Thursday, October 23, 2008

List of Social Media Examples

I love my new found friend, Twitter. And start my day updating myself on the news from BBC, CNA and Havard Biz, and of course lifes of my twitter friends through Tweetdeck. I kind of regreted not starting earlier and actually left my twitter account to rot for over a year. Nevermind the bug finally caught on, and you can add me via

I found this link from a twitter friend's posting, on an extremely comprehensive list of Social Media Examples. How businesses use social network to market their brands. I found the list quite overwhelming and useful. ---> ORIGINAL POSTING

Have good fun reading it up!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Measuring Sponsorship's Return

My blog never received fantastic readership judging on the frequency of the posts and value of contents in it. Glad I finally received a response from Nicholas, someone who happened to drop in and left some helpful comments. And naturally I made a visit to his link and found another wonderful site targeted at Sponsorship Marketing issues.

This is a very niche and specialised job and not everyone really understands the gist of it. For the most of us, sponsorship is "you give me the money, I'll put your logo up big. The more money you give, the bigger your logo is." However, that does not actually answers the questions your potential sponsors have for you. Or basically it won't convince them to give you the dollars unless they have so much surplus they don't know where to spend. (Which still happens sometime).

Especially with the context of Singapore, as with most Asian countries. We may want to look at sponsorship in a wider worldview and understand with better depth what it can potentially achieve and play a larger role in the greater marketing environment in Asia.

Measuring Sponsorship’s Return (Original Article -

As a sponsor, is it necessary to measure the impact of a commercial sponsorship investment? After all how many of us believe that sponsorship is sufficiently tangible enough to be measured at all?

These are fair questions for the sponsorship industry, as the slower we pursue measuring the value of sponsorship, the quicker we may hasten sponsorship’s demise. If we do not provide fair and objective estimates of the effects of sponsorship, there may be less money available for sponsorship activities as marketing dollars are allocated elsewhere, perhaps to those areas of marketing that can demonstrate effectiveness.

Most of us believe that we can at least partly measure the impact of a sponsorship investment. We are generally free of the dark old days of sponsorship, when accountability seemed less an issue. This was when sponsorships provided senior executives the chance, to side up to big name stars or to have one’s company associated with a major cause or event, irrespective of the value of that alignment to the company.

Over the years, as sponsorship has grown in popularity and became more expensive, sponsors have examined various ways to quantify the value of their investment. One of the first techniques offered involved tracking televised logo time. One person viewing a logo at one time is an impression. One hundred thousand people viewing the logo over a period of time would provide one hundred thousand impressions. The impressions would be ascribed an equivalent media value and often compared to paid up advertising. Hence, a $300,000 sponsorship investment may have an equivalent media value of $1.2 million, this being the basis for deciding the sponsorships return on investment.

Not surprisingly, many marketing professionals have questioned the value of tracking logo displays as the primary means of evaluating a sponsorship. Although flashing a company’s logo during an event might be cheaper than running advertising during the event, the two are not interchangeable in terms of communication effectiveness.

Sponsorship is the most emotional of all communication mediums, no other medium can compare against the strength of emotional attachment that consumers have with the events and properties they so dearly love. It would seem that to simply rely on an equivalent media value for evaluating sponsorship, completely misses the uniqueness of this relationship.

Measuring the value of sponsorship’s return on investment is certainly achievable. As with other communication tools, sponsorship should be evaluated against clearly defined objectives that can be agreed prior to the commencement of the program. It is against these objectives that the success or failure of a sponsorship program should be decided. Obviously, they need to be set in such a way that performance can be fairly measured. These objectives are invariably given as the principal rationale for the sponsorship of any event whether it be for sports, broadcast, community, cause, arts, business to business or entertainment. The underlying goal is for organizations to obtain a tangible return through the link that is established between the sponsorship property and the company or brand.

