Pop music industry, fandom and social media

Hi Guys!
Who do you think is the most popular boy band or girl band in Singapore?
Take a minute and pick one, then we can explore and converse about how their social media strategies are implemented well and help them to be successful in the Singapore pop music scene.
Please leave a comment about a group that you think is popular and why in the conversation thread to this posting.
Thanks and see you in class.

Kyu

Business insights-Corporate hypocrisy

In many aspects, Corporate Social Responsibility – CSR – activities have become an integral part of marketing. Examples abound: Body Shop is synonymous with eco-friendliness and appreciated as a “good” brand because it frowns on animal testing; Starbucks enjoys its liberal image via its social-contribution projects benefiting local communities, culture, the arts, and the environment. The list goes on and on, showing that corporate social contribution is widespread.

On the other hand, fundamental questions ride alongside: What side effects are there or will there be? Will these social contribution activities help raise brand value? Will consumers accept the social contribution of a “bad company”? If an oil giant causes an environmental disaster by oil spill then later trumpets its environmental protection campaigns as social contribution, how would communities and customers respond?

This study measures changes in customers’ perceptions of social contribution activities according to firms’ various situations.

First, based on existing research, I assumed that three factors – i) the corporation’s reputation, ii) the extent of the crisis to be solved, and iii) the corporation’s preemptive efforts for the social contribution – affect communities’ and customers’ perceptions of hypocrisy. Then, that in mind, I examined the influence of each of those three factors via experiment manipulation.

The experiments indicate that consumers tend to perceive the corporate social contribution to be more hypocritical, that is, as an unfaithful-money act, reducing its corporate reputation and increasing the perception of how big a crisis the company is in. More: that hypocrisy perception is found to affect (of course most negatively) communities’ and customers’ attitude’ towards the corporation.

Such results carry a distinct message: corporations should see crystal-clearly that social contribution activities themselves are no guarantee – let me emphasize that: are absolutely zero offset – against a rapid 180-degree reversal in corporate image. In fact, the hypocrisy perception immediately brings into play the possibility (maybe the probability) of a negative   image of the corporation. In crisis mode, consumers do not judge corporate morality by a yardstick of corporate social contribution. They judge it by the circumstances of the crisis and by their perception of the company’s intention. Please note the sophistication here, (which, alas, corporations too often do not realize consumers possess): although, say two corporations each have achieved closely-similar results from their social contribution activities, consumers’ perceptions can and will show a world of difference based on the reputation, conduct and responses of those two corporations.

Such study results are interesting in that they imply we judge corporate behaviors and individual human behaviors by similar moral standards. From the ethical viewpoint we judge behavior based on two criteria, one of which is the act’s outcome. According to utilitarian ethics, this is an attitude that recognizes and praises the action as having developed society if its outcomes are positive regardless of its intention. The other criterion is a categorical ethic that Kant claimed, according to which we should look beyond outcomes, to intention. If an act’s intention is to covet one’s own benefits, it cannot be said to be a genuinely good deed; rather it is condemnable for its greed-based hypocrisy.

As ‘good company’ marketing is recently fashionable, these findings imply what corporations should have in the forefronts of their collective in-house minds when developing their social contribution activities. First: understand the ethical tendency/ies of target consumers. In formal terms: Know Thy Target. Second: when corporate reputation dips below stellar; or the corporate situation is near crisis mode or already has entered it, social contribution activities’ intentions easily can be suspected irrespective of their real motive. To extend those formal terms: Know Thy Target. And Tread Warily.

Warily? Well, yes, and in many ways. For instance, try a sensitive and quiet promotion rather than massive and trumpeted. Identify possible side effects and work to minimize them. Think compensation and think genuine when thinking social contribution. Also do the necessary homework, by bringing to the table some (three or four is a good number) thorough case-studies of reasonably-recent previous corporate-caused major disasters and how responses to those backfired and worsened matters and/or were mitigated and earned respect. Hint: don’t simply read those case-studies. Instead, bring the actual case-studier and writer to the table, the actual-, in-depth-, real-, genuine specialist.

http://mba.mk.co.kr/view.php?sc=51000004&cm=20170421&year=2017&no=270369&selFlag=&relatedcode=

Australia Stakeholder Management Specialist, Penny Townley visit to COMM346

“Social media is a valuable tool not only to identify issues and key stakeholders on a project but also to enhance public participation thereby create positive and solid relationship with them”, said Penny Townley of Penny Townley’s Environment Services.

