID-19 Comms: Developing Communications Plans for Crisis Recovery and Beyond

The road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming imminent, as infection rates in some APAC markets such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Vietnam, are declining. As governments prepare to implement measures to kickstart their economies, public concerns have shifted from crisis response to navigating economic and social recovery. Thus, it is crucial for communications professionals to adapt their strategies to reconnect with their audiences. In the latest episode of PR Newswire’s webinar series on COVID Comms, we get crisis recovery insights from John Kerr, CEO of Edelman Singapore, and Riley Heng, Country Manager, Australia and Head of Marketing at MetroResidences.  [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="239"] John Kerr, CEO, Edelman Singapore[/caption]   Kerr highlighted four areas of opportunity that communicators should keep in mind when they shape their crisis recovery plans. 1. Have business coherence In the post-COVID-19 age, organizations need to show that they can remain relevant. Hence, it is important to build brand resilience, which is the result of establishing a brand reputation and trust. This gives brands the capacity to anticipate unforeseen events. “The best path towards resilience is agility and planning for the reality of dealing with multiple issues that pop up every day,” he said. “As long as you have coherence and everything is defendable from what you say and what you do, then you should be okay.” In order to achieve business coherence, brands can conduct an audit of their actions and experiences provided by their touchpoints and operational systems.  2. Know your audience  These days, understanding your customers can be done in innovative ways through data analytics. Everything, from their whereabouts to the types of messages they engage with, can be analyzed. Kerr added that Edelman’s predictive intelligence center spearheads new ways of piecing a complete picture of consumers which is more relevant and effective than the traditional ways of building customer segments and personas.  To that end, he shared how Edelman developed an emotion tracking device for Shell Malaysia, which analyses the feelings of people driving on certain roads. The results were used to determine the type of F&B offerings at petrol stations, which saw sales increase by 15%.  3. Transmedia storytelling  Brands need to take a leaf from the books of news companies, which are adapting to the transmedia world by having a presence where their audiences are. He said: “Brands need to think of themselves as publishers, and which platforms to amplify and distribute news and information to their audiences.” He revealed that producing client content such as thought leadership articles on Linkedin is one of Edelman Singapore’s fastest-growing businesses at the moment.  He added: “PR Newswire is also beneficiary of this greater desire to go directly to audiences, but still with an earned media-centric mindset.”  4. Measurement and Attribution  [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="687"] The A3 (A cubed) measurement model is a behavioral matrix that measures impact through Attention, Attitude and Action of audiences. (Credit: Edelman)[/caption]   With the current budget constraints, Kerr believes that companies will focus more on efficiency and performance, which means that public relations activities need to have a direct impact on business.  He added that these 4 key objectives that should be built into any communications plan: how to increase sales, how to protect and enhance your licence to operate, how do you remain an employer of choice and how do you build advocacy across broader communities. On performance metrics, he shared the A3 (A cubed) measurement model, a behavioral matrix that measures impact through the Attention, Attitude, and Action of audiences that can be applied across marketing and communications disciplines.  Preparing for recovery in the hospitality industry [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="262"] Riley Heng, Country Manager, Australia and Head of Marketing at MetroResidences. [/caption]   For Heng, she shared her crisis response and recovery experiences from the perspective of being in the hospitality industry, which is one of the hardest-hit sectors by the COVID-19 crisis.  Here are the communications goals set by serviced apartments platform MetroResidences in March, when the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. The news sparked cancellations and refunds across its properties in light of travel restrictions.  Provide assurance: Increase response rates to customers. Move away from communications templates and fully understand the situation before engaging with customers on a personal level.  Build trust:  Show that you are fully aligned with new developments and address concerns quickly. It is important to walk the talk on being there for customers.   Instill faith: Address customers' concerns when they are ready to travel again and have relevant measures in place.  [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="600"] MetroResidences launched the Safe Home Programme to provide accommodation for essential frontline workers earlier this month. (Photo: MetroResidences)[/caption]   Some of the measures by MetroResidences included flexible reservation arrangements and virtual viewing of its apartments on its website. In mid-May, it started a Safe Home Programme, which provides free or discounted accommodation to healthcare and frontline workers in Singapore and Japan.  She also suggested that these following points should be considered when planning for crisis recovery in the hospitality sector:  Prepare for pent-up demand during the recovery period: “We are organizing our operations to prepare what should be done the day when travel restrictions are lifted. There will be new guidelines and rules, so we need to think about what we can do to help travelers ease into this new normal," she said.  Introduce more flexible reservation options: Some travelers have encountered traumatic experiences of canceling their reservations that were bought at non-refundable rates and will prefer more flexible booking options in this uncertain climate.    Missed the webinars? You can watch them on-demand here, as part of our COVID-19 communications resources page.   This blog post is written by Kenneth Goh, Senior Marketing Executive at PR Newswire. A former journalist, he relishes keeping track of breaking news as much as telling stories with trends and data. Connect with him via Linkedin.

2020-05-22 09:32

Cision’s 2020 State of the Media Report: Provide Resources, not Releases and Other Top Tips from Journalists

The first half of 2020 has been riddled with unprecedented challenges for journalists as the media industry is reeling from the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides dealing with an influx of news and filing their stories at home, some of them are now grappling with the uncertain financial situation of media organisations. To make sense of this conundrum, PR Newswire’s parent company Cision has recently released its 2020 State of the Media Report, an annual survey that delves into the priorities, challenges and trends in the global media landscape. Cision invited three journalists, who are based in the United States and Canada, to discuss the report’s findings in a webinar. They are Sarah Paynter, Reporter, Yahoo! Finance, Anthony Ha, Senior Writer, TechCrunch and Julie Carl, Senior Editor, Toronto Star to share how communications professionals can be helpful and add value to their work during this challenging period.   1. Make press releases straightforward and effective According to the 2020 State of the Media report, press releases are ranked the most useful source of brand information by journalists.  [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="817"] (Source: Cision 2020 State of the Media Report)[/caption]   Julie Carl, Senior Editor, Toronto Star said: “ A press releases can close the gap between ‘I know who you are’ and ‘you’re someone new’.” She adds that the e-mail subject line should not just say ‘press release’ and the content should be tightly written, on top having a spokesperson that is readily accessible.  One of her pet peeves is receiving press releases that are loaded with buzzwords. “We don’t know what these words mean,” she says. “Put them in simple and everyday terms; pretend that you’re telling something to your grandmother.”  For technology-related press releases, Anthony Ha, Senior Writer, TechCrunch points out that that there is “a tendency to slide into nebulous language”. He said: “The press release ends up being a bunch of buzzwords that I don't understand. When you are talking about new products, include a specific description of what the product does.” Besides press releases, some journalists regularly receive reports and studies that they use to substantiate key points in their articles. Sarah Paynter, a Yahoo Finance reporter, prefers to use reports and studies by large and well-known organizations, as the information tends to be more credible. That said, she is still open to using data and findings from start-ups. She says: “I will want to know about their research methodology and reach out to some experts to see if the source is trustworthy. If you are a start-up, you just have to be a quality organization and that will speak for itself.    2. Send targeted and relevant email pitches [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="708"] (Source: Cision's 2020 State of the Media Report)[/caption]   Carl thinks that building a personal connection with journalists goes a long way in ensuring that pitches get picked up down the road. She recalled: “When I used to go out to speak to community groups about how they could get media coverage, I urged them to look out for for a reporter who covers topics that you’d want a story on. You either call them up or email them and say 'I think you are doing a wonderful job, I have been reading your work'. That will make the pitch stand out as we only hear about what we did wrong!” She added that it is vital to understand upcoming topics that a reporter is likely to cover in light of recent news, and present relevant spokespersons that can contribute their perspectives to the article. She said: "Tell the reporter ‘If ever the day comes when you need someone to comment on a topic, I have some ideal people' and get ready to hand over their contact details.” This will leave a positive impression on journalists as the PR professional will be viewed as a reliable source who can be tapped on for future stories.  Understanding the media organization’s structure and work dynamics is also crucial. Ha said: “Try and find out more about the organization you are pitching to. This is not necessarily transparent but at TechCrunch, we are a very writer-driven organization, so it makes sense to pitch to a writer rather than an editor.”  Paynter added: “I may not remember a good pitch but I do remember people who have reached out to me as a person.” She recounted an e-mail pitch with the title ‘Resources, not Releases’. “The PR professional talked me through on what their company does and established a relationship first before going into the pitch, so developing a relationship with a reporter is very important,” she concluded.   3. The impact of COVID-19 on journalists [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"] The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted news-gathering practices in newsrooms around the world.[/caption]   The pandemic has forced some newsrooms to implement remote work arrangements, with many journalists working from home or on staggered shifts for the foreseeable future.  What Carl misses most is the interactions with her colleagues. She lamented: “What is lost in that is the casual conversations with your colleagues, like ‘I heard you are going to do this but now you are not going to do it. Does it fit here?’ Stories evolve better in a newsroom - like building a mosaic.”  For Ha, working remotely has set clearer boundaries of office hours for him, despite the porous work situation. He said: “I have no interest in answering any work emails at 9pm unless Google has acquired Facebook. Just because I am home and can write a story doesn’t mean that I want to.”  This period can also be overwhelming for journalists, who have to cover COVID-19 related stories, which are mostly negative in nature, on a daily basis. This has left some of them feeling stressed and burnt-out.  On managing her mental health, Paynter said: “ I am narrowing the scope of the things I am going to cover and am not responding to as many emails as before. That is the strategy at my organization that I should focus more on important things and not get caught up on the smaller things.    Download Cision’s 2020 State of the Media Report to get more journalist insights on pitching preferences, and trends and challenges in today’s complex media landscape so that you can create better relationships with the media and gain more coverage.   This blog post is written by Kenneth Goh, Senior Marketing Executive at PR Newswire. A former journalist, he relishes keeping track of breaking news as much as telling stories with trends and data. Connect with him via Linkedin.

2020-05-19 09:30

COVID-19 Comms: How Brands are Helping Through Healthcare Initiatives?

