Getting ready for what’s next: A global view of press relations

In this series, I interview international experts in press relations with whom I have been fortunate enough to work in recent years. In the face of this global crisis, I find it fascinating to see the similarities and differences in our analysis of the situation. After Germany, UK, Japan and Sweden, we continue our world tour, this time interviewing our partners in UAE and China about their visions of the world afterwards.

Vernon Saldanha, Director – Strategy & Client Services, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

With COVID-19 consuming all the oxygen in the room, executing an effective PR strategy in the region hinges on a couple of critical success factors.

For one, given the pace of the news cycles, now more than ever, having a differentiated story and agility will be key – any delays in the content creation and pitching process could easily result in your story being irrelevant. As an example, think back to about a month ago, when countries started going into lockdown, every news outlet was interested in work from home strategies, tips on how to stay mentally and physically healthy and how to balance work and family life. Today, you will be hard-pressed to find an outlet that is still interested in this sort of content. Conversations have evolved and we are now having discussions around contact tracing, how soon we can open the economy, potential impact on different sectors, etc.

Building on the first point, there’s also an element of fatigue around the topic of COVID-19. So, while it is understandable that companies need to get their message out, they need to be judicious and sensitive in the content they disseminate to the media. Stay away from using COVID-19 as a hook (unless it is absolutely necessary) and definitely stay away from sensationalism. When it comes to COVID-19 content, a good rule of thumb here is to aim to be an ambulance driver, rather than an ambulance chaser.

Marvin Ma, International Relation Manager, Moonmi Consulting, Shanghai, China

Affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, China’s domestic marketing trends have shown new characteristics:

1.The live broadcast is particularly popular because a large number of people are staying at home and some of the offline stores are closed. Therefore, the promotion of online e-commerce through live broadcast sales has become the most significant trend during the epidemic. Even many Chinese first-line stars have joined this field.

2.Due to poor operating performance, the overall marketing budget of most companies has dropped significantly. So the precision marketing through content and video has become an important development trend. Enterprises want to attract accurate customers through high-quality content, instead of the previous advertising bombing.

And this concludes for now this fascinating series of interviews which allowed us to travel a bit during the lockdown!

Edouard Fleuriau-Chateau