Archive for the 'Edelman' Category

Edelman Trust Barometer 2008

Richard Edelman unveiled his company’s annual trust barometer study–this is the ninth edition–on his 6 A.M. blog a day before the official release.  He previewed seven key findings, but I just want to highlight a couple, which I think are particularly interesting.

Finding #1: “Trust in media as an institution is at a high point in the study’s history, with marked increases over past year standings in the U.K., Germany, the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and India.”  This is the first year where the definition of media was expanded to include social media, which probably boosted its ranking.
==> In Dec 2007, BBC commissioned a study on the perception of media in 14 countries.  For Singapore, 1,011 were polled out of the 11,344 worldwide.  Responding to one question on perception of press freedom, only 36 per cent gave Singapore’s press a high freedom rating.  This was the lowest of all the 14 countries surveyed, a key fact completely omitted in reportage by local state-owned media.  Almost as if to prove the point, one local English daily put a spin on the figure, reporting it as such: “Despite the fact that the media here was perceived ‘as less free than in any other country surveyed’, 36 per cent gave the local press a high freedom rating.” (TODAY, “Social stability is key: Poll,” Dec 11, 2007).  Check local citizen journalist Alex Au’s blog for more background and analysis.   I am also attaching a more detailed report of the study: 10_12_07_worldservicepoll.pdf

Finding #2: “Social media is on the rise, particularly in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). As expected, it is also more highly used and trusted by young opinion elites. Wikipedia ranks as the No. 2 source of credible information among 25-to-34-year-old opinion elites in the United States, by 55% of respondents.”
==> A surprising lot of professional communicators I know do not give much credence to the community-edited Wikipedia, dismissing its credibility and value.  Numerous studies, including one groundbreaking experiment by Nature, provided much evidence that Wikipedia articles are as accurate as those found in Encyclopedia Britannica.  While there have been a number of high-profile hoax entries, Wikipedia has instituted measures to tighten its editorial policy and process.  There is a whole community out there that is actively creating and editing entries on companies, newsmakers, scandals, and social issues.  Does Wikipedia not provide organizations with an excellent opportunity to be part of a conversation in a transparent, open way?



Nike China launches integrated, interactive campaign – 狂足快跑

Alan Vandermolen, Edelman PR’s Asia Pacific president recently highlighted a really interesting case study of Nike China‘s new interactive campaign on his Uncorked blog. 


What I really like about it is that this “bluetooth campaign” innovatively integrates elements of traditional and social media marketing.  Putting traditional outdoor advertising on its head, the campaign features a billboard that emits a bluetooth mobile signal that functions as a stopwatch.  The public can then run (literally) to a designated Nike store.  When they arrive, a second bluetooth signal is sent out, recording the run time.  Every day for 21 days,  the store gives away a different pair of Nike running shoes for the person with the fatest run time.  Now how cool is that?

Check out the campaign at 狂足快跑.

Institute of Public Relations Singapore PR 2.0 Conference

I recently attended a conferenced organized by the Institute of Public Relations Singapore, entitled “PR 2.0: Engaging Stakeholders in the New Media Landscape.” 


It featured a number of great speakers with interesting ideas to share.  An example would be Christopher Graves (Ogilvy PR’s President, Asia Pacific), who shared the agency’s thinking on the social media landscape.  It was of course also a subtle plug for Ogilvy PR’s newly launched 360 Degree Digital Influence practice


Other speakers include John Kerr of Edelman, who by now is a familiar face in the social media lecture circuit, but who nonetheless always makes it a point to customize his presentation to suit the needs of the audience and occasion. 

Melvin Yuan of The PR 2.0 Universe moderated what was probably the most scintillating panel discussion, owing to a penetrating question asked by Dr. Jim Macnamara (General Manager, Research, for CARMA).  Jim’s point was that while outreaching to “celebrity bloggers” to evaluate or endorse a product was a great promotional tactic, it wasn’t authentic (which was a word one of the panel speaker used to describe such efforts).  I have to agree with Jim.  Even though bloggers are not technically obliged to blog about free products they receive, those who do have made a business out of blogging know that if they don’t, or if they write an overlydisparaging review, companies and PR agencies may start giving them a wide berth.  Even in traditional media organizations, marketing preriodically exert influence over editorial.  Having said that, I hope that consumers will be sophisticated enough to take what they come across in the media–old and new–with a pinch of salt and look for corroborative evidence instead of relying on any one souce to make a decision.


