Zero Moment of Truth

  In Week 7, we watched and discussed McDonald’s Canada’s “Our Food Your Questions” program. Prof @qkyujinshim taught us about how messages should be self-serving, transparent radically and be real-time relevant. This reminded me of a similar campaign done by McDonald’s Singapore through brand journalism in making their fast food hipster/restaurant worthy.

This video taps on the zero moment of truth as many viewers have already eaten McDonald’s multiple times and the imaginative possibility of constructing their own or following the ‘hacks’ would impact their decision making process when they are choosing between fast food or are looking for an enjoyable experience.

Here’s a similar campaign to the one by McDonald’s Canada, done in Singapore:

IKEA: Traditional Ad. vs. Online Content

In class, we watched an IKEA ad to show the differences between traditional media and digital media. I felt that it was interesting and inspiring for IKEA to make their “makeover ideas” video with elements of traditional media seen in how it builds the brand image.

IKEA subtly communicates that it is a progressive company through treating the gay and african-american couple as any other family unit and couple. This will be received well by customers who are sensitive to such social issues and build more brand affinity as they will see IKEA as a representative of their beliefs and values. 

Brand Journalism – yay or nay?

I came across this online article which is relevant to our class discussion on 14 March.

… we have no interest in working with content creators. Journalism is a calling and people are putting trust in you to study something and make a judgement. But if it’s someone who is getting money from a company to write five articles saying how awesome something is. Will anyone read that? No of course not. 

I think that brand journalism will continue to be a communications strategy in the near future. The rise of fake news and proliferation of sites such as States Times Review show that more often than not, people do not question the credibility and reliability of the author. In Singapore, even when branded content on popular sites such as Seth Lui and The Smart Local include a disclaimer at the end of the article that it is a partnership / transaction with the featured client, online users continue to share the article as the uniqueness of the overall story matters more than whether it is exaggerated than what it actually is.


A marketing guru crossing from analogue and digital helped enlighten our class.

Mr. Chee Yue, the director of XYZ Wave Private Limited, shared in-depth industry insights with COMM 346.
Mr. Chee Yue is the trusted partner of agencies, brands and MNCs in Asia, charting and navigating the digital transformation of their business, marketing and customer engagement since 2000 with the last five years focusing on technological innovation and the adoption of emerging technologies.
He shared how marketing and PR has transformed messages and formats in the digital era, with the focus on interactivity and value propositions of the brand, based on his more than 20 years of experience as a marketing expert.
Thank you, Mr. Chee Yue!

Synthesio workshop at COMM346

Steven Zheng, the Regional Account Manager of Synthesio, APAC, along with his colleagues, Henry Chow and Kimly Anaissa, spoke about social listening (13, 14 September).  The workshop session was very informative and enlightening for the students as the presenters walked through all the demos and helped students get practical strategies for effective social media listening for their group project.


Everyone had fun and gained a better understanding of this global-scale social media tool.

Synthesio kindly offers two weeks of access to the account for each and every group in COMM 346.

If students want an extension of the access, they can ask Prof. Kyu for extra account for their own research.

Thank you so much Synthesio! And we hope this collaboration will continue for the mutual benefit of both academics and industries through sharing insights and knowledge in this digital world.

PS. Please share your feedback or queries regarding building dashboard etc., if any, via the comment thread attached to this posting. Thanks!

#DeleteUber, Why?

A former Uber employee’s disturbing claims of workplace sexism reignite calls to #deleteUber

One of our group projects looks at UBER as their choice of organization. So this news regarding their gender discrimination issue grabs my attention.

This issue came as moral issues regarding UBER, and its impact is getting increasingly bigger. And the criticism  seems to spread like a wildfire.
Uber is IT technology that looks smart and innovative. This kind of image and human values are are heavily related to “silicon valley liberal mainstream,” yet this sexism issue appears to clearly hurt their image and ignite a massive boycott,  which has disrupted their business.

Uber is not the only IT tech company who has faced this kind of criticism and boycotting. In its early days, Google also faced a similar sexism issue with the revelation of an internal document by an anonymous staff member .

A Google employee inflames a debate about sexism and free speech

How do you think this ethical consumerism, especially regarding gender sensitivity, could be managed on social media and through effective engagement with the public?

