Posts Tagged ‘pr’

Illuminant and LEWIS PR renew strategic partnership agreement

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

20 June, 2012, Beijing, New York and Sydney






Following their successful collaboration in 2010 for USAID’s Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT) event for Asia Pacific Forestry Week in Beijing, and recent joint new business development activities, LEWIS PR and Illuminant have renewed their strategic partnership agreement.

LEWIS PR is a global public relations agency with an emphasis in digital, technology and high-end consumer communications & public relations.  The agency maintains 25 offices  globally, and in 2011, LEWIS entered the Global Top 40 PR Agencies for the first time. It is one of the youngest agencies to achieve this.

Founded in Beijing and Hong Kong, and with offices in New York City, Chicago and Sydney, Illuminant has a strong presence in China and specializes in public relations & strategic communications, visual & digital communications, branding & corporate identity. Illuminant won the Australian Chamber of Commerce in China and Australian Trade Commission’s Business Entrepreneurial Award, a greater China national honour, in 2008.

The firms’ strategic partnership agreement, renewed  in June 2012, brings together LEWIS PR’s global reach and professional capabilities and Illuminant’s expertise in the China region to better meet client needs with broader global and service offerings.


China’s People’s Daily calls for Chinese companies to make better and wiser use of microblogs

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011
China's People's Daily

China's People's Daily, the nation's authoritative Party newspaper

On January 19th, China’s People’s Daily (the official national daily newspaper of the Communist Party of China), ran an intriguing article entitled “Micro blogs crucial to firm’s PR” (its China Daily’s translation, not ours).

Quoted from the article:

Chinese enterprises are slow to recognize emergency situations and perform poorly when handling public relations crises, according to a recent report.

The report, compiled by the public opinion research laboratory of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, looked at the 50 most prominent PR events in 2010 and analyzed the responses made by the enterprises concerned.

“We found Chinese enterprises’ ability to respond to a crisis is basically weak in areas such as problem solving, issue management and communication,” said Xie Yungeng, deputy director of the university’s Institute of Arts and Humanities, who helped write the report.

He singled out a lack of judgment as the cause of many enterprises’ failure to handle crises as and when they arise.

The article is intriguing as it marks somewhat of a “coming out” for microblogging in the People’s Republic of China.  As a medium which arguably has supported widescale popular calls for social and political change in countries such as Tunisia and Iran, the article’s contention that China aught microblog more is of interest to China watchers.

The article’s focus is on the Chinese state-owned sector’s use (or disuse) of microblogs, and serves as a “call to arms” for these government-owned businesses to equal what “private enterprises” achieve with use of social media:

Many State-owned enterprises have been slow to adopt the new media and tend to rely on traditional outlets for their messages, which are not as effective in reaching the public, Xie said.

In contrast, private enterprises are generally able to respond to PR crises quickly and positively, efficiently using new media, such as micro blogs, to win the support of the public through effective communications.

In our experience, its quite correct that the Chinese state-owned sector (which is massively larger than the relatively recent private sector) is indeed grappling with the velocity of information sharing within China’s borders. Only a handful of years ago, a crisis could be easily controlled through the reliable old tactics of ignoring or downplaying and manipulating the message in traditional media (which was, naturally, itself state-owned). However, microblogging (or social media networks in a broader sense) have swiftly brought about a collective of millions of ordinary Chinese grass roots.

Although the jury is still out, there is a feeling within China that social media cannot be manipulated by a large enterprise in a time of crisis.  The old western PR crisis management advice, “don’t remain silent” used to work in China.  Today, with the rise of Chinese microblogs and social media, it works no longer.

According to company-released numbers, Sina Weibo, China’s first answer to the rise of Twitter, reached a user base of 50 million by the end of October 2010. Tencent (the owner of the dominant “QQ” IM service) is hurriedly pushing its IM users into its new microblog platform. With 600 million QQ IM users already in existence, its microblog userbase quickly rocketed to 80 million by January 2011.  These are only two of a surprisingly broad range of microblogging services recently launched in China.

