Sunday, November 29, 2015

Crisis Management Insight: Uber Singapore LTA Scuffle

27 November 2015. On Friday evening, an Uber driver was involved in a scuffle with a Land Transport Authority (LTA) enforcement officer. The scuffle which was recorded and uploaded on Facebook by the passenger who had booked the Uber driver went viral.
 
Almost immediately, the LTA began to distance itself from its officer. A statement was issued within an hour or so saying that the LTA takes a serious view of the incident and will not condone any acts of violence by its officers or outsourced officers. LTA added that the enforcement officer has been suspended from all duties with immediate effect pending further investigations.
 
Subsequently, LTA issued a statement the next day (28 November 2015) saying that it had has concluded its investigation into the incident and that the Police is currently investigating the case. LTA added that the officer is likely to be terminated upon the completion of the Police’s investigations.
 
lta uber driver fight
 
In a crisis scenario, management needs to address the concerns of multiple stakeholders. While the customer is an important stakeholder, the employee is also equally important. How an organization treats its employee in a crisis speaks as much of their own values as how they treat the complainant. If employees believe that management will always side with the customer, poor employee morale will be the result.
 
In scenarios like this, employees want to know that they will be treated fairly. If they are wrong, they can expect to be disciplined. But if they are not, they expect the company to stand behind them. In this instance, LTA's quick effort to distance themselves from the incident is poor for the morale of all LTA enforcement officers. Instead, LTA would have done better to be seen punishing the act and not the man. In fact, a by-stander has come forward to support the enforcement officer saying that the Uber driver had provoked the officer.
 
uber lta scuffle
 
At CW Fong & Associates we do not believe that the customer is always right. Organizations that want to manage a crisis well, need to understand that their employee is an important stakeholder.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Social Media Tip for Small Business

Small businesses are always on a shoe-string budget and even something as routine as placing jobs ads for staff can put a dent in their operating budget.

One creative idea that small businesses in Singapore can consider is to use Facebook sponsored ads. Simply draft a job ad, post it and then use FB's ad function.
 
social media tip for small business
 
This approach is not only creative, but it is an effective and efficient manner to advertise. Effective because FB's ad function allows you to select who you want to see the ad, and efficient because using PPC you only pay for clicks on your ad. And, if the ad is well designed, the likes, shares and comments would amplify the ad's reach and generate awareness for the business. A great two-in-one thing that is not possible with traditional classified ads. 

Social Media is a game changer that has put the means in everybody's hands. With the proper know-how, Singapore small businesses can leverage on the power of social media. As the above example has shown, by simply using FB ads, a Singapore small business can for a budget as little as USD5, find that dream employee.
 
For more information on how you can leverage on social media, contact anna[a]cwfongandassociates.com to arrange a non-obligatory social media consultation.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Social Media: What going viral taught me ....

Last Wednesday started our as any other work day. I was deep into my work when I decided that I needed a short break and decided to catch up on my social media. I chanced across an interesting post and since it resonated with me, I decided to share it with my friends on Facebook. Nothing unusual. This is something I had done dozens of times before.
 
FB viral posts in singapore
 
Later in the evening, I once again checked my Facebook and was pleasantly surprised that my recent Facebook post had garnered quite a bit of likes and shares from my friends. What surprised me more was that friends who had never liked, shared or commented on my posts before did. Wow! I said to myself. This was indeed an interesting post and thought nothing further about it.
 
The next morning, a check of my Facebook account showed that I had garnered a considerable amount of likes and shares. More than I had before, but no where in the thousands as I only had 589 Facebook friends. Once again I was pleased and mentally patted myself on the back.
 
Things started to change around lunch time when I received a whatsapp message with a screen shot of my Facebook post from a friend saying that Mr Brown had shared my post. I was shocked. This was just the beginning. More messages came in from friends complimenting me on a great post. Then it started. More Singapore social media influencers picked up on Mr Brown's posts and started to share. Very soon, I was on Mothership, Kaki News Network, All Singapore Stuff and Talking Singapore to name a few. My simple post had gone viral.
 
