Friday, October 26, 2007

Investor Relations Workshop - Manila, Philippines, 4th & 5th October 2007

Praise for the Investor Relations Workshop that took place in Manila over the 4th and 5th of October 2007.

“There were three main things I took away from the session; 1. Focus on your investor relations role, 2. Enhance your website with downloadable video of CEO/top management, 3. Develop a pro-active investor relations program.” Alexander C. Escucha, First Vice President, China Banking Corporation

“I learnt some very valuable information, investor relations is basically impression management.” Sharade Erames-Padilla, Semirara Mining Corp.

“I now understand that investor relations must not only look at how to effectively manage external investors, they must also develop a plan for communicating relevant ideas to internal stakeholders to maintain consistency and transparency in all company endeavors.” Dave Michael V. Valeriano, Loans Manager, Manila Water

“The concept of branded investor relations is new to me and presents interesting proposition and opportunities to further develop our investor relations function, focusing and targeting our efforts on activities that will give us the most value.” Cherry Chan Tan, Head, Investor Relations, Globe Telecom, Inc

“I feel I can now confidently consolidate the various groups of our company currently doing different functions within the investor relations spectrum into one, cohesive working unit.” Antonio J. Garcia, Vice President, Intellectual Property Ventures Group

“To me, the most significant idea I picked up from this seminar is the concept of selling company stock as a ‘brand’. I would like to adopt this concept for our company stock to make it better known as a particular ‘brand’ in the market.” Renato N. Migrino, VP-Finance, Treasurer & CFO, Philex Mining Corporation

“The first thing I will do will be to check out our investor relations existing practice and relate everything to what I have learned in this seminar.” Reyna-Beth D. De Guzman, Investor Associate, San Miguel Corporation

“I was actually fascinated to understand that the top key factor to really push a company’s image and reputation is to show credibility and integrity.” Elisa R. Dungca, Divisional Manager – Planning, Budget and IT, Philex Mining Corporation

“The basics and best practices in investor relations that were taken up during the two-day workshop would be my essential tool in the setting up of the investor relations function of the company.” Brian Edang, Investor Relations Group, Vista Land & Lifescapes

“Possibly the most valuable thing I will take away from this seminar; ‘You never get a second chance at a first impression’.” Kristina I. Garcia, Assistant Director – Investor Relations, Megaworld Corporation

“I learnt some invaluable information, particularly the importance of communicating the activities of your company in a consistent, timely and regular fashion.”
Udela C. Salvo, Vice President and CFO Assistant, Philippine National Bank (PNB)

“The three most important things I learned at this seminar were; about the 21 storylines, never underestimate the power of employee communication and a new way to deal with crisis management.” Vanessa Vargas-Unlayao, Communications Officer, San Miguel Pure Foods Company, Inc.

Praise for Powerful & Persuasive Speech Writing Workshop - Perth, 23rd October 2007

Praise for Powerful & Persuasive Speech Writing Workshop held in Perth on October 23rd 2007.

“Good delivery, style and practical examples. Great audience interaction.” Damian Collins, Director, Momentum Wealth

“Clear and well constructed format. Easy to understand information and more importantly easy to retain.” Tony Watson, Principal, Clarkson Primary School

“The information, tips and variety of modes were all excellent.” Garry Hewitt, Principal, South Perth Primary School

“His tone and ability to work with the audience was amazing.” Raff Gaudagnino, Community Development, Fremantle Football Club

“Clear, concise, relevant. Entertaining and motivational.” Susan Cuneo, Principal, East Beechboro Primary School

Monday, October 22, 2007

Investor Relations Case Study: Wesfarmers Takeover of Coles

The 19.7 billion Australian dollar takeover of Coles Group by Wesfarmers is an interesting case study on Investor Relations.

It is a complex deal with Wesfarmers offering existing Coles shareholders a choice and mixture of shares and cash for Coles shares.

Wesfarmers is offering Coles shareholders’ protective shares. Many people are very curious to know what I think of this and whether this a good/bad thing for Coles and its shareholders?

From an Investor/Shareholder view:

I can't really see it as too much of a bad thing especially if they are paying for the puts. From the point of the view of a shareholder you are essentially getting that downside protection for free. However Wesfarmers would have to pay for that protection which they would have to expense so overall I think the value there is neglible.

