case study

Dongbu: How To Build Long-Term PR Relationships In A Digital World

When we first started working with Dongbu HiTek, it was a start-up semiconductor manufacturer based in Korea wanting to enter the North American market. Though its parent company was worth $11 billion, Dongbu was going to enter a competitive market mostly buying from strong competitors in Taiwan and China. It was virtually unknown in the semiconductor industry and had no relationships with key media and analyst influencers in the US.

For 14 years we provided the gamut of technology marketing and PR services for Dongbu – writing, media relations, trade show and event management, marketing collateral development, and much more.  We also did projects for them in Europe and Asia.

Although we now work with clients on online strategies, back then there was no Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. No one was blogging, getting inbound links or using SEO to get found. We built relationships with Dongbu’s key influencers the old-fashioned way – one person at a time.

In an increasingly digital world, don’t underestimate the power of building long-term and personal relationships. The lessons below still apply today.

1. Send a regular stream of news.

One of the key things we do with clients is to develop a news release calendar identifying new products, customers, partnerships, milestones, events and anything that communicates the company is growing or executing on its vision. The news is then sent out on a regular basis to media, analysts and other influencers.

Reporters often won’t write about you the first time they hear about you. They want to know that you are creating something their readers want to know about, that your management is sound, that your company is well-funded enough to deliver your product or service. At least once a month, we reached out to inform influencers of what Dongbu was up to. Doing so kept the company top of mind with reminded media and others why they should be covering Dongbu.

2. Be a source, not just a bullhorn.

It’s not always about your company. By looking out for the bigger picture and trying to help a journalist or blogger, you can position yourself as a true source and expert and have more PR opportunities come your way.

As a way of keeping in touch, we sometimes send competitive or industry news to contacts with some comments, and in effect saying: “Did you see this?” It opens the lines of communication and sometimes if the reporter wants to write a follow up story, they may ask Dongbu’s spokesperson to comment. It’s not pitching our client directly, but having them comment on an overview or industry piece helps establish thought leadership for the company.

3. Make it personal.

From tweets to emails and phone calls, nothing takes it further than meeting your media, blogger or analyst "IRL" (in real life). There is nothing like a face-to-face meeting to solidify a relationship — whether over a casual cup of coffee, a visit to your office (or theirs), a more formal dinner or even at a busy trade show booth.

In a niche industry, we chose to cultivate relationships with just a handful of people, some of whom have gone to visit Dongbu’s facilities all the way in Korea.

Many years later, although many of our contacts had played musical chairs in different publications, they were still easily accessible and engaged with us, and were willing to brainstorm with us possible ideas to write about Dongbu, and topics that Dongbu can contribute articles for. One of our key analysts has worked with Dongbu — free of charge — to help them host panel discussions. It’s a two-way and mutually beneficial relationship.

If you’re serious about being in business for the long-term, a little relationship building will go a long way. Just be consistent about it.

Thought leadership doesn’t happen overnight. Neither do relationships in business or with the media. Taking the time to sow good seeds, nurturing them carefully and with patience, will allow you to reap the return of a bountiful harvest — sometimes sooner, sometimes later.

Dongbu continued to maintain its leadership and eventually became the sixth largest pure-play semiconductor foundry in the world.

In the last 10 years, our partnership with Cross Border Communications has been extremely valuable to us. If you seek a PR agency that will be a significant key player in your company’s growth and marketing efforts, Cross Border is definitely the group to work with.
— Aabid Husain, VP Sales & Marketing, Dongbu HiTek