Sunday, November 18, 2012

Press Release: Public Relations Services for the Singapore Small and Medium Enterprise


CW Fong & Associates (CWFA) is pleased to announce the expansion of their services to include Public Relations (PR) Services for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Speaking about the move, CWFA’s Principal Consultant Justin Fong explained that it is a natural extension to CWFA’s current range of services.  “Since we were already focused on managing the crisis, or tail-end part of branding, moving up the value-chain allows us to better serve our clients.  We now not only protect, must also build and monitor our client’s brand and reputation.”
 
As testimony to the success of this move, Justin disclosed that since CWFA expanded their range of services in August 2012, CWFA has successfully signed on 12 new clients on retainers.
Simply put, “CWFA provides PR services for Small and Medium Enterprises. While other PR agencies focus on helping companies with big marketing budgets, CWFA specializes in helping the small business owner position and raise awareness of their product and services using traditional PR and social media tools.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Job Positions: Get Paid to Post on Facebook Pages

Do you know what the most common social media job is? It is something that people like you and I do when they first get started with social media jobs - posting comments on Facebook walls.

There are literally hundreds of businesses in Singapore that need to hire people on a part time basis to help manage their business Facebook accounts. With the know-how, you can earn hundreds a month working from anywhere in the world for as little as an hour a day. The best part is that you don't need any previous experience to get started because we give you all the training you need.

If you are interested to join this sunrise industry, email me at monetize@cwfongandassociates.com for more information.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Press Release: CW Fong & Associates' Collaboration with Executive Voice Coach Cynthia Zhai

CW Fong & Associates is pleased to announce our collaboration with Cynthia Zhai to bring her series of voice and presentation tips to the fans of CW Fong & Associates' Facebook clients.

"Cynthia is an Executive Voice Coach, Speaker and Trainer.  She has helped executives and senior managers from MNCs develop their influential voice that speaks with authority and impact, engages and inspires people to embrace change and take action.

Designed with the objective of providing user-centric information, Facebook Fans of IASO Skin Care, Ascendant Assets and Mountbatten Community Club can look forward to receiving Cynthia's powerful tips on speaking more effectively.

For more information on Cynthia's programmes or how CW Fong & Associates can help you build and manage your organization's Facebook community, do visit the following links:

CW Fong & Associates: eMail ourPrincipal Consultant at justin@cwfongandassociates.com

Friday, August 17, 2012

Press Release: Bringing "A Pondering Thought" to More People

CW Fong & Associates is pleased to announce our collaboration with Arbinger South-East Asia to share their "a pondering thought" series with the fans of CW Fong & Associates' Facebook clients.

Arbinger South-East Asia's "a pondering thought" series are weekly questions posed to challenge readers to reflect on the way they live their lives.  At its essence, the questions are designed to help individuals (and organizations) to think differently so as solve their deepest, most difficult and persistent people problems.

Designed with the objective of providing user-centric information, Facebook Fans of IASO Skin Care, Ascendant Assets and Mountbatten Community Club can look forward to receiving these thought-provoking and insightful questions shortly.  It is CW Fong & Associates' as well as Arbinger South-East Asia's hope that we can help people live more fulfilled lives.

For more information on Arbinger's programmes or how CW Fong & Associates can help you build and manage your organization's Facebook community, do visit the links below:

www.facebook.com/arbingersea
www.facebook.com/cwfongandassociates


*****

A pondering thought ... "People respond primarily to the way we FEEL toward them."

This principle of life is widely overlooked, but universally true. More important than our knowledge, our skills, or our education, is simply our goodness - the quality of our hearts and our souls. That is why the best parents can make mistakes every day and still be successful. It is not their clumsiness that their children notice so much; it is their goodness, their devotion, their affection, their honest effort, and their love. ~ The Arbinger Institute

*****

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Facebook Promotion for IASO Skin Care and Krusell

Krusell iPAD Case Up for Grabs!!!

CW Fong & Associates is in the final stages of confirming the joint promotion with IASO Skin Care and Krusell. Stay tuned for your chance to win.

Increase your chances!  'Like' the following pages so that you will be the first to know when the promotion starts.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Our Public Relations (PR) Framework - Build, Manage and Protect

CW Fong & Associates recognise that businesses are bottom-line focused. As such, PR's role is to facilitate the sale of a company's good and services by creating a favourable perception of the company and its product and services.  To do this, we have developed a proprietary 3-prong strategy of building monitoring and protecting.
CW Fong & Associates' PR Framework

BuildingUnder this strategic thrust, there will be the two sub-thrusts of positioning the client and ensuring sustained and continuous awareness.

a.     Positioning.  In this sub-thrust, PR will set the context to facilitate the sale of the client’s product and services.  The PR plan will position the client according to its brand values.  This positioning will be achieved via the deliberate and nuanced communications of these values in everything the company “says” and “does”.

b.     Awareness.  In this second sub-thrust, awareness of the company’s product and services will be achieved via the use of collaterals and selected PR activities.  The desire outcome is to stretch the clients advertising dollar.


MonitoringIn view of a client’s vulnerability to negative press and social media mentions, monitoring of main stream media and social media mentions will result in the provision of weekly updates and monthly reports.  In this strategic thrust, the real time situational awareness of what is being said about the company will help identify trends for correction and exploitation, as well as enable the company to proactively respond and mitigate incidents before they develop into a crisis.


