Friday, October 30, 2015
Channel News Asia today published a report on the effectiveness of Social Media on the outcome of the Singapore General Election 2015 GE2015). In their report, Dr Woo Jun Jie of the Public Policy and Global Affairs Programme at Nanyang Technological University was quoted as saying that while the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) was the most effective in the use of social media during GE2015, this did not translate into votes at the ballot boxes. According to Dr Woo's analysis, trust and confidence built through walking the ground still play a vital role in helping politicians to secure a large margin of victory.
At CW Fong & Associates (CWFA) we would like to offer a different perspective. At CWFA, we see social media as nothing more than an amplification tool. And as an amplifier, it will amplifies core of the brand. If a brand is good, the good gets amplified. If the brand is bad, then the bad gets amplified. In the case of the SDP, the problem was not social media, but the "branding" of the SDP.
This is no different from traditional marketing campaigns. If a product or brand does not fulfill a market need, or is not seen as credible, no amount of marketing will improve sales. It is thus important that organizations see social media for what it is - a tool, and not just blindly embark on a social media campaign without first ensuring that they have a good product and a viable brand.
Thus, at CWFA, all social media campaigns we work on for our clients begins with an analysis of their products' unique selling proposition (USP) and their branding. If we cannot get it right at this stage, we would rather reject the job then mislead our client.
Saturday, October 10, 2015
Singapore. On 9 Oct 2015, Channel News Asia reported that an elderly lady's hand had been severed after being caught between the lift doors.
A quick glance at the incident may lead some crisis communicators to assess that this will be a crisis for the Jurong Town Council (TC) or the Housing and Development Board (HDB). Unfortunately, they will be mistaken.
Based on our proprietary crisis framework, stakeholders attribute blame based on the three factors of locus of control, predictability and controllability. As none of the factors currently link directly back to the TC or the HDB, there is a very low probability that stakeholders will blame these two organizations. This will of course change if subsequent independent investigations reveal that the TC or the HDB had been negligent in maintaining the sensors or if another similar incident happened.
In this instance, the PR professionals managing the incident should not assume that the incident will not turn into a crisis. They would therefore do well to recognize the 2 scenarios that can turn this into a crisis and manage for it.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
The importance of SEO cannot be understated. Without traffic, any business website is a wasted expense. At CW Fong & Associates (CWFA), we have come across businesses that had spent over USD10,000 to create a stunning website. But when we ask how much they spent on SEO, the answer was nothing and that they now had no money left over for it.
Unfortunately, SEO cannot be automated. This is because search engines like Google and Yahoo! constantly adjust their search algorithm to ensure that their portals organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful to the user. Implied in this, is the adjustments to keep people from gaming the system. Thus, even as the price of RAM, memory space and hardware drop, successful SEO requires human intervention and it is one of the few IT related product and services that have not reduced in price over the years.
At CWFA, we work closely with our partners from around the world to deliver not only the most effective SEO services, but we also work with our partners to ensure that our clients receive the best value for money.
Our Website Optimization package costs only $2,400 and we guarantee page one ranking (on Google and other major search engines) for at least 5 out of 10 selected keywords within 3 months. If we fail to deliver, you will get a full refund of any fees paid. Our guarantee is unique as other SEO service providers may take more time to achieve page 1 ranking and they do not guarantee first page ranking.
If you are keen to understand how SEO can benefit your business, email anna[a]cwfongandassociates.com
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
The proliferation of social media has created an unprecedented demand for PR professionals who are able to handle crisis communications. The non-hierarchical manner in which information is shared, the speed with which negative news travels and the rise of the citizen journalists has created challenges for even the most experienced PR teams.
To prepare their organizations for the new information environment, government agencies, Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) and even Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have begun attending training workshops and seminars on 'crisis communications in the era of social media'. To meet this new training demand, numerous crisis communications consultants have set-up shop. Unfortunately, the industry is unregulated and, as can be expected, the quality varies greatly between trainers and consultants.
