Supercharge Your Business With PR

A public relations success story with Harriston

There’s a saying that goes, “A great product without presence is pointless.” This is why many great companies invest heavily on PR and marketing. 

The key to make PR worthwhile is to make it a continuous and consistent effort. Reputation and branding aren’t things that you can build overnight. But the effort poured in will result in many returns. 

3 years ago, we received an inquiry about our services. A local chocolatier needed help with their PR and marketing strategies.

There wasn’t much information about the brand online, despite having been operating since 2005. 

The first Cocoa Boutique in Jalan Kemuning, KL. Image via Harriston.

When they had just started out, Harriston didn’t really have a solid background story, much less marketing campaigns. 

But we saw an opportunity there and then. From a PR perspective, a brand without a track record is challenging to take on. But their clean slate provided us with a fresh start for both branding and positioning. 

We started recrafting their story from scratch. Due diligence interviews were carried out with the founder and top management to understand their business better.

Naturally, we highlighted USPs that could grant them a competitive edge. For one, Harriston not only uses premium quality chocolates, but they also make it a point to infuse local Malaysian flavours into their products. 

Harriston Signature Jalan Cheras. Image via Harriston.

Innovative, quality, creative and tailor-made for the local market? For PR-people, this was equivalent to striking gold. 

Over the years, we managed to curate specialized campaigns to highlight both their products and brand successfully. 

We’re having a little throwback to our collaboration with Harriston, and we hope our readers could take away a few pointers on how to identify the right PR angle to promote a brand, and to perhaps use this as a case study.

World’s 4th Type of Chocolate

In 2018, Harriston was presented with a great advantage to take their brand to the next level.

They had obtained the license to launch and distribute the world’s fourth type of chocolate - the ruby chocolate, after dark, milk and white chocolate. 

Getting the nod to be the first in Southeast Asia to launch the ruby chocolate from Barry Callebaut, one of the world’s largest cocoa processors and chocolate manufacturers gives them the credibility and prestige which certainly boosted their brand. 

From a PR perspective, we positioned Harriston Chocolate as a leading homegrown chocolate brand which was the first chocolatier to sell the ruby chocolate in Malaysia. 

Themed ‘Discover a New World of Chocolates’, we knew we had to carry out the launch somewhere special and established. We arrived at the decision of launching the ruby chocolates at the classy and strategic Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur. 

Certain of the potential that this product has in the market, we had to invite some big names in the industry to hype it up. Hence, we invited host and actor Thanuja Ananthan, actress Yasmin Hani, social media influencer Patricia K, emcee and actress Julie Woon and radio announcer Mei Yan, the perfect influencers that helped us get the word out. 

The event was also a great opportunity to introduce Harriston to the world. Hence, we arranged for Harriston’s Executive Director, Queenie Teng, to enlighten the crowd with the rich history and story of the chocolate brand while announcing their collaboration with Barry Callebaut. 

It turned out to be a successful event filled with exciting chocolate creations and activities. The PR campaign garnered more than RM 2 million in PR value throughout coverage on platforms like radio, TV and many other media portals.

Infusing Local Flavours

As a proudly Malaysian brand, Harriston is committed to its tagline “A Unique Malaysian Chocolate Experience”. With this tagline, the brand has a clear direction - they take pride in infusing truly Malaysian flavours into their chocolate creations.

As a PR agency, it’s safe to say that it’s a rare sight to see a local brand that is this dedicated to innovating familiar flavours into their products. 

Hence, it became one of their strongest and unique PR angles. There are not many brands out there that infuse exotic flavours such as the Durian and Tongkat Ali into their chocolates. Yet, they have proven to be some of Harriston’s best-selling products. 

Besides those two, Harriston also infuses the flavours of ginger, curry, chili and black sesame into their chocolates. Have you ever tasted these chocolates before? 

They taste amazing - take our word for it!

The title of best chocolates producers have always been attributed to foreign brands. But Harriston’s goal is not to compete with the biggest names in the industry, and instead create a unique selling point that suits the market. 

