Archive for the 'public relations' Category

New Media Communications Course @ SMU

It was exciting conducting a second round of a two-day program on new media communications for colleagues in Singapore’s public service. On Day 1, participants were brought through some trends and developments of Singapore’s online space, and agencies such as the Health Promotion Board, the National Heritage Board (pics below are of Walter in action), and the Ministry of Education shared case studies, followed by a sharing on Wikipedia.

Day 2 saw many of the participants making their maiden foray into Web 2.0, creating their very first blog posts, contributing their first pictures onto Flickr, and uploading their first YouTube video. Ivan from the National Library Board brought the participants through how to create a podcast. Here are some pics.

The participants came from diverse walks of Singapore’s public service, such as Temasek Polytechnic, MINDEF, the Central Provident Board, the Energy Market Authority, and Tan Tock Seng Hospital, just to name a few. Here is a video of the class in session, taken from Day 1. If you were part of this class, please send me your blog URL. 🙂

Social media trends for 2008 by Kami Huyse

‘Tis the season for predictions, and there are many.  But one of the most succint and reflective that I’ve come across is one by San Antonio based new media PR practitioner and blogger Kami Huyse.  Read her post here

On the first trend of the rise of viral videos, I’d have to say that Singapore has had its share.  Most of them, however, have been by “citizen journalists” making social commentary.  On the side of the corporates, the most notorious was the MDA “senior management rap” (an oxymoron, if you ask me).  By and large, companies here have not caught on to this trend.  In fact, when famed British 3D street artist Julian Beever was in Singapore last year at the expense of Nokia, the Singapore office failed to leverage on a new media video campaign to boost the reach of its PR program, unlike Aveeno, whose YouTube campaign garnered significant attention (read my earlier observations here).


What’s your New Year resolution? – A YouTube video by Singapore’s Health Promotion Board

Singapore’s Health Promotion Board, the state agency charged with building a nation of fit and healthy Singaporeans, has made its first foray into online video campaigns.

The video, uploaded onto YouTube, takes viewers through the trials and tribulations of “Clara,” who decides to take a smoke break to seek solace from a hounding boss, to quite unexpected results. 

The video is also available at, the smoking cessation website targeted at women.  One suggestion I have is for both the video and the microsite to be more visible from the corporate HPB site (or at least the Quit Smoking section).  Otherwise, I think it’s a great start, although patience is required to keep trying until one produces a hit.  If anything else, the messages are targeted and intended.  Referring to the inadvertent and notorious MDA “senior management rap” (an oxymoron, isn’t it) YouTube video, I don’t believe that even bad publicity is good publicity.

What do you think of the video?  To appeal to the pragmatic sensibilities, there is a lucky draw from viewers to share the video with friends.  Sign-up here.

Why Asia’s Corporations Resist Corporate Communication and Reputation Management – Michael Netzley’s Five-point Model

My colleague Michael Netzley of the Singapore Management University posted a fascinating reflection on why Asian corporates are reluctant to actively and openly engage with their stakeholders and constituents.  Netzley has distilled his thinking–which he co-credits his students–into a five-point model: (1) strategic pragmatism; (2) standard practice; (3) relative trust in higher-ups; (4) context of tradition; and (5) market stage. No doubt, the intertwined issues are evaluated through western lens and terms, and empirical research beyond anecdotes are warranted, but I think there is some validity in this model and it’s really worth some thought.

PRSA International Conference 2007 – Snap Observations

The Public Relations Society of America International Conference 2007 was a fruitful experience.  Some general observations:

  • There is a strong sense of the profession and professional pride by American communicators.
  • Putting traditional media under pressure while opening up new channels of communications, new media is shaking up the profession in the U.S., just as it is doing in Singapore.
  • American corporations seem bolder in their use of new media as a communications tool.  While some could say that the Singapore government has more at stake and hence the need to be more cautious, many of these companies–Xerox, Dell, Blockbuster, the Consumer Electronics Association, and even the U.S. State Department–have plenty at stake too but having made their calculations, they moved in.
  • The Silver Anvil Award case studies invariably featured programs that married traditional media relations with new media outreach.

Some pictures from the conference.

Glitz and glamour leading up to the opening address.

Actress-turned-activist Mia Farrow issuing a compelling call-to-action on the Darfur genocide.  Find out more about her urgent message and what you can do at

NBC anchor Tim Russert talks about the poisonous environment in Washington D.C.  and lessons he learned from his father.

Karen Hughes, Under Secretary of State discussing the America’s public diplomacy efforts (she has since announced that she will be stepping down from her post and will return to Texas).

The standing-room only Virgina Tech case study presentation.

The PRSA celebrates its 60th anniversary in a richly-programmed and well-executed conference.  It has much to be proud of.

PRSA Proceedings – Breakout: Building Trust During a Media Maelstrom

Kami Watson Huyes , one of the volunteer bloggers at the recently-concluded PRSA International Conference 2007 wrote a most timely and thoughtful post on the conference blog.

In that post, Kami reflected on a conference breakout which explored how social media has changed the way organizations communicate during a crisis (the breakout of the catastrophic Californian wildfires being a case-in-point) both from the standpoint of how the authorities and relief agencies disseminate timely information, to how traditional news media gather stories to supplement their reporting.

Do check out Kami’s post here.

P.S. Kami, sorry I wasn’t able to join you at the geek dinner, but I sure hope our paths will cross again.

Flickr Photos


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