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How to Develop A Successful China Public Relations Strategy (New Guide)

Dragon Social > Doing Business in China  > China Market Insights  > How to Develop A Successful China Public Relations Strategy (New Guide)

How to Develop A Successful China Public Relations Strategy (New Guide)

Building a prominent brand presence is never an easy task. It often takes extensive marketing and public relations efforts to begin receiving word-of-mouth mentions and foster effective communication. When entering the China market, an effective strategy encompassing both marketing and public relations is necessary. Marketing focuses on influencing consumer behavior, whereas public relations focuses on shaping a positive brand image, thus influencing consumer perception. Taking the time to understand how the Chinese media apparatus operates and how you can use it to your advantage is key to success in China. 

 

 

China’s media landscape is extraordinary, with more than 2,200 newspapers, 9,000 magazines, 2,000 radio stations and 3,000 TV stations. Being the world’s biggest newspaper market, China’s newspaper circulation numbers have reached more than 1.46 billion copies sold monthly in 2018. All of this provides a range of different opportunities for businesses in China. 

 

 

Still, the media environment and practices are significantly different from the west. To launch a successful PR strategy in China, businesses should be aware of a number of factors like media outlets, the political environment, standard practices, and market forces. 

 

 

Public Relations | Dragon Social

A Good China Public Relations strategy should leverage a  myriad of media channels

 

 

How to Develop A Successful China Public Relations Strategy (2019): Table of Contents

 

 

What is Public Relations – Why businesses need it?   Read Now

 

The Landscape Of Public Relations in China – Differences from the West   Read Now

 

China’s Advertising Laws: What PR practitioners need to know   Read Now

 

China Public Relations Strategies for Building a Positive Brand Image Read Now

 

A Selection of The Top Chinese Media Sites  Read Now

 

PR Campaigns in China: 2 Companies That Did it Right (Case Studies) Read Now

 

 

What is Public Relations – Why Should Businesses Care About It?

 

 

How does PR differ from marketing? It’s astounding how many in the marketing industry don’t understand the difference between these two fields. The concepts of marketing and public relations can be even more confusing for non-marketers, as both of them aim at communicating with the public to build brand awareness. There are some overlaps between these fields as they both often work with media organizations and focus on creating content, but their goals are often different. 

 

 

Marketing tends to be more sales-oriented and focuses on promoting the brand to reach out to current and potential consumers. TV commercials, social media advertisements, and celebrity endorsements are all typical examples of marketing.  

 

 

According to the Public Relations Society of America, “Public Relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” It aims at maintaining a positive image and establishing relationships with all the stakeholders, which covers not only consumers but also the media, employees, shareholders or other opinion leaders. Almost every institution and organization in the world, even the White House, need Public Relations.

 

 

 

 

Logo of Public Relations Society of America | Dragon Social

Logo of The Public Relations Society of America

 

 

 

For businesses, developing a suitable PR strategy, such as pitching a story for media publications or holding a press conference, can have a tremendous influence on your brand’s reputation and public image. 

 

 

Wide-Reaching Communication 

 

 

Public Relations efforts, such as media and news coverage, help businesses deliver their messages to their target audience, thus raising awareness and recognition within targeted communities. If your story is picked up by popular news outlets, such as iFeng.com in China, which reaches more than 3.74 billion visitors every month, your message and company can be exposed to a large audience across different regions. This wide reach can result in increased sales, partnership opportunities, and more! 

 

 

Establishing Trust Through 3rd Party Mentions

 

 

Compared to paid advertising, the public is more likely to trust messages delivered by third-party sources, such as media outlets or news providers. Coverage from these outlets is considered to be fair, non-biased, and objective. If the media is an authoritative one in a specific industry, such as Bloomberg (in the Finance industry) and TechCrunch (in the Technology industry), it can make the coverage even more credible and more persuasive. 

 

 

In a market like China, where scandals and fake products are commonplace, coverage from authoritative media outlets can give consumers the confidence and trust necessary to believe in your product or service enough to make a purchase. Establishing trust in your brand is an essential part of marketing and public relations in China.

 

 

Cost Effective Over The Long Term

 

 

Public Relations is generally more cost-effective than advertising. Compared to advertising which is more effective in a specific time frame, the effect of media placements can be very long lasting. Leads can be generated long after the media content is posted as people find it online during searches.