What kind of follow-up messages should be heard by the consumers?

What makes this kind of issue one of moral inequity and social injustice beyond mere gender politics?

Hope to see your thoughts and comments! Any thoughts would be welcomed.



Please introduce yourself to your classmates! Show the real you!

Hi Guys,

I am impressed by the effort you put into our opening essay overall.

I could read your hearts and minds, and your passion about this course.

I just want to share some thoughts for your better engagement with readers, for instance, you might have to write this kind of essay to demonstrate your interests to concerned parties in a real-life business or academic project.

I have seen a lot of overlap in your essays—that is some boilerplate quotes and conventional stances regarding social media.

These are some examples below,

  • Social media can empower us in many ways…
  • I will like to be able to gain more in-depth knowledge on social media to help individuals and organizations to achieve their goals….
  • We need to embrace social media revolution….

Other than just stating about the change in the WORLD, please say something more on yourself and go straight to the points as your reader/audience would be able to pay only limited time to read your content as they’re bound to have been bombarded with content.



Another issue I saw in a lot of essays across the board is that your personal connection to or investment in the issue was not explained.

For example, many students seemed to pick F&B as their choice of organization as this business category appears to be most affected by the social media engagement and digital marketing.

But F&B is a hard sell, and you need to invest more time and effort as to questions—why F&B? and in what ways do you think you are relevant to this issue and capable of the problem solving, if any? Other than just stating a dry fact that F&B need social media, please expand on why YOU are interested in and why it is important to YOU.


Be personal and unique! Just be yourself and be real. In that way you will be the most creative and interesting person you can be.


One way to show more of your personal investment and unique critical thinking is to raise questions about things you find confusing or troubling regarding the issue.

Or you can state your personal history and experiences where you’ve realized the importance or value of your social media.

Or you could simply confess that you don’t fully understand or agree with a general consensus, such as “social media is increasingly important in our lives!”

If you want to confront conventional beliefs, you’ll have to think through your reasoning to convince yourself and others, right? That can be a great way to show personal engagement with the issue and find concerns worth exploring.

This courses might provide you some insights and rationale why or why NOT social media is important or might NOT be that effective way to your business and personal goals thus things should be turned around.

To me, social media is an effective communication tool to understand the “change” in society, “changes” in the way people think and behave. I have seen social media empower us as it provides a personal broadcasting channel, so people now tend to think in a more “self-centric” way than ever.

Also as we are more connected. We are responding to social issues more timely manner. However, issues can be volatile, and thus it is very hard to create sustainable relationship with one another.

So I continue to update this course with more diverse real-life cases, and more in-class activities and assignments will be given to create engagement and connect your personal interests with the class content. The readings are more of a classic framework or baseline, as fundamental and critical questions remained unsolved, but my in-class lecture materials are updated with more diverse and current real-life issues and cases.

Also, I updated my lecture slides with more text than previous ones to help your easy understanding about the content. Yet, visual aids also will be provided to draw quick attentions and intuitions to the content. And this approach is aligned with how infographics serve these days.


Infographics make complex information eye catching, shareable and easily digestible.


My aim for this class is to help students to be more STRATEGIC on social media, to be both “fascinating content makers” as well as “strategic relationship managers” simultaneously.

I believe we could be and should be both attractive and wise with our social media strategies… and we can learn through examining a diverse range of previous cases and principles and frameworks.

What were the initial questions that opened social media era, what were the issues and concerns society had to face with the advent of social media, and what are still ongoing and unsolved issues?

Please introduce yourself with regards to your “interest” and personal “history” regarding this class’ main topics encompassing MNC’s global marketing, political comm, crisis comm. and small and medium-sized enterprises and so forth.

There is no right or wrong way to express yourself on social media, but we all know there always attractive things and boring things in the eyes of social media audience. Similarly, keep your audience in mind as you introduce yourself.

Don’t waste your space and words just to portray really obvious and general things about social media. Don’t be too unnecessarily lengthy. Keep it simple and to the points in accordance to your audiences’ attention span.

Do be genuine and sincere, which will help your audience connect with you.



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.


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.