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What if you didn’t have to work on Friday?

The biggest joy for every hard-working employee is probably when the calendar says it’s Friday, simply because it marks the onset of a much deserved weekend. We’re all accustomed to a five-day work week, even six in some countries. You must have wondered – “What if Fridays were off too?”.

 

Overwork and burning out

 

Japan is a country infamously known for overworking its employees. In fact, it’s been a battle for Japan, trying to bring down some of the longest working hours in the world owing to a shortage of labour and rapid ageing of a mass of the population. 

 

The Microsoft experiment

 

Microsoft Japan just spent August experimenting with a four-day work week, ironically so. Much to their surprise, sales per employee grew 40% when compared to the same month last year. Not only did this trial boost sales, but also cut costs at the Microsoft offices in the country with a 23% drop electricity used and a staggering 59% drop in pages printed when compared with August 2018.

 

The verdict

 

Although the Japanese Prime Minister’s urge to reduce overtime and make workplaces more flexible has received mixed reviews, this Microsoft experiment looks to be a winner among employees with 92% saying they were delighted with the four-day week according to a report on its website. 

 

This trial was termed as the “Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019”. It allowed full-time employees take five consecutive Fridays off in August. In addition to that, meetings were shortened to a maximum of 30 minutes and online chats were encouraged over face-to-face conversation.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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You’re the one to go to

While companies inevitably have on hand official officials specifically tasked with saying just the right things to the right people on the choicest occasions about the firm’s mission, accomplishments and the rosy road ahead, the greater potential for spreading the good word may be through the authentic praise of non-designated spokespeople. It’s the off-the-cuff opinions of employees in varying positions that lend unvarnished, fresh legitimacy to key messages delivered though pre-approved information networks.

 

Keep it real

 

In the Internet era, authentic information has become a valuable commodity. Trusted influencers with a proven track record for providing reliable reviews of products and services are valued for their genuineness, not brand loyalty. Content is king, and anyone providing no-nonsense information are the new sovereigns, whether they are influencers, C2C reviewers or, indeed, employees of companies whose stated job duties may not formally extend into PR duties. But just as passport holders are de facto cultural ambassadors for their countries, it matters who you work for; you’re still part of the team. Indeed, when you’re not be overtly profiting from what you say, your words take on a new currency.

 

Water coolers and social media

 

Just about everyone’s on social media. People posting photos and text on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter generally share details related to one of two things: family and the workplace. Plus trips, which are one of two things: family or the workplace. Companies that wish to profit from the free word of mouth generated by positive online reviews would do well to remind themselves of the basics, that the most successful companies naturally generate satisfied workers, and create positive energy not from PR campaigns, but from the good vibes that such firms intrinsically radiate from being a cool place to work. It is the fundamentals like having an enjoyable work environment, and producing something sellable, that will create conditions not only for a great PR message, but the conditions at home that make it easy to create one. The best brands aren’t built, they simply grow.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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When AI makes us human

The future of employee-to-employee relations will not be dictated by AI, but what has always led the course of human achievement – the way colleagues interact with and get along with each other – a new study reveals. The gist of the report expresses how, armed with trust and the rallying force of people working towards a common goal, human potential transcends the capabilities of intelligence less natural.

 

Beyond ROI

 

Profits proudly returned to shareholders are but one metric of success, the report says. Based around the outcomes of Relationshpism, when appropriately applied, the findings focus on the creation of a global evolution beyond the assembly lines and corporation-focused theories, which have traditionally supported a focus on manufacturers and capitalists while oft discounting the interests of labourers.

 

A purpose-driven future

 

A more holistic, fuller buffet of outcomes not just for companies’ bottom line, but the forces that lead to them is encouraged the report. The idea reinforces the classic truth that roads are for journeys, not destinations. Multiple scientific studies of human motivation indicate how happiness triggers the higher – and contagious – energies that more naturally and efficiently lead to productivity and the collaborative human relationships that are hallmarks of the most successful companies.

