Lang Xiao is an entrepreneur and experienced arts PR & consultant, specialising Sino-UK cultural projects management and communication strategies, and she is dedicated to bridging China and the UK through arts and culture. Lang was born in China and came to the UK to study a Masters degree at the London School of Economics and Political Science in media and communications in 2010. Having worked for Chinese government, BMW China and Informa UK, Lang founded ARTouch Consulting, a London-based arts PR & Consultancy in 2013. The company has successfully delivered many cross-cultural communications campaigns, projects and exhibitions in China and the UK, with internationally well-recognised artists, leading art institutions and commercial brands, such as the British Council, E&Y, Zara Hadid Design Gallery, V&A, Crane Kalman Gallery, Burberry, British Museum, The Lowry, The Art Museum of Nanjing University of the Arts, Southbank Centre, Henry Moore Foundation, Royal College of Art, University of the Arts London, Fringe Festival.
Also, Lang is the writer of PwC Global Media and Entertainment Outlook Annual Book (Chinese market), a Fellow of Royal Society of Arts, a Member of the Charted Institute of Public Relations and a Young Patron of Institute of Contemporary Art. Lang is also active across media in China and the UK, her recent broadcast media experiences including commenting on the Chinese art market on Al Jezeera English and being interviewed by BBC News at Ten on bringing L.S. Lowry Exhibition to China.
Lang became a mum to a pair of gorgeous twins in March 2017.
Describe your background in 5 words?
Made in China, Global Export
How did you get into PR?
I studied communications in China and the UK, but ended up as an analyst in a consulting company, which is good for someone keen on data and technology. But it’s NOT for me. I would prefer a more dynamic and bubbly working environment. So, I quit my job and founded my own art PR company.
What do you love about your job?
Unpredictability, people I meet, artistic innovation, jumping boundaries.
What are you most proud of?
My adaptability, freedom of thought, and the trust from my clients and my team.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
Do not promise what you cannot give.
Who are your favourite people in PR?
Calum Sutton President and CEO of Sutton PR. He is simply the best – a definite market leader in the art PR world. Success must happen for a reason: he has passion and knowledge in the sector (MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art), skills and networks in PR (ex-head of communications for the Saatchi Gallery), plus the personality of a risk-taker (has expanded offices from London to Hong Kong and New York)!
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the sector?
The forever dilemma when your clients cut the budget but still expect more magic from you!
What skill do you think every PR has to nail?
Good listening skills!!!! Listen to your client and your audience.
Who is your favourite tweeter and why?
Sorry, not tweetable. As most of my clients are related to China, I use Weibo (similar to Twitter) instead.
What is your favourite social network and why?
Instagram: Images speak louder than words, particular in the art world.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
When you desperately want to introduce yourself to someone (whom you think is a VIP), you better make sure he or she wants to know you too, if not even more! (I think it is originally from Sir David Tang). Having the business card of some VIP does NOT mean anything.
Biggest PR fail and yay of 2017? (i.e. best and worst)
Fail: Chinese high-end kindergarten Red Yellow Blue after the incident related to child abuse.
Yay: Haidilao Hot Pot after the incident related to food safety.
Finally, on the D’ word… What can the sector do to encourage diversity?
There are very few Chinese (not born or bred in the UK) in the arts PR world in the UK, due to the obvious language and culture difference. It would be great to have more opportunity to meet more experts from the UK and learn from each other.
Lang is one of 15 mentors for the BME PR Pros/PRWeek Mentoring Scheme. Applications for mentees are now open – click here to find out more. The closing date for applications is Friday 16 February 2018.