From an IR view:

It is very clever because it reduces the perceived risk in a falling market and market volatility.

The only downsize, is investor communications is expensive and often confusing because it is quite complex.

Coles has a large shareholder base of small retail ‘Mum & Dad” investors because of their original discount card (eg: you got a discount at their supermarket and retail outlets if you were a shareholder) so communicating the message to this largely unsophisticated group is complex and difficult.

They later phased out the discount card claiming it was too expensive to administrate. See my original article here on shareholder discount cards.

What both Coles and Wesfarmers have done well is set up 1300 information lines for confused shareholders to call and speak to a real person.

Even though the lines are staffed and run by a call centre, and you speak to a call centre person who works off a script, you still get to speak to a warm body and a real live person.

My wife is an investor in Coles, so I've seen first hand all the investor communications and it has been first class.

Our action will be to accept the offer and take as much Wesfarmers stock as we can.

I've always believed in the Wesfarmers story because of the quality of management and their success with Bunnings retail hardware.

Two important points. I studied Wesfarmers as a case study in my MBA in 1997 and loved the story but never took action to invest.

I love renovating old houses and have been a Bunnings customer for nearly 20 years. I love their range, quality and service. From a marketing perspective, their advertsing and promotions are first class.

So this deal ticks all the boxes for me. You make up your own mind and seek independent professional advice because I am not qualified or licenced to offer investment advice.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Accelerating Influencing Power for Leaders –12th & 13th July 2007, Manila

Praise for Accelerating Influencing Power for Leaders held in Manila on the 12th and 13th of July 2007. Pictured with some attendees on the left

“Tom is a great speaker and the substance in his presentation are practical and very useful in my work. His powerful speaking techniques makes the program much easier to digest and keep me all the times engaged. I surely would recommend him if any of my contact wants to organise a business education seminar.” Aslie B. Lakim, Head of Commercial, Brunei Shell Marketing Co. S/B

“I've learnt that matching & mirroring is a great way to make a connection not just in a social setting but in a business environment as well. I learned that to be truly influential, you need to get out there and interact, network. Not just go through the motions of exchanging cards, but try to establish a contact, talk less, ask more questions, show interest, mirror. I learned that an influential leader has to be more consistent in following through, to firmly establish a connection. After all, an influential leader's greatest asset is her social capital, getting people to remember and relate to her.” Anna Liza Ong, Head of Sales, Amalgamated Investment Bancorporation

“Tom is obviously very experienced. The thing I liked best about the program was that it related to my life.” Dodjie Palo, Operation Manager, Sandvik Tamrock Phil. Inc

“Thomas has enthusiastically shared a lot of new and challenging ideas and concepts with us. On a personal level, I am challenged to a personal brand statement for different areas of my life and covering my social capital. In the work environment, I have realised how important it is to share with the employees the values of the company, customers and all employees to be alligned for optimum value addition. Keep up the great work and see you next time in Manila.” Darryl Cockcroft, Vice President, Sandvik Tamrock Phil. Inc

Accelerating Influencing Power for Leaders – 9th & 10th July 2007, Bangkok

Praise for Accelerating Influencing Power for Leaders held in Bangkok on the 9th and 10th of July 2007. Pictured with the group above.

“Attend the workshop held by Tom really helped me find out how to effectively influence people.” Nguyen Van Tiem, Deputy Director, Techcombank-Vietnam

“This seminar/workshop held here in Bangkok really gave me ideas & insights how to be a better leader & make better presentations. I'm free now to be a better leader and ready to face my future customers together with working with my other colleagues. My sincere thanks to Thomas.” Andrew T. Villaverde, Sales Manager, Zamil Steel Bldg - Vietnam Co. Ltd

“PBS is the topic I like the most. It will help transform people from nobody to somebody. I'll share this with my colleague to develop their own personal brand and drive to that.” Nipa Siribuddhamas, Manager Resource Management, The World Bank

“Tom was good at building the support with the participants.” Supaporn Angchaisuksiri, Standard Chartered Bank

“The delivery of the message was great.” Rattana Lerkkumsup, Standard Chartered Bank