 

Making people happy

 

Relationshpism comes down to making workers enjoy and value working, and how employee satisfaction is a crucial part of the story of making profits. Trust, effectiveness and values are essential ingredients in this regard. Great Place to Work, an organization dedicated to analyzing where people at work are happiest, promotes a key message in this regard: that business success hinges on prioritizing human potential as the source of sustainable profits.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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The social media factor in political propaganda

The need for social media is the only thing growing faster than the number of users on it, but all that you see on there is not necessarily true. It’s no surprise that social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have become the go-to marketplace for politicians trying to boost their campaigns ever since the rise of digital marketing over the past decade, simply because the political propaganda that’s on there doesn’t have to go through a vigorous fact-check.

 

No more political advertising on Twitter 

 

Growing criticism over deceptive information from politicians on social media has encouraged Twitter to make the first move and bar political advertising globally on its platform. This policy reform will mean that both candidate ads and ads related to political issues will no longer be accommodated on this platform. This change is all set to take effect worldwide from 22 November.

 

Facebook under pressure

 

Facebook recently justified their decision to let political ads run without their interference, terming it as “freedom of expression”. However, the onset of the new Twitter policy means Facebook will be under pressure to fact-check political posts on their platform. Will Twitter’s bold move be a game changer or will Facebook persist with their decision to allow “freedom of expression”?

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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Make the water cooler great again

Integration. It’s an old idea, oft unemployed in meaningful ways but nonetheless talked up mightily. Especially today, in an AI-enhanced world of multiple platforms spreading key messages like wildfire. Multifaceted integration is everywhere. Yet many fundamentals often remain ignored, untapped, untended, and limiting natural communication channels in many corporations that ironically proudly tout their fluidity and openness.

 

A corporate culture based on openness

 

A certain lack of common-sense connections prevents true sharing of ideas and values. Teamwork is good, and works well but is oft limited to individual teams with goals unaligned to those of other teams within the same companies. More internal and external integration of teams will lead to a stickier cohesiveness marked by understanding for the needs and work culture of different work teams and how they operate, and how they share ideas and stay in touch with each other, as well as the individuals who compromise them and appreciation for their lives and families beyond the office.

 

No apps required

 

The nature of the fix is human-centered and involves a willingness to reach out to others in the office in frank and earnest ways. It’s not complicated, but involves a paradigm shift in mentality, away from acquisition and focused on better getting to know the people around you. Employee development has spiked by some $16 billion over the last three years. Change and innovation has led to many communications and information revolutions, which have nonetheless in other ways detracted from basic communication patterns, as unsophisticated texts replace voice-to-voice interactions, and the potential for email to engender meaningful letters is lost as the medium too many now seems – somewhat spectacularly – old-fashioned.

 

Off-key key messages

 

As fiefdoms and egoism as usual proliferate, and messages can chose to be “read” or not and certain e-profiles accepted or blocked, key messages spawned by true integration lessens, as cliques continue conquering corporate culture to the determent of a truly integrated office built on common values and interests. Hope is far from lost though – it just requires a determined a personal and inspiring leadership structure, dedicated to getting to know the people working for them, and getting them to connect.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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Remembering a modern master of messaging

Novelist and humanitarian Toni Morrison, who died on August 5, left behind a legacy of writings that serve well as examples of how to tell a story with heart. Although described as a black American female writer, her writings can best be called universal for their simple elegance.

 

Just connect

 

By creating characters that are cherished for transcending time, nationality and other particulars, Morrison made connections with readers that will outlast her. She knew her material by heart, wrote from her heart, and connected with a sense of subtlety and authenticity. She defined knowing your material as an investment in time. Time spent in research, editing, reworking, all the way along, keeping in mind the audience, and how what was said would impact them.

 

What’s not said

 

By knowing backwards and forwards what did matter, Morrison was able to reduce what was said to an elegant minimum, creating spaces for readers to jump into and imagine things themselves. Many great advertisements do the same thing. As does negative space or white space in photography and art. Master jazzman Miles Davis thought of this as power of the notes that are not played. Conscious omissions allow audiences to read between the lines, capturing key messages without being blunt or prescriptive.