Chinese microblogs bear some resemblances to Twitter, however there are important differences as well (“Twitter with Chinese Characteristics”, perhaps):

  • Many Chinese microblogs directly copied the 140-character cap from Twitter. However, due to the information-rich nature of Chinese language, the short text length that is troubling to many English speakers is enoughspace  for Chinese people to write a short story. Actually Sina has held microblog story competitions already.
  • Chinese micro blogs are mostly ran by companies that have remarkable business in other sectors of the web sector. Like Sina, Sohu and NetEase, who own dominating portal websites in China, they push microblog highlights to their portals. Tencent goes even further. It’s microblog is reflected on its portal site and IM services. That means in China, the power of “new media” is channeled into the traditional gang, creating a media avalanche.
  • Notable microblog messages will zip through the microblog initially, immediately echo across the vast plain of portals, to then boom all over newspapers and TV channels and reach the eyes and ears of a billion Chinese citizens.

In short, microblogging is now a very important component in Chinese-oriented marketing campaigns, and is probably even more important than its role in western markets.  We believe that the article in People’s Daily is testament to the Chinese government’s admission that microblogging is not going away anytime soon.

The danger of Chinese microblogs to your public profile

Dang Dang CEO Li Guoqing

Dang Dang CEO Li Guoqing

Do be aware that although presented with opportunities to develop and disseminate positive messages via Chinese microblogs, a backfire in a Chinese microblog can be tenfold devastating. Only last week, Dang Dang (a Chinese ecommerce startup with the stated goal to become the of China) had a legendary cat fight with investment bank Morgan Stanley over the suspicion that the latter intentionally kept the IPO funding of Dang Dang lower than it could have been.  The conversation quickly boiled down to personal and obscene insults flung by Dang Dang’s CEO Li Guoqing towards Morgan Stanley personnel, creating China’s joke of the month, if not of the year.

We’d go as far as to say that the People’s Daily article, coming only days after Li’s tweets of rage at Morgan Stanley over a Chinese microblog is no coincidence.

There isn’t enough evidence to propose a connection to the significant fall of Dang Dang’s stock on NYSE in the days following the blow-up.  But it does remind one to be careful. Chinese consumers do care what you do with the “new media”, and they pick up damaging stories fast.

We encourage foreign companies in China engage with Chinese microblogs. Many of our clients are already doing great corporate communications on Twitter. Remember, though, that Twitter is blocked to China’s netizens, and there are gulfs of cultural difference to consider. Illuminant is pleased to offer guidance and help to anyone who seeks to ride the new Chinese microblogging wave.

Article by Illuminant’s head of research, Kane Gao, with contributions by chief exec Simon Cousins

The art of the apology: Groupon edition

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Sorry! The game of sweet revenge. Hasbro Games.When an individual or enterprise has made an error which has hurt its customers or stakeholders, making an apology is not only the morally correct course of action: it is also sound public relations practice.

They keys to making effective redress for the error are broadly similar in public relations as they are in personal relationships:

  • The apology should be made quickly after the error has been discovered — as a rule of thumb, within 48 hours
  • It should be sincere
  • It should acknowledge the hurt caused
  • It should help interested parties to understand the causes leading up to the error
  • It should clearly detail the redress offered

We were impressed by just such a public apology offered yesterday by Groupon, the fast-growing group buying startup.  In a simply shot three-minute video clip, posted publicly on YouTube, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason apologized to Japanese customers for a recent coupon deal gone bad.

Mr. Mason does appear to be reading off cue cards, but we believed that his apology was sincere, and will likely be effective in recovering his company’s lost reputation in the Japanese market.  Its a good case study to invest three minutes of your time in.

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.


Illuminant's five thingsRefreshing your website presents great opportunities and hazards. Learn the top 5 lessons to succeed, and to stay within budget and deadline.

The Year of the Dragon is here now

Everything you need to know about the new Lunar New Year of the Dragon, and how it will influence Chinese business in 2012. Click here.

Search Illuminant