The marketing objectives of commercial sponsorship are often based on the properties’ ability to build brand loyalty, awareness and to change/reinforce brand imagery. After all, sponsorship is about changing consumer perceptions and behavior.

When it comes to using sales as the main means of evaluating sponsorship, this is less frequently used. Primarily, it is very difficult to isolate sponsorship’s role in the overall marketing mix from the effects of price, competitor activities and so on. This is not to say that sales should not be used as an objective for the sponsorship program, after all, not many Marketing Directors would be able to convince a Board of Directors or CEO of the merits of sponsorship, if this was not the case. It is better to look at increased sales as an objective alongside other more tangible measures such as sponsorship awareness, brand imagery, customer loyalty and purchase disposition.

Consumer research offers one of the best means of measuring perceptions and behavior in the sponsorship arena. Typically, with the right research methodology we can use sponsorship specific measures such as Sponsor Recall, Passion, and Gratitude to measure against key brand metrics. These metrics generally include brand image, loyalty and purchase intention for example. Such surveys will often pick-up strong indications on how the sponsorship is paying off. It is also common to track sponsorship over a period of time, as this medium is more of a longer-term investment, compared to more traditional media such as advertising.

Besides marketing objectives, other sponsorship objectives may involve building corporate image, hospitality and motivation of internal staff. These also can be measured, as long as we agree that we are measuring attitudes and perceptions be they those of the general public, business partners or employees.

Marketing Directors, Sponsorship Managers and even CEOs are being challenged to justify their forays into event marketing. Whilst most might have clearly defined objectives, if they cannot be measured, how can they quantify the value of the sponsorship investment?

Many companies spend little or nothing on measuring the effectiveness of this important communication tool. This contrasts markedly with advertising where high levels of pre- and post- testing and evaluation are widespread. It would seem that measuring the contribution of sponsorship warrants more attention that it has previously received given its value to a corporation especially in these days of media fragmentation.

Considering sponsorship’s prominent role in representing the core values of the brand or company, surely it is something that we should expect to measure its impact on our consumers, business partners, employees or the wider community. After all, sponsorship is not likely to continue to grow unless it can demonstrate its effectiveness and this means providing tangible measures of its return on investment.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Worst Kind of PR (in my own words)

I made a very short remark on a minister's facebook somewhere earlier this month on the topic. Apparently the China government did not learn very much about transparency from SARs 6 years back.

I was studying in Beijing during the SARs period. Just 10mins away from my school was the first hospital to be infected in the entire capital city. When it was finally isolated, we were told there were 134 cases of SARs within the hospital. A houseman later told us, there were double of the actual figures. Opposite the hospital were a row of restaurants we love hanging out at. The restaurants were only closed for quarantined about a month later. My lecturer himself contracted the virus when he went for a minor operation in the hospital. He was lucky to get out of it alive.

Somehow, this culture of secrecy and cutting off the truth may have been passed down through the generations from the days where Emperors rule and servants are silenced as the dead do not speak. The belief is "the only way to get out of the situation is that the situation doesn't gets out". And quite obviously in the modern day where technology thrives and global transparency is regarded as highly importance, it is no longer an issue of the backyard. Not when in this case, tens (if not hundreds) of international brand names are tainted and reputation tarnished by the food quality control of one single country.

After the bad word got out, panic was aroused and unfounded rumours began spreading from one to another. There was even a so-called "professor or doctor" who went on TV to say melamine can be removed from the body by drinking acid! The country has a vast rural landscape and the contaminated milk can still be easily bought in villages. These peasants cannot afford televisions, they can't read and no one told them there was a problem. The country should have sent all the province heads to the village heads and carry out a large scale educational program to inform the public, even the less previlaged.

Of course, to dig to the bottom of the issue, it was not only a case of badly handled PR. But crossed over to the discussion of politics, education, health and food care. It was a case that shouldn't even have happened in the first place. Crisis management measures should have been in place before the occurence of a crisis as such.

It proved to be a hard lesson, but whether is it a lesson taught, remains to be seen.

