Marina Bay Sands digital strategies into classroom. Timothy Hou from MBS spoke to COMM 346 about social insights


Timothy Hou, Director of Internal Communication and Social Media at Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd, spoke (18 September) about the Marina Bay Sands content marketing strategy, for the content strategy module in COMM 346 social media strategies.

In his lecture, Mr. Hou introduced effective content and delivery strategy in social media and brand ambassador strategies with celebrities, star chefs, and public figures.

A Q and A session and fun activity for the class were held regarding MBS Singapore Tennis Evening at Marina Bay Sands partnered with BNP Paribas. Group 2 (Tang Jingfang, Tan Wan Ling Elizabeth, Lim Jin Yang Mark, Juliane Benedict, Jeannie Teo Jin Min) won the fun activity competition with a sponsorships/partnership building idea pitch for MBS.

To maximise the sponsorship deal between MBS and BNP Paribas, Group 2 suggested three factors: legal (whether there is a binding contract), physical (that MBS has no tennis facilities), and image alignment (that the image of both MBS and the tennis athletes are aligned). In conceptualisation of a social media strategy for the inaugural “Singapore Tennis Evening at Marina Bay Sands”, Group 2 had focus to highlighting the lifestyles that tennis athletes-celebrities have and will enjoy at MBS.

Jeannie Teo Jin Min in Group 2 said “this social media strategy will involve a collaboration with the athletes’ current sponsors. Collaborating with these brands would bring the sponsors’ attention to the brand of MBS and put MBS in the spotlight through the lenses of the sponsors, e.g., Adidas for Ana Ivanovic. Also, the premises and services provided by MBS would be featured and marketed overall as a luxurious and refined place to be and congruent with the lifestyles of the athletes. Scenic venues in MBS such as the SkyPark are also good locations for photoshoots or media features.”

The group’s ideas were well received by Mr. Hou as they come up with fresh ideas instead of using conventional strategies. Mr. Hou applauded all the groups’ efforts in this brainstorming activity, and especially said “Group 2’s work was very commendable as their ideas are something we have thought about and continues to be a challenge to implement.”

As a winning team, the group was awarded small prizes.

During the guest lecture session, MBS remarkable achievements in social media and content marketing were presented. Especially under Mr. Hou’s leadership, MBS has seen dramatic success in social media campaigns as it averaged a 60% year-on-year increase in followers across social media. He shares hands-on experience in directing celebrity marketing using various social media platforms and achieving a 50-million-plus reach over Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Weibo, Youku and blogs. MBS won two Marketing Magazine awards – Gold for Excellence in Social Media and Bronze for Best Use of Social Media at Events. And MBS tripled the number of its LinkedIn followers (31,361) and won the LinkedIn Award as most engaging brand 2014 for SEA/HK region.

We hope that Marina Bay Sands will continue to provide cutting-edge industry insight to academia and COMM 346 will be looking forward to solid relationship building and active engagement of MBS with the SMU community.

Group 1: HIC JUICE

Hi everyone!

My group (Jake, Bernadette, Trix, Sid and I) will be working on HIC JUICE as our organisation of choice for the group project.

As health becomes increasingly important amidst the hectic lifestyles of people in Singapore, the popularity of juice cleanses have risen and cold-pressed juices have been taking our island by storm in the recent years. HIC JUICE is one of the most popular consumer’s choices.

We selected this organisation because it is a home grown brand that started out in 2013. Their usage of social media is not limited to only one platform but three in total. We want to analyse their usage of these platforms in relation to their entrepreneurial success.

We hope all of you will have a better understanding of the organisation after our presentation 🙂


Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook: Who has the AD-vantage?

In light of our Sat make-up class and the launch of iOS 9 a few days ago, it might be interesting to highlight the ‘newest and biggest war in tech going on today – the assault of the ad revenue model.

iOS 9 rolled out on 16th September and with it, support for content blockers to the Safari mobile browser for iOS 9. Before we make any whooping calls of delight/judgement calls, consider these facts:

  1. The top online advertiser is Google – Google makes more than 90% of its revenue through its ads
  2. Facebook is relatively unaffected by ad blockers – Their ads run on apps, while ad blockers work their magic on browsers
  3. Apple ads on their apps are unblockable – They will never ever be blockable with a closed iOS system

These developments have differing impacts on the fate of the independent (albeit major) players in the online advertising and social media domain. The competitiveness of Google is called into question, while Facebook might be preparing to absorb any influx of new/ex-Google advertisers. Aside from these, perhaps we should also frame this in a macro view of this development.

