Thursday, October 21, 2010

Singapore not as high-end as HK

I was in Hong Kong for a week long editor’s conference and was looking for a high-end gift for my high maintenance husband.

Walking along the IFC, I drooled when I saw brand names like Tom Ford and Ascot Chang which carries Brioni. Brioni the makers of the tuxedo in James Bond’s Casino Royale!

As a Singaporean, I felt envious. Why doesn’t Singapore have top notch brands setting up shop in this city?

The daggers of envy were stabbed deeper when Marketing’s entire regional editorial team visited the Monocole store. Global affairs magazine Monocle opened its second retail store in Asia, launching a Hong Kong bureau to join London, Tokyo, New York and Zürich.

The store will play a dual role, acting as a retails front and as a hub for its editorial operations.

Why didn’t Monocole’s editor Tyler Brule set up operations in Singapore?

I decided to ask some branding experts for their thoughts.

Size, perception and reality were the reasons given to why high-end brands set up in Hong Kong. Size does matter especially with Hong Kong’s 7 million population versus Singapore’s 5 million. This makes Hong Kong a more attractive choice for a premium brand’s location after Tokyo and Shanghai.

“Though perception is changing, Hong Kong has a longer history as a global city having attracted global financiers and travelers for longer too. And reality is another reason. Hong Kong’s climate plays a role with its four seasons linking well to the fashion industry’s exciting seasonal cycles versus Singapore’s ‘single’ season. Hong Kong has also been longer linked with ostentatious wealth which would also attract premium brands to Hong Kong first, before Singapore,” said brand specialist Interbrand.

I got my answers but my envy didn’t end.

I did leave Hong Kong with a Brioni wallet though.

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's got everyone talking... 'Really'?

Microsoft Windows 7 phone ad is garnering much attention in most parts of the world, with bloggers voicing extreme opinions. Tell us what you think about it?

I personally enjoyed seeing the video but hang on, what’s the differentiation in as far as its messaging is concerned? I fail to understand.

And as my colleague says, the background music looks like its right out of Wisteria Lane in Desperate Housewives!

There are moments in the video that do make you smile but I guess that’s all.

What do you think? Let us know.

Friday, October 01, 2010

What’s In A Name or W.I.A.N?

YOG or Youth Olympic Games. This begs the question, yet again- What’s In A Name (W.I.A.N). Singapore’s inclination toward abbreviations is common knowledge, as just about every expressway, bank, Government body, school, college, commercial complex etc. eases into a coinage of truncated verbiage.

The colloquial speak eventually finds a way into it being ‘the brand name’. The latest entry into the Abridged Book of Convenience (ABC) being YOG - The ‘Youth Olympic Games’.

One could argue that the official name is still the full form of it, however the fact that the commonly spoken and written depiction is YOG, would suggest otherwise. Now, when you probably have the greatest sporting event engrained in a ‘name’ i.e. ‘Olympic’, why should you strip the magnificence that it represents into a set of cold, hollow and meaningless letters.

On the contrary, the meaning of the word ‘Olympic’ should have been heightened.

This is not really about just abbreviating an institution, or about it being a Singaporean obsession. The larger question being- ‘Should convenient condensing of brand names arise without any apparent reason?’

Queensland and Northern Territories Air Service, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, Victor Company of Japan, International Business Machines Corporations, Bayerische Motoren Werke alias QANTAS, 3M, JVC, IBM, BMW respectively, had both reason and wisdom to rename themselves from descriptive, industrial institutes into initials that grew into multi-billion dollar brands.

Heritage does have a role, and in my view a brand needs to earn an acronym and by that I mean GE and LG, having successfully built their equity have the license to be known by an initial should they so choose.

Occasionally though, brand initials can run the risk of allowing for the world to hijack it into undesired territory based on their unfavourable actions for e.g. Beyond Petroleum (BP) and Government Motors (GM). A move to change into one could sacrifice its equity. Hence let Harley Davidson always be Harley Davidson.

Some brands have had other reasons such as KFC -be it the Kentucky taxes or the implications of ‘Fried’ in a world getting healthier. Removing some baggage, bridging language barriers, changing an offering or renewing meaning from when the brand started to its current avatar can legitimize an acronym. Though, initializing an already existing acronym such as YMCA into Y, one could ask Y?

I don’t personally dismiss acronyms but there are limits and at times it does rob the brand of potentially positive emotions and YOG being one such example. Keeping Mother Teresa Charitable Trust intact as against MTCT would be preferred.