Ms Townley, COMM346’s honored Guest Speaker (29-30 Sept 2016), flew from Brisbane, Australia to lecture on “Australian infrastructure and social media.”

Throughout her extremely valuable lecture, Ms. Townley shared her more than three decades of experience in the field as an executive leader in communication.  Amongst other aspects she outlined major frameworks for stakeholder engagement models applicable to various projects including the International Association for Public Participation Spectrum. She explained and discussed how social media development has facilitated two-way engagement with key stakeholders. And – along with key guiding principles and frameworks – she elaborated on the role of social media in not only engaging the public, but also reflecting their voice, in the many infrastructure projects occurring such as Australia’s Sydney Metro, Northwest Rail Link and Barangaroo.

Ms Townley focuses on the key value of social media, especially in building understanding about the value of the project, as a listening post and educative communication tool, and in tackling the severity of crisis via social media trending during the disaster.

Of high interest during her extended lecture, Ms. Townley enlightened COMM346 about how digital media tools have contributed to online public or civic engagement needs. An example was the online consultation solution EngagementHQ, dedicated to helping government and private sector organizations to provide meaningful voice to their citizens. In 2015 alone, Bang the Table’s software EngagementHQ was used in 2000+ online citizen participation projects in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PPaq3e7m2U)

Ms Townley also introduced AtHoc, a secure enterprise platform for crisis communication within and across organizations for personnel safety and business resilience. (http://www.athoc.com/)

Capture.PNG

Ms. Townley’s work spans infrastructure, environment, planning, education, health, social and professional services, etc. She contributes to the industry’s professional standards and is one of six authors of Valuing Better Engagement, the Consult Australia guide to tendering for engagement services (published December 2013). COMM346 appreciates Penny Townley’s wonderful and generous guest lecture, and with it her sparkling enthusiasm for, and warmth towards young future professionals in academics!

How did Facebook beat Google Plus?

Gavin Bellson, CEO of Hooli, the Google-like fictional company in HBO’s hit show Silicon Valley, indulging in invigorating intellectual curiosity and a competitive mind, hasn’t a care about what it takes to buy whatever seems attractive and stock-it-on promising start-ups. Likewise, major turn-ons that motivate most Silicon Valley tech tycoons might not merely be ROI number-crunching like any merely mediocre traders. More exactly, their self-indulgent causes are humane commitment “To make the world a better place” and/or self-righteousness based on an “It-has-to-be-me” mindset.

hooli
Their playing with giga-investment decisions on cutting-edge, maybe even game-changing technologies, flying cars, free-internet-distribution balloons, drones and the like, might essentially be the same as that of the show’s Erlich Bachman, self-claiming he did something superspecial and creative with a hell of exorbitant silly parties that represents Hawaii in Alcatraz decorating with real dinosaur bones that cost a fortune for merely a short term rent. They’re all carefree egotripping with all the $$$-tsunami from scalable IPO and corporate shares given to founders and investors, enabling them to wallow in party time atop of insatiable demands for Brain entertainment.

Similarly, our perspective on Google’s recent blunder on Google Plus and its ignominious retreat in the war against Facebook … Actually, it began at the wrong end, clashing with Facebook simply in revengeful reaction to i) some of its skilled workforce defecting in that direction, and ii)  Facebook’s phenomenal growth, a la the slur of “short-lived college-town fever …” Remember? Google believed it had the upper-hand  and that it could leverage on what Facebook does not have, namely search, solid user-base, ultimately-better tech platform, a more-integrated mail-service platform, YouTube, maps, the list goes on … Google carried out the plan to prove its belief they actually perform better than Facebook. Yes, definitely technological determinism, Valley boys’ typical projection of the world around themselves.