With the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases across the world, the healthcare industry has been working tirelessly to fight the ongoing battle. Behind the frontlines, companies from all walks of life are chipping in by donating medical supplies, developing mobile apps to make healthcare services more accessible, building software to monitor one’s health and ensure social distancing, and increasing the production of medical supplies. Healthcare professionals are also hosting webinars to share to empower the public with healthcare and hygiene tips. Here are some initiatives from companies in APAC that aim to keep audiences in the pink of health. Digital Health Platforms  Fullerton Health Launches a Free COVID-19 Symptom Checker and Chat Function for Singapore, with Plans to Roll Out Across Asia Pacific [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="368"] The LiveFuller COVID-19 Symptom Checker App provides useful and timely medical advice. (Photo: Fullerton Health)[/caption]   Healthcare platform Fullerton Health launched a COVID-19 symptom checker and chat function on its LiveFuller mobile application platform. The free-for-use app features the debut of an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled symptom checker, which is offered in the four official languages: English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil. The checker provides recommendations on next steps for users and directs them to where they can seek care or additional information, such as subsidised care at public health clinics or mental health helplines.  Fullerton Health intends to make the symptom checker available for free across Asia-Pacific. Another function is the in-app chat function, which is operated in both English and Mandarin, and users can interact with a Fullerton Health team member through leaving a message or voice note.   Prudential launches digital health app, Pulse by Prudential, to make healthcare more accessible and affordable to everyone amid COVID-19 spread [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="220"] With Pulse by Prudential, users can check their symptoms; conduct a digital health assessment to better understand future disease risks; and seek timely health advice, at any time and from anywhere. (Photo: Prudential)[/caption]   Insurance company Prudential has launched an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered mobile app, Pulse by Prudential. The app provides Singapore residents with 24/7 access to healthcare services and real-time health information. With Pulse, users can check their symptoms; conduct a digital health assessment to understand future disease risks, and seek timely health advice without having to leave their homes. Prudential is also providing a daily allowance to Pulse users in the event that they are hospitalized for COVID-19. The digital health app empowers people to take charge of their health, well-being, while more value-added services will be rolled out in the second half of this year.     AI Hub Singapore creates the first AI computer vision application that allows businesses to monitor social distancing with a mobile phone [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="800"] The SafeDistancer app turns a mobile phone into a social distance monitoring instrument. (Photo: AI Hub)[/caption]   AI solutions company AI Hub Singapore has created a mobile application, SafeDistancer that turns mobile devices into social distance monitoring instruments. The app makes use of AI and computer vision to detect human movement in the phone’s camera frame and monitors the distance between people in real-time. When people are too close together, the app will emit alarms to highlight breaches. The application respects personal privacy as it does not send images across a network. It is designed to not recognize faces, nor does it store any images on the device. To make it easier for businesses to come on board, the app can be integrated with existing enterprise infrastructure.   DoctorOnCall Partners Shopee Malaysia to Offer More COVID-19 Test Options to Shoppers [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="165"] The DoctorOnCall Official Shop on Shopee Malaysia. (Photo: DoctorOnCall)[/caption]   Malaysia-based digital health platform DoctorOnCall has partnered with e-commerce platform Shopee Malaysia. On the DoctorOnCall official store on Shopee Mall, customers can purchase COVID-19 real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) test kits. They can also buy vouchers on Shopee to purchase medication and have them delivered to their homes via the DoctorOnCall platform. The two companies are co-hosting a series of online health education and awareness programmes on Shopee Live, which covers topics such as immunization and healthy ways to celebrate Hari Raya Puasa, which falls on 24 May.   Medical Supplies DoctorxDentist Collaborates with Brand Partners to Donate Essential Medical Supplies to Community Isolation Facility at Singapore Expo [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="649"] A doctor participating on the DoctorXDentist platform. (Photo: DoctorXDentist)[/caption]   In response to the sharp spike in infection cases in foreign worker dormitories in Singapore, medical healthcare start-up DoctorxDentist has partnered with air purifier company Blueair and healthcare firm Shulke to donate 100 units of air purifiers and 500 bottles of hand sanitizers to the Community Isolation Facility at Singapore Expo, where some of the workers are housed. With the rise in fake medical news, especially around COVID-19, DoctorxDentist, which is a free online platform offering professional and trusted medical advice, has allowed only certified medical specialists who are registered with the Singapore Medical Council to contribute on the platform.   SEASUN BIOMATERIALS to launch COVID-19 Rapid Molecular Assay [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="483"] The AQ-TOP COVID-19 rapid detection Kit. (Photo: SEASUN BIOMATERIALS)[/caption]   Korean Biotech company SEASUN BIOMATERIALS launched its second COVID-19 assay, AQ-TOP COVID-19 Rapid Detection Kit on 1 May. The kit, which tests for COVID-19, can be used on its own without having to purchase additional equipment. As soon as the permit for the Rapid Detection Kit has been completed, it will be made available globally to facilitate rapid COVID-19 diagnosis.   Yiling Pharmaceutical to Increase Productivity of Lianhua Qingwen [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="628"] Yiling Pharmaceutical Announces Increased Production of Lianhua Qingwen. (Photo: Yiling Pharmaceutical)[/caption]   Pharmaceutical company Yiling is increasing the production of Lianhua Qingwen, a traditional Chinese medicine that is used mainly for the treatment of colds and viral influenza. The company is set to increase its production of the medicine to meet the rising demand for the treatment as it is used to alleviate the symptoms of COVID-19. The State Drug Administration of China recently approved the supplemental drug application for “mild/common types of fever, cough and fatigue in the conventional treatment of novel coronavirus pneumonia”. Additionally, the medication has been approved to enter Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of influenza in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration.   Medical Advice  Fosun Pharma Invites Chinese and Foreign Experts to Jointly Discuss Prevention and Control Measures of COVID-19 Epidemic in Africa International pharmaceutical company Fosun Pharma invited Chinese and foreign experts to share and discuss their experiences in fighting COVID-19 and provide updates on clinical research, in order to step up the fight against the virus in Africa. Professor Lu Hongzhou, CPC Committee Secretary of Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre and an infectious disease expert, together with three other renowned national and international experts, interacted online with health officials and healthcare professionals from over 10 African countries. They held a webinar that focused on the management of COVID-19 in African medical facilities with limited resources. Nearly 400 healthcare professionals from Africa joined the meeting.   RELATED: COVID-19 Comms: How Entertainment and Lifestyle Brands are Spreading Positivity?   Stay on top of Coronavirus news from PR Newswire    This blog post is contributed by Stephanie Lau, Senior Audience Development Executive at PR Newswire. Stephanie leads PR Newswire’s audience development team in Singapore. She oversees media partnerships, media database and organizes media events and interviews. Prior to joining PR Newswire, she had three years of experience working in PR agencies.

2020-05-13 14:21

COVID-19 Comms: Turning a Crisis into Media Opportunities

The past few months have been challenging for PR and media professionals as the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted an intrinsic element of the industry: face-to-face interaction. Events have been cancelled or postponed, business priorities have shifted, and livelihoods are now threatened as companies are reeling from the economic impact. Earlier this month, some markets in APAC have resumed some form of economic activity and normalcy, as infection rates begin to subside. One such market is Hong Kong, which has recently eased social distancing measures. As the situation develops, we take a look at trending news topics in Hong Kong that have emerged from the crisis and get journalists from two Hong Kong-based media outlets, Bloomberg Businessweek and Tatler Asia to weigh in on how brands can present distinctive and relevant story angles that can fit into the media’s COVID-19 agenda. According to media monitoring data from Cision Communications Cloud®, the media coverage of COVID-19 in Hong Kong has been fluctuating, depending on the severity of the infection spread in the territory. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="998"] (Source: Cision Communications Cloud)[/caption]   From late January to early March, the increase in the number of COVID-19 news was much steeper than that of non COVID-19 news as infection rates soared. In mid-March, both figures began to stagnate and decrease sharply by the end of the month. As the number of infections fell, the media switched its focus to non COVID-19 news from April, while the number of COVID-19 news continued to shrink as the situation gradually became better by the end of April. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="802"] (Source: Cision Communications Cloud)[/caption]   As of late April, the Share of Voice Comparison chart shows that the media agenda in Hong Kong is almost split down to the middle when it comes to COVID-19 news. The volume of COVID-19 News to non COVID-19 news is 46% to 54%. This is an indication that the media has the appetite and bandwidth to cover other types of articles such as human interest and brand stories. Thus, it is imperative that communications professionals position their brand stories in relevant and impactful ways that can stand out from numerous email pitches that the media receives. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="1116"] (Source: Cision Communications Cloud)[/caption]   We zero in on some of the trending keywords that have a prominent presence in Hong Kong's media landscape over the past four months. They include frontlines (i.e. domestic helper and front line medical staff), press releases, World Health Organization (WHO), working from home and flexible working hours. Although the COVID-19 situation has eased, news on front-liners combating the virus retains a stronger presence against other keywords. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="967"] (Source: Cision Communications Cloud)[/caption]   Charity work and the economic impact are two closely-watched topics that have emerged from this crisis. Here’s a look at the volume of news articles on Support during the COVID-19 period (based on keywords such as offer and donation) and economic impact (based on keywords such as marketing, sales, business, economic and downturn. Here are six trending news topics that communications professionals should take note when looking for story angles  [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Volunteers from the Hang Lung Properties helped to pack 2,000 health and food kits for the needy. (Photo: Hang Lung Properties)[/caption]   Support During COVID-19 From monetary and in-kind donations to human-interest stories, articles on how companies are contributing to those in need have become one of the most prominent news angles. Business/Economic Impact The spread of the virus has caused businesses around the world to suffer revenue losses, and some have even ceased operations. This has piqued the public’s curiosity on understanding the economic shock brought about by the virus, and how they can better prepare for the impending challenges. Frontliners Although remote working has become the norm, front-line medical staff do not have this luxury. On top of their usual job routines, they also face extreme pressure from handling an influx of new cases every day. With infections on the rise, the number of media reports on the work of frontline medical staff looks set to increase. Press Releases Besides press releases on health precautions, those on business contingency plans of companies are popular among audiences. These press releases have helped to restore public confidence that business operations will resume as soon as this crisis is over. WHO-related News As the virus continues to throw the world in a state of confusion, a considerable number of political and business leaders are heeding the public health advice from this global health institution. Working from Home With the pandemic in full swing, companies are embracing remote work arrangements. Given that most industries are new to this concept, audiences are seeking technology help on utilizing video conferencing tools like Zoom and work collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Slack. The Media’s Perspective Don Cheng Senior Reporter, Bloomberg Businessweek (Chinese Edition)    What I am looking out for? Many businesses have been affected by the pandemic. Instead of focusing on the negative aspect, I'd pay more attention on how companies are turning new possibilities that have emerged from this crisis into opportunities. Meanwhile, the Internet has become a more important platform, so I also keep an eye on how companies are branching out to e-commerce. My editorial angle For business-related “good Samaritans” stories, I would develop it with a broader perspective by talking about how this issue benefits the society and the economy. Typically, companies issue business-driven press releases. However, I don’t consider such hard-sell promotional content as news. If the content has broader implications, it would be more appealing to me to report on. Brand example A biotech company, which mainly develops industrial-grade sanitation products, has shifted its production to focus on the domestic market. Like in some parts of the world, Hong Kong experienced a shortage of masks. As a result, companies and individuals from different industries started manufacturing masks locally, which makes a news-worthy story.    Zabrina Lo Associate Features Editor, Tatler Asia (Hong Kong) What I am looking out for? From individuals or companies: Charity work: The outbreak is a global challenge, so stories on people who place emphasis on doing charity work instead of business are worth covering. Stories of resilience: It’s always fascinating to see how companies remain positive and competitive by coming up with creative campaigns to cope with difficult times. From media and PR companies:  Flexibility: The nature of work schedules has changed as companies and governments enforce safe distancing measures to curb the spread of the virus. Hence, it is vital for PR and media companies to go the extra mile to get stories out and keep the news scene active. My editorial angle Different media companies have varying readerships, coverage and writing styles. With the high volume of emails that I receive daily, a stand-out story would be one that is aligned with my company’s editorial direction and values. Stories need not come from just high-profile individuals. What attracts my attention are heart-felt stories of humble individuals on why and how they are doing good deeds and why they deserve recognition. Brand example During the early stages of the outbreak, a number of art galleries and theatres made their shows and artworks available online. These days, the virtual viewing space has become both a trend and the norm. Art has become more accessible to a wider range of people than in the pre COVID-19 period, despite the postponement or cancellation of many exhibitions and performances. An example is Art Power HK, a communal campaign that gathers over 80 museums, galleries and media organizations to bring art online for free after Art Basel was cancelled. It is impressive and encouraging to see that many art organizations are giving free access to their platforms. RELATED: Click here to read more stories on how journalists in APAC are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.    This article is written by Kate Wong, Audience Development Manager at PR Newswire and Yannis Leung, an Audience Development Intern, who is an English Studies undergraduate at the City University of Hong Kong.  

2020-05-11 12:02

Cision’s 2020 State of the Media Report: Top 5 Takeaways for APAC PR Pros

PR Newswire’s parent company Cision has released its annual State of the Media Report, which covers the latest trends and challenges in today’s global media landscape, so that you can work more effectively with journalists and gain more media coverage. In its 11th edition, this year’s report is Cision’s biggest one yet as it surveys more than 3,200 journalists in 15 countries. For the first time, more than 230 journalists in APAC also participated in the survey, which was conducted in January and February this year. The APAC participants are from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam. After COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March, it became crucial to find out how this global health crisis has affected the workflow of journalists. In light of these developments, Cision reached out to the media to find out more about how their editorial angles, pitching preferences and relationships with PR professionals have changed during this challenging period. These findings are highlighted in a special section of the report. Here are 5 takeaways from the full 2020 State of the Media Report for PR pros who are based in APAC.   1. COVID-19 changed everything, but it also highlighted everything that hasn’t changed for the media [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="646"] A journalist talking about the types of stories that are prioritized in the COVID-19 media coverage. (Source: Cision 2020 State of the Media Report)[/caption]   Like the spread of the virus, the impact of COVID-19 on a journalist’s work is felt universally. As media coverage has shifted to focus on the pandemic, journalists still prefer to be pitched via email. With the increasing volume of pitches, coupled with tight budgets and lean resources, email pitches are the way to go. Researching on a journalist’s work before pitching is still important as some of them might have been deployed from their regular beats to cover the pandemic.   2. Distrust in the media continues to decrease in the eyes of journalists, but there is still work to be done [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Fewer journalists believe that the public has lost trust in the media in recent years. (Source: Cision 2020 State of the Media Report)[/caption]   For the fourth consecutive year, journalists see a dip in the public's distrust of the media. 59% of global respondents feel the public lost trust in the media this year, which is down from 63% last year. Echoing this view is the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report on Trust and the Coronavirus, which shows that mainstream media is one of the first places that the public turn to for COVID-19 news. However, journalists in APAC believe that more needs to be done to win over the public’s trust in the media. 53% of journalists in the region indicate that trust in the media has not substantially changed over the past year, which is higher than the global average of 36%.   3. Social media continues to play a complicated role in the work of journalists [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="632"] (Source: Cision 2020 State of the Media Report)[/caption]   In APAC, about 4 in 10 journalists think that the intricate social media algorithm updates are the most important technology that will impact their work this year. This is about the same as the global average. More journalists are juggling conflicting interests: reporting accurately, competing against time to publish their stories on social media and finding ways to increase readership and engagement of their work online. Other notable uses of technology in the APAC media scene include AI/Machine Learning, which was the top choice among journalists in Singapore and Vietnam, while their counterparts in Malaysia are prioritizing better video production technology.   4. PR outreach needs to be more targeted and relevant than ever before to stand out [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="708"] An overwhelming majority of journalists do not find PR pitches relevant, which drives the importance of sending out more tailored and targeted pitches. (Source: Cision 2020 State of the Media Report)[/caption]   Email pitches to journalists need to provide more than cookie-cutter information. Pitches that are well-researched and tailored to the editorial direction of each media outlet stand a higher chance of getting follow-ups from journalists. In APAC, 42% of journalists indicate that their biggest need from PR professionals is to provide data and expert sources for their articles. This is higher than the global average of 32%.  Pitches should include press releases, which are regarded as the most useful source of information from brands by 33% of journalists in APAC. This is almost on par with the global average of 36%. Email pitches should also showcase how the story opportunity is relevant to the media’s audiences and carry a clear news angle.  The report also shows that PR professionals in APAC are doing a better job of ensuring that media pitches are relevant to the media. 37% of journalists in the region think that up to half of the media pitches they receive are relevant - surpassing the global average of 23%.   5. Ensuring accuracy remains the top priority for media organizations [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="657"] (Source: Cision 2020 State of the Media Report)[/caption]   Putting out accurate content continues to be paramount for the media. For the second year in a row, 51% of journalists say that ensuring content is completely accurate is more important than earning revenue or being the first to publish. In APAC, 45% of journalists think that maintaining accuracy is the most important trait of their organizations. Most countries in APAC are on the same page. Journalists in Vietnam, however, place more importance on generating revenue and traffic than ensuring the accuracy of the content.     Download Cision's 2020 State of the Media Report to get more journalist insights on pitching preferences, and trends and challenges in today’s complex media landscape so that you can create better relationships with the media and gain more coverage.   This blog post is written by Kenneth Goh, Senior Marketing Executive at PR Newswire. A former journalist, he relishes keeping track of breaking news as much as telling stories with trends and data. Connect with him via Linkedin.

