Saturday, April 28, 2012

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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

(*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

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


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.


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.

- 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

- 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
- Published writer with works on Crisis Communications featured in Human Resource Magazine, Professional Newsletters and blog (

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

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Crisis Communications Humour: A strong case for Monitoring Social Media

This is a joke a client and I shared earlier today while discussing the importance of monitoring social media.

If Osama had been monitoring social media, he might still be alive today ...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lessons from SMRT Crisis Communications from Saw Phaik Hwa – Yellow Journalism

David Boey of Senang Diri fame, posted an interesting article on the handling of crisis communications by SMRT's Saw Phaik Hwa. In his article, David had the opportunity to interview Ms Saw and asked her why she said “people can board the train, it is whether they choose to?”

Ms Saw clarified that the quote was made during a conversation with a journalist three years ago, and it was in response to the journalist's comment that trains were getting crowded and that she could not even board one at 9 am. Ms Saw explained that she had disagreed with the journalist's comment and said “'cannot board at 9am? How can that be? You can choose to board if you want to.” Ms Saw's rationale for this statement was that 9 am was after the office hour peak hours and the trains were thus not as crowded. Unfortunately, the published quote appeared as “people can board the train, it is whether they choose to” and the exact context of the quote was not reported.  The quote attributed to the CEO made it appear that this comment applied to peak hour trains.

The key lesson for PR Professional is this. Record all your interviews and ask for corrections if you have been misquoted. This is especially critical in a crisis situation where accurate reporting of the facts are paramount. Sometimes, in their desire to scoop a story, a reporter may take liberty with your comments and, unless challenged, the damage can be unsurmountable.

I often quote in my workshops a similar lesson that the late Michael Jackson had with the reporter Martin Bashir in 2003. That year, Bashir conducted a series of interviews with the pop singer which was viewed by over 52 million in the UK and the US. Unfortunately, Bashir doctored the recordings to paint Jackson in an unflattering light and emphasized the allegations of child molestation made against Jackson. Thankfully for Jackson, he had the foresight to record all his interviews with Bashir and the Jackson team released a rebuttal interview which showed Bashir contradicting his previous statements.  Needless to say Bashir credibility as a journalist was lost and he faded into obscurity.

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