Friday, August 31, 2007

Off to Melbourne!

Am taking a break in the beautiful state of Melbourne in Australia for the next week or so with my wife and kid. Our itinerary is likely to have lots of koalas, kangaroos, wombats, penguins and all things child friendly. Have a great week all!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

From London With Love

Came across this brilliant post by CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide Kevin Roberts. Apparently, the Museum of London (yeah its a museum folks) is using Google Earth to create a Love Map of the city. According to Kevin,

"You register, locate a place on the map (like all Google-style maps it zooms in from a bird’s eye position to close-ups of houses and streets) and place a virtual pin on it. With your pin you get the opportunity to add a personal story connected with that place..."

Apparently, lots of people have already started populating the map with their personal tales of romance, kinship, historical encounters, and other recollections. In a way, this becomes a clever way of linking a place to the population. The end result is stronger community bonds and rootedness to a location, and of course more love.

Would be a great idea to do this in Singapore. In fact, we already have a champion for this area. Now, all it takes is to expand it to personal stories.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

An EX-traordinary Ad


See the bus stop ad above? It is part of the highly successful Yellow Ribbon campaign organised by a whole host of different agencies and NGOs, which aim to integrate ex offenders back into society. I remembered watching the TV commercial which was rather emotional and heartwarming.

What caught my attention was the bold black headline:


followed by the tiny words...

inspiring youths

Let's use the good old advertising mnemonic AIDA and see how this compares.

Attention - This one certainly scores here, albeit in a sensational fashion.
Interest - Yep, I would be interested to read more about it.
Desire - Well, I think the jury is out on this one. Unfortunately, this time around, this ad didn't evoke any emotional response from me.
Action - Again, the connection here somehow isn't that strong.

Personally, I felt that this ad may have worked better if they didn't squeeze in so much tiny text at the bottom. Bus stop shelters are usually better with one simple message that serves a branding/ positioning purpose.

It would also be better if the linkage between the promise in the headline (inspiring youths) and the activities highlighted in the body copy below were tighter. The walk, fair, and community art exhibition, while certainly great events in themselves, somehow isn't linked to the idea of inspiring youths. What do you think?

Having said that, do support this worthy cause and wear a yellow ribbon. I am certainly glad that they are continuing this year after year.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sharpen Your PR Pencils!

Uber marketing guru Professor Philip Kotler

I had the fortune of attending a recent conference featuring one of the world's top management guru Philip Kotler. Apparently, he is a museum fan too and may feature the National Museum of Singapore in his next book. Woo hoo!

At the lecture, Professor Kotler shared about the rising importance of PR versus advertising and gave us a new acronym - PENCILS - in which to desribe the dimensions of PR. What does it mean?

P - Publications: These are your brochures, annual reports, newsletters, yearbooks, corporate kits.

E - Events: Organising the kind of events to get folks interested in your company.

N - News: Getting a lot of good talk in the various media channels (both old and new).

C - Community relations: Companies tend to be better regarded if they are accepted by the community.

I - Identity media: Business cards, stationery, boilerplates, tag lines, uniforms, and codes of conduct.

L - Lobbying: This would relate to issues of government relations, activism, meeting of legislators.

S - Social investment: PR should be a conduit for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities for issues that a company cares about. A prime example is Body Shop.

To bring it all into context, do note that PR is one of the key tools in the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) strategy of any company. It falls under one of the Push-Pull-Profile Strategies of IMC, which are namely:

Push - Marketing communication largely through channel partners (B2B). This is largely through incentivising your distribution channels through trade discounts, Point Of Sales materials, sales tools etc. Largely done through the sales force.

Pull - Marketing communication largely to end consumers (B2C). This is usually traditional advertising as we know it, as well as roadshows and direct sales targeted at consumers.

Profile - Communications to key stakeholders, and this is where PR comes in. PENCILS will come in handy here.

