Duck Eggs to Digital Media – Takeaways from My First International Business Trip

01.30.2018 | AnnMarie Henriksson

This past week I had the opportunity to travel to Hong Kong and attend the Public Relations Network’s first Digital Forum. PRN is a network of approximately 25 PR agencies from around the world. Communiqué PR is a U.S. agency with partner firms in India, South Africa, Asia and Europe to name a few. As members of this network, these agencies have the opportunity to share case studies, solve problems and discuss PR best practices.

PRN Digital Forum 2018 brought together executives from different regions and industries. As noted in the title, the conference had an overarching focus on digital transformation, and the panels and keynote presentations discussed the role “digital” has played in PR and media, retail, Fintech, ecommerce and shipping and logistics.

Not only was this a great opportunity to learn about another culture and its businesses, it was my first business trip and first trip to Asia wrapped into one. During the week I had the opportunity to meet the other agencies in the network and chat with attendees at the conference. It was fascinating to hear perspectives on the past, current and predicted business situation in Asia, as well as other regions in the network.

The panel, “The Digital Impact on Media and the PR Industry,” moderated by Communiqué’s own Colleen Moffitt, discussed some of the benefits and challenges digital has provided for PR professionals and their clients. For example, digital can improve a company’s ability to track metrics and foster direct engagement, but it has also made it difficult to connect with journalists and customize content, and has single handedly driven the decline of print media. It was especially interesting to learn how digital has shaped media in different countries, both positively and negatively. A controversial topic of discussion during the event was whether or not paid content would eventually trump quality news; although a terrifying thought, with some in belief it would, the majority of attendees had faith that hard facts and quality journalism will always be preferred.

In nearly every presentation, Amazon was mentioned. If it wasn’t for its quick delivery, it was for its innovative stores and booming success in a number of industries. It was exciting be able to closely grasp and visualize the bar that companies are trying to meet and exceed in their own industry. Living only blocks away from an AmazonFresh Pick Up, I was able to share my firsthand experience with the brand and truly understand how about how it is massively impacting local and global industries and their planning.

Along the way I also picked up a few best practices for business travel, particularity international travel. For one, make sure you know the time difference of your destination. Although seemingly obvious, understanding and communicating this with your colleagues and clients will help you plan for the time you are out. If there is a particularly drastic time difference (i.e., Hong Kong was 16 hours ahead of Seattle), it can also be beneficial to arrive a few days earlier than the conference start date to adapt to the time change. I recognize that this is not always feasible due to finances and schedules, but it is definitely worth considering.

Another business travel best practice is to embrace the networking opportunity and meet new people. For me this tip is easier said than done. I can get shy and channel my inner introvert at business events, however, during the trip and conference I focused on breaking this habit and getting to know the people around me. After fully rejecting the nerves, I embraced the occasion and introduced myself to the people in the network and at the conference.

While waiting in the coffee line at the event, I met with a woman who had no connection to the PR network, but who was making an industry change (from fashion to tech) and was eager to network and learn more about some of the marketing best practices. Another woman I met works at a wine distribution company. Given the limited budget for PR expenses, she wanted to chat with professionals about strategies implementing PR practices on a smaller scale. By breaking out of my shell, talking and listening to these individuals and many others, I was exposed to perspectives and learned about companies I would likely have never experienced if not for attending the event and speaking up.

One last tip I will share not only applies to business, but international travel in general. A great way to experience and embrace yourself in another culture, is to try out the public transportation and local cuisine. We did just this and mastered Hong Kong’s MTR underground train and made an effort to eat a few dishes that scared us. Mastering the train became a running joke, but provided us with the opportunity to see the city’s population outside of the business district and in the rush of their everyday routines. We also ate pidan, known as the thousand-year-old egg, which is a preserved duck egg. Here is a link to the Wikipedia page for full understanding (and condolences).

Duck egg and all, I am so grateful for this experience and look forward to business trips in the future.



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Filed under: Business to Business, COMMUNIQUÉ PR, Media, Planning, PR trends, Technology

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