ProtectingIn this third strategic thrust, the PR consultancy will assist o protect the client’s brand value by providing strategic counsel on crisis management on a 24/7 basis.  Aside from strategic counsel, this thrust will equip the company with crisis communication capabilities by:

a.     People.  Training a core group of senior manager in crisis communications as well as equipping identified spokesperson with media interview/ management training.

b.     Process. Developing and instituting a business processes to ensure the prompt and effective management of incidents and crisis.  Included in sub-thrust will be the management of complaints and feedbacks.

c.     Policies.  The development of media communications guidelines for employees.  This is not limited only to main stream media, but the use of social media.


If you believe that your organization's PR plan is not achieveing its desired results, do contact our Principal Consultant at justin@cwfongandassociates.com for a no-obligation discussion.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Successful Facebook Strategy: Mountbatten Community Club Achieves a ratio of 51.8%

CW Fong & Associates recently started working on Mountbatten Community Club (MBCC) Facebook strategy. 

Starting with a fan base of 120, through the delivery of user-centric information, CW Fong& Associates has slowly grown the fan base to 139 (or +15%).  What is the most amazing is that we have achieved an engagement percentage of 51.8% (139 Fans x 72 'Talking About it' = Engagement Ratio of 51.8%).




As I always tell my clients, it is not only about the number of fans you have, but the level of engagement you have with them.  The former with latter is useless.

Thus, if your social media strategy is not getting the results you want, do contact our Principal Consultant at
justin(a)cwfongandassociates.com for a no-obligation audit of your existing social media strategy.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Social Media Tip: Facebook Affinity is the Key to Effective Fan Engagement

CW Fong & Associates is pleased to announce the successfully launch of a Facebook Competition for Mountbatten Community Club.  The objective of the competition is to build "affinity" amongst the Club's current fan base.

Within 2 hours of the launch, the campaign garnered 190 Views, 4 Comments and 2 New Fan 'likes'.



As mentioned at many of my Talks, a large fan alone is insufficient to effectively reach out to your target market.  The key is the development of "affinity" as this factor determines whether your fans actually see your posts.  Statistically, for most organizations without a proper social media strategy that builds affinity, less than 2% of their Facebook Fans eventually see their posts.

CW Fong & Associates' Social Media Framework works!  If you are looking for a cost effective and efficient way to build your organization's social media presence, do contact our Principal Consultant at justin@cwfongandassociates.com.

Monday, July 23, 2012

People's Association Mastering Social Networks Workshop


Our Principal Consultant, Justin Fong, delivered a Talk to over 200 Grassroots Leaders from the People's Association on 17 July 2012.  The Talk focused on how non-profit organizations can (a) use freemiums to build a social media presence and monitor and track sentiments; and (b) use CW Fong & Associate's proprietary SCAER Framework to manage negative blog postings or online mentions.

One key takeaway shared at the Talk was the three elements that all successful organizational Facebook pages shared - wide demographics, user-centric and multiple platforms.

Wide Demographics.  Justin shared that most Community Clubs' Facebook page were too narrowly scoped.  As such, they only appeal to a small demographics which then makes it hard to build a large fan base.  Increasing their Fan base was thus as simple as expanding the scope of their page.

User-Centric.  Next, citing research by the Social Media Examiner which showed that people like an organization's Facebook page to show affiliation to the organization, stayed informed of the organization's activities and get updates on future activities.  Justin then reminded the participants that their page should focus on offering value to their Fans.  Aside from functioning as an electronic billboard, the pages should push out useful information to the Fans.

Multiple Platforms.  Explaining that different social media platforms appealed to different demographics and that different platforms were more suited for different engagements, Justin shared that successful organization also engaged their Fans via Twitter, Blogspot and Youtube.  He then urged the Grassroots Leaders to use the multiple of platforms out there to develop an integrated engagement communications/ engagement channel.

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If you find the information useful and would like to know how CW Fong & Associates can help your company establish a social media presence, contact our Principal Consultant at justin@cwfongandassociates.com.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Social Media Marketing and the Importance of Page Ranking

A leaked report from AOL’s search engine logs shows the following click-through rates based on a site's position on a search engine's page:

Page One
- The first ranking position in the search results receives 42.25% of all click-through traffic
- The second position receives 11.94%
- Third position on the first page obtains 8.47%
- The fourth placed position on page one receives 6.05%
- The others on the first page are under 5% of click through traffic
- In total, page one receives 89.71% of all click-through traffic

Page Two
- Page two receives a total of 4.37% of all click-through traffic

Page Three
- Page three receives a total of 2.42% of all click-through traffic

In fact, some studies have shown that 92% of all buying decisions start with an online search.  So if your organization is not yet optimized for the era of social media, you are missing out on one crucial aspect of your marketing plan.

To find out how CW Fong & Associates' proprietary Social Media Trinity can help you achieve good page rankings in a cost-effective and efficient manner, contact our Principal Consultant justin@cwfongandassociates.com.