But, as we all already know, for Google Plus it didn’t go as planned. Facebook responded vigorously and, to put it mildly, Facebook has a whole lot of vigour, (a whole lot of capital-C Clout). So, no surprise, it routed its contender (as I write this, Russia’s 1812 rout of Napoleon keeps coming to mind). This is a story of a win by the Facebook people despite their technological shortcomings compared to Google Plus. Thing is, the winning team has more Moxie.  That word says it all: They eagerly committed themselves, were determined to win, confident that sheer force of character can achieve the intended outcome.  In contrast, Googlers seemed more relaxed, perhaps intoxicated with their well-established empire, resting on their laurels (so to speak).

 

Does this view hold true? Does it take into account all factors behind Facebook’s success?

Recently with my husband I for the first time came to an interesting bar: it used drones to serve tables! He deliberately picked it to cover a story on that very topic. Then a surprise: I learned that the bar not only is well known, but also close to my school, literally small-ball-throw close. So it sank in that although I’ve been here two years I never had explored the neighborhood close to campus, never registered its coffee shops, restaurants, bars, museums, bookstores … in a word, its character! Nor had I felt genuine curiosity toward what this city has to offer. I wonder why. Imagine a similar lapse in, for example, Paris, Barcelona, Zurich … in the last two of which, actually, I have been (also in the last two years) and where I did explore. Probably here I simply haven’t been in the mood because this city is for me my workplace where my necessary focus is my career performance. Bottom line: One’s workplace city is hardly where one’s leisure time is given over to relaxing and chilling out. Nor does it necessarily intrigue one’s curiosity.

Invoking the example of my usual look-away from what surrounds my workplace might explain why people have little notion of what Google Plus is all about, or don’t even know it exists. Odd, this, considering that by a simple glance around, a single click on their existing Gmail account, they’d have a sense of it. No doubt Google Plus is a technically well-designed and efficient platform. And, across the board, the Google platform works well for us, especially when we pursue max efficiency in our online behaviors, whether work or leisure, and especially when we Google business websites to prepare a client meeting, check emails needing our utmost immediate attention and reply, share docs with co-workers, need doc-edit tools, navigate fastest travel paths, etc. That said, Google might not be the most convenient or emotionally feel-right option when we want to simply kick-back, chill with friends and colleagues, giggle at selfies, share comments, or just sneak-peep into celeb lives. Those are exactly what we do on Facebook. This might address some part of my previous question as to why people turn away from the feature-laden, fascinating, new, social network platform.

In looking closely at what Silicon Valley tech tycoons such as Google, Facebook, and MS are doing in pursuit of future long-term business, I claim it is exactly what Gavin Belson does in the show: his driving impetus is insatiable appetite for personal visions and daydreaming. To elaborate, he, Belson, doesn’t, and they, hi-tech giants, don’t, care about what customers want to do on their platform. More indulgent for them than their customers’ wants is technological utopianism dabbling in the anything-everything technically possible. Scents of narcissism and self-indulgence linger in the immediate air of Must-be-I-none-else. In such an ethos are embodied the take-no-prisoners, and the burnt-earth slashes of disrupting competitors by picking fights over issues, or brutal and ruthless buy-outs. Incited by Facebook’s unprecedented success  in social networking, Google launched Google Plus, and MS merged LinkedIn, rather than focusing on what they do really well and in which they have real expertise.

On top of that, the further conjecture that many Silicon Valley tech gurus phase out a good number of unrealized business projects and secret missions being propelled by quiet ambition.A major corporate entity, SamSung, for instance, based in the small-scale thus financially-infertile Korean market (i.e., in comparison to the US), has much at stake when it goes for a new business category. Example: invading the auto industry purely on the CEO’s personal whim and vision. In contrast, Silicon Valley is a flood of money, so once one maintains one’s foothold in the major sector of one’s business, one will be safe in poking around and angling at anything infatuating even beyond one’s core business domain.  Right?

