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5 Minutes With Lars Voedisch

16th Sep 2014


Lars is an experienced communications and business professional with over 15 years expertise in growing, managing and defending leading global brands’ reputation across industry sectors in traditional media and digital environments.

With his strong background in business development, integrated communications and team leadership, he drives impactful communications strategies that contribute to brands' strategic objectives. We caught up with him to question him on how the digital landscape looks within PR and beyond!

What are your digital priorities for the year ahead?

My main priority is how can we best bring the intended messages across to the target audience, as depending on the audience, the channels are different. What is the most effective way? There needs to be solid assessment behind the execution of the project. It also depends on the target market, are they regional? Local? They’ll have different messages and ways to reach their target groups.

Which brands or businesses are using digital to its full potential and how?

Oreo – a company that’s smart in adapting to different audiences and environments and they proved this with their power outage tweet at the superbowl, mooncake festival etc. Coca-Cola too on and off always has great ideas. On a regional scale, Scoot do social media and digital well. Social media allows for a very human approach and they have witty, direct marketing, very responsive. Still making it fun, connecting, not going to the extent where it’s just a random holiday picture. Digital is the entry gate, if you want to have a conversation you need more content to lead to conversion, the end goal.

What emerging trends in PR should people be aware of?

PR is also changing. Traditionally PR was very corporate, with an ‘own language’ that you had to communicate. But nobody talks like that in real life. Now there are different ways of getting the story across, the formula is changing. In PR a lot of people are still very old school. The challenge lies in how do you train people for that? It’s no longer “that’s the formula for the PR release, please follow”, now you need more of a creative element; fully understanding who you want to reach and then choose the language, examples etc accordingly.

What is the importance of video in the digital landscape from your perspective?

Video is a great resource and it has some of the biggest engagement rates. But if you’re not a big brand it’s still a challenge to produce that content from a cost perspective. Recently though there are more resources to creating that content, you can now crowd source video production for instance. On the client side, a lot of people need to get the awareness out that content costs money – social media costs money, and social media works on content.

How are people’s roles and positions in companies changing with the emergence of digital and technology?

We are technically Business Consultants. How can we help our clients with the right strategy etc? For us, we need the right attitude and approach, then the writing training comes later. It certainly can’t be someone who is allergic to excel sheets! We can adapt people from other industries, if you want to do digital you need to do and understand creative, buying and storytelling.

What does the future look like for digital advertising and digital PR?

The lines are blurring. Going back to basics, figure out who your target audience is and how to reach them. In the past people have been blinded by the wrong numbers, like e.g. PR value or AVEs. Advertising and PR have to readjust, and being honest to yourself. WHY do you have to be in Straits Times for instance if your actual target audience reads something completely different? We see that for younger people, you have a much bigger impact with sharable content that doesn’t sit behind a firewall, e.g. for Singapore that could be “Today” or Channel NewsAsia that gets social media shares.

What’s the best piece of innovation you have seen in recent time and why?

The Outbrain approach. Sponsored, yet relevant and quality content and editorial content that’s not pure advertising. It actually works. You could have the greatest content but no audience – so then how do you bring the audience to your content? People find smart solutions. How are people’s roles changing? If you really want to be successful in digital… owned media, paid media and earned media, you need to know these. Finding smart ways of bridging these 3 areas - that’s the innovative part.

What is your favourite local food?

Chicken rice, there’s a place I can get it for $2.50 near my home! Or hor fun from the hawker.

Where is your favourite place to travel?

Hong Kong – I used to live there. Thailand for hospitality, but I also love Australia, very diverse with great people who understand the concept of work-life-balance. And of course I love Germany, my home, as it offers sandy beaches in the North up to snowy mountains in the South.