The surprising reason why CEOs should be social media savvy

In the past semester, we learnt how to devise and craft social media strategies for firms by looking at both internal factors such as the firm’s manpower, networks and advertising competency, and external factors such as consumer purchase behaviours and crisis management, with a focus on the firm’s employees and their actions.

However, a commentary titled “The surprising reason why CEOs should be social media savvy” offered a different perspective on social media strategy by focusing on the CEO and how their social media presence affects their firms. Neal (2017) stated that CEOs who were active on social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter are better at cultivating networks, make better decisions and are in general, more influential and “in the future, social media savvy may no longer be something that’s “nice-to-have” for prospective CEOs. Instead, it could be a powerful selection criterion that helps companies to identify CEOs who are well-prepared to lead” (Neal, 2017). That being said, we must also consider social media in the Asian content in determining whether such a move is viable for CEOs in Asia as users in Korea and China are more inclined to the role of producers and sharers while users in Japan and Singapore value anonymity and tend to be commenters and watchers.

In addition, Neal (2017) raised an example on how Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky crowdsourced for suggestions on Twitter on Christmas Day in 2016 and this is in line with a few of the concepts we discussed in class. The first being the Magnet strategy where the firm establishes a two-way communication by involving the customers and making them a part of the business and the second being the IMC strategy where this is similar to the Blendtec case study in the sense that the audience is also able to talk back and the CEO is used as a mechanism to build relationships.

All in all, it was not only interesting to see the importance of social media in a firm’s performance and how the impact starts from within, but also nice to be able to apply the frameworks learnt in class to analyse such issues.

Neal, S. (2017, April 13). Op-Ed: The surprising reason why CEOs should be social media savvy. Retrieved April 15, 2017, from

Anonymity: More Good or Bad?

Hi class, I was very intrigued when Professor shared more about online anonymity and wanted to know more about other’s thoughts on it. However, as there was limited time, I have decided to source for everyone’s opinions through the class blog.

In my opinion, criminals that use it to do harm are not as anonymous as they think, as IP addresses can be traced and most of them are eventually caught. As such, I am of the opinion that it is more good than bad.

Moreover, anonymity is needed to protect the whistleblower’s identity, whose safety can be severely threatened. Many state of things would not be what it is today, if not for anonymity.

However, anonymity brings about a whole new set of challenges for businesses. Unethical competitors are now able to leave negative review/comments. The affected company will then need to spend extra costs and efforts finding out who or whom is the mastermind behind the negative reviews and find ways to expose the truth and remove the unfair review/comments.

Many businesses in today’s world are still not social media savvy enough to handle such crises. As mentioned by Professor Kyu, many Singapore businesses do not believe in using Social Media Engagement. However, what is surprising is that Singapore is the home to one of the most active social media consumers in the world (as shown below). Hence, despite what Singapore business owners might believe in, they are missing out on a great way to leverage their businesses over their competitors.



What are your opinions? Please share them with me in the comments below!




Social Media Chatbots: The Future of Communication

A few weeks back, I mentioned this phenomenon on Chatbots and how it enables brands to connect to consumers through messenging apps (such as Facebook Messenger) instead of social media, and how it is an essential part of reshaping the social economy. After skimming through the internet, I have found the following points to be quite eye opening!

It totally slipped my mind to share it on this site, but better late than never!

What are Chatbots?

In all its essence, it is a piece of software that you chat with to get things done or be entertained. Just think of it as a replacement for all of the apps you have downloaded. For example, you can ask a bot about the weather and temperature instead of going into a weather app itself.

Eventually, chatbots could become your own personal assistant to take care of everything, whether you are getting an Uber or shopping for clothes. Messenging platforms such as Facebook Messenger can even let individual chatbots talk to you about things that are important, such as your flight details (I will elaborate and give an example later in the journal).

All chatbot softwares do not only use robots, as some even of them use humans to help them answer tricky questions. In social media marketing, although chatbots have evolved, their prime functionality remains the same, and that is to improve real-time engagement. Customers are always searching for prompt and ready replies to their comments and queries. The chatbots are designed in such a manner that they are able to answer most of the queries placed by customers, without human intervention. And this helps in bonding a strong relationship with a brand’s customers and potential crowds, without paying for high overheads on staff.

