Double Win At The Malaysia PR Awards 2013, Second Year In A Row!

MPRA2013

I’m very delighted that, for the second consecutive year, my team and I have been honored and recognized with a double win at the Malaysia PR Awards (MPRA), held by the PR Consultants Association (PRCA) of Malaysia. The MPRA is the Malaysia PR industry’s highest recognition for consultancies, campaigns and individuals behind cutting-edge communications programs and campaigns in the PR arena.

Image credit: Chip Magazine

The first award was in the Product Brand Development category, which recognized the work we did for the Microsoft Surface range of devices. The entry of Microsoft’s Surface range of devices into the Malaysian market was one of the most highly anticipated consumer tech events of the year. The launch of Surface was an eagerly awaited event among local fans and the tech community in Malaysia. However, we certainly faced our own unique challenges with the Surface campaign. For example, at the launch of Surface RT in Malaysia in April 2013, the Surface Pro had already debuted in other markets worldwide. With consumers and media anticipating the “bigger and better” Surface Pro to arrive locally before long, we needed to build a campaign that brought forth the strengths of each model without diminishing the unique capabilities of the other; while maintaining the position that Surface are the most productive tablets on the planet. This challenge was replicated for the launch of Surface 2 in March 2014, where Surface Pro 2 – the successor to Surface Pro – was already announced to the world in September 2013.

Image credit: SC Cyberworld

The second award was in the Technology Award category, which honored the work we did in our year-long campaign on Transforming Education in Malaysia. This particular award is especially dear to me because of the great impact we landed for the business as well as for the great stories we landed in telling about how many great teachers and students are leveraging technology for the betterment of the country. In fact, I was recognized with a global award at the Microsoft Worldwide Summit earlier this year for this campaign!

I’m certainly very proud of the team! My heartfelt appreciation goes to our team at Priority Communications – without whom I definitely could not have won these awards!  We’ve continued the great momentum from enjoying a double-win last year and I’m looking forward to the great work that we will do in the future as well.

I also want to thank my friends in the media: *SO MANY* of you have been very kind and supportive, always being open to our story pitches and engaging with me regularly. I’m blessed to count many of you as friends today!

Onwards and upwards!

Winning Gold At The Microsoft Worldwide Communications Summit 2014!

Thrilling news – I recently got back from Seattle, Washington from the company’s Worldwide Communications Summit 2014 with a Gold Newshound Award – my second one in a row! I am truly touched and flattered by this recognition, which builds on the momentum of having won a Gold Newshound Award the previous year as well as being a multiple-award winner at last year’s Malaysia PR Awards.

Me&MyNewsHoundJust me and my hound dog!

Every year, the global community of Communications professionals at Microsoft gather from around the world for our annual Worldwide Communications Summit. This year’s summit was held in Seattle, Washington. This year, we were also joined by the highly-talented team of consumer/devices Communications experts from Nokia (now known as Microsoft Devices), which provided a great opportunity for us to welcome them to the Microsoft family.

At the Summit, we also take the opportunity to showcase and celebrate best-practices, via our annual Microsoft Newshound Awards (held at the very lovely Chiluly Garden and Glass in Seattle), which recognize excellence in Communications from our global community of passionate and committed PR & Communications professionals. Each Newshound Award category recognizes three winners: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

LeighNewsHoundWin2014_editedWith Microsoft’s top Communications Leadership (L-R): Frank Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications, Microsoft Corp.; Yunsun Wee, Director, Worldwide Field Communications, Microsoft Corp.; and Doug Dawson, Vice President of Media Relations for Nokia (now Microsoft Devices).  

My award recognized a year-long effort throughout the fiscal year where we competed aggressively in the education sector. I partnered with my leadership team, along with our education, legal and area headquarters communication teams, in a year-long campaign that communicated our local value-proposition in Education. The campaign showcased Microsoft’s long history of contribution to education in Malaysia, as well as independent research, 3rd-party op-ed pieces, executive media engagements.

Here’s what was said about the work that I did:

This is a best practice of good programmatic execution with business impact. The team did an excellent job with this year-long integrated PR campaign that includes activities that supports and aligns to the National Plan.  Congratulations on delivering a strategic, matrixed campaign that began with the end in mind – showcasing Microsoft as a trusted advisor and partner to Government, and a thought leader for educators and students.

Me And The APAC TeamWith friends and colleagues from across Asia!

Needless to say I couldn’t have done this alone. I’d like to specifically call out and thank:

  • My team from Priority Communications: Elaine, Ashley, Kenny, Calvin, Atiqah and Sylvia for all their hardwork and partnership throughout the year.
  • My media friends: There are *SO MANY* of you have been very kind and supportive, always being open to our story pitches and engaging with me regularly. I’m blessed to count many of you as friends today.
  • My colleagues in Microsoft Malaysia: Much of what has been achieved is a result of intense partnership and collaboration – building upon each other’s initiatives and achievements towards a larger goal of success in this area!
  • My colleagues in the Microsoft Asia Communications team: Especially Andy, Verdayne, Jesse and Darryn. Your support and partnership throughout the year has also been invaluable, leveraging upon the greater network of expertise and investment for us to drive truly impactful initiatives to competitively position us in the education space.
  • My family: Without their support, I would not be free to do great things at work.

A huge congratulations also to the rest of the Gold, Silver and Bronze Newshound winners from Asia! In fact, the Asia Pacific region won the most Gold Newshound awards of any worldwide area (tied with our Central & Eastern Europe area. This is a tremendously creative, professional, committed team – and I’m proud to be a part of it. Go team Asia!

