Archive for December, 2008

30
Dec
08

2009 Predictions and Resolutions (JUST FOR FUN TUESDAY!)

As we draw closer to the end of the year, I must say I’ve had a pretty good year. Finally deciding Public Relations is the industry I want to pursue my career in, having an awesome internship at Yahoo!, graduating from school and having won a PR student award. Not too bad :)

So everyone’s been posting what their predictions are. You can see a collaborated post by Jason Falls on what the predictions are here.

My humble predictions are these:

1) Traditional Newspapers will go digital, ditch their current business model of subscription fees and incorporate applications to accommodate citizen journalism into their day to day production.

2) Mobile to play a vital role in Asia as reduced budgets mean companies start looking for cheaper advertising mediums to reach out to consumers

3) ROI for social media to be worked out across different regions with industry benchmarks being set by industry players and having it worked down to a science (Especially the relationship between ROI and reputation)

So that’s all i have for predictions. However, for resolutions, this is what i hope to accomplish

1)GET A JOB!!

2) Exercise 2-3 times a week (and do the marathon 2009 and not skip it like this year, lol)

3) Walk Remzy 3-4 times a week (Been walking him at irregular times, not too good for the big boy)

4) Learn Yoga(I’m really inflexible, back problems don’t help too)

5) Learn Spanish (All i can remember is Hola! Como se yamas? See, I’m that bad…)

6) Travel (4 to 6 are all done with Vivian)

So there you go!! What’re your predictionsand resolutions for 2009? Do share! Happy new year!

27
Dec
08

The Good Old Personal Touch

This post is inspired by Jason Falls post on Is the Future of Advertising Public Relationships?

I find myself more of a critique than a creator as i carry on my train of thought(following the Groundswell terms for definition) but i digress.

It was heartening to know that a sponsored post, when declared openly, is still widely accepted because of the appeal and engagement it can provide to the blog’s audience. The fact that marketing and communications have to integrate ONLINE is because of the relationships a brand needs to develop with it’s stakeholders. After all, the web2.0 movement was built based on collaborative efforts between people, how else can you engage these communities without building any relationship with them.

Hence the importance of the evergreen personal touch. Remembering a twitter follower or a blogger and engaging them by mentioning past experiences you’ll share is still essential. Pretty much the same as knowing which journalist is interested in the angle of your story before pushing it out.

I’ve always been impressed by those who can never forget a name, always being able to engage a person based on past experiences shared or even if their newly introduced to each other, that person can always find someway to connect and engage.

Are there any campaigns or firms which have such active engagement on a regular basis? Could your firms be one of those? It takes time to develop but once developed, it’s like knowing an old friend is there to back you up.

A little personal touch never hurt, try it, it might work for your blog or comapny!

24
Dec
08

Fictional Characters in a Social Media Campaign

As the year draws to a close, there is the ever increasing need for companies to regain trust to build back consumer confidence. Coming across Andy Drish post on What is this company doing wrong?, he asks for opinions on what a real estate company who have used a fictional character called “Hailey Brownstone” to be the face of a digital media campaign.

Fictional Characters in a digital media Campaign, is it still the way to go for 2009?I was instantly struck by the similarity with one of my favorite digital media campaigns by Microsoft, the I’m Talkathon campaign which i blogged about a couple of months ago here.

In fact, this use of a fictional character as a ‘face’ of a campaign isn’t a new move. Many consumer products have done it to attempt to build relationships based on using someone similar to their target audience.

I’m not questioning the ethics of such a campaign. In fact, I’m pretty much a fan of it as long as there is a disclaimer stating that this person is ‘made up’. It has entertainment value and potential for building invaluable relationships which most companies seek when using social media tools for a a campaign.

Yet, I find myself wondering if such a move in the coming year is wise? With the trust issue a sensitive topic in 2009, will such a campaign appeal to consumers then? Would users still be delighted that a fictional character is the mascot of a campaign appealing to them?

Or would 3rd party validation from either mainstream media and friends be a more appealing approach to entice consumers and rebuild ‘the lost trust’.

Building relationships through entertainment or building relationships through trusted sources?

What do you think? Fictional characters in campaigns still the way to go? Do share!

