WeRI Com­mu­ni­ca­tions ap­points Then as man­ag­ing di­rec­tor

New Straits Times - - Business | News -

There are tremen­dous op­por­tu­ni­ties to be a trusted ad­viser and build cred­i­bil­ity and trust with clients in fur­ther boost­ing WeR1’s Malaysian busi­ness.

JUSTIN THEN WeR1 Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Sdn Bhd man­ag­ing di­rec­tor

KUALA LUMPUR: WeR1 Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Sdn Bhd has ap­pointed com­mu­ni­ca­tions vet­eran Justin Then as its man­ag­ing di­rec­tor (MD) to head the Malaysian op­er­a­tions.

His ap­point­ment at the com­mu­ni­ca­tions-spe­cial­ist bou­tique agency will see him bring­ing in more than two decades of in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence in the area of cri­sis is­sues man­age­ment, tech­nol­ogy as well as train­ing to WeR1’s clien­tele in Malaysia.

“This would help build WeR1 be­yond just hav­ing its core ex­per­tise in in­vestor re­la­tions work,” said Then.

“The ad­van­tage of smaller pub­lic re­la­tion (PR) com­pa­nies, com­pared with the big­ger multi­na­tional-type PR firms is that the smaller firms are ag­ile, they pro­vide high-touch ser­vices and of­fer deeper in­sights.

“Agen­cies don’t just pro­vide PR ser­vices, it is also about hav­ing a lot of con­ver­sa­tions and brain­storm­ing ses­sions on the com­pa­nies’ strate­gies,” Then told NST Busi­ness re­cently.

He said WeR1 was dif­fer­ent from other agen­cies in the way the com­pany deals with clients, and types of ser­vices and re­la­tion­ships the firm has with clients.

“There are tremen­dous op­por­tu­ni­ties to be a trusted ad­viser and build cred­i­bil­ity and trust with clients in fur­ther boost­ing WeR1’s Malaysian busi­ness,” said Then.

He said com­mu­ni­ca­tions prac­ti­tion­ers to­day bring greater value to their clients as they are in a po­si­tion to tell them what we think as we are on the out­side and we can dis­cuss with them their strate­gies.

WeR1 Com­mu­ni­ca­tions founder Lai Kwok Kin said Then was join­ing the agency at a very in­ter­est­ing time, when the small and medium en­ter­prises (SMEs) were grow­ing.

He said the dy­nam­ics of serv­ing the SMEs was dif­fer­ent than ser­vic­ing multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions.

Then, who also has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in the field of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and con­sul­tancy work for the tech­nol­ogy sec­tor, added that agen­cies now need to be more cre­ative in get­ting more cov­er­age as cor­po­rate en­gage­ment with cus­tomers was be­com­ing more im­por­tant, es­pe­cially as many sto­ries are be­ing read and shared on the so­cial me­dia.

“There’s user-gen­er­ated shar­ing-of-thoughts and ideas. So, peo­ple’s com­ments are be­com­ing more im­por­tant.

“Clients now can use var­i­ous tools to mea­sure sen­ti­ments and the qual­ity of the con­ver­sa­tion with their au­di­ence, re­gard­less of whether the sen­ti­ments are pos­i­tive, neg­a­tive or neu­tral.

“When en­coun­ter­ing neg­a­tive com­ments, clients think about how to ad­dress them, and when it comes to neu­tral com­ments or sen­ti­ments, the task is how to make peo­ple the client’s ad­vo­cate,” said Then.

Then, 51, said en­gage­ment has now be­come an im­por­tant met­ric and a lot of busi­ness own­ers see value brought to the ta­ble by the so­cial me­dia.

Echo­ing Then, Lai said at present, deep in­sights go be­yond PR ser­vices when it comes to giv­ing feed­back to clients, and SMEs to­day are more open to crit­i­cisms.

“We help broaden the con­ver­sa­tion and find strate­gic ob­jec­tives the clients can adopt,” said Lai.

On Then’s ap­point­ment at WeR1, Lai said, “We are elated that Then, who has more than two decades of ex­pe­ri­ence in the me­dia, pub­lic re­la­tions, stake­holder man­age­ment, and cri­sis and cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions, has de­cided to join the WeR1 group.

“I am con­fi­dent that he would lead the Kuala Lumpur con­sul­tancy to deliver first-class, pur­pose­ful com­mu­ni­ca­tions strat­egy to our clients in Malaysia and the re­gion,” he con­cluded.

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