Today, when one is tasked of creating a fresh brand name it would be advisable to keep it simple, meaningful and acronym-proof. Some may not agree and say FCUK, whilst St. Thomas University of Public International Diplomacy might just concur.

Mohit Gopaldas is managing director, Identity Counsel Brand Consultants

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Digital Sweet Spot

2009 was the year “Minority Report” finally came to life with augmented reality interaction – and you facing up to the reality that privacy is now as confidential as a fish bowl after Facebook made private information searchable.

2010 marks the birth of new devices that are creating more waves in content creation, redefining the usage of mobile phones.

Apple’s iPad has given dying newspapers a new lease of life. The explosion of smart phones and democratic data plans from telcos has converted people from watchers to participators. Location-based applications tell friends where the others are, and real-time status updates across social sharing services, such as Twitter and Facebook – all invite you to read and respond.

Instead of making predictions on the impact that new technologies and trends like Google TV, HTML5 and location-based advertising will have on marketing, it would be more apt to talk about how you can work digital advertising effectively for your client’s business.

With the exponential growth of online content and surge of marketers adopting digital as the lead for their campaigns, we are starting to see more interesting work in Singapore. As the market begins to mature, digital practitioners must put their money where their mouths are, and start delivering results for every cent the clients entrust.

Over the years, I’ve been able to put certain theories to test, and having worked with many brilliant minds, I’ve observed that a combination of factors may just help you nail that sweet spot for your brief and yield results beyond expectations.

Monetise Social Currency
Marketers are starting to mimic successful campaigns, by utilising various components of social media – from viral videos to micro-blogging, Facebook engagement to discussion forums and activation.

And of course, the million-dollar question – “Is there money to be made in social media?” I’d like to think so. The market is ready to separate the boys and men, amateurs and the pros.

If you believe in your idea, peg your remuneration to its result and impact. The digital medium is inherently accountable, and it’s not difficult to work out an attribution and valuation model.

No doubt, the mode of engagement puts pressure on the agency to sharpen the strategy, and gives clients glimpses of a social media heaven. If done well, you’ll have a new convert.

Preach responsible advertising and demand your payout.

Rally People Around a Cause
Human beings gravitate towards goodness. They want to be able to contribute for social, political and environmental causes. We have seen how certain initiatives have gathered the support of global citizens.

The secret to their success: authenticity, sincerity, honesty and keeping it real. These attributes win the hearts and minds of people. More often than not, you are able to move them into active participants.

A brand can stand for a cause under their corporate social responsibility efforts. Whilst the commercial returns are not immediately visible, you will see gains in brand affinity.

However, do be warned that there is a flipside. When you force-fit a cause for a brand in a one-time effort, people can smell dishonesty from a mile. The same impact of cause marketing can work against you.

Maneuver Channel Platforms
Just as many people have an online presence, web users have real friends, (yes they do!) passions and lives. However, this line between virtual interaction and real life connection is getting thinner.

There is now more reality in virtual reality than ever. Here lie opportunities for channel platform maneuvers, where we move people from online to on-ground to mobile and vice versa.

There must be a strong motivation or incentive to move bums off seats. Or a belief that people will connect like-minded individuals, who are passionate enough to do something. I much prefer the latter approach.

A community that is driven by passion creates a longer (maybe even permanent) bond with the activity, thereby making it a valuable asset to any brand.

The science is in the methodology of crowd sourcing. Appoint leaders to be poster boys, and recruit various tiers of members. Along the way, appoint leaders from the mass crowd and grow organically. Soon the multiplier effect will happen.

Content Decentralisation
Content is still king, but you don’t have to create all of it. Take the model of decentralisation and start building satellite content outside the original ecosystem.

Set a framework. Cut consumers loose, invite them to fill in the blanks, and let them remember the experience as their own.

One model we find working out well is an idea of content co-creation with brand ambassadors, from editors to social influencers. However, the accessibility to publishing tools has created many self-proclaimed social influencers.

Sadly, there many who talk amongst themselves, leaving not a single dent of impact. The balance of official and non-official voices is a delicate thing to handle. We must be very selective of who we engage.

Most brands that are brave enough to adopt this find their brand trust increasing year after year. The more you let go, the more you gain.

Lastly, there is no formula in hitting the pot of gold.

