Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Insurers Offer Policies to Cover PR Crisis. Putting a Dollar Value to Reputation.

On  October 17, 2011 Ragan’s PR Daily published an article reporting that insurers are now offering policies to cover PR crisis.  This is an interesting development as it signals that an organisation’s reputation not only has a dollar value, but that it is worth spending money to protect.
I see this as a major step forward for the PR Profession which has been seen as a ‘good to have’.  With this development, PR’s tangible contribution to the organisation’s bottom-line will give it more clout in the Board Room and, hopefully, when instances call for strategies like “compensation” to retain customer loyalty after a crisis, more organisations will consider the merits of such a strategy.  A case in point is Research in Motion’s (RIM) recent decision to offer free applications to subscribers in the wake of last week's globe-spanning BlackBerry outages. 
To my fellow PR Professionals, the proverbial door is now open.  It is now up to us to show the C-Suites what PR can do and it is my hope that we can “up” our game such that every organization will eventually have a Chief Reputation Officer.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Singapore General Elections 2011: Not an Internet Election? Who are you kidding?

I read with great interest the recent findings of a joint survey by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) that suggests that Singapore's recent General Election was not an "Internet election".


According to the survey, “media consumption remained centred on traditional media such as television, newspapers and radio, with only about 30 per cent of respondents also looking at new media sites for election news during the GE period” and “only about one in three said they got information through social websites, but their media diet included mainstream sources too.”


A closer look at the numbers surveyed would reveal that only 2,000 people were polled. With such a small sample size, I do not find the survey findings reliable. This skepticism is based on an extract from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) 2011 survey on Internet and Mobile Phone Penetration Rates, published in The Straits Times on 9 July 2011. In that extract, it was reported that Mobile Phone (2G and 3G) penetration rate by population of 146.1%, Residential Wired Broadband penetration rate by households of 102.7% and Wireless Broadband penetration rate by population of 138.3%. With sure penetration into the lifestyles of Singaporeans, I find it counter-intuitive to say that the Internet did not play a major part in the election.


For example, as was highlighted by Mr Alex Au, who owns the "Yawning Bread" blog, the Internet allowed the raising of less well-known sentiments and, based on ground-swell, resulted in the mainstream media taking up the issues. Additionally, those 30% that obtained information from Social Media are likely to have shared their “discoveries” with family, friends and colleagues. Thus, the information from Social Media would have likely reached more people than the survey concluded.


I can only conclude from the survey numbers that, contrary to what the IPS and NTU wants us to think, this was indeed an Internet Election.


(If you can spare the time, I would appreciate if you can complete the following survey which I am conducting to determine the credibility level of wikipedia to new media users. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KN2YVJT)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Measurement of Effectiveness

I was speaking with a friend of mine (the editor of a company website) and he was sharing with me his current challenge of maintaining his team as his company is looking to cut head-count as the number of visitors to the company website has stagnated. Fortunately, or unfortunately, my friend's challenge is not unique. Companies are profit driven and cost-center adverse, and a business unit's Measure of Effectiveness (MOE) is determined by its assistance to the top-line or contribution to the bottom-line.

My response to my friend was as follows:

A company's website is like a magazine. Thus, depending on the size of the magazine's targeted demographics, the maximum possible number of visitors is “finite.” Similar to the print edition of Singapore bridal magazine, the maximum possible circulation in a given year is capped at the annual number of marriages. While I agree that there maybe some overlap with those getting married the following year, by and large the numbers will not vary much as someone who is already married or not about to get married is unlikely to purchase a bridal magazine.

I then asked my friend to consider if the visitor count had reached what I term “maximum saturation.” If it did and, he wanted to grow the number of visitors, he then had no alternative but to enlarge the targeted demographics. If this enlargement was not possible, my suggestion to him then was to be up-front with Management on their expectations for the company website. In the unfortunate event that Management was still unreasonable and determined that they wanted an increase in visitor numbers, my suggestion to him was to then add the root cause of MOE. In this instance, he then needed to move the company's focus away from visitor numbers as a MOE to others such as conversion rates or even “engagement” numbers.

My point is this, Perhaps in the past, when the Internet was nascent, visitor numbers was the appropriate MOE. Unfortunately, in the era of Social Media, where effective online marketing is now about “engaging” the customer, visitor numbers (aside from being capped by demographics) are no longer useful in determining effectiveness. In the era of Social Media, companies need to select and monitor more useful MOE such as conversion rates, engagement percentages and even referral rates.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Philippines Officials Photoshop Themselves into Typhoon Cleanup Photo

On 30 Sep 2011, officials from the Philippines Department of Public Works and Highways were embarrassed when a blogger discovered that they had Photoshopped three officials into a clean-up photo of Typhoon Nesat.

The blogger had apparently noticed that the picture "didn't appear quite right" and upon careful scrutiny realized that the three officials' (Undersecretary Romeo Momo, Director Rey Tagudando and District Engineer Mikunug Macud) images has been superimposed onto a scene to make it appear that they were assessing the damage of the typhoon.

More proof that we operate in a perfect information environment and that, as communicators, we need to be 100% truthful.

Please help: Petition for a UN Resolution for World Down Syndrome Day to become an Official Observance Day

A United Nations Resolution for World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) to become an official Observance day will be voted on in October 2011. Down Syndrome International is supporting this initiative which will make such a difference for people with Down syndrome, and we ask you to help us by signing our petition which will be presented to the UN 3rd Committee on 17 October 2011.

Here is the link to the petition http://www.ds-int.org/news/wdsd-petition.

Your support is much needed and very much appreciated!

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