Our Own Story

And full of good sarcasm.

EsPResso Afterthoughts

Exciting

Dangerously intense

Challenging

Rewarding

Talented

Dynamic

Enriching

Passionate

These are the key words that make the story of the MA in Public Relations class of 2013.

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The acceptance letter from the University of Westminster was the ticket that allowed me to embark on an incredible journey that has enriched my career beyond measure. The fast-paced intense rythm of work and the professional practical approach to the course content has made us challenge ourselves to become the best versions of professionals, ready to conquer our dream career path.

It has been incredibly inspiring to be able to devour the knowledge, skills and qualities of a very talented and ambitious group of people. The stress, the nerves, the deadlines, the essays and reports, the hours of research, the all-nighter library campings, the presentations, the debates, the campaign pitches, the press conferences; through it all we supported each other and grew together, delivering…

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Sad.

The reaction of Chinese people on the Internet on the Iron Lady’s death is nothing but SAD.

There is little negative voice about the legend yet controversial former Prime Minister. The search for #Thatcher’sDeath is on the top on the Weibo. Numerous famous micro bloggers sang praise for her, for being an extraordinary woman in the history. Like serious.

“Ignorance is a bliss.” A Singapore blogger commented.

In 1984, Thatcher visited China to discuss the Hong Kong handover with President Deng Xiaoping.

Thatcher tried to hold the line with Deng, insisting that any unilateral action by China to assume control over Hong Kong would be in violation of international treaty. But in the end, the diminutive Chinese ruler got what he wanted, and on a rainy July night in 1997, Thatcher was present for the formal transfer of sovereignty to the People’s Republic.

Towards the end of her life, Thatcher expressed regret about how things turned out in Hong Kong, telling the Daily Telegraph that she felt “sad” and “disappointed” in regards to the handover. In truth, though, there was little Thatcher could do: The emotional appeal of Hong Kong to the Chinese public — as well as the leadership — was simply too strong.

Personally I do not like the Iron Lady, as a woman I think she did great in politics, but as a person and more importantly a Chinese citizen. I cannot see why the Chinese people sing such high praise after she died.

This tells nothing but a simple fact that China is still a developing country and its netizens still don’t have their own way of thinking thus easily to be influenced and manipulated.

To the PR people it is a good thing, but to CHINA? I don’t know.

It’s kind of sad, isn’t it.

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Finally, we have our own fashionable first lady

When the time that Obama became the president, an article wrote that “Karla will be disappointing because Michelle is just as fashionable as she is.” The French are proud of their first lady, who is beautiful, fashionable, romantic, and she can sing.

But recently, the new first lady of China steals all the lime light. In her recent visit with president Xi, her kind smile and her way of dressing has spur discussion among Chinese as well as international audience. What’s more, she is a singer as well!

The brand she is wearing as a brand designed by Chinese local designer, the brand is called Exception.

After the appearance, the brand has became the most popular brand in China, especially among people who works in government. On its’ website, the recent statement has made saying that the clothes that professor Peng is wearing is couture and they will not be sold on the market.

The impact is enormous. On the website’s discussion page, there are thousands of people asking to invest in the brand. The first lady phenomenon once again expresses the essence of the PR industry – third party endorsement.

Among the visit to Russia, Exception and Wu Yong(another brand Peng wears) have became the buzz word on the Internet.

To be honest, I quite like our new first lady, apart from the fact that my parents’ generation and I grew up listening her songs, she is carrying the positive message to the world including support local business. Which is a good thing and I am very glad and happy to see that.

peng-liyuan-plane-web

Relationships and Red Envelope

The other day I was briefing my boss (who has been to China and deals with Chinese officials) about the dissertation I am about to compose. As soon as I start the word “relationship-building”, he said to me “red envelope.”

In Chinese culture, red envelope means money. More often than not, the money is literally in the red envelope. It is still, a bit surprised to find that foreigners have begun to understand the way China deals with relationship.

So many times we read articles like 10 tips, 5 ways to start a relationship in China, cultivating guanxi and etc.. But when it comes to the essence, it is associated with power and, of course, money.

Red Envelope

It seems to me that China is still and will continue to use the personal influence model in Public Relations in the future.

The personal influence model of public relations brought up by Sriramesh (1992) provides a valuable framework for understanding how culture may influence the development of public relations in a nation. In countries and organizations that are hierarchical and controlled tightly by the government. Personal influence is often exercised behind the scenes by local business professionals, organizational and government leaders, and local politicians or party members to achieve organizational or individual success.

The personal influence model is best adapted to the “high-context” cultures such as China, the personal influence is crucial and “members of in-groups and those with connections are often more successful at achieving organizational and personal goals; for example, party members in communist or socialist states, members of in-groups, royalty, individuals with higher social status, people from higher castes, businesspeople, and individuals with more resources” (Taylor and Kent, 1999).

Taylor and Kent (1999) argued that the personal influence model reminds public relations theorists and practitioners that relationship is essential. But, in this model, the relationship is not with a general public such as a community or regional group, but rather relationships of value are with people in positions of influence who can help the public relations practitioner accomplish his or her job. This in a way fits into the theory of Dong and Hackley (2001) brought up that guanxi has a certain connection with power, social statues and resource transmission.