Supporting Local Farmers

In 2019, Harriston launched their first ever single origins chocolate bars. To achieve this, they scoured for local farmers who specialize in planting chocolate trees to collaborate with. 

By doing this, Harriston is acknowledging the need to support cocoa farmers in growing the industry. Cocoa farming communities are hardworking and honest individuals who face many challenges when growing their crops - from having aging farms, depleted soils, lack of financing options and some even face the unforeseen effects of climate change. 

Often, cocoa communities lack the basic infrastructure and services to thrive, which is why the collaboration with Harriston would create a new and stronger partnership to improve the local chocolate making ecosystem that plants, harvests and produces fully-local chocolates.

As a result, the partnership spawned three chocolate flavours named after their place of origin with their very own unique stories - Titiwangsa Single Origin, Hulu Selangor Single Origin and Raub Single Origin. With different origins, the chocolates contain very distinctive flavour profiles. Once you give them a try, you wouldn’t want to return to commercial chocolates!

From there, we crafted a PR angle that stated the importance of this collective effort in putting Malaysian cocoa back on the map and its glory days. By promoting truly local products and unique flavours that come with them, Harriston would be able to venture into more sustainable initiatives while providing a source of income for local farmers. 

CSR Activities 

We are always glad to collaborate with Harriston when it comes to CSR initiatives, as they are always striving for positive change when it comes to issues that affect the livelihoods of Malaysian society. 

One of the most memorable CSR campaigns that we worked on was Harriston’s Chocolate DIY To Sweeten Your Pinktober in conjunction with Breast Cancer awareness month and in collaboration with Breast Cancer Foundation.

We went through the meticulous planning of the event to make sure it was carried out before the month of October, which was the Breast Cancer awareness month. We scheduled for the event one and a half weeks before October in order to provide media the time to craft their stories just in time for them to be featured at the beginning of the month.

Because, by mid to end of October, the media would be saturated with similar CSR campaigns by other corporations. And we thought, what’s the point of competing with other companies with their CSR stories? In PR, timing is really important when it comes to maximising a brand’s reach. 

Aimed to show support to breast cancer patients and survivors, the event was a fun introduction to the art of chocolate making packed with discovery and hands-on experience.  Participants mould and temper chocolates, coat and decorate them with chocolate paint and sprinkles.

Believing that making chocolate offers therapeutic benefits to the audience, the DIY chocolate event helped them relax, stimulate their senses, explore their emotions and make themselves as well as others happy. 

To make the event more meaningful, we set up an interview with two cancer survivors to share their emotional stories with members of the media and also other members of Breast Cancer Foundation. By doing this, we hoped to be able to inspire other patients to keep on fighting the disease. At the same time, we wanted to provide a full picture of what it’s like to be living with breast cancer to the media which is crucial in securing better quality coverage for our client - which we successfully did as the event was covered in major publications such as The Star, Harian Metro and Kosmo. 

In all of our PR services carried out for clients, we’ve always prioritized one aspect that is commonly overlooked - great storytelling. With our stories worth telling mantra, we believe that every brand has their own stories to tell. 

In this new age of communication, product alone will not be sufficient to make valuable connections with digital consumers. Rather, it’s the story behind the product and the brand that will ignite emotions and build meaningful relationships. 

Always look deep into a brand’s values, passion and how their products or services can benefit the world. Then, the ideas for marketing and PR campaigns will eventually fall into place. 

As professional marketers and storytellers, our goal is only to help you reach out and convey your message effectively to the right people at the right time. We use our tried-and-true method of AID-ing you to:

  • (A)nalyse your company’s resources and competitors
  • (I)dentify your brand’s USPs, core strengths and target audience
  • (D)etermine the best channels to market and sell your brand and vision

This might be a challenging time for businesses all over the world. Nevertheless, as proven by Harriston’s success over the years, PR is crucial in taking your brand to greater heights. 

So don’t let fear hold you back. Speak to us, and we will walk through this journey with you. 

Start by dropping us an email at!


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