Sometimes, it’s about good old-fashioned understanding of human emotions. Sometimes, we have to go beyond our core disciplines to get the results. Sometimes, it requires us to do the minimum.

Deng Xiao Ping once said, "I don't care if it's a white cat or a black cat. It's a good cat so long as it catches mice.” Likewise, do whatever it takes to get the results.

Jeff Cheong is ECD and Head of Tribal DDB Singapore

Friday, July 02, 2010

Does branding have a future?

I remember about 10 years ago that many people in “the industry” predicted that branding, like several other aspects of business, would die at the hands of the internet.

This idea started when the internet represented a new way of choosing things to buy, where traditional media and retail channels would be overtaken by digital substitutes and people would return to buying products not brands.

The concept experienced a reincarnation of sorts in last few years.

Web 2.0 was going to replace a brand’s reputational promise with transparent user reviews. The Long Tail effect was going to allow niche offers to overtake famous “big hit” brands by allowing buyers to express their true preferences - buying the products they really want, unfettered by production, distribution and communications bottlenecks that have been the traditional battlegrounds for brands in the past.

Well it’s fair to say that brands have survived these pressures. But the practice of branding has been significantly impacted in the process – and not just as a result of the impact of the internet.

It’s also true that while advertising agencies have famously struggled to re-invent themselves – brand consultancies have not always been at the leading edge of innovation in their own practice.

So what are the factors driving change in branding? At FutureBrand we work with renowned futurologist Richard Watson to identify the key macro trends with the most widespread real impacts.

• Changing demographic shapes – tailoring products to the needs of aging populations and the expectations of “digital native” youth

• Global connectivity – the fact that while many people in emerging markets in particular may not have the money or access to brands, their ever increasing exposure to those brands in context of marketing and entertainment shapes their aspirations

• Technology –a range of categories are on the cusp of significant change from technologies in genetics, robotics, nanotechnology and the internet. These will have the effect of shifting their overall value propositions and evidentiary basis for benefits

• Sustainability – this is an issue that’s not going away. Relative to say Europe, much of mainstream Asia remains preoccupied with prosperity rather than sustainability. But consumer niches are growing, and progressive governments and corporates operating in more demanding international environments are starting to offer leadership on this issue

• Emerging economies and Asia – particularly post the global financial crisis, it’s fair to expect that economies and cultures in this part of the world emerge as producers and shapers of brands – not simply large masses of consumers to be exploited

Considering these trends and forces of change that put pressure on brands and the practice of branding, FutureBrand has been giving thought to what makes a ‘future brand’ – a brand that maximizes its long term potential to create business value.

1. It must strive to make people’s lives better.

2. It must do so based upon a future forward view of their category in which their brand, that of the company or organisation and their products and services are driving positive change.

3. Related to this, it must provide an emotional connection to those who are the brand’s greatest advocates or ambassadors, that sets a future brand apart from its more rational or ‘me too’ competitors.

4. And, finally – it must actively understand, manage and appropriately exploit all touch-points at which a consumer or stakeholder interacts with the brand as an organisation, a product or a service. All sensory stimuli are used to connect and differentiate so that the brand values, experience and consumer preference is reinforced and aligned to a brand’s vision.

These characteristics naturally have an impact on the practice of branding in a variety of ways. For example, managing and maximizing touchpoints now means designing great screen-based experiences. Offering compelling emotional connections with brand advocates requires the acceptance of a degree of freedom in customers’ participation with brands, rather than trying to stage “controlled” experiences. So brand management becomes a highly dynamic process of influential interactions with people – not being the logo nazi.

So yes, branding has a future, but its practice is not the same as its past. Brands remain critical assets that drive and deliver ‘value’. As we move into the 21st century, the challenge for marketers and practitioners is to understand how brands can evolve and facilitate growth for the benefit of investors, stakeholders, consumers, customers and employees.

Tim Riches is chief growth officer, Asia Pacific and chief executive officer, Singapore for FutureBrand.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The iPad: New Day Or False Dawn?

In terms of technology, 2010 has undoubtedly been the year of the iPad.
It has been hailed by many as being the future of everything from computing to publishing, whilst, as with the iPhone, publishers & advertisers alike have pounced on the new device, launching apps for their products and services.

But will the iPad live up to its hype, and should brands & publishers be falling over themselves in the way that they are?
As with most things, the answer is a mixture of yes & no.