Monday, June 25, 2012

How to Create an Acceptable Use Policy on Facebook


Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)


As follow-up to my earlier posting on the Management of Offensive Posts on Facebook, I have been asked how and where to post the AUP on Facebook.  Use your Notes App and the AUP will appear as shown in the screenshot on your organization's wall.


For your convenience, I have extracted the following from Facebook's Help Center:

To access the Notes application

Click Notes in the applications menu on the left side of the Home Page. You may have to click More to expand the applications menu if you do not immediately see the notes application listed. You can also search for notes in the search bar at the top of the page.

To write a note, please take the following steps
  1. Go to the Home Page.
  2. Click "Notes" in the applications menu on the left side of the page. You may have to click "More" to expand the applications menu if you do not immediately see "Notes" listed. Alternatively, type "Notes" into the search box at the top of the page and follow the link that appears.
  3. Click the "Write a New Note" button located at the top right side of the page.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to write your note. To control who can see your note, use the drop-down privacy menu near the bottom of the page.
  5. When you're done writing, click "Publish" to generate a story about your note and save the note in your My Notes section.



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Social Media Tip: Management of Offensive Facebook Posting

In a recent discussion with a client on establishing a social media presence on Facebook, they expressed concern over how to deal with Trolls and their fear of reprisal if they deleted offensive comments.

I shared with the management team that deleting offensive comments is not only correct but acceptable if the rules of engagement were established upfront.

This is where the organization needed to establish an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) governing the management of postings on the organization's wall. Once the AUP has been established, any breaches of these rules will then give the organization the prerogative to delete the post. The only suggestion I have for the organization is not to complete delete the offending post, but to replace it with a statement saying that "a post by <user> was deleted as it had breached the rules established in the AUP." This statement is important as it will then limit accusations of censorship.

For a sample of a generic AUP which you can use for your organization, please refer to the following ...

CW Fong & Associates welcomes all comments on our wall. We want to hear from our fans about what they think about our work and achievements.

As a fan of CW Fong & Associates, you are welcome to express your views, comments, ideas, insights, and criticisms about us. At the same time, fans should show courtesy and respect to others and must not use the wall to abuse others, expose others to offensive or inappropriate content, or for any illegal purpose.

When using our wall, please ensure that you:

protect your personal privacy and that of others by not including personal information of either yourself or of others in your posts to the wall (for example, names, email addresses, private addresses or phone numbers)
• represent your own views and not impersonate or falsely represent any other person
• do not be abusive, harass or threaten others
• do not make defamatory or libellous comments
• do not use insulting, provocative or hateful language
• do not use obscene or offensive language
• do not post material to the wall that infringes the intellectual property rights of others
• do not post multiple versions of the same view to the wall or make excessive postings on a particular issue
• do not promote commercial interests in your posts to the wall
• do not include internet addresses or links to websites, or any email addresses in your post to the wall.
CW Fong & Associates reserves the right to enforce this Acceptable Use Policy at its discretion, and may remove any posted messages that it considers to be in breach of the Policy.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Online Poll: Journalist Use of Social Media

Dear Journalist,

CW Fong & Associates is a boutique communications firm specialising in crisis communications in the era of social media. As part of our on-going efforts to provide useful information to the PR community at large, we conduct regular surveys/ straw-polls to better understand the online community.

One assertion we have is that social media is shifting the balance of power between social media and main stream media. We therefore seek your help to complete this short survey (
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/C6X3FZP) so that we can drive some form of empirical data to either support or disprove our assertion.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Justin
Principal Consultant

Friday, June 22, 2012

Survey on Use of Social Media: Primary Source of News

As part of my CW Fong & Associates' on-going research of social media, I recently conducted a straw-poll to determine how the average Singaporean receives news.

Not surprisingly, the poll confirmed my assertion that 63.2% primary source of news is the Internet.  What is also interesting is that 57.9% check for news "a few times a day" and, of those polled, none relied on radio for the news.


The main lesson derived from this straw-poll is that Social Media is an important component of any crisis communications plan. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Social Media Marketing Singapore

On the internet, obtaining top Search Engine Ranking for your company's website is equivalent to having your store on prime real estate.  This is because high traffic translates into a higher probability of making a sale.

CW Fong & Associates' Social Media Marketing Services helps small and medium enterprises (SME) to effectively achieve high search engine ranking in the shortest time possible.  Based on our proprietary Social Media Trinity Framework, each social media platform works in synergy to maximise its reach and effect.

Appended is proof of the effectiveness of our Social Media Trinity Framework ...

The primary keyword phrase selected for optimizing was "crisis communications singapore" and CW Fong & Associates has achieved significantly high rankings across the major search engines.  With that as the base, CW Fong & Associates is now entering Phase II and expanding our keywords to optimise for "social media marketing singapore" and "social media consultant singapore".


If you are serious about establishing your company's social media presence, do contact our Principal Consultant at justin@cwfongandassociates.com for a no obligation discussion.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Launch: Social Media Survival Guide for Organizations in Singapore

With Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Mr Teo Ser Luck at the InfoCommUnity Convention 2012 held on 21 May 2012. The photo represents the day's panelists as well as those who had co-authored the book "Social Media Survival Guide for Organizations in Singapore."

