5 PR Lessons from Halloween Movies

5 PR Lessons from Halloween Movies

Aside from munching on bucket-loads of candies or Googling low-budget DIY costumes, watching Halloween movies is a great way to get into the trick-or-treating spirit. Some of these films can do more than give you goosebumps, though. You can actually learn a thing or two about PR strategy while getting your movie fix! Here are 5 bits of PR advice that you can learn from Halloween films.

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8 Things Filipinos Do on All Souls' Day

8 Things Filipinos Do on All Souls' Day

Every November, Filipinos can take a short break from work or studies and stream to the provinces for All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day, collectively known as Undas. This yearly tradition has grown its own set of practices amidst all the whispered prayers and bent candles. Some of these traditions are now engraved in many Filipinos’ childhood memories (most likely including yours). For the sake of nostalgia, here are 8 interesting things Filipinos usually do during Undas.

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Top News in Healthcare Industry

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Over the years, healthcare in the Philippines has undergone a huge improvement, from health services going digital to the growth of medical tourism.  The Philippines’ government and the  private and public hospitals are working to  upgrade and provide comprehensive and competitive services to their patients . Healthcare news has been trending in print and online media and here are the headline making, healthcare news you need to read.


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Health Services will Go Digital

According to a report , there are 60 million smartphone users in the country and a regular Juan’s activities and communications are all done online. That’s why PhilHealth grabbed this opportunity to shift its services to a digital platform called HeyPhil with the help of the Digimed mobile app. Using the HeyPhil app, the user can browse the list of doctors for specific hospitals in their area.  Which means they can secure a letter of authorization and be prioritized.  The users can also secure a pre-confinement document through the app, if dictors prescribe hospitalization to skip the long queues. To download the application, just go to Playstore for android and app store for iOS users.

 

President Duterte to speed up the Universal Health Care Bill Passage

President Duterte urged lawmakers to prioritize the passage of the Universal Health Care Bill. He called out the Senate to speed up the approval of the bill to provide better health and free hospital coverage for Filipinos. According to Harry Roque, the version that came from includes providing Filipinos the right to health in the form of primary care availability.  He added that the measure is a hybrid universal healthcare which will rename and reformat PhilHealth as Philippine Health Security Corp., a government owned corporation that will provide medical insurance. The new law includes provisions of free medicines to the patients.

 
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Philippines: A Medical Tourism Haven

Pacific Islands, Australia, North and South America, Europe and UK, and the Gulf States. In fact, in 2015, the Philippines was number eight in the list of medical tourist destinations according to International Healthcare Research Center and Medical Tourism Association. Some of the reasons for this ranking includes: competitive price in health and wellness that are par with other rising medical tourism nations, world-class facilities & high-tech equipment, state-of-the-art hospitals, and intensive care facilities as cited in Balikbayan Media Center, and the government agencies working hand in hand to promote country’s medical tourism.

 
  Photo    Inquirer.net

Botika ng Bayan revived by DOH

Botika ng Bayan was relaunched last July 16 after being inactive for the past seven years. The first pilot site was established in San Mariano, Isabela.  According to DOH, it was revived to provide free essential medicines for common diseases that is intended to the indigent and marginalized sectors of the population. The program aims that by 2022, it will cover all the 2,600 rural health units, together with other government centers to have FDA-licensed Botika ng Bayan outlet that provides quality outpatient pharmacy services.

 
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Mental Health Law

Last June 21, President Duterte has signed the Mental Health Law that provides affordable and accessible mental health services for Filipinos. Senator Hontiveros, the author and principal sponsor of the said bill  said that no one should suffer in silence because help is finally available . The law will secure the rights and welfare of persons with mental health needs and mental health professionals. This would also provide mental health services to barangays, improve mental healthcare facilities and integrate psychiatric, psychological, and neurologic services in regional, provincial, and tertiary hospitals and promote mental health education in schools and workplaces.

Healthcare is one of the fastest developing industries right now because of factors affecting the government and the demand for wellness among Filipinos. The conversations about health is consistently trending in print and online publications. To keep track of the news affecting your industry and how these can help your company’s communications effort, contact our media monitoring specialists for a free trial.

