Hikvision Hires Ex-Milestone Head To Lead Global PR

Author: John Honovich, Published on Apr 06, 2018

Hikvision has PR problems. From its failed attempt at hiring a crisis communication writer to their failed anti-IPVM blog series to the increasing global coverage of their Chinese government ownership, Hikvision is struggling to find a solution.

Enter Milestone's former Head of Corporate Communication Karl Erik Traberg, whom Hikvision has hired as their Global Communications and PR Director.

In this note, we examine the hire, why this is a very good move, how Traberg could help Hikvision and what challenges he faces. Plus, we include a statement direct from Hikvison to IPVM about the hiring.

Hikvision PR Historically Fractured

Hikvision has historically run public relations in a fractured manner across the world. In some cases, Hikvision corporate would be involved, in others it fell to individual regions, like the Americas and EMEA. Some other industry companies do similarily so this is not inherently a problem but Hikvision had uncommon coverage concerns.

Global Coverage / Issues

The challenge for Hikvision was that the attention it is receiving has become increasingly global and often highly negative. This is not just IPVM, recall the 2 WSJ reports in the past 6 months, the UK Times investigation, the UK Sun investigation, the US Voice of America report, Barron's speculating if Trump bans Hikvision, etc. This raises the question of who talks to those publications and how does Hikvision coordinate messaging about such sensitive topics across the globe.

Chinese Companies Used To Attacking

Inside the People's Republic of China, it is normal for the government to attack their critics. Speech is highly censored and critics are regularly detained or imprisoned. So dealing with people they cannot control is, literally, foreign. As an example, in today's China government-run People's Daily: Trump doomed to fail by waging trade war against China for mid-term poll gains. Compare to Hikvision's Blogger’s Cyberbullying Mission Tiresome, Destined to Fail. Hikvision has similarly criticized the WSJ and attacked Genetec as being dirty.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

In fairness, Hikvision has more recently realized that this is not a productive way to interact with the free world.

Traberg Success At Milestone

Traberg was at Milestone for a decade and we interacted with him for many years. One of his key differentiators is that he is very level-headed, calm and works hard at getting an appropriate answer. Many communications people want to drown the media in happy talk and hand waving. And, in their defense, this works well with the trade media so there is a rationale for doing this. However, with media not dependent on Hikvision for advertising (whether IPVM or global press), this works poorly.

Traberg is a very good choice for communicating professionally with world media. Moreover, he has the personality and temperament to navigate the many stakeholders inside of Hikvision, who are often quite emotional about these issues.

Hikvision Traberg Statement To IPVM

Traberg shared the following statement with IPVM:

My role is focused on driving our strategic approach to brand communications and media relations everywhere outside China. I will be based in Europe and working a lot at our headquarters in China, which is located in Hangzhou, a very dynamic city with an amazing base of other strong technology firms. We are still in the early stage of our globalization as a company and hopefully, I will be able to make a positive contribution to that as well.

Having worked for a number of global market leaders in Europe, USA and Asia inside and outside the security industry, I saw an excellent opportunity joining Hikvision because the company has so much potential to further impact the industry positively with new technologies and solutions creating additional value for our partners and end-users.

Now that I have had an opportunity to meet a lot of new colleagues in our headquarters and in some of our international offices, I am convinced that I made the right choice. It is great joining a company with so many smart and passionate colleagues. I will be working very closely with our regional marketing and communications teams and we are in the process of getting to know each other and clarifying roles and processes.

No Comment On Issues Yet

Traberg declined to comment on any specific issues for now (technology, politics or otherwise), noting that he is currently reviewing and gathering information in his new position. That is understandable since many of these issues are complex and sensitive. However, in the next few months, he will most likely face pressure to deal with the ongoing PR challenges Hikvision faces.

'Government' Issue Far More Challenging Than Milestone

Traberg task at Hikvision is far more challenging than at Milestone. The one key issue is the China PRC government's role with Hikvision. Hikvision executives are extremely sensitive and emotional about the issue. And in a world where Western conflict with the PRC government is growing and the PRC is becoming increasingly authoritarian, this will be no easy task.

Hikvision has repeatedly claimed to be a 'commercial' entity, that the Chinese government is just one of 'diverse' set of shareholders. By contrast, IPVM has shown evidence direct from Hikvision's own financials that the Chinese government is their controlling shareholder, and that, by Hikvision's own acknowledgment, the Chinese government can exert significant influence over their business. How Traberg navigates this issue will be critical.