I thought that its neat that PR now has a greater focus compared to advertising. Traditionally, most firms have considered PR (or corporate communications) as a poor cousin to advertising, which gets the lion's share of the budget. A greater focus on PR and its accompanying focus on the reputation and integrity of an organisation will only do organisations good in the longer run. Its no longer just what you say, but what you do that matters.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Chief Marketing Officers Wanted


In the recent "Marketing for Results" conference which I attended graced by Professor Philip Kotler, he highlighted the importance of a new position - the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) - in organisations. In certain companies, this role is equivalent to the almighty Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who usually sits next to the CEO in any organisation.

What should a CMO do? Many things apparently, according to Kotler:

1) Bring in the Voice of the Customer (VOC). This should be done through charting trends, analysing segments, conducting focus groups and looking at psychographic testing.

2) Bring in New Opportunities and New Ideas. There is a special obligation by CMOs to generate fresh leads, markets and product ideas.

3) Build a Stronger Brand for the company. This covers both corporate brands and individual brands. His or her role should be to enhance the work of individual brand managers.

4) Bring in more technical marketing. In other words, the various metrices and systems - marketing dashboards, sales automation, model building and database mining - to sharpen its work.

5) Find appropriate metrices to measure and account for financial results. Return On Marketing (ROM) is increasingly important and this should be assessed by both financial (sales, profits, ROI, market share) and non-financial (brand equity, customer preference, loyalty) indicators.

It seems from the above that a CMO has to build a stronger accountability into an organisation's marketing spending. I hear that in some companies like Coca Cola, you have to estimate the ROI of any campaign before getting the money.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fan-tastic Life Cycle

Got this cool graphic of how fans are created and spawned while surfing Church of the Customer recently. Created by Geno of Brain on Fire from a mashup of Church of the Customer's loyalty ladder and David Armano's diagram, it shows in a nifty way how one can reach out to various communities and parties through the Word of Mouth effect.

Now this is what I call a virtuous cycle!

Monday, August 20, 2007

How an Underdog Trumps Disney

Aerial view of Ocean Park - courtesy of sabershadezero

At a recent marketing conference, I had the pleasure of learning all about how Ocean Park in Hong Kong managed to stand its ground against the upcoming Hong Kong Disneyland. Told by the energetic and charming Paul Pei (Executive Director of Sales and Marketing at Ocean Park), the lessons learnt are useful for anybody in the leisure attractions business. It is a classic David versus Goliath story.

When the news first came in 1999 that Disneyland was coming to Hong Kong, the spectre of doom hung heavily over the staff of Ocean Park. Many felt that the coming of the entertainment behemoth would spell the death knell for tourist attractions on the island. What's more, Ocean Park was already 29 years of age, with many of its facilities worst for the wear. Surely, they were no match for Disney's sheer might. Studies have in fact shown that whenever a Disneyland park opens anywhere, incumbent players could lose up to 20% of their businesses.

Happily Ocean Park rode the wave rather than sink into oblivion. It employed a 7-pronged strategy as follows:

1) Redefine

Rather than fight head on with Disney, Ocean Park chose to differentiate itself and to complement rather than compete against the newcomer. It created a new vision statement: "The world's BEST marine themed attraction - the PRIDE of Hong Kong and a LANDMARK destination for tourists." It also focused on its strengths which are real animals, nature, its Hong Kong origin, the cable car, and edutainment. This differed from Disney's emphasis on cartoons, movies, the castle, America and fantasy and fun.

2) Rebuild

An ambitious HK$5.5 billion master redevelopment plan was undertaken by Ocean Park to revive its product. This will be done over 8 different phases and will be completed by 2012. Key to the success of this goal was the mustering of support from different stakeholder groups - government, employees, media, business partners, the public and environmental interest groups.

3) Reconnect

The idea behind this was to win back the hearts of its various stakeholders. Ocean Park did it by focusing on their competitive strengths:
a) Being home grown
b) Having many marine and land animals
c) Providing interactive edutainment

New products which provided interaction with animals like a sea jelly aquarium, dolphin encounters and panda keeping were rolled out. Dining with the animals programmes (similar to our Breakfast with Ah Meng at the Zoo) were initiated together with summer school activities for kids and unique wedding packages. Interactive quizzes and promotions linked to its heritage were conducted to help Ocean Park reconnect with the public.