9 Tips on Using Twitter For PR

9 Tips on Using Twitter For PR

Twitter’s user base currently stands at 300 million people sending a total of 500 million tweets per day. This comes from the platform’s snackable quality and user-friendliness. Interactions between users become more direct because of the limit of 280 characters per Tweet, it, making it easy for other users to tune in and take interest. Because of this, brands are now using Twitter to strengthen their PR.

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Crazy Rich Asians Revived the Dying Romcom Genre With These Four Storytelling Techniques

 Photo:  imdb.c om

Photo: imdb.com

Just like everyone else, I was curious about the Hollywood blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians. So when the movie hit the screens, I went along with the craze and watched with my friends. Many movie-goers would probably dismiss this as another romcom movie. Of course! Who wouldn’t? I did! It marked all the boxes in a romcom checklist--including, of course, the quintessential wedding proposal scene.

On the surface, it would seem like your typical chick flick. But it’s a bonafide blockbuster. You might ask: “What makes it so different?” Look closer, and you’ll find that the movie made use of tried and tested love story formats and innovative story techniques.

So I made some notes on the storytelling techniques I saw in the film. Here’s a rundown:

 
 Original Photo:  CNBC.com

Original Photo: CNBC.com

Larger than Life Stories with Relatable Character Struggles

Crazy Rich Asians shows the lives of the top 1% of Singapore, something most people won’t ever get to see or experience. Movie goers just love getting sneak peeks into the lifestyles of the rich and the famous. Wouldn’t you? But aside from the crazy rich moments, there was no denying that the characters were so relatable. Nick and Rachel’s love story is universal, something every couple can relate to.

Then, there’s Astrid. She’s smart, beautiful, rich, and kind. Astrid seems like she had it all figured out. But her husband cheated on her--a story shared by many, empowered women across the globe. And the movie’s main girl, Rachel, is constantly being judged by her fiance’s family. It’s another narrative that’s very relevant to people trying to win the approval of their loved ones. Their dilemmas are so real and relatable. Audiences always root for characters they can relate to, simply because they’ve gone through the same experiences. They are able to connect with these personas and become emotionally invested.

When people become emotionally invested in the characters, they become more engrossed in the story. Remember Blair (Gossip Girl), Harry Potter, and Daenerys? These characters may live in their respective fantasy worlds, but audiences identify with them because the characters’ struggles reflect their own.

 

Adding a Fresh Take on Classics

Seasoned romantic comedy watchers will watch the movie from the get-go. But as romcom stories sticked to the same format time and time again, moviegoers started to looked for fresher content. The question now becomes: “What else?” So, they added a lot of elements from Asian Dramas. Do the “Rich vs. Poor” or the “Duty to the Family” angles sound familiar to you? You feel you’ve seen it somewhere? Think: Meteor Garden.

The story reflected the writer’s own experiences. The author, Kevin Kwan, had a deep heritage from traditional Asian families made unique because of his life in the U.S. Mixing stories from Asia and storytelling elements from the west resulted in a box-office hit.

 original photo:  spot.ph

original photo: spot.ph

 

Combining Universal Themes with a Niche

What are the two of the most common themes found in art form? Love and family. It’s such a common narrative that romcoms for this past decade have used them over and over again. While it’s a tried and tested formula, stories got sappier and stale over the years. So It’s no surprise that people began losing interest in Hollywood’s formulaic romcoms. The genre once known to produce box-office hits such as When Harry Met Sally and Pretty Woman has slowly been replaced by the flashier and more action-packed superhero films--hello Avengers and Transformers sequel!

But, enter Crazy Rich Asians. The movie had the classic themes and structure of a romcom. Both partners falling in love with each other in the beginning? Check. Misunderstanding between the two for most of the movie? Check. A declaration that love trumps all at the end? A big check!

 Original Photo:  Eater

Original Photo: Eater

The theme of family, however, is quite unique. Especially in a sea of romcoms focused on couples dealing with very American stories. You have an Asian family with Oriental family dynamics. What’s the difference? For starters, parents have so much control over their children’s lives. What was at stake was tradition. Turning your back on family is socially unacceptable in Asian culture. The story becomes riskier, adding tension, keeping the audience glued to the screen. People who weren’t familiar with this dilemma became curious and intrigued.

