Interviewing entrepreneurs in China: The great challenges of public relations in China
China Paradigm interviewed Augustin Missoffe, managing director Asia-Pacific at Hopscotch Group. Our China Paradigm’s guest is a Chinese and Asian market expert with a decade of experience in China and more to come. In the course of the interview, Augustin Missoffe discusses public relations in China and what it takes to gain visibility in China. In this business podcast, you will learn more about digital and experiential marketing in China.
Augustin Missoffe, an expert in digital and experiential marketing in China
After studying and graduating from the European Business School Paris, Augustin Missoffe started his career as a business development consultant in Shanghai. Now, with almost 10 years of his life in the People’s Republic of China, he holds the position of managing director Asia-Pacific at Hopscotch Group.
Augustin Missoffe is an expert in numerous fields such as e-commerce, WeChat and digital marketing. He currently manages no less than 10 agencies and participates in the development of the digital and O2O strategy of Hopscotch in Asia.
A company in the marketing-PR solutions in China
Hopscotch is an international public relations and communication consultancy company. The firm employs more than 800 people working in about 50 countries all over the world.
The agency has offices in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing and Hong Kong where it supports clients in digital and experiential marketing in China and offers different services to help brands to gain visibility in China.
Despite showing encouraging growth over the last years, the public relations industry in China is still considered a recent industry. Companies are battling to develop their industry that faces the difficulty of an environment composed of thousands of magazines, radio stations, TV channels and tens of social media.
Flexibility, speed and working with freelancers
During the interview, Augustin Misoffe emphasizes the importance to work with flexibility in the digital and experiential marketing in China. According to him, being flexible and adaptable to customers is key for enterprises offering marketing-PR solutions in China. Competition is fierce and the environment in which companies are playing is constantly evolving.
“The economy is booming; competition is fierce in different sectors and there is a constant evolution. I have been here for years and what I observed is that what is said on Monday can be totally different on Friday.”
Moreover, owing to the diversity and specificity of the different projects, the company collaborates with numerous freelancers across the globe. So, being flexible not only helps companies to respond to clients’ short-term deadlines in China but is also translated in the company hiring freelancers to tailor and adapt its services to different industries.
The importance of digital marketing in China
With the rise of digital platforms, public relations and marketing had to adapt to the trend and develop new services to meet customer needs. Augustin Misoffe explains that, nowadays, applications are central to the marketing strategy developed by his company.
“When WeChat arrived, the world developed in two separate parts. You have China and the rest of the world.”
Presence on social media, collaborations with KOLs among others are now becoming a must to gain visibility in China. Companies, therefore, have to build an online identity and develop their presence on the many Chinese social media. This task appears has a challenging one for foreign companies that lack local understanding and that thus often decide to work jointly with agencies.
The role of offline public relations in China
In a time and in a country where digital marketing seems to take the lead, offline events still hold a role to play for companies that want to gain visibility in China. When being asked why it is the case, Augustin Missoffe answers that clients have a need to try products and to have a deeper brand experience.
Moreover, he emphasizes on the fact that digital is never too far and that technologies are more and more integrated into offline events. Digital and experiential marketing in China work hand in hand and should continue to do so in the future.
“We are in a new era where everything that we develop is linked to digital. It is also the way through which we get content. People, through digital, like to see what is happening somewhere else. When you have a VR demonstration, they want to be part of it.”
Related reading: The ultimate public relations strategy in China for businesses
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