Given the blog’s quest to serve as an industry resource, it’s rare that a post focus on Agency work.
Today is an exception.
I asked Idran Junadi, an account director in our Singapore office before taking a PR role with Oracle, to write about a campaign because it shows the power of storytelling techniques in business communications. Localizing the story also comes out of this example.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have articulate spokespeople as well.
No sex (websites) please, we’re Singaporeans.
Or how to get your survey picked up by a major news outlet
By Idran Junadi
PR Manager at Oracle
It’s great when you work with clients who intuitively know what goes into good stories. When Hoffman APAC teamed up with client Avast a few months ago, it turned out to be a great partnership. We had a comms team ready to embrace ideas, an astute spokesperson and unique content to share.
- 118 journalists across 7 markets met up with the Avast CEO and COO.
- 41 one-on-one interviews were conducted.
- 189 pieces of coverage appeared across broadcast, online and print publications.
One piece of coverage in The Wall Street Journal Asia was a blog article with the rather catchy headline, “Singaporeans Eschew Adult Content Online, Avast Says”.
The reporter chose this headline since Singapore is the only market in Asia where porn is not among the top 10 online destinations. You might think that this is because Singaporeans hide their browsing history well. Not true, according to Avast, whose software can “see through” VPN installed on PCs or phones.
The fact that the survey was conducted across seven markets in Asia Pacific is news by itself, but the team needed a way to frame the news such that it would catch the eye of a publication such as WSJA. This is where the three key factors came together.
First, Avast presented findings that were easily digestible and didn’t try to tell everything. Instead, the team developed a clean image to compare the browsing habits of the various markets. You can see what they prepared (which was replicated in the WSJA blog) here:Notice that they could easily list out a lot more information for each market, but for the sake of a regional comparison, only one point was chosen for each market.
Second, Vince Steckler, the spokesperson who joined the WSJA reporter for lunch, was a rocket scientist (no, really!) in his previous job before he joined the cyber security industry. If you think that means he’s super brainy and can rattle off obscure facts, you’re right. But what he also excels in, is explaining concepts to the media, using scrumptious soundbites delivered with illuminating examples.
Thirdly, we worked with a very receptive comms team at Avast. We saw the opportunity that a survey of this scale represents (seven markets in total, thousands of respondents). While the results may not move the market, they show a unique human angle of browsing habits across Asia.
While the objective of this survey was to highlight the importance of using security products that are almost nuclear-proof, the team worked with Avast comms to carve out interesting story angles from there. In Singapore, where the WSJA interview was conducted, the angle that was screaming to be told was not only do my fellow Singaporeans “eschew” porn sites, we also managed to get government websites in the top 10!
Just as important was to present the data in a visual form. We emphasised this to the Avast team, and that’s how the image below was created. Note how some of the media in Korea, Singapore and Taiwan use it to illustrate their story.Underpinning all these successes is the agency’s understanding of what story angles will work for each of the media attendees. Let’s dive a bit deeper into this. At the Singapore event, for example, we had Men’s Health and WSJA sitting at the same table. Not natural bedfellows, but it worked because the angles we shared with them (local findings for Men’s Health vs. regional for WSJA) meant that there’s something for them to write about.
The same regional perspective was pitched to Bloomberg TV, where Vince spoke broadly about malware threats in Asia (it’s like wearing seatbelt, according to him), international hacking, and how Singaporeans have poor password discipline (he gave it a local angle by quoting the survey).
This approach contrasted with the rest of the markets that are more interested in how their market compares to others, rather than looking through a regional lens. This is mostly due to the media there serving a large local base, unlike Singapore where the regional broadcaster and publishers are situated.
All these may not be new, but when you do the basics right, you can score pretty big hits.