2020-05-06 14:43

COVID-19 Comms: How Entertainment and Lifestyle Brands are Spreading Positivity?

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to numerous lockdowns and movement restrictions in countries across APAC over the past few months. Cabin fever is on the rise as people are spending most of their time in front of their mobile or computer screens at home. Naturally, brands are capitalizing on this pool of captive audience and injecting some fun through entertainment options such as mobile phone filters, online games and shows and even virtual clubbing sessions. Tired of getting bombarded by COVID-19 news, some audiences are also turning to uplifting and inspiring online content. Here’re some colourful ways that brands in APAC are keeping audiences smiling despite the uncertainties. Music 'One World: Together At Home' Global Special to Air on JOOX Music on April 19 [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] One World: Together At Home’ Global Special aired on JOOX Music on April 19. (Photo: JOOX Music)[/caption]   Music streaming platform JOOX Music aired One World: Together At Home, a global broadcast event to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, on its app on 19 April. Viewers from Thailand, Hong Kong and Macau SAR, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and South Africa live-streamed the show, which was organized by international advocacy organization Global Citizen, and the World Health Organization. One World: Together At Home, which includes performances and appearances curated by pop star Lady Gaga, is a show of unity towards those who are affected by COVID-19 and celebrates brave healthcare workers doing life-saving work on the front lines. Singapore Unicorns Bigo Live and Razer to Bring The First Cloud Clubbing Experience Down Under [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] Bigo Live's first Cloud Clubbing session in Australia and New Zealand featured Australian DJ M4Sonic. (Photo: Bigo Live)[/caption]   Livestreaming platform Bigo Live and Razer, a lifestyle brand for gamers, has found a solution for electronic music fans who are on lockdown mode but are craving a slice of the clubbing experience. The two Singapore-based companies hosted a live cloud clubbing session to bring some relief and entertainment to those in Australia and New Zealand. Through the Bigo Live app, viewers connected instantly with thousands of “party-goers” in real-time and enjoyed music together. Both DJ M4Sonic and Razer’s guest DJ EKO did an hour mesh-up through the “line” feature on Bigo Live. The partnership leveraged on Razer Gold, an independent virtual credit for games and entertainment. During the live-stream, partygoers could purchase Razer Gold to send virtual gifts and stickers to one another. Business forced closed during COVID-19, this Vietnamese entrepreneur turned around to release the national hit song to fight back the pandemic Can a quirky and optimistic rap song lift the spirit of a nation? Yes, according to Vietnamese entrepreneur and artist, Minh Beta. During Vietnam’s full lockdown period, Min, who runs Beta Cineplex, released a song titled “Viet Nam oi! Danh Bay COVID” (Let’s Fight COVID!). The song was endorsed by Vietnam's Ministry of Health to uplift the nation's spirit during the fight against the pandemic. Co-produced by Minh Beta and business consultancy YellowBlocks, the music video quickly went viral reaching millions of views across various platforms. With positive yet touching lyrics, the video features Minh Beta and guest stars in an interesting superheroes twist. The song inspired thousands of fan-made content that attracted more than 20 million views.   Digital Entertainment BOLT Global launches "We Are In This Together" video series to foster community spirit Singapore-based interactive media company BOLT Global has launched a new video series, "We Are In This Together" featuring community groups affected by COVID-19, in a bid to provide relatable, uplifting and informative content to inspire viewers during the pandemic. In the first two episodes, BOLT chronicles the experiences of medical staff around the world who are battling COVID-19 on the front lines, and interviewed couples in long-distance relationships on how they are keeping the flame alive during this period of social distancing, Meitu teams up with Pinkfong to launch a Baby Shark-themed AR filter that encourages handwashing Technology company Meitu has tied up with entertainment brand Pinkfong to launch a hand-washing mobile app filter that is themed after Baby Shark, a popular children’s song that features a family of sharks. The filter promotes good hygiene habits in the fight against COVID-19. Pinkfong introduced a hygiene-themed song to help families teach their children the proper steps for handwashing, which amassed eight million YouTube views. Pinkfong has also launched a #BabySharkHandWashChallenge to encourage users to submit their handwashing videos. KLab Unites with the Game Industry and WHO #PlayApartTogether Campaign to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400"] KLab joins the #PlayApartTogether campaign. (Photo: KLab)[/caption]   Online mobile gaming company KLab has teamed up with major game publishers around the world and the World Health Organization for the #PlayApartTogether campaign. The initiative encourages people to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by following health and safety guidelines to stay at home. And while they are at home, they can chill out and play online and mobile games. KLab is organising in-game campaigns so that players can enjoy their time at home. Maoyan CEO: China Entertainment Demand is Only Delayed by COVID-19, and Will Rebound Zheng Zhihao, CEO of Maoyan Entertainment, a platform that provides digital entertainment services in China, said COVID-19's impact on the entertainment industry is only temporary, and that China's domestic entertainment industry will recover earlier than other industries that are more reliant on the global market. According to a Maoyan survey in March, more than 70% of movie lovers in China were eager to return to cinemas after they reopen, up from 54% in February. Zheng added that some movies cancelled their theatrical releases and were shown instead through online streaming platforms. This move helped to ease the short-term impact while also creating long-term opportunities. Lifestyle Brands Vietnamese Sneaker Brand Biti's Hunter Made Themselves a Canvas to Feature the Nation's Prideful Initiatives in the Face of COVID-19 [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] The artworks of sneakers are inspired by stories of Vietnamese people coping with the COVID-19 situation. (Photo: Biti’s Hunter)[/caption]   Vietnamese footwear brand Biti's Hunter is putting its best foot forward with the launch of CANVAS OF PRIDE, a collection of sneakers that features designs inspired by #ProudlyMadeInVietnam stories. These stories celebrate how Vietnamese from walks of life rise up against the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Biti’s Hunter is encouraging Vietnamese artists and creative communities to create and sell their designs. 10% of the revenue from the sale of these apparel will go towards the fight against COVID-19.   RELATED: How Travel Companies Are Providing Relief to the COVID-19 Situation?   Stay on top of Coronavirus news from PR Newswire    This blog post is contributed by Stephanie Lau, Senior Audience Development Executive at PR Newswire. Stephanie leads PR Newswire’s audience development team in Singapore. She oversees media partnerships, media database and organizes media events and interviews. Prior to joining PR Newswire, she had three years of experience working in PR agencies.

2020-04-30 17:41

COVID-19 Comms: How Brands Adapt Communications Practices?

The outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted the way brands communicate and engage with consumers. Over the past few months, marketing campaigns have been put on hold as brands go into crisis communications mode. PR Newswire has been distributing COVID-19 related press releases since late January. Key themes from press releases have evolved over the past few months. During the early stages of the crisis, companies mainly communicated about corporate social responsibility efforts, fee waivers for relevant services and products, and remote working arrangements. As tighter movement restrictions kick in, topics such as the growth in e-commerce business and social support initiatives emerged and were reported by the media.   With shifting public interests and priorities, communications strategies must also evolve. We get the insights from some communications experts in Malaysia: Angela Ho, Owner of Circuit Communications; Peter De Kretser, Chief Executive Officer of Go Communications; Ann Chong, Managing Director of Lewis Global Communications and Farrell Tan, Founding Partner at Orchan Consulting Asia. 1. Make the switch to digital Having a digital presence is a lifeline for many businesses, as seen during the extended Movement Control Order. Social media and e-commerce platforms have become the primary medium to reach the masses. As a result, digital-forward industries such as ICT and e-commerce have seen a boom in business, with an influx of people surfing the net at home. Angela Ho: Most companies had to cancel events, which led to more press releases being issued during this period. For internal and external communications, online enterprise solutions such as Zoom, Teams and Webex are becoming popular alternatives to face-to-face meetings. Ann Chong: The most obvious change is in channel strategy. The importance of digital channels is more prevalent now - mobile, online streaming, social media and online media must be prioritized in order to reach consumers more effectively. Peter De Kretser: Some PR tactics and methodologies that used to work have become obsolete due to movement restrictions in many countries. In the short-term, internal and crisis PR will take on newfound importance with digital communications becoming the prime mode of information logistics. Businesses will focus on social media platforms and the use of online influencers will be an easier way of promoting products and services. What brands are communicating COVID-19 Pandemic Impact: A Drastic Increase in Online Services and Content Consumption Will Bolster Cloud Gaming Revenues to US$4.5 Billion by 2024 Huawei and UNESCO IITE & UNESCO-ICHEI Organize Webinar for Online Higher Education to Practice Its Learn ON Program    2. Stay relevant  Contrary to popular belief, story opportunities are not limited during this difficult period. Many brands have remained relevant in the eyes of the media. Brands are pivoting their updated strategies on the current situation and contributing to the communities around them. Some companies are also taking the opportunity to share knowledge and insights of maintaining operations in times of crisis. Chong: It is still business as usual for some of our clients in the information technology, consumer technology and e-commerce industries. Hence, a lot of the communications that we have put out still covers the solutions and services that our clients have to offer. A lot of companies have also come forward to share best practices on how they’re adapting their businesses during this period, and offering solutions to safeguard from similar disruptions in future. Tan: From a brand perspective, companies can recover faster by looking into management and operations, digital acceleration, social responsibility and product development technology innovation, all of which can impact stakeholders positively. De Kretser: A common approach for brands is to leverage on topical stories and we are seeing more companies ride the COVID-19 wave through making donations and contributing industry-driven commentary. What brands are communicating [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] (From left) Malaysia's Ministry of Health Secretary-General Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min receiving Atmosphere units from Mr Mike Duong Managing Director of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. (Photo: AMWAY MALAYSIA)[/caption]   AMWAY MALAYSIA Brings Cleaner Air to Healthcare Frontliners, Public Chromatic Technologies' Scientists Join Fight Against COVID-19 Virus   3. Position your brand to engage audiences Crises are opportunities for PR teams to be creative and generate out-of-the-box communications strategies. However, engaging with the audience remains a core priority. Providing relevant and sensitive content is a vital way for brands to connect with their audiences.  Tan: Focus on the shared community messages: How does your brand solve a problem? Be positive, but not celebratory. If your client's business is still operating and relevant, be careful with your positioning. For example, the Malaysian government introduced a steep interest rate cut as part of its COVID-19 measures. It is inappropriate for mortgage brokers to say “Take advantage of the low interest rate now. On the other hand, saying “Let us help you navigate the unstable economy” offers security and respects the gravity of the situation. Essentially, businesses should make themselves accessible and visible in the right light. De Kretser: Most people are saturated with negative news, so they want relief in the form of positive news. This provides an opportunity for brands and companies to share non-related COVID-19 stories. PR professionals can use this time to harvest their creativity and deep dive into well-defined story angles that the media would appreciate. What brands are communicating [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] Viddsee launches StoriesTogether community initiative to give hope through films during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Viddsee)[/caption]   Viddsee launches StoriesTogether community initiative to give hope through films during the COVID-19 pandemic Budget Direct Insurance Provides Customers Free Unlimited COVID-19 Teleconsultation Services   4. Keep a pulse on the current climate Hard selling during a crisis can easily be misinterpreted as being insensitive. Communicators need to be mindful of the current situation with their choice of content. Values such as concern, empathy and respect need be highlighted through their strategies. Chong: Brands should offer assistance – it does not need to be monetary or in-kind, just good general advice would be enough. Having empathy in such situations is important as many people are more anxious and prefer a listening ear to sales pitches now. Tan: Brands need to reassess their influencer engagement programmes - anything that does not relate to the current public sentiment may be deemed poor taste. It is best to steer clear of using humour or wit for the time being. In a nutshell, it is important to keep a positive, inspirational, and helpful tone.  De Kretser: Logic should prevail in times of crisis and uncertainty. Companies should assess the type of news they wish to disseminate to the public as it can greatly impact their brand and reputation. For those creating stories in relation to COVID-19, one should empathise with key stakeholders (front-liners, governments, etc.). There should be a level of respect for the severity of those who have been affected and not taking advantage of the situation. What brands are communicating [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] The artworks of sneakers are inspired by stories of Vietnamese people coping with the COVID-19 situation. (Photo: Biti's Hunter)[/caption]   Vietnamese Sneaker Brand Biti's Hunter Made Themselves a Canvas to Feature the Nation's Prideful Initiatives in the Face of COVID-19 Sustainable Travel Company Triip Launches Points Rewards System "Stay Home Heroes" to Support the World's Homebound Travelers   Stay on top of Coronavirus news from PR Newswire    This blog post is written by Dhavina Sivanesan, Audience Development Executive at PR Newswire Asia in Malaysia. Dhavina joined the team several months ago holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication from SEGi University, aiming to grow and achieve great heights as a media practitioner.

