VUONG QUANG KHAI EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
In 2020, Zalo – the leading chat app, Vietnam’s first and largest unicorn – released an AI Virtual Assistant named Kiki designed specifically for Vietnamese users. They have a very strong reputation and PR team in Vietnam, but they wish to be featured in regional media. Thus Vero handled the pitching only outside Vietnam, as Zalo have their own press team in VN.
Unfortunately, Zalo’s event to announce Kiki in Vietnam happened on Dec 20th, which was poor timing for regional media who were focused on the Christmas holiday, so the press release we sent out received little traction. To get another chance, we proposed an Interview with Mr. Vuong Quang Khai, Senior Executive Vice President at VNG and General Director of Zalo Group. However, he rarely accepts interviews with media, believing it to be a poor use of his time, so it was our job to convince him.
Vero liaised heavily with Zalo’s PR and Communications team, providing detailed information about the format and topics of discussion. Vero created a briefing book conducting “Dos and don’ts” training with Mr. Khai, and gave him comprehensive understanding and background on the journalist and media outlet.
We were very selective with our choice of journalist and media outlet, focusing on technology to ensure the right target and choosing a journalist with the right profile: curious and open to conversation. We chose Nikkei Asia for their good reputation, massive awareness, and high traffic before proposing them to Mr. Khai.
When we found our ideal journalist, we contacted her directly and offered the chance to propose her own story angle and introduce Zalo to the international press. To find a middle ground between the client and the journalist, we discussed plans with her in advance to be sure we were on the same page, set up the initial expectations, provided information, suggested some lines of inquiry, and proposed an angle for the article, the client took part in the building of the narrative and ultimately approved the final pitch.
Rather than hold a 1:1 meeting in a formal room, we organized the interview as a kind of road trip – Mr. Khai would drive himself and pick up the journalist along the way, getting to know her and demonstrating Kiki’s features during the transport prior to the interview.
We went to the campus, took a walk, and sat in the park where Zalo employees often go on their breaks. The interview was more of a casual conversation, and afterwards we arranged to have the journalist take a guided tour across the Zalo office to give her a sense of the area and how employees work and feel about the environment. And of course we sent a thank you note and stayed in contact with media to provide further information following the interview.
The resulting article in Nikkei Asia brought about repeated regional coverage for Vietnam’s first virtual assistant Kiki; a great case study of our capacity to power local brands outside of Vietnam. The piece had a great impact, with more than 20 articles on Tier 1 regional and local media such as Vietnamnet, Deal street Asia, and ICT NEWS.