I am a digital and business transformation leader who has played senior change agent roles and led marketing for major brands like Nokia, PayPal, Singtel, Mediacorp, CNBC, Yahoo! and MTV. Throughout my career, I have focused on the power of good content and narrative to build brands, attract audiences and transform company culture.
Like many people, I was saddened to hear the sudden, unexpected news that music legend Prince had passed away weeks ago. And like many, I tried to assuage this grief by listening to his music, only to be reminded that very few of his work is available on streaming services like Spotify. His crusade for artists’ rights and stand against streaming services where (he felt) artists didn’t get the revenues they deserved is, well, legendary. Even on Youtube, you were lucky to find the rare Prince live performance.
And so I turned to my modest vinyl collection only to realize that all I had of Prince was an old copy of his “Purple Rain” album that I had purchased from some second-hand record store. (It sounded terrible.)
Well, thankfully, there’s eBay. I decided that I would do what (probably) Prince would have wanted: if you wanted to listen to his music, you had to go and buy his goddamn record. And that’s what I did.
Two weeks later and what I scored has finally arrived: the 12″ maxi single version of “Purple Rain” from 1984. And it’s purple. And it’s in pristine condition. And it’s beautiful.
Thank you for several lifetimes’ worth of fantastic music, Prince. Long live your Purple Reign.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of joining a distinguished panel of media experts and marketers to discuss social media at Music Matters.
Joining me on the panel were James Rothwell (Head of Google+ Marketing, Google Asia Pacific), Ole Obermann (Executive Vice President of Digital Partner Development and Sales, Sony Music Entertainment) and Robin Seow (Vice President, Marketing, Printing and Personal Systems Group, HP Asia, Pacific and Japan). The discussion was moderated by Thomas Crampton (Asia Pacific Director, Social@Ogilvy). Each panelist discussed how their respective companies use social media in their marketing and community-building activities.
Social Media has become extremely important for SingTel, especially in the last two years. In that time, the company has grown from having a minimal Facebook presence to a state where social media is harnessed for every major campaign or product launch and is a vital source for customer feedback.
SingTel’s social media channels (official Facebook page and @SingTelSupport Twitter handle) are among the company’s fastest growing Customer Support channels. SingTel has a dedicated Customer Support team active 14 hours a day (0900-2300), seven days a week, assisting hundreds of consumers weekly.
(On a personal note, I always confidently recommend tweeting @SingTelSupport to friends because I know it’s the most reliable way to get a quick response.)
Interacting with SingTel via social media channels can not only provide prompt service but also a pleasant surprise or two. A few months ago, a customer’s tweet about her pet cat Dawn led to a special treat from the SingTel social media team. The incident was documented by local blogger Miss Hallelujah.
Recently, SingTel partnered with comedian Hossan Leong and Twitter to get consumers talking about 4G/LTE. Consumers shared their ideas on how they would use the high-speed 4G connection and SingTel turned these ideas into improv comedy skits which were then published online via Youtube. The campaign resulted in 23 videos uploaded in just eight hours. Read more about the campaign here.)
Many brands talk about how they use social media to “listen” to their consumers. Customer feedback gathered from social media is so important to SingTel that it has a direct impact even on the company’s network infrastructure. During a massive mobile network upgrade programme that began in 2012, SingTel provided a feedback form on its Facebook page so that customers could directly offer information on where the upgrades were needed most. The thousands of feedback forms provided by consumers were collated on a weekly basis and allowed SingTel to re-prioritize its upgrade schedule based on customer feedback.
Since SingTel realized that the upgrade programme would take months, the company decided to be as transparent as possible in sharing information. Progress on the upgrades were provided via a dedicated page on the SingTel.com wesbite, complete with progress reports, upgrade timetables and even pre- and post-upgrade Speedtest comparisons.
Social media can be a powerful ally as long as a brand makes the decision to harness its power. The path isn’t without risks but the rewards can be many for those who are daring enough.