The Worst Kind of PR (reposted from The Pitch)

The Chinese poisoned milk scandal just goes from bad to worse. It kind of reminds me of George W Bush’s American presidency, it started off in controversy, took some more big hits and still continues to get worse at an alarming rate.

The complete inability of the Chinese government and the Sanlu Group (the company at the centre of the crisis) to actually deal with the scandal is astounding. The latest installment, according to a story in today’s Straits Times, is that Sanlu had actually asked the Chinese government for help in covering up the crisis. The authorities were made aware of the problem about a week before the Beijing Games began, and chose to sweep it under the carpet.Apparently they were worried about the scandal ‘tarnishing’ China’s image before the Games, and wanted to “avoid creating a negative influence in society”.

Well they were ‘successful’, on some levels, as they did cover up it during the Games so that China’s first Olympics went off without a hitch. That is of course if you forget the dramas surrounding the Olympic torch and Free Tibet protests, the pollution in Beijing and the attempts to stifle the freedom of world media before the Games started. Yeah sure, the 2008 Olympics were problem-free.

And trying to avoid creating a negative influence in society? Well they’ve failed miserably at that. When babies die, you have your negative influence right there. It’s unavoidable. Child fatalities kind of do that to you. Any sort of cover up of that is simply pointless.

The reaction to the tainted milk crisis from those involved as been pitiful at best. It took the intervention of the New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark to spur the Chinese government in to action. Since then panic has spread, and more milk related products have been pulled from the shelves on a daily basis. The affect on the milk, confectionary and dairy sectors has been devastating, and will continue to be so for months, maybe years to come. The crisis has spread from China to the rest of APAC, and global giants such as Nestle, Cadbury, Unilever and Heinz been tainted.

China has not managed to contain the crisis, or managed to minimize its fallout. Some of this could have been avoided by going on the offensive.

Taking cues from the reactions to other product contaminations in other countries, the Chinese government and Sanlu should have ordered a massive product recall. Before there is a chance to test all the products, get them out of stores, even if some may be OK. The mere question of possible contamination should be enough to pull it off the shelf.

Secondly, there should have been a huge public information campaign to inform consumers of what was happening and why, and to reassure them that the problem will be fixed. At a time like this information is vital, and to stop harming more people and creating more hype you have to get active. But now this is basically too late. 53,000 children are ill and four babies are dead. Consumers in China are enraged, and rightly so, while consumers the world over are skeptical about buying anything that might hail from Asia and be milk-related.

Trying to cover up information that will eventually get out is pointless and very harmful. It is much better to try engage with the community, to work to solve the crisis, rather than trying to avoid it or to point fingers at those responsible.

The damage has been done now, and it’s going to take a hell-of-a-lot of advertising and marketing dollars to put the likes of Sanlu and the other brands involved back to the position they were in before the scandal began.

Recession & Marketing (Part III)

Social Media’s role in the tanking Economy

It’s hard to turn on a computer, much less a television, without being inundated with messages about the gloom and doom of our current economic nightmare. But what does that mean for the Marketing world? One thing seems clear to me – now is NOT the time to crawl in a hole and scale back on Marketing. To the contrary - we know from history that most companies will slash the Advertising and Marketing budgets that could turn the situation around and keep them alive. Like a sea captain caught in a storm, the best chance of saving the ship is to turn directly into the waves. Sure, the ride will be rough, but it’s the best strategy for survival.

Social Media and Social Network Marketing in particular has a role to play in navigating the troubled waters ahead. Think about it – people will continue to communicate socially online, regardless of how much the Dow plummets. Consumers might not have as much money to go out to dinner or take a vacation, but you can bet that they will spend as much or more time checking their Facebook profiles, surfing YouTube, checking out new bands on MySpace, or engaging in gaming and other applications on mobile devices. So, this begs the question – why pull back now? Isn’t this the time to put even MORE emphasis on Social Media? Wouldn’t NOW be the time to show customers that you care about them and you empathize with their struggles? Wouldn’t it be great to have positive messages about your company spreading in the midst of all the negative stuff that is spreading out there?