4) Re-excite

As I shared earlier, events are the lifeblood of the attractions business. Ocean Park recognised this early and continued its 5 big annual events - Chinese New Year, Easter, Summer, Halloween and Christmas. Its award winning "Halloween Bash" in particular is highly sought after as a must-do event in October.

5) Reinforce as Must-Visit

This is where advertising comes in as a marketing tool to remind and refresh. The park embarked on aggressive tourist advertising to position it as a must visit attraction and came up with advertorials and TV trailers to re-engage its audiences. It also worked closely with tour operators - an important partner in tourism marketing - to enlist their help in channel marketing.

6) Expand Distribution Network

New partnerships were formed with channels like land, sea and rail transport operators as well as hotels. Value-added ticket combos and packages were developed to attract their guests to the park.

7) Compassionate Pricing

3 key principles were applied here:

a) Principle of Value - Offering visitors more value for money with bundled combo tickets to multiple attractions.

b) Principle of Loyalty - Awarding loyal visitors with better pricing. I was stunned to hear that they have 100,000 guests on their annual membership programme.

c) Principle of Compassion - Free admission or special offers to underprivileged groups, plus free admission to seniors and discounts for students.

Stunning Results

The outcomes of the above? Very impressive. From an average of about 2.8 million visitors a year (1999), Ocean Park rose to hit close to 5 million visitors in FY 2006/2007. Earnings have also swung from the red (-HK$80.5 million in 2000/01) to very positively in the black (HK$156.5 million). Today, Ocean Park has something like close to HK$1 billion in the bank!

From my chat with Paul, the key lessons for any marketer are:
1) Focus on your strengths. Don't fight tooth for tooth with bigger boys.
2) Give the customers what they want.
3) Go back to the fundamentals. Yep, we are talking about the 4 Ps (or 7 Ps).

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Biggest Biscuit Bash

Tired of the usual roadshows with pretentious promoters and inane entertainment? Here's something novel for a change.

In an ingenious use of their product employing one of PR's oldest trick, biscuit manufacturer Jacob's recently hit the headlines with their attempt to build Singapore's biggest biscuit sculpture. Their fabulous feat of food art sits on a platform measuring about 6 by 1.2 metres, with more than 24,000 biscuits from 13 varieties employed. Called Jacob's Biscuit World, this event showed that biscuits can do a lot more than just stuff your stomach.

I caught some of the action yesterday at Bishan Junction 8 while meeting the Friends of Yesterday (pun unintended).

A nicely themed standee complete with all the right brand colours and imagery. Notice the prominent messaging of the Largest Biscuit Sculpture in Singapore.

A stage complete with similarly branded backdrop was built for the occasion. Notice how the kids and their parents are enjoying this.

Some of the interactive games onsite include this giant jigsaw puzzle.

Finally, the flour-filled fantasy itself. Some of Jacob's masterpieces include the Esplanade in Singapore, Eiffel Tower, Great Pyramid of Giza, Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal, and Malaysia's Petronas Twin Towers (which are the tallest standing at a grand two metres of height).

Panels along the scrumptious sculptures do two roles. They provide a bit of education about the various architectural wonders depicted while describing the various delicious delights that the company makes.

Here's a closer shot of the tasty Taj Mahal momentary monument...

...and one of the Eiffel Tower all the way from the biscuit factory.

Obviously, Jacob's didn't build the sculpture just purely for entertainment. Here you can see stacks and stacks of biscuits being sold at special prices.

Obviously, they must be doing something right, judging from the crowds rushing to buy their biscuits for tea.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Fantastic Fireworks


Brought my family to catch the Fireworks Festival, a must go for anybody with a 3.75 year old. Part of the National Day celebration, this year's event was unique as you could buy tickets to sit comfortably on the floating platform at Marina Bay. At $8 apiece, it wasn't too expensive. Besides, it gives you a breathtaking view of the action.

