One Island. One Aim.
One Direction.

Established in 2008, the Phuket PR Network is a non-profit group made up of marketing, communications and creative professionals on the destination island of Phuket, Thailand.

The group is open to everyone involved in business communications with the principle aim of sharing best practices and ideas as well as the building capacity to market Phuket as a destination, with a unified voice internationally.

Members of the Phuket PR Network also find our networking events beneficial to make connections on the island. Professionals from the tourism sector whether it be real estate, government, hotels, entertainment, restaurants, local media outlets and creative agencies all are welcome to join our seminars and networking events. No matter what position you hold you are neither too junior nor too senior to benefit from learning more about marketing Phuket.

The Phuket PR Network is a purely voluntary group and all events are held with the ongoing generosity of Phuket hotels, bars and restaurants that kindly donate meeting space for our events and offer heavily discounted or complimentary refreshments.

BRAND PHUKET

What is Brand Phuket?

We often hear the phrase 'Brand Phuket' and branding experts warn us that we need to define what it is; else we may lose our way. What is Brand Phuket and why is it important to identify it? What do we do with it when we have worked out what it really is?

In order to really identify what the brand is we must discover what Phuket is. Is it its beautiful beaches? Is it its temples and cultural history? Is it its luxurious villas and resorts? Is it Patong and its colourful splattering of nightly entertainment? Maybe burgeoning budget is what defines Phuket? Does the image of Phuket abroad conjure up scenes of crystal clear water and opulent yachts, we would like to think so, but would it not be better if we had more control of the image that of Phuket that the world sees?

An island with a plethora of sports events and activity could position itself as a sporting destination surely? Medical tourism and ‘wellness’ is on the increase in Thailand, does this help to define the brand? Marinas are ever popular and scuba diving remains a favourite pastime in the region, are we harnessing our marine messages effectively? Real estate remains a constant sector, are we sending the right message abroad that Phuket is the best place to invest and live in South East Asia?

Are we embracing the ‘Thainess’ of Phuket and its history? Do we truly celebrate something that remains consistent with Brand Thailand, the Thai people? Undoubtedly the friendliest people on earth and that heart-warming smile!

Could it be more? We think so.

Objective

The Phuket PR Network aims to take on this task throughout a series of events exploring the multifaceted essence of the Phuket experience. We will distill this information and communicate key messages and unique selling points of Phuket to then create a unified positioning statement that clearly defines what Phuket is. This statement will be used by all participating stakeholders to help identify their own positioning and to communicate ‘Brand Phuket’ to their target audience.

How?

The Phuket PR Network is planning events throughout the next 12 months or so to explore the different elements of what makes ‘Brand Phuket’. Expert guest speakers will be invited to speak and present at each event on each of the following topics: Sports Tourism, Culture & Heritage, Real Estate, The Marine Industry, and Patong.

Question and answer sessions will take place and networking drinks will be held afterwards. A select working committee from Phuket PR Network members will be established after each event to work on the findings of each session and distill the key points into a marketing message.

And Then?

After all the events have taken place and the working committee from each theme has created the absolute key messages of each topic, we will then pass on these results to an invited expert panel of branding, marketing, communications and Phuket specialists who will formulate the positioning statement and make recommendations to next steps.

Participating in this open forum, everyone will have an opportunity to make his or her voice heard and work to shape the future of Phuket’s brand positioning.

What’s Next?

After this process we would have successfully done our research in an engaging and interactive manner. We could easily send a questionnaire out and base our findings on analysis of the results, but very utterance of ‘Brand Phuket’ sparks such passion and imagination to many people and the latter process would not be doing our island the justice it deserves.

From the findings of this exercise we will then decide together whether we should go ahead and embark on a destination marketing initiative separately from ‘Brand Thailand.’ Should we have our own marketing push, our own tag lines, and our own budget for marketing Phuket? We will be in a much stronger position to identify and assess our needs after the events and research takes place.

Who Should Attend?

The events are open to everyone who has an interest in Phuket and its future positioning as a premier international destination. Marketing professionals, hoteliers, real estate developers and all Phuket stakeholders should get involved.

Why the Private Sector?

The private sector has the resources both creatively and financially to take responsibility for the direction of Phuket’s branding. The TAT will be invited to join in the discussion too. Don’t just sit there! Get involved. Your opinions count.

Next Event

Culture and Heritage

The Phuket PR Network is delighted to hold another event in collaboration with AMCHAM, ‘Culture & Heritage’ in the ‘Identifying and Marketing ‘Brand Phuket’ series. This event is designed to create awareness about Phuket’s diverse history, mainly its Paranakan roots and ‘shop house’ communities.

