The Convoy Tour Guide is back with more global PR top tips.
PerfectPitch is a pan-Asian network of independent comms professionals. In this blog, the team shares insights into how international brands can ensure a smooth entry into East and Southeast Asia.
So, you’re a b2b tech brand looking to expand into East and Southeast Asia? You’re not alone. This region includes some of the world’s fastest-growing economies and boasts an equally dynamic b2b tech sector.
But, as an international business, entering this region can be fraught with difficulty. Too often, brands try to replicate a communication style that works well on their home turf and hope for the best. Big mistake. Instead, success in this region depends on combining a global mindset with regional experience and in-depth local knowledge.
Here’s how PerfectPitch helps brands to achieve this tricky mix – enabling clients to meet (and exceed) their PR and marketing goals in East and Southeast Asia.
The good news is that most fast-growing b2b tech brands already have a global mindset. If you’re looking to expand internationally, chances are you have an idea of what works for you when it comes to PR and marketing. You’ve established yourself as an expert or innovator in a certain area, carefully built up your social media following and trained an array of highly engaging spokespeople. And you want to replicate that success in Asia – of course you do!
It’s true that an element of brand consistency is crucial when building a global b2b tech PR or marketing campaign. However, achieving long-term success in East or Southeast Asia will mean going back to the drawing board – crafting fresh talking points, selecting new spokespeople, undertaking targeted research and more.
It’s not enough to simply translate content that resonated in Europe or North America. And it certainly won’t go down well if you put an English-speaking, non-local spokesperson in front of local journalists.
That said, Asian audiences are highly receptive to those brands that are willing to put in the work to engage with them. That means showing commitment to a country or region (this can be through investment, jobs, tailored products etc.), carrying out local research and telling relevant stories. If that sounds like you, then read on.
First things first – Asia is not a homogenous entity. The cultural differences between Asian countries are often vast – much more so than in Europe or North America – a fact which isn’t always fully appreciated by international brands.
Having said this, a joined-up regional approach to PR and marketing can be useful. For example, it’s relatively common for either Hong Kong or Singapore to perform a ‘hub’ function when delivering multi-regional campaigns, with local experts reporting inwards. This can help brands ensure they’re not putting out contradictory messaging. Plus, it can ease reporting and streamline costs.
So, what’s the secret to regional success? In a nutshell, it’s striking the right balance between consistency and localization.
We’ve already touched on the cultural differences between Asian countries. But apart from obvious differences in languages, time zones and political systems, they also have vastly different media landscapes – spanning social media, digital and print. Let’s look at some examples from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and South Korea (the geographies covered by PerfectPitch).
Consider mainland China and Taiwan’s social media landscapes. Due to censorship rules, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other leading international social media giants are all blocked in mainland China. Instead, homegrown social media players dominate this highly engaged, mobile-first landscape. For b2b tech brands looking to ‘crack’ Chinese social media, getting to grips with WeChat is key.
By contrast, Taiwan’s social media landscape will feel much more familiar to Western brands – with LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube all featuring. Facebook, however, is the platform that’s still most used by adults – even for b2b purposes.
When it comes to traditional print media, the story in much of Asia echoes that of the rest of the world. However, there are some notable exceptions to the steady decline of print. In Japan for example, you’ll find that print issues are still common in trade and vertical media – and these are still valued. Conversely, in mainland China, b2b print media has been firmly left in the past. Print is popular only among elder readers, for propaganda and inflight magazines!
Given that it now forms the backbone of many b2b tech brands’ PR activities, it’s no surprise that Asia’s digital media landscape is richly varied. All countries have several mainstream business publications, many of which are recognised international brands – the likes of Bloomberg, Nikkei, FT, WSJ and CNBC. However, the size, influence and habits of tech trade media vary widely. For instance, with lean editorial teams, trade media in Singapore welcome contributed articles. However, in Japan and South Korea, this is exceedingly rare. In fact, even articles by journalists rarely carry a byline.
The bottom line?
When in Asia, do as Asians do. That’s really what b2b tech PR and marketing success hinges on in this exciting region. Bringing on board clued-in local experts is essential – they’ll ensure your brand stays on track through strategy, launch and beyond.
The Convoy Global PR Group has been running global PR campaigns for well over a decade. With local experts based on every continent but Antarctica, we’re perfectly placed to help your brand launch a multi-regional b2b tech PR or marketing campaign.
Think we might be able to help you? Get in touch with our global PR and marketing experts at firstname.lastname@example.org – or visit our contact page.
A proud member of the Convoy Global PR Group, PerfectPitch is Asia’s first homegrown network of independent communications professionals. Its reach spans mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and beyond.
Led by long-time friends Yukiko Harada, June Cha, Maggie Chan, Melinda Ilagan and Constance Chao, PerfectPitch offers businesses a springboard into East and Southeast Asia. Working together, they combine both local and global knowledge to craft engaging campaigns that help brands to cut through the noise and uncover new opportunities.
Find out more.