CW Fong & Associates' Principal Consultant is on the extreme left of the photo
Cover of the Social Media Survival Guide for Organizations in Singapore


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: DQO - Digital Quotient for Organizations ................................. 11
CASE STUDY: Project One More Thing ................................................... 24
Chapter 2: Social Media and the Law in Singapore .................................... 29
Chapter 3: Social Media and Crisis Management ....................................... 35
SCAER Tool ................................................................................... 40
Chapter 4: SEO - Search Engine Optimization .......................................... 44


For purchase enquiry, please contact justin@cwfongandassociates.com or philip@gridmms.com.

A Case for Social Media Monitoring in Singapore

In a recent training discussion with the PR Manager of a local Voluntary Welfare Organization (VWO), the PR Manager questioned my "over-emphasis" on the need to monitor social media. She justified her position by citing the influence of Main Stream Media over Social Media.

I replied that while I agreed with her that Main Stream Media was still seen as the more credible, Social Media's influence was growing and was likely at the Tipping Point.  To support my view, I cited reports by (a) the UK's The Guardian that showed that most journalists use social media such as Twitter and Facebook as sources; and (b) the Social Media Examiner that showed how social media was being used by journalists to break newsIn fact, what usually starts out on social media posted by citizen journalists, often ends-up in the Main Stream Media.

Thus, given the "leading" nature of social media to drive news, active social media monitoring can provide organizations with an early warning of potential crisis.  Social Media monitoring, in the context of crisis management and communications, thus cannot be over-emphasised and is an integral part of the crisis management plan.


==================


CW Fong & Associates has put together a comprehensive system for SMEs to do their own social media monitoring via the use of freemiums.  To find out more, contact our Principal Consultant at justin@cwfongandassociates.com. 

Public Relations Course Singapore: Crisis Communications in the Era of Social Media (29 June 2012)

Many businesses have started acknowledging the impact Social Media has on its bottom line - especially in a crisis. Information has become as valuable as prime real estate where top search engine rankings and positive (or negative) reviews on influential blogs can have tremendous impact on a business' fortune.

In the era of social media, anybody can create and disseminate “news” contents. These “Citizen Journalists” can now rally stakeholder support as widely and as effectively as big budget news organisations. Couple this with the internet's ability to provide instantaneous news on a 24/7 basis, consolidated and indexed, social media has fundamentally altered the way individuals receive news and gather information. In this new information environment, information is now near instantaneous, ’perfect’ and communicated via multiple platforms.

In this new information environment, the nature of crisis communication has fundamentally changed. Traditional approaches are at best ineffective and, at worse, damaging. To effectively manage a crisis, businesses must understand the new information environment and use the appropriate approaches.

Join us for this 1-Day Workshop and learn the following:

  • understand social media's impact on crisis communications
  • understand the nature of a crisis
  • identifying Stakeholder issues/ concerns
  • learn how to develop Themes and Messages
  • use frameworks to manage a crisis – Attribution Theory
  • use framework to manage negative blog postings or online Mentions – SCAER
  • understand the Singapore media environment and the Media’s ’agendas’
  • learn how to deliver your message in a media interview
  • learn how to handle “sensitive” questions during a media interview

  • For more information, contact us via anna [a] cwfongandassociates .com

    Saturday, June 16, 2012

    The Singapore Police Force Responds to Online Comments: The New Normal?

    In response to online photos showing Ms Esther Goh (one of the one of the women named in the sex-for-deal corruption case involving former Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) commissioner Peter Lim Sin Pan) posing with police commissioner Ng Joo Hee, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) has issued a statement on their Facebook page clarifing that Mr Ng is "not acquainted" with Ms Goh.
     
    The SPF's response is significant as this is a deviation from previous government policies not to respond to online comments.  I am glad to see that the SPF has recognised that social media can drive public opinion and that they have taken the neccessary steps. In the era of social media, communications must be open, timely, 100% truthful, broadly communicated and internet present.

    Thumbs up for the PR Team at the SPF.

    Friday, June 15, 2012

    A PR Professional's Dilemma

    In the early stages of a crisis, the main focus of the PR Professional is to determine if the incident will become a crisis. This assessment is crucial as it will then guide management's decision on the appropriate response to initiate.

    The importance of the appropriate response cannot be understated as both over and under-reactions can negatively impact the company. In the former, if the company goes into full crisis management and communication mode to be ahead of the incident, the company may inadvertently create a crisis where one was not in the making. In the case of the latter, if the company under-reacts and is slow in responding to an incident that eventually becomes a crisis, the company risks being put on the defensive. This is a disadvantaged position as the company's ability to protect its image and reputation will be then greatly diminished (See Diagram 1).

    Diagram 1: Crisis Response Matrix

    So what can a company do when it is faced with an ambiguous incident?

    My advise to clients is to issue a scaled response acknowledging and providing factual information about the incident. This is because a scaled response will allow the company to hedge itself against the negative outcomes of Quadrant B and C. Let me explain (See Diagram 2):


    Diagram 2: Effectiveness of a Scaled Response

    Quadrant A. In this scenario, the PR Professional had correctly identified the incident as an incident and the company responded appropriately. Here, a mere statement of fact will not change the nature of the incident and turn it into a crisis. On the contrary, in the perfect information environment (where nothing will remain hidden forever), issuing a scaled response will ensure that the company's side of the story is told.