“Many practical tips can be implemented and applied into day-to-day.” Leuchar Pisitthakarn, Business Finance, Standard Chartered Bank

“The presentation tips & techniques from this class is very useful for my improvement on my next presentation/speech. I think it can help the message hit to audience more effectively.” Wanwadee Uttamayodhin, Advanced Info Service PLC

“The content he taught us is anything from the real life, not fancy thing to make yourself look good. It will benefit people.” Arunyanee Danmadtam, Marketing, Burger (Thailand) Ltd

“I came to understand what PBS is. Very good technique to find myself, I will help my team to find the use of PBS. By then, we can have good team work. Presentation powerful: very good tip, learn from Tom and I can make good presentation now. Thanks so much Tom.” Yuraporn Chinprasert, ABN-AMRO Bank

“Very good in presentation and good knowledge that I can apply to my job.” Sunshine Boontaweekit, Sales & Marketing, Lenso Wheel

Brand Excellence Maximised – 16th & 17th July 2007, Kuala Lumpur

Praise for Brand Excellence Maximised held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on the 16th and 17th of July 2007. Pictured with the group above.

“The course was exciting, interesting & informative. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to attend your seminar. I felt that it was very well focused & structured & I had gained quite a bit of understanding more about branding & what I take. I personally look forward to your next presentation here in KL & will confidentially recommend your service to others. All the very best to you. A big thank you.” Clifford Zuzartee, Resort Manager, Mutiara Taman Negara

“Your presentation over the 2 days has been stimulating. The pace was good and made it easier to comprehend. Certainly, I will be going through my brand manuals for further improvements & deliveries. Thank you.” R. Prabakaran, Group Director Of Business Development, Mutiara - TCB Hotel Management

“The case studies were really helpful.” Jai Shankar, Senior Manager, Matrade

“Tom is very knowledgeable and the exercise on branding was great.” Sharon Chin, Director of Sales, Lake Kenyir Resort & Spa

“Tom does a great job of sharing his knowledge & experience.” Meor Amran, Director of Sales, Mutiara Taman Negara

“Knowledgeable about the topic concerned and presentation flow, was great & smooth.” Yeoh Tiang Leng, Sports Toto Malaysia Sdn Bhd

“Inspiring, encouraging and authentic.” Celine Siow, Marketing Manager, KL-Kepong Cocoa Products Sdn Bhd

“Thomas Murrell is well articulated and has a wealth of experience to share on branding.” Khoo Heng Poe, General Manager, Mutiara Johor Bahru

“Tom is able to share with the audience clearly and is easy to understand.” Abdullah Hamid, General Manager, Mutiara Burau Bay

“The "active" sessions involving team/partner activities are excellent.” Tan Li Lah, Senior Manager, Matrade

“Tom was articulate, knowledgeable and able to draw from his experience to benefit his audience.” Liew Bee Lin, Assistance Vice President, RHB Investment Bank

“Great delivery and conducive learning environment.” Norana Johar, Sales & Marketing, PUC Founder (MSC) Bhd

“Tom is a good presenter. He gives lots of examples of how companies have branded themselves and the returns they have received in the long run. Tom puts things in perspective and is able to breakdown the complexity of "Branding" in small and different components to make it simple for a person who knows little about branding to understand what branding is all about.” Md. Derick Basir, Manager, Port of Tanjung Pelepas

“Tom really makes an effort to ensure that every participant is involved and learns something.” Y.K. Loo, Petra Boilers

“A very clear presentation.” Eddie Lim, Manager, Sports Toto (M) Sdn Bhd

“Tom is a very good presenter in terms of knowledge that he has especially on branding and marketing that makes us clearly differentiate between the two giving his ideas and examples.” Norbilah Hussein, Assistant Manager, Matrade

“Tom is passionate about getting across his materials and views on brand excellence. He has done a lot of research, summarised the strategies of many other practioners and teacher and condensed it into Brand Excellence Maximised.” Tengku Ashaharina, Director, Matrade

“Tom delivers in an engaging style. He gives some good ideas on how to enhance a company's brand/image. I feel that Branding is an intangible yet valuable asset for all companies. Tom has been able to put some tangible aspects into what branding can be about and Tom's seminar has allowed me to learn much on how to enhance my company's image and brand.” Nerine Tan, Sales, Sports Toto (M) Sdn Bhd

