When government and diplomatic secrets can slip through the cracks of the porous digital world, the rest of us are unfortunately more vulnerable than ever. As the U.S. government and many international leaders wallow in the anger and embarrassment of having 250, 000 cabled documents exposed, businesses can consider the relevance of this lesson to their sales, Public Relations and marketing strategies.
If there is one thing we can learn from the ongoing Wikileaks debacle, it is that no data is completely safe, no matter how closely we guard it. Unfortunately Intellectual property theft is a downside of the digital age. However, there are steps we can take to protect our businesses, and most importantly, ourselves.
1. Create an employee security plan
In this security plan, clearly identify all assets that your business needs to protect, such as office computers, laptops and handphones. The plan should also inform employees about major security threats, and contain a step-by-step process on what they can do to protect the company’s assets. Have access levels for all staff, make sure that all information that is sensitive to your business is restricted and keep updated records of who has access to what data.
2. Establish anti-piracy as a tool
Anti-piracy usually ensures that intellectual property rights of a company are protected. Recognizing the importance of a anti-piracy is not enough – most companies do not understand the full potential of this tool. To have a successful anti-piracy program you must fully integrate its legal function with that of sales, marketing and Public Relations. Utilizing the full potential of anti-piracy will help your business gain significant advantages in revenue generation and market penetration.
3. Practise safe Web surfing
Emphasize to employees the importance of not visiting unfamiliar Websites, which can infect a PC with viruses and all kinds of malicious software. Strongly advise them against clicking on attachments such as photos or PDFs, from unknown sources. To avoid e-mail fraud, tell employees to be careful of not only unsolicited e-mails, but suspicious looking e-mails from colleagues and other associates whose e-mails may have been hacked into.
4. Back up, back up, back up
If your only data backup is your computer and it is wiped out by a hard disk corruption or power failure, all your business data is gone. The basic rule for businesses is, if losing the data will affect your business, back it up. You can reinstall software, but damaged or lost business transactions are impossible to recover. Backing up business data is more than keeping things neat, it could be a matter of your business’s survival. There are many backup software programs available to help you along.
While most people understand the importance of data security, many fail to protect their electronic documents and data as they have the perception it is too troublesome. In fact, keeping your data safe and secure requires little effort and expense, but the returns are great – maintaining employee productivity and morale, good reputation, protecting your company’s ability to serve clients and preserving its continued existence.
Piracy, counterfeiting, and infringement are just a few of the many violations that are a constant threat to cultural development, fostering innovation and growth. In March this year, Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury-goods manufacturer, sued Hyundai Motor Company, accusing it of trademark infringement in a Super Bowl ad. In an advertisement titled “Luxury”, Hyundai featured a group of men playing basketball with a dark brown ball covered with a pattern that resembled LV’s trademark initials. A record 106 million people watched the ad, according to the complaint.
Hyundai is not the first, and probably will not be the last, to be in the firing range of the Parisian fashion house. Among others LV has taken to court is pop star Britney Spears, a student artist for the Darfur fundraiser, a Red Cross Charity shop, eBay and even web giant Google. LV’s serious stance towards protecting its brand is an example of protecting intellectual property rights. Its purpose is to protect its exclusivity in a turf of what is a very niche market. Protecting intellectual property rights matters because it guards the value of a brand. Intellectual Property Protection(IPP) is a common thread that runs through the issue of copyrights, patent and trademarks.
The tangible aspects of a brand are not necessarily the most valuable, as brand value is the financial strength of a company and other intangible benefits like trust, values, quality and price. These in turn create the perception, awareness and image of a brand and in turn create value. Brands like LV constantly worry about the assurance of quality and accountability of their name being lost when counterfeiters illegally use their trademark and deceive consumers with their goods. Businesses can obtain legal assistance to ensure that their ideas and product designs are protected from illegal copying.
In Singapore, SCOPE IP, an intellectual property management (IPM) diagnostic tool assists businesses assess the weaknesses of their existing IP management status and improve on it based on the recommendations given by SCOPE IP consultants. The consultancy covers IP (copyright, confidential info, trademark), Intellectual Assets (documented knowledge) and Intellectual Capital (employees’ creativity, skills). Accredited SCOPE IP consultants who are trained in this methodology will conduct an IPM assessment and generate a report identifying areas for improvement with strategic growth options for them based on current and future needs of the company. Call AONIA today at +65 6 733 8839 or e-mail Daniel Chua, our accredited SCOPE IP consultant at Daniel@aonianow.com to know more what we can do to protect your business.
