The Hoffman Agency has launched PR+, a premium media relations consulting service designed to bridge the gap between B2B technology brands and journalists by promoting mutual understanding, alignment of expectations and a better exchange of value between the two sides. It forms part of the agency’s integrated marketing communications (IMC) offering introduced in June 2021 , and draws on expertise in Asia-Pacific media and content across the network.

Counsel will include workshops to audit client assets and identify nuggets relevant to current business affairs; story and story bank development; the creation of straightforward, engaging content that eliminates jargon; and media intelligence including C-suite spokesperson training, guidance on achieving coverage in top-tier media, and on running international media programs. The regional PR+ media hub will lead media relations and editorial support in collaboration with local market media consultants in each market in the network, including Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Indonesia.

The move comes amid continued dynamism in the Asia Pacific technology sector spurred by widespread business transformation efforts. IDC expects spending on information and communications technology in the region to increase more than 7% in 2021 and top US$1 trillion by 2025. Globally, IT spending is set to rise 9% this year to US$4.2 trillion, according to Gartner. As the sector grows, so does competition, and B2B players from startups to large enterprises are reassessing their communications strategies to build clearer distinction.

The Hoffman Agency posits that in the communications industry’s rush to adopt new services beyond PR, there has been a loss of focus on the craft of media relations. There remains a significant misalignment between B2B technology brands and the media, which PR+ will help resolve. Typical client challenges to address include an inability to clearly articulate what they do; jargon-heavy communications regardless of audience; an overload of product announcements and messages; a tendency to talk about product and brand out of context; and unrealistic coverage expectations.

“The ultimate aim of PR+ is to improve the ability of media relations to tackle business challenges such as international expansion, attracting investment and new customers and growing the workforce,” said APAC MD Caroline Hsu (pictured). According to her, addressing the gap between brands and media is key to achieving this, and it means putting content at the centre and ensuring stories are grounded in the real world, with genuine value for journalists and their audiences.

Meanwhile, Alessandra Tinio, the agency's director of brand communications, said The Hoffman Agency's specialisation in technology and experience in distilling worthwhile stories from complex, outwardly dry subject matter sets a solid foundation for PR+.

"As an agency, it is our duty to act as a true partner to clients, not simply as additional arms and legs. That means looking at the story from the media’s perspective and building a realistic understanding of the process of securing meaningful coverage," she explained.

The agency explained that PR+ recognises that every client is unique and has specific priorities and goals. At the same time, the team’s breadth and depth of experience means it understands journalists’ needs, perceptions and frustrations. PR+ aims to bring realism back into the picture by providing counsel that is honest, challenging, and clearly outlines what is possible and what is not.

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