Advertising Nirvana?
“Well, we’ve got a lot of free apps — we like that, users like that…What some (developers) are starting to do is put mobile ads in their apps… and most of this advertising sucks.” -Steve Jobs, April 2010

So what does all of this mean for advertisers?

Well, as already discussed, at present the iPad is very much a niche device, but one which punches above its weight in terms of the desirability of that audience and the publicity it generates. And the audience it attracts certainly seems keen to test everything that the iPad has to offer, with over 1 million apps being downloaded on its first day of release.

As a portable device, but one with a browsing experience far beyond that of even the best mobile phones, the iPad opens up new ways for brands to connect with consumers. Targeting content and experiences based on location and demographics, but with rich media experiences, means that brands could create deeper and more durable interactions with consumers.

However, the app rush also exposes two potential issues for brands. Firstly, the fact that the iPad is definitely much more than simply an oversized iPhone means that you can’t simply port your old iPhone app across, at least not if you want it to provide a high-end experience. And, just as the iPhone’s app library is now full to bursting, so a similar rush to develop iPad apps could mean that it becomes very hard to stand out from the crowd.

With more things than ever clamouring for consumers’ attention, any brand app or experience will have to be exceptional to really break through.

Don’t Believe The Hype?
What then is the final reckoning for the iPad?

Whilst it has generated enormous publicity it is still a niche product, and likely to remain so in the near to mid-term future. But by, once again, creating a new sector, Apple is likely to spark a wave of competition that should drive costs down and specs up.

Outtake: Brands shouldn’t simply throw money at tablet apps, but should definitely be thinking about how their audiences are using them, if at all, and how they could fit into that usage.

The continuing battle between closed environments and open platforms will continue, with no winner obvious at the moment. Whilst it would be stupid to ignore Apple’s latest uber-gadget, it would be a very brave exec that bet everything on one or the other.

Outtake: In the mobile wars, all the major operating systems have announced a common app language. Bar Apple. Investing in iPad apps is certainly not a bad idea, but be prepared to have to recreate it for other systems as they come along.

Tablets start to show us what the future of content consumption might look like. At present however too many magazine/newspaper/book apps simply recreate the printed page in a digital format, whilst the revenues likely to be generated won’t plug the massive defecits saddling so many publishing companies.

Outtake: Forward thinking brands will be working with publishers to re-imagine the world of publishing. Just as Time Warner & Toyota’s Mine showed how printed magazines might evolve, so there are opportunities to do the same on tablets.

Advertisers will want to test the capabilities of the iPad, and use it to create more immersive experiences for consumers. But the challenge will be to stand out and, as always, it will come down to creative, rather than technical details.

Outtake: Just because you can do something on the iPad, doesn’t mean you should. Ask yourself why anyone should care about what you plan to do, and keep asking until you have an answer. To paraphrase Bill Clinton, It’s the creative, stupid.

And what about us, will we all be rushing out to buy an iPad? Well, I’m no Apple fanboy, but as the owner of a Macbook, iPod and iPhone I’m clearly not immune to their wiles either.

But for all of that, I’m going to follow the advice of British satirist Charlie Brooker, and wait till it’s cheaper and lighter, and in the meantime I’ll continue to stare enviously at my friends who have bought what Brooker describes as the world’s most expensive rectangle.

The author is Ciarán Norris, Head of Social Marketing, Mindshare

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Who cares if it is Good or Great… ?

Many years ago I was fortunate enough to sit in a training course in Ogilvy Singapore conducted by then Global Creative Director Neil French. He was trying to educate a bunch of suits on what Great Advertising is – not just good…but GREAT. His method was interesting. He showed a reel of Award Winning TVC’s from previous years award shows. So all were winners, and one could argue were already Great. He then instructed us to vote on a 10 point scale. Of course after the first few ads had been played – and we’d all given those spots a 7 or an 8 (pretty good) - he told us we could only use the numbers under 5 or a 9 or 10. So they were either great. Or they weren’t.

Given Neil’s personality, use of profanity and general fear that he instilled in most junior suits it was quite a memorable way of forcing you to question whether something is GREAT – or just kind of OK. Most of us were comfortable with 6’s 7’s or 8’s.

But are we setting our standards high enough? Given the number of average ads on TV , let alone great ones maybe our standards aren’t high enough.

Now I am in the world of media I know we aren’t striving for GREAT.

I have heard too many times the phrase “at least they are doing something…” Usually in the context of new media. Or Search. Or Social Media activity. The fact that a client is doing something is seen as good – as doing something is seen as better than doing nothing.

