Monday, June 29, 2009

The Twitter Top 50

Jeff Zweig (Web Guru Asia) recently released his list of Asia’s Top 50 people ranked by Twitter followers. According to his stats, people from 11 different countries made the list which goes to show how universally popular the service has become.

Malaysia had four people on the list ahead of China with three but behind Hong Kong with five and Singapore was represented by seven people. India led the way with 14 ahead of Japan’s nine.

You can check out the full list at his new blog (

The numbers of followers these guys are getting are impressive and it’s great that there were 11 countries on the list. And with four Malaysians on the list, I asked Jeff when is the right time for a brand to enter the Twittersphere?

“As soon as relevant conversations for the brand are taking place on the platform. This can be conversations about the brand itself or about topics that are relevant to consumers of the brand’s products or services.”

He said there a number of free Twitter monitoring tools which can easily enable a brand to assess when the time is right to move onto Twitter. One example is to use the advanced version of Twitter’s own search engine.

“Here, we can enter the relevant search terms within Twitter conversations we would like to track. We can even specify specific geographic locations to ensure we are covering only the areas we are concerned with. Then we can save each search as a custom RSS feed.”

”Once we see a trickle of relevant Twitter conversations start to become a flood, we know it’s time to jump in,” he said.

Jeff also recommends that marketers read a post from called 10 Twitter Best Practices for Brands.

So then I asked, other than fear of unknown, what’s another reason why marketers aren’t jumping at the chance to use Twitter? And is it fair to say they are reluctant because they know they will not have control of the conversation.

He said:

Loss of control is a mindset issue for brands with any type of social media—not just Twitter. However, in my view, brands should embrace this loss of control as an opportunity and not a threat. There are many good reasons for changing to this new mindset.

Here are just two of my favourites:

1) Negative (and positive) conversations about a brand are going to occur across the Internet regardless anyway. Therefore, it’s far better for a brand to engage than to stick its head in the sand and ignore what’s going on. In fact, a mindset of rejecting engagement is far more risky to a brand than not engaging in today’s social media environment. After all, when there is no engagement to a popular negative conversation, everyone can see that the brand has run away scared. Who can trust a brand that does this?

2) By responding in a transparent, sincere and authentic way, brands can even turn avid detractors into loyal fans. And if these originally avid detractors have large followings of their own in social media, brands can benefit immensely through the power of social proof. This is far more convincing and authentic than a press release.

Although I’m certainly a fan of press releases (especially search engine optimised press releases for online distribution in addition to traditional offline releases), here is another reason why only issuing a press release is not good enough:

Offline press releases are one-way messaging that allow no interaction with consumers. Furthermore, the voice of the release is 100% controlled by the brand and this is rarely, if ever, 100% trusted by consumers.

Similar issues were addressed at a recent Tweet-up I went to organised by FusionBrand at TwentyOne bar. Any other thoughts on this?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

PKJ's Italian affair gets serious

Times may be tough right now, but that hasn’t stopped luxury jewellery brand Luca Carati from officially making its debut in Malaysia this week at a launch event at the Hilton Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

At the event was Poh Kong Jeweller’s (PKJ) Dato’ Choon Yee Seiong who is responsible for the company’s overall strategic and marketing directions among other things, and the Ambassador of Italy to Malaysia was there as well.

PJK is the current distributor of Luca Carati in Malaysia.

Now I am not really the sort of person who knows a great deal about luxury brands and especially luxury jewellery brands. So I had never heard of the brand until the press release about the launch arrived in my inbox. But I was curious to see how the brand marketed itself (and even more curious to see how expensive the product is).

Well, without trying to hard, I found out that Luca Carati’s current brand ambassador is tennis star, Ana Ivanovic and her collection is available in Malaysia at Poh Kong PJ Gallery. And the whole collection will set you back over RM1 million for the three pieces. The most expensive piece being the Diamond Chain (pictured) piece which costs around RM700, 000. It's on the model's head.