Here are some pics and videos for memories. My son Ethan certainly enjoyed it and I am sure he will have sweet dreams tonight.

Wait a minute. Has the show started already? Why are these people whipping up their cameras and snapping away?

The answer? Pre-fireworks entertainment in the form of fire eaters and dancers. Kind of related though the flames aren't exactly as hot as those in the night sky.

Yet another fiery acrobatic performance. This unicyclist managed to juggle four flaming torches without missing a beat. Of course, his accomplice, a member of the audience, didn't do too badly either.

Ethan couldn't resist snapping a pose with the huge dancing balloons surrounding the platform.

The huge 27,000 strong crowd waiting in eager anticipation while the two emcees from Power 98 and 88.3 FM bantered on...and on... and on....

The warm-up performance was a light and music show emanating from the stage.

Followed by dazzling, kaleidoscopic fireworks in many different shades. This one takes the form of pink and orange beams shooting into the sky.

Blue flashes, white spikes, green showers, and golden yellow trajectories here.

Splashes of red and orange illuminating the night sky.

Followed by greens, yellows and whites.

And of course, the climactic finish with multiple hues, patterns and bursts going off towards the end.

To help you relive the experience, here are two rather amateurish videos which I captured.

I just LOVE them fireworks. Do you?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy

Once in a while, you stumble upon a gem of a book which you cannot put down. That happened to me recently, when I read Lovemarks (authored by Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts who blogs here). Apparently, Kevin was in town recently as part of the Global Brand Forum but unfortunately, work commitments made it difficult for me to catch him live in action. Maybe next time.

There are several key ideas in Lovemarks which I found very useful (and which I blogged about before). One of these was that brands (which can be products, places, events or people) that resonated emotionally with people have these three key elements:

1) Mystery
- Great stories
- Past, present and future (heritage?)
- Taps into dreams
- Myths and icons
- Inspiration

2) Sensuality (elements of experiential marketing here)
- Sound
- Sight
- Smell
- Touch
- Taste

3) Intimacy
- Commitment
- Empathy
- Passion

According to Kevin, these elements help to make a truly great love stand out. Hmmm.... I suppose romance is somehow linked to either 3) or 1) somewhat. So how does one create the love for one's brands? Here are some tips from Lovemarks:

1) Be Passionate - Its all or nothing. Consumers can smell a fake a mile off.

2) Involve Customers - Make them a part of the action so that there is a sense of ownership from the onset.

3) Celebrate Loyalty - Be consistent and find opportunities to thank your long time customers.

4) Find, Tell & Retell Great Stories - This is where the mystery and romance of brands come in. Tales of passion, triumph and imagination. Things that can stir something deep inside us.

5) Accept Responsibility - I guess in love you need to be committed and fervent.

Useful stuff there if you ask me. Let me end with one of the many useful quotable quotes from the book:

"Love is a canvas pattern furnished by Nature, and embroidered by imagination." Voltaire

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An Effective Ad


Spotted this huge, monstrous outdoor billboard plastered across People's Park Complex. If this doesn't catch your attention, I suppose nothing will. Great work by the Traffic Police which gets the message across and yet isn't too gory or gruesome.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Service versus Sales

Used car salesman (courtesy of Chaka Raysor)

I am always puzzled why companies spend a lot more energy and focus on trying to sell rather than pleasing their customers. If you don't already know, customer retention is a far more profitable strategy than customer acquisition. That, plus the fact that word of mouth is taking off more than ever in this ad-saturated age of increasingly powerful social networks.
Here are some sobering statistics which tells you why you should pamper your existing customers rather than court new ones:
  • A typical dissatisfied customer will tell 6-10 people about the problem. A typical satisfied customer will tell 1-2 people.
  • It costs 6 times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an old one.
  • Of those customers who quit, 68% do so because of an attitude of indifference by the company or a specific individual.
  • About 7 of 10 complaining customers will do business with you again if you resolve the complaint in their favor.
  • If you resolve a complaint on the spot, 95% of customers will do business with you again.
(Source: Customer Are Always)

Studies have also shown that a Customer's Lifetime Value (CLV) can be far greater than that of a single transaction. In fact, 70% of a telco's revenue comes from 30% of its customers: those who stay for years and purchase increasing levels of service.
There is a nifty way to calculate CLV here.

