Norman Ng

Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

Infographics on Social Media Stats 2011 – Asia Pacific

In Social Media on September 26, 2011 at 15:29

Mind blowing stuff from the folks at Burson-Marsteller. Will talk about key issues and challenges in upcoming post. Enjoy!


How to Achieve 2.5 Millions Youtube Hits with 100 Seconds

In Public Relations, Social Media on September 21, 2011 at 12:30

To celebrate the it’s opening as Europe’s largest urban shopping centre, Westfield Stratford City, a British Mall got The Viral Factory to produce this instantaneous youtube hit on 100 Years of East London Fashion in 100 Seconds. Brilliant tagline and media campaign which as of today, exceeds 2.5million viewership in a mere 3 weeks.

Peeking a little deeper into this, I asked myself, what’s the formula behind it? I think there are 3 core reasons that can help  PR / Marketing Ad campaigns to achieve high leverage:

Give Audiences Reasons to Celebrate – It’s about understanding primal and raw emotions and psychologies that youtube offers us instantaneous bits of happiness in palm sized iPhone screens to 40″ TVs, where we escape for brief moments into the social media sphere, at times to relieve the daily grinds and monotonies though accessing viral videos that give us good reasons to celebrate, or simply, to be Happy.

It’s not about how cool, hip, trend, or comparatively / competitively advantageous a brand, person or product is. And while I truly enjoy watching some of these ads, for some reason, I remember ads that make me inspire happiness. It’s the “Feel Good” Aha moments that are essential, in effective viral video campaigns.

Being Bold & InnovativeIt’s ridiculously tedious to make this video. Dancing 100 times in different costumes, countless locations stitching them together in at least 100 frames etc. But it’s innovative, and it gets the message across. Compressing 100 years of fashion in bite sized pieces, how much better can it get?

Subtleness & Simplicity – I’ve never been favourable of hollywood stunts / effects that can give you space age 3D / 4D high-definition-that-you-can-even-see-the-eyeballs-of-mosquito. We don’t need those. Nice? – Yes. Must Have – No. Good to Have? – Maybe. It’s the cleanest, simplest videos that get the messages across – HARD. I like the one by Purplefeather on “The Power of Words”. Simple, subtle and inspiring.

So yes, it’s possible to get millions of hits with 100 seconds. At the end of the day, you need not have the best cutting edge technologies to achieve this…instead, it takes intellectual magic and effective communication strategies to save the day.

What are you favourite videos that makes us celebrate, is innovative and simple? Share it!

Battle Between Advertising vs. Peer Recommendations

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2011 at 11:05

Only 14% of consumers trust advertisements. Those figures, according to the folks at SocialNomics give further indication that ridiculous tonnes of MarComm / publicity budgets are wasted on advertising. (This I meant conventional print / broadcast media). What more, it was also reported that a staggering 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations instead.If that didn’t get your eyes popping. I don’t know what will.

So why do enterprises still look towards mainstream advertising as the panacea to their branding efforts? A large part, I believe dwells that the ROI’s are “measurable”. Corporate leaders want results. What more that to give the all convenient Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) in PR speak? which are known to be grossly inaccurate as an evaluation metric.

In fact during the 2nd European Summit of Measurement in Barcelona, it was collectively declared that AVEs are NOT the values of Public Relations. Doom on those PR and advertising folks who have professed its relevance.

So how should MarComm / Corp Comm folks make of this? Well, peer recommendations are suggested as better leverages to persuade, engage and convert consumers / stakeholders. So it’s essential that at the very least, re-strategise their Communication Campaigns over the next few years.

Enterprises need to strategise on how to solicit and build strong internal / external brand ambassadors. From employees to consumers, look at them as new possibilities to help espouse your brand / reputation positively. Integrate CRM closely with marketing and communications. Get feedbacks, endorsements and reward / acknowledge them. It will go a very long way indeed.