 

 

The Chinese Media Landscape & China Public Relations  – Differences from the West

 

 

Before engaging in PR activities in China, businesses should be conscious of the differences in public relations practices between China and the West. Or else, one may risk losing a large number of consumers, or even worse, getting kicked out of the China market entirely. 

 

 

China Public Relations: Political Censorship

 

 

The role of the Chinese government in the media may be a bit ambiguous for westerners. Compared to western practice, in China, the government strictly regulates every source of information, which include media and press, television, films, literature, messaging, and the Internet.  Chinese media organizations need to ensure that they stay in line with government policy to ensure that they don’t encounter any issues. 

 

 

For example, The Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CCPPD) directly controls state-owned enterprises such as China Central Television, China National Radio, as well as other movie and television studios. It is in charge of ideology-related work and is responsible for controlling the licensing of media outlets and censoring any content that offends the sensibilities of the Chinese government or Chinese cultural standards. In 2018, it announced that radio and television programs should not invite guests with tattoos, and those who promote “Hip-Hop”, “Subculture” and “Décadentisme”.

 

 

Social Media Censorship in China | Dragon Social

Social Media Censorship in China: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Google are blocked (Source: vpnfor.us)

 

 

Since the media content in China is strictly controlled, businesses should take the time to consider how to build their messaging with the right context. Being aware of the government’s stance on various Chinese media platforms, (Some are said to be more “state-controlled”) celebrity endorsements, (Some celebrities, such as Lady Gaga, were once blacklisted in China) and taboo topics is an essential part of a successful PR campaign in China. 

 

 

Apart from state censorship, businesses should also be certain to publish “politically correct” information. For example, during the 2019 International Women’s Day, M.A.C cosmetics sent a sales promotion message showing China’s map without including Taiwan. Immediately, the brand was flagged and blamed for not supporting the Union of China’s territories. Eventually, M.A.C. apologized for the “mistake” and resent a “correct” version of the map.

 

 

While it may be frightening to talk about media censorship in China, it’s a necessary component of doing business in China. Interference from the government has been reduced in recent years due to the elimination of government subsidies for Chinese media outlets. Just take extra care to make sure that your media content does not interfere with the government and the public’s interest and you’ll be fine!

 

 

China Public Relations: Social Media V.S. Printed Media

 

 

China’s Internet community is among the fastest growing in the world. According to the 42nd China Statistical Report published by The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), China’s Internet population has grown beyond 800 million in 2018, which makes up 57.7% of the entire Chinese population. Most interestingly, around 788 million are reported to be predominantly mobile Internet users.  

 

 

The usage behavior of Chinese netizens is slightly different from Internet users abroad. Compared to foreign countries where Internet users are more driven by practical needs, such as sending emails and planning trips, the Internet in China is largely used for social and entertainment purposes, with significantly higher use of social media, forums, blogs, and live streaming platforms.

 

 

Given a large number of Internet users in China, it is not surprising that online news sources have become the main source of information for the public. The majority of people, especially the young generation, read the news on the Internet rather than buying a newspaper. Many Chinese media organizations, such as Sina News and People’s Daily, have official accounts on social media platforms like Weibo and WeChat to further distribute their news.

 

 

Xinhua News's Weibo account

Xinhua News’s Weibo account

 

 

It is thus important to adapt your China PR strategy based on the social media landscape. If your brand is focused on targeting youngsters, it will be important to choose media outlets with younger readers. Content should also be tailored to online news readers who spend less time reading each article, with a focus on eye-catching headlines, engaging graphics and precise content.

 

 

To know more about the popular social media platforms in China, read our article below: 

 

 

10 Most Popular Social Media Sites in China (2019 Updated)!

 

 

3. China Public Relations: Fake News In China

 

 

With the increasing reliance on the Internet, many people have begun to read news through social media platforms, which include digital giants like WeChat and Weibo. Apart from traditional news agencies, many “self-media” – independently operated social media accounts, also produce and broadcast news.

 

 

Many of these “self-media” accounts have hundreds of thousands of followers giving them significant sway over public opinion.  While some are more reliable than others, they are not official news outlets. Many of these accounts spread unverified news, which has led to a serious “fake news” problem in China.

 

 

In October 2017, two days after the deadliest mass shooting in the United States, The 2017 Las Vegas Strip Shooting, a Chinese self-media publisher released a story on WeChat titled, “After Las Vegas Shooting, People in Texas Bring Guns onto the Street.” It was accompanied by images of people wearing assault rifles, and others openly carrying firearms in restaurants and on campus. The story was widely circulated, with multiple self-media accounts and major media outlets referencing and sharing the story, including giant online news portals like Sohu.