Well, the problem caused at the users’ end is that their core identities, mostly, inhibit their expansion to other domains. When Google wants to act like Facebook, its very being Google tends to disrupt the plan. Likewise for Facebook … Example: Facebook, once endeavoring to go beyond mere photo-sharing and communication, put visionary effort into creating its own economic ecosystem …  But it didn’t work out.

When one wants to share selfies taken by Instagram and manage one’s social identity and relationships, Facebook is the go-to place. But it’s surely not the place where many would go for their commercial transactions with virtual currency like Bitcoin.

Absolutely no denigrations of tech people’s pure intellectual devotion and visionary efforts are intended here.  Nor I am saying all their money games turned out flops or deserved scorn. But the question remains: What did we learn and what should we learn from past incidents? Some other questions as well: What is the true meaning of innovation and vision, and in what ways does technology really help us better the world?. In many cases, clearly observing going somewhere we previously didn’t locate should not be enough to prove we are progressing. Instead, in many cases, those moves turned out to be nothing but self-obsession, a like-we-got-to-do-something-anyways moment.

Thus we move to another angle to answer my initial question; How come did Facebook end up beating Google, the Silicon Valley moguls’ big bro? Maybe we might say Facebook was into furthering its own zone to stay abreast of what it is, while Google tried to be what it isn’t. And the major or minor interface and service improvement Facebook achieved during the rock down period might be the consequence of what we could label truly-practiced innovation, i.e., getting to one’s core competency, enriching what already is inside one, gauging the scope and amount of what one’s box can contain practically.

So, to innovate and grow further, both practically and theoretically, surely our primary ethos should be to master the underlying mechanisms already in our box, rather than lurk at street corners, then sneak into others’ boxes?

Reference: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/06/how-mark-zuckerberg-led-facebooks-war-to-crush-google-plus

https://backchannel.com/who-are-the-real-life-models-of-silicon-valley-characters-we-have-them-3507bc890d9a

 

Customers who just want a cup of coffee are furious about Starbucks’ new rewards program

Here’s news about Starbuck’s new rewards program…

http://www.seventeen.com/life/food-recipes/news/a38320/starbucks-just-made-a-major-change-to-its-loyalty-program-andyou-wont-be-happy-about-it/

So, in relation to the sample research proposal from the previous students’ work that I shared with class a couple of days ago, unexpected events occur that can change the game IF competitors’ advisors or researchers or project whiz-kids are alert and can sense advantage.

As it happens last week, Starbucks has become embroiled in a massive row over a major change to its Rewards program (announced Feb 22-23), with many long-standing Starbucks clients now extremely unhappy about the change, and saying so very publicly on social media and directly to the print media. Many of the complaints include the promise/threat to break away from Starbucks and never return. Because CBTL probably could reap benefit from this or have some lesson to be learnt, right, this would be an additional consideration or factor in the project analysis and planning for Coffee Bean (vs. Starbucks).

I think this case might be relevant to “psychological reactance theory” which would tell “”grass was greener on the other side…”

The underlying logic is; once any policy change is announced people tend to strongly eager to hold on to what they’ve got or enjoyed so far rather than focusing on new benefits retained by the change. Hence, it is indicated that generous offers for the first round of social marketing to rapidly garner ppl’s attention or to raise awareness might backfire (or complainers’ voices are over-represented) at the end when you have to take it back.

What is your thoughts on this case? What could be done for Starbucks to relieve the reactance?

Facebook diffusion…disrupted local markets…

 

Thank you, Zhong, for your valuable opinion!

 

Although I have not been a fan of Friendster, in S. Korea we did have a story similar to Friendster: I Love school was a big hit in the late-1990s and early-2000s; then, in 2008, Cyworld reached fever-pitch (for a while more S. Koreans used Cyworld than Facebook);
Orkut also was similar (and by 2008 was a “most-visited” website in India and Brazil). Similarly, Friendster in 2008 had the highest number of visitors in Asia, and when it relaunched as a social-gaming site in 2011 it reported having 115-million+ users, but it suspended service in mid-2015 …

 

So we notice that 2008 was the tipping point for Facebook diffusion, which eventually disrupted all social media platforms which until then had been local-market leaders.