    Quadrant D. In this scenario, the PR Professional once again correctly identified the crisis as a crisis and the company responded appropriately. The scaled response issued by the company will then form the “holding line” and the statement will also give the company the information initiative while concurrently establishing itself as primary source of information on the developing crisis. This response will once again position the company to deal effectively with the crisis.

    Quadrant B. In this scenario, the PR Professional wrongly assessed the crisis as an incident and the company failed to act. In this scenario, issuing a scaled response will effectively pre-empt opposing stakeholders from fanning the crisis by accusing the company of having something to hide. Once again, a scaled response will perform the role of a "holding line" allowing the company time to react and deal with the crisis.

    Quadrant C. In this final scenario, the PR Professional once again wrongly assesses an incident as a crisis. Similar to Scenario A, a mere statement of fact will not change the nature of the incident and turn it into a crisis and a scaled response will ensure that the company's side of the story is told.

    Hence, as the above matrix demonstrates, the best approach for any company to adopt in an ambiguous situation is to issue a scaled response as it hedges them whichever way it turns out.

    Friday, June 8, 2012

    CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

    During a recent business trip a developing country, I had the good fortune to meet with one of the leading crisis consultant of the country.  During our discussion, the topic of crisis communications strategy and techniques came up and he shared that in his country, crisis communications did not depend on fancy strategy or techniques, but was about often about greasing the palms of key personnel in the media and government.

    While I agreed with him that in countries where the government had strict control of the media this was currently possible, I highlighted to him that the proliferation of social media was changing this.  This is because social media creates citizen journalism which in turns minimizes the influence of a single editor or government official s over the news.

    To illustrate, one only needs to understand the role the internet played in Syrian crisis.  Developed in the 1969, the Internet began as ARPAnet and was structured to be the computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter.  ARPAnet (the grandfather of the Internet) was intended to protect the flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol).  This geographical separation eliminated any single point of failure and ensured that information continued to flow uninterrupted. With this as a design structure, it is therefore impossible for anyone to effectively control the Internet.

    I thus concluded by sharing that while it is possible for crisis consultants to manage a crisis in his country via traditional means, I think it will be impossible once the level of social media use in his country reaches the proverbial tipping point.

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    COMPLIMENTARY TALK ON THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS

    In line with CW Fong & Associates' mission to build and protect the reputations of oganizations, we are pleased to extend an open offer to conduct a 1-hour complimentary talk on Crisis Communications in the Era of Social Media for your organization.

    The talk will cover (a) the new information environment; (b) its impact on how organizations should deal with their publics; and (c) what are the essential elements of a communications plan.

    If you are keen to take us up on this offer, do drop our Principal Consultant an email at justin@cwfongandassociates.com.

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

    Tone in Communication

    In David J. Lieberman's book "You Can Read Anyone", the author explained that a person wrongly accused will instinctively go on the offensive, while someone who is guilty will become defensive. This working understanding of human behaviour is an important skill set for the PR Professional as it will be an essential consideration when advising their client on the appropriate "tone" to adopt in a crisis communication situation.

    The importance of adopting the "correct tone" was clearly illustrated in the Brad Lau saga when Brad responded to allegations against him in a "calm and objective manner" (http://cwfong.blogspot.com/2010/08/brad-lau-saga_24.html). This response is uncharacteristic of an innocent person (as supported by David Lieberman's research), and thus worked immensely against Brad in his efforts to contain the crisis.

    In addition, a communication study by Albert Mehrabian has shown that a lot of communication comes through non-verbal communication and when we are unsure about words and when we trust the other person less, we pay more attention to what we hear and see.

    PR Professionals must therefor be cognizant that in a crisis situation, stakeholders are actively trying to determine the truth. Stakeholders will then scrutinise every news release and media moment in search of clues to assess the truthfulness of the company's statements and the credibility of the company spokesperson. Incongruency in body language and actions taken will discredit the spokesperson and any message that the crisis communicator is trying to deliver.

    In short, in a crisis communication situation, PR Professionals must not only ensure the accuracy and appropriateness of the words used but also the "tone". This is because the unspoken word is as important, if not more, than the spoken ones.

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    Reputation Management: Underage Sex Scandal Singapore

    In court cases, the first (and natural) instinct of those being prosecuted is to hide from the media.  This is done with the hope of keeping ones’ picture and name from being publicized so as to protect ones’ reputation.

    While the “hiding” approach is a viable option in some court cases, it is unfortunately not applicable in high-profile cases when media interest is intense.  In high-profile court cases, the media is likely to provide extensive coverage and reporters will pursue any and all leads to scoop the story.  Under these circumstances, it is inevitable that the accused’s name and picture will be revealed and my advice to clients is to fight their natural instinct to hide and go on the offensive.

