“I wake up here every day and it’s February second, Groundhog day…and there’s nothing I can do about it.” – Groundhog Day (1993)
For the intellectually disabled, day-to-day life can be routine, bleak and joyless. Inspired to give back to the community, AONIA continues to do its part to bring cheer and celebration into the lives of the needy.
Earlier this week, AONIA was among more than 40 partners invited by Shangri-La Hotel to partake in its eminent Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative event for the beneficiary Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled . AONIA rolled up our sleeves and spent a meaningful afternoon helping 48 members of the Home bake and decorate cakes, sealing our commitment to practicing good corporate citizenship. The event was a great success, with a joyful atmosphere accompanied by the delicious smell of cake.
The aim of this event was to integrate intellectually disabled people into social life, encouraging them to learn skills like baking and make them feel loved and needed. Sharing the spirit of giving with those who are less fortunate is an important aspect of our values and sustainability efforts.
AONIA looks forward to more partnership events to continue our positive contribution to the community, and a special thanks to Shangri-La!
The debate on marketing to kids has been ongoing for a long time. Now the spotlight has turned to fast food marketing, with fast food giant McDonald’s in the hot seat.
More than 550 health professionals and organizations in America have signed a letter to McDonald’s Corp asking the maker of Happy Meals to stop marketing junk food to kids and retire the well-loved red-haired mascot Ronald McDonald. The campaign is organized by the nonprofit watchdog group Corporate Accountability International, which has also targeted tobacco companies and beverage makers like Coca-Cola Co. and Pepsi Co Inc. for the environmental impact of plastic bottles.
Perhaps it is because I am not a mother yet myself, that I do not have maternal instinct to protect a child. But I do wonder if all this uproar over McDonald’s being a nutritionists’ nightmare is symbolic of a culture of parenting that points fingers to everyone but themselves.
I think these health care professionals and organizations fail to understand one elementary thing: for almost every kid, a Happy Meal and its toys are one of the simple joys in life they can look forward to. It baffles me when the debates that center around marketing to children denounce it as ‘inherently deceptive’.
It is parents’ absolute responsibility to teach their children how to be media-aware, what is real and what is not, what is healthy and what is not. If marketing is truly ‘inherently deceptive’, should all advertisements be banned then? Instead of suing McDonald’s, perhaps it would be better to just learn to say ‘no’ to your kids. Children’s tastes for sweet and salty food develop early in the first few years of their lives and may shape preferences, overall health and potential for obesity later on in life. So where does it all begin? In the home, of course.
Tiger Woods, Madonna, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Hudson , Michael Phelps, SHE , Jeanett Aw, Zoe Tay and even bloggers like Xia Xue. What do they have in common? All of them have been appointed by various companies as official spokespersons. Some celebrities like Bono or Angelina Jolie are in it to create awareness for a charitable cause, whilst some celebs ( I shall not name who) are in it for that fat paycheck. Part of the perks of being somebody famous is that they are often approached to endorse brands or products, often then not if a product/brand endorse by a celeb gets hit by a civil suit. The celeb involved is abstain from any legal troubles however an article by Channel News Asia reported that in China that they are strengthening advertising laws. Once the new legislation is passed, China will hold celebrity spokesperson accountable legally if the brand/product they endorse is embroiled in a civil suit.
We all know that the use of celebrities or well-known figures for product endorsement is one of the most well-used and popular marketing tools used by marketers and companies globally. It is indeed a great way to generate buzz about the brand or a specific product. It even more so in developing countries like China and India.
Some companies had great commercial branding success through the engagement of celebs.
Probably one of the best known and successful company will be Nike and their collaboration with Michael Jordan for Air Jordan.
That is a successful celeb endorsement that worked great for Nike. However, there are plenty of celeb spokesperson fiasco that can be read here: Top Celebrity Spokesperson Fiascos . Such fiascoes occurs because the celeb made a bad move that was captured by the media (eg. Michael Phelps smoking pot) or the product that the celeb is endorsing is exposed to negative news(eg. SK-II found to contain heavy metals) . Either way, a bad pairing of celeb to brand/product is disastrous for both parties.
This brings up our main issue what are the implications these new legislation brings to the celebs and marketing agencies whom engage celebs to endorse products for their clients ?
Personally, the implications can be discuss from the celeb and marketing agencies’ perspectives.