DSC_0514_editedThe Asia Communications Team, with our four Gold Newshound Winners – two from the area headquarters, another one from Australia… and me.

Winning At The Malaysia PR Awards 2012

I’m very honored to be recognized with two awards at this year’s Malaysia PR Awards, held by the PR Consultants Association (PRCA) of Malaysia.

The first award was given for #OfficeOutside, for the launch of Microsoft’s new version of Office in Malaysia earlier this year. To do this, we figured there was no better way to showcase the flexible-working scenarios enabled by this new version of Office than to shut down the subsidiary and have our employees work from the shopping centre underneath the Petronas Towers, where our office is located. Then simply invite along the media (with their cameras) and tell our simple, but compelling story, which is that with Office you can be productive virtually  anywhere using tools you know, love and rely on every day.

This was hailed as an innovative campaign, which has since been replicated in several regional subsidiaries, and is now being adopted as a worldwide best practice by the Office team at Corporate HQ (also nabbing me several more awards and recognition globally as well as regionally along the way).

 

MPRA2012 For OfficeOutside

The second award was in recognition for the work we did in launching Windows 8 here in Malaysia – which was certainly a really fun launch to pull off! We were recognized for the high-impact and creativity that our team drove – orchestrating a fully-integrated, high-profile communications campaign to bring the ground-breaking capabilities of Windows 8 to a waiting Malaysian public. This included reviewers workshops, product reviews, partnering with OEMs, launch PR programs/activities and post-launch sustaining momentum.

MPR2012 For Windows8

My heartfelt appreciation goes to our PR team – without whom I definitely could not have won these awards!  “No man is an island” and I am certainly no exception! Thank you so much to the awesome team at Priority Communications!!!

MPRA2012 TeamMicrosoft

I also dedicate the awards especially to my manager Danny Ong as well as my tech media friends who treated the newbie from banking & finance very graciously when I first showed up on the scene.

Onwards and upwards!

Winning At The Microsoft Worldwide Communications Summit 2013!

Leigh - Gold Newhound Award WW Comms Summit 2013_edited2

Wining Gold, with Microsoft’s top Communications Leadership (L-R): Frank Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications, Microsoft Corp. and Yunsun Wee, Director, Worldwide Field Communications, Microsoft Corp

I’m presently in London for Microsoft’s Worldwide Communications Summit 2013, the annual global gathering of Communications professionals at Microsoft.

At the Summit, we also take the opportunity to showcase and celebrate best-practices, via our annual Microsoft Newshound Awards which recognize excellence in Communications worldwide. Each Newshound Award category recognizes three winners: Gold, Silver and Bronze. This year’s award was held on The Silver Sturgeon, a 21st century, luxury river yacht cruising down the Thames River in London!

This fiscal year, I’m thrilled to have walked away with one Gold Newshound and three Bronze Newshounds for my work!

I won the Gold Newshound for my work leveraging Microsoft’s cyberbullying survey findings, which showed how 1-in-3 Malaysian children say they have been subjected to a range of online activities that some may consider to be online bullying. The findings and the story we landed touched a raw nerve in Malaysian society because of the rising trend of online abuse. I managed to land highly positive and extensive coverage – with additional third-party endorsements coming from additional NGOs and Cybersecurity Malaysia. The highlight was a cover story in the lifestyle features section of The Star – Malaysia’s most widely read English newspaper.

CyberPunks

 

#OfficeOutside – Romancing The Product Truth Of The New Microsoft Office Suite

To mark the launch of the new Microsoft Office suite and demonstrate its key product truths of flexibility, productivity and seamless usability, I got every Microsoft Malaysia team member – from the most senior leader to the latest hire – to spend 2013 seconds (the year of the product launch, which was about 33 minutes) to work on our laptops, tablets, phones, and various devices in the transit station of the KLCC Twin Towers, during the busiest time of the day: lunch hour.

This stunt was designed as an outdoor “flash mob”-styled  launch: we dressed in noticeable the bright orange t-shirts and created a buzz as we demonstrated to both media and consumers alike that doing work no longer needs to be confined to the physical office. We romanced the core product truth: the new Office gave people the unfettered freedom to do things where and when they want, across a wide range of devices, whether laptops, tablets, or smartphones. We showed how this wasn’t just another version of Microsoft Office; we were introducing a brand new product that was reinvented as a cloud service.

The activation captured the imagination of both the media and general public, who were able to see the New Office in action. We landed highly positive and extensive coverage from top-tier print, broadcast, and online media on the New Office, as well as for the engaging, people-centric approach to the launch. It was also a great internal communications piece and rallying point for the team – everyone was in a festive mood as we descended to the train station after having a catered lunch together in the office.

After the launch, we extended the campaign through social media, where we had a small team work at various locations around Kuala Lumpur every Friday. We then posted our location on Facebook and Twitter and invited people to find us. Those who did were given a free one-year subscription to the new Office suite.

Ultimately, this creative and cost-friendly (we only needed to pay for the a staff lunch and t-shirts) approach provided a refreshing demo for both the media and the public, clearly demonstrating the New Office’s main features in a real-life setting; choice, flexibility, connectivity and a smarter way to do work anytime, anywhere, and on any internet-enabled device.

I couldn’t have been prouder to have led this initiative and to have enjoyed the enthusiastic support of all our team members!

Edit: It was nice to receive an industry award for this initiative. This was also hailed as an innovative campaign that was replicated in several other Microsoft subsidiaries throughout the region subsidiaries, and adopted as a worldwide best practice by the Office team at Corporate HQ (also nabbing me several more awards and recognition globally as well as regionally along the way).