In China, Public Relation (PR) is not Complicated, it is just different. The Chinese Media system is actually pretty Simple to understand.
Public Relations is one of the key points on which any marketing strategy should be based. It is key because it allows the company to directly deal with its key stakeholders in order to trigger positive opinions about the brands and its products. It is important to notice that the company’s key stakeholders are not only the customers (which are surely one of the most important stakeholder) but also the public opinion, the government (especially important in China), the employees, the suppliers and so on. In order for a PR strategy to be successful, it is vital that it is fully integrated into a boarder marketing plan e.g. it is part of several marketing initiatives aimed at promoting the company’s product, and not a separate action.
Having a clear PR strategy is especially important when entering the Chinese market, as it is a very challenging market that requires companies to adopt a clear strategy which is adapted to the local context. hence, many companies tend to fail in their PR efforts in China because they either do not have a clear PR strategy, or they fail to adapt that strategy to the local needs and customs of Chinese consumers.
This article while outlines the main companies of a successful PR campaign in China, with a particular focus on the caveat companies need to pay attention to when operating n China.
The Role Of the Chinese Government
In China the vast majority (in fact all) of the media is subject to some degree of control from the government. From the printed newspapers to the social media networks, all the content published is carefully checked, and anything that might either go against the government rules or interest or that might even cause embarrassment to the government or the country is censored. Hence companies engaging in PR activities need to take this factor into account. All the advertising materials that they produce needs to be compliant with the government regulation and they must also make sure it doesn’t offend the Chinese history and culture.
Chose The Right Media (Online and avoid Offline)
Similarly to the western world, in China PR professionals can rely on a range of media outlets to release their contents and material. The outlets include the traditional media like TV, print media (newspapers, magazines ecc.) and the social Media (WeChat, Weibo). But the big difference is that while in the West most of the PR activities take place online, in China the traditional media have still some effectiveness.
In 2016 in China
- 10 000 enewspapers
- 9,000 emagazines
- and 3,000 E TV Channels .
Hence people still uses them, even though social media are slowly taking over. Hence the Chinese media landscape is quite fragmented and on the one side this makes it difficult to identify the right channel for your company, but on the other side it also gives more opportunities to business to get in touch with their customers.
Personliazed Your Press Release for Your Target
Another important concept to keep in mind when engaging in PR activities in China, is that your message needs to be carefully tailored to its intended audience. Hence a type of communication and messages that would be appropriate in the Europe or in the US it might not be appropriate nor effective in China. All the content that is released must be in line with the brand’s positioning as well as with its intended customers. This means that the messages must not only be effective in terms of language and visual material, but also they must have a cultural fit (i.e. resonate with the target customers’ values and believes). This is why it is advisable to have the press release and other PR material created by local PR experts, as they are in the position of understanding what is right and what not for the Chinese market.
Adapt your format to Chinese Media
The format in which you release the content of your PR material needs to be adapted to the media outlet you choose. So If you release content for the social media, this needs to be high impact material, that users would be willing to share. In this way you could have high levels of resonance at a very low cost.
On the other hand if you create content for press releases and conferences, the format must be totally different. First of all it is important to say that conferences are still quite well-liked in China, and they are likely to attract the attention of many journalists (especially when a notorious foreign brand or product is being presented). These journalists prefer to have content in the form of articles which can be easily reviewed and published. This is because these journalist usually need to attend many conferences, and do not have the time to write from scratch an article for each one of them. Hence, helping them by providing ready to publish content can help your business to build strong relationships with the local press, which can potentially yield positive reviews and articles.
Digital Resonnance : Use Social Media and Forums
Social media are frequently used by PR professionals in China, to Increase the Diffusion. This is because Chinese consumers are heavy social media users and hence, using social media can be an effective way to reach them. Chinese Social media can be used by brands to inform the customers about new product releases, (Weibo Specially) as well as to provided feedback and support to current Chinese users
Furthermore social media are also effective in the case of crisis management (e.g. when there is something wrong about the product) as it allows the company to quickly get in touch with its affected consumers and solve the problem before it spreads to widely. But on the other hand social media pose also several challenges to PR professional. Since they enable customers to share news very fast, the can also cause massive brand disaster and ruin the reputation of the company, if for example a product is of a low quality. Hence companies need to use experienced PR agencies, which can help them effectively communicate with the Chinese consumers, and can also help deal with unexpected problems before they become too big. Our agency has several years of PR experience and has contacts with over 2,000 journalists.
Contact us Today to know how we can help manage your Public Relation in China.
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