 

 

The fake News Released After The Las Vegas shooting (Source: SupChina)

The fake News Released After The Las Vegas shooting (Source: SupChina)

 

 

The story turned out to be totally false and the images were actually just a collection of stock photos. One photo was taken from the Open Carry campaign at Target, Texas in March 2014; another was taken in 2016 after Texas passed a law to allow the open carry of handguns. No major international news agencies reported any spike in the open carry of guns in Texas after the Las Vegas shooting.

 

 

According to the 2017 WeChat Statistics Report, published by WeChat’s creator Tencent, there are more than 3.5 million currently existing WeChat self-media accounts. According to a report on misinformation on WeChat, published by the Sun Yet-sen University in collaboration with WeChat’s security team, 2,175 fake news stories appeared in 2016 alone. It’s assumed that the low cost of publishing online facilitates the ability of self-media accounts to spread information. Fact-checking is not emphasized as these media accounts care more about viewership over the quality of the news, as their profit is directly tied to the number of viewers.

 

 

Therefore, for businesses, it is essential to understand the fake news environment, and leverage on credible news outlets for PR activities in China. Publishing information through unreliable self-media accounts may tarnish your firms’ reputation. Also, make sure the source is verified before referencing it in your content to avoid being a transmitter of misinformation.

 

 

China’s advertising laws: What PR practitioners need to know

 

 

Being one of the most lucrative consumer markets in the world, China has implemented comprehensive advertising laws, in the idea of consumer protection and prohibition of false and misleading information. To ensure that your company would not come into conflict with the laws, read through our summary of The Advertising Law of the People’s Republic of China (2015).

 

 

  • Misleading Content false or misleading content is strictly prohibited.
  • Superlatives the use of superlatives in advertisements such as “the most” and “the best” is prohibited.
  • National Flag/Anthem any use of the Chinese national flag or national anthem are prohibited
  • National Dignity any advertisement which contain anything causing detriment to national dignity or national interests are prohibited
  • Social Stability advertising interfering with social stability, causing detriment to social and public interests or interfering with social public order or going against good social norms are prohibited.
  • Internet Advertisements Internet advertisements must not interfere with the users “normal use of the internet”
  • Labeling advertisements must be clearly labeled so users can differentiate advertising and organic content (also applicable to search engines).
  • Celebrity endorsement celebrities and opinion leaders’ must use the products before making recommendations and endorsements that advertising claims must be based on fact.
  • Industry Approvals advertisements from businesses in certain industries now require approval before engaging in advertising; including: medical treatments, pharmaceuticals, foods for special medical purposes (FSMP), medical devices, pesticides, veterinary drugs, and dietary supplements.

 

 

For a complete guide of advertising in China, read our blog below:

 

 

The Fundamentals of Advertising in China

 

 

Advertising Law in China | Dragon Social

Advertising Law in China

 

 

To keep up with the pace of Internet development, China has imposed tighter rules on social media advertising and online content, which include restricting online criticism. These laws expose Internet service providers, publishers, and others to greater liability, resulting in significantly stricter regulation on most platforms.

 

 

 

In the world of China public relations, there is an increasingly common practice of demolishing rival brands, rather than building a positive own one for yourself. This so-called “Black PR” has taken off on the Internet, with companies hiring teams to malign their competitors.

 

 

In 2014, the Internet giant Tencent accused Alibaba of planting negative articles on media platforms to tarnish its image. Later on, Alibaba fired back by accusing Tencent of launching similar smear campaigns. Neither of the companies denied being involved in the smear campaigns, which shows just how widespread this practice has been in China.

 

 

The "Black PR" activity between Alibaba and Tencent | Dragon Social

The “Black PR” activity between Alibaba and Tencent (Source: SCMP)

 

 

The law has regulated this type of Black PR activities by prohibiting advertisers from belittling their competitors or any related service providers. Firms have been known to work through 3rd-party agencies to accomplish these goals, making it difficult to prove that they are engaging in Black PR activities.

 

 

However, the law has recently been expanded to not only affect the brand but also any 3rd party agencies, endorsers, or any related parties can be held responsible for the crime. Still, proving that companies are engaging in Black PR activities remains difficult. 