 

The Devil is in the Details

The mahjong scene is a perfect example of why detailed storytelling is great storytelling. The scene transformed the showdown of the protagonist and antagonist into a brilliant metaphor for Rachel’s position in Nick’s life. Jeff Yang explained in his article how Rachel gave up the winning tile to Nick’s mother, Eleanor. But protagonists often ignore society and get everything in the end, no matter what. At least, they are supposed to, in most Western romcoms. This genre is especially guilty for emphasizing themes of independence and the strong will to fight for what you love. But Crazy Rich Asians broke all conventions when it didn’t follow the mainstream ending. In the movie (major spoiler alert!), Rachel gives up Nick’s proposal so he wouldn’t have to sacrifice everything for her.

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The writers didn't try to explain the mechanics of the game on purpose. Tension filled to the brim as Rachel revealed her deck. She lost the game, even if she had the upper hand. Rachel’s sacrifice and sentiments showed that she was just as much Asian as she was American. She was triumphant in showing Eleanor that she understood Asian family dynamics even if she was raised in the States--a narrative that many Asian Americans can relate to: not being too Asian, but not quite American.

It’s not just a romcom with Asian faces. The story and the characters’ actions were driven by Chinese and Singaporean culture. Asians in the US will laugh at all the cultural nods while non-Asians will see new perspectives in terms of family dynamics.

Because the movie focused on the Asian community, the support from audiences became cult-like. Its strong narrative was echoed by minorities in the US.

So what did Crazy Rich Asians accomplish that no other romcom was able to in the past ten years? Well, the movie sticked to what worked but somehow updated it. Stories don’t have to be the most unique thing ever. Think about giant brands like Coca-Cola and Mcdonalds; they have repeatedly used the themes of youth and family for their marketing over the years. People love them. What keeps people interested, however, is how the stories are told with the problems and unique mindset of today.

So now, I turn the question to you: how would you tell your story?




About the Author

Kimberly Ramos is  is a writer for M2.0 Communications, Inc. She mainly writes about storytelling, culture, and her observations of the world. She also delves in fantasy fiction stories and poetry. Her oatmeal cookies are divine.


8 Simple Steps to a Good and Easy PR Strategy

8 Simple Steps to a Good and Easy PR Strategy

Public relations has a crucial role on how your brand will be perceived by your target audiences. It serves as a guide on how you can communicate on behalf of the business that you represent. With its value in any organization, a PR strategy may appear to be a complicated process. But the good news is, you can resort a good and easy PR strategy through some simple steps.

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We Aren’t Psychic: 5 Things PR Agencies Need to Know from Clients

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On a regular week, three out of five inquiries we get from brands and companies don’t come with a creative brief. It’s almost like the norm, and it shouldn’t be.

While we appreciate that you see the team as a potential partner, we need a brief to guide us and give us an idea on how we can work together to achieve your communication and business objectives. Project briefs tell us what we need to know: the facts, insights, and inspirations. These details would help us craft the right strategies to put campaigns into action.

A lot of companies often ask PR agencies for a pitch without providing enough details. This means we often end up pitching ideas that turn out to be off-strat—wasting time not just for us, but for the client as well.

To cut the guesswork, here are five things that would help your agencies pitch better ideas:

 

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The Big Problem

Consider the following scenario: Your company just recently rebranded following an acquisition. Now, you’re looking for an agency to help promote your products under the new brand name. Before we brainstorm for ideas, there’s one thing missing: the problem. This not-so tiny detail is essential because it gives us the context of your PR needs. Was your old brand a well-loved household name? Is the new brand suffering from stigma because it comes from a country associated with poor-quality products? Whatever the problem is, it will help us come up with a more accurate step-by-step plan for your campaign.

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A Plan with Purpose

The problem is one end of the campaign. The purpose is the other. The end goal provides us with a focus not only on how we should design and manage the story of your campaign, but also on how to determine its success. For example, your objective is to raise awareness on your new product. We can draft a better publicity plan recommendation by involving feature articles and blogger reviews. The team then can pinpoint specific measure of success such as the number of pickups as well as the type of media outlet that publishes the story. For the reviews, we can look at social shares, reactions, and comments as campaign metrics. These recommendations would only be possible with the campaign goal in mind.

