Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Social Media: How to destroy your brand on a budget

I get it, not everyone has social media figured out yet. But really breast feeding Tele Tubbies? There is no excuse for taking fabulous brands and make them look like they belong in the discount bin at the dollar store. Rule 1, if you are running a company do not leave your social media strategy to your teenage nephew, unless of course he happens to be Mark Zuckerberg.

Let’s take a look at some factors that make a solid social media campaign and compare them against a recently spotted Facebook page debacle. We learn from both our mistakes and the mistakes of others, and the Cotai Jet's Facebook page is a real learning opportunity. Cotai Jet is the flagship ferry service for Macau tourism, the Venetian and the Four Season's.

  1. Content - “is king!”. Just like you would have a party and not forget to bring music, food and drink you should not create a social media destination like a Facebook page and not have a content strategy in place to ensure a fresh stream of interesting and engaging content to your fans. Communication strategies are foundational.
    1. Really is this the best you can do? Macau is the playground of Asia and the Cotai Jet is the chauffeur for such luxury properties as the Venetian and the Four Seasons. A place that brings you Lady Gaga and the Gran Prix can’t come up with some pictures? Everybody has something interesting to share, except Macau apparently. . .

  1. Engagement/ moderation - If you think you are special enough to attract fans then you should be prepared to sign autographs! Talk to your fans! You are a superstar because of them, don’t forget to mingle and have your moderator be appropriate.
    1. Who would you pick as you moderator? Well it appears that Macau likes Tinky Winky and Tinky Winky like to breast feed. It appears that Tinky Winky has almost no friends and only likes to engage in lactating behaviour. Who am I to judge, but really???

  1. Authenticity - All aspects of a social media campaign need to ring true. It is very easy to detect Bullsh*t and fans do it faster than anyone.
    1. 154,542 friends for Tinky Winky the breast feeding TeleTubby (copyright infringement?) is a bit of a stretch. Considering there is no content or real conversation on the page this looks more than a bit suspicious. There is a reason that Indonesia has the 3rd most registered number of Facebook users. They are called friend farms. Yes, just like hookers you can also buy Facebook friends. And also like with hookers you probably don’t want your real friends, fans and customers to see you with them. Facebook pages are for real fans, keep your “paid dates” private.

  1. Brand appropriateness - any social media campaign needs to align with the Brand. A significant contribution of any professional social media agency is to help their client find their “voice” online and to responsibly extend the brand into social media spaces.
    1. We have discussed a number of issues with this page that call into question the appropriateness of the branding. It is difficult to imagine that the management of any of the Macau brands have reviewed or actively participated in this campaign. Like with any media campaingn, management buy in and support is critical to a successful social media campaign.

  1. Just doesn’t suck - social media offers so many opportunities to do real cool stuff. Your page may not be the best, but there is no reason for it to suck.
    1. Social media is quickly becoming the most important medium for brands to project themselves to their customers. However, it still seems it is not taken seriously. I feel there will be many more lessons to learn from before many brands get it right.

PRDA has been helping brands find their voice online for years. Our mistakes are behind us to ensure yours are not in front of you.

Much success,


Thursday, 22 July 2010

Social media: No obstacles just road signs

China is a unique place by almost every measure. They have their own way of doing things for sure. When managing social media or attempting to quantify consumer behaviour it is not wise to reference other country data to base your assumptions. An article, economically titled "China: An Update" by Yuping Liu-Thompkins, Ph.D provided a tidy summary of China consumer differences. She highlighted several trends that are of particular interest, and maybe not that much different from rest of world.

Grouping -- This is a advertising/sales technique being used by an emerging type of online sites. They offer discounted products to persons (or groups or persons) that register on the site or perform some other task. In exchange for surrendering their personal details or participating in a small marketing activity such as filling up a form or posting a brand message to their social site wall, they get a discounted price. A win win situation for all. The discounted price is not a loss for the business and in exchange the business gets an expanded database or their brand promoted online.

Cash instead of cards -- Yuping describes the unique set of conditions in China, e.g. low labour cost, long history of shipping goods to villages and a cash based economy to detail how COD (cash on delivery) is more effective and less costly than online credit card transactions. A very different way of doing business that may make many Western businesses nervous, but it works.

The lessons we learn when we take the time to really listen can be very rewarding. There is not one solution to every problem and when using social media that crosses so many borders it is critical to be aware. There are no obstacles only road signs keeping you informed along the way if you are so inclined to notice.

PRDA has been delivering successful social media programmes in Asia for many years. With hundreds of successes we have learned well the unique and wonderful tapestry that is Asia. Look to experienced professionals to reach your fans.

Much success,


Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Social Media: Traditional media keeping the enemy close

A interesting article was released by today titled 10 Facebook pages that are exploding in popularity. What was fascinating about this is that out of the 10 half are TV or Movie pages. Surprisingly Twightlight was not in the group. Traditional media is effectively using social media to extend the fan's experience outside of the 30 minute block of viewing time they would normally get on TV. Another article the other day suggested that as much as 90% of all TV shows are now available free online. One of the most important ideas we share with our clients at PRDA is that social media extends the experience of the brand. Whether this is outside the shop, studio or just making the ability to interact with the brand in new and more convenient ways is one of the key selling points of social media. Extend the experience!

BTW, I looked up the Facebook fan page of one of my favourite shows "Justified" and found 2 listed. Funny, the most populated one was those standard wiki page and the alleged official one had crap content. Which points to the second thing we always tell clients. Don't waste peoples time! I walked away -- it was justified. . .

Much success,


Thursday, 15 July 2010

Social Media: SMB's win new customers big time!

