Priscillia is Technology Campaign Director at Diffusion PR and holds primary responsibility for shaping the strategic communications direction for a diverse range of clients. With a career spanning over eight years, she has had a hand in multiple sectors, ranging from managing fried chicken and luxury yacht brands to spearheading communication strategies for cutting-edge renewable technology companies. Her career has also taken her around the world, where she has worked in agencies in Singapore, Australia and now the UK.
She has keen interest in startups and businesses driving innovation and positive change, especially in climate tech. Some of her notable clients included Accenture, Slack, ForgeRock, Westcon-Comstor.
Her experience across markets has been invaluable in influencing her leadership style, and has offered her the opportunity to approach communications from a holistic perspective.
Over the years she has also earned multiple awards including PR Week’s ANZ Campaign of the Year, and Best Campaign in Asia Pacific.
Describe yourself/your background in 5 words max?
Chinese-Singaporean based in London.
How did you get into PR/communications?
My original plan was to enter business school in college, but I got rejected so that didn’t work out. I was instead offered a place in the advertising and PR course. At the time I had no idea what PR even was. Later, I landed an internship at an agency no one had ever heard of at the time. It thankfully turned into a full-time role where I would spend the next five years at, helping the agency grow and become recognised in the region.
What do you love about your job?
I like that no two days are alike. The fact that my clients can replace CEOs overnight keeps the job interesting.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud to have had a communications career spanning three continents.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
The more time you spend living life, the better you will become at your job. The times where I haven’t performed my best were when I haven’t been taking care of myself.
Who are your favourite people in PR and why?
My former colleagues Ian, Alyson and Ivan. Like many, our friendship blossomed over late nights at work and shared Slack channels. We’ve all moved on from our roles now but I’m proud of where they’ve gone in their comms careers. We’re still exchanging career advice on Whatsapp to this day.
What skill do you think every PR/comms person has to nail?
Storytelling. A crucial part of what we do involves crafting compelling stories and narratives to convince stakeholders to take action.
What is your favourite social network and why?
TikTok. I’m a child of the internet and enjoy the dopamine hit from doomscrolling. In saying that, I’ve also learnt a lot from TikTok spanning topics such as politics (with a healthy amount of scepticism), productivity and career advice, recipes, life hacks, indigenous history, pop culture news and more.
What’s your favourite podcast and why?
Too many, but my current favourite is an up-and-coming cli-fi (climate fiction) one called ‘Futureverse’. The podcast hosts do a brilliant job of interviewing their cli-fi author guests and delving into the novels they’ve written. These stories could be about anything from aliens saving humanity from our ecologically-ravaged planet, to stories of climate refugees, and everything else in between. These stories are fascinating, where scenarios are often relegated to the far reaches of our minds. Equally, they play an important role in helping us visualise our planet’s possible future, understand different climate realities, and depict possible consequences of inaction through different lenses.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Stephanie McNeal. She’s a former Internet culture reporter on Buzzfeed News in New York. She’s more active on Instagram and her Substack these days, where she dishes out hot takes on influencer and pop culture and how they intersect with real life. Her content provides excellent light reading when I’m looking to unwind.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Probably “don’t be an a**hole”. It’s self-explanatory.
Biggest PR campaign fail and yay of 2023 so far?
Yay – This isn’t quite a campaign in any traditional sense but the Barbenheimer movement. A dose of relentless marketing definitely helped, but what amazed me was how the movement was borne out of internet discourse. It’s also the first time in a while that I’ve seen online buzz translate into tangible action for fans and non-fans communities. The movies may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but seeing everyone clad in pink, walking down Central London, knowing where they’re headed… it makes you feel like you’re genuinely part of a cultural phenomenon. It’s the kind of s*** you want to say you’ve worked on.
Fail – Shein’s influencer brand trip. There are many lessons to be drawn from this episode, but my key takeaway is how discerning consumers have no time for lip service. If your brand is known for questionable practices across the board, it’s going to take a lot more than a cute brand trip to clean up your image. I don’t condone the hate the influencers received off the back of the trip, though.
Finally, on the D’ word… What can the sector do to encourage diversity?
It needs to start at the top. We need leaders at the top who can be the voice for our underrepresented colleagues. We need leaders who can infuse diversity into decision-making and policy setting. We need more leaders who look like us (read: not white) to champion individuals who share our diverse backgrounds.
Priscillia was awarded a place on The Xec. Leadership Scheme for UK-based Black, Asian, Mixed Race, and Ethnic Minority PR and comms pros. She is part of the class of 2024.