    Taking the offensive will provide the client the following 2 advantages:

    a.            Dictate and Frame the Story.  By going on the offensive, the client gets to dictate the time and place of the story.  This is important as the client can choose a favorable time to tell his story.  Additionally, but coming forward, the client will be able to choose a “sympathetic” reporter who will then enable the client to more effectively tell his side of the story.  In contrast, if the client avoids the media, the media will report whatever they can uncover including inaccuracies that may be detrimental to the client.

    b.            Position for Post-Trial.  In some court cases, the client’s reputation will be damaged no matter what the legal outcome.  In such cases, I advise client to set aside their desire to protect their current reputation, and to focus on developing a new post-trial reputation.  Using the underage sex scandal as an example, seeking continued employment post-trial is a definite priority.  To do this, the client humanize themselves by portraying themselves as persons of character who made a mistake.  Former principal Lee Lip Hong’s and Howard Shaw’s decision to admit their mistake, take their punishment and move on with their lives earned the respect of many and the positive spin will, in my opinion, facilitate their reintegration into society.

    In short, protecting ones’ reputation in a court case is sometimes not about hiding from the media.  In circumstances where hiding from the media is not an option, going on the offensive is a better strategy than waiting for the proverbial other shoe to fall.

    Saturday, May 19, 2012

    Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses (Singapore)

    Social Media has levelled the playing field.  In the era of social media, savvy use of social media will enable any small business to compete on an equal footing against any multi-national corporation.  Big advertising budgets is no longer a strategic marketing edge as the cost per byte on cyberspace is the same to everyone.

    CW Fong & Associates has developed its own unique Social Media Trinity Framework and has helped numerous organizations (both profit and non-profit) in Singapore to establish their presence in social media.  The key differentiator of CW Fong & Associates' Framework is our focus on not only delivering quality traffic, but traffic that is self-sustaining.

    Cognizant of the limited financial resources that entrepreneurs have, CW Fong & Associates is prepared to grow with you.  As such, our social media marketing services starts from an affordable $300/ month*.  For a brief introduction to Framework, visit our blog site.

    For a no-obligation discussion, contact our Principal Consultant at justin@cwfongandassociates.com.

    (*A minimum 6 month contract applies)

    Singapore Elections: Hougang By-Election 2012

    The Hougang by-election provides another classic example on the need to thoroughly understand your target audience.  This is because selected themes and messages can only be effective against a "vulnerability."  For example, offering a target audience something he does not need or want will not motivate him to do what you want.

    The following is my quick analysis of the likely effect of the People's Action Party (PAP) and Worker's Party's (WP) election themes and messages ...

    PAP Theme/ Message. The PAP's strategy is to exploit the WP's success in the last GE where the WP won a GRC - this has put substantially more "opposition" in Parliament. As such, the PAP is adopting a theme targeting the self-interest of Hougang residents by "localising" it (i.e. not about having an opposition in Parliament as the WP already has a GRC) and making it about "meeting the needs of residents."

    Target Audience Assessment. Using the outcome of the Potong Pasir elections as a reference to understand voter psyche, voters are primarily driven by self-interest. They are however willing to vote opposition if the opposition candidate is (a) credible; and (b) can meet the needs of residents provided it is not too far off the norm (norm defined as the perceived benefits of being a PAP ward). This willingness to accept slightly less than PAP wards is balanced by voters desire for an alternative voice in parliament.

    Assessment of WP Theme/ Message. My assessment is that WP is continuing with the age old theme of "being a bastion" for democracy. The danger with this theme/ message is that one of the main conditions which prompted Hougang voters to vote opposition in the previous GE is no longer present. In the last GE, it was commonly believed that the WP had a slim chance of winning a GRC. Hence, Hougang residents continued to vote WP to ensure that at least the WP would be in parliament. Now that WP has a GRC, this need is no longer there and self-interest is likely to prevail.

    I believe that the PAP has correctly identified that this election will be won by the candidate who can best meet the needs of residents as the issue of democracy is no longer on the table. For WP to win, my believe is that the WP's primary platform must focus on the self-interest of voters with democracy being a secondary theme. As such, I believe the more effective Theme/ Messages for the WP is to focus on (a) demonstrating how Hougang is on par with or better than the PAP-held wards; and (b) play up the familiarity of the WP with Hougang and hence the WP's ability to meet the needs of the residents. The latter message not only counters the PAP's message, but also plays into basic psychology where people are generally resistant to change.

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

    Follow Us on Facebook

    If you like what you read here, stay up to date with our latest thoughts in Crisis Communications in the Era of Social Media.



    Friday, April 27, 2012

    Social Media Tip: Strategy for Small and Medium Enterprises

    In my conversations with prospective clients, I am often asked how to effectively build a social media presence.  When I ask for a quick overview of their existing social media strategy, I am often amazed that they are (a) solely dependent on search engine optimization for traffic; (b) there is no synergistic action between their social media platforms; and (c) there is a lack of understanding of the strengths and limitations of each platform.

    In this blog posting, I would like to share with our readers CW Fong & Associates’ Social Media “Trinity” Framework.  This is a Framework we successfully used to help our clients.  The key strengths of this Framework is that it is low cost and can be done with in-house capabilities which makes it ideal for the small and medium enterprises.

    The “trinity” essentially capitalizes on the strengths of the various platforms, the way search engine operates and how people search for information and stay connected with the world.  At present, Facebook is the dominant social media platform in the word with over 600 million users and statistics showing that about half of these users logged-on on any given day.  As such, at CW Fong & Associates, we advocate that Facebook be designated as the primary engagement platform for our clients.  (See Diagram below)

    Social Media Strategy

    Once Facebook has been established as the primary engagement platform, the next step is to build the organization’s fan base.  Besides enabling you to “converse” with and hence engage your fans, building your fan base is also important as this will then form a sort of electronic direct mailing list for you to promote your organizations product and services.   Unfortunately, search engines do not index and rank Facebook posts and the only way to build fans is to redirect them from a feeder source.