Recently, our new president Xi has said that we need to stop bribery and corruption, which means that we need to find another way to formulate guanxi with Chinese people.

The new ways I know includes play mahjong with officials and lose on purpose, giving vouchers and etc..

“That’s clever”, my boss said.

Just saying.

The British Vogue has become the first publication to sign a new code of conduct aiming to provide better working conditions for models.

The deals include several codes like no more nude or semi-nude photos will be taken UNLESS approved in advance. The breaks, transport as well as the right temperature and for the clothes being modeled and prompt payment are also included in the code of conduct.

What’s more, it said that no more models under 16 years old will be presented as adult models.

However if we examine the codes of conduct, it is nothing but flawed. The fashion world only uses the thin models, Karlie Kloss, Cara, the top and the most popular models set the benchmark. It’s just saying that no more this and no more that, but deep down nothing changes. Like the models will eat as much as they can. Like they will live a healthier life.

Karlie Kloss

Not to mention that the models are sometimes arrogant and irresponsible.

Why bother protecting them? If the fashion industry wants to have a better name, why not start to stop using thin models?

Fashion industry always has a rather notorious reputation. The code of conduct is a good attempt. But nothing will change after all.

Earth Hour

This week I am assigned to do a campaign brief for WWF by my course leader.

The task is to hire an agency to help WWF Earth Hour to find corporate partnerships.

So here it is the breif:

 

 Date: 26th March 2013

Project Name: Dare Care Share Hong Kong

Company: WWF

Team: WWF Communication Department; Earth Hour Project Team

Agency: LMN PR

Budget: 800,000 HKD

Where are we now?

Earth Hour is a worldwide event organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and held towards the end of March annually, encouraging households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change. The event, conceived by WWF and Leo Burnett, first took place in 2007, when 2.2 million residents of Sydney participated by turning off all non-essential lights. Following Sydney’s lead, many other cities around the world adopted the event in 2008.

Hong Kong began to participate in the event in 2009, and in 2012, over 3,300 companies as well as all the universities and a number of 340 primary and middle schools took part in the Earth Hour Project. 2.8million citizens of Hong Kong took part in the Earth Hour 2012.

According to the statistic provided by CLP Hong Kong, the usage of the electricity in Hong Kong reduced 4.27% during 31st, March 2012 –equal to saving 146 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which would take more than 6,300 trees to absorb in a year. In February 2013, WWF Hong Kong did a survey about the Earth Hour project, a number of 2,553 people participated in the survey.

According to the survey, 93% people said that they know about the earth hour. However, when it comes to the question off “how effective do you think the earth hour is”, there are 24% of people considering it as ineffective, 32% of them think it is only a little bit effective.

The Problem:

There are people questioning the real meaning of the Earth Hour and some people argue that the project is ineffective in essence that the energy it saved has little or no influence for our planet.

In fact, the rationale for WWF to keep Earth Hour going is that environmental protection goes beyond that specific one hour. In this case, the meaning that the Earth Hour carries is much more important.

We are finding ways to communicate better with our stakeholders (the participated companies and organizations) about the benefit we bring for our planet by participating in the Earth Hour project.

 

 

Where do we want to be?

Aim: Promote Earth Hour and I Will If You Will campaign for 2014; have more corporations to participate in the I Will If You Will campaign and Earth Hour Project, and raise awareness of the importance of saving energy and caring for our planet.

Primary Objective: More Sponsorship

Earth Hour seeks global partners who are committed to a sustainable future and empowering the community to make a difference. Corporate partnerships’ support can inspire millions to take actions that make a lasting difference and impact the world we live in. It’s a visible and valuable way of delivering organization’s corporate social responsibility objectives. Partner with us to educate, inspire and implement projects that are meaningful and effective and continue in uniting people to protect the planet.

By teaming up with the corporations, we aim to increase the awareness of environmental protection; increase the participated corporations and schools; as well as the number of corporate partnerships in Hong Kong.

Secondary Objective: More Campaign Partnership

Earth Hour Global is seeking corporate and community organizations to be global partners of the I Will If You Will campaign. We are providing opportunities to showcase the corporate environmental sustainability messages to a greater international audience and demonstrate your citizenship to the wider community.

We would like to increase the number of registered corporations to join the I Will If You Will campaign to increase the public awareness of conserving energy for the planet.

Target ‘Stakeholders’:

What we want are the influential corporations such as HSBC, Swire, the Emperor Entertainment Group Limited, the Harbor City Company as well as the Body Shop to partner with us.

The requirement for the target corporations: established good reputation; potential influence on people’s lives; power to generate discussion.

What they can bring us: for instance, the Emperor Entertainment will provide us with celebrity ambassadors. The Harbor City will provide with location for major events, the Body Shop is an established anti-animal experiment company already… etc.

We would also like to encourage the existing partners to participate in the Earth Hour and I Will If You Will campaign.

Communications Channels:

Face to face with the target companies and organizations.

Media Channels include: national press, regional press, TV, radio as well as online social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Weibo).