 

 

For those who can read Chinese, check out this article on Baike for more information.

 

 

Public Relations Strategies and Tactics for Building a Positive Brand Image in China

 

 

Public Relations Strategies and Tactics: Issuing a China Press Release

 

 

A press release is a written communication sent to journalists or media sources for announcing newsworthy information. It usually follows a standard format and delivers formal messages such as performance highlights, investments/M&A, new hires, or events.

 

 

Companies can either hire a PR agency or generate content by themselves and send it directly to journalists at Chinese media outlets. Companies can also send their press releases to local newswires, which gather news reports and distribute them to thousands of journalists throughout China at various publications. However, if you have some particular platforms you’d like to be featured on it’s usually more effective to speak with these publications directly, rather than just blasting it out through a newswire. 

 

 

Public Relations is considered to be an industry heavily dependent on relationships. Forming relationships with journalists who cover your specific niche is an effective way to get coverage organically. This is also why many businesses choose to work with a PR agency in China, as they typically have already formed relationships with hundreds of journalists in a variety of niches, helping you to get your message out effectively through leveraging these relationships. 

 

 

An example of a press release distributed by PRNewswire.com

An example of a Chinese press release distributed by PRNewswire.com

 

 

It is noteworthy that press releases are very useful in China as Chinese people tend to trust an authoritative voice. It is essential to choose an authoritative media, which can help your brand build a trustworthy, influential image respected by your Chinese audience. Having a press release featured on the top Chinese media outlets might not drive customers flocking to your business but it will certainly create positive sentiment about your brand among your potential customers. 

 

 

Public Relations Strategies and Tactics: Hold a Press Conference in China

 

 

A press conference is a media event in which newsmakers invite journalists to hear them speak and announce important news to the public. At these events, it is common for the hosts to allow journalists to ask questions as well, presenting an excellent opportunity for companies to build rapport with journalists and answer common questions. 

 

 

Press conferences are very suitable for special occasions such as new product launches, important breakthroughs, or responding to scandals and controversies. A press conference is meant to be interactive in that you can answer questions from the press directly, which provides an even greater opportunity to establish trust.

 

 

China's Press Conference | Dragon Social

An Example of A Chinese Press Conference

 

 

The most important part of holding a successful press conference is ensuring that journalists actually show up. If your business lacks the media contacts and relationships necessary to hold a successful press conference it’s likely you’ll need to work with a Chinese PR Agency. By leveraging the contacts of the agency you’ll be able to ensure the press conference is well attended and goes off without a hitch.

 

 

Holding a successful press conference can help you generate favorable press coverage as many media representatives are present. Companies can gain brand exposure and recognition from the public, with a much lower cost compared to an advertising campaign.

 

 

Public Relations Strategies and Tactics: Become a Contributor Through Guest Posting in China

 

 

Another popular way to build a positive brand image in China is by writing and publishing articles on other media outlets. It is mutually beneficial for all parties as the guest writer can promote their brand name to the host’s audiences, while the host platform can attract more visitors through high-quality posts. Many media platforms offer guest post opportunities on a regular basis. However, large and reputable media outlets often receive a huge number of submissions which means that chances of receiving a mention can be much lower.

 

 

Also, be sure to be careful with your choice of media outlets. Try to choose reputable ones that match your industry scope and company interest to enhance the reach and credibility of your article. For example, if you are a property agent, publish your article on property listing platforms rather than on fashion or lifestyle blogs. 

 

 

Lastly, make sure you get a link back to your site or social media accounts every time you write a guest post to let the readers know about you, and boost your company’s web traffic, and your website’s authority. If you don’t know about why links are important, check out our guide on Baidu SEO below. 

 

 

 

Baidu SEO Guide 2018: How to Get Started and What to Avoid

 

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A Selection of The Top Chinese Media Sites

 

 

As we mentioned above focusing on industry-specific media can be more beneficial as most have a clearly defined audience. If that audience matches your target customer than of course, those are the platforms you should focus on getting featured in! We’ll cover some of the most popular Chinese media sites below! Please note, that this is not an exhaustive list, and is not based on any particular metric. We’ve chosen a few industry-specific Chinese media as well as some of the top Chinese media overall to compose this list.

 

 

Technology: 36kr

36.kr | Dragon Social

 

 

36kr (Chinese: 36氪), established in 2010, is a company specializing in Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It started as a technology-focused Chinese media company but later expanded into a range of different services including Kr Space (A Co-working space) and JingData (Financial data and capital financing matching services) to cater to the needs of technology startups and SMEs. 