As for employees, build a constructive framework with guidelines on social media, give them to space and opportunity to share insights and opinions about the enterprise. Empower them as social media ambassadors, but don’t be afraid to let the occasional unfavourable comment slip out. Because it show’s you’re genuine, and open. Stakeholders may trust you even more because you don’t seem to cover up any misgivings. Better still, acknowledge some shortcomings, let people know you’re listening, and act on them.

In all, enterprises need to rethink their traditional approaches on publicity and MarComm activities. Advertising will demise – fast. It will have its space, albeit in an increasingly less cost effective way. And match re-strategisation efforts with a concerted tactical asset allocation to new engagement channels / platforms.

Turning a PR Crisis to Your Advantage

In Crisis Communications, Public Relations on September 14, 2011 at 22:15

David Conner, CEO, OCBC. Photo: Bloomberg

It’s a war, everytime a PR crisis strikes, we’re scrambling on a loss minimization mode on the enterprise’s reputation. But one company seemed to successfully turned a catastrophic incident to strengthen positive portrayals.

That company refers to OCBC, Singapore’s 2nd largest lender which deployed a full scale media outreach campaign to inform stakeholders on a 4 hour glitch on its systems, causing massive service disruptions.

I particularly like the fact that mass SMSes were sent out with messages from David Conner, CEO of OCBC, stating “Many customers were inconvenienced, for which I sincerely apologise. At the same time, many of our customers were patient and understanding, for which I am deeply grateful”. This is where good leadership and responsive communications plays a role to arrest reputation downside risks in such a crisis. Something which I mentioned enterprises ought to have, such as in the SMRT Crisis in previous posts, and hot on the heels of similar glitches by the DBS.

This incident exudes control, sincerity and professionalism on OCBC. It’s heartening to know that they even enlisted the media  to broadcast messages on the glitches. So instead of the media lynching them, they leveraged on them as partners instead of adversaries.

All in all, a positive case study, turning adversity into good opportunity. Kudos to OCBC.

Why Its Hard To Say The Truth

In Crisis Communications, Public Relations on September 8, 2011 at 17:27

Thomas Friedman, 3x Pulitzer recipient recently wrote an op-ed column in the NYT on “The Whole Truth and Nothing But“. He reflected that democracies, economies and nation building are failing because political leaders have lied to the world. From the Libya revolt, Eurozone crash, and debt ridden USA, all the have in common are leadership which have failed to convey hard truths.

It’s amazing how I’m starting to witness new terms that are prominently featured, from “we’re in technical recessions..but its not a recession – actually”, or even this,”we are starting to see a glimmer on the long road to recovery”…tell me something new – Please.

Why is it so hard to dish out the dirt and entire truth? Why on the sugar coatings? Why is it so hard to manage good public relations and crisis communications?

Fear of Reprisals: It’s never comfortable to be in the spotlight, particularly if you’re breaking the bad news. Because people naturally want to find scapegoats to bash, people need to release all the pent up negative energies on issues. From the onset that bad news breaks out, its viral, its contagious and its going to hit you in a relentless torrent of punches. So naturally, it’s never “bad news”…it’s “issues of some concern….”, it’s “on our radar, and working on it”….they’re going to lose their jobs, protesters will mass against you, even your dog will begin to snap at you…Whatever the case, we all KNOW it’s bad news when some senior management folk starts to mention such issues. So be warned.

Senseless Pride: No one wants anything bad to occur on their watch. Jobs should be created, children should be educated, the old folks should be adequately taken care of, all in their watch. But when 9/11 strikes or a tsunami / nuclear crisis hits, man made vs. natural catastrophies, tough and real decisions need to be done. It’s a question of whether you want to be remembered for all the good things, or for doing the right things. So when tax cuts prevailed during the Bush administration in the midst of two wars, it’s a cowboy swinging a lasso in the high hollywood sun with senseless pride. How in the world do you string in a war on terrorism with tax cuts? Amazing. So fast forward, the Obama administration has the unpleasant but necessary task to tell the world, in timely fashion on what the truth is, on what it really takes to get things in order. Because on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, we are on the verge of a very new world order, with developed economies at the brink of drowning in depth, calamity and senseless pride.

