With years of expertise within the company world and an MBA in entrepreneurship from the College of Louisville, USA to her title, Grace Zhou took the leap to ascertain her personal PR consultancy, Raffles PR and by no means appeared again. In the present day, Raffles PR has grown to serve shoppers likes of GreaterHeat, Tokenize Xchange, Eurex Change, Deutsche Börse AG, STOXX, Clearstream, SINOPEC, Simpson Marine, Success Sources, Lee Kum Kee, amongst many others. With a confirmed monitor report in main main initiatives, Zhou is aware of tips on how to create impactful narratives. Successfully bilingual in each English and Chinese language, Zhou caters to shoppers’ PR wants with dedication and private finesse. Past being “revered as having a nostril for a killing story”, Zhou’s intensive community of worldwide and native media contacts permits her to ship compelling tales that resonate with audiences worldwide. Zhou speaks to LUXUO to debate her completed profession because the area’s high PR skilled, how she overcame the difficult nature of the PR trade and cluing us in to how she meets her shopper’s calls for.
You have been born in China. What introduced you to Singapore and to the thrilling but difficult world of PR?
I used to be born and raised in Beijing, the place winters are sometimes overcast, and I craved a sunnier local weather. The second I visited Singapore to see my sister and brother-in-law after I was on a vacation right here, I fell in love with the town’s tropical climate. The heat and the chance to make mates from varied components of the world made me really feel at house, which is why I made a decision to develop into a naturalised Singapore citizen. It was in Singapore that I used to be launched to the dynamic world of PR, all because of my shut good friend and enterprise accomplice, Danny Chaplin. He was my guiding mild, instructing me the ropes of the PR trade, and it’s by his mentorship that I’ve the privilege of operating my very own PR enterprise right now.
Raffles PR has skilled a tremendous development over the previous years. How would you clarify such development given the difficult nature of the PR market, particularly in Singapore?
The expansion of Raffles PR in recent times could be attributed to a number of elements. In 2020, I got here throughout an article in The Straits Occasions that make clear the vulnerability of PR jobs, particularly in the course of the preliminary phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas this info was initially disheartening, it served as a stark reminder of the difficult panorama throughout the PR trade. Nevertheless, when the chance arose to symbolize firms in rising and dynamic sectors equivalent to cryptocurrency, NFTs, Web3, and AI, I felt a surge of pleasure and gratitude. The profitable promotion of shoppers in these cutting-edge fields demanded a novel mix of braveness, creativity, and the knowledge accrued by years of expertise. Our crew demonstrated the foresight to enterprise into this uncharted territory and the bravery to wholeheartedly embrace it. Singapore, positioned on the forefront of the digitalization revolution, offered the best backdrop for such a enterprise. As I mirror on this journey, it’s undeniably marked by challenges, however the rewards have been profoundly satisfying.
What abilities have you ever acquired which allow you to talk a shopper’s message?
One of many key abilities I’ve acquired that helps me successfully talk a shopper’s message is the flexibility to actively pay attention. Being a great listener permits me to know the shopper’s objectives, values, and particular message they wish to convey. It additionally permits me to understand the wants and preferences of the media shops we work with, guaranteeing that the message aligns with their pursuits and viewers. Moreover, one other essential talent in a PR company is adaptability. The media panorama is consistently evolving, and the flexibility to adapt to new applied sciences, platforms, and tendencies is significant for profitable message communication. Being adaptable ensures that we will tailor our methods to go well with the altering wants of our shoppers and the media
What do you assume makes a PR marketing campaign profitable?
A profitable PR marketing campaign is characterised by a number of key elements. Firstly, a well-defined and clear message is crucial. This message ought to be tailor-made to resonate with the target market and align with the shopper’s objectives. Secondly, efficient media relations play a vital position. Constructing and nurturing robust relationships with journalists, influencers, and media shops make sure that the message is successfully communicated to the precise channels. Lastly, measurement and flexibility are important for achievement. Steady monitoring and evaluation of marketing campaign efficiency enable for changes to be made in real-time, guaranteeing that the marketing campaign stays on monitor and achieves its aims
How do you select angles for a narrative pitch?
Choosing efficient angles for a narrative pitch is essential in PR. Firstly, thorough analysis is crucial. Understanding the shopper’s aims, the target market, and the present media panorama helps establish angles that may resonate. Second, creativity and uniqueness are key. Figuring out a contemporary and fascinating angle that stands out in a crowded information area is vital to seize media consideration. Lastly, relevance is significant. The chosen angle ought to be aligned with present occasions, tendencies, or points, guaranteeing it’s not solely compelling but in addition well timed and relatable to the viewers and the media.
How do you react when a shopper disagrees along with your PR technique?
When a shopper disagrees with our PR technique, I method the scenario by initiating a constructive dialogue. I imagine it’s important to delve deeper into the shopper’s perspective, asking questions to achieve a complete understanding of their viewpoint and the rationale behind their most well-liked technique. This open communication permits us to discover their issues, aims, and expectations extra totally. In the end, the purpose is to align our efforts, as we each share the widespread objective of attaining profitable PR outcomes. All through my expertise, this collaborative method has confirmed efficient in bridging gaps and arriving at a mutually agreeable technique that serves the shopper’s wants whereas staying in keeping with our experience. In the long run, we’ve at all times managed to achieve an settlement as a result of we share the identical objective.