 

 

The 36kr media site provides a wide range of technology-related news and editorials. To give you an idea of what kind of content gets featured on the platform, some recent articles are about the new sports app from Huawei and the invention and growing popularity of Synthetic Meat.

 

 

Most of the articles are written by columnists and the press. However, they do also feature posts from contributors and offer paid placements.  Apart from text content, 36kr also posts video content, which delivers precise and informative messages through short videos.

 

 

The main page of 36kr

 

 

To gain media exposure on the website, businesses can consider, first, pitching a piece of writing to [email protected] on their own. 36kr accepts writers with any background, as long as the content is of good quality. Once accepted, you will be contacted by their staff. If you think the first method is too time-consuming, you may go to the page “Seeking for media placement” option and pay for a write-up about your company. Details such as product information and company background are required so that 36kr can process your application.

 

 

"Seeking for media placement" page (Google Translated)

“Seeking for media placement” page (Google Translated)

 

 

Real Estate: Juwai

 

 

Juwai (Chinese: 居外), launched in 2011, is a website that connects Chinese property buyers and overseas property developers and agents. It provides comprehensive lists of global property listings, news features, market analysis, and property buying guides to assist Chinese consumers in making informed and educated decisions about purchasing overseas properties. 

 

 

Ensuring accurate and unbiased information, the platform does not belong to any real estate conglomerate and has formed partnerships with many of the world’s leading property sites such as the Global Property Guide and Zoopla.  

 

 

Apart from property listing details, Juwai runs a blog to provide extra information about overseas property markets, study abroad opportunities and immigration stories for visitors.

 

 

Mainpage of Juwai : https://www.juwai.com/

The Main page of Juwai

 

 

Some passages are written by columnists, some are reposted from other websites, while some are sponsored by a specific property developer. For example, Juwai posted a passage introducing the beauty of Phuket Island, then recommended a villa near to Patong Beach to their readers. Details about the property size, floor plans, interior design, and decoration are provided by an agent, Robin Radcliffe. This is a good way to utilize the popularity and reputation of the media to boost your brand name and sales.

 

 

Juwai's passage about Patong Beach

Juwai’s passage about Patong Beach

 

 

Like other Chinese media, Juwai also sponsors and hosts events for businesses to attend and participate in like The Beijing International Property & Investment Expo. These events provide access to Chinese buyers for overseas property companies and can help them with building partnerships in the local Chinese market. 

 

 

Lifestyle Sharing platform: JianShu

 

 

JianShu (Chinese: 簡書), originated in 2013, is a content-sharing platform (similar to The Medium) for ordinary users. Different from large media platforms where only journalists, columnists, and businesses can contribute to the content, JianShu is more “grassroots” as it encourages everybody interested in writing to publish their own content. This makes it one of the most unique Chinese media sites and one that nearly every type of business that can take advantage of! 

 

 

It also includes social features that allow users to build connections through messages, comments, and likes. Content covers a wide range of topics including movies, technology, trips, startups, and more!

 

 

Mainpage of JianShu: https://www.jianshu.com/

Mainpage of JianShu: https://www.jianshu.com/

 

 

JianShu launches its advertising packages and accepts branding cooperation to help businesses boost brand awareness. With a large number of users who value quality content, it is an effective platform for building word-of-mouth. For example, this passage named “The most reliable Bluetooth earphones in 2019” introduces 4 earphones with a detailed explanation of their functions and designs.

 

 

Passage on JianShu : The most reliable Bluetooth earphones in 2019

Passage on JianShu: The most reliable Bluetooth earphones in 2019

 

 

Comprehensive News Platform: Ifeng

 

 

 

Ifeng.com is one of the most popular news platforms in China. According to its official website, it reaches more than 3.74 billion visitors every month. Established in 1998, it has gained various loyal readers by providing versatile content through its centralized distribution channel.

 

 

Ifeng is undoubtedly one of the most popular Chinese media organizations currently in operation.  Readers can find any type of content they want, with articles on social issues, fashion, property, technology, travel or tips on the stock market! Apart from text articles, Ifeng also provides short video content and a game center at games.ifeng.com.