Now shouldn't you start paying more attention to those customers who made you who you are?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Autumn in Singapore?

One of the things which I love about Jewel Box at Mount Faber (where you can take the cable car) is its decor. There are probably few leisure attractions in Singapore which pay as much attention or fervour to creating thematic zones as the Jewel Box. This is probably one of the reasons why they have been voted so frequently as one of the top attractions in Singapore.

While there recently to catch a cable car ride, I managed to shoot some photos of its golden brown splendour.

Perched high atop Mount Faber, the Jewel Box is a restaurant, cable car station, and pristine function venue all rolled into one. Here, you can see golden yellow and red leaves decking its facade.

A view of the reception counter, complete with red maple leaves plastered on the glass wall.

One of the pillars at the entrance decorated with autumn "flowers" and hues of red, brown and yellow.

Even the staircases are decorated, with garlands of fall harvests by the side.

More views of wrapped up pillars and wall-papered sides with the colours and shapes of fall.

The gift shop at Jewel Box, enshrouded with the "foliage" of fall.

"Saplings" of maple trees stand side by side with "barren" branches just outside the cable car area.

Now don't you think these little touches help to enhance the overall experience?

Friday, August 10, 2007

What a Girl Wants, What a Girl Needs

The Earliest Example of Female Power? (Adam and Eve. Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1526. Courtauld Gallery, London.)

I have been reading this fascinating book EVEolution by Faith Popcorn and Lys Marigold which talks about how you can market to women. Unlike some of the other efforts in understanding women, this one goes beneath the surface of all things pink, sweet and fluffy.

Why should we market to women? Aren't the guys the ones making more money all along? Wrong! Read these facts (in US but I am sure Singapore would be similar) and weep:

1) Women buy or influence the purchase of 80% of all consumer goods. They also influence 80% of all healthcare decisions.

2) Women now buy 50% of all cars and influence 80% of their sales. Think about it, when a married man buys a car, does he just go and get it or consult his wife?

3) Women also start businesses at twice the rate of men (every 60 seconds) for a total of 9.1 million of them (in US).

4) Women led businesses employ some 27.5 million people in America - more than all the Fortune 500 companies combined.

Now those are humungous reasons for us to understand them. I certainly want in! So how does one do it?

Well, here are the Eight Truths of Marketing to Women:

1. Connecting your female consumers to each other connects them to your brand.

First, you need to bond the fairer sex together by creating a community of womenfolk. By now, we all know how much girls need to talk, interact and socialise with each other - from laboratories to lavatories, restaurants to retail. Connect them to each other as a group and they will love your brand for it.

Web communities such as iVillage,, and are just a few of the examples of women being linked together.

2. If you’re marketing to one of her lives, you’re missing all the others.

Women increasingly play multiple roles - employee, mother, wife, chief domestic officer, cook, cleaner and so on. (Of course, men do play multiple roles too but I will leave that for another day). To win their hearts at the marketplace, you need to cater to their increasingly complex and multi-faceted lives. From home office services, to cameras keeping an eye on her kids at daycare, to offering a much needed spa treatment or meals on the go. Appeal to her need for convenience.

3. If she has to ask, it’s too late.

Isn't this true in both marketing and relationships? Like a doting husband, you need to anticipate what she needs. Find out what will be convenient and useful to her by envisioning what she goes through. If possible, involve other women in planning every step of the way and create innovative solutions to meet the hidden needs.