Not Ivanovic

Will have to wait and see how Luca Carati markets its products in Malaysia but… I am thinking not newspapers? Although months ago I did remember seeing an uber-luxury pen brand being advertised in one of the dailies here even though the brand didn’t have an outlet here yet – just Singapore.

Go figure!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Not keen on green

The ability for green IT to cut carbon footprint and improve ROI for companies is a well known and founded idea, yet a new survey has found less than 10% of firms across Asia Pacific have formally implemented a green IT strategy.

The findings were from Springboard Research which surveyed 1,200 firms in Malaysia, Singapore, greater China, India, and Australia.

The question is why are so little numbers of IT firms not going green when it can (a) help give companies a business advantage, (b) should be part of the company’s CSR strategy anyways, and (c) reduce costs in areas such as energy.

According to the study, when respondents were asked to give reasons for not implementing a green IT strategy, a noteworthy amount of responses were they felt there was no need, and they had other priorities at the moment.

Ok guys, we're going green!

However, the survey did also find that 60% of all firms without a green IT strategy in place plan to implement one in the next 24 months, despite the economic recession.

If the recession isn’t really proving to be a factor in stopping IT firms from going green then what else is?

Perhaps a clearer definition is needed of what constitutes a clear green IT strategy? And how do you implement it as well?


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The year the media died

Sung to the tune of Don Mclean’s American pie. "So bye bye those big upfront buys. Pitched my client who was pliant. But the pitch didn’t fly. And old ad boys were drinking martinis dry. Singing tech has taken us for a ride…"

A bit long but funny stuff. Check it out.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Judge for yourself

There’s an interesting backlash developing online towards the two entries (one is from Malaysia) which won the viral ad competition to become 'Team YouTube', the 39th team competing in the 2009 Young Lions Film Competition.

Over the weekend, Malaysia’s own Adeline Chew and an Israeli entry were deemed winners of the ad competition which this year chose Oxfam as its charity partner. The brief for young creatives across the world was to create a short ad of up to one minute on YouTube to promote their climate change campaign.

Here's Adeline's 'Listen Don't Watch' video

Guy Dayan's 'The YouTube climate thermometer'

Creatives were given 48 hours to submit their ad and then had a further two weeks to make their YouTube ad go viral by any means necessary.

A lot was at stake -- 'Team YouTube' the winners get an all expenses paid trip to Cannes to attend the International Advertising Festival and compete as the 38th team in the prestigious Young Lions Film competition.

PR from Cannes said the competition received 692 entries and over 100,000 votes in two weeks. And that a panel of worldwide creative leaders had selected Adeline and Guy as the winners based upon their ads' creativity, number of views and video ratings.

But, as with most creative judging, not everyone's happy with the results. And it's starting to turn nasty out there in YouTube land.

Check out some of the comments made by YouTube users (or one very free YouTube user) which in most cases accuses the winning videos of lacking creativity, being boring, and in the case of Guy’s video, being an outright stolen idea.

I’ll check back tomorrow to see if the backlash goes the distance for another day… but what do you guys think? A case of sour grapes or do the haters have a point? Or can we chalk this up as another reason why clients should no longer be impressed with an agency's creative award show haul.

FYI the YouTube Contest Judges were:
Rory Sutherland - Vice Chairman, Ogilvy One (UK)
Alexandre Gama - Chief Creative Officer and Founder, NeoGama BBH (Brazil)
Stephane Xiberras - President / Executive Creative Director, BETC Euro RSCG (France)
Nick Law - Executive Vice President, Chief Creative Officer North America, R/GA (USA)
Yuya Furukawa - Executive Creative Director, Dentsu (Japan)
Ariel Abramovici - Copywriter, BBDO Argentina (2008 winner Young Lions Film)
Bruno Acanfora - Art Director, BBDO Argentina (2008 winner Young Lions Film)