Our industry and those of our clients are seeing changes at a pace and degree we may never see again. Myriad factors are impacting business and life in Asia. As a judge for the PRWeek Asia Awards, I am keen to see how these changes are reflected in the campaigns being executed in the region.
Looking at external factors, Asia is currently facing a range of challenges that are not likely to abate soon. This includes the slowdown in China’s economy and the prospect of the US raising rates. Asset prices are down and we are seeing a rise in outbound China M&A. There have also been increases in regulation which have caused friction with local and international regulators for some clients.
As our clients face new challenges, they need different services and fresh ideas. Consequently, the communication industry is seeing a rise in special situations and we are increasingly being asked to help protect the reputations of corporates through regulatory probes, takeovers and restructuring. In addition, we are being tasked with helping clients weather the impact of recent market events on businesses.
We are also seeing new and disruptive players entering the business landscape in Asia. Whether this is an emerging Fintech brand or a boutique investment bank, these companies raise new challenges for communication professionals in building brands and expressing highly complex products.
Finally, the media and communication landscape in Asia continues to change on a daily basis. The media market, despite recent merger and acquisition activity, remains highly fragmented. Individuals are getting their information from an ever-widening range of sources, including traditional press as well as digital and social media channels.
This raises several challenges for strategic communication. One is selecting the right medium for your brand. For a company that wants to have a presence and do business in China, WeChat is now considered essential. With over 600 million users, WeChat is increasingly omnipresent in the daily lives of people in China from both a business and personal communication perspective.
Companies then need to find the balance between creating content for WeChat and other social media platforms in Asia – which needs to be timely, localized and relevant – and compliance.
Clients’ content marketing is also entering an increasingly saturated environment. The volume of content being generated by institutions today has increased exponentially. Yet attention spans are shorter. Given this, how can companies stand out? Furthermore, how can they do it while keeping control of the message and not risking reputational damage?
Amid changing market conditions, an evolving communication landscape and increasingly disruptive business models being launched in Asia, I am excited to see the results for this year’s PRWeek Asia Awards. I hope to see these exciting developments, which we are engaging with on a daily basis, reflected in the campaigns.