From the celeb’s perspective is much simpler, the implications will be:
A) Definitely be real careful about what they approve to endorse
B) Ensure that in the endorsement contract it states that they are abstain from being legally liable if product/brands gets into legal issues
C) Get a even bigger paycheck to cover the possibility of getting sued
From the marketer’s point of view:
A) More money spent to get celeb onboard for endorsement
B) Overall, marketing companies using celeb spokesperson have to do more to protect the brand/product and the celeb from negative media coverage
These are my views. Do leave a comment if anyone agrees or has other opinions to this.
It’s 4 months more to Christmas, a season of Merry-making and a look back at the calendar of what we have accomplished so far. Everyday at Aonia, we’ve been pleased to help Marketers solve challenges faced with their Viral Marketing Campaigns.
As an ad-industry veteran, I would like to share my thoughts with regards to key challenges faced in Facebook (pun intended) and how our viral marketing platform Quaffs has proved a powerful tool for Social Media Marketing today, vis-a-vis related channels.
Does FaceBook by itself really work?
FaceBook faces a situation where it’s sitting on a gold-mine of your target consumers situation but cannot reveal much of what you need to know without braking Federal laws or alienating its users. So, should you really invest your digital marketing dollars on a platform that allows you only arms-length reach to your target audience?
Knowledge is Power – How much of it can I get via FaceBook?
The other trade Brands make with social platforms is their database. Anytime a brand develops its own microsite, the secondary goal (if not the primary goal) should be customer attraction and retention, ie creating a platform that helps build a database enabling marketers to continue creating and streamlining future offers that delight potential customers. It’s a compounding investment in making better products, experiences, and relationships with your audience. There are lots of takeaways from any experience on a social platform, but almost no tangible effect on building a database that you own. Taking the “If Facebook gets hit by a bus tomorrow,” scenario, what is your Brand left with the day after?
Do I get any useful Metrics?
If you’re excited getting statistics updates for your Fan Page, good for you. However, does that aggregate information really say much about what you really need to know? In a nutshell, when you own your own site, 100% of the metrics you collect are owned by you.
Is there a Better Answer? Fortunately, Yes!
Having spoken to numerous Marketers, I’m happy to say many of their needs can be addressed through our cost-effective viral marketing platform Quaffs.
1. Quaffs is an all-in-one solution (Build Microsite Component + Drive Component + Lead Conversion) for a cost-effective price. (Deployed min 5 days to max of 1 week for campaign roll outs)
2. Quaffs targets and attracts the right audience via a customized Promotions Microsite Designed and Hosted on the Quaffs platform. Each page of the Microsite will be tracked as part of campaign results measurement.
3. Create viral buzz about your Brand and Promotion via the full integration of the Quaffs platform with FaceBook, the largest and most active social network online.
4. Gather a database of Customers interested in your Promotions and Brand for future relationship building initiatives.
5. We’ve figured out how to make the Microsite Interactive yet accessible on Mobile Devices like the iPhone without the need for Flash.
Most importantly, WE HAVE PRODUCED STELLAR RESULTS.
On this note, I’d like to share a testimonial from Huggies for a recent campaign we managed.
“Huggies is constantly looking for cost effective ways to reach out to our target market – busy parents with children less than 3 years old – I’m very happy with the reach we have obtained with the recent Huggies Dry Comfort Campaign executed with the Quaffs platform. The effective reach which we have obtained exceeded our campaign objective via the Quaffs vehicle. We were also able to obtain good leads for future programs based on this campaign.”
Koh LS, Brand Manager, Huggies
In another a recent campaign, more than 400 participants were recorded in Swensen’s Toy Story 3 Giveaway within 30 hours after the campaign launch, ie, approximately 2.5 sign ups every minute.
Enough said for now – If you need a tried and tested solution to your Leads generation, please reach me at Devan@AONIAnow.com.
Host to the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, Singapore is now further recognised on the global Sporting arena - a tremendous feat for a tiny island nation that has just celebrated 45 years of independence. It is a more impressive achievement with the knowledge that Singapore had just about two years to prepare for the event, as opposed to the usual 7 years or more for the Olympic Games. Singapore won 53 votes over Moscow’s 44 for the honour of hosting the games which brings together atheletes from 240 nations.
The YOG Organising Committee has since been working closely with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), 26 international sports federations and 205 national Olympic committees for the competitions to run at the highest international standard.
