Passing the torch: Hong Kong's next generation of communicators

Passing the torch: Hong Kong's next generation of communicators

Starting a new career can be daunting, even for the most studied amongst us. A Hong Kong social media account, providing a tongue-in-cheek escape from the challenges of 'making it' in PR, has positioned itself as a metaphorical 'water cooler', where Hong Kong's communicators of all levels gather to revel in the highs and lows of a career in PR.

Launched in 2020, the HKPR_Memes account now boasts almost 25,000 followers. The account's owner, who goes by the pseudonym, 'admin b', shared firsthand perspectives on navigating a new industry, embracing innovation and learning from shared experiences.

Telum Media Your page is a must-follow for young PR professionals in Hong Kong! What makes HKPR_Memes so relatable?

admin b Thank you, and it is an honour to be considered a must-follow for young PR professionals in Hong Kong.

As a 'young' PR professional myself, I don't consider myself to be super experienced. I still have a lot to learn in this field, so I can relate to the challenges faced by PR professionals today, especially millennials and Gen Zs.

PR is often perceived as a glamorous job, where we socialise at events and have the power to make or break someone's image. But behind the scenes, there is a tremendous amount of hard work and time invested, which often goes unnoticed. Having worked in agency and client-side roles, I can understand the different perspectives.

The humour and relatability of HKPR_Memes stem from the true and sometimes painful experiences of PRs like 'admin b'. It's a way to find laughter in our shared struggles and experiences.

Telum Media Do you consider any specific trends or issues in the PR industry when creating memes?

admin b One is the blurring line between PR and marketing, particularly in challenging economic times. Not every company has the financial resources to maintain separate PR and marketing teams, leading to the merging of roles. While this may be a practical solution, it's not ideal. PR and marketing require distinct skill sets. It's like asking someone to be both a mixologist and a barista - challenging and not ideal, but understandable, given the circumstances.

In a salary and benefit survey I conducted in March 2023, participants were asked to identify as either PR professionals or marketers. Interestingly, I received direct messages asking why there wasn't a 'PR and Marketer' option, as many of us now find ourselves working in hybrid roles.

Moreover, budgets in the industry seem to be tightening, while clients’ demands remain high. This has been a general trend over the decades, but it has recently become more pronounced. PR professionals are being asked to achieve more with limited resources.

Telum Media How do accounts like HKPR_Memes address industry challenges or spark important discussions amongst young PR professionals?

admin b One challenge this generation faces is how quickly everything changes. We constantly need to learn new things to avoid falling behind. There is a fear of being replaced by AI, which leaves us unsure of to how to position ourselves. But relying too heavily on technology can also hinder critical thinking and creativity.

In 2023, I published a post on this topic, exploring that while AI can save us time so we can focus on what matters, it can hardly replace the human qualities of networking, compassion, common sense, and decision-making - which are the most valuable assets that PR professionals and marketers bring to the table.

Aside from that, there is often a lack of transparency regarding salaries and benefits. People are not always aware of what others in similar positions are earning. To address this, I conducted the 2023 salary survey and shared the report with participants. Thanks to my followers’ support, nearly 1,500 individuals contributed to the result findings.

By addressing these challenges and providing insights, HKPR_Memes sparks important discussions among young PR professionals and serves as a platform for sharing experiences, exchanging knowledge and shedding light on industry-related topics. Through humour and relatability, the account creates a sense of community and support, contributing to the growth and development of the PR industry as a whole.

Telum Media What advice would you give new entrants in the Hong Kong communications scene in 2024?

admin b On a personal level, trying something new, and successfully tackling it, can bring a truly indescribable sense of achievement.

On a work level, identifying what you excel at and dedicating time and effort to honing the craft can be immensely rewarding. There is fulfilment in focussing on developing your strengths and becoming exceptional in your chosen areas.

In the end, it's essential to prioritise your health above everything else. Taking care of yourself physically and mentally should always be a top priority. Without good health, you can’t perform at your best, nor enjoy the fruits of your achievements. Remember to prioritise self-care.

Telum Media What continues to excite you about the communications industry?

admin b What fascinates me most about this industry is its dynamic and ever-changing nature. This is a field where you can never predict what will happen, and you need to react quickly to emerging trends, news, hot topics and even crises (knock on wood). I enjoy the thrill of the unknown and figuring out how to tackle challenges that arise.

PR is ultimately a human business that revolves around storytelling and connecting with people. This aspect of the industry never gets old - there is always something interesting and unique to discover about everyone. It's this human element that adds depth and excitement to the work that we do.

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