Monday, May 31, 2010

Maximising Digital Marketing Effort Singapore May 26th 2010 Organised by ST710


Feedback from participants:

“Very clear, practical and doable on his digital marketing training workshop. Can’t wait to test it out!” Lazarus Soeharto, Ir., Director Business Development, Ecoprintlution, Surabaya, Jatim, Indonesia

“I came to this course hoping to learn more on online marketing and I am very happy that Tom actually showed me how to use online marketing more effectively. And I also learnt the how and ways to convince my clients in applying digital marketing in their business and complementing it together with their traditional marketing to reach a wider audience.” Steve Wee, Executive Director Saxxom, Suntec Tower Singapore and Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

“Thank you for an extremely useful workshop that is highly valued. What I really enjoyed about the workshop were the hands-on marketing exercises, making me rethink some aspects of my digital marketing plan and last but not least, the opportunity to gain valuable insights, mentoring and guidance from you. Once again, thank you very much for the workshop!” Gareth Phua, Design Director, three visual communication, Laguna Park, Singapore

“The course was helpful and applicable to practising digital marketing with the great tips provided. It will certainly enhance my existing marketing efforts and has highlighted the “dos” I should continue and “don’ts” that I should stop and avoid.” Lynn Hee, Account Manager – Training, Oil Spill Response Limited, Jalan Samulun, Singapore

“Thomas epitomises the culmination of digital marketing ideas of various industries of the new age.” Cherry Khoo, Manager Operations and Administration, National University Health System, National University Hospital, Singapore

“Thomas knows his stuff well and is an interactive and engaging trainer. The workshop was great fun.” Pauline Leong, Marketing and Communications Manager, rednano.sg Singapore Press Holdings, News Centre, Singapore


“The course provided tips and pointers, “dos” and “don’ts”, and networking opportunities to learn from each other. It forced us to exercise the basic thinking leading to devising a plan. A very fruitful day!” Aileen Chua, Regional Marketing Director, Global Beauty International Pte Limited, Orchard Road, Singapore

“Great digital marketing strategies especially with regards to authentic relationship building.” Marian Jacob MBA, Manager Corporate Communications, BDO International Limited, Jit Poh Building, Singapore

“Tom’s personal experience in the field of digital marketing offered me a first person’s perspective of the challenges and critical details of online marketing. I feel more equipped now to plan and implement a digital marketing plan for my company.” Lee Cheh Hsien, EZRA Holdings Limited, Tower Fifteen, Singapore

“Tom’s course is very practical, the knowledge and resources that he shared are something I can use in the office tomorrow!” Adrian Koh, Director, Corporate Visions Pte Limited, Jalan Bukit Ho Swee, Singapore

Pictured with the winner of the raffle: Ms LEE Swee Heng, Head, Reputation Management, Corporate Communications, SERC Shared Services, Science and Engineering Institutes, Nanyang Drive, Singapore



Want to know more about digital marketing strategy? Book Tom to run a course for your organisation now.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What's Your View on Referrals?

What do you think of marketing guru Seth Godin's view on referrals?

He says:
"On finding referrals
The people who work the hardest to get referrals, it seems to me, are the people who least deserve them.

If you make average stuff for average people, why exactly will someone refer you? If you are busy selling standard insurance policies to standard insurance clients, why will someone refer you? Because you're good at golf?

In fact, the best way to get referrals is to change what you do, what you sell, how you act when times are difficult, how generous you are when you don't need to be.

Yes, you should make it easy for people to refer you. Yes you should be aware that asking for referrals can help. But no, all the tactics in the world won't help you get the referrals you want. The only thing that will make you remarkable is being worth remarking about."

What are your views on this?

Why not see how we can help you implement a referral strategy for your business. Ask here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

BP's Reputation On The Line

There's increasing anger and negative public opinion over the huge oil slick hitting US shores because of the month-long clean-up happening in the Gulf of Mexico.

Is this the worst US oil spill, eclipsing the 1989 Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska?

The Case Against BP

"Lost all credibility," according to Democratic congressman Ed Markey.

"We're beginning to understand that we cannot trust BP. People do not trust the experts any longer," he said.

"It's obvious they are trying to limit information to protect their economic liability."

"It's very clear that BP has not been telling the truth," Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey told CNN.

The case for BP:

"We've mounted the largest response ever done in the world. We put 20,000 people at this," BP's chief operating officer, Doug Suttles said.

"I understand the anger. But I can tell you, I don't know of anything, absolutely anything we could be doing that we're not doing."