“Tom delivers an interesting and lively workshop by providing methods that is applicable to my current job - building a brand.” Wook Sook Han, Corporate Branding Manager, MiTV Networks Sdn Bhd

“Tom is a very articulate speaker and generated some great participation.” Ng Poh Fang, Assistant Manager, Matrade

“Skillful, very energetic, easy to accept & understand. Tom is helpful & very open to discuss any topic discussed.” Sara Adilah Mohtar, Executive, Golden Hope Plantation

“Tom is straight forward & articulate, his use of case studies and associations to real brands were really useful.” Khalijah Sabariah, Assistant Manager, Matrade

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mobile Marketing Key Plank For Yahoo! Q3 2007 Earnings Call

By Thomas Murrell, International Business Speaker

If we look at Yahoo as a case study of an industry leader with a 10-year track-record, what is the future of online and Web 2.0 media and social marketing, what can we learn from their Q3 2007 Earnings Call?

Here are my insights:

1. Online advertising globally today $45 billion. That market opportunity is growing rapidly and is expected to reach some $75 billion by 2010. Next trend will be mobile applications.

2. Three key strategic differentiators that will be critical drivers to Yahoo!'s success -- insights, openness and offer partner-of-choice solutions

3. Largest user base on web. Major focus on making Yahoo! the starting point for the most consumers on the Internet with 477 million users, up 14% from a year ago. Internal estimate of page views grew even faster, up about 20%, implying growing engagement.

4. Relevancy paradigm for more relevant searches key challenge ahead


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

2007 Telstra Western Australian Business Woman of the Year Awards, Burswood Entertainment Complex, Monday October 15th 2007

Pictured with 2006 Telstra Western Australian Business Woman of the Year, Barbara Etter, the Assistant Commissioner of WA Police in charge of Corruption Prevention and Investigation (seated right), Gill O'Mara General Manager Steps Leadership Programs(seated left), Mike O'Neill, Chief Executive The Executive Connection (standing left).

Telstra Business Round Table Event, Old Swan Brewery, Perth, Thursday October 11th 2007

Pictured with Telstra Business executive director Elizabeth Aris (seated), Graham Joyce 2007 President of the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA)(standing left) and Mark Rogers, Director Buxton Real Estate, Victoria (standing right).

Friday, October 12, 2007

How To Give A Great Keynote: Multiple Speaking Intelligences Part Two

By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP - International Business Speaker

The keynote is one of the most important presentations an aspiring or experienced leader can give.

A keynote is between 20 and 90 minutes in duration but it may also be shorter. For example, a school principal giving an address at a school assembly may only speak for three to five minutes and I would consider this a keynote. A pastor or a priest giving a weekly Sunday morning sermon would also be considered a keynote.

So keynotes are really important for visibility and credibility.

Many people from a lecturing, training or teaching background deliver a keynote as though they are giving a training or teaching session.

This application is seriously flawed because the message and methodology does not match the modality.

Keynotes are one of the nine multiple speaking intelligences every leader needs to have.

The other eight speaking intelligences are after-dinner, acceptance, thankyou, panellist, training, chair, MC and facilitator.

I differentiate between these nine different intelligences by using 13 criteria.

So what are the 13 criteria which can be used to plan, research and deliver a knockout keynote?

Use these 13 criteria to design and deliver your next outstanding keynote presentation:

1. Starting Point

The starting point for a keynote speech is the structure. Audiences crave structure and a clear structure is the most important element of a great keynote and a critical starting point.

2. Focus

As a keynote, the delivery of your presentation should be the main focus for your personal energy.

3. Means

How should you best plan and structure a keynote? You should always come back to the key question: what is the one big idea that will change lives?

Don't get caught in the content trap by having too much content. Always be aware of message overload.

4. Style

You must fully engage your audience at an emotive level to really get people to listen.

5. Interaction

Audience interaction in a keynote speech will maximise the impact of your message and keeps the audience interested.

It helps overcome rapid thinking and preoccupation. It could be as simple as posing a rhetorical question.