Now call me old fashioned – but I tend to disagree. It’s a bit like giving a ten year old a violin and asking them to play something. Any sound they make is better than nothing ?? No it’s not. Silence would be better than hearing a sound that resembles fingers on a black board.

Getting a client to ‘do’ Search or Social just so they’ve ticked a box is responsible for users seeing crap on their Facebook pages or spending money on paid ads when their organic rankings are already going to get them the visibility they crave.

The difference between Great Search or great Social – or Great Media in general is huge – in terms of value, impact, relevance and engagement. But why do we settle for good… or even encourage poor just to get a client into a new medium?

Maybe we need more Neil French’s in our side of the industry – bullying and cajoling media teams as well as clients into a more binary view of our business – make it great or keep your money in your pocket!

At Maxus we have banned the expression “at least they are doing something…” or else my ten year old will visit with her violin.

As to an example of great work - I think what Dell is doing (not our client) with their Direct2Dell initiative has turned around a very closed and combative organisation who had failed to embrace the blogging community into a very open and collaborative organisation... Some brilliant work for Axe in Japan (not our client) in the mobile application space is another example of not just doing something in the mobile marketing space - just to give it a go - but doing something that really uses the potential of the medium, a real insight - Japanese guys use their mobiles as an alarm clock - and integrates the brand perfectly into the medium.

The author is Neil Stewart, CEO for Maxus in Asia Pacific.

Monday, May 10, 2010

iAd's revolutionary promise

Mobile is the undisputed champion of media across the globe with more than 4.1 billion people using mobile phones. That’s about six in 10 people, compared with less than three in 10 who access the internet through a PC. It is easy to understand why advertisers are excited about using mobile as a tool for marketing. The ubiquity of the mobile, combined with the ability to target, track, measure and reach people at key purchase decision points, quickly transforms into advertising nirvana. So why then is mobile advertising only expected to account for a paltry 2% of the digital media market’s spending in 2010 (according to eMarketer)?

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has the answer: “Because most mobile advertising really sucks.” He is right. Screens are small, which leads to disappointing creativity that makes it difficult for an ad to successfully compel a viewer to invest the time away from their current activity to click through. But Apple’s new iAd platform has these possibility to change that, at least for the projected 100 million Apple mobile device users.

It is a relatively small number of the total global mobile population, but as Jobs pointed out in his April presentation it is a very attractive demographic for advertisers. Furthermore, AdMob reported that the iPhone OS accounts for 50% of mobile web traffic and, in places such as Japan, Apple’s iPhone accounts for 72% of the smartphone market, according to Tokyo-based MM Research Institute Ltd.

With iAd, not only has Apple re-thought mobile advertising with the entire iPhone ecosystem in mind, but it has also drawn on its experience as one of the world’s most enjoyed brand advertisers, leading to several features that sets iAd apart. Users will come across iAd within an application. At first, the ad will look similar to the current small banners that are common, but the meat of the ad presents itself after a user initiates interaction.

Paramount to Jobs is that the iAd experience does not take a user away from their current app. Because of the new iPhone OS4 multitasking capabilities, a user can interact with an iAd without closing their current app and go back to where they left off when they are done with the ad. Jobs believes that if people don’t have to “pay the penalty of having to find their way back to their app” it will result in more clicks (or taps) for advertisers. An improved user experience may be just the thing the mobile advertising industry
needs to propel itself further into the plans and budgets of advertisers.

iAd intends to present advertisers a mobile ad platform with more impact, delivering “interactivity and emotion”, as Jobs puts it, by giving creatives a richer canvas to work with, blurring the line between entertainment, information, apps and advertising.

It sounds very promising, but there are questions and challenges.

One unknown is the quality of the metrics and data advertisers will be able to get on iAd campaigns. According to registered developers, there are restrictions on third-party targeting and measurement, which many
advertisers rely on for precise and unbiased information about their digital marketing.

All the data will flow through Apple, presumably on the technology that came with its recent Quattro acquisition.

Targeting will benefit from the detailed understanding Apple has about users from its iTunes and App Store behaviour, however, it is yet to be determined how well this approach will be received by marketers.

The iAd interactive and emotional experience is also not alone in the mobile
advertising market. Companies such as Medialets offer similar units, which also allow for rich and immersive creative.