Dr. Yongtanit Pimonsathean from the Faculty of Architecture and Planning at Thammasat University, Bangkok will be our main guest speaker for this event and he will also discuss Phuket Town’s quest for UNESCO status and how this all intertwines with the values of the Phuket brand.

  • When: Friday 5 October 2012
  • Where: Blue Elephant, Krabi Road 96, Phuket Town, 83000
  • Time: Presentation 6pm prompt followed by drinks and dinner at 8pm
  • Cost: Admission 300 THB, covers networking drinks and canapés, dinner is 1, 000THB net per person

Paranakan

Known as Southeast Asia’s ‘Straits Settlements,’ the shop-house communities in Malaysia, Singapore and southern Thailand share unique architectural and ethnic characteristics as a consequence of European expeditions in the early 16th century.

The area was vastly developed in the late 18th century during the British colonial era, leaving the hybrid Asian-European architecture and culture to become one of the significant heritage places in Southeast Asia. As a counter-balance toward rapid development and urbanization, the preservation program of the remaining shop houses was first drawn and implemented in Singapore in the mid 1980s followed by those in Penang and Melaka in Malaysia and lastly in Phuket in the late 1990s.

Presentation:

Dr. Yongtanit Pimonsathean’s presentation will give us historical background of the shop house communities in the three countries and explain the origin of the so-called ‘Peranakan’ culture and architecture. The different preservation approaches among the three countries, resulting in different outcomes will also be discussed.

About Dr. Yongtanit Pimonsathean:

Dr. Yongtanit Pimonsathean (“Mai”), a member of the Faculty of Architecture and Planning, Thammasat University in Bangkok, earned his Doctor of Engineering in Urban Engineering from The University of Tokyo, Japan in 1993, and also completed a Diploma with Distinction in Urban Management from the Institute for Urban and Housing Studies (IHS) in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

From his base in Thailand, Dr. Pimonsathean has worked extensively on grassroots development planning and preservation projects in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia. He is currently an executive member of UNESCO Asia-Pacific’s Asian Academy for Heritage Management (AAHM), and holds leading positions in national heritage organizations in Thailand. In 2008 he was awarded the outstanding preservation icon of the Association of Siamese Architects (ASA), and in 2009 he was honored with Thailand’s distinguished Princess Sirindhorn Award for outstanding architect.

As a 2009 Thai Fulbright visiting scholar based at Heritage Preservation Program at Georgia State University, he is conducting a research on ‘promoting Private Efforts in Historic Preservation in the U.S.”

Future Events

Powerful. Engaging. Motivational.

The following ‘Identifying and Marketing Brand Phuket’ events are currently in process and the details will be uploaded as soon as we have speakers, dates and venue organized. Topics to be discussed are as followed and events for 2012 will include:

Patong: There’s an elephant in the room and whether you love it or hate it, it is here to stay. With its mix of both luxury and budget brands it almost appears to be a patchwork of everything Phuket has to offer with a splash of Benidorm. Speak to most holiday makers who visit the island and stay there and they love it. Marketers always bemoan that the majority of people abroad always conjure up scenes of Patong before they do the rest of the island, yet this is a truth and should we not be embracing its success rather than brushing it under the rug? At this event we will discuss its success, the fact that the bulk of hotel rooms will soon be allocated in Patong rather than anywhere else on the island. Does it need its own zoning regulations? What is the future and how do we embrace Patong in our overall positioning of Phuket?

Real Estate: We will discuss the future of Phuket as a residential hub for long staying investors and homeowners. Is this market sustainable in the current financial crisis? What are the benefits investing in Phuket? How has this market changed recently with the presence of affordable homes offered by budget brands? Who are the leaders in marketing ‘Brand Phuket’ through selling property overseas? We will also take a close look at the recent success of more affordable residential sales.

Culture & Heritage: This event is designed to explore the island’s cultural events and how they’re currently marketed and identifying which ones are more attractive to an overseas audience. Should Phuket Town become a UNESCO heritage site? Would this help us harness Phuket Town as the place to not just visit but to stay? How much work must be done to publicise Phuket Town and what it offers? Do we have the infrastructure in place to really facilitate the visitors if we do acquire UNESCO status? Events take place in town, yet they do not draw a large number of tourists. We will explore how we leverage the Phuket cultural festivities and attract international visitors, and most importantly how we harness the most quintessential aspect of coming to Thailand – its people.