 

Show, don’t tell

 

Morrison suggested storytellers avoid ‘thrilling sentences’ and let the plots unfold in pauses in the action that allow readers to become a part of the narrative themselves. By not overdoing it, Morisson delivered powerful themes in ways that respected the reader, choosing what was not said as carefully was words that were used, effectively allowing audiences to draw their own conclusions, which can lead to greater impact.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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2019 trends for PR and marketing professionals

Increase your micro-video content

 

With video expecting to make up to 80 percent of all internet traffic by the end of 2019, PR and marketing communications professionals should be prioritizing image over text. Not only do videos make websites 53 times more visible, but studies show that the human brain can process a full image in 13 seconds; less time than it takes to blink. Our minds are highly receptive to images; just notice the popularity of micro-video apps TikTok, Dubsmash and Vigo Video. With teenage influencers increasingly turning to micro-video, time and investment should be placed connecting with this media – and this powerful audience.

 

Merge your PR and marketing

 

The worlds of PR and marketing are merging, with more PR companies adding digital and social capabilities to round their offering. With SEO optimization, blogging, online content strategy and PESO brought into the mix, PR companies are able to better address client needs. Meanwhile marketing agencies are leaning towards influencer and KOL strategy, with many brand launches now incorporating celebrity brand ambassador endorsement. Whether you work in PR or marketing, do consider widening your skillset to offer a one-stop solution for clients.

 

Look to Southeast Asia

 

With internet penetration and the hunger for social media and mobile technology increasing in Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, PR and marketing communications professionals are urged to shift focus to Southeast Asia. Although China and India were previously seen as boom markets, the popularity of low-cost smartphone tech and improved access to mobile data plans brings Southeast Asia into the spotlight.

 

Integrate augmented reality

 

Virtual reality continues to develop, with augmented (mixed) reality already seen trending in the likes of fitness apps, online fashion tutorials and corporate training. There’s also a real potential for virtual travel, which could revolutionize the leisure sector. Although VR and AR have not yet by any means matured, if you can begin to integrate this technology now it will really demonstrate your customer insight.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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LIGHTS, CAMERAS, TRACTION. WHY VIDEO IS AN IMPORTANT ASSET IN PR.

We live in a world dominated by digital screens, they’re in our homes, in stores, on the street, on public transport, in planes, in our offices, and of course in our hands. So it is no surprise that video is one of the best ways to engage with an audience as there are so many options available to get their attention and drive engagement.

Video is social

Social media is dominated by videos, Instagram, once used only for photos is now populated by user videos and brand videos. Its IGTV offering has already proven to be extremely popular as has the Stories feature. In fact, video posts on Instagram receive 38% more engagement than image posts. Social media influencers on Instagram were fast to adapt to video and those who embraced it as part of their strategy saw their ‘Likes’ and engagement increase as a result.

Using video as part of a public relations strategy today is an essential consideration and there are so many opportunities to capture and create content from product launches to announcements, events, presentations, and speeches that can then be spread across multiple media outlets from broadcast to online.

One size doesn’t fit all

It’s important to not only understand your audience but also the platform you plan to post your video on and ensure you have already considered your strategy for how to shoot and edit your video content to suit each format. For example with IGTV you need to remember that it is a portrait (vertical) format, whereas with Facebook you opt for either landscape (horizontal) or square and with YouTube landscape works best.

Team effort

Most of us are carrying a powerful video tool in our hands each and every day, our smartphones. So it is now much easier for the PR team to capture some behind the scenes and making of video content while your main video team are focussed on the prime content. Skilling up some team members to competently shoot video is not hard, arm them with a few add-ons for their phones and have a specialist give them a few lessons and you’ll have additional footage to fill some gaps to release on social media as either ‘behind the scenes’ or ‘making of’ content.

So when your planning your next PR campaign it makes sense to see how video can be incorporated and used to maximum effect.