Bottom Line

Putting plenty of details on the creative brief is good. Not telling us what all these sum up to is, well, bad. A short and sweet summary of what you want the campaign to communicate—ideally in one or two sentences—makes it easier to draw out insights for your brand’s overall message. For instance, the gist of your campaign is the following: “We want consumers to know that our global partnerships allow us to offer quality yet very affordable products.” This simple summary makes it clear that your international partners allow you to create better products. That means, the team can focus the central narrative on the brand’s global quality . Without this information, the team may suggest messaging that doesn’t fit the end goal. The team will end up giving you off- strategy recommendations.

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Client-Agency Expectations

PR success not only relies on the agency. We also need to know how we distribute roles between us and the client for projects to work. Otherwise, miscommunication and delays might happen once the campaign starts rolling. One example is a company hiring an agency to handle media relations for a small press conference and launch. Close to the day itself, the client, it turns out, is also expecting the agency to set up the event—a task requiring at least a month of pre-event meetings to coordinate not just with venue staff for the table layout and arrangements, but also with suppliers for the décor, AV equipment, and food. Such mishaps can be avoided if tasks and expectations are clarified from the get go.

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Budget, Budget, Budget

It’s understandable that some clients aren’t sure how much they should spend for a PR campaign. As a general rule, companies should allocate only five to 10 percent of their gross revenue on marketing. Of course the number varies depending on how big the company is. To be on the safe side, just stick with the general rule as your starting point. Remember: Your budget will determine what the agency can realistically achieve for your campaign. This is why it must be included in the brief so we don’t end up proposing too many activities and overwhelming you with all the possible costs that come with our suggestions.

Drafting your own creative brief can be tedious if you don’t know where to start. To make things easier, just fill out our creative brief for any inquiries about our PR services.

5 Modern Filipino Ways to Celebrate Buwan ng Wika

5 Modern Filipino Ways to Celebrate Buwan ng Wika

Did you know that originally, President Sergio Osmeña set Buwan ng Wika to be celebrated from March to April? However in 1955, under President Ramon Magsaysay, Proclamation 186 was signed that designated the event to be celebrated from August 13 to 19, to coincide with the birth anniversary of President Manuel Quezon, also known as Ama ng Wikang Pambansa.

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Co-Working Spaces: 10 Shared Workplaces to Visit in the Metro

Co-Working Spaces: 10 Shared Workplaces to Visit in the Metro

For a long time, coffee shops were the place to be for freelancers who at times find their home offices unfavorable to productivity. However, it wasn’t long before these cozy spaces became a little too cramped and distracting because of the high foot traffic and simultaneous chatters that are typical of coffee shops. Fortunately, co-working spaces came into the picture – making available an office where high-speed internet is at reach and coffee is free-flowing!

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Effective Response Strategies When a Crisis Occurs

Effective Response Strategies When a Crisis Occurs

Every business is vulnerable to crisis. At one point, you are at risk of encountering a public relations crisis and the way you address it can either build your reputation or seriously damage your brand.

In this day and age, news goes viral almost instantly and you need to be ready to respond to crisis immediately and efficiently in order to avoid any possible damage that it may create. However, the question is, are you prepared to deal with crisis?

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6 Relationships that Should Matter to Every PR Professional

6 Relationships that Should Matter to Every PR Professional

The fundamental skill that seems inherent to PR professionals is relationship building because PR has always been about relationships.

The truth is, PR can be costly. It involves labor-intensive and time-consuming process - and that’s because there’s a lot of work involved in building relationships to tell the right story. One way to do that is to seek the help of key influencers and thought leaders share your brand's’ story to your audiences.

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5 PR Crisis Management Cases We Can All Learn From

5 PR Crisis Management Cases We Can All Learn From

A public relations crisis can affect businesses at one point or another. It doesn’t matter how big or small they may be. During this time, a press release or an executive’s public apology may not be enough to clear the air. When the reputation of a business is at stake, it is critical to prepare a damage control plan that can be implemented immediately and decisively.

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