4. Market to her peripheral vision and she will see you in a whole new light.

The littlest details can set a women off - for good or bad. As a marketer, you need to cater to those minute hygiene factors that us men take for granted. Starbucks is one company that is EVEolved all around. Female customers can enjoy their coffee in a bright, clean place with a well-stocked restroom (a must if you want to attract women) and she can purchase the in-house music on CD or a cookie for her toddler in tow. Subtleties like aesthetics and the five senses - sight, sound, scent, taste and touch - affect ladies a lot more than we know it.

5. Walk, run, go to her, secure her loyalty forever.

Here is where convenience and anticipation comes in yet again. Juggling multiple roles in an increasingly hectic workplace, women need things to be delivered to them. See if you can find a way to make it easier and less of a hassle for them. Solve their pain and they will flock to you.

6. This generation of women consumers will lead you to the next.

Also called "brand-me-down" or inter-generational branding, women are more likely to pass down age-old traditions, practices and brands from mother to daughter than men do. In Asian markets where family ties are strong, the brand-me-down approach will definitely sell. You tend to use the same cooking oil and same washing detergent as your mother.

7. Co-parenting is the best way to raise a brand.

With their natural maternal instincts, women want to be involved in your brand. You need to get their inputs and their involvement from the onset - colour, features, price, service guarantees etc - in order to secure their loyalty. Make your female customers a part of your product development team.

8. Everything matters – you can’t hide behind your logo.

Ethical issues in marketing are more key than ever before, especially for the fairer gender. Don't neglect the environment, your employees, minorities or the poor. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) matters more than ever in this day and age. Discerning women will be able to sniff you out in an instant.

So there you have it. Eight tips to shape your marketing approach to women. As Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox has sung, "Sisters are doing it for themselves", so you better hurry or you will miss the boat!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Loving My Country

Today is Singapore's 42nd birthday. This year, the national day celebrations will be at the floating platform of the Marina Bay area - a first in Singapore. Culture lovers can pop by any of the NHB museums as they will be open to the public for free. There will also be lots of other celebrations and parties going on in the many households here I am sure.

What does National Day mean to you? Is it just another public holiday or does it stir something deep within you?

For me, I find that national day is a good time to quieten one's heart a little and celebrate the things which makes life worth living here in Singapore. We have fabulous food, an efficient public transport system, relatively clean streets, high levels of security, and a soaring employment rate. If you think you have it bad, just look at the environmental disasters, acts of terrorism, abject poverty, stark hunger, political turmoil and rampant inflation happening around us.

Of course, our country isn't perfect. There are still lots that we can do to make it better. However, maybe just for this one day in the year, let us look at the positives rather than the negatives shall we?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Wanted Ads


Spotted the above poster advertisement at a bus stop recently on my way home. A few years ago, such an advertising concept using headlines that screamed "WANTED", "MISSING" or "REWARD" would probably have caught one's attention. I remembered that SPH used this style of advertising way back in 2000 in a fund raiser called The Straits Times Million Dollar Duck Race. That involved putting up WANTED style ads with the cute rubber ducky featured.

Some of us may also be familiar with Starhub's "Ringing Dog" campaign a few years ago. Then a cute pooch with a handphone in its tummy "went missing" and was featured on TV commercials, newspaper advertisements and posters. That ad was raved by some critics in marketing circles and managed to generate quite a stir.

I wonder though if Adtag's poster above would generate as much interest. There is certainly a lot more clutter now, and the above concept is getting a little tired from years of misuse. Having said that, I like the interactivity that SMS offers (plus its free), as well as the use of humour that the ad above employs.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Eating in Libraries

While visiting Suntec City about two months ago, I stumbled upon this wood-panelled "library" which appear to hail from Victorian times. Furnished with dark wooden panelling, swinging "chandeliers", railings and volumes of scholarly "tomes", it seemed to be the perfect place for a quiet read.

Except that it was as noisy as a hawker centre (heck it is one!) and the only thing intellectual is the science that went into laksa gravy. Here are some photos of my culinary discovery in an experiential food court themed like a library.