 

 

Main page of Ifeng : http://www.ifeng.com/

Main page of Ifeng : http://www.ifeng.com/

 

 

With a large number of news articles published every day, Ifeng not only produces their organic content but also sources news from other Chinese media outlets, such as Xinhua news and The People’s Daily. Apart from news and the press, Ifeng also accepts individuals (such as professionals, opinion leaders, self-media) and organizations (such as NGOs, educational institutions, and other public organizations) to contribute content.

 

The Contributor Page of Ifeng - Dragon Social

Register on https://fhh.ifeng.com/login to contribute content

 

 

Interested parties must fill in an online application form with personal information and documents of proof for authentication.

 

 

The Official Media Of The Chinese Government: Xinhua News

 

 

Xinhuanet, operated by the state-run XinHua News Agency, is said to be the official media outlet of the Chinese government, only publishing news that aligns with the government’s initiatives. As one of the most trusted sources of news in the country, it’s naturally also grown to become one of the largest.

 

 

Xinhua publishes more than 4,500 news articles every day in 7 different languages (Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Russian, Japanese and Arabic). Similar to Ifeng, it provides a wide variety of content that covers social issues, international news, military, travel, education, etc.

 

 

Mainpage of Xinhua News: http://www.xinhuanet.com

The main page of Xinhua News: http://www.xinhuanet.com

 

 

Similar to many large news platforms, Xinhua news also incorporates news from different sources to cope with the large output of articles every day. Although Xinhua News is under direct political control, as long as you do not write anything shady, misleading, or against the government’s interests, it is possible to get featured here. If building trust is your goal, getting featured on Xinhua News would go a long way to accomplishing this.

 

 

Toutiao, Jinri Toutiao, China advertising

An AI Curated & Personalized News Feed: Jinri Toutiao

 

 

Jinri Toutiao is an aggregated news and content sharing platform established by the Beijing-based company ByteDance. It gets news from different sources and generates a tailored list of content for each user, by analyzing content features and the users’ interaction with the content.  It has formed strategic partnerships with several large Chinese media sites such as XinHua news, Huanqiu.com, and China Daily to showcase their news on its own platform, and has gained over 120 million daily active users as of September 2017.

 

 

Apart from traditional media sites, Toutiao also welcomes individuals and organizations to publish their own content on the platform by opening a Toutiaohao account. According to its official website, as of late 2017, more than 1.1 million Toutiaohao accounts have been opened, including media organizations, companies, individual writers and columnists.  

 

 

The main page of Toutiao

 

 

So how can companies leverage Toutiao for public relations? First, if you have written guest posts, or if you are a columnist for one of Toutiao’s media partners, your post might be chosen and shown on the platform. However, this is difficult to predict and thus a second method is provided – registering a Toutiaohao account.

 

 

To register for an account, go https://mp.toutiao.com/login/ and fill in the relevant information. For businesses, documents for proof such as business license and company email are required. After creating an account successfully, you can start publishing articles to engage with readers. It is noteworthy that each organization (government authority, media agency, business etc.) can at most register 2 accounts.

 

 

PR Campaigns in China: 2 Companies That Did It Right!

 

 

PR Campaigns in China: Interactive experience – AGA’s “Food is GREAT” exhibit

 

 

AGA, one of the UK’s leading cooker manufacturers, tried to boost its presence and market penetration in China. It hosted the “Food is GREAT” exhibition with the British Embassy to showcase its product offerings to Chinese consumers.

 

 

The AGA stall was decorated with British regalia – flags and bunting – to reinforce the brand’s origins and legacy. A series of tailored activities that let the public interact with AGA’s Redfyre and AGATC cookers were provided. Participants were encouraged to take photos and share them on social media.

 

 

An exclusive interview was granted to China Daily, one of China’s leading newspapers, with Daniel Wong, AGA’s Asia business development director. That was followed by a media food tasting using the Rangemaster, which was coordinated in partnership with nutrition company CoCo. Afterward, a live presentation was given by Chinese strategic consultant Ken Zhang. High-profile culinary guests were also in attendance, with a photographer and videographer covering the proceedings.

 

 

Food is GREAT exhibition | Dragon Social

Food is GREAT exhibition (Source: PR Week)

 

 

Within two days of the event, 10 articles had been written and shared regarding AGA’s successful promotion, including several lifestyle, fashion, and food magazines. The exclusive interview for China Daily garnered significant attention. In addition, 15 leading media influencers and key opinion leaders attended and shared positive feedback about AGA products and the events at the brand’s station.  This is a fantastic example of a China public relations strategy implemented correctly. 

