Ben is a Senior Consultant in our Singapore office, with more than six years’ experience in senior consultancy roles in Asia. He has led communication programmes for major brands, government organisations and brands across the region, while also leading various stakeholder engagement, crisis communications and corporate social responsibility programmes. Here he shares his PR philosophy, the importance of media relations and his love for the harmonica.
Tell us about yourself (the non-LinkedIn you).
Eight years ago I quit my job as a sports journalist in New Zealand and followed my girlfriend to Singapore. We’re still here, married with kids and somewhere in between I made the transition into PR.
What’s been your most challenging career moment?
It was definitely shifting over here and then moving into a new industry. I was fortunate enough to work for some talented and generous people who taught me a great deal.
What do you see in the future of PR?
There are people far smarter than me who have already answered this question ... but from my own observations in Asia, I believe traditional PR and specifically media relations will still have a key role to play in the future. The shrinking newsrooms and their dwindling resources have opened the window wider for strong PR professionals to have an influence. Though they’ll never like to admit it, I think journalists will become increasingly reliant on us for ideas and content.
What would you change about the industry?
In my humble opinion, some PR professionals can be guilty of over-complicating things. We talk and talk while we should be encouraging clients to talk and then listening to what they have to say. Our job is to then convince others to listen to what they have to say.
What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t listen to anyone who says you’re not able to do something. Only you know that. Back yourself.
If you weren't in PR, what would you be doing?
Looking for another job.
What's one thing people might not know about you?
I can play Neil Young’s Heart of Gold on the Harmonica. Badly.