 

While I do not claim extensive expertise on Friendster, I do believe the reason behind “Facebook success vs. Friendster failure” rests mainly in cultural factors. As I mentioned in class, Facebook started as a US-college culture, then easily and quickly penetrated the general population … Many reasons for this, one being that it originated in that iconic homeland of the collective mind: Harvard! Other reasons are that Facebook has become the benchmark standard of a widely-used social media platform providing general users the combination of “easiness, simplicity, openness, and connectedness (or sense of being connected) to the global network.” Another directly-relevant indication that Facebook itself has become the “community norm based on the global standard” is that EACH and EVERY member of OUR class has his/her own Facebook account!
Yet, network effect (e.g., Chinese population) + government policy (that bans Western social media, and claims that otherwise the Internet would be simply another form of American hegemony) has been canceling Facebook diffusion in China, Russia, etc …

 

In sum, many concepts/theories we covered in class explain the Facebook dominance in local markets and why and how it deepens. Think, for instance: Network effect/ bandwagon effect; cultural imperialism (Western media/content tends to look superior to Eastern media/content, e.g., Hollywood); diffusion innovation; open API (Yes! Facebook leveraged on openness – many people easily could migrate to Facebook via their Gmail accounts…); ubiquitous mobile technology; etc … Since 2007/2008, all these factors widened Facebook’s user population into older/more general/more global sectors, right?

 

Any other thoughts or comments?

 

Here – via cyworld’s own logos – is an appropriate image-summary of the above theme:

cy1cy

 

 

Group 4’s pitch of social media campaign strategy to lululemon

lululemon

Dear All,

Here is good news I’d like to share about Group 4 and lululemon  athletica Singapore.

Group 4’s pitch of social media campaign strategy to lululemon was very well-received by the company, which is interested in taking up and implementing some of the group’s ideas into their new online & offline dynamics!

Group 4, as you know, is Sarah Widjaja, Geraldine Ong, Jun Kai, Fung Yun Shan, and Chin Wen Alyssa.

For the group, Sarah Widjaja presented to lululemon management a special idea pitch focusing on effective social media strategies for solving online challenges lululemon currently faces, such as low awareness and brand engagement. Further, Sarah projected super ideas on how to increase brand awareness, product versatility, and brand and style popularity amongst males, together with ideas on how to engage consumers in online conversations.  And in her modest and team-spirited way, Sarah made clear to lululemon and everyone that the presentation ideas are “a great validation of the work my group put into the project.”

It so happens that recently (during the past two years), lululemon has come to mind in several interesting and valuable interdisciplinary aspects globally (not only Singapore). One of these – generating extensive commentary on social media – was the infamous thigh-gap uproar: in a media interview, an at-that-time lululemon executive said that women without thigh gaps should not be wearing lululemon leggings; social media came alive with comments such as “the between-the-ears-gap is the real issue here, not the thigh-gap.” Another was related publicity of a scholarly-journal article with the smart title ‘Enclothed Cognition’ indicating that what one wears has a measurable effect on what one does, and implying it also affects how often and how thoroughly one does it, in other words, wearing particular types of gym clothing causes one to want to wear such clothes more often, go to the gym more frequently, and try harder when there (vide Adam, H. and Galinsky, A., Journal of Experimental Social Psychology Vol 48, No 4, July 2012, pp 918–925).

Many thanks, everyone. I wish you all enjoyable holidays. Please share any good news regarding landing jobs or internships, or exchange- and overseas-travel experiences and such. See you around campus next semester!

