In our Headliners series of conversations, we get under the skin of PR and communications leaders around the world who have made PRovoke Media headlines recently, uncovering what they see as the greatest challenges and opportunities for the industry, where they find inspiration (and how they switch off), what they’ve learned about themselves, as well as the creative campaigns they love and the work they are most proud of.

In this week's Q&A, we talk to Qu Hong, the ex-BCW China chief who this week announced a joint venture with Zeno

What are the greatest challenges and opportunities for the PR and communications industry over the next 12 months?

The primary challenge is more sophisticated requirements from clients combined with shrinking budgets. But there are also opportunities: elevated strategic communications consulting that effectively integrates PR, branding, policy analysis and crisis management. And anchor campaign-led execution tightly connected with strategy will be more cost effective and impactful for clients with limited budgets

What is the best PR campaign you’ve seen recently and why?

Luckin coffee and Moutai liquor jointly launched a “Moutai Mocha” campaign, which perfectly connected the prestigious brand image of Moutai with the aspirations of Luckin’s younger generation customers, and generated huge social buzz by successfully mixing up contrast, curiosity and fun.

What work from your team are you most proud of over the past year?

Our team and Lenovo took home the Platinum SABRE Award for the best public relations campaign, “From the World’s Factory to the World’s Engine.” 

What have you learned about yourself over the past couple of years?

I have become a very patient person, which I used not to be. Being patient is not the same as being polite. You choose to be patient because you really care about the people you work with or stay with. It means a lot to others and it helps bring people together.

How do you switch off and maintain wellness?

I switch off by drinking tea in my small yard after some gardening work. I also exercise regularly.

What cultural source (eg book/podcast/movie/TV show/music artist) has provided creative inspiration for you lately?

“Lone Hero," a pop song by an Inner Mongolian band, which I listened to a dozen times. It integrates traditional Chinese musical characteristics with international and modern elements so well. The music and the performance makes me feel empowered.

If I weren’t working in PR/comms I would be…

A food and wine blogger.