Welcome to internet 2.0 where most people check their facebook or social media sites more than any other websites. As reported by Nielsen, an average social media user would spend more than five and a half hours on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
With a rise in the usage of social media globally, we are now seeing how it affects the way big consumer brands are running their campaigns and communication objectives. Social media is undeniably the ultimate marketing and communications tool.
Although many companies have dipped their toes in this lucrative pool, not all campaigns have done well on social media sites. Companies have to be extremely careful in the way they deal with social media due to its viral effects. As previous social media blunders have proven, controversial and unique campaigns can spread like wild fire and can take up a life of their own with negative and embarassing outcomes.
Take for example, Kit Kat. It was discussed in our previous entry :
Greenpeace UK uploaded a controversial parody video about Kit Kat. Mocking its typical “Have a Break, Have a Kit-kat” advertisements. Initially, Greenpeace UK uploaded the video on the popular video site, Youtube. Nestle, the parent company of Kit- Kat went to google and got them to pull the video off Youtube citing copyright infringement. Instead of protecting the brand image, the move by Nestle triggered a viral effect, ”Banned Kit-Kat video” is more attention grabbing then the original video title, as a result people started search and reposting the videos. Ultimately, Youtube allowed the video, however, the effect of the video message has now moved on to Nestle’s Facebook page. In which, a disgruntled Nestle staff picked up a war of words with the fans who posted negative comments. This PR fiasco taught us that, social media although powerful , it must be dealt with care and companies cannot allow their own employee trying to pick up a fight on their fan page even though he/she was trying to protect the brand reputation. Companies need to train their staff on the proper social media etiquette and the correct communication skills when it comes to replying to not-so-friendly comments.
Another example of a failed social media campaign will be the current internet meme that has been circulating globally. It is a campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer, the campaign when viral due to its heavy sexual connotations. Many markerters would assume any viral campaign that become a new internet meme is considered successful, however, this case it is not as this campaign does not have the slightest link to breast cancer. Firstly, it was referring to the locations where woman prefers to put their purses/bags on. That is not at all related to breast cancer and secondly, the sexual context made it even less believeable as a breast cancer awareness move. Therefore, companies need to take heed and learn from this, viral campaigns have to relate to original campaign messages and objectives. If not even if it gets viral, the company will not obtain positive effect from that.
The last example is not a fail viral campaign per say. However, it showcases the instantaneous and valuable feedback companies can get through Social Media. If dealt with correctly it can even prevent campaign from flopping and save companies of a potential marketing disaster.
The campaign is the revamping of the Gap Logo.
Gap when onto their Facebook page and review their new logo, they also ask their fans if they have alternative designs for the Gap logo. Branding managers had a field day when they got massive replies left by fans on their Facebook page stating the feedback, from the disdained to the downright angry. Within a day, GAP took action and revert to the fans saying for now they will not be making any changes to their logo.
What we can see here is the power of real-time interaction with GAP consumers via social media. Just a simple call for comment has allow GAP to gain valuable insights about how their consumers feel about their Brand Logo without the need to pay for expensive focus groups or surveys. It also shows that companies need to react faster than ever whenever social media is involved, if not they will have a PR disaster on their hands.
After going through all these case studies, we can see that Social media’s viral effect is unprecedented and its interactivity often meant that companies now require extra effort to monitor their facebook/twitter page as comments and feedback happens in real-time. Companies no longer have the luxury of replying consumers in 3- 5 working days, consumers now want real-time interaction with companies. On the upside companies who make use of social media can get feedback for campaigns almost instantaneously as well. No more expensive and boring surveys. At AONIA we have work on several campaigns via the Quaffs Platform where we made used to Facebook’s viral effect and combine it with the visuals on a microsite to promote various campaigns. From movies to makeup, we have done it all.
Go check out ,Quaffs.com to look at our past campaigns!
Any press is good press right? Not necessarily, especially these days. Reputation management today can be a daunting proposition if you don’t know how to properly protect your web reputation. The Internet is more widely accessible than ever and with the rise of social media, a single negative event can hurt your public image even after years of clean business practice. Simple things like a negative product review in a blog can spread faster than you can imagine. One way to combat the threat is through a reputation management strategy, which can start with search engine optimization (SEO). An aggressive SEO campaign is necessary to build brand recognition, promote a positive image and be ready to deal with negative comments anywhere, anytime.