My colleague and friend Walter Lim, who heads corporate communications and industry promotions at the National Heritage Board, shared how blogger outreach made a difference in the International Museums Day 2006 and the success of NHB’s blog.

SMU PodCamp 2007 – The seeds of a social media movement in Singapore?

While, as organizer Michael Netzley said, the SMU PodCamp 2007 was more a hybrid powwow than an unconference in the purest sense of the word, I think it was an excellent way to get the local social media types–and hopefully a few skeptics–excited about the new vistas that social media can open up to communicators and companies.

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The primary feature speaker was Mitch Joel, president of Quebec-based marketing firm Twist Image.  Mitch did his “Six Pixels of Separation” presentation–essentially making the points that we live in a world that is more connected than ever before and that it is not technology that connects us, it is content.  In fact, he made the point that content is media.

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The afternoon featured local mobile operator StarHub‘s marketing VP sharing a case study of the company’s blogger outreach campaign in the lead-up to the official launch of its Pfingo service.  What I thought was quite fascinating was that some of the bloggers StarHub provided pre-release handsets and information to were journalists of traditional media who also happened to blog (mentioned was Alfred Siew of Straits Times, among others).  Sure, it’d be a scoop for a blogger to be the first to break the news on a pre-release product, but if that blogger also happened to write for a traditional media organization, what would his/her editor think?

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John Kerr, who leads Edelman’s Southeast Asia social media practice also presented some interesting slides on media consumption trends in Asia, as well as its now annual Trust Barometer study.

podcamp_john_kerr.jpg  podcamp_michael_mitch_1.jpg

The second day was spent mostly with Mitch doing a demo of some of the cool social media sites such as, Linkedin.  I have to say I wasn’t motivated enough to start my own accounts until I saw what they could do through Mitch’s demo.  Now, my account is at, and my Linkedin account is at  I will continue to build on them over the next weeks and months ahead.

Hopefully this podcamp will sow the seeds, creating ripples of change in Singapore when it comes to social media communication.  Kudos, Michael, for putting this together, and till PodCamp 2008!

Give stakeholders insights into your company personality through corporate blogging

Even though Richard Edelman’s blog entries can be verbose, 6 A.M. is a blog I enjoy.  Other than insights into the public relations profession, the blogs offers a peek into the thinking and personality that founded one of the world’s leading PR firms. 


In his recent May entries, Richard Edelman reflected on the proceedings of a breakfast meeting of the C40 group of large city majors and the bridging role of PR in private-public partnerships; his take on smoking prevention and cessation programs–where he announced that he is offering to any Edelman staff who quits smoking in the next few months US$500 if they stayed smoke-free six months later; and shared his sense of loss and grief at the passing of a colleague whom he also considered a dear friend.

Edelman’s 6 A.M. blogs offers several lessons, but I will just discuss one here, and that is a corporate blog can be a powerful way of giving stakeholders intimate insights into your company personality that is beneath the varnished corporate website, media releases, and collaterals.  But this also means that any company that is not willing to offer a personal glimpse into its thinking and workings should probably not blog.

Can Singaporean companies do well in this area?  My observation is that for psychosocial reasons that are to lengthy to delve into here, Singaporeans by-and-large are reticent about being the public face of the organizations they work for.  It wasn’t so long ago that even sign-offs to letters responding to public queries in the newspapers made it clear that the spokesperson was speaking on behalf of yet another person (usually a higher-up).  This practice was especially prevalent among government organizations. 

A successful corporate blog is seldom run by a team of anonymous employees churning out prosaic postings on a clockwork schedule.  Rather, it is about building relationships and enaging in an ongoing, multilateral conversation.  It can only work if a company truly cares about offering a personal facet to its public face and can find ardent champions who are empowered to pry aside the corporate veils even if ever so slightly.

Flickr Photos


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