    This is where blogs come in.  Well written blogs which comprise selected key-words will usually be ranked high by search engines like google and yahoo.  As web searches is now the preferred way for people to learn more about a product or service, a higher page ranking will translate into higher impressions and conversely higher click-through rates.

    Now, this is the tricky part.  As search engines have a complicated algorithm to determine what is relevant, it may take some time for your blog postings to be ranked high.  Fortunately, the readership of your blog pages plays a part in determining page ranking and this is where the final part of the Social Media “trinity” comes into play.

    Twitter is immediate.  It is not affected by search engine filtering and anything you post will be broadcast.  A well composed tweet with a link to your blog posting can generate tremendous viewership.  Thus, regular tweets promoting your blog page will increase its perceived relevance to search engines which will in turn increase your page ranking, which will then increase the number of views to your blog page and consequently the number of people who will be invited to join your Facebook page.  You get the picture.

    There you have it - CW Fong & Associates’ Social Media Trinity for increasing the social media presence of any organization.  Simple, effective and low-cost.

    (Note: This is the basic framework which you can consider employing for your organization.  We have however not revealed everything and if you find what we have useful, I hope you will give us a chance to work with you.  Our social media marketing services starts from an affordable $300/ month*.  For a no-obligation discussion, contact our Principal Consultant at justin@cwfongandassociates.com.)

    (*A minimum 6 month contract applies)

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

    Social Media Communications and Management Training

    CW Fong & Associates is pleased to announce the introduction of their latest in-house workshop.  Based on client feedback, this programme is designed to equip organizations with the necessary knowledge to (a) safely establish a Social Media presence while (b) preparing it to manage any possible issues/ incidents that may arise.

    Appended below is the course outline.

    For enquiries, please contact our Principal Consultant at justin@cwfongandassociates.com.

    1-DAY SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS AND MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP
    1.         Social Media and its Impact on the Information Environment (1 hour)

    This module will highlight how social media has changed the information environment in which organizations now operate.  It will explain why organization cannot continue to avoid having a social media presence and what organizations must do to capitalize on it while protecting themselves in this domain.

    2.         Social Media Platforms 101 (1 hour)

    This module will provide participants an overview of the key platforms used by stakeholders.  The module will explain the strengths and weaknesses of each platform and give participants an insight into how they can use the social media “trinity” to build their organization’s social media presence.

    3.         Brand/ Employee Ambassador (1 hour)

    Organizations currently frown on their employees using social media.  This is a mistake as employees are a ready, credible and powerful source with which to engage your stakeholders. This module will share with participants how the best companies use employee ambassadors as well as teach participants how to establish social media usage policies for their own organizations.

    4.         DIY Social Media Monitoring (1 hour)

    Once an organization has taken the step to be online, social media monitoring is an important component of that strategy.  For smaller companies, the use of professional media monitors is not only unnecessary, but a waste of money.  This module will teach participants how they can set-up their own social media monitoring capability using free online tools.

    5.         Managing Negative Online Mentions (2 hours)

    With or without an online presence, your organization will receive negative online mentions.  This module will teach participants a simple but powerful framework with which to analyze the mention, determine its impact on your stakeholders and the possible “text-box” response you can take.

    6.         Use of Social Media in Crisis Management (2 hours)

    Participants will be taught a crisis management framework and how to develop theme and messages.  Participants will then go through an exercise to develop a crisis communications plan incorporating the use of social media as a communication channel.

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    Social Media Tip: Develop your Narrative

    In a recent meeting with a client, CW Fong & Associates was asked by a client on what they should post on their organization's Facebook page.

    Our advice was to start with the development of a narrative i.e. what is the "story" you want to tell about your organization. Once they had the narrative as the proverbial compass, deciding what to post, what not to post and even the angle of each post would become self-evident.

    In fact, at CW Fong & Associates, we believe that all PR (including crisis communications and reputation management) begins with having a strategic narrative in mind.

    Monday, April 23, 2012

    The Mobile Show - 25th to 27th April 2012

    Internet Trolls - To Attack, Defend or Ignore

    Our Principal Consultant, Justin Fong, will be speaking at The Mobile Show held at Suntec Exhibition and Convention Centre Singapore on 25 April 2012.



    Sunday, April 22, 2012

    In Polite and Vehement Objection to 'Singaporeans Too Weak? LOL' - For all our NSFs/NSmen past, present, future.

    The insensitive comment posted by Zheng Huiting about the unfortunately death of PTE Lee Rui Feng Dominique Sarron had angered many who are, who have and who will one day don the uniform and heed the call of National Service.

    As was customary, many in the service quietly seethed in anger and remained silent as speaking-out without proper approval was against the rules.  Fortunately, there was one brave officer who felt strongly enough over the ingratitude of the citizen(s) for which PTE Lee paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Attached in the link which Choy Yongcong wrote on his Facebook page.