 

 

 

“Building Public Confidence”: Patrick Nathan from SMRT spoke on SMRT’s social media strategy, ROI measurement and incident management for COMM 346

Patrick Nathan is a Vice President of Singapore Mass Rapid Transit – SMRT, heading its Corporate Information and Communications Division (which includes Corporate Marketing and Communications, Passenger Service Department, and SMRT’s interestingly-named Information Fusion Centre). On October 22 he was Guest Lecturer in the social media ROI module in COMM 346 Social Media Strategies. He was accompanied by his SMRT Corporate Communication colleague Jean Pham Ai Ling.

lecturejean idea pitch jun kai
In his lecture, Vice President Nathan introduced SMRT’s social media use for developing an effective PR Strategy and building public confidence. More specifically, he discussed and explained how the collective new media platform (it includes Corp intranet, mobile apps, the SMRT blog and other social networking sites) streamline SMRT’s strategy to build and operate customer engagement, awareness, education, and incident management.

Regarding this year’s July 7 rail service disruption, which had extensive spillover impact on Singapore generally, V-P Nathan said that “for better community outreach” SMRT discussed “on broadcast platforms” various aspects about it and, importantly, about “taking responsibility, apologizing for the inconvenience, and explaining what went wrong, steps taken to rectify the fault and service recovery measures.” In these ways, he said, SMRT “did its best to demonstrate accountability, sincerity and transparency.” He also elaborated on how SMRT measures and evaluates the effectiveness of social media, mainly via two aspects: outreach and engagement.

In the workshop session which followed, V-P Nathan set each group an assignment which, in broad terms was to “Develop content ideas for an integrated PR strategy to address a persistent PR challenge for SMRT, and suggest an appropriate brand ambassador for SMRT.”

Group 2’s resultant pitch with its eye-catching catchphrase of The Right Ride – conveying the idea of an excellent customer experience for commuters and users of SMRT services – was evaluated highly by V-P Nathan and Jean Pham Ai Ling, and won the idea-pitch competition.

The win for the group (Tang Jingfang, Tan Wan Ling Elizabeth, Lim Jin Yang Mark, Juliane Benedict, Jeannie Teo Jin Min) means that it has achieved an impressive hat trick: three idea-pitch wins in a row – MBS, Uber, and SMRT. Group 2’s Jeannie Teo Jin Min said they had

“… focused on the prominently-persistent PR challenge of facing extreme public discontent over train breakdowns, delays and other service issues. And we want to amplify the unsung heroes: the service and technical staff of SMRT who tirelessly work long hours to provide a wholesome experience for commuters. This would be shown through a video where scenes of a day in a SMRT staff-member’s work are contrasted with those of a regular commuter – a student, housewife, businessman etc.”

V-P Nathan’s reaction and comment was one of high satisfaction with all the idea pitches:

“Honestly I cannot fault any group’s idea; the difficulty always comes with implementing the strategy. But if I must select only one idea, The Right Ride pitch was particularly impressive as it successfully captures the very essence of SMRT service with a couple of words and that sounds very modest and tries to be aspirational at the same time. I really would love to use this idea for our campaign implementation for real. That is what we want to provide to all Singaporeans.”

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

Group 2 has achieved an impressive hat trick: three idea-pitch wins in a row - MBS, Uber, and SMRT.
Group 2 has achieved an impressive hat trick: three idea-pitch wins in a row – MBS, Uber, and SMRT.

COMM 346 very sincerely appreciates SMRT for its informative and educational presentation and workshop activity for the class. We in COMM 346 hope to continue this industrial-educational conversation for future modules.

Faculty additional note: Patrick Nathan also brought into our COMM 346 Guest Lecture session the clear benefit and prestige of his substantial academic credentials, and his impressive Public Service track record. He has a Bachelor of Social Science (Honours) in Political Science (National University of Singapore) and a Master of Science in Strategic Studies (Nanyang Technological University). He served on Singapore’s National Security Secretariat 2002-2004, then was seconded to the National Security Coordination Centre, Prime Minister’s Office, as its Deputy Director, until 2011 when he joined SMRT.