2020-04-28 17:44

COVID-19 Comms: Corporate Communications Tips For Brands

The tumultuous COVID-19 situation has set off a chain of unprecedented challenges for industries around the world. Naturally, it is a challenging time for brand communications, as PR and communications professionals need to keep a pulse on the rapidly-shifting landscape and concerns. It is also a sensitive time to tread the fine balance of putting forth messaging that resonates with audiences while trying not to appear opportunistic.  Over the past month, PR Newswire and its parent company Cision have launched a series of webinars that involved informative discussions with industry experts on a broad range of concerns. Topics in the APAC webinars range from crisis communications, brand communications to identifying fake news.  We highlight tips and best practices from three communications experts from our series of webinars. Charlene Lee  Head of Corporate Communications, Tata Consultancy Services  Go back to the three principles of crisis communications: Keep employees calm, stakeholders confident and news positive.  Think about how your employees would feel and respond - that's the rule of thumb of putting out social media content during this period. Once you can gauge their feelings, you have a good basis of the type of content to put out. Acknowledge that this is not going to be a business or numbers-first type of game now as more pressing issues in the world take precedence. Tap on your social media channels for companies that need to maintain communications despite facing budget cuts. Social media is an owned channel where you can somewhat control the messaging. Instead of advertising, it is time to do thought leadership as people are looking for more content now to understand more about the company.    Bill Zucker  Managing Director, Ketchum PR  Empathy and intelligence matter more than ever: Think less about what can get me attention but how can I reach my most important stakeholders and what tone should I take? A good example is Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International, who put out a video address to his employees that was subsequently reposted on YouTube. He is getting a lot of credit for communicating honestly in the right tone.  Understand the needs of journalists in order to provide targeted and relevant information that will stand a higher chance of getting reported. More than ever, it is the time for brands to listen and "read the room" by using media monitoring tools and monitoring journalists’ social media feeds.  A lack of response says something, but the tone of response says even more. Choose carefully how and when you respond to questions from stakeholders during this challenging period. Look out for what people are asking about the company as it is an indication of loopholes in the communications strategy or room for improvement in some areas.  Jennifer Donahoe Public Relations & Social Media Account Director, Planit Advertising  Stop marketing and start communicating to help your key audiences, who have been affected by the COVID-19 situation. Some good communications initiatives include supermarkets allocating specific times for senior citizens to shop, in order to curb the viral spread, and restaurants offering delivery services. Companies should be focused more on helping the public rather than making profits. Unschedule all of your social content, and don't schedule anything in the future because the reality is that this situation is changing hourly, if not more. Something that is appropriate now may not be in three hours, so take it day by day with your content. Show care and concern and be authentic.  Consider doing a video news package for the media to break through the news clutter if your company has something to announce that can help the public. This is because most media outlets are unable to commute to conduct face-to-face interviews and the current focus of their stretched teams is on coronavirus coverage. With a video news package, the news is assembled for the media to disseminate easily.   PR Newswire has an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-Infused Video Creation Service that creates engaging videos from your existing content. Get in touch with us for more information. Missed the webinars? You can watch them on-demand here, as part of our COVID-19 communications resources page.   This blog post is written by Kenneth Goh, Senior Marketing Executive at PR Newswire. A former journalist, he relishes keeping track of breaking news as much as telling stories with trends and data. Connect with him via Linkedin.

2020-04-23 17:12

How Travel Companies Are Providing Relief to the COVID-19 Situation?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions across all industries. The travel and hospitality industry, in particular, has been heavily impacted due to numerous travel restrictions around the world. Despite this, some companies are stepping up to contribute their services and expertise to address needs and concerns that have emerged from this crisis. Here’s a round-up of press releases from PR Newswire on this burgeoning movement. Online Booking Companies 1. Airbnb to Help Provide Housing to 100,000 COVID-19 Responders [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] Airbnb is providing housing options to 100,000 COVID-19 medical responders. (Photo: Airbnb)[/caption]   Online accommodation platform Airbnb has announced a new global initiative that provides free or subsidized housing to 100,000 healthcare professionals, relief workers and first responders, who are involved in COVID-19 relief efforts. The programme provides them with safe and convenient places to stay while they carry out their critical work. Airbnb is waiving all fees for the stays made under this arrangement. 2. Trip.com Group donates 3 million surgical masks to COVID-19 efforts [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] Trip.com Group sends donations of surgical supplies to dozens of countries across the globe. (Photo: Trip.com)[/caption]   Online travel services provider Trip.com Group has donated three million surgical masks to support worldwide relief efforts of the pandemic. In addition to the initial round of donations, the initiative has since expanded to over 25 countries including Spain, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Hungary, Croatia, and Chile, among others. 3. RedDoorz partners with Governments across Southeast Asia to help frontline health workers combat the spread of COVID-19 Online hotel management and booking platform RedDoorz has launched "Red Heroes", a new regional initiative that provides free temporary accommodation for emergency services and frontline healthcare staff battling COVID-19. The programme is rolled out across Southeast Asia in a bid to provide much-needed support during the pandemic as local authorities are facing a growing number of cases. As part of this movement, RedDoorz will also distribute health and well-being kits to healthcare staff. 4. Sustainable Travel Company Triip Launches Points Rewards System "Stay Home Heroes" to Support the World's Homebound Travelers [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] Sustainable Travel Company Triip Launches Points Rewards System "Stay Home Heroes" to Support the World's Homebound Travelers. (Photo: Triip)[/caption]   Sustainable travel company Triip created the Stay Home Heroes program that incentivizes people to practice social distancing by staying at home while earning points that go towards booking tours and experiences in Triip’s global catalogue. Participants can also earn points by checking in at home with photos uploaded through the Stay Home Heroes app. Other ways of earning points include submitting travel photos and memories.   Airlines 1. COVID-19: Chinese airline partners support KLM [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] KLM’s CEO was accompanied by Ernst Kuipers, Chairman of the Boards of Erasmus MC and the Dutch Network for Acute Medical Care (Landelijk Netwerk Acute Zorg – LNAZ), and Brinio Veldhuijzen van Zanten of KLM Health Services. (Photo: KLM)[/caption]   Dutch airline company KLM is working with three Chinese airline partners: China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines, which have donated tens of thousands of face masks and gloves to hospitals and healthcare facilities in the Netherlands. 2. Vietjet offers "SKY COVID CARE" insurance to all passengers amid the COVID-19 outbreak [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] Vietjet is offering free COVID-19 insurance to all passengers who have flown on the airline's domestic flights from 23 March to 30 June 2020. (Photo: Vietjet)[/caption]   Vietnamese budget airline Vietjet is offering the SKY COVID CARE insurance, which covers from VND20,000,000 (US$857) to a maximum of VND200,000,000 (US$8,570) worth of benefits for all passengers flying on its domestic flights in Vietnam from March 23 to June 30. Passengers are eligible for the insurance coverage and benefits from Vietjet within 30 days from their flight date, regardless of the source of the contagion. Hotels 1. Vinpearl Lighted up the Love Message and Respect to All Doctors, Service Personel, Supporting Partners Fronting COVID-19 in Vietnam [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="505"] Hotel properties under the Vinpearl Group were lit up the exterior to show support for front-line staff. (Photo: Vinpearl)[/caption]   Vinpearl hotels and resorts in 17 provinces and cities across Vietnam simultaneously lighted up heart symbols on the exterior of their buildings from March 20 to 26. Through this gesture, the hospitality company hopes to show its appreciation to doctors, service personnel, and people in the frontline who are working to contain the pandemic. Vinpearl also hopes to showcase a message of love, humanity and a sense of belonging among loved ones.       Stay on top of Coronavirus news from PR Newswire    This blog post is contributed by Stephanie Lau, Senior Audience Development Executive at PR Newswire. Stephanie leads PR Newswire’s audience development team in Singapore. She oversees media partnerships, media database and organizes media events and interviews. Prior to joining PR Newswire, she had three years of experience working in PR agencies.    