 

Joseph Henry is the founder and CEO of Vivaldi Public Relation Agency.

He is an expert communicator and influencer who has been helping leading companies achieve their strategic objectives in Asia for the last 20 years.

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THE PR WORLD IS CHANGING BUT THE STORY REMAINS THE SAME

Everyone loves a good story, it’s human nature, and one of the core deliverables of any public relations agency is to deliver stories for their clients. But with the shifting sands of the media landscape and everchanging consumer behavior and the ways they engage with brands on digital devices via their social media accounts and online media platforms it is imperative that those stories capture the attention of the audience and drive conversion.

 

Everyone is a media outlet

 

Traditionally a public relation agency’s role was to pitch factual and detail laden stories to journalists and editors in an age where traditional media platforms such as print and television reigned supreme, but then along came the Internet of Things (IoT) and everything changed. Consumers now have much more control over what they read and how they react to those messages, in a sense every person is now a media outlet of one. Add to that the introduction of social media influencers and we have an entirely new media maze to navigate. So how can we connect with consumers who are confronted with mass messaging every day and ensure we capture their attention with our client’s stories? The answer is to get more creative.

 

All eyes on digital

 

Attention spans are short and people are confronted with more content on their screens than they can actually consume, so the stories we deliver for clients need to be condensed and eye capturing to ensure engagement. We’re living in a world where we need to slow down the scroll or swipe actions to get our stories seen and read. Developing owned media with visual tools such as video, GIFs, and easily digestible infographics to maximize that brief glimpse we get from those staring at their phones is one way we can engage more effectively.

 

The new ROI: Return On Intent

 

Every story needs to have a reason to be told, it needs to be delivering for the client’s brand and it has to have a reason to be of interest to the reader, it needs intent. To ensure the best results we must understand the behavior of the target audience. Analytics are imperative to achieve this goal, it gives us insights into the content people are reading or skipping and what is influencing their purchasing decisions. With a number of data tools available to us today it is now much easier to calculate the ROI on digital campaigns.

 

The future is still being told

 

So what is the next chapter for the public relations industry? It could be summed up with a phrase we all know well – ‘same same but different’. We need to continue to be the masters of crafting engaging stories but we must be more creative in the ways we tell them.

 

Joseph Henry is the founder and CEO of Vivaldi Public Relation Agency.

He is an expert communicator and influencer who has been helping leading companies achieve their strategic objectives in Asia for the last 20 years.

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Childhoods on film

Gen Z is developing maturing perspectives on lives in which the highlights of birthdays, holidays and random events aplenty have been relentlessly captured, captioned and shared on social media. Images of the innocent things kids do which seem innocent enough at the time, to the doer can become sources of embarrassment best destroyed once adolescence kicks in. Yesteryear’s photo album, pulled out and shared sparingly with visiting friends and extended families has been replaced by fully labeled and ‘liked’ mini-encyclopedias of youth, day in and day out, available for the world to see 24/7, compiled by those who didn’t grow up that way but often featuring subjects that have little say in their having ‘gone public’.

 

Epic fails, memorialized

 

From literal run-ins with walls or dogs as toddlers to off-key versions of evergreen songs bravely performed in school concerts to sport days that may not have gone well or, worse, ended in goofy victory dances, the normal growing pains of the earliest years are there for the gawking. Generational Kinetics, a Gen Z-focused company, has through polls deduced that the world’s latest generation shows a heightened awareness of privacy rights, because fighting for them – often with their parents and friends – is the new normal.

 

Image control

 

Millions of people barely on the threshold of adulthood are being forced to enter negotiations to control elements of their public persona. Actors once came to such agreements with their agents, and companies still do with their PR representatives. But today it is the norm for everyone to be, at least potentially, known far and wide. Lives are lived in the public domain, or something close to it, monitored by CCTV. Young people today have grown up instant experts in cultivating their image – and coping with posts that spun out of their control long ago, and if even if taken down, leave behind archival memories and the stuff of myths.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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