Celebrity reputation management is becoming a rapidly growing industry, which makes sense because no other group of people gets more attention from the mass media than celebrities. They are constantly in the press and have intimate details of their lives plastered in all forms of media. Sometimes it is positive, but most of the time it is overwhelmingly negative and embarassing.
The NyDailyNews.com recently reported that celebrities such as British music producer and former American Idol judge Simon Cowell has hired an SEO company to ensure that his Google searches are “top heavy with positive stories”. A search for negative online criticism of Simon Cowell indeed proves quite fruitless. If you are interested in using SEO as a reputation management tool for your business, these tactics could be of value.
AONIA utilizes customized marketing strategies, social media marketing and copywriting for press releases to help companies stay ahead of the competition. Contact AONIA at SG@aonianow.com or +65 733 8839 for more information.
Tourism and travel is one of the world’s largest and most fragmented industries. These two aspects of the industry can be viewed separately, yet often, they overlap and involve each other in marketing.
It is estimated that the tourism industry accounts for 10% of workforce worldwide. In Singapore, the tourism industry contributes 3% to the nation’s GDP and generates more than S$12 billion in tourism receipts. The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) recently launched its Tourism Compass 2020 targeting 17 million visitors by 2015 and tourism receipts amounting to S$30 billion. The United Nations World Tourism Organization anticipates that by 2020 an estimated 100 million Chinese travellers would go abroad.
But the going will not always be good, as recent events have proved. Singapore experienced a tourism industry slump in the wake of the financial crisis in 2008. Visitor arrivals to Singapore reached 771,000 in January 2009, down 12.8% compared to January 2008. Visitor days in January 2009 totaled 3.3 million days, a decrease of 6.9% compared to 2008.
While many events are beyond a certain radar of control, it is always good to anticipate – and that is what marketing is all about. It is about anticipating and identifying the wants and needs of a target market of consumers, then satisfying those needs to make a profit. Even with a grim outlook and slow tourism, the tourism and travel industry is not just going to disappear.
One significant travel trend this year is the rise of ‘real-time Web’. In an rapidly expanding online world, ‘digital’ is synonymous with ‘instant’. The reality is more people are using social networking sites, more time-sensitive “flash” sales offered through Twitter and Facebook, more real-time postings of travel experiences and quicker responses from companies fearful that negative opinions will go viral.
An ideal marketing professional partner would be someone who understands the travel and tourism sector, experienced with cost-effective, high value online marketing and digital branding, and able to combine the two successfully with passion and panache.
Contact AONIA at SG@Aonianow.com or +65 6 733 8839 so we can understand your business and suggest ways your digital marketing can help you achieve your wider business objectives.
With the advancement of the Internet social media has changed the way businesses market themselves, their products and services online. Venturing into a market that is already familiar with your particular brand, products and service leads to increased visibility and sales. Social media sites like YouTube are viral by nature, increasing brand awareness. As technology progresses, the tools and techniques utilized for social media campaigns will continue to revolutionize. Perhaps the biggest change for social media marketing is that more businesses are incorporating social media directly onto business websites. Even amid the slumping job market, companies are beefing up their online networking staff, using social media as an integral part of their marketing plans.
Prospects of Internet marketing and social media look good and the future seems bright. However, the concept of online marketing has now been moving at almost a break-neck speed that it is a little overwhelming, begging the question, ‘What’s next?’
In the last decade the whole concept of web marketing has taken on a new dimension with the added techniques of PPC (Pay Per Click), Search Engine Optimization, press releases, web banners, viral marketing and blogs. These developments fulfill the age-old desire to always gravitate towards the hottest, newest and latest tools on the market. As of now, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are the current darlings of the social media world, but there are other popular sites like StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, Del.icio.us, Squidoo, Swik, Shoutwire and Slideshare, just to name a few and the list just goes on. Marketing professionals constantly seek hundreds of ways to reach and interact with their audience. Interactive marketing stretches across multiple media thus connect to a target market.