Improved Structure / Potential

This is definitely a good move for Hikvision and a good choice for them that should help.

Poll / Vote

1 report cite this report:

Hikvision Corrects False Cybersecurity Announcement on Jun 18, 2018
Hikvision has corrected a false cybersecurity announcement that claimed a British government-sponsored program endorsed the cybersecurity of...
Comments (12) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Chinese Government Praises Hikvision Following Xi Jinping on Sep 17, 2018
The Chinese government council responsible for managing China's state-owned companies praised Hikvision’s obedience to China’s authoritarian leader...
Australia and French National TV Investigate Hikvision, Australia Military To Remove Hikvision Cameras on Sep 12, 2018
An Australian National TV investigation on Chinese video surveillance has put a spotlight on Hikvision, including a promise from Australia's...
Trump Administration Considers Sanctions Against Dahua and Hikvision on Sep 11, 2018
The Trump administration is considering sanctions against Dahua and Hikvision for their involvement in human rights abuses against minorities...
Ambarella on Computer Vision and US Hikua Ban on Sep 10, 2018
Ambarella, a widely-used video surveillance component supplier, is betting on the rise of computer vision and is already seeing a sales impact from...
China "Largest Threat To US National Security", Declares FBI And Counterintelligence Heads on Sep 07, 2018
China is 'bar none', the 'largest threat to [US] national security' plus China has declared 'economic war' on the US, according to William Evanina,...
Dell Launches IoT for Surveillance on Sep 05, 2018
Historically, Dell has been a PC and server provider (e.g., "Dude, you're getting a Dell") and widely used for surveillance storage. However, in...
Congressional Letter Urges Sanctions Against Dahua and Hikvision For Human Rights Abuses on Sep 04, 2018
17 US Congresspeople sent a letter to the Secretary of State and Treasury urging sanctions against Chinese officials plus Dahua and Hikvision,...
Directory Of 110+ Video Management Software (VMS) Suppliers on Aug 30, 2018
This directory provides a list of Video Management Software providers to help you see and research what options are available. Listing...
Sell Dahua or Hikvision At All, Banned From Selling to US Federal Government, Says US HASC on Aug 29, 2018
The US House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Communications Director has confirmed to IPVM that if a company sells Dahua or Hikvision at all, they...
Hikvision FIPS 140-2 Cybersecurity Certification Examined on Aug 27, 2018
A week after the US government passed a law banning Hikvision, Hikvision announced it had obtained a FIPS 140-2 certification from the US...

Most Recent Industry Reports

25% China Tariffs Finalized For 2019, 10% Start Now, Includes Select Video Surveillance on Sep 18, 2018
A surprise move: In July, when the most recent tariff round was first announced, the tariffs were only scheduled for 10%. However, now, the US...
Central Stations Face Off Against NFPA On Fire Monitoring on Sep 18, 2018
Central stations are facing off against the NFPA over what they call anti-competitive language in NFPA 72, the standard that covers fire alarms....
Hikvision USA Starts Layoffs on Sep 18, 2018
Hikvision USA has started layoffs, just weeks after the US government ban was passed into law. Inside this note, we examine: The important...
Chinese Government Praises Hikvision Following Xi Jinping on Sep 17, 2018
The Chinese government council responsible for managing China's state-owned companies praised Hikvision’s obedience to China’s authoritarian leader...
Amazon Ring Spotlight Cam Tested on Sep 17, 2018
Amazon's Ring has released their latest camera entry, the Spotlight Cam, which we bought and tested in our Consumer IP Camera Analytics...
European Mega Security Firm Verisure Pushing Security Fog on Sep 17, 2018
The European mega security firm Verisure (Securitas Direct), with a reported 2 million customers, is pushing security fog, as shown in this BBC...
IP Camera Cable Labeling Guide on Sep 14, 2018
Labeling cables can save a lot of money and headaches. While it is easy to overlook, taking time to label runs during installation significantly...
Favorite Intercom Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 14, 2018
Intercoms are certainly increasing in popularity, driven by the integration of video and IP networking. But who is the favorite? On the one side,...
Vivotek 4MP Camera Tested (FD8379-HV) on Sep 13, 2018
Next in our series of updated 4MP testing, we bought and tested Vivotek's FD8379-HV, and entry level 4MP model claiming "top-notch quality video in...
Ascent / MONI Faces Lender Lawsuit and Debt Crisis on Sep 13, 2018
ASCMA, aka Ascent, aka Brinks Home Security, aka MONI, aka Monitronics is being sued by a group of their lenders who allege: As of June 30,...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact