Link Asset Management - Community Relations Campaign

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2016, Click to Enter The 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer service

Company: Link Asset Management Limited, Hong Kong
Company Description: Link Real Estate Investment Trust is the first real estate investment trust listed in Hong Kong, and currently Asia’s largest REIT and one of the world’s largest retail focused REITs in terms of market capitalisation. Wholly owned by private and institutional investors, with 100% free float, Link REIT has been listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited since 25 November 2005.
Nomination Category: Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, & Public Relations Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications or PR Campaign of the Year - Community Relations

Nomination Title: Guide Dog Localization Program

Tell the story about this nominated campaign since 1 January 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

In Hong Kong, there are currently over 170,000 visually impaired residents but fewer than 30 guide dogs in service. This has led to limited public awareness of guide dogs and the important services they provide. To address this issue, ‘Link Together Initiatives’, the flagship charity and community engagement programme under Link Reit and managed by Link Asset Management Limited (‘Link’), provided myriad forms of support to Hong Kong Guide Dogs Association (HKGDA) to highlight the importance of guide dogs and encourage social inclusion.With the support of Link, the first-ever locally born litter of guide dog puppies was born in early 2017, representing a significant achievement of Hong Kong’s local guide dog breeding program jointly undertaken by Link and HKGDA. Later in 2017, Link will sponsor two veterinarians to receive training overseas in the transcervical insemination technique, which promises a much higher conception rate.

In addition to financial support, Link has enhanced public awareness of the litter campaign by engaging people through a voting contest to select names for the seven puppies via its Park & Dine mobile app. The voting, which took place from 16 to 22 March 2017, resulted in a final selection of the following names for the seven new guide dog puppies: Popeye, Popcorn, Pasta, Pancake, Pepper, Pudding and Pizza. Link held a press conference on 30 March to announce the names, which drew 38 reporters from 25 media outlets. Over 70 pieces of media coverage across social, electronic and print media have been generated since the campaign kicked off in March 2017.

To further enhance public awareness of guide dog services, Link produced a thematic ad and a TV commercial about the Guide Dog Localization Program. The commercial showcased Link’s support of guide dog services through its efforts to welcome guide dogs to more than 150 of its shopping malls throughout Hong Kong, where they can train in a real-life environment. The commercial was viewed more than 5,000 times on Facebook.

According to the results of a pulse check study done after the TV commercial and the press conference, over 50% of the 1,010 general public respondents (540) were aware of the guide dog TV commercial, with 79% of those respondents gaining awareness of guide dog services from the commercial. The TV commercial not only enhanced public awareness of the Guide Dog Localization Program, but also helped change public perception of Link among 64% of respondents.

In addition to supporting HKGDA for the development of local breeding program, Link has made use of its properties as a community platform to engage the public in HKGDA’s mission of supporting independent living in a barrier-free society for people with visual impairment and other disabilities through the provision of a professionally trained dog. To achieve this, Link offers barrier-free access facilities and, through various public education programs, has helped integrate the visually impaired into the community. Additionally, Link has worked to create a hospitable environment for guide dogs at more than 150 of its shopping centers throughout Hong Kong by educating tenants and by working with HKGDA to provide training to nearly 200 frontline staff, equipping them with the tools and skills to provide timely assistance to guide dogs and their users.

Since Link first began supporting HKGDA in 2014, around 170 pieces of media coverage have been generated about guide dog services in Hong Kong, stemming from press releases, press conferences and interviews by electronic, print and social media. The coverage has included stories that have appeared in Hong Kong’s mainstream media outlets, including TVB, Sing Tao Daily News, Ming Pao Daily, Oriental Daily News and Apple Daily.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief features and results of this nominated PR program since the beginning of 2016 (up to 150 words).

1. The birth of the seven puppies marks an important milestone in the guide dog breeding program.
2. Guide dogs serve as a crucial bridge for communication between their users and other people.
3. Link provides barrier-free access facilities, working with tenants and frontline staff to welcome guide dogs to more than 150 of its shopping centers and, through various public education programs, raising public awareness.
4. Nearly 200 frontline staff at The Link’s shopping centers have been trained to provide timely assistance.
5. The program encourages social inclusion.
6. Around 170 pieces of news coverage have been generated. At the press conference held on 30 March 2017, 38 reporters from 25 media outlets were in attendance.
7. Over 50% of 1,010 general public respondents (540) were aware of the guide dog TV commercial.
8. The TV commercial was posted on Link’s Facebook page garnered over 5,000 views.