Guest Speech: Success of Uber rides with effective government relations

APCO’s Steve Liew – in his continuing policy and strategy advice to UBER’s operations in Singapore– speaks at COMM 346.

Students compete with fresh ideas to get Uber stories across to counterpoint increasing pressures from the Singapore taxi industry

SL mark.lim  white boardclass

APCO Worldwide1 Executive Director Steven Liew spoke on Uber’s strategic message plan to deal effectively with government relations, and to protect the legitimacy of its (i.e., Uber’s) business, against hostility.

Mr. Liew discussed the conflict between Uber, on one hand, and the Singapore taxi industry, on the other. Basically, each Singapore taxi driver is required to have a vocational licence, whereas Uber drivers do not need such a vocational licence.  Taxi drivers say that while competition itself is fine, it is unfair that their main competitors, namely Uber drivers, are not required to have the same vocational licence. Obtaining the vocational licence requires proving knowledge of road safety and related issues, and if taxi drivers must do so, Uber drivers also must.

During campaigning for the recent general elections, the taxi industry voiced its complaints, especially to Khaw Boon Wan, now Singapore’s Transport Minister and Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure. Minister Khaw has said that the taxi industry has a point, and that the Ministry was re-examining the situation. Simultaneously, though, he also has said that some people do prefer using Uber, and that authorities always should be “fair to players, whether incumbent or insurgents, and must strike a balanced approach.”

Mr. Liew  also spoke similarly. He said that as a lot of Uber drivers are really only driving part-time, if they are required to have a vocational licence, many of them “… will drop out of driving completely. On the other hand, if MOT (Ministry of Transport)/LTA (Land Transport Authority) does nothing, taxi drivers will feel their interests are not protected by the Government. And there are 100K taxi vocational license holders out there, of whom something like 30K – 60K drive taxis regularly. MOT/LTA cannot ignore this pressure group.”

Mr. Liew then proposed to COMM 346 students a challenging assignment: What good way can this matter be handled?

In response to Mr. Liew’s stimulating challenge, students competed with fresh ideas highlighting various aspects of Uber, one of which is that Uber creates jobs for breadwinners, and that they provide efficient and convenient rides for all Singaporeans. Each group pitched diverse ideas, encouraging as many people as possible to share their experience with Uber, and portraying Uber as a life-changing platform for fast revenue generation etc.

Cherie Lim Ying, Group 5, proposed to Mr. Liew that the difference in road safety and road knowledge between taxi drivers and Uber drivers could be bridged by online job training for Uber drivers (who would have to go through related courses and assessments). This would increase Uber-driver eligibility to be on the same level of skills and knowledge as the taxi drivers.

Group 2 (Tang Jingfang, Tan Wan Ling Elizabeth, Lim Jin Yang Mark, Juliane Benedict, Jeannie Teo Jin Min) was the winning team, due mainly to their enthusiastic and experience-based presentations about communal and practical values Uber can bring to Singaporeans. Group 2’s Mark Lim said “Our message highlights how Uber can change commuters’ lives. We think that the humanizing approach would be well received by most Singaporeans. People often come across troubling situations to get a ride, particularly when all taxis are on call or changing shifts … From my own experience, on the verge of being late for class, Uber was my hero and came to my rescue. Collecting this kind of commuters’ anecdotal pieces, we can plan on starting a hashtag campaign such as #SuperUber on Instagram.”

Mr. Liew commented that all the groups’ efforts are commendable. He gave special mention to Group 2’s work, pointing out that they had “… shown the importance of prior research and experience with customers’ service you are going to pitch ideas for, to make your ideas more appealing and convincing in a practical sense.”

With its workshop ideas pitch, Group 2 is prize-winner (second time consecutively)!

Mr. Liew’s excellent lecture presentation was about the history of disruptive technology, opportunities and challenges in a sharing economy industry like Uber. He also gave a rich description of how Uber embarked on working with regulators, managing pressing issues, in addition to the role of social media in creating awareness and engaging stakeholders.

1 APCO Worldwide is a global public affairs and strategic communications consultancy.