Going back to the fundamentals of Social Media – ask yourself what added value you can provide. Is competitive pricing an option? How about a contest where people have a chance to win something cool while helping others that are struggling in the process? Can your company give a little more to charitable causes that help those most in need during rough economic times? Remember, when times are tough, charitable organizations take a big hit, while being called upon more than ever to provide services to those in need. If you can champion one of these causes and share this enthusiasm with your online communities, you will have gone a long way toward building goodwill and positive associations that will affect the balance sheet for years to come.

Remember, the volume of messaging will almost certainly slow down as companies scale back on ad budgets. Seize this opportunity to double down on your Social Media efforts, or if you haven’t yet embraced it, there’s no better time than right now to get in the game! Show your customers and potential customers that you understand the challenges they face. They will remember your goodwill when their situation improves, and chances are they will have told a few people along the way.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Recession and Marketing (Part II)

The following comments was made by a friend on Linkedin, Mr. Paul Syrysko. I found is useful and right from the books of the expert. Sharing with everyone here.

For 2009, most companies will be cutting back to a very basic marketing plan, getting rid of anything they can. In a recession environment, it’s inevitable. Many marketers will feel it’s the last thing that should be cut but try convincing the board of the company and you won’t get very far. The reality is that investments in brand marketing will decline. So what should you do? Be careful of blowing all the budget on price promotions. Innovation is the key.

Understanding how consumer behaviour will adapt to a recession will give you an innovative marketing plan, product or service idea. And understanding how the supply side of media will change will give you substantial increases in campaign efficiency.

Price promotions for products and services will increase hugely; everything will be ‘on sale’ and it will be a noisy space that any player has to navigate carefully. There may be better ways of marketing than simply slashing your prices like everyone else. For example, why not focus efforts on your most profitable customers instead? Understanding the changes in consumer mindsets is critical. People will be much more careful in selecting the right product or service for them. Impulsive behaviour will drop. Marketing strategies that lower perceived risk will thrive. For example, rather than giving 10% off, deliver extended guarantees to your consumer. Large luxuries will be jettisoned in favour of smaller ones. Instead of going to an expensive tropical island, people will take day trips to their local seaside. Instead of buying a new car, they’ll keep the old one going. Instead of going to the cinema and eating out, they’ll stay in with a dvd.

The shifts in media budgets are going to be huge. Part of this will be contractual - big media deals will stay for a while but short term buying can easily be chopped. There’s also a natural tendency to keep the backbone of a communications plan and get rid of anything secondary. So, the big communication vehicles like tv will stay, albeit in reduced form. Secondary media will drop in price more dramatically, so there will be bargains there.

Moreover, clutter in these secondary vehicles will drop rapidly. So your communication will stand out much more in them. Consider focusing efforts away from following your competitor’s backbone plans so that your marketing budgets work harder for you.

To make good use of heavily reduced marketing budgets, innovation in communication strategy is the key. Don’t just give away 20% on price in a desperate bid to keep up sales volume. Whether it’s consumer insights or media planning, you will need to think hard and do something different.

---- Written by Paul Syrysko

Recession and Marketing

Forecasting 2009

Welcome to 2009, we will be greeted by a cycle of recession. Exactly 10 years since the last world financial crisis.

Sponsorship will be cut, budget for marketing will be majorly cut. Anything that concerns the expenditure department is likely to be given the red light. With no one spending, the economy will definitely see a slower return.

In the line of marketing and branding, we already have problems encouraging clients to spend on a good day. And now, it could be even more challenging. The opportunist would think, "Now that most companies are cutting back, there will be less ads, less 'noise' and less competition for attention. It is the best time to strike and get hold of market attention!" but unfortunately, most CFO aren't too much of an opportunist. They have a P&L balance sheet to report to.

