This week Alice Yong from Malaysia is talking about the latest trends and changes in PR in her region. Read in part 1 of the interview how traditional media is combined with social media and what PR for the Malaysia Fasion Week can look like.


1. What is the latest trend (change) in PR you have identified in your region?

Malaysian companies are beginning to realise the need to combine social media with traditional media. As a rapidly developing country, many Malaysian companies still do not consider PR as a key component in their marketing. For them, PR only comes to the fore when they need to conduct ‘fire-fighting’ i.e. when the company has to deal with some sort of crisis, that is the time they turn to PR.

Many clients also expect fast, almost instantenous results from their PR initiatives hence the tendency to dismiss PR as a tedious process that brings slow, intangible results. Quicker responses and results to PR programmes are now faster via social media but these are only possible when the idea or initiative is compelling enough to attract the desired target publics.

Still the good news is an increasing number of PR-savvy companies are now open to engage with bloggers and online media without neglecting traditional media. On the downside, since both traditional and online media are now so business driven, editorial decisions on who or what makes news are sometimes swayed by clients’ advertising dollar.


2. How does your agency handle / embrace this?

When we draw up PR strategies and plans for clients, at least 2-3 social media components will be included. We usually look at each client’s corporate profile and the industry they are in before we suggest a combination of traditional and social media solutions to them.


3. Can you give a recent example from a project or best practice?

For the Malaysia International Fashion Week 2009, fashion writers, bloggers and international media members were provided with conventional press kits prior to each fashion show. Gone are the days when these attendees need to wait for days for photographs to be developed or the latest information from the shows to be relayed to them. All images and information culled from the different show segments were uploaded online within 24 hours and the relevant link: disseminated to traditional and online media so that they could access and download any information or images they deemed relevant for their own use.

For the 2010 event, a series of 3-minute online TV episodes was uploaded onto  the organiser’s official website; giving fashion followers insights into how the top 10 young designers and new modelling talents were selected.


Learn next week why Malaysian journalists don’t ask questions at press conferences and how important local contacts are when you want to make PR in Malaysia.


Alice Yong is Director of WYSE Communications Sdn Bhd, a Kuala Lumpur-based PR consultancy – GlobalCom PR Network Partner in Malaysia. Having spent 15 years of her professional life in Marketing Communications for several major hotels, Alice became a Partner cum Director in WYSE effective from 2002. She is also a regular contributor to The Star, Malaysia’s leading English daily which has a readership of over 1million.

GlobalCom is an award-winning worldwide alliance of Public Relations specialists and agencies that offers international PR services to organisations looking to launch their products and services simultaneously in multiple countries.