Friday, October 29, 2004

Internet Sex Search Turns To Business

INTERNET users are doing far fewer searches for sex and pornography and more for e-commerce and business than they were seven years ago, researchers say in a new book.

"Twenty per cent of all searching was sex-related back in 1997, now it's about 5 per cent," said Amanda Spink, the University of Pittsburgh professor who co-authored "web Search: Public Searching of the web" with Pennsylvania State University State professor Bernard J. Jansen.
"It's a little bit more in Europe, 8 to 10 per cent, but in comparison to everything else, it's a very small percent," Ms Spink said. "People are using (the web) more as an everyday tool rather than as just an entertainment medium."

Experts aren't surprised by the results.

"They're not getting excited about using the internet any more," Barry Wellman, a University of Toronto cyberspace researcher said of the findings. "Remember when cars came out, and people would say, 'Wow, we're going for a ride today!' Now they just go for a ride."

Or go shopping. Ms Spink said her studies showed queries for e-business or commerce increased by 86 per cent over the past seven years.

"That makes sense because e-commerce in the last seven years has boomed," said Gary Price, news editor of, a branch of Connecticut-based, which reports on internet surfing.

In one study detailed in their book, Spink and Jansen randomly selected thousands of search sessions from more than 1 million they culled anonymously from search engines such as AltaVista. They tracked the type of search terms used, how many search terms were entered and how deeply into the results computer users clicked for information.

What hasn't changed much in seven years is how hard people are willing to work at searching. The answer: Not very. Spink and Jansen found that people averaged about two words per query and two queries per search session.

"The searches are taking less than five minutes and they're only looking at the first page of results," Spink said. "That's why people are wanting to get their results on the first page" of search engine results.

Spink and Jansen have just begun a study on Pittsburgh-based Their findings will be used to improve the "metasearch" engine, which culls results from other search engines and categorises them for users.

"We were surprised that people weren't doing more complex searches," Ms Spink said. "If you put a couple of words into the web, you're going to get hundreds of thousands of results. I think people aren't trained very well to use the search engines."

Source: The Associated Press accessed here on 29/10/04.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Three Important Presentation Lessons

Well, a quick post from Changi prior to flying back home.

Three lessons from my presentation in Vietnam.

1. Watch what you eat prior. Well, old Murphy popped up in HCM. The night before my presentation I had violent food poisoning from eating shellfish. It was a horror 6 hours from 2am until 6am and impacted on how I felt. It was an important lesson. The positive ... I've lost about 3 kilos!

2. Watch out for cultural sensitivities. My closer about visual images of the fall of Saigon was a big blunder. To the locals it was the liberation of Saigon. Next time buy a guidebook and bone up.

3. More global brands. Global brands are universal - that's why they're global brands - next time I'm going to use them, cheers from Singapore.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

How To Prepare Prior to a Speech

Well, it is the evening before our big International Business Seminar here at the Hotel Equatorial.

I'm just waiting until we do a rehearsal. I've had a great day meeting with Austrade in HCM and then lunch at a local restaurant opposite the former Palace.

It was an eerie experience going past the Palace, and seeing the tanks and actual gates that were crushed during the fall of Saigon in the Vietnam war. Those images defined a generation.

The baked mudfish on the menu was superb.

Back to reality and my hour-long keynote tomorrow is titled "The Brand Within: The 8 Principles to Build a Powerful Corporate and Personal Brand in Any Market".

I've got some great research on local brands and plan to really customise the presentation to the Vietnamese market. The Austrade Commissioner here put me in touch with Kurt Viertel, the local manager with global advertising company Leo Burnett. I rang him and got some great local insights. It really pays to ask for contacts and then follow-up with good questions. This sort of research can turn a good speech into a great one.

I've also spent some time learning some local Vietnamese to use in my opener.

I've drunk a lot of water today, avoiding any alcohol, caffeine and heavy foods so I'm fully hydrated tomorrow.