    The resultant outpouring of support by netizens for Choy Yongcong's posting and the recognition of the sacrifices of PTE Lee (and of those who have fallen before him) have silenced critiques the likes of Zheng Huiting.  The overwhelming favorable response by netizens in support of Choy and PTE Lee does not surprise me as I have always believed that no one can tell the story better than those that live it.  As such, I have always been an advocate of the use of employees as brand ambassadors.

    If the Singapore Armed Forces or another other organizations need proof on the effectiveness of employee ambassadors, I think this is it.  






    Saturday, April 14, 2012

    CW Fong & Associates: About Us

    MANAGEMENT CONSULTING

    Organizations employ external consultants for a variety of reasons. Chief among them would be for the consultants specialized knowledge in domains which the organization either does not have, or does not require to keep at such an in-depth level. Additionally, the consultants' “outsider” status and perceived objectivity makes it easier for the managment to break-down resis...
    tance and align key stakeholders. Coupled with the management consultants' exposure to a large number of organizations (and range of industries), management consultants are well suited to share business best practices to help the client move the organization forward.

    OUR EDGE

    At CW Fong & Associates, our strengths are in Crisis Communication and Corporate Leadership Training. What sets us apart from other Singapore consulting firms is our firm belief in thought leadership and our associates and us commit no less than 20% of our time to doing research and writing on key issues that impact our areas of specializations. As a consultancy, we endeavour to be the “big fish in the small pond”. In engaging us, you can therefore be assured that no one else is better qualified than us in our chosen areas of specialization.

    Saturday, April 7, 2012

    Crisis Communications Seminar: Internet Trolls - To Attack, Defend or Ignore

    In collaboration with COMAT Training Services, CW Fong & Associates will be sharing a possible framework which organizations can adopt to manage negative online mentions or blog postings.  Join us on 20th April 2012.

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    Public Relations Workshop: Crisis Communications in the Era of Social Media (Public Run) 18 May 2012

    Social Media has fundamentally changed in the information environment in which we operate.  Crisis communications strategies that do not reflect the new environment are at best ineffective, and at worse disastrous.  This 1-Day workshop is designed for for Managers and PR Professionals who are responsible for the reputation and brand of their company. 

    Who Should Attend

    This course is designed for Managers who are responsible for the reputation and brand of their company.

    What I Will Learn

    At the end of the 1-day workshop, participants will:
    • understand social media's impact on crisis communications
    • understand the nature of a crisis
    • identifying Stakeholder issues/ concerns
    • learn how to develop Themes and Messages
    • use frameworks to manage a crisis – Attribution Theory
    • use framework to manage negative blog postings or online Mentions – SCAER
    • understand the Singapore media environment and the Media's 'agendas'
    • learn how to deliver your message in a media interview
    • learn how to handle “sensitive” questions during a media interview

    How I Will Learn

    During the workshop, participants will be trained using:
    • Multi-media Presentation
    • Group discussions
    • Discussions
    • Practicals (supported by video recording and play-back for debriefing and coaching where necessary)
    Trainer's Profile

    CW has extensive experience in the planning and execution of corporate/ crisis communications for the Singapore Armed Forces. In the span of his military career, CW has successfully led communication teams in major incidences and events, at both the national level and international levels, to protect the reputation of the Singapore Armed Forces and the Republic of Singapore.

    Besides being trained and certified by the Institute of Public Relations Singapore (IPRS) in Public Relations and Mass Communications, CW graduated top of his class in the United States Army's Psychological Operations Course. An Associate Member of the IPRS, CW contributes to the Institute's newsletter on topics related to crisis communications.

    As part of the US-based International Consortium for Organisational Resilience (ICOR) efforts to establish a base in Asia, CW is ICOR's only accredited trainer for the region. To stay current and professionally updated on developments in crisis communications, CW spends 20% of his time researching and writing on crisis communications for leading HR magazines, professional newsletters and his blog titled Crisis Communications in the Era of Social Media.

    As the former Head of the Singapore Armed Force's Information Support Branch, CW was responsible for the training of selected military officers in crisis communications during military operations. During his tour of duty, CW has successfully trained in excess of 1,000 personnel.


    Qualifications
    - Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, University of San Francisco
    - Certificate in Public Relations and Mass Communications, Institute of Public Relations, Singapore (IPRS)
    - Accredited Crisis Communications Planning Trainer, The International Consortium for Organisational Resilience
    - Distinguished Honor Graduate, US Psychological Operations Qualification Course
    - Certified Arbinger Facilitator for Leadership and Self-Deception, Arbinger SEA
    - Accredited Human Resource Professional, Singapore Human Resource Institute

    Experience
    - Various appointments in the Singapore Armed Force's Army Information Centre including Head of the Information Support Branch
    - Head Media Team, Inaugural Youth Olympic Games 2010 Opening Ceremony
    - Deputy Head Information Team for SAF Humanitarian Assistance Support Group during the Indonesian Tsunami of 2004
    Others
    - Published writer with works on Crisis Communications featured in Human Resource Magazine, Professional Newsletters and blog (www.cwfong.blogspot.com)

    Workshop Fees are $580 and course is capped at max 10 participants. To sign-up, email me at justin@cwfongandassociates.com.