Siri is an example of a bot that’s built into the operating system of the device. Instead of texting, Siri responds only to voice. But, it’s still considered a “chatbot” because it’s conversational. Siri isn’t the smartest of bots because she doesn’t remember much, but with the increasing popularity of chatbots, Apple might be looking to upgrade her soon.

How do they work?

Facebook believe that chatbots can make life easier for their 1.5 billion users and some brands have jumped on board early to test out FB Messenger bots as a way of interacting with customers. For example, KLM is now giving passengers the option to receive flight updates, and boarding passes through FB Messenger.

Once a user has booked a flight, KLM will open up a message thread and send booking confirmations, flight updates, and their boarding pass. Passengers will also be able to chat with KLM customer support directly inside of FB Messenger. This is how it looks like:

Chatbots reduce friction in a customer’s journey and make customer service interactions easier for customers and brands. This could mean that instead of customers turning to public-facing channels like Facebook, or even email, the vast majority of customer support and interaction could come through messaging platforms where users will expect to have everything they need (account information, receipts, order history,) all in one place.

Another theoretically concept of how it could actually look like:

Why Chatbots? Future possibilities:


People are using messenger apps more than they are using social networks. The transition from public social media to chat apps could be the biggest change in internet culture and marketing since social media itself. However, it’s still not clear exactly how brands will be able to maximize the opportunities presented by messaging apps.

While there is no doubt this chatbot-driven social media system is the future, there is still need for improvements before the bots officially take over.

Although chatbots are moving in, and likely to become mainstream within three to five years, humans should still have a place in social media. However, as bots become equipped to handle text content, the human side of brands and consumers will gravitate toward new, richer ways to engage, including virtual and augmented reality.

Some articles you can read if you are interested:

G2 – What Flavour Do You Favour?


Hi guys! Thought I would share one of my favourite campaigns by Cadbury that used social media in a fun and creative way to raise awareness for its Dairy Milk brain in Australia.

Challenge Cadbury was facing: Chocolate industry was getting increasingly saturated and Cadbury was not doing enough to sell its Dairy Milk brand, which was hence becoming boring to consumers.

Consumer Insight: Everyone has a favourite chocolate flavour but they still like trying new flavours.

Big Idea: Create a buzz around people’s favourite flavours and raise awareness of the variety of flavours offered by Cadbury in the process.

Social Media Strategy 

What? Flavour-Matching Facebook-Powered Vending Machine

How? Vending machine’ scans users Facebook profiles and analyses their preferences based on ‘likes’ (e.g. movie; tv shows; singers etc). Based on this analysis, the machine will choose a chocolate flavour that matches your personality.

End Result? A short description on your personality and of course, a free bar of chocolate that Cadbury believes matches your personality.

Screen Shot 2016-10-04 at 4.40.27 pm.png

Why did this work? 

  • Used Facebook in an engaging and creative manner
  • Generate excitement amongst consumers
  • Integration of various mediums (e.g. TV adverts; print posters; sales promotions; Facebook engagement posts etc)


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.

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?



No such thing as bad press?

We discussed topics such as network effects, diffusion of innovation and the evolving trend of corporate landscape through social media in Week 3’s session. I was particularly interested on the case about online activism to boycott A&F due to its CEO’s discriminatory press release. While there is nothing wrong about segmenting and targeting the consumer market to differentiate from the competitors, it is the way that these messages are executed and delivered that matters the most.

The CEO was apparently oblivious about the power of word-of-mouth in today’s connected world. Negative sentiments can spread like wildfire and create a dent in a company’s reputation if not contained.

However there is another approach to publicity that is “all press is good press!”. This is especially evident in Donald Trump’s campaign for the Presidency. In fact, it is the way he conducted his entire career; often being in the spotlight for expressing controversial opinions.

Prof Q brought up a good point that this approach will work depending on the context, and brought up Burger King’s campaign to reward facebook users a free whopper if they deleted 10 friends from their friends list. The entire campaign hinges on the insight that we sometimes have too many redundant “friendships” on social media. This may or may not work well depending on the context of culture.

In a place like Asia where “giving face” or “not losing face” are part of our social attitude, deleting a friend (and having it being announced) would be considered rude. Little people would court controversy for themselves like this, rendering this campaign a failure.

I think that other than context, what is most important for companies to craft compelling messages is their ability to align the messages to their audiences beliefs and attitudes. It is often not about the content/intent of the message, but the way it is delivered and to whom it is delivered to, that is the most crucial in building brand reputation/affinity.

