Monday, February 19, 2018

Cannot build trust with only fancy posters.

There are a few pretty posters around Singapore on the police force. The posters look good and put the Police Officers in a good light. There are also several advertisements on TV on this used for recruitment.

However, today with social media, it seems futile to have a beautiful image when people feel that the reality is much different.

Children handcuffed by police at Katong


Elderly woman arrested and handcuffed by police after reporting a lost pawn shop ticket

And the list goes on.

I personally have experienced trying to report a lost bicycle, but was dissuaded as the officer keeps asking me if I've misplaced it. I told him I want to file it, and he replied that many bicycles go missing and they don't have enough resources to find my bicycle.

The same goes for my stolen car (more than once), and things stolen off my motorcycle.

When someone broke into my house at Oei Tiong Ham Park (opposite Holland Village), I called the police who took more than 6 hours to respond, (Police from Pasir Ris came) And their excuse, they lack resources.

I used to have many friends in the police force as I was part of the Military Police. Sadly, many of them left to join Cisco where they wear the same uniform and have definite working hours and good benefits, unlike the Police force where education and qualification matters most. (If you are not a scholar, there is a glass ceiling)

With lack of trust, and the impression that the police works for the rich and connected, it is hard to just have fancy posters and expect people to join the Police. Try winning back trust by doing the right thing and have common sense.

-- Robin Low

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Don't be too concerned over videos on Facebook

To get eyeballs, many News sites will "steal" videos and repost it as their News when something similar happens.

This usually makes a lot of people over react when they see something that happened a few years ago. Sometimes an event occurred elsewhere or it may be even staged, but it can be worded in such a way that it creates a different context and create fear and anger.

In 2018, What Now posted this video on their Facebook page and talking about it like it just happened, getting a lot of anger and outrage. However, I did find the same video on YouTube 4 years ago.

This is not an isolated incident. Many other Facebook pages and other news sites often post other videos out of context to create more clicks from the outrage. One main reason is because such videos and News create a reaction which makes you click on them, and drives traffic which brings them revenue.

So before you get outraged and share that news or video, you can easily search for the news online to see if it really happened or if it happened elsewhere or long ago, before you share the news. You should not share the fake news and encourage such behaviors.

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Tech for the sake of tech

Many governments want to promote technology, but many small businesses who do not understand technology. When funds are dumped and businesses feel the need to have technology, often money is wasted.

For many years, I've consulted several businesses in the US and Asia on digital media. There was a large education part, and even today, everyone wants to engage on social media and few know how.

Just a simple example.

QR Codes.

In 2011, everyone was talking about QR codes. QR codes were used in promotions and packaging and can be found on many printed sources. Some believe they have outlived their usefulness, and never did achieve the lofty goals creators had hoped. Indeed, many in the tech world have pronounced them “dead” as a viable marketing resource. But others believe just the opposite.

NFC allows information to be transferred between two devices via radio waves. Essentially NFC is similar to using a QR code but doesn’t require consumers to open the app and scan the code. NFC also allows users to create their own unique “code” for identification purposes.

So, are QR codes still relevant?

In my opinion, any form of technology needs to be examined and studied on how it fits into the business. Having QR codes for the sake of QR codes is a waste to time and effort.

Even in 2017, Singapore is trying to push QR codes.  (Common Singapore QR code to be rolled out next year) QR codes by itself have little or no marketing value. QR codes does not look good and it takes a lot of effort to use QR codes, and the example of NFC is just other options to QR codes.

So should you use QR codes?

Like every technology, you need to develop a strategy on how to use the QR code. (or how to use YouTube, Facebook, etc)

If you are displaying it on an ad on YouTube or TV, it is highly unlikely that anyone will pause and pay any attention. You need to place it where people can access -- like by the entrance where people can scan to link to the latest promotions or discounts in store.

Make sure the links are not broken. The worse thing to have the QR code link to is a broken link. Customers take the effort to scan in the code, and if it links to a broken link, it shows badly about the reliability of the business. The next thing to take note, make sure that the link is mobile friendly as most people will scan the link on their mobile devices.

Using technology for the sake of "having it" is generally a waste of money. Many businesses have an awkward online store which makes navigation hard. Any technology needs to be well thought of before implementation, to see how it fits in the whole picture.

Technology is as good as the team behind it. If the team is passionate and empowered, they can take technology and support the business in many new ways, but having it by itself usually ends up as a big waste of money.

-- Robin Low

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The customer journey

Most companies have an imbalance toward acquisition of customers over retention of them. Just compare marketing and advertising to support, service, newsletters and emails. Channeling people through the sales channel far outweigh building trust and relationships.

I found this customer journey created by Oracle, showing an infinite loop. When we travel travel through this journey as customers, we observe what works and what don't. There is often a shift that we can perceive between sell and service.

I like this Oracle model as it conveys empathy with the customer's perspective.

It is essential that we recognize that this is a continuous cycle, as customers come and go, in and out of this journey, and if the sales and service ends well, they would also recommend, and in today's digital world, this may mean that they are part of a new customer's research to start a new cycle again.