Advertisements are the silent workers that toil thanklessly in the maintenance of the Internet. There has always been a divide between the cost of media creation and production, and the price that consumers are willing to pay. Advertisements take residence in this gulf, bridging a compromise between the two. Blocking them essentially threatens the existence of your favourite websites.

On the other hand, some independent publishers, especially the smaller ones, that run on ad revenue are at risk of becoming the collaterals in the war between Apple and Google. This is sad and unfortunate, especially if those publishers were still trying to make ends meet from the shift of traditional advertising to digital advertising.

In my opinion, I would rather live with the ads than have my favourite sites shut down. What do you guys think?

Let’s start a conversation about group project

Hello everyone,

As we move on to the group project phase, please participate in our class blog under the group assignment category.
It would be great if you could include “name of the organization”, “brief overview of the organization”, and “why you select this particular organization” in your post.
This will help other students get a better understanding of your group project.
I will study further on each organization so that I can prepare for a more effective consultation for each group.



Queries on the “Three Steps for Policy Evaluation” graph

Hello guys!

Referring back to our lecture last week, we learned about the three steps for policy evaluation. I would like to clarify on the impact aspect of the social media policies.

Three Steps for Policy Evaluation                                                                               Week 4.2 Slides 39

It seems to me that a Reactive policy, in which employees are restricted from social media usage, has the least impact while Proactive policy always generates the highest impact. However, as illustrated in the case of Domino Pizza employees as well as the milk-bottle case in Korea, employees are not discerning and unable to make sound judgements when it comes to posting in their social media. As such, I would think that a Reactive social media policy may create more benefits (higher impact) to the company.

Taking a step back, i think that the selection of the social media policy would be moderated by various factors (social, economic, and technological) that exist in the company. There might be cases where a Reactive policy would do more good to the company, especially when employees have lower educational background, as compared to a Proactive policy. What do you guys think about it, would greatly appreciate any comments and inputs 🙂

Thank you so much!


Social media as a double-edged sword

Helloooo everyone!

Came across the Domino’s Pizza example online and found some interesting information related to what was mentioned in class last Saturday. It’s about social media as a double-edged sword which I would like to share it here with everybody.

What happened at Domino’s Pizza?

  • On Easter Sunday in April 2009, two Domino’s employees who were bored working in a North Carolina outlet thought it would be hilarious to post a video of themselves, demonstrating their grotesque adulteration of food.
  • The duo created five videos in total, one of which showed an individual sticking mozzarella cheese up his nose and then blowing the cheese on a sandwich, among other unsanitary and stomach-turning activities.
  • They then uploaded these videos on Youtube, gathering an estimated number of 1 million viewers within two days after the videos surfaced the social media platform.
  • This case clearly reflects issues that arise from employee’s misbehavior leading to a reputational damage of the company, which is further exacerbated by the viral ability of social media.

So, what happens after this incident is exposed?

  • 24 hours after the upload, the Corporate Communications team surveyed the situation and determined that the videos were not a hoax. They managed to identify the rogue employees.
  • By Tuesday (the third day), the team was responding to customers’ queries on Twitter about whether the company knew about the situation, what the company was doing, and why the company had not issued an official statement.
  • By Wednesday (the fourth day), Patrick Doyle, President of Domino’s Pizza, recorded an apology that was then uploaded onto YouTube.
  • This strategy and decision to fight the crisis’ viral nature using YouTube was the tipping point that allowed the company to cull user-generated content from social networking sites and use the platform to distribute information back to users.
  • This case also showed that Domino understood the critical importance of the use of social media, that is, since the crisis occurred online, the organisation had to deal with the management of the crisis via an online presence to reach out to the targeted audience.

I find that what’s interesting about social media is that when there is a bad PR, it can create a powerful whirlwind spreading like wildfire within a short time. Likewise any good news on social media can also spread with a loud bang.

Therefore, social media can be seen as a double-edged sword. If it is used appropriately, the returns is immense; however, any bad PR will spread quickly too.

