The Hoffman Agency has launched a Techplomacy practice that provides tech-specific public affairs consulting for Asia Pacific. Led by chief strategist for Asia Pacific Nicolas Chan (pictured), the service will help companies stay on top of geopolitical developments and build productive relationships with government bodies in the markets they operate in. Chan told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: "We have a handful of clients taking up this offering across the region, but we can't reveal their names due to sensitivity of the issues dealt with."
The practice delivers technology-focused stakeholder engagement, government relations, policy and regulations counsel and crisis management, supported by the agency's IMC and PR+ services for insight generation to execution. This includes political, economic, sociological, technological, legal and environmental (PESTLE) analyses and technology-oriented market intelligence. Business strategy development support through specialized workshops and advisory on integration with existing assets will also be a core part of the offering.
Hoffman launched the practice as a result of the increased complexity of both technology and international relations. It also formalises the public affairs services that have become an incrementally bigger part of The Hoffman Agency's work in recent years. Meanwhile, the formation of the practice marks the first major initiative for Chan to lead since taking on his new role in July. He was previously head of digital, Asia Pacific and before that, deputy GM, Hong Kong at Hoffman. He also worked at Golin and Hill+Knowlton Singapore. Chan reports to chief global officer Caroline Hsu.
Governments recognise the potential of technology to rapidly change the landscape of a country. They are also looking to the sector as a key pillar of economic growth, and as a result, are putting it under renewed scrutiny. The industry has typically shied away from political discussion. But as both Western and Asian tech companies look to grow their international presence, Hoffman said they must reckon with increasingly tech-focused policy development and diverse regulatory environments as well as often tense relationships between countries.
These factors range from more stringent data privacy and cybersecurity measures to trade wars and military conflicts. They affect an enterprise's ability to function and growth potential, and call for communications strategies that strengthen their position based on big-picture political and cultural understanding. In cases like these, Techplomacy is able to help by combining 35 years' worth of specialisation in technology with a team of former government employees, public affairs and corporate communications experts and strategists who work with these market nuances on a daily basis.
According to Chan, understanding shifts in geopolitics and market attitudes has never been more important for the technology industry. "Global tension is high and technology companies are in the eye of the storm when it comes to politics, economic headwinds and changing societal expectations. Helping our clients solve business problems and not just communications problems has become a cornerstone of our business and Techplomacy is a core part of this," he explained. '
Techplomacy is a term coined by Denmark in 2017 as a portmanteau of technological diplomacy. The creation of this diplomatic practice was in recognition of the importance of technology in foreign policy and the need to forge closer connections between governments and technology enterprises
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