Interesting read on Donald Trump’s campaign strategy:



PETA Opened a High-end Leather Store but…


I came across an article through social media and felt the need to share it for a good cause. It’s pretty impressive for PETA to come up with such genuine and viral content that is definitely relatable to their crucial stakeholders. The video produced had about 1.4 million views in the last 2 weeks. Do take a look if you have not done so.


Zalora (G2 Individual Project)



Maybe some of you may have heard of Zalora, or even are loyal customers to them. Zalora is an online fashion retailer in Asia-Pacific region, including Singapore. Basically, we are able to shop and purchase fashion items from Zalora online and have them delivered to us. Zalora has seen a rapid growth, as much as 70% increase in their sales revenue in one year! BUT, unfortunately the company suffered EUR 80 million in the same year as well. Why is this so? Because, as much as the sales revenue increased, it did not match up the sales forecast of the company. Hence, the company is “growing” faster (in terms of spending money to expand itself) than it can generate profits. Part of the reason of the slow growth can be attributed from the fact that there is a lack of brand awareness here in Singapore! (as mentioned by Zalora themself in their annual reports)

Hence, this brings me to my research question:

How can Zalora effectively use social media to increase brand awareness in Singapore?


Analysis of social media

So for my paper, I’ve identified Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to do my analysis on.


Zalora have quite a large number of followers on Facebook, with 171,000 likes on their Singapore page. Having such a large number will allow Zalora to potentially engage the large consumer base with the brand. However, the interaction on Facebook is VERY low. They have over 170 thousand followers, but on average, their posts have less than 10 likes and comments. (legit, go check out their page)


Their Instagram have about 26,100 followers and over 2,600 posts. The level engagement on Instagram is slightly better. This could be because, unlike Facebook, they actually post curated content on Instagram. This would better enable their audience to relate to the content. On Instagram, they reached out to influencers such as Joakim Gomez, 987FM DJ and producer, and several few smaller fashion bloggers. This is good because the influencers’ reach is actually larger than Zalora’s. (for eg. the same picture posted by Zalora and Gomez, but Gomez picture have over 3x more than Zalora) However again, engagement level is still low on Instagram. On average, every post have only about 0 to 3 comments.


Zalora’s Twitter have about 6,800 followers and over 16 thousand tweets.

Out of the 16,000 tweets, about…. 95% is replies to their customers. And majority of these replies are pretty much customer services. Customers post a question (more often a complain) on Twitter and tag @Zalorasingapore, and Zalora very actively replies to these tweets promptly! This is good because a lot of customers actually receive prompt assistance via Twitter. However, that’s all about what their Twitter is doing. Mainly, it is just a customer service platform. Out of the 6 weeks of analysis, they only posted 10 non-replies tweet, thats on average 1 to 2 tweet a day. That definitely will not engage its audience at all.

But Twitter have a lot of potential to increase brand awareness for Zalora. Generated from Synthesio, Twitter is the social media platform with the most social media activity of Zalora. But why then is their follower count so low? Further analysis revealed that most of the Zalora mentions on Twitter, are by users who are NOT following Zalora currently.


Out of all 3 platforms, it seems that Twitter is currently the platform that is weakest in social media marketing, and hence holds the highest potential. I will also recommend minor strategy for Facebook and Instagram as well.


A two pronged approach is taken here.

Short aim: Increase number of followers on Twitter account

Long aim: Increases brand awareness and engagement among its customer

In the short run, Twitter should use influencers to quickly and greatly increase its account awareness. So for example, they can get Gomez to also start promoting for them on Twitter. Also, Zalora should make use of Twitter’s promoted post service and get their account known to those active Twitter users who are talking about Zalora, but are not following them.

In the long run, I recommend Zalora to transform their Twitter from a “customer service platform” into a “fashion platform”. The main issue on Twitter is the lack of new content. By introducing #ZaloraInspire, Zalora can post about 8 pictures daily, and these pictures will feature people wearing Zalora’s apparels. This fashion platform will be a platform where their audience and customers will be able to engage themselves by viewing the pictures for inspiration on what new outfit to wear or buy.