Singapore as Host
There are obvious symbolic parallels : Singapore is a youthful nation that has distinguished itself globally in various arenas, whilst the Youth Olympics embodies the ideals of ‘Faster, Higher , Stronger‘, ie striving and achievement amongst youth athletes competing on a global platform.
Already known for its achievements in Business, Government, Education, and Tourism, Singapore is becoming increasingly established in the global sporting arena. It also won the privilege of hosting another global sporting event three years ago, boasting of the world’s first F1 night race, and the only other street course after Morocco.
Benefits to Singapore
It is experiential marketing at its finest to have gathered diplomats, CEOs, the best youth athletes and their fans from around the world to enjoy Singapore’s warm hospitality, facilitated by a world-class infrastructure that will ensure the games ensue smoothly. About 3,600 athletes between the ages 14-18 are expected to compete in 26 sports.
The grand opening ceremony was a chance to showcase Singapore’s creative talent to the world, with songs and music composed by Singaporeans. Singaporean Mandopop star JJ Lin wrote the YOG cheer, with the Official theme song composed by Ken Lim. With an eye to establishing itself in the creative world of media, Singapore already has a disproportionate number of Mandopop stars relative to its population size through other artistes like Sun Yan Zi, Mavis Hee and Eric Moo.
The Games also represents big business, attracting huge investments in sponsorships. For the Youth Olympic Games, Samsung and Canon are among nearly 77 sponsors who have invested more than SGD 50 million, exceeding targets. The Singapore government is also reported to have invested close to SGD 400 million on the event.
Visibility on a global sporting platform is also good branding, and a boost to national pride. A Singapore Sports school dedicated to grooming champion sportsmen has been specially established with a keen eye to winning sporting medals in the international arena. Athletes carrying the Singapore flag have also made waves in global championships for sports such as Table-Tennis and Watersports.
Other intangible long-term benefits exist. The YOG will also bring across the spirit of sports to a new and younger audience, building on the efforts of the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) to establish a healthier lifestyle amongst Singaporeans.
Not least of all is the friendships that will ensue from the Games amongst all participants at all levels, leading to countless opportunities for collaboration on all fronts.
Finally, the experience and expertise gained on the organisational, creative and technical fronts would have improved Singaporean companies’ ability to manage ever more complex MICE events.
Watch this Space
The Singapore government clearly understands the importance of creating buzz on the world stage to stay relevant and attractive to various business and political interests.
With the right impressions made across various intellectual and emotional touchpoints to both an internal and external audience, there is no doubt that the inaugural Youth Olympics is an investment in experiential marketing that will pay off for Singapore.
More exciting times look set to lie ahead as more people know of and are attracted to Singapore as a place to live, work and play.
By Bridget Kow, Projects Executive
Does any of these brands sound familiar to you? If yes, those companies are doing something right with their marketing. If no, let me introduce you to China’s emerging brands.
Haier is a china-based household appliance manufacturer, its the world’s 4th largest white goods manufacturer. With revenues of $17.1 Billion in 2008. Impressive isn’t it? Compare to Electrolux with Haier, which will consumers trust better?
Hua Wei is China largest networking and telecommunications equipment supplier and it current supplies networking equipment to local telcos like Singtel , M1.
My question is can these brand move beyond national shores and enter international markets. Answer is Yes, with internet and globalization has allowed brands to enter into new markets. However, sterotypes still exist , when we talk about Japanese products like Sony or Sanyo, many consumers will associate that with higher price but quality products. However, China has been forced into the sterotype of having cheap but of inferior goods. John Pomfret of the Washington Post has clearly pointed out one of China’s failure to create renowned brands. Even though China is actively working to move away from its sterotype and move into quality manufacturing. The overall image of “Made in China” negatively affected it corporate brand strength.
In order for China Brands to start growing and flourishing in other markets, it has to re-brand its country’s image. Move away from being synonymous with “cheap”. A country has to brand its own image, as produces and brands coming out from that will be directly associated with the brand of the country. Take for example, German brands regardless of industry exude precision, French brands are associated with class and style.
Gary Shapiro, President & CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association suggests that, “While the Chinese have purchased well-known brands, like RCA and IBM personal computers, they did not recognize that the acquisition cost is just the beginning of owning a brand. A brand is like a child, which must be schooled and disciplined and taught to adjust to change. A brand must be built through quality and through PR and marketing including advertising, media, sponsorships and events.”