6. Preparation

In a keynote, you are the expert on the topic you are speaking on, so it is important you have done a high degree of preparation and research.

7. Entertainment

If you want your keynote to be memorable, you must make sure it has high entertainment value. This is achievable with virtually any subject.

8. Content and Expertise

To ensure your message is understood by all, key messages should be universal and endearing in their nature.

9. Scripting

Just as preparation for a keynote speech should be high, so too should the scripting of the speech.

Every word should be carefully crafted and scripted.

10. Rehearsal

High levels of rehearsing are required to avoid looking unprepared or lacking knowledge on the topic you are presenting. Remember as a keynote speaker, you are the expert and you need to know your content really, really well.

Most presenters don't know their content well enough, are ill-prepared and do not rehearse on stage and therefore rely on PowerPoint slides as speech notes.

This is a big mistake and leads to the dreaded disease Death by PowerPoint.

11. Narrative

Keynotes are often high in their use of narrative. Doing this helps the audience relate to what you are saying. You must contain personal stories to connect at an emotional level.

It is the personal stories and not the facts that most people remember with a keynote.

12. Ends

An attitude shift is your ultimate goal when presenting a keynote speech. By presenting your view on the topic, you want to achieve a shift in the audience's attitude.

It is not about skills transfer which is suited to training.

13. Summary Questions

In reviewing your keynote speech, you should ask: ‘what difference did it make?' Did you achieve your goal of evoking an attitudinal shift in the audience?

Want to learn more about giving Powerful & Persuasive speeches? Come to our workshop Powerful & Persuasive Speech Writing on October the 23th at The W.A. Club. Book now.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In Search of the Holy Grail of Marketing: Marketing Lessons and Tips from the 2007 AFL Grand Final

By Thomas Murrell,MBA CSP - International Business Speaker

Many businesses, corporates and professionals go in search of the holy grail of marketing; a holy grail that will deliver more revenue, more clients, more profits and therefore more growth.

In my quest to find the holy grail of marketing, I travelled from Subiaco in Western Australia to the hallowed grounds of the Melbourne Cricket Grounds in Melbourne, Victoria on the last Saturday in September.

You see for marketers there’s a saying that half of your marketing efforts are wasted, but working out which half is a real challenge.

What took me to the hallowed grounds of the __Melbourne Cricket Ground__ (__MCG__)? I was in search of the holy grail of marketing. What I found was that this quest took me to a mega event, a mega sporting event, in fact a hallmark event. A hallmark event refers to an event that becomes so identified with the spirit or the ethos of a town, city or region that it becomes synonymous with the name of the place and gains widespread recognition.

The event I'm talking about is of course, the Grand Final of the Australian Football League or AFL.

My quest was to follow the fortunes of the AFL team called Geelong and its aspirations to win their first premiership since 1963. I was one year-old in 1963 so it was a long time ago.

The football team, Geelong holds a special place for me personally, my grandfather Jack Murrell played three seasons for Geelong; 1920, 1921 and 1922. He played on the wing.

Sometimes these events become really huge and they become known as a mega event. My experiences at the MCG in the final Saturday in September showed me what a mega event the AFL grand final is. I learnt some important and serious marketing lessons from that major event.

I bought a premium package for the MCG known as the ‘centre square package’.

It included pre-game entertainment in special marquees, food, beverages and live TV screens and then after the event more food, more beverages and more entertainment. It also included premium seating at the actual game itself.

The corporate marquees were about a ten minute walk from the venue and it was very interesting to look at the lessons of that event. And why is it a marketing holy grail?

Like the holy grail, like the premiership cup that Geelong were chasing since 1963, what I learnt was that a number of factors are important for marketing and events marketing and events management is one of the fastest growing forms of marketing and I believe it is one of the holy grails of marketing.

So if you are considering growing your business, one of the best business growth tools you can have is to host an event. Now if you are in investor relations, that could involve hosting your annual general meeting for your publicly listed company.

If you are a consultancy, such as a financial planner, it could be hosting a financial planning or investment information seminar for your clients. Or, it could be taking your clients to a big corporate event like the MCG and like the AFL Grand Final.