The Political Spin:

"We are facing a disaster, the magnitude of which we likely have never seen before, in terms of a blowout in the Gulf of Mexico," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.

"And we're doing everything humanly possible and technologically possible to deal with that."

President Barack Obama has named two men to head a bipartisan commission to investigate the massive oil spill.

They are former senator Bob Graham and former Environmental Protection Agency chief William Reilly.

Even at the lowest estimates, more than 6 million gallons of crude have flowed into the water since the disaster.

Independent experts have warned the flow could be at least 10 times higher than the current estimates.

Watch this space and learn.

If you are BP, how do you build credibility? Well through a new concept called Reputational Capital.

Like financial capital – reputational capital flows to where it’s wanted and stays where it’s well looked after. Reputations take years to build and can be lost in seconds. You can buy a logo or an image, but you have to earn a reputation.

My premise is that those organizations with the strongest internal values have the most powerful external reputations. Organizations with the strongest reputations are the most profitable.

Reputations are forged during difficult times. Given the recent global financial crisis, there has never been a better time to invest in your reputational capital.

What is reputation? Well firstly it’s intangible. Here are three definitions:

• The general opinion of the public towards a person, a group of people, or an organization (Wikipedia)
• “goodwill”
• The strategic standing of the organisation in the eyes of its customers

There are nine perspectives on reputation:

1. Marketing: +ve associations = supportive behavior
2. Economics: key strengths & competitive advantage
3. Strategic management: attract and retain customers, staff and shareholders
4. Sociology: impression management
5. Organisational science: sense making and sense giving through storytelling
6. Accounting: intangible asset that measures the difference between book value and market value
7. Legal: compliant and not breaking the law
8. Governance: being ethical and transparent
9. Synergistic: All of the above working together

Want to learn more. Book Tom as a keynote speaker for your next event or road test your crisis plan with a hypothetical crisis. Book here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

What Makes a Great Leader?

What makes a good leader, especially in the political world?

IBISWorld created an Economic Health Index (EHI) in the early 1990s to assess the then 72 leaders of Australia from 1788. These included Governors up until parliaments emerged in the middle of the 19th Century, then Premiers of NSW and Victoria (the states that dominated the national economy), then Prime Ministers from 1901.

So, what characterized these successful leaders, these rare one in four heads of the Australian nation? IBISWorld found a dozen common traits as shown in the list below:



I would add to this the ability to manage the media.

Want help managing the media? Come to our next course on June 1st 2010. Book here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Industry Consultation Missed in Resources Super Tax


There's a lot of debate about the Rudd Government's planned 40 per cent super tax for big mining companies in Australia.

It now appears to be the big issue in the looming Federal election.

The idea of resources rents have been around since the 1960s and I even remember studying the concept in my postgraduate Diploma of Agricultural Economics in the mid80s.

So what went so wrong for the Rudd Government?

They failed to adhere toseven critical public relations and change management rules:

1. Always consult widely before you introduce new policy. Inclusiveness, accessibility and diversity are critical.

Rio Tinto Ltd.'s managing director in Australia, David Peever, claims the consultation process isn't broad enough, with the mining industry unable to raise key concerns.

2. Provide lots of information - this avoids uncertainty. Make the information confidential. Private not public debate.

3. Provide mechanisms for feedback - in private not in the media.

Here's a view from Australia's richest person, mining magnate Andrew Forrest (pictured):

He told the Australian Mines and Metals Association national conference that consultation with the government over the tax had been futile.

"They said to us we can't change the tax, the 40 per cent rate, the six per cent, the retrospectivity, we can't change it," he said in Perth.

"They said `if you want to get rid of this tax, you have to change the government'.

"And that doesn't really suit me at all."

Media reports claim the West Australian billionaire and Mr Rudd have become close friends during the past three years through their work in promoting indigenous employment and welfare but recent policy was testing their relationship.

"Having a policy which pits me against some of the people I deeply admire is placing me in a very difficult position."

The news report said Mr Rudd would not return his calls and the only people he was prepared to speak to was the media.

4. Evaluate feedback.

5. Report and publish feedback.

6: Timing - try and avoid an election year. If it is negative - do it early in your term of office. And not after the announcement.

"We're having a mature discussion with the business community, with mining companies about these matters, and we'll continue to do that," Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan said the government is consulting in a genuine way with the mining industry and taking their views on board. But after the announcement not before and certainly not played out in the media.

7. Responsiveness - if you are going to make changes, deliver the quickly not over a long period like five years for the planned new Resource Super Profits Tax.