However, I think that the additional advantage social media has is that it can be used to counter any bad news like what the PR practitioners did in Domino’s case.

The PR practitioners at Domino reacted to adverse publicity using the same medium, YouTube to counter its adversaries. In fact the social media allows for quick response, virtually open 24/7 throughout and its reach is wide and far unlike the printed newspapers or press conferences which only get to publish any communication the next day.

To sum it up, the Domino’s Pizza case questions the efficacy of how social media can be harnessed to produce benefits or harm, just like how we discussed during class that social media can act as a double-edged sword.

I would suggest that Domino’s Pizza could also work on implementing reactive, neutral and proactive social media policies to mitigate future reputational damage to the organisation.

What are your thoughts about the power of social media? Any comments or insights into other cases which show invincibility of the social media?


For more information, you may visit:

Young, C. L., & Flowers, A. (2012). Fight viral with viral: A case study of Domino’s Pizza’s crisis communication strategies. Case Studies in Strategic Communication, 1, article 6. Available online:


Thank you for reading my post and have a great week ahead!



Questions on PR & Employees Feedback on Social Media

Hi Prof and friends 🙂

I have some queries in mind:

  1. Regarding the integration of PR & marketing efforts eg by Starhub / SingTel. Both have very high market share on the telco segment in Sg. Telecommunication is part of a necessity too.  As such, how necessary is actually PR for these two (personally for me and I guess for most customers, what we look for is the quality of their service not much of their brand impression or something)? They could have allocated the resources more on winning in terms of quality from competitors perhaps?

2. Regarding today’s lecture on employees’ feedback may hamper the reputation of their former companies. I was wondering if such behaviour would backfire the employees instead? With the social media their posts & messages can be easily shared and perhaps, potential employers may also come to notice such posts. Would not this instead also hamper the reputation of this employee (or in a way ‘scare’ employers to hire him)?. Is there any better platform than social media or a more credible way to use the social media to bring about such issue to also increase credibility?


Thanks a lot 🙂



PR OR Marketing OR PR AND Marketing?

Further to Valdy’s post on Queries on IMC (Week 3.1):

“Furthermore, how can we able to distinguish an IMC campaign from just a traditional marketing advertisement? Would the fact that IMC campaigns are placed in social media platforms and are digital allow us to distinguish them?”

Taking IMC in conjunction with COMM346 has given me a better idea of what IMC is about and I would like to share it with the class. Integrated Marketing Communication focuses on how to bring a brand’s positioning and marketing strategy to life for the consumer (it may be helpful to think of it as 360-degree marketing approach, whereas a traditional marketing ad is typically 1-way communication). It starts with the brand strategy and positioning, then identifies the target, develops the creative idea through a process of writing a creative brief and providing constructive feedback to submissions. This creative idea is then translated into specific executions across a mix of media channels appropriate to the brand task, the target audience and the budget, and the results are measured (for the next campaign). This approach delivers a single-minded message across different consumer touch points, using each medium in the most effective manner and the combined effect is greater than the sum of the individual messages.

In that regard vis-a-vis the Singtel vs Starhub class activity that we did, it is interesting to learn how 1 ad can be perceived in so many different ways by different people…Personally, I felt that the Singtel ad is more (e) Marketing = PR – which is what IMC tries to sell. Aside from the details on the available plans and cost towards the end of the ad (that made it sound like PR –> Marketing), the Singtel ad seems to follow a clear creative brief template through identifying the Business  Goal –> Specific target –> Target Evolution –> Brand Proposition etc. Whereas the Starhub ad is more bubble (d) i.e. to build a favourable image of the brand (the PR aspect) while hoping to improve brand recall that may help to improve sales (the marketing aspect).

So IMC on social media doesn’t necessarily help us distinguish between IMC and traditional marketing ad since IMC can be used in any channel that is most appropriate for the target audience of that specific campaign… a possibly useful way is to determine if the ad is IMC is to see if it has an “insight” translated into a “big idea” e.g. Macdonald’s “Get up and Go” campaign that was built on the insight (“I’m not a morning person; waking up, especially on a weekday with a full stressful day ahead of me, is misery!”) that was translated into a big idea (“Give mornings a chance!”) and delivered through the Mc morning alarm initiative (the “tactic”).

Any other thoughts from the class? =)