Gong Xi Fa Cai!
The Chinese new year makes a huge impact on everybody. And from a business point of view, it's a very good time for public relations because there's a lot of cultural tradition tied up in this.
In this episode, I share how the Chinese New Year, and other calendar events and occasions, can be an opportunity for your business' PR, start a conversation, or build a relationship with your employees, partners, media partners, or clients.
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Hello and welcome to this episode of the UnNoticed Entrepreneur, or should I say Xnnin kuil. Happy Chinese New Year. So this is, of course, the year of the Water Tiger. And it's going to be a fabulous year for us all, I'm sure. And I'm writing to you today because I want to share some thoughts about the importance, not just at the Chinese New Year, but of all events that could be possible ways to reach out to your audience; be it your journalists, or to your customers, or to your members of staff, you to your partners. Events and moments in calendars are prime opportunities for public relations. So let's just quickly look at the Chinese New Year. Now it's the year of the Water Tiger this year, and there are 12, animals in the Chinese Zodiac. I'm personally 1967, I am a year of the horse. If you don't know your Zodiac sign, it's easy enough to find them on the internet. But of course, I'll just tell you which ones they are. They're the rat, the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, which is me, the goat, the monkey, the rooster, the dog and the pig. There are 12 of these, and they've been in use since the Han Dynasty. So for those of you that are interested in the history of the Han Dynasty was 202 BC to 220 AD. The establishment of the Zodiac signs underpins really a lot of Chinese culture. And especially this time of year, it's a big time of people giving appreciation and families coming together and business people giving gifts of mooncake's, and these are very nice round cakes and they can come in packs of six or 12 or 24, and actually people spend a lot of money on these. I lived in China in Beijing from 2006 to 2018. In fact, I went to China on my a 39th birthday as part of a new adventure. And I had moved from Singapore where I'd lived since 1995. But this is not a show about China, as we know. The reason I'm raising this is because Chinese New Year, which falls anywhere between the end of January and the first couple of weeks of February it's a 15-day holiday, will impact anybody that you are dealing with in the far east. If you're working as we are on media relations, for these next three days, almost no one is doing any work. Certainly mainland China, they won't be in possibly for up to two weeks. They won't be answering their emails, but certainly for seven days, they won't be. If the COVID restrictions were not in place, then you would have one of the largest migrations in the history of mankind, where over a billion railway rides are taken over a period of two weeks. Enormous volumes of people travel back to the countryside to see their families or from city to city. So on a cultural basis, the Chinese new year makes a huge impact on everybody. And of course, from a business point of view, it's a very, very good time for public relations because there's a lot of cultural tradition tied up in this. One of the simplest things that you can do if you've got a business that's got anything to do with China or Chinese, or has partners, or customers or staff, we can just say a simple Gong Xi Fa Cai, which means 'We wish you good fortune' or Xnnin kuil. These are easy enough to say and easy enough to find on the internet. And also you can go onto the internet and do a Google search for images for Happy New Year Chinese. And you can download any graphics you like, and drop them into your LinkedIn, to your Twitter, to your Facebook. In the same way that we would say Happy Easter or Happy Christmas or Happy New Year, for the Chinese, this is it, this is the big event that the new year. And because it ushers in for the Chinese a sense of whole new start and opportunities, in our own Western calendar, the Gregorian calendar, we're really very, sort of, a numbers based. We just moved from one to the other, but each year does not have a theme. We have our horoscope Capricorn, Cancer, Aries, and so on. And these are, of course, again, months and supposed to be trace some characteristics. But in China, every 12 years new horoscope comes around. So every 12 years is a horse year, for example. So, I have a cohort of other horse year people, but because they're only every 12 years, they're not that frequent. So there is some sense of almost, sort of, loyalty and an affinity with people that share those years. In China, people are giving gifts to each other. And what they're doing is for younger people, they are giving Hong Bao, which is the red packet, and they are giving money in those. So my daughters who are half Chinese, received electronic packets from their grandmother in Shanghai and their aunt in Shanghai through WeChat. So WeChat, they're able to pay money from their wallet in WeChat and put that into a red packet. And my daughters over here can open their WeChat and that money goes into their WeChat, which they can spend. Unfortunately, they can't spend here. They have to give that money to their mother and she gives them a pound Sterling and their mother will then spend it when she goes back to China. So there's a whole ecosystem around gifting. And gifting, not just in the physical world, but the online world as well. So again, if you've got staff somewhere around the world, you could be sending little digital red packets or little digital gift cards to people who will find that a really special 'thank you' a really special way of saying 'thank you'. So, a lot of people now are using, WeChat around the world that are not mainland Chinese. And there are many mainland Chinese that are living around the world that might be working for you. So finding a way to say 'Thank you' and 'Happy New Year' with the year of the Water Tiger as the prompt is just another way to build a relationship. And of course, if you're doing media relations, then this is an opportunity to start to couch anything that you want to send to the media in terms of the year of the Tiger. So we've just done some work for a client where we are doing an outlook for the year of the Tiger. This is for a Telco company and getting them coverage in an Asian publication. Now, of course in the west, we use, you know, the year 2022 predictions for the future. This holds true as well for the media in Asia or any Asia facing media. So, and actually it gives you two opportunities in the media because you can do your Gregorian calendar, here's a prediction for 2022. And then you can come back again and say, here are our predictions for the year of the Tiger. Obviously, they should probably be fairly similar to another, unless you've changed your mood and your mind within one month. But nonetheless, every event whether it's a Chinese New Year or Easter or Christmas. They're all moments that you can use for your public relations, because they all create what you might consider to be a hook. They create a reason why people are reflecting on the future or on what's happened for a certain section of the population. So in the case of people that were born in the year of the Tiger, those people and those people's stories will become of interest just because they're topical just for the moment. So, what you can do is you can use these events, like the year of the Tiger, as a way to prompt conversations with your own team, with your partners, and also the media. So I'm sharing this because I think that taking opportunities from the calendar, be they large-scale cultural ones, like a new year. Or it could be sporting, it could be romantic, like Valentine's day, or it could be something to do with a sport, for example, like the Australian Open. All of these events create opportunities to tell a story about your business, or a story about someone that you've helped with your business? So with that I say, Happy Chinese New Year, Gong Xi Fa Cai. And I wish you all the best for the year of the Tiger. And I say, Fi chng gn xi, I'm very grateful to you for listening to my podcast. I really hope that my shows are giving you something in the last year and in the year of the Tiger. They help you to get the kind of coverage the recognition that you and your business deserve. Zi jin.