23
Dec
08

TOP 5 CHRISTMAS SONGS (JUST FOR FUN TUESDAYS!!)

I’m extremely overjoyed at the arrival of Christmas eve tmr. I missed Christmas for 2 years in ’04 and ’07 with my family and I’m delighted to be home again this year.

There’re so many wonderful memories connected with Christmas and nothing beats having Christmas songs stirring up those wonderful feelings we all associate with it.

On Oldskoolmark’s countdown of top 5 Christmas songs….

Number 5

NSYNC’s I never knew the meaning of Christma. Not a boyband fan but this 1 sure brings back memories from secondary school days. This one’s to you too Derek, wherever you maybe in Italy now, lol…

Number 4

Mariah’s All I want for Christmas is You. It’s pretty much a classic now and you can hear it in most malls around Singapore.

Number 3

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas. This is gonna be a really apt song this year cause of the coming recession in 2009, things can only get better.

I like the July Garland version the most cause she’s got such a wonderful voice. We’ll miss you Miss Wizard of Oz…

Number 2

I’ll be Home for Christmas. You have to like the Bulbe voice for this evergreen classic. It’s number 2 for me because when i missed out on Xmas in ’04 in the gulf, it was my first time away from home from Christmas and I had to do guard duty at 12a.m on X’mas eve… Miserable huh? But this song, a couple of friends and calls from home made the going easier, makes you appreciate family more too.

Number 1

*Drum Roll*. The Christmas song! It encapsulates every joy Christmas brings about. Nat King Cole owns this song and thank God his voice is here to stay!

So that sums up my top 5 Christmas songs, have a wonderful Christmas and happy holidays!

22
Dec
08

Individual Transparency: How much can you take?

I feel building trust for PR folks will be the highlight for 2009. You have the Sanlu incident whereby consumers don’t trust made in China products again. You have the financial collapse caused by investments and loans which should not have been made. You have the infamous Medoff scandal over the past few days. Trust in investors and banks are lost. Trust in regulatory bodies such as the SEC are lost. Internal trust in the financial industry is lost as well due to the increasing number of layoffs.

But I digress. While transparency is paramount for companies to rebuild trust and gain back consumer confidence, individual transparency is another thing all together.

I refer to this video which is titled The Google Masterplan.

Is Google really all that powerful? Yes… I mentioned about one’s internet footprint and how like a trail in a forest, it can leave behind marks (wanted or unwanted) for any tracker to follow.

How willing are you to let your future employer see last night’s drunk photos? Let’s not forget the sex scandals involving mobile phone videos.

How about social networking sites or your own individual blog which might earn you a chance for some recognition which would in turn lead to job employment? Meg here provides a fine example of how her blog changed her life.

Yet, how much private info are you willing to let go everytime you add an app to Facebook? How much of your genetic data do you think is up on the cyber highway?

Where do we draw the line to share with our friends and risk the exposure? I’m guessing it all boils down to your trashhold for privacy. What skeletons are there in your closet which you do you not want to expose and how many unwanted secrets you have will be a factor to consider as well.

So the next time you’re providing information on the internet regarding anything about yourself, do think about the potential backlash which you might not want to see. It would make an interesting case if high leveled personals in the company are exposed this way.

18
Dec
08

Social Media for social projects

While the news focuses on the latest turn in the financial world on the Madoff case, Tech companies being bought over and the automobile industry in US dying out, i think we need to take a step back during this festive period.

Non-government organizations who depend on donations for survival will also be one of the ‘industries’ who are going to be hit the hardest during the bad times.

While it is heartening to know that more companies are adopting CSR efforts (mainly to enhance reputation), I think the digital space has given NGOs a platform to showcase to people causes which they were previously unaware of. There’re tons of examples and a simple search on any search engines can testify to what I’ve just said.

While this is a “known fact’ for all who are well versed in the digital media scene, let me bring your attention to this blog, Project Yuksam. Project Yuksam is a project by Singapore Management University (SMU) Students who have traveled to Sikkim to help the local community in Yuksam. (I was part of the 2007 team)

Now look at this school email which has been sent to all students within SMU students.

edm

Usage of a blog and Flickr photos. (Youtube videos would have been nice but i think the internet speed there is the main deterrence). Coupled with the school email which has an online promotion tied down with a sponsor. It’s a nice way of engaging the school to promote the cause of the project.

