In PR, you never say die

City talk | Siu Sai-wo 21 Oct 2019

Public relations veteran Lo Bing-chung is devoting his time to charitable work now, after retiring from Link REIT.

At a gathering, we talked about the tense atmosphere in the community, and how it has made life difficult for PR heads at major organizations.

Lo has a different view, saying that with the incessant disputes, it is precisely the time to show what one can do.

Lo has been in the public relations field for many years. Having worked at Coca-Cola, Hong Kong Disneyland and Link REIT, he is no stranger to challenging situations.

Speaking from experience, he said public relations is most important to an enterprise not when the sailing is smooth, but when it is in turbulent waters.

During such times, the spokesperson of a company will inevitably take fire. But he said with a chuckle that when you are in public relations, you should be prepared to face hostile words. Such hardship is part of professional training and is compensated for in the remuneration package.

The approach Lo portrayed is rather dauntless. Is it applicable regardless of what organization one works for?

He said when deciding whether to take up a PR position, a key consideration is the attitude of the boss. Does he or she believe public relations has an important role to play? Is he or she willing to listen to the PR expert's professional opinion?

If the answer is yes, then the job is doable even if the organization is taking flak left, right and center. If not, then it is a different story.

Someone noted that the SAR government is in a popularity trough, with criticism coming from both the establishment and non-establishment camps.

There are strong calls for the reinstatement of the position of information coordinator to improve communication, but there are worries that there might not be any suitable candidate for the job. Is there a way out of this quandary?

Lo says the government is no different from any other organization, clearly meaning that it really depends on whether it has the will to do it.

The discussion ended with the consensus that in public relations, you never say die, and just having this spirit alone is enough for a PR professional to be called successful.

Siu Sai-wo is publisher of Sing Tao Daily

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