China Brands has to actively build brand awareness, the lack of marketing experiences hinders that. China companies need to be organizationally readily for branding projects. It mean making their brands relevant and compelling to consumers outside of China. Associations related to “cheap” and “poor quality” can not be changed overnight and will take long-term, concerted communications campaigns to dispel negative associations and convince consumers. This will require that Chinese brands find competitive advantages beyond price. Several global brands have migrated from low price to “a good value for the money”.
Once Chinese products and services can inject emotion into their brands, sustain investment, and implement brand management best practices, they will take their place among the world’s leading brands.
There are people out there who believe that branded goods are the way of life. The possession of a branded good provides one with sense of confidence signifies prestige and is a sign that they have made it in life. One might argue otherwise explaining that branded goods are purchased because of their quality and not the association that comes with it. How true is this then?
A study done comparing Coca cola and Pepsi proves different. An fMRI was done to monitor the brain activity of subjects who sampled both Coca Cola and Pepsi. When a blind taste test was done, where the brand of the cola was not revealed, participants showed a 50/50 preference for both Colas. However, when the brand of the Cola was revealed in advance to the participants, Coca Cola was preferred 75% to 25%.
This study reflects the power of brand imagery. Through the creation of strong marketing and advertising campaigns, people start to develop a schema (a set of associations linked to a concept) surrounding a product/service. A schema that surrounds branded goods and services usually includes quality, care, prestige, pride, status and wealth. This explains the hype surrounding branded goods and the admiration that follows it.
It is therefore important not to be influenced by the imagery surrounding branded goods. There are many other products and services out there that are of better quality and are less expensive which may be overshadowed by bigger brands. Researching into the right brand for you is thus important before making a decision. More often than not you will definitely be able to find a product or services that are excellent yet affordable.
Goldsmith,S. Coke Vs Pepsi: The taste test they don’t want you to know about. Retrieved from: http://www.60secondmarketer.com/60SecondArticles/Branding/cokevs.pepsitast.html
The good news is that more and more money is now being directed to online marketing. eMarketer estimates that US online Advertising spending will reach 25.1 billion in 2010, 10.8% up from 2009. The bad news is nobody really knows what the current situation for online marketing in Asia is. A lot of marketing dollars are being funneled towards online marketing because of social media and the advertising opportunities therein, which is why an opportunity may soon arise for social media monitoring services.
The goal of Social Media Monitoring is to listen to the thousands of views and opinions that are expressed by consumers online through blogs, Facebook, twitter etc. Why should companies be doing this? Basically for 3 reasons: to identify social media gatekeepers (influential people), to track what’s been said, and to gauge consumer sentiment.
Social Media Intelligence is a rapidly emerging field in countries where money is being invested in Internet Marketing. There are several companies that offer it in the United States, Europe and Australia. A couple of these are buzznumbers in Australia and socialtarget in America. Asia however has fewer companies that offer such services, perhaps because the movement of marketing dollars from traditional media to online media has been slower.
Acknowledging current marketing trends, Social Media Monitoring or Listening or Intelligence services may soon have a market in Asia. A few companies like thoughtbuzz are based in Asia already and may be well poised to take advantage of future events.
For more information of Social Media Monitoring you can peruse the following articles:
Sharpen Your Social Media Intelligence
Social Media Power Secret- Listening
The Five Ws of Social Media Listening
Social Media: Listening is the New Marketing
Microsoft is announcing today that it has integrated Facebook and Windows Live into Outlook via its Outlook Social Connector, bringing the streams of millions of Facebook users into inboxes across the world.
Last year, Microsoft launched Outlook Social Connector, a plugin that syncs social networking feeds with your Outlook contacts, giving you immediate data on what they are doing and thinking. It started last year with LinkedIn integration, but soon the company announced MySpace and Facebook were coming.
Today, Outlook completes the cycle with not only Facebook integration, but support for Windows Live Messenger as well. Not only that, but the company is releasing the plugin for Outlook 2003 and 2007 users as well, bringing Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Windows Live Messenger to millions of business and personal inboxes worldwide.
Personally, i feel that even though integration is the ultimate way for all social media platforms to proceed. Linking facebook to Microsoft outlook might not be the best idea. For facebook is more personal and where people post rants, un-glamorous photos or videos. Whereas Outlook is mostly used by companies or small businesses, it might be a case where business and pleasure should not be mixed. Microsoft would have to tread carefully and ensure that this tool will not become the next “Google Buzz” and not assume that all users would like to have the ability to integrate their Outlook and Facebook.