Right now, the future of web marketing is affirmative and there is hardly any doubt about it. Blessed with social media, web marketing is one of the most cost-effective and feasible techniques to target a large audience without a substantial increase in the budget. The most beneficial part of web marketing is perhaps the easy accessibility and operability. Just one click will fetch results within a few seconds. Without a doubt the future of web marketing truly beckons more opportunities and even more advancements. It has become apparent that any business that does not put effort into their web marketing campaign is missing the boat.
Contact AONIA today at SG@Aonianow.com or +65 6 733 8839 to get your Web Marketing campaigns off the ground.
For businesses, having your video go viral is often the ultimate goal of any online marketing campaign as it is a way of letting others spread your message with limited expense and effort on your part and allows you to reach a potentially huge audience.
Over the last decade, an array of viral marketing examples have come and gone with varying degrees of success. Every 60 seconds, 24 hours’ worth of new viral video is uploaded to YouTube alone. Viral marketing is very unpredictable, as no one can foresee what will succeed and what will fail. Who would have thought 200 million people would watch a 56-second video of a laughing British baby gnawing on his crying brother’s finger?
However, there are a few distinct characteristics to viral marketing success stories – those that are so popular with viewers they feel the need to share it with their family, friends or colleagues via social media, or through e-mail, re-posting it on their blog or website. Utah-based Blendtec is one company that managed to revitalise its brand and create top-of-the-mind awareness for its consumers via a clever online marketing strategy.
The content should be shocking, memorable or funny.
Blendtec launched the “Will it Blend?” campaign of an infomercial miniseries in 2007. The videos parody the “As Seen on TV” and “Home Shopping Network” infomercials. In an effort to demonstrate the strength and durability of his Blendtec line of blenders, CEO Tom Dickson wears a white lab coat and blends an assortment of items including garden rakes, full soda cans, lighters and cell phones.
The videos were viewed more than 6 million times within 5 days after they were posted on YouTube and Blendtec’s website – and have been viewed more than 100 million times since. Blendtec retail sales have increased by 700% since the campaign began. The videos also don’t feel like advertisements, so viewers are willing to share it.
Make a connection with the audience.
Viewers can suggest things for Dickson to blend and he listens. Blendtec engages with followers on Twitter and Facebook. They come across as sincere people instead of a collective corporate voice.
Integrate the viral video into all of your marketing.
“Will it Blend” is on Twitter, Facebook, a microsite, the company’s homepage and the company blog. The phrase “Will it Blend?” has become an internet meme on sites such as Digg.
Now in its 4th year, the campaign reached new heights in terms of hilarity and production value when Dickson blended a “lost” iPhone 4 and launched a “Blend my Phone” contest in June. The prize was an iPhone 4 with Dickson paying the winner’s contract for 2 years. It is amazing how the power of online video marketing can greatly increase the market share and sales of an ordinary, readily available commodity – a blender.
Effective networking is all about forming relationships. Its also about building long-lasting connections with other professionals. The more individual connections to a person, the stronger your relationship with that person.
Social media means being social. Social networking platforms are more than just for playing online games, sending virtual gifts and keeping in touch with family and friends. They are a great way to market yourself or your company and an cost-effective means of advertising your businesses and what products and services you offer. With so many platforms out there, how do you know which one is best for your business? These three social networking sites with distinct advantages are worthy of mention – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
In 2006, Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook for people over 13 to re-connect with family and friends they have not seen or heard from in a long time. Since then, the number of Facebook users in all age and demographic groups has growing. Among these users, the age group of 26-30 years old is the fastest growing demographic. Barely four years after its launch, Facebook has become the largest social network in the world, peaking recently 500 million users globally and 5 million new users joining every week.
These numbers are proof that social media is in the mainstream and can be a highly effective business tool to market your products, land contracts and connect with your clients and prospects.
Although other sites are utilized in the business world and many people still use multiple social networking sites, LinkedIn is one of the best places to build your business’s Web presence.
Many people have the perception that LinkedIn is just a site to job hunt and put up your resume. LinkedIn is an interconnected network of more than 35 million business professionals worldwide, representing 170 industries and 200 countries. You can use it to establish strong online collaborations with qualified professionals with whom you need to work with to establish your goals. As a social network, LinkedIn offers you the opportunity to connect with others in your industry, develop your business and generate leads to increase sales batting average.
Twitter is a great opportunity to build your brand personality online, and you can casually and informally interact in real-time with possibly thousands of other people. Many company HR and PR reps, regular employees and CEOs have Twitter accounts, so imagine the business opportunities you have if you link up on Twitter. It is also the most informal of all three networks and allows for the greatest degree of conversation.
