It’s been wryly observed that people are tuning in more to comedy shows for news. Well, John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight is a great example and this segment on “Sponsored Content” is especially pertinent for us communications and media professionals (Video NSFW – language).
Let’s call Sponsored Content what it truly is: monetizing one’s integrity and credibility. It especially becomes a problem when it is deceptive, pervasive and wantonly permissive.
In the words of John Oliver:
“The integrity of local news is crucially important, and there is real harm for everyone if that integrity is damaged.”
When I came across this video on social media, it hit me right in my geeky gamer feels!
This short film, called “Player Two“, was ostensibly based on a true story.
In response to a YouTube video titled “Can Video Games Be a Spiritual Experience?”, one commenter shared the story of how he had lost his father at a young age and reconnected with his ghost via a shared video game.
Here’s the video:
As a marketer and corporate communicator, I cannot help but note that this inadvertently serves as a great ad to the Microsoft Xbox. It’s a powerful, emotional story that does a great job humanizing the brand, video gaming, as well as the technology. Not a bad achievement in just under 2 minutes!
Now, Adweek has published an interview with John Wikstrom – the filmmaker behind “Player Two”. It’s interesting to note that Microsoft – the owner of Xbox – had nothing to do with the video.
This was making its rounds on social media – clearly, as a testament to the viral nature of project.
Suumo is the biggest real estate information agent in Japan. Suumo was looking to build brand leadership when its agency HAKUHODO Kettle Tokyo challenged the company to meet the needs of a very unusual customer – the hermit crab.
The initiative was a collaborative between Suumo and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology to develop the perfect house for hermit crabs; especially since suitable seashells for hermit crab use were dwindling in Japan due to environmental degradation. The resulting solution was not only effective for the brand (increased purchase intention for the brand to 120%), it was also a useful and impactful, environmentally-friendly solution.
The alignment to the brand proposition was perfect – hermit crabs are famous for being the “masters of living,” who keep seeking the comfortable houses throughout their entire lives. Suumo was then poised to provide new comfortable houses for some of the most challenging customers in the world – and even turn them into unwitting brand advocates.
A short version of the case study (in English) can be viewed here:
A more comprehensive video case study (in Japanese, with English subtitles) is available here:
My friend Gabey recently wrote a helpful article in PR Week featuring the kind of validation every communications professional seeks after: No matter the economic outlook, there will always be a place for the communications function in an organisation.
This was according to Wendy Heng, associate director for sales & marketing at Robert Walters Singapore, a specialist recruitment firm. She said, “In good times or bad, you’re still going to need a communications practitioner in-house,” adding, “It is a necessary and stable function in most companies and I’ve never seen a huge rise or fall in the number of positions.”
She observed that comms staff tend to escape restructuring or cost-cutting measures because they are viewed as a necessity. She added that if a company does undergo cost-cutting measures, communications roles are typically shielded, as it is one of those functions recognised as a necessity rather than a luxury.
“There is always going to be need for it because how you could not have someone look after external outreach or crisis communications?” she said.
However, while the comms sector is quite stable, it is also a double-edged sword as in-house teams are not big to begin with. “They’re always stretched too thin with a limit to how much external agencies can do. So while its stable, it is also not seen as revenue-generating function so it’s hard to justify additions to the head count – In contrast, the sales function is easier to justify.”
In the same article, Robert Walters’ also shared the findings from their latest annual Global Salary Survey last week. Data published suggested that salaries are expected to remain relatively flat in 2016, though candidates with in-demand skills can anticipate an average salary increment of 10 to 20 percent when switching jobs.
The following are some excerpted salaries from around Asia, from the Robert Walters Global Salary Survey. Salaries are listed in USD per annum, converted from local currencies.
If you’re an Asia Pacific-based marketing or communications professional, LinkedIn has revealed that you’re probably using these words in your profile:
The list for 2016 was derived from LinkedIn’s analysis of the profile summaries of marketers in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore.
Cue the sound of Shift+F7 being tapped across the region and a surge of incoming traffic to Thesaurus.com all across the region.
LinkedIn’s Regional Head of Communications Roger Pua advised marketers to ditch the buzzwords and focus on more substantial ways to brand and market themselves, such as “substantiating their work and achievements with concrete examples such as awards, presentations, research papers, etc. Remember too, that a picture says a thousand words, so let’s put an end to tired and overused buzzwords.”
Kudos to LinkedIn, by the way, for getting my long-time favorite Marketoonist Tom Fishburne to come up with a few cartoons to drive home this fact.
Now, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be reviewing my LinkedIn profile and hitting up Shift+F7.