This group of people doesn't look like they are going to settle down with a quiet book in their hands. Notice the boxes of IT equipment being carried - newly gotten gains from the PC Show.

These chandeliers look pretty much like the real thing, complete with candle-shaped bulbs.

Coffee, tea or the complete works of William Shakespeare?

I like the authentic looking wooden railings above this fishball noodle shop. They add a certain class and style to your dining experience. Unfortunately, I don't think the hungry crowd really cares two hoots about romance.

The brainchild behind the experience of dining with books? Food Republic, one of the leading food court operators in Singapore. Now, if only they can really offer both mind and body nourishment at the same place....

Friday, August 03, 2007

Believe It Or Not!

Got this tag from Jacklyn Ker about meaningful lyrics from a song and decided to choose this upbeat ditty from Joey Scarbury. I don't know if you guys are familiar with this song which came from a very old television series (Greatest America Hero) featuring Ralph Hinkley as an un-superhero who ends up crashing into trees and buildings while saving the world.

Kind of like George of the Jungle or Super Grover.

Other than the super catchy tune, I like how the song emphasises the underdog. Yeah, I have a thing about Mr man in the street going against the odds and doing mission impossible. And of course, flying.

Greatest American Hero by Joey Scarbury (his ONLY Top 40 Hit)

Look at what’s happened to me,
I can’t believe it myself.
Suddenly I’m up on top of the world,
It should’ve been somebody else.

Believe it or not, I’m walking on air.
I never thought I could feel so free.
Flying away on a wing and a prayer.
Who could it be?
Believe it or not it’s just me.

It’s like a light of a new day,
It came from out of the blue.
Breaking me out of the spell I was in,
Making all of my wishes come true.

Believe it or not, I’m walking on air.
I never thought I could feel so free.
Flying away on a wing and a prayer.
Who could it be? Believe it or not it’s just me.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Death of Blogging?

Are blogs destined for the grave? (courtesy of Rusty Russ)

Here is an extension of Steve Rubel's thoughts on whether our obsession with newer and more summarised all-in-one platforms may lead to the demise of the beloved blog. As usual, he gives a no-holds-barred analysis of the situation coupled with his usual whimsical touch.

"Earlier this week we chatted - here and on Twitter - about Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS). Our appetite for new technologies and channels is certainly insatiable, but it points to a larger trend.

Perhaps we're in search of a new format (or formats) to replace the almighty blog.
What, wither blogging? Not quite. I believe blogs remain extremely powerful and I plan to be a multi-format contributor. Still, a perfect storm is brewing that could one day mark the decline of the long form blog as we know and love it today. BL Ochman and Michael Tangeman are two that are pondering the same trend.

Let's take a closer look at what's happening. There are three big forces at bay here.

First, there's the Attention Crash. The demands on our time, be they work, family, shiny objects or all of the above loom large. This is changing our media habits. We crave what's pithy and fun.

That's one reason why YouTube and widgets got hot.

Second, there's the proliferation of mobile Internet usage. I don't have the statistics handy but my gut is that the upper strata of Forrester's participation ladder includes many smart-phone owners.

As a reporter from MSNBC found, you can increasingly do a lot with these devices by themselves. On my next short trip I plan to leave my laptop at home in favor of my iPhone, especially if I can plan it all so that I am around wifi.

What this all means is that mobile platforms and devices encourages people to publish more often, but in a far shorter format.

Last but not least we have social networking. These sites and services make it easier for us to tune into "signals" - e.g. people and topics we care about - and tune out noise.

So what does this mean all for blogging? I imagine over time some erosion. We will unsubscribe from low quality blogs written by strangers that we truly don't have time for, in favor of tuning into friends and their mobile streams.

From what I see so far of the Singapore blogosphere, this weariness with the blogging format is already happening. For sure, people are still blogging and sharing their thoughts, analyses, dreams, wishes and lives with the rest of the online world. However, there is a certain maturity in the state of the Singapore blogosphere, and people are starting to get on with the rest of their lives.

Perhaps the lustre of this shiny new object is wearing off? ;)