When companies look to take advantage of the huge business opportunities that exist in Asia, Cognito is often asked to provide advice on how to achieve some broad objectives. Some common requests include: “raise our company profile in Asia Pacific” and “grow our reputation in Asia” or “bring me new business leads in Asia by getting coverage in the newspapers”.
When we delve into what the client really means by these requests, we often find that their definition of ‘Asia Pacific’ is very loosely defined. The definition very often differs from company to company and person to person and time needs to be spent with the company to figure out exactly what they mean.
To put the challenge into context, it is useful to note that Asia Pacific contains some 60% of the globe’s population, spread across 29 countries and speaking around 2300 languages. The media landscape is also complex. It is made up of more than thousands of newspapers, magazines and broadcast stations and a fast-growing number of online portals.
To add to this picture, Asia also has a vast array of different approaches to capturing, reporting and consuming news. This often means that engaging local advice can be the difference between a successful media engagement and one that ends in miserable failure for both the company and the journalist working on the story.
As we travel from country to country across Asia, we also notice the different ways in which Government treats the press. As opposed to Europe, the media in Asia varies from being ostensibly free to oppressively controlled.
Consumption of the news itself varies widely. In Singapore most people now rely almost completely on digital platforms, including the websites and mobile apps of the large media houses. Meanwhile in Japan, TV and printed newspapers are still a trusted source of daily updates and analysis.
Businesses that wish to raise their profile or improve a reputation must be acutely aware of the idiosyncrasies in order to have successful external communications in Asia. It advisable to have an in-house communications expert or agency on the ground in key markets to provide advice and guidance to the business when engaging with the local media.
Darrell Wright is the Managing Director for Cognito in APAC