How to make the best use of the recession?

INTERNET : The most effective medium to both consumers and marketeers during a time like this will be the Internet. Reason? As consumers spend more time indoors, cut their budgets on buying magazines, papers or movies, they are likely to spend more time wired. For marketeers, the Internet is the only platform capable of reaching to millions of people without burning a hole in the bank account. Of course, I am now assuming they have a wonderful campaign strategy.

However, the Internet is a very different ballgame as it bypasses the traditional media and attempt to do a direct outreach to the people. Hence, fostering a relationship with the target audience is more important than trying to flood them with spam ads. But this could take some tactic, patience and time. It may not be likely for companies to demand an immediate ROI on the dollars and cents. And for the fact that the Internet is so wide and borderless, it also means more time has to be spent locating the target group accurately and effectively.

Some ideas :

Twitter - Twitter is a popular tool in the US but the trend did not really take off locally. It could however be marketed as a status tool to promote certain sales, movements or latest news. Alternatively, mobile marketing could be used for the following ideas, which however, will come with a different price tag.

Some quick examples :

  1. introduce an hourly sale that happens at different hours of the day. Send a twitter to inform all your customers about it. Create a sense of urgency to buy and a personal touch from merchant to consumer.

  2. In an effort to promote a new product (eg. latest mobile phone) Create an avatar to has a "life" of his/her own. Send updates about his/her life to fans, keep people in a conversation and arouse interest. Tie it in with an event at the end of the day.
Facebook : No, this is not a new story. But I don't expect the trend to fall very soon. The continuous reinvention of facebook sees itself going strong for the next 2 or 3 more years. Bringing people together is an art. But facebook seems to have mastered it to call themselves the boss of social network. It is a wonderful tool in trying to gather people of the same interest, mindset or geographical locations. You can easily identify people without having to spend money on market research. (which I'm not saying that's not important). In trying to do so, you should either strike a chord, raise disagreements, create curiosity or make useful relationships.

However, one should first understand not every business is suitable to tap on these platforms. You should approach a professional PR firm with digital arm or an IMC with digital marketing experiences for professional advise. A reasonable amount of time should still be spent on identifying market trends and results before attempting to utilize the medium. Ultimately, do remember it reaches out quickly to people. Which means, bad news travel fast too! In Korea earlier this year, a rumour about the beef from USA on the Internet nearly caused an up throw of the entire government when large-scale demonstrations (spurred online) fill the streets of Seoul. So just a gentle reminder.

The Opportunist Mindset

It is very tiring to try and vie for attention on the newspaper, TV, radio, outdoor advertising everyday. Millions of ads try to shout for more attention. People today are so immune to it, it basically just doesn't catches any eye anymore. However, in times of recession, advertising budgets will be cut for most companies. There will be less 'noise', less interruptions and we will see our streets cleaner with more "for rent" signs on outdoor advertising boards.

THIS is the BEST time to advertise. Like every good trader will tell you, the best time to enter the market is when the market is down.

With less business, rates for advertising space is likely to be adjusted to attract more advertisers. It will be easier to negotiate for better packages on media buys. You can have a better selection of prime spots, marketing firms are more commited to deliverables and are eager to impress. The BEST time to build your brand is when no one else is trying to build theirs. Create top-of-mind recall with ads, encourage spending with product sampling, demonstrations, sales and promotions, get in touch with the ground by organising events (something for people to see, do and look without spending money), sponsor community projects. And you will see your brand grow to be everywhere on the street (and in the mind). As the economy slowly revives and the market returns to normal, you can now rest your marketing dollar and enjoy fruits of success. Of course, a reasonable ROI should still be measured and strategies to meet sales targets while spending. But please do remember, branding and marketing is not a Harry Potter wizardry that happens overnight. The results may not be evident now, but positive reputation gained is priceless for any company. And the next time the consumer has the dollars in his pocket, he'll make you his first choice.