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

How to get more engagement on social media

Understanding psychology does has its benefits. Understanding psychological principles of human behavior can benefit you in social media marketing.

Children's Curiosity.

Have you heard a kid asking, "Why ... ?"

"Why do things work the way they do?"

Young Children do not lie. They will continue to probe until they get a good answer.

However, adults think it too, even if they do not voice it out.


Have you watched a political debate and gotten frustrated by the politicians dodging direct questions?

How do you feel? Do you get frustrated?

This is the same when you engage in social media and do not give a satisfying answer. People do get frustrated and you will lose your audience. However, when you answer in full clear details, you may start to build loyal followers.



1) You need to do your research. There are many sites like Yahoo Answers, Quora and various forums on Linkedin and other technical sites which hold the answers, and you can find it using your favorite search engine.

Of course you will get a lot of answers, and some of them will be good while others rubbish. This is the problem with search engines today, and it they could give you what you want perfectly, then your social media engagement would not be required.

So to add value, you need to sift through the various answers, get a good understand of the topic itself, and add in your own knowledge. When you are ready, answer it on your own website. (or blog)

2) Now, you need to find the best way to answer them. Getting all the research materials, curating the content, putting together is a well organized fashion is key.

Simple is better. Avoid using too many technical terms, and edit over to make sure it reads well. To do that well, you need to ask yourself some questions.

a) How long is it going to be? (Short answer? Video? Blog? )
b) Which is the best format? (Video? Infographic? Text?) *Visual is always best
c) Determine how you are going to present it. (pdf for download, blog, answer on quora)

3) With a good reply, think of how you can retain the audience. Perhaps give them more information, a video and other links if they join your mailing list? Have a good idea of up-selling and giving more, even if they do not pay for more, having the option to contact them next time would be a bonus.

4) Gift Economy.

Free things can come at a price. Blogs, infographics, videos full of information and data, organized in a clear and brief manner is great value for people. If they get it for free, they may follow your blog, twitter account and join your mailing list.

When a waiter gives you attention and fulfills all your requests, answers all your question and offers you a free mint at the end, would you give the waiter extra tip? They are after all doing their job.

You can apply the same principle to the influencers whom you find their blog useful. Create links to their blogs, share useful tweets and help promote others. Have good meaningful discussions on other blogs with similar topics, and these influencers may do the same as well.

5) Engage with the audience.

When someone asks a question, give a good well thought of reply. (And not those short brief ones) Ask if some of them want to contribute to your blog.

Feel free to post and share blogs on different mediums, Twitter, Facebook pages, forums and other question polling sites. Engage with others on the sites.

The more people see you, the more they will like you.

-- Robin Low

Friday, December 18, 2015

Media and Trump

It seems like for the past few days, all I get to see on the news, on my Facebook and Twitter feeds is about Trump and Star Wars. The more the media sheds attention on Trump, the more ridiculous his campaign speeches become and the more support he gets.

It seems like Donald’s trump campaign is just out to get media attention and no matter what he says, he gets to pick up more supporters. So why does the media give him so much attention?
From a PR point of view, Trump is newsworthy. He is a presidential candidate of one of the bigger party in the United States. He is touching on a lot of controversial topics like immigration and religion. He is also taking on unpopular views, which many considers racist. And now, he is the front runner of the GOP.

As you may know, different media reports do report news with different tone and opinions, but many independent media try to put out facts and the audiences connect the dots. Listening to media on both conservative radio and liberal radio, I realize that many of the programs on the radios are condemning Donald Trump, and some even resort to call him a liar and a racist, yet his reach and support seems to increase.

I realize that even now, as I’m writing this article, I’m doing research and reading more about Donald Trump. And I guess everyone has their own view and opinions, and when facts are presented to different people, they piece this information together and come up with their own conclusion.
So should the media be to provide the truth and help the audience understand the truth, however, when the media tries to explain too much and share one side of the story, it may feel as though it is not a balanced view. But for many of the viewpoints, is there even a balanced view?

With Trump’s aggressive media use and shocking statements, he does get a lot of coverage, and yet, how do you put a balanced opinion on Trump’s call to ban Muslims from travelling to the US. If the media ignores him, he can still reach many others on social media, and when media covers him, does it put the US in a bad light for having so many racist supporters?

Do we not agree on racism? Do we not know what racism is?

It is very clear that our society is fragmented, and our values and ethics differ a lot. On one hand, the statistics show that even with Trump’s stance on Mexicans and Muslims, 36% support him. But this 36% is 36% of the Republican Electoral Support not even 36% Republicans which is the minority of people in the US.

I feel that the media is covering Trump because in today’s digital media world, it is hard to get attention. Will we see Trump as Republican Presidential Candidate? It is hard to tell. Even in the country with free speech, many media don’t call a spade a spade. When Trump lies and does not check facts, it is the responsibility for the media to inform and call him out, and not to mislead.
Even when the role of media is not to protect and censor out all the racist comments, the role of media is to inform – to uncover the truth as best as it can and to put it together in a way that the audience can understand the truth, without opinions, without name calling.

-- Robin Low