Archive for December, 2008


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


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!


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!


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!



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!


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.


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.


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!!


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?


Merry Xmas and have a wonderful holiday!

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