Op-Ed: Creative ways for your next communications & stakeholders engagement exercise

Op-Ed: Creative ways for your next communications & stakeholders engagement exercise

By Brian Yeung, Co-founder of Brandstorm Communications

The two-year and counting pandemic has led to fundamental changes in how companies communicate with their audiences and engage their stakeholders. The rise of hybrid events which accelerated digital adoption and a heightened expectation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) are some prime examples.

When it comes to comms and stakeholder engagement, what are the new and creative formats that have arisen from the pandemic?

A purpose-driven human narrative
Covid-19 is not the first calamity that humankind has had to address and won’t be the last. The pandemic has been a wake-up call for companies to step up and take more initiatives in tackling environmental and social challenges.

In our agency capacity, we facilitated media opportunities featuring the beneficiaries of Swire Group's ​​TrustTomorrow initiative, a funding initiative to support vulnerable groups with essential needs. Instead of profiling the company's executive, the PR campaign puts a spotlight on the beneficiaries, highlighting how the initiative helps them get through these challenging times. These human stories create a stronger emotional impact as they resonate with the audiences' shared experiences amidst the pandemic.

Educational fundraising exercise for non-profits
During the pandemic, the social distancing measures made traditional fundraising events such as charity dinners impossible. In lieu of a dinner, Aide et Action held instead an SDG Game targeting business executives. While participants kept their masks on throughout the event, they were able to network with industry peers and had a dialogue around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The game not only raised funds from the registration fee for the non-profit, but also generated leads for its future corporate fundraising campaign. The experience was highly valued by the participants, with many showing interests in incorporating the game into their internal training. 

Bring fine art to life through digital technology
Given the travel restrictions, local audiences increasingly look for creative experiences for their leisure. Previously, Jao Tsung-I Foundation held their inaugural "Lotus Luminus" exhibition, which turned traditional Chinese calligraphy and paintings into a highly immersive and instagrammable experience at Go Museum. In addition to the media coverage generated, visitors shared their moments with the digital artworks on social media, raising awareness for the late Professor Jao Tsung-I and the foundation.

Hybrid events to foster international links
During the pandemic, events have gone hybrid to bridge the gaps between the travel restrictions and social distancing measures. They are proven to be a cost-effective way to foster international links, which can be further cultivated in the post-Covid era. In collaboration with global media brands, our team curated over a dozen hybrid events of all sizes, allowing overseas businesses to engage their international counterparts without travelling. One example is an ASEAN-focused conference at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Through video conferencing and other side events, the organiser created direct links to its counterparts across 10 ASEAN countries. The network built through the conference paved way for the organiser to nurture business and diplomatic relations in the future. Meanwhile, we leveraged the local connections we built in the UAE to facilitate over 10 fundraising meetings for our client Aide et Action, which is headquartered in Paris.

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