However, on the other hand, if such integration becomes a success with users. It will definitely be a game-changer in the world of social media and online interactions will become more entrenched in users daily lives.
By Rachel Siah, Integrated Marketing Executive
Twitter is a tool for “micro-blogging” or posting very short updates, comments and thoughts. With limitation of 140 characters, Twitter was designed to be compatible with mobile phones through text messages. The most suitable metaphor I have found for describing Twitter is to liken it to a cross between instant messaging and a chat room, because it is an open forum yet you can restrict it to the people you connect with.
I have to admit; I have not always been sold on Twitter.
At first I thought I understood it, but thought it was pretty useless as a marketing tool and redundant as a personal networking tool since I am already on Facebook. In fact, Twitter scares me. For all its popularity, Twitter simultaneously leaves some people with a feeling of not being connected or not being in the loop. By elevating the importance of being constantly updated, Twitter ironically amplifies the feeling of missing out on something if you are not checking for updates or twittering with enough frequency. Of course, I may be wrong on this one since it looks like about a hundred-to-one in favour of Twitter. Take a look at info-graphic of Twitters meteoric rise compared to Facebook here.
Despite the stagnant growth in Twitter’s unique visits, the number of tweets did not stop growing. In fact, it was chancing upon GigaTweet that brought my attention back to Twitter. The real time statics of total number of tweets at GigaTweet showed no signs of a pause, not even for a millisecond!! Again, this astonishing founding of the Twitter’s global usage scares me. Putting my negative perception towards Twitter aside, I finally logged in to my Twitter account that has been inactive since the day it was created (out of curiosity). It is only after following some people and having more followers that I start to think it has some value after all, especially as a marketing and PR tool.
Here are some ideas how you can use Twitter to your advantage:
1) A less time consuming and hassle-free engagement with prospects, customers, bloggers or other influencers since it is limited to 140 characters per update. Definitely good for posting thoughts and comments for people on the go!
2) Keep in touch with your industry friends. Making friends on Twitter is really easy, simply by following people and most of the time they will follow you back.
3) Monitor conversations about your company or brand on Twitter through Twitter’s own search engine. You can even subscribe these searches via RSS to keep yourself constantly updated. Another tip is that you can follow all the people you find talking about your company. If they are talking about your company, they would probably be pretty happy that someone from the company wants to follow them! A study has also shown that 20% of tweets contain brand name. (Source: Penn Olsen)
4) Announce exclusive offers, deals or sales instantly and virally.
5) Live updates on events or conferences, even to announce last minute changes.
6) Post links to promote blog articles, webinars and interesting news. If you have a really long URL, use TinyURL to take a long URL and make it short.
7) Have conversations on Twitter by using the @ symbol before someone’s Twitter username. This makes their username a link to their profile. It is not exactly like instant messaging, but it is sort of like a publicity broadcast IM service.
It is remarkable that an enjoyable and meaningful web service can be created out of something as simple as 140 character text segments. Twitter thrives on its ecosystem – the growing army of users, programmers and designers that are coming up with ways to make the Twitter experience more fulfilling.
A few of my personal favourite Twitter-based applications that you may find useful:
1) Twitterholic: This application lists the top 100 users of Twitter ranked by their number of followers.
2) Twittervision: This mesmerizing Twitter/Google Maps mashup displays Twitter messages in real time, via Google Maps. You will see a Twitterer posts a message in Singapore, and then watch as the map zooms over to a Thailand or Japan-based Twitterer instantly!
3) RSS2Twitter: With RSS2Twitter, you can easily set up any RSS feed (including blogs and news sites) to be delivered to your Twitter account. This means that RSS updates can easily be delivered to your mobile phone via Twitter, which is useful if you want to keep track of something. You can even filter updates with “include only with” and “exclude with” functions.
4) Twitterfeed.com: Similar to RSS2Twitter, except Twitterfeed makes it very simple for you to post your blog entries to Twitter and even Facebook .
5) Twitteriffic: Twitteriffic is a fun application that lets you read and publish posts or “tweets” on Twitter specifically for Mac users. You can also customise navigation of the interface and control Twitterific with AppleScript.
As a tool with many flexible uses, it is likely that we will see individuals integrating Twitter with all sorts of interesting applications in the future. With simplicity and flexibility which makes Twitter a winner, it does appear to me that Twitter is here to stay.