Professor Neville Norman at an Institute of A Chartered Accountants breakfast believes there is a 90 per cent chance the Rudd Government will not introduce the Super Tax.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Praise for Media Writing Skills Masterclass May 18th 2010 Subiaco

Feedback from participants:

"Well structured, informative and beneficial. Tom's years of experience in the field pay dividends"

Jennifer McVeigh, Communications Officer, Department of Rgional Development and Lands, Pedrth

"I liked the small group and easy to converse"

Lou Smith, PA to GM Public Relations, Burswood Entertainment Complex, Burswood

"Practical guidelines and planning methods. Key points to check when writing a media release"

Dr Nicole Meyers, Research Officer, Office of Peter Abetz MLA, Thornlie

"Clear, informative, entertaining and highly practical"

Gerard Goiran, Research Officer, Office of Peter Abetz MLA, Thornlie

Listen to part of seminar here:





Please consider:

Media Writing Masterclass: Write Better News Releases That Get Published In Less Time - Tuesday June 29th 2010, Subiaco Arts Centre, Perth

Want to get editorial coverage in the media? This intensive media writing session will take your news releases to a whole new level.

Also please consider:

Media Skills Masterclass: Winning the Media Game - Tuesday June 1st 2010, Subiaco Arts Centre, Perth

Want to get your message across in the media? This intensive media skills session will take your media performance for TV, radio and print to a whole new level.

Suitable for both new and experienced professionals.

Includes comprehensive workbook, case studies, examples of media message framing and templates, mock TV and radio interviews, unlimited second by second feedback on your media performance, ongoing email tips, delicious morning tea and lunch.

Use your West Australian State Government training voucher to receive $220 off the cost of this seminar.

Tuesday June 1st 2010, Subiaco Arts Centre, Perth, Australia
Winning the Media Game
Numbers are strictly limited so book here.

Abbott Wishes Microphone Was Not On After "Gospel Truth" Gaffe on TV Interview


The opposition Leader in Australia, Tony Abbott, a relative newbie to the position is another high profile politician to make a gaffe in front of the microphone.

He was asked on the ABC's 7.30 Report recently about his promise this year not to propose any new taxes, which he reneged on a month later by announcing a levy to fund paid parental leave.

Mr Abbott said his scripted remarks could be taken as "gospel truth" but, "in the heat of discussion you go a little bit further".

So he's fessed up that he's a liar and of course the media and Rudd Government have had a field day - again a major focus for the media with the "Phoney Tony" tagline.

"I know politicians are going to be judged on everything they say but sometimes in the heat of discussion you go a little bit further than you would if it was an absolutely calm, considered, prepared, scripted remark.

"The statements that need to be taken absolutely as gospel truth are those carefully prepared scripted remarks."

Abbott's other gaffe came in the heat of the last election when he turned up to a media debate with Labor's Nicola Roxon. He was caught out being rude to her when he thought the interview was over and the microphone wasn't on.

This issue is about trust. Was Abbott too honest and is he trying to distance himself from the consummate spin of Rudd?

There's no doubt the Rudd Government have been masters of managing the news cycle and that is starting to unravel.

The key takeaways from this for leaders are that always be disciplined in media interviews and learn to "block and bridge" tough questions.

This is basic politics 101.

Want to learn how to deal with the media? Come to our next Winning the Media Game course on June 1 in Subiaco Perth. Book here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Microphone Technique 101 with Gordon Brown Former PM UK


28 April: With six days to polling day, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown (picture courtesy PA) left is caught on microphone calling Gillian Duffy, 65, a "bigoted woman" following a conversation with her in Rochdale. Media chaos ensues when he visits her to apologise.

It is common practice when politicians are doing “walkabouts” for them to be fitted with a radio microphone supplied by one of the broadcasters, in this case Sky News.

One of his PR minders forgot to turn the microphone off.

According to reports a small microphone would have been clipped to Mr Brown’s lapel, with a wire running to a battery pack on his belt, which in turn transmitted the audio back to the camera crew.

The alternative is to use a large boom microphone, but this requires an additional technician to carry it around and results in patchier sound quality.

Sky News said that Mr Brown left in his car before the microphone could be removed and switched off.

Did this incident cause Gordon Brown to lose the UK election?

It certainly had an impact. Why?