Marine Industry: How will the future expansion of regional marinas affect Phuket’s yachting and marine industry? We often see the most expensive yachts cruising around Phuket waters, what does this mean for local businesses? Is there an increase in yachting tourism and investment? Is the industry opening up for more budget conscientious tourists? What is the current perception of the Andaman dive industry? Where is it now and where will it be in the next five years?

Past Events

The Phuket PR Network established in 2008 and has hosted some inspirational speakers and networking events. Here are a few highlights from our past events.

Identifying and Exploring Brand Phuket - Sports Tourism

Our inaugural Brand Phuket event was held at Thanyapura on May 24 2012 and was held in conjunction with AMCHAM Greater Phuket. Over 80 people attended the event to hear our sports tourism expert panel speak about the developing participatory sporting events held in Phuket.

The invited panel of sports marketing experts presented and discussed the importance of sporting events in Phuket to the growing perception of Phuket internationally and locally.

The seminar explored how Phuket leverages the publicity from its events and whether an international audience is beginning to recognise Phuket as a sporting destination. The expert panel also gave their insight on what should be done to heighten this awareness.

Laguna Phuket logo

Debbie Dionysius discussed how Laguna Phuket has harnessed its sporting events, (Marathon, Triathlon and Ironman 70.3) to enhance destination marketing overall for its hotels and also Phuket. Open presentation.

The Sponsorship Experts Logo

Paul Poole talked about commercial sponsorship and partnership marketing and the future of sports tourism in Phuket. Why is it important? How does it work? Open presentation.

King's Cup Regatta logo

Duncan Worthington discussed the King's Cup Regatta and how this event builds prestige for the island and the future of yachting events in Phuket. Open presentation.

Thanyapura Phuket logo

Nick Seaver explored how diverse Thanyapura is, the challenges and successes of branding an elite sports centre and what Thanyapura’s growth means for Phuket on the international sports tourism circuit. Open presentation.

Barbara Gibson

Barbara Gibson

Phuket’s Marketing Communications professionals conveyed their unified support for the inaugural Phuket PR Network meeting held at the Laguna Beach Resort, part of Laguna Phuket on Thursday 6 November 2008. Guest speaker, Barbara Gibson who imparted over 20 years of her superlative experience to the attendees, captivated almost 70 marketing communications professionals from Phuket.

The seminar focused on how communications professionals can implement a communications plan that is aligned with business objectives transforming communication from ‘Tactical to Strategic’. The seminar also highlighted the need for cultural awareness when communicating globally to ensure optimum results when engaging in an international communications campaign.

Barbara Gibson was the 2008-09 international Chair of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).  She is also founder and president of London-based independent consultancy SpokesComm, providing both strategic communication planning and media spokesperson development.  An American transplant to the UK with more than 20 years experience in corporate communication and public relations, she has worked with leading companies worldwide.  For more information on Barbara Gibson please visit her blog, ‘Connecting the I’s’, at barbgibson.posterous.com/.

In support of the Phuket PR Network, Laguna Beach Resort generously gave their meeting facilities to the group and there was no charge to attend.  

Adrian Cropley

Adrian Cropley

Guest speaker Adrian Cropley delivered a presentation at the group’s  at the Chedi (now The Surin, Phuket), from 4pm on Tuesday 17 March 2009.

Adrian Cropley, the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) regional representative for Australia and New Zealand, spoke on the subject of ‘Change Communications and Solutions’ relating to Phuket.

This presentation was aimed at marketing, PR and communications professionals on the island who wanted to gain insight into how best to implement a strategic communication plan that was subject to change in the present economic and political climate.

In support of the Phuket PR Network, the Chedi (The Surin, Phuket) generously gave their meeting facilities to the group with no charge to attend. There was a ‘networking’ sunset drinks and sumptuous dinner after the seminar. For more information on Adrian Cropley and ‘Change Communications Solutions’ please visit www.cropleycomms.com.

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Gratitude

Appreciation goes to the many venues that have kindly hosted us including Indochine, Laguna Beach Resort, Silk Restaurant at Andara, The Surin Phuket, Laguna Holiday Club and Thanyapura.

Other extended thanks goes to Marieke Derks from Spark Design who donated her time to give us a logo in the beginning, Ashleigh Brayshaw, Alastair Carthew, and Natasha Eldred.

Appreciation also goes to the new kids on the block; Quetta Locchi and Jennifer Diaz who may not know it now, but will, in time deserve this shout out.

Of course, we thank our esteemed speakers and Phuket people who give up their valuable time to speak to us and pass on their expertise.