I also spent an hour in the gym, some time relaxing in the sauna, spa and swimming pool. I find exercise, a good diet and keeping the fluid intake high essential when you're traveling as a speaker and want to be in a peak physical state for a presentation.

My three goals for tomorrow's presentation are:

1. Slow Down - my presentation is in English but 80% of the audience will be Vietnamese.
2. Have Fun - enjoy the moment, keep relaxed and make it memorable for the audience. People learn more and feel better when they're happy and laughing, and
3. Get the audience involved. I've learnt from my experience in the Philippines, Asian audiences (except perhaps Singaporeans who can be a little shy and non-questioning) love to be involved, so I will really work the room with the roving microphone. A bit like Oprah or Jerry Springer - fortunately with my media background I'm comfortable in this mode.

Well, about time to run through my key points, work on my opener and go to the rehearsal.

I look forward to updating you tomorrow.


The Ultimate in Brand Penetration

Greetings from Ho Chi Mihn City in Vietnam.

One of the things that strikes you about this dynamic, vibrant and friendly city is the huge numbers of motorbikes.

They zoom up and down the main streets in their thousands in what seems a mad chaotic rush with no road rules. They carry up to four people and all sort of luggage.

They are the mode of transport for locals.

So what is the dominant brand of motorbike? Honda of course!

In fact Honda is so dominant in HCM that the word Honda is used as the generic name for motorbike.

The brand name has so penetrated the market that the name has become synonymous with the product, much like Xerox or Hoover.

In Japan, Honda executives are so committed to protecting Honda's reputation that they actually clean a dirty Honda car if they see one in the street.

How can your corporate or personal brand achieve brand penetration for your target market?

Until next time, cheers Tom

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Consumers Buy Brands Because of Trust and Prestige

A quick post from the Pacific Coffee Company in City Walk, Singapore where you get 15 minutes free Internet access with every purchase.

I've never used a keyboard with so many coffee stains before!

I've come via this walk to buy my two favourite brands when I'm in Singapore.

The first is Timberland because there is no Timberland shop in Perth, where I come from and the one in Sydney closed down.

I like Timberland because of the quality and confort. I find being a former elite athlete, the bigger fit suits my hammer throwing thighs!

I bought my last pair of Timberland trekking shoes in Hong Kong five years ago and its time for an upgrade.

Timberland is popular in Asia and locals buy it for the brand. Overseas buyers like me seek it out for comfort.

The brand is also built on a story and displayed in the shop I went into was this piece of Timberland history.

"In 1973, led by founder Sidney Swartz, Timberland introduced the first waterproof boot setting new standards for craftmanship, durability and protection from the outdoors."

Good brands use stories to reinforce relationships and trust with consumers.

Another of my favourite brands is Samsonite. My bags get a beating being an International Business Speaker and this is a brand with the best quality of travel luggage in the world. I pay extra for peace of mind.

My fifteen minutes is up. See you next time. Tom

Monday, October 18, 2004

Building a Powerful Personal Brand - Your USP

I've just returned from a wonderful afternoon at the Sheraton Towers in Singapore presenting to 75 highly motivated delegates (95% women) at the Women's Leadership Forum.

The theme was "Share and Grow" and my topic was personal branding.

Now most people think USP stands for "Unique Selling Proposition". Not in my book, I believe it is "Unique Special Person".

This is based on my premise your personal brand is about being authentic to yourself, your family and your work.

A personal brand is like a pearl. The end product is beautiful, lustrous and natural. But every pearl starts with a small grain of sand. As you know, the grain of sand irritates the oyster and it deposits layer upon layer of lacquer on the grain until a pearl is formed.

Your personal brand is like this. It takes time to develop, nurture and grow ... and you may be forced with many irritations and setbacks. In the end it is worth it, a priceless piece of nature.

Until next time .... keep positive, Tom

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Friday, October 15, 2004

What is Singapore's Most Talked About Brand?

What is Singapore’s most talked about brand? Is it Silk Air, Tiger Beer or Great Eastern?