2020-04-21 11:05

Client Spotlight: With Karen Coleman, Managing Director, Archetype

Despite the Coronavirus (COVID-19) uncertainties, Karen Coleman, managing director of global strategic marketing agency Archetype is optimistic about the year ahead.  Coleman, who leads the company’s operations in Australia, highlights three key areas of focus this year: Communications Strategy, Brand Strategy, and Digital/Social Strategy. They are part of her bigger roadmap of crafting campaign messages that impact the broader business goals of clients. She says: “This year is all about us getting more ‘upstream’ in the conversations with our clients and more focused on business impact, and less focused on piecemeal execution.”  However, she points out that moving forward, Archetype needs to be willing to decline business that does not fit this model, so that it can evolve as an agency. Coleman is no stranger to evolution – she has transformed the Archetype team from having a siloed to a fully integrated marketing approach, and has diversified her team’s services and skills to become a full-service marketing communications agency. Over the past 15 years, she has worked across the B2B, B2C, property, eCommerce, and consumer markets globally. “My belief is that if you set a business up to address the trends you’re seeing globally - but may not have hit your local market yet - you’ll be in a powerful position once the switch flips,” she advises.“Bring in new thinkers that shake up your teams. Work with clients that you’ve never considered before in new industries and encourage your teams and clients to go beyond what they thought was possible,” she adds.   What are your top communications priorities for 2020? Over the past 18 months, we’ve invested heavily in our Strategy and Creative divisions to ensure our campaigns have insight-driven creativity at their core. These investments have allowed us to build three key areas of focus for the business in the year ahead:  Communications Strategy, Brand Strategy and Digital/Social Strategy supported by flawless end-to-end execution. With storytelling in our DNA, our teams see the bigger picture of how carefully crafted campaign messages impact our client’s broader business goals. This year is all about us getting more ‘upstream’ in the conversations with our clients and less focused on piecemeal execution, and being more focused on business impact. For this to be successful, we need to be willing to turn away business that does not fit this model and continue our evolution as an agency. Encourage your teams and clients to go beyond what they had thought was possible.  While 2020 will no doubt be a year of change, agencies that stay true to their vision and key priorities will weather the storm.   What are the top three challenges you can foresee this year? 1. Nurturing talent to keep up with evolving services: As PR and marketing take a more data-driven approach, and media and PR budgets get reallocated to areas such as content and digital, we need to look at how we can upskill our people and bring in new thinking so that we can deliver these services seamlessly. Content continues to grow but creating stand-out content needs to be part of a broader content strategy. Traditional PR content also has changed - it’s no longer just talking-head videos and case studies, it’s now illustrations, animations, short video series, etc. Finding excellent talent to deliver these services and upskilling your teams is tough and on top of that, you need to add in the continued growth of salaries. It’s a balance and agencies must also ensure they are costing these new services and talent in a way that is profitable. 2. Project versus retainer model: Over the past two years we’ve seen our agency go from 100% retainer to a 50%-50% split. While it’s great to have projects, which allow us to be at our most creative, it’s also difficult for businesses to forecast and structure the agency accordingly. This model comes with a new set of considerations around hiring, pricing, partnerships and forecasting. 3. New ways of pricing & structuring an agency: Agencies that continue to evolve their services also need to evolve their pricing models and company structure. With clients now looking at ‘outcome-based pricing’, agencies need to be willing to adapt to this and also be open to new ways of billing, pricing and resourcing. As services slowly change, the talent needs are different so we’re looking at new ways of hiring – having full-time freelancers and resource sharing will become the new norm.   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1810"] Karen Coleman (centre, in red) with her team at Archetype. (Photo courtesy of Karen Coleman)[/caption]   How has the communications industry evolved over the years? Where does one start with this? It was completely different when I started over 15 years ago, which makes this industry so exciting and unique. The events we hosted ten years ago would attract around 50 media, there were no ‘influencers’ (but you may have a blogger or two attend if you were lucky!).  Social media and digital involved a basic Twitter account which was frequented primarily by opinionated journalists and PR people; having a digital presence was a standalone blog which really was a copy of the corporate website and Facebook was for checking in at random locations. If I were to pick one thing that has stood out for me in our evolving industry is that agencies that took some risks in the past few years are the ones that are still standing, growing year-on-year and are leading in creativity. Successful agencies have recognised that having a heritage in PR and communications puts them in a unique position, no matter what the channel. We understand what our customer’s customers are thinking and how they will react to a message. If you remain true to your heritage but innovate by bringing in new skills and different kinds of thinkers, you’ll create something unique. Instead of witnessing the industry evolve and change, lead it!   What issue would you like to see the communications industry change in 2020? Charge for the ‘mind’, not the ‘minutes’. For agencies that started out in communications/PR, like Archetype, we’ve become accustomed to providing our creative ideas for free. Traditionally, we’ve spent weeks developing ideas as an ‘investment’ to win business. Oftentimes one of these three things happen - One, clients will say there are budget cuts so the idea lives in a PowerPoint slide; Two, the client decides it’s a great idea but they have their team do 90% of the work or worst-case scenario, the proposed idea was not selected, yet you see that it was executed by another agency months later. As an industry, we need to recognise that while clients may be able to get things cheaper, faster or execute inhouse, the value of the agency always lies in ideation and it’s up to us to demonstrate this value to our clients. This is something I’d like to see the industry focus on for a change by showcasing the value of ideas, instead of on trying to solve the measurement problem (which has been an issue since the beginning of time!)   What’s your advice for someone entering the communications industry? One of my favourite quotes of all time is from Richard Branson: ‘If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later’. I think this is a wonderful philosophy and summarises a ‘growth mindset’ which is a must in our dynamic industry. Here’re some tips for someone starting out: 1. Be curious: Ask questions and don’t ever assume things are black and white or always done in a certain way. There are always new ways of looking at things. Don’t assume there’s one solution to a problem – think laterally and be willing to challenge and ask why? 2. Be open to change: This is so important in any industry but particularly in PR and marketing. Editorial content moves to paid partnerships, Facebook changes an algorithm, Apple buys all the keywords for something your client needs to own. Every day throws new challenges in the agency world. You need to not only be open to this change, but you should also enjoy it and see it as an opportunity for growth. 3. Never stop learning: Read articles, listen to podcasts and ensure you are always looking at new and different ways to do things. The right agency will allow you to step out of your comfort zone and try things out. Take a course, shadow a colleague but never stand still.          Click here to view more Client Spotlight articles, where we chat with leaders in the communications and marketing industry on their plans and outlook for 2020  Click here to read more Clients' Stories   

2020-04-21 09:54

Trending Topics From the COVID-19 Media Coverage in Malaysia

  The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is dominating the news landscape in Malaysia, where the month-long government-imposed Movement Control Order (MCO) has been extended by another two weeks to April 28 as infections continue to soar. According to data from Cision Communications Cloud®, the number of COVID-19 related news articles in Malaysia increased steadily to more than 30,000 in mid-March, exceeding the number of non COVID-19 news. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1599"] The number of COVID-19 news in Malaysia has been on the rise since late February and overtook the number of non COVID-19 news in early March. (Photo: Cision Communications Cloud®)[/caption]   For many news outlets, covering the developments of COVID-19 is their utmost priority as the impact of the virus is severe and far-reaching, from bringing the global economy to a standstill to disrupting everyday routines.   Like the evolving situation, the news focus has also shifted, from the reporting on the government health measures and infection/casualty figures initially to the economic impact on businesses and livelihoods. PR Newswire catches up with four business journalists in Malaysia to find out the key trends and topics that have emerged from this crisis. They are Poovenraj Kanagaraj, Deputy Editor at Business Today Malaysia; Azleen Abdul Rahim, Co-Founder at Marketing in Asia, Charlotte Chong, Assistant Editor at NNA Kyodo News and Kevin Davasagayam, Newsdesk Reporter at The Sun Daily. Here are four topics and areas that these journalists are keen on exploring more as part of their COVID-19 news coverage.   1. Business Diversification and Collaboration  Opportunities can emerge in times of crisis. More companies are venturing into new business areas and collaborations, from offering delivery services to rolling out new products that alleviate the concerns of their stakeholders during this period. What journalists are interested in: Charlotte: This is the time for businesses to seize the opportunity to diversify into other sectors such as healthcare. Currently, some companies are working with foreign companies to produce masks and test kits. Others are focusing on digitalizing their businesses and are looking for ways to win customers. I will also try to look for industries that are impacted by the pandemic - some companies could undergo mergers and privatizations, while others are raising capital during this difficult time. Poovenraj: One of the stories that I am working is on several movements by social enterprises and businesses in the same industry that help one another to survive the storm. Relevant news from APAC Brands: [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] Taylor's Education Group and CIMB Islamic have made its yearly entrepreneurial programme online so that it can be accessed during the challenging COVID-19 period. (Photo: Taylor's Education Group)[/caption]   Program Keusahawanan Taylor's-CIMB Islamic takes its community programmes online RedDoorz partners with Governments across Southeast Asia to help frontline health workers combat the spread of COVID-19   2. Industry Insights Leaders play a crucial role during a crisis. They make key decisions that make or break a business. They can also provide first-hand industry insights on the issues that they are facing and how they are coping with the crisis. Communicating a company’s plans and outlook is also a way of reassuring stakeholders during this challenging period. What journalists are interested in: Poovenraj: Strong opinions by business leaders in their respective fields on how the private and public sectors can adapt in order to brace the COVID-19 storm are very much appreciated. Business Today Malaysia is always open to featuring stories from any industry that can offer a fresh take on things, as well as good profile pieces. I am also on the lookout for young leaders who have created a positive impact on the industry and society. Azleen: We are always looking out to feature credible mainstream and independent personalities from any industries, though those from the marketing industry are preferred. Kevin: I would be keen to speak to people from the medical sector. One of them is the Health Ministry's Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah on how he is managing those on the frontline. I would also like to interview front-line staff such as nurses, doctors and paramedics on their experience in treating COVID-19 patients. I am also keen on getting perspectives from government officials and policymakers on how much is Malaysia in debt after the stimulus packages were announced. Lastly, I would like to hear from private business owners on their losses incurred during the lockdown period and if they foresee more people getting retrenched. Charlotte: I would like to get an outlook for the tourism sector, which includes airlines, hotels and casino operators, and the retail industry, which comprises shopping malls, REIT, and to a smaller extent, the property industry as construction work has come to a complete halt. Relevant news from APAC brands: Mindray Chairman's Statement on Efforts to Combat COVID-19 Frost & Sullivan Experts Present the Market Impact of COVID-19: How to Respond, Reset, and Rebound   3. Human Interest Stories The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the health and economy of people around the world. In the face of hardship and adversity, communities have rallied together to lend a helping hand to those who have been affected. This has yielded a rich pool of human-interest stories that can be uplifting and hopeful for audiences. What journalists are interested in: Azleen: Empty news today will no longer be relevant tomorrow but those with substance or carry moral values will go further. Kevin: I'm working on a story on how musicians in the nightlife industry are coping with the Movement Control Order (MCO). It is very sad to see that these performers do not have enough savings to go about their daily lives during this period. They live from paycheck to paycheck so it's hard for them to save up. No one thought that COVID-19 would invade their lives and livelihoods. Relevant news from APAC brands: Vietnamese entrepreneur and artist Minh Beta released a song,  "Viet Nam oi! Danh Bay COVID" (Let's Fight COVID!) to uplift the country's spirit as it battles the pandemic.  Business forced closed during COVID-19, this Vietnamese entrepreneur turned around to release the national hit song to fight back the pandemic Delivery riders win support and empathy amidst COVID-19 pandemic by sharing experiences on Kuaishou   4. The Rise of E-commerce Businesses With stay-home measures and remote work arrangements becoming more common, a new digital normal is emerging. The pandemic has accelerated the growth of services on e-commerce platforms. These services include retail, gaming and telemedicine. What journalists are interested in: Charlotte: I am most keen on e-commerce - online sales have jumped tenfold for companies like GrabFood and Foodpanda, which are certainly the winners during this outbreak. Another interesting development is that e-commerce platforms such as Lazada, Zalora and Shopee have branched out to sell essential goods. Relevant news from APAC Brands: Alibaba Cloud Supports Retailers with E-commerce Solutions to Fight Against Coronavirus Impact Ping An's Auto Service App Ranked Top in China with Over 100 Million Users, COVID-19 Spurs Demand for Online Auto Service Hong Kong Companies Boost Online Commerce with SAP Customer Experience Solutions   Click here to read more stories on how journalists in APAC are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.   This blog post is written by Christine Pereira, the Senior Audience Development Executive at PR Newswire Malaysia. Christine is in charge of partnerships, expanding media network, organizing the bi-annual Media Coffee events, conducting media interviews, and other company-wide projects for the Malaysian market. You can contact her at christine.pereira@prnasia.com or connect with her on LinkedIn.

2020-04-15 15:40

How to Measure PR Performance: 3 Key Questions

In times of crisis, companies see the importance of reviewing their PR strategies more than ever. It is vital to constantly plan and adapt communications strategies to move along with the uncertainties. For better planning, companies need to take a step back and evaluate their past strategies and performance to understand what worked and what didn't. Here are 3 questions that can help PR professionals understand their performance better. 1. How did the company perform when it comes to news mentions? Monitoring your brand's coverage across all media channels is integral to proving a PR campaign's success. Google Alerts may be a good way to keep track of what's being discussed on the surface, but a monitoring tool accurately tells when and where media mentions are taking place. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1202"] Measure and highlight campaigns or pitches that show effective results. This graph shows that media mentions of Kavalan whisky peaked when it issued press releases on 2 September and 11 November. (Image: Cision Communications Cloud)[/caption]   Also, go beyond monitoring and paint a bigger picture in reporting by drawing comparisons with past performance, whether it's over the past year or even three years ago. The key to doing this is with a tool that offers you instant access to an extensive news archive. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="604"] News mentions of video conferencing tool Zoom in the first 100 days of 2020 (top) have exceeded its total news mentions in 2019 (bottom), thanks to a surge in users during the COVID-19 situation. (Image: Cision Communications Cloud)[/caption]     2. Which campaign or story garnered the most media attention? Ensure that you understand which story or campaign conducted in the past received the most attention from the media. Break down all the news mentions based on the campaigns conducted, or even the products promoted, and understand which ones captured the media’s attention. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="646"] A look at which smartphone products have been mentioned more in the news (top) and features or key messages are trending in the industry (bottom). (Image: Cision Communications Cloud)[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1716"] Switch the analysis to another angle by identifying the timeline when a specific message or topic gains traction in the media. This chart shows how key messages have performed in the global COVID-19 media coverage over the past three months. (Image: Cision Communications Cloud)[/caption]   3. Which story went viral? Given how social media is a huge part of almost everything, make sure that the social media component of news can also be measured. Based on social media shares, PR professionals will be able to determine whether the news or mentions are well-received. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="905"] Know exactly which articles have received high numbers of shares and get an overview of social shares on the various channels. (Image: Cision Communications Cloud)[/caption]   Additionally, not all stories "blow-up" on social media during the first few days. Understand the timeline of the social shares performance to get a better understanding of why and when they went viral. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1461"] This Forbes article was shared on Twitter more than 2,500 times, but 50% of the shares (1,286 shares) happened on the 12th day after it was published on 17 March. (Image: Cision Communications Cloud)[/caption]   By having data-driven insights, PR professionals can be more proactive when it comes to managing decisions and planning their communications strategies. To quote Peter Drucker, the renowned management consultant, "you can't manage what you can't measure". So, it is crucial to measure the effectiveness of your PR activities and campaigns before you can truly manage them properly.    Click here to find out how Cision Communications Cloud can measure the performance and define success for your PR campaigns.    This blog post is written by Ronald Khay, the Media Monitoring & Insights supervisor at PR Newswire. Based in Malaysia, Ronald oversees the media monitoring, media database and platform products for the Asia-Pacific market. You can contact him at ronald.khay@prnasia.com or connect with him on LinkedIn.