If a school community has begun using web 2.0 to engage the students to promote it’s cause, what’s stopping you from expanding that CSR effort?

I know it’s a cliche phrase but it’s time to bring the social back to social media and what better way than to focus on your brand’s CSR efforts?

Merry Xmas people!!

16
Dec
08

I’m Singaporean lah (JUST FOR FUN TUESDAY!)

Most of you would come to this page expecting a pro-government message, but not today. Today I wanna talk about what makes me proud to be a Singaporean.

But first, let’s look at some of the actions which Singaporeans do which can irk yet amuse us at the same time. Check out the video below…

Let’s make a list of how annoying we can get based on that video27-07-07_1326

  1. We do the morning squeeze on our public transport
  2. We love to complain about our government (from having 2 political parties to enhance variety to basic stuff like fines in many areas of our lives…)
  3. Our darn annoying unspoken rule of ‘chopping’ with a tissue’
  4. Our ‘Kiasu’ nature reacting to any sale
  5. And any other behavior ‘disorder’ you would like to the list….

And since this is a communications and marketing blog, let’s throw in a dose of how we are being labeled as a creative questionmark1industry. Marketing Magazine (Nov) basically said we’re efficient but lack in creativity. That our large middle class has not made peace with the HDB block image and the Singalish voice which has lefd to aspirational ads which lack  personality. Has our irks in behaviour made the creative work like this? That would be interesting to find out…

But onward to why I’m darn proud to be Singaporean. Despite our irks in behaviour, we are a nice group of people in general. We look out for each other and we do what we can to help. (Not too sure if the  government campaigns have helped, but this is what we are NOW).

Let me quote you a few examples.

  1. Loh Hwei Yen, the recent victim of the Mumbai attacks, was the first Singaporean victim of a terrorist attack. Although many of us don’t feel the immediate impact of being threatened by a terror attack, we share the grief of her family and we came together as a country to mourn her loss.
  2. support1Onward to more positive news. When we won the opportunity to host the Youth Olympics, it was a huge milestone for the country’s sports development. I felt proud to be Singaporean during the announcment when we beat Moscow. (What’s the geographical size of the country compared to ours again? hur hur…)
  3. During the SARS period, we all did our parts to contain the disease. With a world class government reaction (strategic and communications perspective), we overcame this hurdle together.
  4. You saw from the video that we do care for each other by sharing and giving up our seats. Simple acts they might be, yet they contradict the behavioral traits we have.

All countries have their irks in behaviors, ours is no different. But not all countries are as bonded as us in the rough times despite our different ethnicity and religious beliefs.(There are  countries with similarities yet struggle to live in harmony due to political or religious differences)

In the season of giving and sharing, don’t forget what makes us unique. While we may annoy each other on a daily basis with our rants and inconsiderate behaviour, we care for each other a lot more than you think.

Good or bad behavior, I’ve learnt to take it all annd stand proud to say “I’m Singaporean lah”. How about you?

singapore_flag

Merry Xmas and have a wonderful holiday!

Yes, I’m Singaporean! Blog Contest
Check out other Singaporeans at mySingapore.sg

15
Dec
08

Monetization, the Killer of Net Neutrality?

Right, to start things off, for those who don’t know what net neutrality is, it’s defined as

“A principle proposed for residential broadband networks and potentially for all networks. A neutral broadband network is one that is free of restrictions on content, sites, or platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and on the modes of communication allowed, as well as one where communication is not unreasonably degraded by other communication streams.”

Watch the video below for a better understanding.

So how does monetization come into play? I came across this article on Readwriteweb, Does Google really want net neutrality?, and wondered why would a company championing for net neutrality be put under the spotlight?

How can a company provide innovation without any returns? Ad dollars are what drives Google and it is because of this monetization, which i believe will kill the internet as a free platform. P2P was killed off, connection speeds will be affected, search results are tailored by ad words, where does net neutrality exists then? Will Google find a way to capitalize further on Youtube and it’s other supporting features?

