Author Topic: Has anyone tried going to/thru Hill+Knowlton Strategies?  (Read 1321 times)

BryanSnowden

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Has anyone tried going to/thru Hill+Knowlton Strategies?
« on: September 17, 2012, 09:55:09 AM »
They are listed as NCsoft's "Agency of Record" in several of the web articles about CoH/Paragon Studios closing - But I started to dig into their website =  news stories, strategies, suggested business models, advice, you name it, it's there!
http://www.hkstrategies.com/NCsoft_West_Selects_Hill_Knowlton_Strategies_as_Agency_of_Record

  "SEATTLE, 28 August 2012 – NCsoft West, a division of Korean online game powerhouse NCsoft, the world’s premier publisher and developer of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs), has appointed Hill+Knowlton Strategies as its North American agency of record. Since the partnership’s inception in July, H+K Strategies has been leading the media relations and supporting brand strategy for the release of Guild Wars 2, the most anticipated game launching this year. Building on sales exceeding seven-million units of the original game, Guild Wars 2 looks to redefine player expectations for what’s possible in an online world – all with no monthly subscription fee. Following the Guild Wars 2 game launch on Tuesday, August 28, the agency will continue to support all of NCsoft West’s titles."

That was August 28th, So - unless they were knowingly lying in this sentence = "the agency will continue to support all of NCsoft West’s titles."  Then, somebody changed the plan at some point between August 28th & August 31st.

I found an incredibly appropriate/ironic? video on their site = "Understanding the Public's Seat at the Table" (2:32 mins)
Here's the link straight from YouTube, (its still on their site too, I just thought it might be better to have a direct link) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jbhsVTyeW8

I don't know if these folks were the ones responsible for the fate of the game... But, surely they have a say in what happens = If we could persuade them that axing paragon Studios was a REALLY BAD IDEA, then H+K might be in a better position to persuade NCsoft Korea and/or Nexon, Or whoever(?) thought ditching Paragon & CoH was a smart move.
They're the one that would look at this from more of a "public relations viewpoint" & more likely to see the real *Nightmare* that thousands (or tens of thousands) of ticked off U.S. Gamers could become!

So, breaking down the overall statement a bit more:
  “We found a team within H+K that understands the magnitude of what Guild Wars 2 is going to bring gamers, and we feel their experience and passion for the gaming space will help us introduce its innovate gameplay to a broadening gaming audience,” said Lincoln Davis, director of corporate communications, NCsoft West. “Our plan is to engage with consumers beyond core gaming audiences, and the agency has the right mixture of gaming, consumer and tech experience needed to help.”

“NCsoft is the world’s premier publisher of MMO games,” said Christiaan Brown, general manager of H+K Strategies Northwest. “The company has received a substantial global following and we look forward to capitalizing on this fan base to broaden its reach and reputation within and beyond the core gaming community. H+K is thrilled to be NCsoft West’s new AOR, and our consumer and tech teams will work tirelessly to gain significant momentum for the company.”

Both those parts I emphasized above - Well, I've looked at all the available NCsoft info I can find (in English): Stock Information, the whole IR archive - (Quarterly) Earnings Releases - "Conference call (English)", "Investor Relations" Reports, & Audit Reports

IMO, one very telling bit in all the reports is right up front Page 2 - "Some of the information and data in the material have been prepared based on assumptions. There can be no assurance that the assumptions used by NCsoft are correct and even if they are, that the effect of such assumptions on NCsoft’s business and results of operations will be as projected.
Therefore, NCsoft will not be responsible for individual investment decisions based solely on this material.
The financial results for 2Q 2012 have been prepared on an un-audited basis, and may be subject to change during independent auditing process. "
 
Aka, *Everything we're about to tell you, might be completely false and based on Total Guess-timates!* - (Keep in mind, this is just after the line of NCsoft Titles w/ the Box-Art Pics, and *City of Heroes* right in the middle of the first/cover page!)

They show the business model and make statements like these:  'Company Overview(Annual Revenue Trend)'
  Lineage, Lineage2, CoH, GW, AION, B&S, GW2 
Legacy products remain solid. With the case of Lineage, sales actually increased.
Blockbuster hits are expected with soon-to-be released games such Blade & Soul and Guild Wars 2.

Now, they've been saying that for a few years now - for about 3 to 5 years its been "oh we've got these blockbusters almost ready to go & our customers will be telling us to - "Shut up and take their $$$" ...  LOL!

Seriously it's pretty sad & that's pretty much what happened with Tabula Rasa as well, Kim Taek-jin
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/biz_view.asp?newsIdx=10753&categoryCode=123
Sorry I couldn't find that story anywhere but that Korean Site - it mat exist but IDK where else it is...

Note: I stopped writing this at one point before I was done - I kinda lost my train of thought. So, if you see any 'spare box-cars' - please point them out & I'll be happy to clarify or finish those "thought-cars" = It's been 2 days & I've read this so many times I can't really 'see it' anymore. :-\

unladenswallow

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Re: Has anyone tried going to/thru Hill+Knowlton Strategies?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2012, 08:48:28 PM »
If we could persuade them that axing paragon Studios was a REALLY BAD IDEA, then H+K might be in a better position to persuade NCsoft Korea and/or Nexon, Or whoever(?) thought ditching Paragon & CoH was a smart move.

