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International PR, part four – Six more tips for undertaking a PR campaign in Asia

Posted by Alex Perryman on 17th August 2011

Undertaking PR in Asia can seem daunting. When confronted with the prospect of launching across several countries, each with a different language, and all on the other side of the planet, it can be hard to know where to begin.

However, as mentioned in the last ‘tips for undertaking a PR campaign in Asia’ post, there’s really no need for it to seem worrying. Much of the ‘secret of the sauce’ in Asian campaigns is simply in logical preparation, prioritisation and planning.

Here are six more simple tips to help you take those first steps towards PR success in Asia.

1. Do not make the mistake of lumping all of the Asian countries together:

To some this will sound obvious. However this point is hard to overstress. Just because the place has a single name, don’t, for a second, think you can apply the same rules across the whole region.

Remember that whilst parts of Asia share many cultural and even linguistic elements, each country should be treated as a different territory when planning your campaign. Although there may be some pan-regional media, there is no such single entity as an Asian campaign.

2. Know the local grazing habits:

In Korea it’s normal to feed the media after a press briefing. In other territories it would be considered strange or even rude to brief the press at lunchtime. Check timings of your launches with the agency you have appointed to co-ordinate your Asian push, or with your individual territorial agencies.

3. If you’re going to Asia, take extensive time to study cultural mores:

We all know that the Japanese value respect, but would you know that it’s considered extremely rude to blow your nose in a press conference, or to speak to the least senior journalist first?

Chinese press are known for the Korean and Chinese ‘yes’; the tendency to agree to attend press conferences over the phone, so as to appear polite, but not attend.

This list could go on forever. Once again, speak to your agency. It’s best not to gaffe in your launch-meeting.

4. Consider using a co-ordinating agency in your same time zone:

If you want agencies to co-ordinate your local press activity, remember, the co-ordinators require a co-ordinator, and very often it is best to use a third party that speaks the language and understands the customs. It can also be invaluable to have a co-ordinating party in or near your own time zone, should you be co-ordinating a global launch.

5.    Acknowledge payment expectations:

It is the expectation in many countries, Korea and China in particular, that transport costs will be paid. Don’t cut corners on the venue in these territories, and in Korea make sure you provide lunch.

Relatively inexpensive gifts, such as USB keys or novelties are also the norm. When it comes to free gifts, really make an effort to find something unusual. You can guarantee that every Chinese blogger has a draw full of USB keys.

Bear in mind that Europe enforces anti-bribery laws. Make sure you study these laws and adhere to them. More detailed advice can be given.

6.  Expect publication patterns to be different from the western press:

The Western and Japanese press tend to publish long editorial pieces with personal opinion inserted either on the day of the news, or on the day after. Chinese press, on the other hand, will often push out press releases in near-verbatim form the second your news breaks. Within the Taiwanese press it is not unusual for the same news to take a month to go live online. Speak to your partner agencies and understand these factors in order to manage stakeholder expectations.

For the uninitiated undertaking PR in Asia can seem like a confusing minefield. But with these few simple tips you can make a very positive start.

Alex Perryman

Alex joined Wildfire in 2007. He is renowned for his ability to pick up complex technologies and new industries extremely quickly.