As I walked down CityWalk from Raffles Plaza to SunTech City on my recent visit to Singapore, the beautiful smell of freshly cooked bread wafted out from my left.

My eyes followed my nose as I looked left and through the clear glass saw several bakers in tall cooks hats preparing and cooking bread.

So what was this company and how did this experience help build its brand?

Well for a sheer assault on all senses – including smell and taste – Singapore's most talked about brand must be BreadTalk.

What makes the BreadTalk brand so successful? Is it the unique see through bakery concept or the clean, well-lit contemporary designed stores, the aroma or those quirky bread names?

High Trust

Well it is a combination of all factors that come together to create a memorable, high trust, and transparent relationship with customers.

“The brand is the amusement park, the product is the souvenir,” is one of William Arruda's favourite branding quotes from Nick Graham of Joe Boxer.

Listing on the Singapore stock exchange in June 2003, BreadTalk’s growth is now spreading throughout Asia with franchising.

It might be a unique spin on mooncakes but the concept is clearly working.

What makes the brand tangible is the belief that each piece of bread has a story to tell.

And so the brand is built on a story, and people tell stories and storytelling or word of mouth marketing is the fastest way to build a strong, distinctive and valuable brand.

The Magic Power of Words

Words are like bullets and they wield enormous power. If you are a leader, manager or coach, what are the most powerful words in the English language?

US Motivational Speaker and Author, Dennis Waitley says the five most important words a leader can speak are: "I am proud of you."

The four most important are: "What is your opinion?"

The three most important are: "If you please."

The two most important are: "Thank You."

And the most important single word of all is: "You!"

(Source:Denis Waitley's Weekly Ezine, Friday, 15 October 2004)

I heard Denis Waitley speak in Perth on November 21st during his 1994 Australian Tour, have a signed copy of his book The New Dynamics of Winning and still have my original notes and to do list from his seminar nearly 10 years later.

He had a big impact on my success as a young leader managing the world's largest radio network as Manager of Regional Stations in Western Australia for the ABC.

How can you apply this knowledge to your own situation? Well, everytime you have to give a presentation cross out "I" and put in "you".

As a senior executive at the ABC, I had a saying for on air presenters who were self-indulgent, ego-centred and failed to connect with their audience. My description was that their "I's" were too close together!

As a leader, manager or public speaker don't let this happen to you.

Regards, Tom

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Search World Launch a Great Success

I've just got in after presenting "Secrets of Search Engine Marketing" at the Hyatt Regency in Perth at the launch of SearchWorld. According to industry reports search engine marketing (SEM) spend will increase from $70 million this year in Australia alone to $170 million next year. It's a big growth area and my premise in last night's presentation was that by using search engine marketing you can bring more qualified leads into your business, increasing profitability and making your marketing efforts more measurable and accountable.

At the heart of internet marketing success there is no magic solution, no dark secret and no get rich, quick schemes. It is about education, awareness and taking a strategic approach to what is a complex, fluid and dynamic area of marketing. Every business is different and you can customise a solution to your needs.

There is a lot of hype associated with Internet marketing and my goal was to break through the hype and take a look at reality. To do this I presented 'The Seven Myths of Search Engine Marketing'. If you missed last night's presentation, here they are:

1. Build It and They Will Come
2. Put It Up & They Will Buy
3. Search Engine Submission Guarantees Traffic
4. Being Ranked #1 Will Create Instant Success
5. Being Ranked in the Top 100 for Frequently Searched Keywords Will Create Instant Success
6. Paying for the #1 Listing Will Create Instant Success
7. Advertising on the Internet Will Create Instant Success

The team at SearchWorld are great to work with and I suggest you visit their site

You missed a great event if you were unable to attend the seminar. If you want information-packed insights, ideas and practical advice on Internet Marketing, our Web Marketing Essentials CD and book is now available. What better way to learn than using our home study pack at a time and place that suits you and receive five bonus reports. Learn more here.

I'm off to Singapore this Sunday and look forward to adding to this blog and updating you on my presentations from Singapore and Vietnam.