2020-04-14 11:51

Journalists Share How COVID-19 is Affecting Media Coverage in South Korea

South Korea was one of the worst-hit countries in the early stages of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak outside China. Fortunately, the virus spread is now largely under control, thanks to effective government measures such as providing timely and transparent updates to the public, the use of self-diagnosis smartphone apps and swift implementation of a large-scale screening regime. Like many other countries, South Korea’s battle against COVID-19 has affected a wide range of industries, including communications and media. PR Newswire has been closely monitoring how South Korea media has been impacted by the health crisis. We catch up with five journalists to find out what is on their news agenda and how they are adapting to new workflows.   Woo Kyeom Kim, Journalist, The Korea Industry Daily News focus Now we are mainly focusing on the business impact of COVID-19, especially on small businesses. To help our audiences, we also share the experience of companies that have effectively mitigated the business impact of COVID-19. We are covering news about cancellation and delay of promotional activities and events as well as how countries across the globe are responding to this health crisis. How have my working conditions changed? Covering in-person events and activities are off-limits now. As a result, PR professionals are looking for online alternatives. Many PR professionals have sought our advice on creating better online content and how to refresh their online platforms to attract more consumers. I’m still working from the office but I must wear a mask and the office is disinfected regularly. We also try to avoid unnecessary in-person meetings during working hours.   Eunji Oh, Team Manager, KIPOST & KINEWS News focus KIPOST and KINEWS are media outlets that mainly cover the technology and finance industries. Recently, I’m focused on covering news that is related to market changes due to the COVID-19 situation, especially on the supply chain impact. I’ve also been keeping a close watch on the performance of many companies and how they’ve changed their business strategies, particularly on investment plans. How have my working conditions changed? We already had the option of working remotely even before the COVID-19 outbreak so nothing has changed much for me. However, as the government is urging people to practise social distancing seriously, it has been difficult to conduct in-person interviews. As a result, maintaining good content quality without face-to-face meetings has been one of my biggest concerns recently.   Kwangha Park, Journalist, Korea Information & Telecommunication News News focus The COVID-19 outbreak has a greater impact on the Information & Telecommunications industry. Companies are opting to work from home and more people are minimizing contact through the “untact” movement, which means to “undo contact” where possible. As such, readers also want to hear more stories on how technology can be used in light of this trend and we are doing more in-depth stories on smart work technology and the “untact” movement. Many Korean software & ICT companies such as Hancom, Tmax Soft and Douzone are actively promoting newly launched smart work solutions. Also, international companies, such as CISCO, are offering free trial services for their key audiences to test their products, in order to increase sales and encourage word-of-mouth marketing about their services. How have my working conditions changed? COVID-19 has changed the work environment in South Korea. More businesses have implemented remote working arrangements and are disinfecting the office regularly. Our office is no exception. Currently, we have flexible work arrangements and are avoiding in-person meetings. Instead, we prefer to do phone calls or emails. In light of the cancellation or postponement of events and activities, some companies have decided to hold online events such as webinars as an alternative. As a result, I’m doing more product reviews rather than showing photos of products and events. In my opinion, this practice will continue even after the pandemic. Newsrooms around the world are experimenting with virtual reality as it offers an immersive experience to audiences. I think that the COVID-19 situation will encourage greater adoption of VR and 3D technology in the journalism field.   Jae-Yong Ryu, CEO, ACROFAN News focus Readers in South Korea are interested to get an international perspective of their country’s measures against the spread of COVID-19. South Korea was one of the worst-hit countries in the early stages of the outbreak, which resulted in many countries suspending air travel to/from South Korea. Some Koreans, who live overseas, even experienced discrimination in some countries. However, the government has managed to control the COVID-19 infection rate with its swift response to the crisis, and most Koreans are proud of this. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, South Korea is preparing for its legislative election on 15 April. I will be closely monitoring the elections as the results might be influenced by public perceptions of the government’s response to COVID-19. How have my working conditions changed? Like everyone else, I’m trying to avoid in-person meetings and using emails, phone calls or SMS to communicate with others. I am also opting for online video meetings to replace in-person meetings. Video conferencing has become quite trendy and some companies, especially those in the education section, are providing such free tools to their customers. The widespread use is also in schools, which began the academic year with online classes. The South Korean economy is also slowing down. Some companies are unable to pay their subcontractors, while some firms are planning to lay off workers due to the COVID-19 crisis. This will result in fewer good jobs and the economy will take a very long time to recover.   Taewoo Choi, Founder & Editor in chief, IT Biz News News focus I’m still mainly covering news related to IT, manufacturing, energy, and finance industries. How have my working conditions changed? COVID-19 has changed how journalists in South Korea cover the news. There are fewer events and press conferences to attend as we are all encouraged to practice social distancing and follow the “untact” movement. I can see that there has been a bigger impact on the IT and manufacturing industries, which can be felt from the cancellations of international exhibitions such as MWC (Mobile World Congress) and SEMICON KOREA. On the positive side, some IT companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) as a tool to support the production of COVID-19 testing kits. Some companies are also distributing free apps to track the spread of the virus, which is very helpful to people now. Currently, I rarely conduct in-person interviews and prefer using emails, phone calls or social media platforms such as Facebook to communicate with others including PR professionals.     Click here to read more stories on how journalists in APAC have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  This blog post is written by Hwajin Choi, Audience Development Executive in South Korea at PR Newswire. If you would like to be featured, please get in touch with her at hwajin.choi@prnasia.com

2020-04-08 16:27

Communications in Times of Uncertainty Webinar Highlights by Luisa Tam, Senior Editor, South China Morning Post

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has triggered a wave of unprecedented changes in the communications industry, from event cancellations to remote working arrangements. These changes have prompted a range of responses from APAC companies in their communications with the public and media. Some companies have been ramping up their corporate social responsibility initiatives and offering their services, while others have kept a low profile. PR Newswire is organising a series of Communications in Uncertain Times webinars in APAC to gather views and insights from communications and media professionals during this challenging period. Earlier this week, we started the series in Hong Kong, where we invited Luisa Tam, Senior Editor of South China Morning Post to share her views on how brands can position themselves in the COVID-19-dominated news cycle. One way is through sharing authentic human interest stories that show a more personal and approachable side of brands. Tam also shared what is on her news agenda and the challenges of reporting on the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation. Here are the key takeaways from the webinar. 1. It is a challenging time for journalists, who are struggling to keep up with the rapid developments of COVID-19 with lean resources  Over the past two months, some newsrooms in APAC have been operating on split shifts and journalists are attending fewer events, as a health precaution. Likewise, Tam has been working from home for almost a month - attending online daily editorial meetings and writing lifestyle and culture articles that are related to COVID-19. While it is important for a news organisation to get ahead of the news, she pointed out that this is not possible now as most journalists are not working on the ground. Instead, the SCMP editorial team’s current focus is to present a true picture of what is happening in Hong Kong and around the world to audiences. She added that journalists have adapted their news-gathering practices by conducting interviews via phone and video calls, which can also be used as video content. Another challenge of reporting amid the pandemic is verifying the accuracy of the information that is circulating around, especially in private channels such as WhatsApp. Tam said: “Now, we have limited ways to fact-check information, but at the same time, we need to get the news out quickly.”   2. Step into the shoes of consumers when crafting news angles  Many brands and companies have stepped up their corporate social responsibility initiatives such as donating money or medical equipment. Tam cited a tangible example of how luxury goods giant LVMH has converted their perfume production facilities to produce hand sanitizers and distributed them free of charge to hospitals in France. She added that contributions from smaller companies, which are offering their services within their capacity, also matter. Examples include companies that are providing free medical supplies or food coupons to underprivileged communities in Hong Kong. “Extending kind gestures is not about how grand they are,” she said. “If you cannot do big, do it well, so that people think that it is a wonderful gesture.” At this juncture, it is paramount for brands to stay relevant and keep tabs of the COVID-19 situation, and be visible in the right context. One way of staying relevant is to craft news angles that resonate with journalists. Tam suggested that PR professionals should put themselves in the shoes of consumers on what they would like to see from media outlets. She added: “They can ask themselves what they would like to know from a brand and its services during this period.” [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Luxury goods giant LVMH converted their perfume production facilities to produce hand sanitizers. (Photo: LVMH Facebook Page)[/caption]   3. Look within your brand for organic and authentic human interest stories  With the news cycle saturated with grim COVID-19 developments, what other story angles can appeal to journalists? Tam shared that she is looking out for human interest stories and public relations professionals should start looking for such opportunities within their brands. “Stories do not always have to be about people suffering, they can be about heroes in our lives,” she said. “Put a human face to this outbreak by sharing survival stories on what people are doing to help one another. Being organic and authentic is the most important thing.” Examples of COVID-19-related human interest stories include how companies are supporting staff through employee welfare initiatives, how businesses are dealing with supply chain disruptions and the CEO can share about the experience of coping with this crisis. She added that sharing good company gestures can help build a positive brand reputation in the long run. She said: “These stories can go a long way as people will remember what brands have done during difficult times.”   4. Start planning for post-COVID-19 media opportunities If your company does not have relevant stories in the current news cycle, it is fine. Tam advised that brands should not “force an angle” that could be seen as exploitative. Instead, they should monitor the developing situation to see how they can play a part. Companies can start planning media opportunities for the next news cycle - when the magnitude of the crisis begins to wane. This is when audiences are interested to read about lessons learnt by companies who have survived the crisis. She said: “People still want to know what will happen to companies in a few months and what their services can do down the road, so they have to position themselves to be ready for that.” Click here to watch the full webinar   This blog post is written by Kenneth Goh, Senior Marketing Executive at PR Newswire. A former journalist, he relishes keeping track of breaking news as much as telling stories with trends and data. Connect with him via Linkedin.

2020-04-02 16:06

Covering COVID-19: Journalists Share How Press Releases Can Get Media Coverage?

The Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic is threatening the global economy and bringing the world on the cusp of a major recession. In these challenging times, public relations and marketing professionals need to be creative and nimble in crafting promotional and publicity strategies in order to stand out in the media landscape that is saturated with COVID19-related news. PR Newswire speaks to journalists from Hong Kong media outlets such as Sing Tao Daily, Ming Pao, Human Resources Magazine and Localiiz to find out how this crisis has shaped editorial directions and how press releases can be crafted to get attention from journalists. Ching Yuen, Editor, Localiiz  Due to the pandemic, we have received fewer press releases that are related to the retail and F&B industries, and more press releases on the cancellation of events and services. At this juncture, we prefer to write articles on outdoor activities or home-based leisure activities. If public relations professionals can provide pitches and information on interesting hiking routes and outdoor activities, we will follow up on them. Since readers are spending most of their time indoors, we are prioritizing producing articles on topics such as self-improvement. During this challenging period, we also want to spread positivity through our stories as much as possible. However, we will also do stories that are related to government measures, such as providing a list of restaurants that offer food delivery services and how bars are adapting their menus to the temporary liquor ban. Although our contact with public relations professional has been reduced, we still appreciate if they can proactively update us with the latest information and developments.   Charly Lam, Senior Content Manager, Features (Digital), Sing Tao Daily Lifestyle and culture-centric media outlets are paying more attention to press releases on charitable causes and health measures against the virus. Relevant news can include corporate donations and feel-good human-interest stories. The pandemic has spurred cultural institutions such as Art Basel to step up its digital transformation efforts in order to expand its audience reach. As a result, journalists are interested in reporting on how companies have adapted their operations in response to the crisis. Press releases that have COVID-19-related keywords in the headlines will attract higher click-through rates from journalists. Besides receiving relevant press releases, we are looking to feature people who are willing to go on record to share about how their lives have been disrupted by the pandemic and how they have adapted in these trying times. Besides virus-related news, we are also reporting on health-related news and conducting personality interviews on more light-hearted topics. Recently, there has been a lively discussion on the use of augmented reality for art appreciation, which has attracted some media coverage.   Robert Blain, Hong Kong Editor, Human Resources Magazine   In light of the COVID-19 crisis in Hong Kong and abroad, we welcome tips and information for HR professionals to help manage their employees and ensure that they continue to work safely and productively. Topics can include social distancing in the office and working from home. Given the recent travel restrictions and the liquor sales ban, it is important to update our readers on these developments and how people can stay connected with their colleagues through ways such as video conferencing. Employers can also give tips on safeguarding the mental health of their employees during this challenging period. The best way that public relations professionals can contact us is still by email or phone. Coming from a human resource-focused media, I would also encourage PR professionals to contact me via LinkedIn.     Hannah Wong, Reporter, Ming Pao Finance There has been a shift in how financial journalists select information for reporting due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We are paying more attention to companies with online businesses due to an increased demand for e-commerce services. Journalists are now closely analyzing market policies in various countries such as the impact on the U.S. stock market in response to the unlimited quantitative easing measures by the Federal Reserve, and the governments’ thinking behind central banks pumping in money. As the spread of COVID-19 poses a huge threat to the global economy, I am paying more attention to news releases on foreign markets. With the sudden virus outbreak in Europe, newly listed stocks such as Alibaba and Meituan remain our top focus in our news coverage.   RELATED: Journalists Share How COVID-19 is Affecting Media Coverage in Hong Kong   This article is written by Kate Wong, Audience Development Manager at PR Newswire and Yannis Leung, an Audience Development Intern, who is an English Studies undergraduate at the City University of Hong Kong.  