A significant problem with most of the training workshops and seminars being offered is that the trainer or consultant will always teach from the perspective of what their experience tells them to do. This is a problem as the participants do not have the trainers' or consultants' experience and hence the crisis management solutions that the participants eventually learn cannot be easily replicated.
This is where CW Fong & Associates' (CWFA) crisis communications training seminars differ from the others offered in Singapore and, by our estimates, around the world. CWFA recognized that for crisis communications training to be effective, the training needed to move away from being an "art" and made into a "science". Hence, our team embarked on researching and developing our own in-house crisis communications frameworks based on the science of psychology, sociology and communications.
Comprising our core modules of: (a) insights into the new information environment; (b) stakeholder analysis; (c) crisis framework; and (d) our SCAER model, our crisis communications workshop/ seminar teaches participants proprietary frameworks and models which will enable even the most junior PR practitioner to handle 80% of crisis situations an organization will encounter. Additionally, by knowing the "science", the PR professional would be able to provide the necessary strategic counsel to even the most demanding c-suite executive.
To enquire about CWFA's crisis communications in-house training or 1-day seminars for PR professionals, contact us at anna[a]cwfongandassociates.com.
Our Consultants have to date trained over 1,000 PR professionals both in Singapore and the region. Besides MNCs like Symrise, DSM and Lanxess, our consultants have also been engaged to train government officials from the Ministry of Information, Myanmar.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
CW Fong & Associates is pleased to have been a part of MFA's Singapore Cooperation Programme on Crisis Communications for Myanmar Ministry of Information officials from 21 to 24 September 2015.
Attended by 36 officials from across Myanmar, the 3-day training workshop provided participants with the fundamentals of understanding the new information environment and frameworks which they can use to better manage information in a crisis.
Saturday, October 3, 2015
Statistics compiled by wearesocial for September 2015 show that there is still a significant amount of people who continue to use Facebook in Singapore. In line with anecdotal evidence, the main users of Facebook are not your typical teenagers, but more your young working adults (25 to 34) and working adults (35 to 44). This finding is significant for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) as Facebook fan pages continue to be viable low cost alternative form of advertising.
Understanding the life-cycle needs of Singaporeans, Facebook fan pages is therefore a must for companies that sell to working adults, young couples and couples with children. Bridal boutiques, renovation companies, tuition centres, travel agencies and retailers of luxury goods are a few of those that can directly benefit from a social media presence. In fact, analysis of the statistics show that Facebook users then to be predominantly males and hence Facebook ads should be pitched primarily from the male perspective.
In short, the demographics of the Singapore Facebook user has changed. Companies who want to leverage on Social Media to market their product and services in Singapore would do well to understand the changes. Contrary to what some "experts" are claiming, Facebook is not dead. It is the demographics that has changed.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Crisis Communications Tip: Fill the Information Vaccum
In a crisis communications situation, when the organization is attempting to make sense of the incident, there is a strong tendency for crisis managers to withhold information. The reasoning is that they need time to figure things out. Unfortunately, in the era of social media, this is a mistake!
In the past when information flow was hierarchical, crisis managers could afford to wait as stakeholders only had a few sources of information and it took time for news of the incident to spread. In today's information environment, information literally flows continuously and via networks of friends, co-workers, activists and family. Thus, even as the organization is trying to make sense of the incident, people are concurrently finding out about the incident and talking about it.
And, in situations where there is no official information, stakeholders will latch onto whatever they can pick-up and speculate. Without any official information, stakeholders may also be easily manipulated by people with negative agendas or simply misunderstand the situation and draw the wrong conclusions. Once these take on a life of their own, it then becomes that much more difficult for the organization to debunk the false perceptions and protect its reputation.
As the study by Stephan Lewandowsky and Ullrich Ecker from the University of Western Australia, Collen Seifert and Norbert Schwarz from the University of Michigan and John Cook from the University of Queensland and University of Western Australia has proven, first information "sticks" with the audience and, even if proven false subsequently, will remain "real" in the minds of the audience.
In short, in a crisis, organizations must remember to fill the information vaccum with regular press updates or via social media. Failure to do so, will only make reputation management more difficult.
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