Redefining PR: EloQ Communications’ Founder Clāra Ly-Le shares insights on bridging business and culture in Vietnam

After sharing my thoughts on personal branding with ValiantCEO, I was invited for an interview with this magazine. The title sounds grand, but the interview gives me an opportunity to share my goal and vision for my company, EloQ Communications, and my vow to never give up…

We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.

CL: My name is Clāra Ly-Le. I’m the founder and managing director of EloQ Communications, a Vietnam-based public relations and marketing agency. It is the first and only Vietnamese PR agency to join the PRCA – a prestigious trade association for the PR industry.

I’m also the vice dean of the Faculty of Public Relations and Communications at Van Lang University. My ambition is to challenge and redefine the conventional norms of the public relations (PR) and communications industry.

With over a decade of experience in the field, I possess a deep understanding of the business and am committed to supporting businesses to close the gap, cut through the noise, attract the audience they seek, and inspire loyalty and devotion.

I believe in the power of making a positive impact and going above and beyond to achieve results. My ultimate goal: is to elevate the PR sector in Vietnam, provide hands-on learning opportunities for aspiring professionals, and foster a sense of pride in the next generation of PR practitioners.

If you were in an elevator with Warren Buffet, how would you describe your company, your services or products? What makes your company different from others? What is your company’s biggest strength?

CL: EloQ Communications is a PR boutique agency specializing in serving multinational companies in Vietnam. We position ourselves as the local partner for these brands, bridging the communication gap between them and Vietnamese consumers.

Our unique approach is focused on serving overseas clients, and leveraging our expertise in local business practices, culture, and target audience approaches.

As local experts, we advise our clients on adapting their key messages and engaging with the local media, while respecting diversity in all forms. Our work culture values equality and inclusivity, and we actively promote advancement opportunities for women in the workplace.

In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.

CL: The biggest CSR campaign: AstraZeneca’s raising awareness about Covid-19 that saves millions of lives. We’re proud to be a part of this.

The campaign focuses not only on communicating the importance of vaccination but also on promoting inclusion for the immunocompromised community who require alternative options for Covid-19 prevention.

As AstraZeneca’s representative in Vietnam, EloQ works with healthcare partners such as medical associations, professionals, and doctors to promote scientific data about vaccination and improve public perception.

Our goal is to educate the public about pandemic precautions, their responsibilities, and basic medical information through talk shows, media content boxes, and thematic documentaries.

What advice do you wish you received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?

CL: Advice for women in leadership: seize the opportunity if it presents itself. Becoming a leader takes courage and involves developing both technical expertise and managerial skills.

Me, as an incidental entrepreneur in PR, I was caught off guard by the opportunity. I spent a lot of time figuring out the ins and outs of business development, HR, and operations.

My experience taught me that selling a “career” is relatively straightforward, but maintaining it is a challenging journey. One key to success is building a strong team, as people are a company’s greatest asset.

Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?

CL: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation by several years, across all industries. This is particularly evident in the field of public relations, which overlaps various sectors such as healthcare, automation, and transportation.

With rapid change and disruption, businesses must be innovative and forward-thinking to stay ahead of the curve.

One emerging technology that is poised to have a significant impact is the Metaverse, a manifestation of web 3.0. It is imperative for businesses to explore ways to leverage the Metaverse and integrate it into their business strategies in order to stay relevant and competitive in this fast-paced digital landscape.

Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?

CL: Three mistakes that I made early on in my entrepreneurial journey are: not delegating effectively, hiring too many staff, and over-promising to clients and stakeholders.

These mistakes arose from a lack of experience and were solved when I learned to understand my employees’ capabilities better and allocate tasks more logically.

At first, I was overly attached to my agency and felt the need to be involved in every aspect of the business, instead of delegating tasks to my subordinates. This led to burnout and hindered the growth of my agency.

However, I learned the importance of delegation and working as a team. By delegating tasks to the right person, EloQ Communications has achieved recognition as the Best PR Agency at the 3rd ASEAN PR Excellence Award by The ASEAN PR Network.

To avoid these mistakes, I advise other entrepreneurs to delegate effectively, hire the right number of staff, and manage client expectations by under-promising and over-delivering. Remember, the key to success is to work as a team and delegate effectively.

In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?

CL: As a leader of the team and an entrepreneur, it is crucial to recognize the importance of internal communications, staff retention, and employee development. These often overlooked aspects can pose a significant challenge, particularly in retaining employees over time.

Effective internal communication is critical to building a strong organizational culture and forging bonds with your team.

For example, the loss of key employees, especially those in closely-knit positions, can significantly impact a business. Entrepreneurs should be proactive in addressing these potential challenges from the outset to ensure the success and sustainability of their ventures.

Effective leadership requires a strong focus on building and maintaining a positive workplace culture and supportive environment for all employees.

On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?

CL: I don’t view it as a superpower, but what I strive to possess is courage. It has been a valuable asset throughout my entrepreneurial journey.

I understand that making mistakes is a part of the learning process and being an entrepreneur, a female leader, and a business owner brings its own set of challenges.

That is why having a daring attitude is the essential power needed to conquer these obstacles. Courage creates consistency. Consistency is to never give up.

Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Clāra Ly-Le for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.

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