Furthermore, while the number of Apple apps downloaded far surpasses any others, the Apple App Store isn’t the only game in town. Nokia, BlackBerry and others have moved into the apps distribution business. Then there is the price tag.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that being part of the iAd launch could cost up to US$10 million, with regular campaign pricing eventually in the US$1 million range. There is no denying that Apple has proven time and time again its expertise at making technology simpler, fun and sexier. Apple has redefined categories so don’t be surprised if mobile advertising is next.

The author is Jason Kuperman, vice president, digital development, Asia Pacific, Omnicom group.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

To make 'like' easier

Facebook just gave you a great new tool to spread recommendations about your product.

Many brands have content, news about their newest shiniest product, that they would love to get shared across social networks. The idea of information about your product “going viral” and gaining vast reach without having to pay media costs has long been a holy grail.

But despite platforms like Facebook providing the possibility for it to happen, it hasn’t.

Why, because of the friction involved. The effort both you (the brand) and your fans have to go through to get the information to “jump the wall” from your website to the social network, is too high.
Facebook just changed that by proving a portable Like button (it used be the Fan button). Copy and paste a few lines of code onto your site and you can have that familiar Thumbs Up right on your own website. And since a Like is form of recommendation, earning and getting those Likes visible is extremely valuable.

Here is the simple elegance, when a person clicks on the Like button on your site, news of that gets posted to their wall. For their (on average 150) friends to see, and hopefully click on. No need for them to do messy copy and paste, nor to go through the hurdle of logging in. Just click.

Get a few tens of thousands of people to Like your news, and you quickly gain reach that people thought only “old” media could give you. For free. Facebook expects to serve 1 billion “Like” buttons in the 1st 24 hours of its launch just to give you an idea of scale.

Now, you all you need is news that people will Like!

We at Vocanic implemented this on our own website, allowing visitors on the page to “Like” the page. Take it for spin and see how easy it is – easy enough for your brand’s audience to do too.

By Ian McKee, CEO Vocanic

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Brand within a brand

How important a role do brands play when it comes to creating a nation’s image? Perhaps a lot, according to Tim Love, Omnicom’s Vice Chairman and recently-named chairman of Asia Pacific India Middle East & Africa (APIMA).

Brands are both target and the key vehicle to improve a nation’s perceptions he says and what better example than the United States. Love discussed this in a recent lecture at Oxford University titled "The Penalty of Freedom."

Despite a generally positive global reaction created by Barack Obama’s presidency, there continues to be a significant anti US sentiment worldwide. Citing the reports from the Pew Research Centre which has been measuring the global attitudes about the US since before 9/11, Love says that the results show a slight improvement in America’s image in 2008, but its well below the ratings in 1999 and 2000. Moreover, this perception was exacerbated by the global economic tsunami that started in 2008 and which has been perceived as a result of unrestrained US financial hubris.

Marketing in its May issue asked the head honchos of agencies whether nations can really brand themselves. Love in his lecture goes a step further saying sweeping societal and technological change has altered traditional definitions of global brands in a world with new frames of reference.

This, Love says, also reflects in concern brands have in mind given the interconnectedness of the global economy as well as potential unfavourable perception towards American businesses and brands. He cites that among the world’s top 100 economies, 49 are nations, while 51 are multinational corporations. This means more peoples lives are touched by corporations and brands than any single nation's government.

“The planet is not one homogeneous market and multiculturalism is fast becoming an essential characteristic of global brand-building,” Love says.

This does not hold only true for America. Look at the socio-political upheaval in Thailand and the impact it has had not only on the country’s image among tourists but the business operating there. Foreign reports stated how some hotels in central Bangkok closed temporarily because of fears of violence between security forces and anti-government protesters who occupied an upmarket shopping and leisure district since 3 April. This included InterContinental Hotel Bangkok and also the luxury shopping mall Gaysorn Plaza.

And just as I pen this blog, we receive news of AdFest, one of the industry’s most reputed event falling to the axe.

This takes me back to what Peter Valerio comments on marketing-interactive’s story on whether Singapore can brand itself as a nation? Valerio says image is a far more appropriate word than brand as far as its perception is concerned. If anything, image management/influencing is far more appropriate and realistic.

Love further adds that the evolution of media in particular is creating a new generation of global citizens whose affect on brands is undeniable. However, he emphasizes that there is a penalty to this new-found freedom of unprecedented levels of shared communications. “In a world where we are all more accessible and more visible, we also must become more accountable—to ourselves, to our society and to our planet,” he says.