Building Media Relationships through Virtual Coffee Sessions
As the COVID-19 lockdowns continue worldwide, including across Southeast Asia we had to rethink our strategy to engage the regional media and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs). Most importantly we needed to maintain “business as usual” with these two critical publics on behalf of all our clients because every organisation needs to focus on business continuity as well as manage the immediate challenges. Virtual Coffee Sessions
Our first initiative was to organise two “virtual coffee” sessions for a client in Indonesia and Vietnam in March 2020. The results from our first such experiment were excellent – far better than expected – which is probably built on the strong relationships we have with our media and industry partners attendance was strong and the feedback was very appreciative.
Our objective was to continue the momentum of our regular meet-ups with the media and KOLs in the region because in our relationship focussed business approach, hospitality is a critical means to collaborate and share knowledge with the media over and above news announcements. Because of the lockdowns and travel restrictions that make it impossible to meet in person, we needed to switch to a different platform to sustain these vital relationships and continue to provide updates on the trends in the region.
Already a “virtual” organisation ourselves, we decided to extend the use of our familiar video-conferencing technology to set up virtual coffee sessions. Although we have since seen huge uptake of video conferencing across business, the arts and every kind of community, it was new in this context to the media and the KOLs.
One of the main concerns was whether we would be able to attract enough attendees? To make the event successful, we needed a good crowd to front up virtually and make sure we started and kept a robust conversation and sharing of ideas.
The first critical step was to identify the right guests – the targeted media and the KOLs who would be excited to deep-dive into the subject matter as it related to their readers. The second was to develop relevant content around the session. It was absolutely vital the event not be perceived as just an update on the client’s latest announcements but rather, a discussion of the latest trends we are witnessing, customer pain points and how our client’s solutions help to add business value and bring a resolution.
To get everyone excited, we developed localised content working with the client, including a customised personal message to reach out to our identified media and KOLs.
We also secured very subject-specific and relevant Key Opinion Leaders, KOLs, for each session recognising that many of our expert voices resonate within individual markets and sectors. Definitely working with KOLs it is never a “one-size fits all” approach and this tailored engagement obviously hit the spot in terms of the media guests resulting in quality coverage in both markets. We secured a total of ten in-depth exclusive articles that delivered solid industry reporting integrating with our client’s messages.
More importantly, the engagement helped to further cement the media’s relationship with the spokesperson which is the cornerstone of all our work at Priority. So from our typically face to face and one-to-one hospitality engagement, Covid –19 has opened the door to new ways of outreach to make sure we keep putting a face to the brand.
Technology is readily available to ensure media engagement – in fact any engagement – does not need to stop. Relationships are key, and providing the media with the latest information to keep them updated is crucial. Our media and KOL audiences appreciated the initiative from the client in the face of the current difficult circumstances and we all enjoyed a virtual cuppa.