What has been your greatest PR problem, and the way did you deal with it?
In my PR profession, challenges have been a continuing presence, however I’ve come to see them as alternatives for development. Probably the most vital challenges I’ve confronted is sustaining composure and focus within the face of occasional disappointments and obstacles. When confronted with such conditions, I make use of a multi-faceted method. Firstly, I flip to my skilled colleagues for recommendation and insights, drawing from their knowledge and views. Moreover, I discover it helpful to step again briefly from the problem, permitting myself some emotional distance to achieve a contemporary outlook. Once I return to sort out the problem with a renewed mindset, it usually seems much less daunting than earlier than. By means of persistence, perseverance and the assist of my skilled community, I’ve persistently discovered that challenges finally resolve, and I’ve emerged from them with helpful expertise and enhanced resilience.
What has been your proudest achievement whereas main Raffles PR?
My proudest achievement has been my dedication to repeatedly educating myself and staying adaptable in an ever-changing panorama. I’m grateful for the chance to have been among the many early PR professionals in Singapore to work with shoppers within the yachting and marina trade. As I’ve continued my journey, I’ve additionally had the privilege of working with shoppers in revolutionary fields like crypto, blockchain, Web3, and AI, and so forth. These experiences have highlighted the significance of staying present with trade tendencies and embracing new alternatives as they come up.
Have you ever needed to work with a crew to deal with a PR disaster?
Fortunately, now we have not encountered any PR crises with our shoppers that required fast disaster administration intervention. We place a robust emphasis on proactive and preventative PR methods to mitigate potential crises earlier than they escalate. We repeatedly monitor and consider PR campaigns to make sure they align with our shoppers’ aims and keep a optimistic public picture. Whereas we haven’t confronted a serious disaster, we stay vigilant and able to reply swiftly ought to the necessity ever come up.
Social media versus conventional media, how key are these two sides of the up to date media scene?
Social media and conventional media each play key roles within the up to date media scene. Social media presents immediacy, interactivity, and wide-reaching international connectivity, whereas conventional media, equivalent to newspapers, tv, and radio, continues to offer credibility, in-depth reporting, and established viewers belief. The synergy between these two sides is crucial, with every providing distinctive benefits and serving completely different communication wants. Organizations and people ought to strategically use each to successfully attain and have interaction their goal audiences.
You appear to be working with a wholesome variety of Tech and Finance shoppers, why is that?
Through the years, I’ve been fortunate to work with many consumers within the tech and finance fields. My robust curiosity in numbers, which has been with me since college days, appears to have drawn me in the direction of these sectors, though I majored in literature in college. Serving shoppers in tech and finance sections presents distinctive challenges, and I discover fixing these advanced challenges intellectually stimulating and fulfilling.
What are the particular wants of yachting-related shoppers when it comes to PR?
Raffles PR has labored on such yachting shoppers as Simpson Marine and I’ve additionally had expertise engaged on different yachting-related enterprise by my shut affiliation partnering with Danny Chaplin whose PR firm dealt with Boat Asia for a few years operating along with ONE°15 Marina Membership. Yachting-related shoppers have particular PR wants as a result of they’re within the luxurious and unique yacht trade. They need their privateness revered and any delicate info saved confidential. Sustaining their good status is a high precedence, they usually want media protection in upscale, luxurious shops. Internet hosting occasions, creating interesting content material, and collaborating with influencers are important to showcase their yachts and experiences. Additionally they have to be able to handle crises, perceive worldwide markets, and observe the principles. Being eco-friendly and sustainable is turning into extra vital these days. Customized PR plans, a robust on-line presence, and dealing with luxurious manufacturers are additionally important for achievement within the yachting enterprise.
Through which route do you see the PR scene evolving in the direction of? Any new main challenges forward?
The PR scene is heading in a digital route with a robust give attention to on-line instruments and social media. It’s additionally turning into extra data-driven, with a must measure the affect of PR efforts. A few of the new challenges embody addressing pretend information and misinformation, staying up to date with fast-paced digital tendencies, and guaranteeing belief in an setting with plenty of conflicting info. So, PR’s future is about utilizing expertise and information, nevertheless it additionally means coping with belief and accuracy challenges.
When you have been to say one mentor who has influenced you in your life and profession, who would that be?
I’ve been lucky to have had mentor figures at varied phases of my life and profession, however one one who has had essentially the most profound affect on me is my father. His life journey has been marked by resilience and flexibility. Rising up in a well-off household, he confronted sudden monetary adversity on account of political modifications at the moment in China. All through all of it, he maintained his unwavering optimism, by no means giving in to complaints, and at all times holding his head excessive. Even after retirement, he continued to be a lifelong learner. His means to embrace change with a optimistic angle and a thirst for information has deeply impressed me. I wholeheartedly admire his resilience, and he stays my biggest position mannequin.
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