Confidence on Capabilities: Lastly, in a less negative way, are that some leaders believe that they can turn things around, the confidence that their team, their resources and collective action can bring relief towards crisis issues. “You can take your time, but time is running out…” We all wish to live in a perfect economy and society, but in reality, its far from perfect. Therein exist the constant pressure for issues in society and economies to be addressed instantaneously. Doesn’t help that the way we are educated and informed are just as instantaneous.So the pressure’s live, and it’s boiling every second you’re reading this sentence. Leaders, administrators, need to learn how to let it go.There’s only this much we can do today, in the present. So it’s important to calibrate our confidence and there are limits to our immediate capabilities.

There are issues that will take generations to solve, of course, the action processes can start today, starting with us, but leaders will have to pass on this flag of responsibility to our children, and our children’s children. There’s only this much we can do today, in the present. So it’s important to calibrate our confidence and there are limits to our immediate capabilities.

It’s the hard truth, isn’t it?

Branding = Positioning, Positioning, Positioning.

In Communications Strategy, Reputation Management on September 7, 2011 at 11:40

The realtor marketing properties would tell you that it’s all about Location, Location, Location. Drawing reference to that, in PR / MarComm terms, we ought to perceive branding / reputation management in terms of Positioning, Positioning, Positioning of People, Services and Organisation.Get this formula right, and it’s route 66 to the tune of the Forbes / Fortune listings.

Why is this important? Because you’ve giving potential stakeholders good opportunities to deeply understand what you represent, and to what extent you can deliver their specific needs, focusing your persuasion at every nook and cranny, from your People, your Services, and your Organisation. So here’s the beef:

“Service” Positioning – I think the key question here on a client’s mind is,”will it work?” Remember, stakeholders and pitching their resources in the open, looking for the best bang for the buck, so your services must, in no uncertain terms, convince them on why you are Faster, Better or Cheaper, as compared to your competitors. Give them a comparison, help them make objective decisions. If you can provide technical specification variances, good. If you can get other client endorsement, better still, since a majority of people believe more in 3rd party endorsement rather than advertising. I love BLENDTEC‘s “Will It Blend” series of viral social media videos on its shocking blending prowess – from golf balls to iPads (RIP). I’m 100% persuaded of its functionality. No doubt. Therefore, in service positioning, its all about the efficiency / effectiveness model, use the Faster, Cheaper, Better pitch, it’s likely to get you quite a fair mileage on persuasion points.

“People” Positioning – Credibility is key, because stakeholders need to know whether you’ve the right level of expertise and knowledge and skills to manage their issues / challenges. And we’re not talking merely about what academic / employment histories you have, but rather, how have you solved challenges in the past? Stakeholders want to be confident about you as a credible choice, they want to know if you can give them the “Aha” moments.

So having an Ivy League degree may sound good, working for Fortune 500 companies starts to raise eyebrows, but converting $20,000 in startup capital to annual revenues exceeding half a billion, from selling household water filters to present day global environmental solutions from Algeria to India is another. The lattermost case is none other than Hyflux Ltd. It says Olivia Lum, its CEO turn companies around, it says she bring value to shareholders, it screams CREDIBILITY. So the next time you assemble a team of folks to snag that $100 million contract, don’t forget to put your people first, share how they have, and can deliver value to stakeholders.

“Organizational” Positioning: Lastly, organisation. This point articulates the “integrative” elements of your organisation which combines the human talent / expertise, and professional service capabilities, all under one roof. It about giving stakeholders good reasons to form perceptions that you are a reliable partner of choice, because you harness the ability to synchronise your value proposition and resources that best delivers their needs. Again, endorsements are always good persuasion elements. Whether its former customers or employees, it adds up to a more compelling picture that you are indeed the right choice.

Branding is a thoroughly fundamental issue. Stakeholders are on the constant lookout for solutions that most effectively / efficient gets the job done. And by incorporating the 3 Positioning strategies on People, Services and Organization, you too, can reap the rewards of favorable brand equity and corporate reputation.

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