I'm not trying to be a pessimist, just a realist, but more than likely their response will be to take direct steps to marginalize or just ignore us if we contact them directly. As they would see us as only a minor disruption to their PR campaign. We would be considered to "small" to be considered an actual threat for them to have to actually have to negotiate with us. While we have made some pretty impressive forays in to online media with our fight to save COH I really don't think that marketing and PR professionals will consider us anything more than just a minor annoyance. Besides they don't answer to us they answer to NC Soft.

However I would be very happy to be proven wrong on this point.
"The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." -Thomas Paine

unladenswallow

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Re: Has anyone tried going to/thru Hill+Knowlton Strategies?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2012, 08:53:11 PM »
They are a PR firm their job is to put out fires. Unless we show them that we are capable of severely disrupting their ability to do the job NC Soft hired them to do they will see us as just another fire that needs to be put out.
"The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." -Thomas Paine

dwturducken

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Re: Has anyone tried going to/thru Hill+Knowlton Strategies?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2012, 08:57:11 PM »
So, are we capable of being the PR equivalent of C4?
I wouldn't use the word "replace," but there's no word for "take over for you and make everything better almost immediately," so we just say "replace."

unladenswallow

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Re: Has anyone tried going to/thru Hill+Knowlton Strategies?
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2012, 09:08:27 PM »
So, are we capable of being the PR equivalent of C4?

Given that we are greatly restricted in what we do, in other words being aggressive or openly hostile, so we don't disrupt any possible negotiations that may lead to NC Soft making a decision to save the game, I'd say (to extend your metaphor) we'd have to be VERY well placed and VERY well timed C4 to be able to be addressed by them in any meaningful way.
"The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." -Thomas Paine

uninventive

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Re: Has anyone tried going to/thru Hill+Knowlton Strategies?
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2012, 04:30:37 AM »
Not to mention these forums aren't exactly private, and anyone worth a damn at NCSoft is probably reading these threads as we speak, let alone a PR Firm reading our displeasure thinking of ways to spin us back into paying customers of their surviving titles.  The Blade and Soul email was probably a tease to see how we'd react.

Unless we show them that we are capable of severely disrupting their ability to do the job NC Soft hired them to do they will see us as just another fire that needs to be put out.

Probably already in the works.

DrakeGrimm

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Re: Has anyone tried going to/thru Hill+Knowlton Strategies?
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2012, 04:35:43 AM »
Then they pretty much should realize by now there is only one thing that will appease us: the continuation of City of Heroes. Nothing else will quell us. >.>
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unladenswallow

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Re: Has anyone tried going to/thru Hill+Knowlton Strategies?
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2012, 06:43:51 AM »
Not to mention these forums aren't exactly private, and anyone worth a damn at NCSoft is probably reading these threads as we speak, let alone a PR Firm reading our displeasure thinking of ways to spin us back into paying customers of their surviving titles.

It's possible but I wonder if they really think we are worth that much attention in the first place. They know we are extremely limited in causing them any great financial harm because we are trying to get something out of them. They knew there would be some bad press from it and that it would cause them some minor PR problems but they still cancelled the game.

I'm sure they also already knew they would most likely permanently loose some of their customer base as well from this move. So it's more likely that they won't put much effort in trying to spin us back into paying customers as it would be far easier to just find new ones.

They really only care about us when we either give them money or prevent them from making money. So far we really aren't actively doing either because we are waiting in hopes the game can be saved some how, so we will most likely be mostly ignored until that dynamic changes.

However the noise we are making and the attention we are drawing to our cause may make them reconsider the profit potential of the game. We all know how much of a long shot this is. Given that they have laid off the vast majority of Paragon Studios and are preparing to shut down what little of it remains means they only real possibility we have is if they sell the game. As "restarting" the studio would most likely be to costly and doing so would mean that the management that made this decision would in effect be admitting that they made a mistake.

I'm not a business man nor do I know much about the gaming industry. So I'm sure I may have missed some other possibilities but that's just my best guess.

All we can do is keep making noise, pay close attention to the media and keep throwing ideas out there.
"The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." -Thomas Paine

padathir

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Re: Has anyone tried going to/thru Hill+Knowlton Strategies?
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2012, 03:45:09 PM »
The Blade and Soul email was probably a tease to see how we'd react.

Blade and Soul email? What was in it? I wasn't sent one.

TimtheEnchanter

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Re: Has anyone tried going to/thru Hill+Knowlton Strategies?
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2012, 04:02:38 PM »
Not to mention these forums aren't exactly private, and anyone worth a damn at NCSoft is probably reading these threads as we speak, let alone a PR Firm reading our displeasure thinking of ways to spin us back into paying customers of their surviving titles.  The Blade and Soul email was probably a tease to see how we'd react.

Probably already in the works.

Yeah, if we were to pull off another big showing that got media attention, would it get coverage this time? These "internet PR" companies are like an online mafia, and there's more and more of them everyday. And somehow, they are able to entice other companies to remove evidence of negative PR about any person or entity, which is pretty darned scary when you think about it. Some companies don't even ask for help on this and do it themselves. Somehow info got leaked that EA hires "trolls" to go onto random forums to spew positive commentary about key titles, and derail negative threads to the point of being locked or deleted.