1. He lost his credibility

2. It caused mistrust amongst voters

3. It distracted from his key policy and election messages

4. It impacted negatively on his reputation

5. He was forced to apologise

6. It was covered in media all around the world and dominated media coverage and was "the defining moment and image of the election"

7. It was played over and over again

8. It was an uncontrolled message

9. It came at a critical time in the election phase

10. It was what people will remember about him

The key learning - always assume any microphone is on, for leaders there is no "off" and never be critical of anyone - always be gracious and respectful.

Here's how the story unfolded.

Want to be better at dealing with the media, be more comfortable in front of microphones and learn how to turn them off? Come to our next media training course on June 1, 2010. Book here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Great Story on Denial Coming Out In New Scientist Magazine

Anyone involved in dealing with change, changing public opinion or dealing with community activist groups should read this article.

Highlights according to the Magazine include:

"SPECIAL REPORT: STATE OF DENIAL

Why do so many people refuse to accept what the evidence tells them? Denial is a phenomenon that spreads rapidly and encompasses any number of issues. New Scientist’s special report explores the causes and characteristics of denial and ways to challenge the denialist movement.

· I am a sceptic, but I am no denier: What is denial and how is it different from scepticism?

· Whose conspiracy?: All denial is essentially the same, regardless of whether it’s about tobacco, AIDS, climate change or vaccines.

· Giving life to a lie: What makes people accept a lie as truth?"

The three takeaways for me:

1. Denial is often from an ideological or religious point of view
2. The Internet has allowed denialist ideas to be given visibility and credibility
3. Professionals in PR, marketing, persuasion and influence should be studying this areas because it gives many insights into managing stakeholder expectations.

Do you need to manage your reputation because of false rumours? Our experienced team can help. Contact us here.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

How To Release Negative News

How To Release Negative News
By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP International Business Speaker

In Australia at the moment you can't miss the release of the Henry Tax Review.

It has been described as one of the most significant tax reforms.

In headline speak, the media are calling it "Henry 2010" and most are analysing how it affects your income, your savings, your property and your business.

Is there an angle they haven't covered?

Well, now the dust has settled I want to look at the timing of the release.

Everyone knows it is an election year and "Henry 2010" will be a major shaper of public opinion.

It is also clear that the logic of tax reform is clouded by political decisions.

For a resource rich State where I live in Western Australia, global mining companies have been hit with a 40 per cent "super tax".

As a result of being taxed more, this will erode profits, reducing dividends to shareholders.

This has had an immediate negative impact on the share price of mining stocks.

In fact some commentators say the wealth wiped from private Australian shareholders by the decision is more than the value of the benefits delivered to tax payers! But that's another story.

The point I want to explore is how do you release news that you know is going to be negative to your reputation, image or share price.

Well it is all about timing.

Why was the "Henry 2010" released on a Sunday morning?

Here are five reasons:

1. The Market Was Closed
Stock markets rely on rules and regulations around continuous disclosure.

"Once an entity is or becomes aware of any information concerning it that a reasonable person would expect to have a material effect on the price or value of the entity's securities, the entity must immediately tell the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) that information." (Refer: ASX Rules and Regulations Chapter 3)

What would be the mayhem on mining stocks if "Henry 2010" was released while the markets were open?

If you have significantly market sensitive information consider the timing of its release in terms of impact on the market.

2. Media Competition

Sunday is a day when there is less news being created.

So a benefit is less competition from other news stories and hence a greater chance of your story getting in the news if its positive.

3. Time For Analysis

On a big story like "Henry 2010" the media want time to analyse the story.

Make sure information is released well before media deadlines to allow media to analyse and craft their stories.

What about social or digital media that has no deadlines and runs 24/7 I hear you ask?

Again look at your strategy and who you are trying to target to guide your decision making on using the most appropriate and effective media channel.

4. Media Cycle


Sunday is often chosen for political announcements because it sets the agenda for media coverage for the rest of the week.

As the story unfolds, it will gain momentum with different angles.

5. Messaging is Critical

For bad or negative news, messaging is critical because every word and phrase will be hyper analysed by the media.

A good technique is: COMPLEX -> SIMPLE -> COMPELLING

Take the current US oil spill for example. Bad news for BP. How do they communicate this?

BP America's chairman, Lamar McKay told a media conference attempts to cap the well, activate the cut-off valves known as the blowout protector were like carrying out "open heart surgery at 5,000 feet in the dark with robot-controlled submarines".

Interesting messaging and choice of metaphor.

If you want to release information always consider its timing with the media.

Want to know more about message framing and timing of information to the media?

Please consider: Tuesday May 18th 2010, Subiaco Arts Centre, Perth, Australia
Writing and Pitching Winning Media Releases
Numbers are strictly limited so book here.