Mr. Jamie Read, Director, Healthcare at Edelman, spoke with students at ESSEC Asia-Pacific on 9th December, as part of a series of professional talks organised by Career Services at ESSEC Asia-Pacific.
Mr. Read first introduced Edelman, speaking about how they build trust through building intellectual capital, and introduced various initiatives by the company including Edelman’s Trust Barometer, Good Purpose survey and the Health Engagement barometer. The company has a strong emphasis on quality, as evidenced by the presence of a “Chief Quality Officer”. He explained that through Public Relations, companies build trust with all stakeholders.
Mr. Read spoke about how in recent years, people expect brands to always be online, resulting in the emergence of concepts such as “trend-jacking”. He explained that in Public Relations (PR), they help their clients react to social media trends.
He gave an overview of what a career in PR entails, and explained that it takes a specific personality to do PR. Mr. Read emphasised that the customer needs to trust the PR representative to be able to stand in their place, which implies a substantial amount of responsibility on the part of the PR representative. In PR, it is important to have a very good understanding of the industry and always be updated with trends taking place across industries. To Mr. Read, PR means building greater levels of trust with stakeholders and brands, deeper relationships with the community with increased reach and engagement, sustainable commercial success and changed behavior leading to beneficial actions.
Mr. Read explained that PR is about influence, and a career in PR is all about building trust with clients and their most critical stakeholders through engagements, and creating eco-systems where clients are seen as enabling.
He spoke about how they use an integrated storytelling approach through traditional, owned, hybrid and social channels, telling stories to convince and engage people, and encouraging these people to share the stories. Through PR, they try to build dialogue with customers. Media training prepared by consultants teaches proper body language, messaging, answer techniques, and sound bite creation. This helps clients to understand what Edelman is doing for them. These techniques can be used for TV, Print, Radio, and New Media.
Students were curious to find out about how an in-house communications team differs from a PR agency. Mr. Read explained that sometimes, such issues cannot necessarily be managed by in-house teams due to resource constraints, and with the expertise and knowledge of the industry and with other players in the industry, a PR agency can provide clients with a comprehensive and holistic solution. In addition, with established relationships with different stakeholders, PR agencies are able to work better and bring greater value to clients.
Mr. Read also spoke about how he embraces the challenges which he faces in working on healthcare in Asia, as it allows him to learn something new everyday. He encouraged students to be willing to try, and prove themselves or their ability to perform in areas which the company might not have someone specialised in. To Mr. Read, agency life is largely about learning on the job, which is a part of the job that he really loves.
The engaging talk by Mr. Read allowed students to have a better understanding of a career in Public Relations and working in Asia.