A recent report from Regus, the international serviced office company, provided some encouraging results. Their recent survey of SMB's showed that on average 40% had gained new business through social media channels. India takes the lead in using social media to get new customers with 52% of companies reporting success. China ranks above the average with 44%. This is no surprise due to the rapid explosion of social media activity in Asia. What is interesting

is that a year and a half ago SMB's were showing little activity in social media. The significant turn around show that the fundamentals driving social media are sound. That is the democratisation of the internet, low to no cost of entrance and it being extremely effective as a connection and communication tool. Of course success is more likely when the is a good strategy in place and social media is professionally managed. PRDA has been helping SMB's find success on line for many years. SMB's will continue to find innovative ways to use social media for customer acquisition, service and product development.

Much success,


Monday, 12 July 2010

Social Media: 5 Reasons Asia Rocks!

Asia is the undeniable powerhouse of Social Media. If you think North America and Europe are setting the standard, think again. That is mere child's play compared to what we are doing in the East. With a huge variety of languages, cultures, application preferences and government concerns the social media terrain, to put it lightly, is bumpy. But despite all this, social media is stronger in Asia and growing faster than anywhere else in the world.

  • More Internet users then North American and Europe combined and only 20% penetration rate. Grow, grow, grow!
  • South Korea has the highest penetration rate of Internet in the world!
  • Australians spend more time on social media than any other nationality
  • Hong Kongers dominate Facebook. More registered users per capita than the U.S.
  • More Japanese tweet than the U.S.

If you want to find out what social media can do come East. Asia provides enormous opportunities to explore the true potential of social media. A booming economy, growing infrastructure and enthusiastic acceptance make it more exciting than Disneyland.

Note that in order to navigate this region it is best to have a good guide. Companies experienced in social media and Asia such as PRDA (Prosperity Research Digital Agency) are critical to make a successful go of any social media campaign.

Much success,


Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Our parents taught us well. We all love to share everything now!

If there are two things that clearly separate social media from traditional it is the ability to engage and to share. Both of these functions have transformed the way that we interact with information. Not long ago these two activities were impossible. Think about it. You would not have a chat with a TV commercial and you definitely wouldn't try and pick your TV up and carry it to the neighbor's house to show them the cool thing that was on. But now the cornerstones of social media/networks is the ability to do just that.

Over 1 billion people online demonstrate the importance of these actions everyday. Like, forward to a friend, post to wall, Tweet, etc. I have no idea the number of these exchanges that take place each day, but it is easily in the billions. What is important to understand is that it has irrevocably changed the way that people interact with, consume, filter and ultimately choose information. Old school rules from advertising, marketing and PR no longer apply. A whole new set of rules, processes and procedures are quickly evolving to help explain and manage these new behavior patterns. The strength comes in how to best facilitate, but we find many trying to capitalize. This is unfortunate, however,  another upside of social media is that if something is not "liked" it does not last with a click of your mouse.

Much success,


Monday, 5 July 2010

Around the world in 48 hours

This was an amazing weekend. I had fun, sun and friends. There were pictures and sharing and kidding galore. A little drinking, a little sleeping and a lot of sharing. I spent time with people sitting right next to me and people thousands of miles away and it all seemed so completely normal. . .

Today we have the capacity to stay in touch with each other more efficiently than ever before in our history. And that is an understatement. We can communicate instantly, in real time with devices that fit in our pocket and do this while watching a movie and determining which direction we are walking all at the same time. I like this time very much. While on a beautiful junk trip this weekend thanks to my dear, and very sexy friend, BT. I was able to share photos of us lounging in the sun in Hong Kong while being sent pictures of friends also enjoying their weekend in far off locations like London, Paris and Seattle

A friend and life coach even shared a life opening video with me as she sat in Florida.

All in all I am amazed and dazed by how wonderful and efficient our lives have become through technology. But despite all the technology there are some bits that still don't seem to make sense. Like how did I get this fish in my bag???!!!!

Technology can transform our lives, but it clearly can not take care of everything. Perhaps a bit of self restraint or a little less of the bubbles next time?

Much success,


Friday, 2 July 2010

Social Media: How can people still get it so wrong?!

I read an article in Social Media Today where the title immediately made me think, WTF? Engagement or Relevancy: What is more Important in Social Media? Anyone that has been involved in social media from a professional position should recognize two important mistakes in the title alone. I will then point out the huge error in the article itself to save you the time of reading the article and discovering it for yourself.

The two big errors in the title arise from the assumption that Engagement and Relevance can be separated. Engagement without relevance is SPAM! and Relevance without Engagement is pointless. So why would you ever imagine them being at odds or even separate. The answer to that I believe lies in the author's background and also provides the clue to the huge and 3rd error in the article. The author's background is in PR. I have long held that PR is a great profession (I believe the second oldest) but because of its assumptions and processes it is diametrically opposite to the requirements of social media. PR is about constructing and controlling the message and social media is all about engaging, influencing and participating. We see too often social media campaigns fall into crisis when PR companies take the reigns. This is no fault of theirs, it is just how they were taught.

The 3rd and hugest error is the POV the author takes about Engagement and Relevance. The assumption is that engagement and relevance is a factor of how useful the customer is to the brand. This is very PR thinking. Social media is customer centric and therefore the question is always how engaging is the brand to the customer and how relevant is the brand's content to the needs of the customer. Not the other way around. PR and Social Media are brilliant partners when they stand side by side. But if PR steps into the shoes of Social media a trip and fall is not to far off. Once again it is not their fault because they were taught this way. But brands that go shopping for agencies should be aware of these easy to spot errors and plan accordingly.

Much success,


Douglas White is the founder of Prosperity Research Asia's most experienced social media agency. We are the best in Asia because we are the best of Asia!