Spotlight: Bangkok

Vatcharaphong Siripark, SVP at Total Access Communication, details how social media has changed PR in the region.

Spotlight: Bangkok
What is hot about the region?
Bangkok is strategically located in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it a key gateway to a market of 600 million consumers and one of the world's fastest-growing regions. Given the country's strong economic fundamentals, resilience, good infrastructure, political stability, and pleasant investment climate, Thailand is in a good position to offer and support business growth.

Culture-wise, Thai people are famous for their smiles and friendliness. The open and friendly culture always makes visitors feel welcome.

How has the PR and communications industry developed recently?
The PR industry in Thailand has witnessed and experienced huge changes and development. While traditional PR activities remain at the core, new channels and platforms, especially social and digital media, have provided the industry with greater opportunities. Brands can now reach individual customers directly and effectively, especially because of advanced developments in mobile tech.

How has the PR industry been affected by the country's economy?

Although the Thai economy has been slightly affected by the global economic crisis, it remains positive in the long run thanks to the country's strong economic fundamentals.

[The Finance Ministry's Fiscal Policy Office forecasts Thailand's 2013 growth rate at 3.8% to 4%. The economy will be supported by increasing investment in manufacturing, 20% growth in tourism, and a low unemployment rate.]

Considered a very effective and cost-efficient communications tool, PR is beginning to play a more crucial role in delivering successful, integrated communications campaigns.

Advertising has its limitations, while PR is a lot more flexible. It allows brands to jump-start more meaningful conversations with their consumers at a fraction of the cost.

Confidence and trust are increasingly important in the world where consumers are flooded with information. PR can create voice, especially from real consumers, which is more important today because people tend to believe what their peers say, rather than what brands say through advertising and promotion.

Check In

The Bangkok Post
136 Sunthorn Kosa Road,
Klong Toey, Bangkok, 10110
Tel: (+662) 616 4000

Public Relations Society of Thailand
2/3 Sukhothai Road, Suanchiralada,
Dusit, Bangkok, 10300
Tel: (+6681) 939 9964

US Embassy in Bangkok
120-122 Wireless Road,
Bangkok, 10330
Tel: (+662) 205 4000

How are citizens using social media?
Thailand has a population of slightly more than 66 million people. Out of this, 25 million are Internet users and 18 million are social media users. These numbers are growing rapidly each year.

Most mobile phone users keep their devices within arm's reach. Statistics show that Facebook users have grown by 28% per year, while Instagram enjoyed more than 160% growth.

Social media tech has been used heavily for business and even political campaigns.

Conversations or topics discussed in the social media world have regularly been reported even in traditional media, such as TV news reports. With such rapid growth and a huge user base, digital and social media have become important channels for brands to talk to consumers, with some PR firms setting up specialized teams to handle digital communications.

How easy is it to find PR talent in Bangkok?
Extremely good PR and communications talent is not easy to find with people more adept at execution than strategy.

However, as Thailand is one of the regional hubs, many international agencies have established themselves here. With their professional work process and training programs, PR talent is being groomed.

What do you love most about Bangkok?
Bangkok is a dynamic and lively city. It has so many things for locals and visitors to explore and experience - a good and large selection of food, cultural and historical sites, great shopping places, but most of all, the people.

Aside from being one of the friendliest cities in the world, Thais have as much of an open mind as they do an open heart. They're open to advancements, especially the younger generation that is leading trends in tech, entrepreneurship, and investment. The world had better keep an eye on Bangkok, as it is truly poised to be an epicenter of regional prosperity.

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