But, here are some of the key learnings that I discovered in my quest to join Geelong in search of the AFL Premiership Cup and also my personal quest in search of the holy grail of marketing.

1. The Importance of Integrated Marketing Communications

Everything was marketed outstandingly. There was a theme for the AFL finals, it was called ‘Septopia’ and that themeing in terms of marketing communications in terms of cut-through was really, really, really well done.

2. Premium Pricing

Certainly for my Centre Square Package, it was positioned as a premium experience and it was priced to reflect that premium. It was elite, it was exclusive, it was upmarket and the experience delivered on the brand promise. So it was really, really well branded and the execution of the brand strategy and brand promise was outstanding.

3. Word-of-Mouth Recommendation

It has been a personal goal of mine to attend an AFL Grand Final, a goal I’ve had all my life and it was good to fulfill this goal. That goal was consolidated, motivated and added to by word-of-mouth recommendations from other people that had attended an AFL Grand Final or Victorian Football League (VFL) Grand Final as it was before it became the AFL.

Ever since I can remember people have been recommending the event as a 'must attend event' and that word-of-mouth recommendation to go overcame any buyers resistance.

4. The Personal Experience

Well, they talk about the quality gap with an event; does the expectation meet your perceptions?

Yes, it certainly did. The personal experience was outstanding; from the level of service to the quality of food and the quality of beverages. I guess I felt special because I bumped into special people, like triple AFL Premiership player with the Brisbane Lions and Brownlow Medalist Simon Black. I saw other TV personalities there and it was really, really good to be in that level. Just to be with other people that you know had paid the same amount of money to get that premium level personal experience was really good.

5. External Factors

External factors are important in running a mega or hallmark event. For example, for inclement weather conditions at the event there were marquees. The entertainment area, the common entertainment area, was under cover so no matter what the external factors were, like rain, that was very well covered.

6. The Tangible Elements of the Event

These are sometimes called technical qualities; the quality of the food, the quality of the entertainment,

The band, Jet who was the opening act at the main Grand Final played following the event that was a great experience. The level of expertise in event management was high and it was done particularly well.

7. The Emotional and Personal Connection

The attitude and appearance and atmosphere, responsiveness of staff, empathy of staff was all outstanding and the personal factors in terms of making it a memorable experience were fantastic. I mean just being in Melbourne during a mega event was special.

For example, as soon as I woke up from where I was staying, I jumped in a cab to go to the function, the pre-game function that started at 10:30, the first person I saw was a high-profile, former AFL coach Denis Pagan just walking down the street.

I bumped into personalities, I bumped into star players, the whole of Melbourne had a real buzz about it.

The next day I went for a run along the Yarra River, I was just jogging along a single track and who should walk towards me but Brownlow Medalist and just retired champion footballer James Hird and his wife and I said ‘hello, congratulations on a great career?’ and he replies "thanks mate!" and I kept jogging in one direction and he keeps walking in the other. Just that sort of personal interaction with a superstar of the game was very memorable.

8. The Media

In terms of the media as another factor, media were part of the pre-game entertainment in the event. Even walking towards the MCG there were outside broadcasts by a lot of radio stations and everywhere you looked you saw media personalities. It was really well done in terms of media.

9. Sponsors

Toyota is the major sponsor and again that was really well branded and very prominent.

Although there was an initial conflict because a rival car company, Ford sponsors the Geelong Football Club, it was sorted out.

10. Follow-Up

The final thing is that their post event follow-up, or survey was outstanding.

When I arrived, people with clip-boards were there to ask you permission to take your email address and send you a survey. The email came within a day of the event, I was overseas at the time and couldn’t respond, but they had another follow-up email, and I responded.

The motivation to complete the online survey, which was just a click through, very comprehensive survey, easy to do, was to win another ticket to next years event in the center square.

In summary, I found in terms of marketing, satisfaction, the whole 48 hours was outstanding, a once in a lifetime experience, a real mega event, a real must do and really, really outstanding. Again, just the media coverage, the profile, a once in a lifetime opportunity and Geelong won the AFL Grand Final for the first time since 1963 and I did discover some insights in my quest and in my search for the holy grail of marketing.

Listen to my podcast live from the 2007 AFL Grand Final.

Want more marketing tips? Visit my website.