CAMPAIGN: Hay Group gets UK firms thinking about China

Last year, global management consultancy Hay Group became concerned about the low profile of its business strategy advisory services.

Campaign Waking up to China
Client Hay Group
PR team Man Bites Dog
Timescale May-December 2006
Budget Undisclosed

It called in Man Bites Dog to create a campaign that would provide both a business development tool and a platform for thought leadership.


To raise awareness of business strategy in the media, and position Hay Group as experts in the field. To boost
adoption of the service.

Strategy and Plan
Man Bites Dog proposed linking the campaign to a prominent business issue – China’s emergence as a global economic power. It commissioned research among international companies to assess business leaders’ attitudes to China, and the implications of Chinese economic development for UK business.

Hay Group based a report, ‘Waking up to China’, on the results. Countries were ranked by their ability to trade and compete with China, and by the number of national businesses with a ‘China strategy’. It also highlighted those countries facing the greatest opportunities and threats from China.

Additional credibility was secured with a foreword by experts on trade between China and Britain, including author Jonathan Fenby.

Man Bites Dog also prepared an ‘executive summary’ for each region and artwork to accompany the report, and made spokespeople available for interview.

Themes included the fact that UK business leaders see China as more of an opportunity than a threat, that they predict China will be worth £200bn a year to British firms by 2009, and that a quarter of global organisations – 40 per cent of which are based in the UK – have no China strategy.

The PR team unveiled the report at a dinner hosted by Fenby and Hay Group China managing director Wayne Chen. It gave an exclusive preview to the Financial Times, before contacting other media. Man Bites Dog continues to use the research in order to exploit seasonal business issues.

Following Lord Dearing’s review last December of language teaching in schools, Man Bites Dog reiterated Hay Group’s call for Mandarin to be taught in British schools.

Measurement and Evaluation
Reputational measurement group Mantra International valued coverage to date to be worth around £260,000.

Initially, coverage was achieved in The Times, The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, Evening Standard and Daily Express. The call to teach Mandarin in schools resulted in a second FT article, plus reports in The Guardian and the Times Educational Supplement.

Coverage followed in international publications, including Holland’s De Telegraaf and Het Financieele Dagblad, CNN, the Singtao Daily and the US Daily Standard.

The research was the subject of an Economist conference featuring speakers from Hay Group, Astra­Zeneca, mobile firm Hutchison and Marconi. Its findings were also referred to in the introductory address of a con­ference on China for the international recruitment industry.

Hay Group claims that it has been positioned as a thought leader on emerging economies.

It also claims to have received more than 100 business enquiries to date as a direct result of the campaign.

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