2020-03-31 15:10

Journalists Share How COVID-19 is Affecting Media Coverage in Hong Kong

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted a wide range of industries around the world. And the communications and media sectors are no exception. Over the past month, many public relations and marketing events have been postponed or cancelled due to health concerns. Working from home has also become the new norm for some communications professionals and journalists as part of remote work arrangements by their companies. PR Newswire has been keeping a close watch on how the media in Hong Kong has been operating amid the Coronavirus situation. We catch up with five journalists from South China Morning Post, The Standard, Hong Kong Economic Times, Metro Pop and DigFin. These media outlets cover a diverse spectrum of topics, from finance, lifestyle to general news. As the virus spreads, we find out how they are looking out for news and how their work operations have changed. Luisa Tam, Senior Editor and Columnist, South China Morning Post  News Focus PR and marketing professionals should respond swiftly with fresh media angles whenever the government introduces a new measure to curb the spread of the virus. These angles can touch on how businesses are adapting their operations to the developing situation. Take the temporary ban on liquor sales in bars and shops as an example, affected establishments can change their business directions by offering milkshakes instead of cocktails. Businesses can also provide health tips such as how to boost one’s immune system during this period. News that is helpful and relevant to readers has a higher chance of being reported. Interesting content that is entirely unrelated to the virus can also be covered by the media. How have my working conditions changed? I am currently working from home, but I still attend daily editorial meetings to plan and discuss the news coverage.   Fraser Li, Reporter, Hong Kong Economic Times. He mainly covers corporate IT and start-up news.  News Focus Readers are paying more attention to industries that have been affected by the pandemic. While news related to 5G and the iPhone may attract some readers, journalists are now mainly focused on developments in industries such as mask manufacturing, healthcare and medical during this period. How have my working conditions changed? In the past, public relations agencies would disseminate press releases to the media and journalists can decide if the news is relevant for their outlets. Due to the severe Coronavirus situation, journalists are limiting their movements and are conducting fewer face-to-face interviews. This is a good opportunity for journalists to cultivate closer relationships with PR professionals. During this period, journalists can source for news from industries that they have not covered frequently. For example, they can get insights from research analysts who can provide views and statistics on how the logistics, supply chain and tourism industries have been affected by the pandemic. Michael Shum, Reporter, The Standard. He writes about property and transport news. News Focus As the pandemic becomes more severe, I will pay more attention to press releases that contain pneumonia-related keywords. PR practitioners can entice media to pick up their press releases by including Coronavirus-related talking points in them. How have my working conditions changed? Before the Coronavirus outbreak, it was cumbersome to check work emails outside the office. However, this has become much easier nowadays with the help of Virtual Private Network (VPN). These days, I hardly go out for face-to-face interviews or attend press conferences due to health concerns. My main mode of communications with PR agencies has changed from email to WhatsApp.   Jacqueline Chan , Co-founder and Chief Officer, Metro Pop  News Focus The pandemic is closely intertwined with our lifestyles, so topics related to the Coronavirus and working from home are relevant to lifestyle titles such as Metro Pop. With the cancellation and delay of promotional activities, public relations agencies should continue to send press releases to the media, while keeping in touch through phone calls. Press releases should be timely and incorporate hotly discussed talking points so that the media can weave mentions of the products and event into their articles easily. Although major events such as Le French May have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus situation, the media can find creative ways of writing about related topics such as flowers that are in-season during Spring. Having fewer media events has made it more crucial to engage our audiences through quality content. Take the topic of homemade face masks as an example, the media has been featuring uniquely designed masks by home-grown brands and DIY templates for readers to make cloth masks at home. How have my working conditions changed? As there are fewer media interview opportunities, journalists need to put in more effort and creativity in order to fill the huge content gap left by the absence of events and personality interviews.   Jame DiBiasio, Co-Founder & Editor, DigFin  News Focus DigFin’s editorial approach has always been content-orientated. Our editorial focus is on how the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted the financial technology industry. Regardless of the virus, we always welcome insightful press releases on the industry. How have my working conditions changed? For a media outlet that covers the financial technology sector, the Coronavirus pandemic has little impact on DigFin’s editorial direction. Our mode of communicating with PR agencies has always been through emails and phone calls and this will not change.   Interested to get more insights on how newsroom operations and news-gathering practices have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic?     Find out more from Luisa Tam, Senior Editor of South China Morning Post in a PR Newswire Webinar on 31 March (Tuesday), 11.30am HKT      Click on the banner below to sign up now!    This article is written by Kate Wong, Audience Development Manager at PR Newswire and Maggie Wong, an Audience Development Intern, who is studying at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, majoring in Journalism. 

2020-03-27 12:07

April 2020 PR Calendar Cheat Sheet: Easter, Earth Day and World Health Day

April is a month for brands to pay more attention to the environmental and health issues that are plaguing the world. Besides the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there are other pertinent global issues such as the importance of nursing and midwifery workforce in the healthcare sector. Recognising this pillar is World Health Day 2020, which aims to trigger a wave of public appreciation for nurses and midwives and their invaluable contributions. Another socially conscious occasion is Earth Day, which catalyses support for climate change. Here is a list of major events and festivals to help communicators plan their PR campaigns and activities in April 2020. Key Dates: 7 April – World Health Day 12 April – Easter 13 April – Songkran Festival (Thailand) 22 April – Earth Day 25 April – ANZAC Day (Australia) 29 April – Showa Day (Japan)   April 2020 Highlights 1. World Health Day (7 April) Over the past 50 years, World Health Day has brought to light important health issues highlighted by the World Health Organization, such as mental health and childcare. With 2020 being the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, this year’s event highlights the vital role played by nurses and midwives in providing healthcare around the world. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="613"] To mark Plant Nanny app’s first anniversary, Fourdesire launched a limited-time campaign to promote environmental sustainability. (Photo: Fourdesire)[/caption]   With the recent emphasis on staying healthy, Taiwan-based digital design company Fourdesire launched an upgraded version of Plant Nanny2 . The nifty water consumption reminding app allows users to keep track of how much water they consume daily. To mark the app’s first anniversary, Fourdesire launched a limited-time campaign to promote environmental sustainability. From 19 March to 15 April, a tree will be planted for every birthday wish or posted shared on the Plant Nanny2' Instagram account. American gym company Snap Fitness is partnering with global fitness platform FitnessOnDemand to provide free access to virtual workout platform for people who want to stay healthy but prefer staying at home. These workouts are designed to optimize space with little to no equipment required, which is a timely move amid growing Coronavirus concerns. 2. Easter (12 April) [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="781"] The Official 2020 White House Easter Eggs. (Photo: The White House Historical Association)[/caption]   Christians celebrate this holy festival, which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and symbolizes rebirth and hope. Synonymous with Easter is the Easter Egg and Easter Bunny. It is a tradition that those who hunt more Easter Eggs will receive more blessings throughout the year. The White House Historical Association will organize its annual White House Easter Egg Roll on 13 April, when limited-edition eggs will be given to children who attend the event. The Official 2020 White House Easter Eggs, which are available for sale, will feature an illustration of the White House portico on the front and come in four Spring colours.   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="898"] Kintetsu Railway offers special train services to view cherry blossoms in secluded areas in Japan. (Photo: Kintetsu Railway)[/caption]   With the Easter Holidays approaching, nature lovers can view the beauty of Japan’s cherry blossoms season, which is expected to peak around 8 April. Visitors can also enjoy the blooming scenery in secluded spots in Nara and Mie Prefectures and Ise Shima with Kintetsu Railway Co., Ltd, which offers special train journeys with a slice of Japanese culture. 3. Earth Day (22 April) Earth Day is a unified response to an environment in crisis, with the growing occurrence of oil spills, forest fires and smogs around the world. Reinforcing the importance of environmental protection is one of the world’s largest environmental movement that drives transformative change for people and the planet. This year’s theme is climate action, which is a pressing topic that will be addressed in the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day celebrations. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought about some changes for Earth Day events this year. Earth Day Network, the organizer of Earth Day, will shift to a global digital mobilization. The updated digital-first strategy includes a global conversation that will be unified and tracked by the shared hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE. Earth Day Network will also provide live coverage of the digital mobilizations from its social media accounts (@earthdaynetwork). Also going the virtual route is Earthx2020, one of the world’s largest environmental events, which will host conferences and film festival online. Highlights include the EarthxGlobal Gala and the world premiere of The Way of the Rain – Hope For Earth, directed by Sibylle Szaggards Redford, with a special narration by Hollywood icon Robert Redford. Besides conferences and campaigns, music can also help raise awareness on climate change. Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman teamed up with various musicians and artistes to record “Hands Around the World”, an anthem for Hands Around The World, a year-long campaign that inspires more than one billion people to hold hands in a virtual selfie chain around the world.   RELATED: Click here to view more PR Calendar Cheat Sheets  [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Click to view PR Newswire’s 2020 PR calendar.[/caption]   Plan your upcoming campaigns and news releases around festivals, exhibitions and conferences in Asia-Pacific in 2020. Click here to view the PR Newswire’s Public Relations Calendar.   About the Writer: Nicole Lee is an Associate Editor at PR Newswire. She graduated from City University of Hong Kong, majoring in Media and Communications.  