I must admit that for someone working in the domain of social media, we constantly work to get our client's contents to go viral. I have had good success over the years, but this is the first time that I can confidently and without hesitation say, that a post of mine has achieved the very definition of viral. Not many in Singapore can lay claim that.
 
Going viral has taught me three important lessons ....
 
While the content is important, the network is more so. This is because the content that I shared is literally not new. There had been several versions of it on the internet for some time, but it did not go viral. In fact, I had merely shared a post that I saw.
 
Importance of Influencers. Like it or not, some netizens are more influential than others. It could be because of their fan base, or their position in society or even the public perception that they "represent" the ground, whatever it is, an important step to get your content to go viral is catch the attention of these influencers. As influencers watch influencers, getting shared by one will create a momentum.
 
Going Viral is Not a Science. Much as social media consultants will claim that they can make your Facebook posts go viral, despite having gone viral myself, I still firmly believe that it is impossible to guarantee. This is because the factors involved are extremely dynamic. Besides the content and the network, how the Facebook post resonates with netizens is also an important factor which unfortunately is more art than science.
 
In short, social media marketers who want to go viral, should focus on building their networks and their ability to identify what resonates with netizens. With this as the backdrop, going viral will be only a "correct" post away.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Business Insight: Failure of Groupon

TechCrunch reported that the end of Groupon is in sight.

business insights on groupon singapore failure

Unfortunately, Groupon's demise was something that we had predicted as early as 3 years ago. Starting out with a bang and flushed with investor cash, Groupon was able to rapidly build an initial client base. Unfortunately, Groupon's business model was fundamentally flawed as they did not seek to make money with their business partners (the retailers), but from them.

This is seen in Groupon's demand for high commission rates of 30-35% while insisting that retailers offer customers "exceptional" deals. What happens at the end of the transaction is that Groupon and the customer wins with the big loser being the retailer. Adding fuel to the fire is that the low pricing self-selects bargain hunters who, by their nature, will never pay full price for the retailer's service. Thus what was supposed to be an introductory offer, often became a one-off sale.

Given the lose-lose situation facing retailers, it was inevitable that retailers would abandon using Groupon as a marketing platform. Couple this with the negative feedback on the effectiveness of using Groupon's services, Groupon's demise was inevitable.

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About CWFA. As part of CWFA's PR consulting work, understanding the business model of our client and the industry they operate in is imperative. Without a clear sense, CWFA would be unable to adequately advise our clients. This unique business perspective is what separates us from other PR firms.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Crisis Communications Insight: #ParisAttacks #Prayforparis

Yesterday, many Singaporeans woke up to the news that the city of Paris was under attack (from terrorists who were later to be confirmed from ISIS). Social media as well as main stream media was flooded with news and stories about the attacks and, for a moment, it appeared that the world stood still as nothing else mattered.
 
Inevitably, even as police investigations commenced and calls were made not to speculate on the reason for or who the people responsible for the attacks were, hate messages started on social media. Slowly but surely, anger at the Muslims and calls for revenge were heard. As these messages started to spread, the seeds for potential violence against fellow Muslim Singaporeans began to be planted.
 
Thankfully, rational Singaporeans exist and counter-movements calling on Singaporeans to reject violence started. One such counter-movement was started by the Facebook page Talking Singapore with the message "Stand united against terrorism. One people. One Nation." Unfortunately we cannot directly assess the impact this had, but Talking Singapore's FB post garnered over 66 likes and 23 shares within the first 12 hours. If we assume an average friend base of 800, the combined likes and shares would have reached an estimated 71,200 people. While not significant, a reach of 70,000 plus is also not insignificant (in the context of Singapore). Combine this with the numerous other counter-movements, it is our assessment that potential violence was avoided.
 
Singapore #parisattacks #prayforparis
 
In short, as we have stated time and again, Social Media is a good servant but bad master. Organizations, and in this instances governments, need to use it to their advantage in a crisis. As organizations cannot rely on the good will of platform owners, they need to develop and own platforms that will then allow them to push out the "correct" messages at critical times.
 
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