Creativity Can Come From the Simplest of Things

FH shines at the Marketing’s PR Awards 2014

2014 will be remembered as the year when the humble umbrella became one of the most powerful icons in Hong Kong – a symbol of the fight for democracy and of a very particular Hong Kong-style of resistance.

While it is doubtful that the Occupy Central organisers went into the protests on 28 September intending the umbrella to become a visual metaphor for their actions, they were quick to realise its potency in both traditional and social media after that first night of furore.

Since then, the umbrella has adorned everything from Lion Rock to a sea of post-it notes outside Tamar. It has featured in millions of online posts and traditional articles as a shorthand for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protest movement.

There are many communication lessons to be learned from Occupy Central, many of them are in the “not-what-to-do” camp. But perhaps the most powerful message for Hong Kong’s PR industry is that creativity can come from the simplest of things, it doesn’t need to cost a lot, and that a good idea is one that is borne from insights and combines passion and purpose.

Hong Kong’s students have demonstrated that creativity is not the exclusive preserve of executive creative directors.

As an industry we should take a leaf from their books and challenge ourselves to create campaigns that make a real impact beyond column inches.

We need to start with analytics to drive ideas that are at the heart of memorable campaigns.  We need to think visual and create content that transcends channels. We need to create campaigns with a higher purpose for a lasting and sustainable impact on a company’s bottom line or reputation.   And we need to continue to encourage and reward the creativity of our teams.

These inaugural Marketing Awards are a good starting point to celebrate the best PR of 2014, but there is more we should be doing.  Public relations cannot be an afterthought at the end of the supply chain.

As Hong Kong wrestles for its own position in the world, there is an opportunity for PR professionals to make a real difference by helping companies develop meaningful relationships with all their stakeholders and helping to close the gap between what companies say and what stakeholders actually experience. At FleishmanHillard, we call this closing the authenticity gap.

Let’s make 2015 the year we create our own “umbrella” moment for the industry and take our work to the next level.  This way we will be able to truly demonstrate the full value of PR and create new opportunities to celebrate our profession.

At the inaugural Marketing’s PR Awards Hong Kong 2014, FleishmanHillard took home six awards as follow:

  • Best Employee Engagement/Internal Communications (Gold) – I Am Janssen. I Am Integrity

  • Best Insights-driven PR Campaign (Gold) – DBS Bank: Opening a New Chapter –Redefining Retirement as a Destination for Dreams
  • Best Engagement for a Targeted Community (Silver) – DBS Bank: Opening a New Chapter – Redefining Retirement as a Destination for Dreams
  • Best Community Engagement (Silver) – DBS Bank: Opening a New Chapter – Redefining Retirement as a Destination for Dreams

  • Best Insights-driven PR Campaign (Silver) – Manulife Investor Sentiment Index

    •  Best PR Idea (Bronze) – LANDMARK Edible 4 Buildings

Congratulations to the teams!

Rachel Catanach
Senior Vice President, Senior Partner and Managing Director