New Role, New Rules: Q&A with Nadia Chan, General Manager of PR Communications

Nadia’s first encounter with public relations was when she interned at CNBC Asia, the region’s top business news television channel. It was during her time there, that she learnt the basics of public relations, and the importance of brand management. She went on to pursue a degree in Business Management with a major in Marketing at the University of Queensland, where she graduated on the Dean’s List.

Prior to joining PR Communications, Nadia worked with a public-listed IT firm growing their commercial portfolio. Her responsibilities included designing efficient infrastructure solutions for her clients. During her stint there, she closed one of the biggest deals for the company, valued at almost S$2 million.

In September 2013, Nadia made the big decision to pursue a career in PR, which is when she joined PR Communications. She spearheaded the New Business division where she was responsible for growing the agency’s portfolio of clients.

In late 2016, at the age of 28, Nadia was promoted to General Manager where she continues to head the agency’s new business division and lead a growing team, as well as a portfolio of clients, with the aim of developing award-winning communication programmes for them.

Most recently, Nadia was also awarded the Outstanding PR Professional Award 2017 at the PRISM Awards by the Institute of Public Relations Singapore, for her achievements thus far.

We are a small and lean team of A+ players who can deliver much better results than a giant team of B and C class players

LadyBoss caught up with Nadia on the challenges being in PR and tips for entrepreneurs!

Q: Tell us more about PR Communications? How long it has been around and the current team.

A: PR Communications is an independent lifestyle boutique PR agency in Singapore that was established in 1990 by co-founders Eric Chan and Fatoma Alladin. In the twenty-seven years of operations, our team of ten has continuously been inspired by the impact of effective communication and seeing how the programmes we put together can influence a positive shift in the perception of a brand.

Q: Tell us about your background and how it led you to be in PR?

A: Funny enough, my first exposure to PR was through my parents! (Both of them are seasoned PR practitioners, and growing up, I could often hear them talk about their exciting assignments!)

My first real experience with public relations however was at 19, when I was interning at CNBC. With its regional headquarters based in Singapore, the job of an intern wasn’t quite what anyone else was expecting. My contributions included drafting regional releases and pitching for interview opportunities for our news anchors and correspondents. We also had to work closely with our affiliates to ensure that we were getting the media coverage that we wanted. It was indeed interesting to see how a broadcast channel themselves valued brand mentions etc.

I went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with a major in Marketing at the University of Queensland and after graduation, embarked on a career in IT.

In 2013, after three years in what I would call a ‘male dominant’ industry, I decided to rekindle my love for PR, which was when I joined PR Communications as a New Business Manager.

Q: Tell us more about the PR industry and how it is evolving?

A: The PR industry is always evolving and we as a practitioner never stop to exploring and creating new concepts and ideas. There is no hard and fast rule to follow, but we know when we have succeeded! Evidently, we do not only have to cover all grounds through traditional media channels, we now also have to consider our clients’ online presence, the power of social media and engagements through bloggers and key opinion leaders. We are indeed, in an exciting era of the industry.

Q: What are the trends you see on the role of PR to businesses?

A: Thankfully in this ever-competitive landscape, more and more businesses value the work that we do. They understand that with PR, it not only helps garner greater brand awareness but they also see a direct positive impact on their businesses. For example, one of our clients, a property-related app sees a surge in downloads whenever there is a brand mention in the media. Our work is results –oriented and measurable.

Q: With social media, influencers, and online services such as press release distribution services, what is the impact of on PR agencies?

A: As an agency, our core strength lies in the strategies that we develop for our clients. The fresh and creative ideas that we bring to the table is what sets us apart. We see PR programmes are more dynamic, integrated, and with the uprising of online and social media, we have witnessed speedy results for reputation growth.

If time is of the essence, it may be better to leave it to the professionals but choose to work with local and independent agencies as their rates are definitely more competitive.

Q: What entrepreneurs can do if they have no budget for a PR agency?

A: I would like to mention that PR service is affordable compared to other avenues like advertising, although they are not the same thing. Entrepreneurs can try to DIY but they may have to go through the process of trial and error, which may not work for everyone. We have experienced clients coming to see us after they were unable to achieve any editorial coverage etc. I think if time is of the essence, it may be better to leave it to the professionals but choose to work with local and independent agencies as their rates are definitely more competitive.

Q: What are your tips before deciding on a PR partner?

A: Credentials of relevant work done, work ethics of the agency and most importantly, chemistry! Meet the team who is looking after your business.

Q: What sets PR Communications apart from its competitors?

A: We are a small and lean team of A+ players who can deliver much better results than a giant team of B and C class players. We definitely take our size in our stride, and believe that our intimate working relationship as a team, not only maximises our work efficiency, it also enables us to put our best foot forward.

Q: As a business leader, how do you motivate and retain your team who are also in their 20s?

A: This is a question I ask myself every single day. It’s never an easy job trying to continuously motivate and retain my team to deliver the good work that they do. As a leader, I believe the success of a team is a two way process and I try to ensure that I have the opportunity to speak with each of them as much as possible, whether it is work related or not. Thankfully, I am only a couple of years older than most of the team, and I hope that with the minimal age difference, I am able to inspire them to achieve great things. At PR Communications, we believe in equal opportunity. Age is definitely not one of the limiting factors on my cards.

Q: What drives you to be successful at what you do?

A: My three year old son, Callum. As I watch him grow, I can almost see my younger self in him. I hope that through my hard work and achievements, I am able to inspire him to achieve to the best of his ability.

My team also spurs me on every single day, watching them put together a programme with so much passion and drive is what makes me proud to be part of this success!

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