Perhaps I’m wrong, but i firmly believe the saying that ‘money is the root of all evil’ maybe applicable here. Am i wrong? Or is the internet still free reign?


11
Dec
08

Social Media has made communicating layoffs a top priority

As I flipped through the papers today, it’s almost always guaranteed to have layoff news on it. It’s never easy to communicate something like this, especially in such terrible times.(The company will always be the bad guy!) However, it’s interesting to note how companies are going about announcing the lay-offs. (This is purely from an external perspective and I have no idea how the internal comms are handled)

Let’s start with DBS. I did a post on them a few weeks back and the people’s bank really went through a terrible time with the High notes issue being linked with Lehman brothers. To compound their problems even further, DBS was going though layoffs for some of it’s senior staff. How did they go about handling 2 problems? Focus on the layoffs to appease the shareholders that costs are being cut and use lousy customer service to answer the investors who invested in the high notes.

Then there’s Yahoo! who had the recent layoffs of 1500 staff. Every knows Yahoo! has been going through a horrible time because of declining profits and the whole Yahoo-Microsoft saga. I interned at Yahoo! and i know they’ve got excellent internal communications. I’m sure those that were being laid-off would have known well before hand and would have been properly compensated. It doesn’t help that with Yahoo!’s current situation that the economic crisis had to occur leading to cost cutting via layoffs.  The communications to the media and online blogosphere was open and honest.

As i read about the lay-offs, i was wondering why the comms folks in Sunnyvale didn’t try to steer the media towards their new product launches. I mean you have an article from Mashable that says Yahoo! might be the next great app platform and an article from ReadWriteWeb which says Gmail struggling with Email wants to be your task manager too. Both articles came out on the same day. So why focus so much on the layoff news when it might be possible to push out other news which can enhance your reputation at a time like this? In fact, why not keep quiet about it?

I point the finger to social media but more importantly micro-blogging and citizen journalism. This article from MarketingVox, Yahoo layoffs draw more blog coverage than ad campaigns, nicely sums up why today’s companies should be tackling layoffs more seriously. However, it was also nice to know that showing your pink slip online allows others to know that you’re ready for your next job! Tokbox showed how it was able to leverage from Yahoo!’s layoffs.

So it’s inevitable to make a layoff private. It’s also not very smart to focus on something other than your layoff. It should be a top priority because you’re now the Lich King. (WOW analogy for being a bad guy). You can check out this post here, You’re Fired: 7 Public Relations Tips for HR managers in an age of layoffs. on how to communicate a layoff

10
Dec
08

The trust issue with company blogs

Came across some numbers by Forrester Research and it says corporate blogs and social networking sites from a company or brand have very low trust ratings. You can find the article here, Report: Corporate Blogs are not trusted.

picture2

I think this solves one of my biggest dilemmas whereby i always wondered why people would trust a company who talks about itself on a blog. Who would read it when we already had Wal-Mart. It’s a push communications whereby the blog goes on yapping about the company and its products/services…

Josh Bernoff provides an insightful post to the data. And to address how and when to start a corporate blog, it’s back to basics.

Blogs exclusively about companies and products are what I think generate these low trust ratings. So don’t do a blog like that.Instead, adjust your strategy based on your objectives. (Sound familiar?)If you want to be a thought leader and helper for your customers, and you blog frequently about those customers’ problems and solutions, then you can generate trust.

I also like the part whereby Josh Bernoff mentions each companies’ branding position allows it to adopt a different communications online strategy. For example, Google manages to provide great apps and services for the online community, that’s why ppl are interested in Google’s blogs.

MacDonald on the other hand has their McDonald’s mom campaign. Basically letting moms know what is the process of how the fries are made, trying to make their foods more appealing to the health conscious society. Do you believe it even if you aren’t a parent?Would you read thier blog and believe them if they told you their fries provide health benefits?

So corporate blogs aren’t trusted and companies using them should consider taking it down unless it’s generating a community building effect. Get involved with your consumers, provide a service/product that answers those problems. Win that trust whilst enhancing your reputation.

So when it comes to the end of the year and answering the questions on ROI, show how your ‘new’ corporate blog has enhanced reputation and gained potential sales.




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