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In Vietnam, social media has become one of the most popular communication platforms. Despite the powerful effect of social media in conditioning a crisis, and the trend to integrate social media into crisis management strategies in many countries, Vietnamese companies have often ignored or underutilized these channels.

As part of my doctoral dissertation, I seek to compare the perception of social media in crisis communication in Vietnam to that in the U.S. As America has always been considered a role model and main influencer for Vietnam’s PR practice, the comparison can help understand the underlying factors contributed to that perception. I interviewed 12 Vietnamese practitioners and 8 American practitioners who have two to 25 years experience working in the PR industry in their respective countries.

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The use of KOLs (key opinion leaders or influencers) in marketing is getting more popular than ever. These KOLs have a significant number of followers, which makes it super easy to promote a brand or make something go viral. Since KOLs can bring instant awareness and sale, brands turn to KOLs as if it’s a must-have in their strategies. However, a poor choice or overuse of KOLs can make a marketing effort too promotional and unpersuasive.

If you are considering using KOLs in the Vietnamese market, here are a few things to consider:

1) Mind your objectives

It is important to decide which and how many KOLs to work with. If your marketing campaign needs a strong viral effect and wide spread, the option of choosing mid-range KOLs in large quantities is the most suitable. If you want sustainable credibility, you can opt for quality over quantity. Do not use KOLs with no clear marketing goals just because others are using KOLs too.

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This is the third part of a series on crisis communication on social media in Vietnam by GCPR member EloQ Communications. We previously wrote about why companies who operate in Vietnam should use social media more for crisis communication. Now we’ll explore some reasons why companies here often choose not to, and why most of those are mistaken.

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This is the second part of a series on crisis communication on social media in Vietnam by GCPR member EloQ Communications.

Practicing public relations in times of stability is challenging enough, but what about when something goes wrong? That’s when crisis communication comes into play. Crisis communication as a subset of public relations is a fairly young practice in Vietnam. Just as companies and PR firms were beginning to learn out how to handle themselves in a crisis – using press conferences and official media statements – the rise of social media has left them scrambling, with some attempting to embrace social media while others stick to what they know. But making social media a central part of crisis response may be even more crucial here than many other places. Here are a few reasons why.

 

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As part of her doctoral dissertation research, Clāra Ly-Le, director of Ho Chi Minh City-based EloQ Communications, interviewed several public relations experts in Vietnam on the subject of crisis communication. Clāra’s work focuses on social media, but the insights expressed by the experts she found are often applicable regardless of the medium. What follows are some of the most worthwhile pieces of advice she gathered.

 

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Today the VERO Public Relations team reports on the latest market trends in Vietnam.*

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After giving us an insight into current trends today the Vero PR team reports on general local differences in PR and practices in Vietnam – communication with a South East Asian flavour.

 

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Global PR Perspective GLobalCom

Our global PR Series is featuring Vietnam this week: The communication specialists of VERO Public Relations are giving us an insight into the general development of PR and current media and communication trends. Recent PR examples demonstrate how to utilize these trends to do successful PR in Vietnam. The series is based on phone or face-to-face interviews and written input, therefore please excuse language mistakes which might reflect foreign language influences.

 

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

 

Son Nguyen: PR activities and businesses’ opinion about them have changed significantly over the last few years. As Vietnam economy is growing swiftly and joined by more international companies, the need of building a strong brand image to be distinctive in the market has become vital. Thus, PR role has shifted from only polishing a brand name to communicate the brand key messages (or stories) to the public in both emotional and rational way.

For years, Vietnam did not have any professional institution or university majoring in PR. This is changing now. Both national and private foreign universities have established curriculum and courses focusing on communications, advertising and PR. At the same time, the bar for Vietnamese PR practitioners is also lifting, requiring them to be more professional, open-minded and creative in order to meet international standards of their clients.

Although the industry is moving forward, there are influential factors which people practicing PR in Vietnam still need to take into consideration such as Vietnamese language, culture, media system and legal framework.Finally, online communications is gaining the spotlight as one of the most effective PR tools. While the Vietnamese youth are embracing social network sites, online communication platform is also praised as a multi-way channel, giving people opportunities to share their ideas, opinions and viewpoints. The number of Vietnam Internet users exceeded 24 million (27% population) while Facebook has also surpassed the number of 1 million. Thus, many businesses see this as a new channel through which their messages can be conveyed effectively to their target customers. Although the industry is moving forward, there are influential factors which people practicing PR in Vietnam still need to take into consideration such as Vietnamese language, culture, media system and legal framework.

Finally, online communications is gaining the spotlight as one of the most effective PR tools. While the Vietnamese youth are embracing social network sites, online communication platform is also praised as a multi-way channel, giving people opportunities to share their ideas, opinions and viewpoints. The number of Vietnam Internet users exceeded 24 million (27% population) while Facebook has also surpassed the number of 1 million. Thus, many businesses see this as a new channel through which their messages can be conveyed effectively to their target customers.

 

2. How does your agency embrace these changes?

 

Son Nguyen: At our agency, we work in team that allows every member to have a fair chance to learn and involve in the whole process from the beginning to the end. Thus, our employees can have a big picture of what they are doing rather than only focusing on their very specific roles. Personal ideas are respected and taken into serious consideration. From that, creativity is nurtured and growing up. As for online communication, Vero Public Relations is also keeping up with new trends. We are incorporating more digital activities in our projects and maintaining strong ties with influential bloggers. However, in Vietnam, traditional media still remains as a strong and credible information source, having deep impacts over public opinions. Thus, up to requirement of each clients and specific objectives and budget of each project, we also balance between the new and the old channels to put together the most effective communication programs.

 

3. Can you give us a recent example from a project?

 

Carmen Le: For instance, we have recently developed a communication campaign for one of our clients who would like to raise their profile in Vietnam. The client is an educational institution which considers Vietnam as their potential market. We have helped them to put up a communication plan, combining both traditional and new media channels. Our primary target is students and young adults. However, they are not yet independent in term of financial support to study abroad. Thus, we also target parents as the secondary target audience. The significant difference between two previous groups is the way their info-graphics. While the youth is embracing the Internet and social media; their parents are still more conservative and inclining to trust printing sources. As the result, we have continued to disseminate the information in a traditional way to the press while building up a facebook fan page database and blogs for our client.

 

 

Next week we learn why it is important to take the Vietnamese mentality as well as the different government system into account for communications and PR in Vietnam.
PR Specialists Son Nguyen and Vicky Tran, Crisis Management Manager Carmen Le and Event Specialist Ha Ngo of the VERO Account team joint forces to answer the interview questions. The team, most of whom have graduated from Royal Melbourne Information Technology in Vietnam, brings together a broad background of journalistic and communications experiences having worked for well known media and clients from both B2B and B2C markets and have extensive experience working with GlobalCom on international PR campaigns.

Vero Public Relations supports clients in expanding their footprint in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia through smart public relations campaigns which effectively build and maintain relationships with key stakeholders, customers and influencers. Their services include branding, media relations, event management, public affairs, issues/crisis management and a broad industry knowledge to support their clients with the development of a comprehensive public relations program which is designed to help clients to make significant strides in growing brand values, sales and profits.

Vero PR - PR partner in Thailand and VietnamPublic Link, Salud y Comunicación, Tourism PR agencies in different markets – GlobalCom has gained so many new European partners during the last couple of months. With March PR and HealthStar PR we are also very happy in the US. Just the Asian tigers were still a rare species within our “zoo”…

One of them has approached GlobalCom for a while before jumping in: Vero Public Relations is going to represent our network in Thailand and Vietnam and will thus strengthen GlobalCom’s business in Asia. Read more