Here is a list of another 20 social networking websites dedicated to business professionals and entrepreneurs that are also worth a look:
The Web is changing the nature of marketing. Since the dawn of Youtube and other social media, the Internet has become a powerful marketing technique. Viral campaigns are a great way to generate buzz in the world of web promotion. Not only does it use word-of-mouth, but involves more sophisticated marketing tools to publicize your business and bring traffic to your website. Here are 3 well-executed viral marketing campaigns that made alot of impact.
1. Burger King’s Subservient Chicken
Burger King launched its TenderCrisp Chicken Sandwich within the ‘Have it Your Way Campaign’ brand message. To show customers that they could really have it their way with chicken, the fast-food chain set up an interactive website and got an actor to be a large subservient chicken that does almost anything anyone wants. Type commands and tell the chicken what to do. The chicken then does what it is told.
There were 15 millions hits in the first 5 days. Word spread virally and the website was shared millions of times. The viral led to buzz, increasing chicken sandwich sales significantly.
2.Ikea Facebook Showroom
The Swedish furniture chain lacked funds to advertise the opening of their new store in Malmo, Sweden. The creative team came up with the idea of creating a Facebook profile for the store’s manager Gordon Gustavsson and uploading images of furnished and decorated showrooms. People were told that the first to tag their name on any item would win it. Soon thousands of people were flooding the facebook page in search of freebies, embedding the page links and sharing it in their newsfeeds.
3. Dark Knight Movie Promotional Campaign
In 2008 Warner Bros. needed to create buzz for their newest Batman movie ‘The Dark Knight’ so they came up with a simple but brilliant marketing plan. They launched websites – one promoting Harvey Dent’s campaign for District Attorney, a site for the fictitious newspaper ‘The Gotham Times’ and interactive site WhySoSerious.com. The political site offered posters people could e-mail to friends and upon receipt of the image, the poster would change to a picture of the Joker’s face with the line “See you in December”. The movie grossed more than $150 million in just its opening weekends.
The success of these campaigns proves alot about online viral marketing. For one thing, to be effective there has to be a high level of emotional engagement. Otherwise it is just something that is passed around and forgotten. The Burger King campaign evoked amusement and disgust (by anti fast-food groups), the Ikea campaign made people happy and the Dark Knight movie promotion incited fear and curiosity. Of course, giving away free stuff is usually a sure bet for success.
When people need information today, all they have to do is go on the Internet. So as an advertiser, the number of people you’ll reach is far more than you can imagine. That’s why Google Adwords has so many benefits, especially for small businesses.
Adwords works on the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) technology that allows its users to create a PPC ad by triggered keywords and key phrases. Not only is it easy and fast to set up, the results are almost immediate. First you’ve to set up an Adwords account, log in and choose your keywords. Then add a headline, some text and a destination link. Once the chosen keywords are triggered, Adwords will display your ad. The set-up process takes no more than 15 minutes and for your ad to appear, just 20 minutes. The account set-up fee is only USD5.00.
For small businesses on a limited budget, its important to cut unecessary costs. Adwords helps to save thousands of dollars in buying advertising space.
With Adwords, ad campaigns will be shown only to people who are actively looking for products or services similar to yours. So you won’t waste your time showing your ads to people who aren’t interested in your products or services. This helps small businesses can reach their target audiences more precisely.
Another benefit for small businesses that Adwords provides is that advertisers can control how they customize their campaign. Google Adwords has tools to help you choose different keywords and phrases so you know which keywords are being searched most often. Most recently, it added a ‘Negative Keyword’ feature – adding a negative keyword causes an ad not to be shown if the it is in the search query. This filters out unwanted impressions, reduces Cost-Per-Click (CPC) and increases ROI.
Google Adwords is so cost-effective that users can decide how much they want to pay for each click or ad view, so they are in total control over their ad budget and marketing. If you’re on a small budget you can set a daily limit so that your Adwords’ account won’t exceed it for the day.
Although Adwords is very user-friendly and cost-effective, it can be tricky for anyone who is new to PPC ad campaigns. But imagine the rewards you will reap when you acquire the time and skill to constantly monitor ads, adjust budgets and change keywords for optimal performance. Think about it. For just $10 and under, small businesses can run an advertising campaign which, if done correctly, can reap excellent ROI.