 

 

 

PR Campaigns in China: SK-II’s “ChangeDestiny” Campaign – Build an emotional impact

 

 

SK-II launched an ongoing media campaign #ChangeDestiny to address the concerns and stress faced by Chinese “leftover women” – women who have not gotten married before the age of 30. The campaign was split into three chapters – “Marriage Market Takeover” in 2016, “The Expiry Date” in 2017 and “Meet me Halfway” in 2019. It highlighted the brand’s new philosophy, which aims to inspire women to take control of their destiny.

 

 

 

The first chapter “Marriage Market Takeover” looks at the pressure faced by single women in China, from both their parents, relatives and the society. The film features SK-II’s takeover of a marriage market in Shanghai and embraces the brave and inspirational women who do not let pressure dictate their future. It aims to show that leftover women are not leftovers but strong, beautiful individuals who can be comfortable being single and take control of their own happiness.

 

 

 

 

The second chapter “The Expiry Date”  takes the taboo-quashing message to the next level by looping in women from Japan and South Korea. According to a 2017 study by P&G, only two out of 10 women in Asia feel comfortable with the idea of getting older. Japan and Korea emerged as the two most extreme countries in Asia where women feel anxious facing age-related pressure from society. SK-II’s film goes on the reverse-psychology offensive by stamping women with an unremovable ‘expiry date’ on their inner arms, stating that there should not be such artificially created deadlines imposed on women.

 

 


The third chapter “Meet me Halfway” released after Chinese New Year in February is perfectly relatable for Chinese single women who feel restless going back to their hometown every CNY, afraid of marriage-related questions from their families. It features three Chinese women who describe their trepidation about going home. To make their parents understand their perspective that “marriage isn’t the ultimate goal in life”, this CNY the three women write to their parents asking them to “meet me halfway.”

 

 


The campaign has achieved phenomenal success with over 18 million views on Chinese platforms in the first 24 hours and has moved millions of viewers to tears. According to YouGov statistics, the campaign was effective in brand lift and increased purchase intention among consumers. SK-II has built a reputation by speaking up for single women and hitching themselves to the women’s movement in China, thus gaining likeability and the trust of female consumers. It has demonstrated the way to establish a positive PR image – to nestle into the cultural landscape, craft and address the public’s concerns with great emotional impact.

 

Summary – Key Tips for A Successful China Public Relations Strategy

 

 

Launching an effective China public relations strategy can be tough, but manageable once you have understood the key qualities of Chinese culture and the Chinese media environment. Here are some key takeaways from the passage:

 

 

Deliver the right content

 

  • Be aware of political-sensitive information
  • Eye-catching headlines, engaging graphics and precise content for Internet/Mobile users
  • Sensational, human touch stories are popular amongst Chinese consumers
  • If possible, address topics of public concern with positive emotional connections
  • Localized content and wordings  (CNY, “leftover women” etc.)
  • Prepare ready-to-go content for press releases, guest posts to increase the possibility of pitching successfully

 

 

Leverage the right Chinese media outlets

 

  • Study the popularity, viewership, user demographics and behavior to choose a Chinese media channel that matches your targeted audiences 
  • Understand which media and press is influenced by government authorities and commercial market forces
  • Choose authoritative, industry-specific media outlets to increase your credibility
  • Deliver your content through multimedia channels, especially on social media platforms

 

 

Hold public events, press conferences to Engage the Public and Gather Feedback

 

  • Add interactive elements like product trials and giveaways
  • Invite local celebrities and opinion leaders to spread your communication message
  • Take feedback seriously and take action to address it

 

 

 

Choose a right communication message for your PR strategy | Dragon Social

Choose a right communication message for your PR strategy

 

 

 

Creating a successful public relations strategy in a foreign culture is incredibly complex, especially in China where international media platforms are not available.  If you have any questions regarding Public Relations in China, feel free to leave a question in the comments or contact us here.

 

 

Dragon Social is a China Digital Marketing Agency dedicated to providing expert solutions to businesses around the world! Our team of professionals will take a deep dive into your business and determine the optimal channels and strategies for promoting your business in China, so be sure to Contact us for a free consultation!

 

 

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Vanessa Wan

A girl from Hong Kong specializing in marketing and studying at HKUST. She loves yoga, drama and literature. Currently working with Dragon Social's content marketing team.

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