2020-03-26 11:22

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Communications Resources

With the rapidly evolving news cycle and growing concerns on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, communicating swiftly, effectively and accurately has never been more important. During these challenging times, it is critical to maintain a clear and calm brand voice, while keeping open channels of communications with stakeholders in order to be seen as a trusted source of information for your industry.  Here’s a compilation of communications resources from PR Newswire and Cision to support your efforts during this trying period: Communications Resources Webinars  News Updates Communications Resources 1. Crisis Communications Toolkit  When a crisis happens, brands need to be prepared to weather the storm. The question is: Are you and your team ready to handle a communications crisis? Grab our Crisis Communications Toolkit as part of your PR strategy for these challenging times. Learn how to identify when a threat may happen; analyze the coverage around a crisis; and craft a genuine and timely response for your audience.  Download the toolkit here   2. Earnings Checklist: Best Practices for Preparing Your Earnings Release During Covid-19 The quarterly earnings release is a high-visibility opportunity to tell your company’s story. During this unprecedented time, investors have adjusted their focus. Missed projections are expected, and unlike most earnings periods investors are now shifting a focus to your commentary rather than your financial data. Taking a few extra minutes to check off the necessities in this checklist will ensure you meet disclosure requirements and give your investors confidence that your leadership team is prepared to manage the COVID-19 crisis.            Download the checklist here     3. Best Practices for Brand Communications in Times of Uncertainty Due to the rapidly shifting news cycle and growing concerns about COVID-19, we've put together some best practices for brand communications in difficult times. There’s a fine line between being helpful to your customers and audience and attempting to capitalize off of a scary situation.   Download our tip sheet now to start effectively communicating with your customers.       4. How to Ensure Your COVID-19 Press Release Gets Published Crafting a press release that stands out can be challenging at the best of times, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is even more to consider. With this in mind, PR Newswire has created a guide for those crafting COVID-19 related press releases by including real examples of press releases we have approved and refused. We strive to be a trusted source for the media and maintain high standards in the press releases we distribute. Download our tip sheet       5. COVID-19 Comms: Developing Communications Plans for Crisis Recovery and Beyond Read a summary of the key takeaways from our APAC webinar on Developing Communications Plans for Crisis Recovery and Beyond.          We get crisis recovery insights from John Kerr, CEO of Edelman Singapore, and Riley Heng, Country Manager, Australia and Head of            Marketing at MetroResidences.        Read the blog   6. COVID-19 Comms: Turning a Crisis into Media Opportunities Some markets in APAC, such as Hong Kong, have resumed some form of economic activity as infection rates subside. We take a look at trending news topics in Hong Kong that have emerged and get journalists from two Hong Kong-based media outlets, Bloomberg Businessweek and Tatler Asia to weigh in on how brands can present distinctive and relevant story angles that can fit into the media’s COVID-19 agenda.        Read the blog   7. COVID-19 Comms: How Brands are Helping Through Healthcare Initiatives? Behind the medical frontlines, companies from all walks of life are chipping in by donating medical supplies, developing mobile apps to make healthcare services more accessible, building software to monitor one’s health and ensure social distancing, and increasing the production of medical supplies. Here are some initiatives from companies in APAC that aim to keep audiences in the pink of health. Read the blog   8. COVID-19 Comms: How Entertainment and Lifestyle Brands are Spreading Positivity? Tired of getting bombarded by COVID-19 news, a growing pool of captive audiences are also turning to uplifting and inspiring online content. Here’re some colourful ways that brands in APAC are keeping audiences entertained and smiling despite the uncertainties.  Read the blog   9. COVID-19 Comms: How Brands Adapt Communications Practices?  As public concerns and interests in the COVID19 situation shift gears so must communications strategies. We chat with four PR experts on how brands can adapt their communications plans in order to thrive. Some ways including making the switch to digital and positioning your brand to engage your target audience. Read the blog   10. COVID-19 Comms: Corporate Communications Tips For Brands The tumultuous COVID-19 situation has set off a chain of unprecedented challenges for industries around the world. Naturally, it is a challenging time for brand communications, as PR and communications professionals need to keep a pulse on the rapidly-shifting landscape and concerns. We highlight tips and best practices from communications experts from our series of webinars. Read the blog   11. How Travel Companies Are Providing Relief to the COVID-19 Situation? What do journalists look out for when going through press releases to source for story ideas during the COVID-19 pandemic? Hear from four journalists, in Hong Kong who share how this crisis has shaped their editorial directions and how press releases can be crafted to catch their attention. Read the blog   12. APAC Webinar #1 Highlights: Communications in Times of Uncertainty  Luisa Tam, Senior Editor of South China Morning Post shared her insights on how brands can communicate to the media during the COVID-19 pandemic. One key way is to building brand mileage by sharing organic human interest stories that can be found within companies. The veteran journalist also talked about what types of news angles and stories she is looking out for during this challenging period. Read the blog   13. Covering COVID-19: Journalists Share How Press Releases Can Get Media Coverage? What do journalists look out for when going through press releases to source for story ideas during the COVID-19 pandemic? Hear from four journalists, in Hong Kong who share how this crisis has shaped their editorial directions and how press releases can be crafted to catch their attention. Read the blog   14. Investor Relations Pros Share Communications Tips Amid The COVID-19 Uncertainty  The earnings season in APAC is kicking off in the coming months amid an uncertain climate. We got investor relations professionals to share their views and tips on communicating with stakeholders and the media. Read the blog   15. Event Cancellations: PR Pros Share What’s Next For Communicators? The Coronavirus situation has caused numerous events and conferences to be postponed or cancelled. We got PR & Marketing professionals to share their views and tips on enhancing communications plans to cope with sudden event changes.  Read the blog   16. Coronavirus Response: Communications Updates in Key APAC Markets  Find out how companies in APAC are stepping up their communications as the economic  impact of COVID-19 ripples around the region. Read the blog     17. Coronavirus Response: An APAC Communications Round-up Find out how companies in APAC are responding to the Coronavirus outbreak in their communications, such as adapting their operational procedures and stepping up corporate social responsibility efforts. Read the blog   APAC Media Insights  1. Trending Topics From the COVID-19 Media Coverage in Malaysia  Like the evolving developments of the COVID-19 situation, the news focus has also shifted. We catch up with four business journalists in Malaysia to find out which key trends and topics that have emerged from this crisis that they are keen on exploring more as part of their news coverage.  Read the blog   2. Journalists Share How COVID-19 is Affecting Media Coverage in South Korea Find out how journalists in South Korea are adapting their news angles to cover the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a vast range of industries, from technology, telecommunications to finance.     Read the blog     3. Journalists Share How COVID-19 is Affecting Media Coverage in Hong Kong How have newsroom operations and news-gathering practices been affected by the COVID19 pandemic? Find out from five Hong Kong-based journalists, who share about their editorial direction and how they are adapting to fewer media events and interview opportunities. Read the blog   For more articles on communications best practices and tips, subscribe to the PR Newswire Newsletter Webinars  1. APAC Webinar: Communications in Times of Uncertainty, First Edition  How should brands communicate with the public and media during the COVID-19 pandemic? We get the insights from Luisa Tam, Senior Editor of South China Morning Post who shares about the challenges of reporting amid rapid developments, the types of news angles that journalists are looking out for and how companies can build brand mileage from this crisis? Get the recording    2. APAC Webinar: Communications in Times of Uncertainty, Second Edition  How has the COVID-19 pandemic shaped news coverage at business media platforms? We hear from Ted Kemp, Managing Editor of CNBC International Digital and Elliott Danker, Senior Presenter from MONEY FM 89.3, SPH Radio. For a well-rounded perspective,  Charlene Lee, Head of Corporate Communications at Tata Consultancy Services shares her crisis communications tips to handle this unprecedented crisis. Get the recording    3. APAC Webinar: Anti-Fake News - Innovative Ideas & Effective Actions  Le Quoc Minh, vice president of Vietnam News Agency, shares his insights on how to detect fake news amid the rapidly developing COVID-19 situation and how adding music and rap to news can engage younger audiences.  Get the recording    4. APAC Webinar: Developing Crisis Communications Strategies during COVID-19 Nicholas Sagau Tony Ngimat, group general manager of Media Prima Digital and Justin Then, managing director of Lumos Hill+Knowlton Strategies, shed some light on how Malaysian businesses are responding to the crisis, from the perspectives of the media and agency. Get the recording    5. APAC Webinar: Developing Communications Plans for Crisis Recovery and Beyond Markets in APAC are at different phases of coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether they are at the peak or on the recovery track, companies need to remain proactive and adapt their communications. As governments around the world are implementing measures to kickstart their economies, it is vital for PR professionals to have a recovery plan to reconnect with their audiences. Join us as we invite communications experts to discuss post COVID-19 recovery plans for companies. Get the recording   6. APAC Webinar: Rethinking News Practices During and Post Pandemic Over the past few months, Bloomberg, Reuters and Vietnam Television International have been adapting their operations, technology, and resource allocation to meet the growing demand for faster and more reliable information on the developing crisis. Tune in to find out how they are managing their news operations and get tips and insights on how you can work with them effectively during this challenging period. Get the recording   7. Webinar: Best Practices for Brand Communications in Times of Uncertainty, Part 1  It's a difficult time for brand communications; due to the rapidly shifting news cycle and growing concerns about COVID-19, we have put together a panel of PR experts across industries in the United States to discuss best practices for brand communications. The webinar includes an extensive audience Q&A. Look out for more webinars in this series soon. Get the recording    8. Webinar: Best Practices for Brand Communications in Times of Uncertainty, Part 2 For the second part of our series, we brought in a new panel of experts to discuss the latest developments of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it's affecting the industry. They share best-practices, including how to "read the room" and the importance of empathy in communications. Get the recording    9. Webinar: Best Practices for Brand Communications in Times of Uncertainty, Part 3 For the third part of our series, we brought in a team of our award-winning Cision Insights communications research experts to share key learnings from the COVID-19 media analysis reports that they authored. Our panel analyzed two distinct aspects: How traditional and social media treat top US companies as defined by the volume of coverage they generate, and what COVID-19 trends in China can teach us as we navigate our day-to-day life in the USA. Get the recording    10. Webinar: Best Practices for Brand Communications in Times of Uncertainty, Part 4 Our panel of industry experts discussed the best practices that communicators can take right now to not only communicate with customers, but employees, stakeholders and the media. They also discuss the language of the C-Suite in times of crisis, best practices for managing brand communications in a volatile media environment and how to update your KPIs and earned media metrics when your media strategy has changed. Get the recording   11. Webinar: Best Practices for Brand Communications in Times of Uncertainty, Part 5 Although the most trying weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic are unfolding in many areas, it is important PR pros remain proactive and plan their comms strategy for when we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our panel of communications expert discussed post-crisis practices in relation to messaging, timing and brand reputation Get the recording News Updates Stay on top of Coronavirus news from PR Newswire  Get real-time global news coverage on Coronavirus by Cision  

2020-03-24 14:31

Investor Relations Pros Share Communications Tips Amid The COVID-19 Uncertainty

Companies in APAC are grappling with the economic pressures and challenges caused by the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19, which has been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation on 11 March. Listed companies should communicate clearly to stakeholders and investors, who are paying close attention to business trends and developments, and are anticipating corporate response plans. This is critical given that the earnings season is kicking off in the coming months. PR Newswire compiled views from investor relations and financial media professionals on how best to communicate during these uncertain times. Harold Woo, President, Investor Relations Professionals Association Singapore (IRPAS)  COVID-19 has presented new challenges for companies, requiring them to clearly articulate the impact on business operations, and messaging to shareholders on the steps being taken to prepare for the worsening situation. It makes more sense, for example, to hold virtual Annual General Meetings (AGM) to avoid crowded function rooms that could lead to another cluster infection. However, to do so calls for a review of the Articles of Association, which requires AGMs to be held in a physical location and in Singapore, and a review of the Practice Guidance of the Code of Corporate Governance on whether AGMs can be held virtually, and finally the issue of having a quorum - can one have a quorum in a virtual AGM? IRPAS recommends an active dialogue on managing Virtual AGMs in the light of advanced technology solutions while meeting the governance requirements. While the technology to allow webcast meetings or vote electronically already exists, there are outstanding issues to be addressed such as the authentication of proxies and ensuring the privacy of the webcast is sufficiently robust. It will be ideal if the authorities can set some guidelines to provide some assurance to companies. Other areas that require answers from IR practitioners include thinking about cash flow, which is one of the critical issues for the investment community — can the company last if this is a one-year crisis? Other questions include what are the contingency plans for the next six months and 12 months to manage cashflow and what cost-cutting measures must be taken without fundamentally hurting the business? There will also be pressing and persistent questions on business activity. They include how has the COVID-19 spread affected business activity, and how significant is the drop in business activities. The narrative would cover the near term (before the next results) and prospects in the next few months.   Kay Li, Chief Editor, Greater China, Investing.com  The media will focus on different aspects of a company’s financial report during this pandemic. As we scrutinize financial reports, more attention will be spent on understanding the extent of how the pandemic has impacted businesses, such as how production and operations have been affected by changes to supply chain and cash flow.  Investors need to know how much of the company’s business comes from countries that have been affected most by the pandemic, in order to better understand how the company’s overall performance has been affected.  Besides reading financial reports, investors and media are looking out for the company’s emergency response measures, as well as its market performance. Listed companies should disseminate timely and accurate company information so that concerns from investors can be addressed quickly.  Joanne Wong, Senior Managing Director, Strategic Communications, FTI Consulting  Communications and investor relations professionals need to address and alleviate growing concerns from stakeholders and the investment community by communicating clearly in this rapidly shifting situation. Wong shares six tips on investor communications amid the spread of coronavirus, which were originally published in IR Magazine. Work from the inside out: In difficult moments such as this, companies need to prioritize timely, quality and consistent communications with employees, vendors and partners. Apart from being an integral component of sound leadership, this will be key in ensuring all of the business fundamentals the investment community values. It will also be a good litmus test – because if your own employees don’t buy into your position, message or initiative, it won’t succeed externally.  Be transparent in communicating near-term challenges: Communicate transparently and candidly about the short-term challenges the company expects to face from operational risks to disruptions in the supply chain or changes in market dynamics. The management team should articulate clearly and to its best ability an assessment of the immediate, material impact of the current situation on the business. Avoid downplaying the impact of short-term disruptions or brushing them off; instead, address the challenges in a clear and transparent way. Use the opportunity to reinforce the business’ long-term fundamentals: This is also a critical opportunity for leadership to highlight and reinforce the business’ long-term fundamentals, which will support an eventual recovery and deliver long-term value. Refresh the messaging on the strengths of the company, from the value of its key offerings to talent and even investment in innovation. Communicate solutions and commitment: The assessment of the pandemic’s impact should also include communications around solutions and mitigatory measures that the company has in place. It is important to show the company’s ability and resolve to weather the storm. Be ready to respond to concerns and uncertainty: Be realistic when communicating your outlook and guidance on the remainder of the financial period and be ready to brace for worst-case scenarios. Stay abreast of the latest developments, consider possible scenarios and be ready to address legitimate concerns and doubts from the investment community. Think about your communication goals: The interest of your investors will no doubt be weighted toward the business and financial impact of the pandemic. The company would need to demonstrate its commitment to delivering what each stakeholder is looking for. By effectively demonstrating the company’s ability to achieve shared goals and find alignment with its stakeholders during difficult times, the company also makes its case for its ability to create long-term, sustainable value for investors. RELATED: Event Cancellations: PR Pros Share What's Next For Communicators    Click here to view more earnings press releases    This blog post is written by Kenneth Goh, Senior Marketing Executive at PR Newswire. A former journalist, he relishes keeping track of breaking news as much as telling stories with trends and data. Connect with him via Linkedin.

2020-03-20 10:02
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