Tired of being blamed for economic volatility and labor problems in the U.S., China's government has realized it needs to shift comms strategy for reaching out to the West, experts say.
Chris Daniels * PR Week * April 28, 2016
Yet for China to better communicate its point of view on divisive issues, it must understand that the influencers in the West have changed, says Marc Ross, cofounder and partner at Caracal Strategies.
"In some ways, China is still fighting the last war, which is a heavy reliance on print and TV media as the way to get the message out because of their own past experiences. They’re still not fully vested in all these different communication tools," he explains.
"And for a long time, China has relied on big D.C. power players such as the Henry Kissingers and Henry Paulsons, to be shepherds between the U.S. and Chinese governments, but those relationships are moving on and new voices are coming in."
However, he adds that the agency search itself shows China realizes it needs to change strategies and use different platforms to target new audiences.
"Frankly, the Chinese have to do a better job in being more grassroots in their approach and talking to the mainstream," Ross advises. "But that they are having this conversation with agencies is recognition of the fact that China knows it needs to tell a different story. At the end of the day, China wants to be recognized as one of the most important countries in the world, and certainly PR and communications has a role to play in that."