08 # 4 9 9 | 0 4 . 0 6 . 2 0 1 7 曾立基先生 Mr. Richard Tsang • 新亞書院新聞與傳播（1988） Journalism and Communication (1988), New Asia College • 縱橫公共關係顧問集團主席 Chairman of Strategic Public Relations Group 請談談你走入公關這一行的經過。 我在中大唸的是廣播，公關科目一科都沒碰過，然而在畢業之初，碰到一 家酒店正在成立公關部。當時的酒店總經理認定「唸新聞的應該懂得做公 關」，便聘請了我。 一年後我加入當時全球最大的公關顧問公司，先後從事企業傳訊和財經公 關工作。五年後轉職至另一家國際公關公司，短短一年內替它建立起在亞 太區的財經公關組。1995年，兩位舊同事相邀創業。當時心想，與其為他 人作嫁衣裳，不如自己做老闆。便在廿九歲之年，創立了縱橫公關集團，以 財經公關起家。 財經公關是怎麼一回事？ 企業要上市，前後涉及大量公關工作。首先，公關公司要為籌備上市的企 業推廣股份，讓基金經理、投資者及媒體熟悉該企業品牌及前景。過去二 十年有一千多間公司在港交所上市，當中三百六十多間由縱橫提供公開招 股前的公關顧問服務。公司上市後，還要定期發布公司資訊、舉辦業績發 布會等，這些則需要「投資者關係」方面的公關。 到香港以外的地區開設分公司，組建當地的公關班底有何訣竅？ 公關是以人為本和本地化的行業，因為本地人對當地文化的了解、人脈及 資源的掌握，以至哪些說話應避忌，哪些事情做不得，都比外來者清楚得 多。所以進駐海外市場前，我會先找當地的公關協會，了解一下當地市場最 需要哪方面的公關。然後找獵頭公司聘請當地大型公關公司的第二把交椅 當總經理。 為甚麽以第二把交椅為挖角目標？ 因為第一把交椅通常是老闆，請不動，而第二把交椅通常是最能幹、最內 行的人。如果受聘的人擅長做科技類公關，那分公司就專注在科技；擅長 做時尚就專注在時尚，無所謂。 所以縱橫在香港以外的業務是百花齊放的：北京分公司主打科技與汽車公 關；上海聚焦旅遊酒店與生活時尚公關；廣州和馬來西亞專注企業傳訊； 新加坡擅長公營機構與娛樂公關；台灣以醫療保健公關為重點，全都以當 地招攬得的專才為依歸。 公關災難近年何以有愈發頻仍之勢？ 社交平台興盛是原因之一。以往印刷媒體的運作以一天為單位，因此當 「災難」出現之初，企業可爭取時間，在報紙出版前把握「黃金二十四小 時」回應並交代事件。但社交平台令資訊流通速度加快，人人成為「自媒 體」，捕捉到大小事情都迅即散播開去。企業回應的時間大大縮短，事情 便容易傳得一發不可收拾。而且在社交平台上，往往只看到事情的表面， 背後原因甚至事情真偽難以判斷，也令公關危機出現得更多。 公關與媒體共相脣齒，你怎樣經營與媒體的關係？ 這有賴我在中大新傳積攢下來的人脈。我有很多同期師兄弟姐妹都在新 聞機構工作，從唸大學認識到現在，少說也有三十年了。當年有份學生報 叫《新沙田》，由一年級生負責派報紙，二三年級生當記者，三四年級生當 編輯，合作無間，感情特別親厚。我自1994年起在新傳學院兼職教書，年 輕的學弟學妹也認識不少。我和許多媒體記者都熟到不行，有些一天見數 次，比見家人還要多。 為何在新傳學院五十周年院慶捐出一百萬元成立「縱橫公關集團獎 學金」？ 我希望更多人能領略這行業的魅力。從事公關的好處是每天都在學習新事 物，所以我讓獎學金得主隨意挑選一間縱橫分公司前往實習。很多人一輩 子可能涉足一兩個行業，但我透過財經公關，幫了數百企業上市，和數百上 市公司主席建立信任和友誼，深入了解各行各業，這不是很有意思嗎？ 口 談 實 錄 / V iva V oce Photo by Cheung Wailok@Hiro Graphics How did you get into the PR profession? I majored in broadcasting at CUHK but had never studied public relations. Soon after graduation, I stumbled upon a hotel which was setting up an in- house PR department. The hotel’s general manager assumed that a journalism graduate like me would know something about PR. So I was hired. A year later, I joined a PR consultancy firm, the world’s largest back then, where I did corporate communications and financial public relations work. Five years on, I switched to another international PR agency, and within a year, helped to establish a financial PR team for the Asia-Pacific market. In 1995, two former colleagues and I decided to set up our own firm. It occurred to me that instead of fighting others’ battles, why not become a boss myself? So at age 29, I established the Strategic Public Relations Group (SPRG), with financial PR as the core business. What exactly is financial PR? Companies seeking to launch IPOs have extensive public relations work to do both before and after the listing. First of all, the public relations firm hired to help such a company must promote its stocks and familiarize fund managers, investors and media with the client’s brand. Over the past 20 years, more than a thousand companies have been listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, of which over 360 engaged SPRG during the pre-IPO period. Once a company has gone public, it still has to issue corporate information and performance announcements on a regular basis. All this requires ‘investor relations’ services, a facet of public relations. What is your secret of forming PR teams abroad? PR is a people-centred and localized profession. Nobody understands a place better than the locals who live there and know which button to push and what not to say or do. Therefore, before venturing into an overseas market, I would first look