Key Message: Dare, Care, Share

To increase the number of corporations to participate in the I Will If You Will campaign. Dare the world, care for the planet and share the experience to inspire more people.

Potential Challenges: Since one of the aims is to raise awareness, it would be difficult to measure and evaluate, however, it will create coverage and conversation if there is more companies participating in the I Will If You Will Campaign. And since it is an annual event, media will not be covering as much as the stories they cover in March. How to make sure the message get across in “Un Earth Hour Seasons” is another question.

Also, if the WWF team up with celebrities, the celebrity will be a potential threat for the reason that it can have negative coverage that will damage the reputation of WWF.

 

 

The Creative Approach:

Thinking the most creative ideas for companies to take part in the I Will If You Will campaign in a way to establish good reputation for the companies as well as WWF. What we try to get across is that Earth Hour is not just about the one hour. people should live in an environmental friendly and healthy way, once again, the message is that the environmental protection goes beyond that one hour.

What we expect to see is the creative approach to promote the IWIYW campaign, not only on traditional media such as newspapers and magazines, but also social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, and especially on Weibo.

What we would also like is viral videos to generate buzz on the internet in order to promote the IWFIW campaign as well as the Earth Hour project in Hong Kong.

A mobile app on both android and IOS platforms for I Will If You Will campaign.

It will be a 12-month campaign from May 2013 to May 2014.

The launch date for the mobile app will be in May, and the viral video will be in January 2014 to March 2014.

 

 

Evaluation:

Statistics:

Ÿ   The number of corporate partnerships

Ÿ   The number of companies took part in the I Will If You Will campaign

Ÿ   The number of companies registered for the Earth Hour

Ÿ   The number of increased/reduced percentage of awareness of Earth Hour

Media Channels:

Ÿ   The number of press clippings on the print media

Ÿ   The number of press coverage on the online media

Ÿ   The likes and reposts on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Weibo, Instagram

Ÿ   The download times of the I Will If You Will mobile app

The evaluation will be finished by the end of May 2014.

 

 

Additional Information:

What is I Will If you Will ?

I Will If You Will is an Earth Hour campaign to encourage positive action for the environment, beyond the hour. What makes it special is that it empowers you – as an individual or as part of a community or organization – to share your commitment to the planet with friends, family, colleagues, fans or even a whole nation.

The idea is simple. Someone makes a promise to do something if a certain number of people commit to take an ongoing action for the environment, beyond Earth Hour.

The action could be big or small; it might be a simple lifestyle change or maybe something that leads to political change. It might require 10 people to do something, or 10,000. The point is that I Will If You Will allows anybody – from a kid in a classroom to a President of a nation – to become the inspiration to their friends, family, colleagues and communities by sharing what they’re willing to do to protect the planet.

In 2011, we launched the concept of “Beyond the Hour” as a way to help empower our community to do something more than just lights off. We knew that we had to create a campaign to take our movement further, and help mobilize our community to inspire actions big and small that would change the world we live in.

Earth Hour has already shown what one simple idea can achieve, now it’s about showing what someone’s actions can inspire. In 2011, we launched the concept of “Beyond the Hour” as a way to help empower our community to do something more than just lights off.

It wasn’t until 2012 that we really nailed it – I Will If You Will was born last February, and immediately we knew we were onto something. Suddenly, our community – ranging from supermodels to sports stars, CEOs to kids in classrooms – were coming up with fun, creative, quirky, interesting and engaging challenges showing what they’d do if their peers did something for the environment.

In 2012, nearly 10,000 IWIYWs were posted on YouTube.com/EarthHour driving more than 4.6 million people to interact with the challenges and 200,000 to accept challenges on the platform alone. Thousands more expressed commitment through Earth Hour’s Facebook and Twitter communities, as well as an extraordinary level of interactivity through class rooms, radio stations, large corporations, scout groups and even by cartoon characters.

It wasn’t until we stood back and looked at some of the outcomes that came from the campaign that we realized I Will If You Will was already generating real change. In its first year, I Will If You Will achieved some environmental outcomes greater than any of us could have imagined:

It led to legislation in the Russian parliament to better protect the country’s seas from oil pollution

It initiated two huge reforestation projects in Africa

It inspired more than 26 cities in Indonesia to use Twitter to mobilize action across the nation, cementing Earth Hour as the country’s largest grassroots environmental movement.

This year, more than 50 Earth Hour country teams are adopting the campaign, so you can imagine how exciting 2013 is going to be for our movement.”

Short Review: No more manipulation..?!

The other day the class has a discussion about the invention of New Media has put public back into the communication thus replaced media manipulation and one-way communication.

One of the classmate from the for-team gave evidence and said one-way communication will not be working during the crisis management. Which I agree. However, personally in countries like China, the manipulation of the media still exists.

Apart from the fact that China is still one of the four countries in the world of which has blocked Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. People still cannot say whatever they can on the Internet because the government controls the information.

It sounds impossible that the officials will use its power to delete the information on the Internet, but unfortunately it is the truth.

In my opinion, the situation will not change in a short-term, since China is developing on a fast pace, so no inharmonious voices please.