Their Facebook have a large number of followers, and I think Zalora should take advantage of it. In the analysis, it was observed that ‘give away’ posts seen a significant increase in their user engagement (everyone want the free stuff, haha). Hence, I recommend Facebook to have a ‘share cap’ for their give-away post. For example, before Zalora issue out a $20 e-voucher to everyone, the particular post have to be shared a total of 5,000 times. As more users share the post on their Facebook wall, Zalora will be able to tap on each individual’s network and increase its brand awareness.



We established that people like free stuff, so similarly in Instagram, I recommend Zalora to kick start with their ZaloraAwards initiative. This ZaloraAwards is an on-going competition where users send in their picture with them wearing Zalora’s apparels. Zalora then will determine a winner, and post their picture on their social media accounts. Winners not only get a monetary incentive, but also recognition. UGC posted by Zalora will also gain the trust and engagement of the users.

So these are my three recommendations for Zalora! They are pretty much summarised in this post, so some details may be left out. Please feel free to give me your opinions regarding them, or ask any questions!


Thank you for reading!!

Jeremy Pek Qing Wei (G2)

Grab: Facebook, Twitter & Instagram


Grab is a mobile app that links transport options to passengers and these transport options range from regular taxis, private cars to larger vehicles with bigger seating capacity. It is present in many Southeast Asian countires and developed from a simple taxi booking app in Malaysia to a regional mainstay. In 2014, Grab launched its app in Singapore. Its very form as an app makes it necessary for the company to be savvy, especially on social media. This has to do with the demographic of people who are technologically savvy enough to employ the use of this app. Grab’s main competitor is Uber, an American company with an app that essentially has the same function and purpose. Grab has developed in a similar manner as Uber but its localisation has allowed it to take a significant chunk of the market share from Uber.

Research Question

How has Grab capitalised  on their competitive edge as a more relatable brand with a localised presence in relation to their nearest competitor, Uber via their online presence?

Social Media Presence & Analysis

Grab has a rather uniform presence in terms of content across all 3 platforms. While their content on Facebook is not entirely uninteresting, ambient noise from complaints and random enquiries dilute the message impact. On Instagram and Twitter, the content is identical, just tailored to different platforms. The engagement is largely confined to complaints and queries. Often, pertinent questions go unanswered and this goes to show a lack of training and perhaps even protocol in dealing with social media.



Objective 1: Create an online brand community through sustained engagement and interaction.

Objective 2: Create organic brand ambassadors through humanising brand identity.

Proposed Strategies

  1. Feedback Channel

To address the flooding of posts with comments on bad experiences or enquiries, Grab should dedicate an in-app system of automating FAQ answers and providing feedback. Most importantly, the time-sensitivity of certain issues may necessitate speaking to a representative of the company. This can be in the form of an in-app live chat or hotline. This then frees up space on their Facebook wall and does not threaten to derail any messages that Grab is attempting to convey to its consumers.

  1. Diversification of Online Content

In partnership with celebrity food bloggers, Grab can come up with a campaign that engages users to share their favourite food haunts and perhaps even use the app algorithm to schedule Grab ride-sharing for those who would like to try the food that users have recommended. This adds an additional dimension of personality to the brand and contributes towards the creation of a brand community crowded around a common interest.

  1. Building on Existing Strategy

Currently, Grab has embarked on a #herestoourdrivers campaign whereby they feature Grab partners and their unique quirks in the car the operate out of. What is great about this strategy is that it gives a personal and human touch to the brand. What is problematic, however, is that some of the recent features do not have faces to them. It is important that the drivers they feature are humanised rather than just textual description. Next, the voting competition on their Facebook page that started on 13 Apr 2016 is a short term and myopic strategy to encourage interaction with the brand. Beyond this competition, there is no value-add to the relationship between consumer and brand. Instead, they should focus on making consumers organic brand ambassadors through using their partners’ service to win over consumers. This can be done through an extensive employee training programme where every one from drivers to front and back office staff go through a service standard training so that the level of service that Grab claims to offer can be matched and consistent.


In the observation period, it is clear to see that the social media performance is less than satisfactory. Moreover, the exploitation of their localised brand identity is incomplete and poorly sustained. However, it is encouraging to see that Grab has recognised their competitive advantage as a brand ‘closer to home’ and has begun to go about taking advantage of this unique position. In order to fully leverage their unique identity, Grab has to take a multi pronged approach in addressing the poor engagement and interaction levels as well as to build on their position as a localised service. In the future, it will be meaningful to research the effect that such marketing has on brand equity and establishment of a brand community.