for the public relations association there to find out the type of PR services most in demand locally. Subsequently, I would engage a headhunter to recruit the second- in-command person from a large PR company in that market. Why pick the second-in-command? That’s because the top job is usually held by the boss, who cannot be poached. In contrast, people holding second-in-command roles are usually the most capable and knowledgeable in the industry. If the hired candidates are more adept in technology PR, then the offices they head will focus on this field. Conversely, if they are more specialized in lifestyle PR, then the entire company will follow suit. That’s why the PR services my Group provides outside of Hong Kong is highly diversified: the Beijing office is engaged in technology and automobile public relations. In Shanghai, the focus is on hotel and lifestyle PR. In Guangzhou and Malaysia, it is corporate communications. In Singapore, its specialty is PR for public organizations and the entertainment industry, while in Taiwan, medical and healthcare PR. It all depends on the talent recruited to do their jobs. PR disasters seem to be on the rise in recent years. Why is that? The rise of social media platforms is one of the reasons. Traditional print media operate by a 24-hour- day cycle. When a crisis first brews, a company could still fight for time and pen a response before the newspapers go to print. With the emergence of social media, the flow of information is accelerated and everybody becomes a news agent himself. Every issue large or small, once reported, has the potential to go viral. This has drastically reduced the time for companies to respond. It has thus become easier for matters to get blown out of proportion. Meanwhile, social media platforms tend to offer a superficial glimpse into issues. The true reasons behind them are often unknown and hard to verify, paving the way for more crises to occur. Public relations and the media exist symbiotically. How did you cultivate media relations? I have the School of Journalism and Communication to thank for all the people contacts I accumulated there. Many of my schoolmates are employed in media organizations and I have known them for at least three decades. Back in those years, there was a student-run newspaper New Shatin . The first- year students were responsible for its distribution, their second or third-year counterparts undertook reporting roles and the third or fourth-year seniors were the editors. We collaborated very closely and that was how the strong camaraderie was formed. Since 1994, I have been doing part-time teaching at the School, through which I knew many younger alumni. I was so familiar with some reporters that I spent more time with them than with my family. In the year of the School’s 50th anniversary, why did you donate HK$1 million to set up the SPRG Scholarship? I want more people to see the appeal of this profession for themselves. The benefit of a PR career is that one is made to learn new things every day. That’s why I also offer the scholarship awardees internship opportunities at any office of my Group of their choice. Many people may set foot in one or two trades in their lifetime. But through financial public relations, I have helped a few hundred companies become publicly listed, and built trust and friendship with their chairmen. This has given me an in-depth understanding of different industries. Isn’t this a meaningful career to be in?