pr digital agency bangkok thailand

No cash, no problem

The 2018 Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes indicates strong signs Thais are happy to forgo banknotes for the ease and convenience of digital payments. Eighty percent of people in the country surveyed for said they had tried using digital transactions systems last year, representing a boost of 50% in the number of respondents who had been asked the question a year before.

 

Less baht in hand, but more options

 

The trend is led by industry allowing for easier access to and promotion of payment systems involving debit and credit cards, QR payments and smartphone apps. The study says that 40% of Thais carry less currency notes that they did just two years ago, a rise of 15% among those who answered yes to this question in the previous survey. Besides convenience, safety was also cited as a key reason for the popular rise of cashless transactions. The shift in attitudes is also reflected in how 45% of respondents report that they could forgo cash for at least three days due to their increased familiarity with and the normalization of digital transactions. Stakeholders in various businesses are encouraged by the findings, and all the more galvanized to continue plans towards transforming Thailand into a cashless society.

 

No cash… No problem?

 

Companies are scrambling to align with the surge in online shopping – or should be. Cashback sites bringing together opportunities to buy a variety of products and services are making it just as easy to buy groceries as to book air tickets to just about anywhere. Yet for those on the margins, getting in on the trend remains challenging, when taking into account findings in the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2018, which reports that the richest 1% of Thais control two-thirds of the country’s wealth, a higher percentage than in any of the 40 countries covered in the report, and surge of almost 10% since the previous report. While the study also lists Thailand among a few countries as “notable cases for emerging wealth”, income equality is an issue to consider if society as a whole is to take full advantage of the benefits of a cash-free lifestyle.

 

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Australia cracks down on violence in social media

Social media executives are now liable for punishment for scenes depicting “abhorrent” violence that are not “expeditiously” removed, according to a new law in Australia. The significant shift can more easily turn erstwhile nearly untouchable online publishers into criminals for their being deemed as overly lax on oversight of material on their sites. While traditional media has long played by such rules, social media has been held less accountable due to the nature of running a sharing community in which everyone is a potential content provider, with allegedly fewer opportunities for effective checkpoints.

 

Large platforms need to more responsible, not less

 

The clear message the new legislation sends is that larger sites like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, with their many millions of members, need to see themselves as complicit with the shockingly easy available videos and rants of an extremely offensive nature. A platform’s large size, rather than being used as an excuse for the difficulty of effective monitoring, should be all the more reason for more effective checking for the appropriateness of information being transmitted on such a scale.

 

Higher technology, lower morality

 

While representatives from many in technology and social media companies have raised concerns about the legislation, Australian Attorney Genera Christian Porter said that just as TV stations wouldn’t be able to get away with showing footage of a murder, neither should social media. Punishment for people hosting a service and neglecting to take appropriate action to remove material can now face up to three years in prison, a fine of 2.1 Australian dollars.

 

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Singapore considers a war on fake news

Singapore’s new draft legislation targeting fake news, while sounding promising on the surface, opens up a range of significant issues and grey areas. “False statements of fact” would be illegal under the proposed law. Anti-censorship critics and supporters of freedom of speech worry that nobler conspiracy theories and strong opinions might be censured along with more blatant mistruths and hate speech, and that at any rate it shouldn’t government being the one with ultimate authority on deciding what gets a pass and what’s deemed unfit to be shared. The differences between misinformation, libel and things best not shared at all are open to question.

 

Who should judge?

 

Whether the likes of Google or national governments are better institutions for making tough judgment calls on what constitutes fake news or false advertising is a legitimate question. Whether news articles, social media posts and advertisements should come under the scrutiny of best practices, more stringent rules and regulations or actual laws is the question at hand. Current regulations in Singapore, as elsewhere, are already used to target certain forms of expression. Under the proposed legislation, additional stiff penalties a fine up to S$100,000 or, up to 10 years behind bars, or both, could be applied.

 

Digital mistruths to be targeted

 

The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill certainly gives pause for thought on exactly what might or might not be info which is considered to be “prejudicial”, against “public tranquility”, against the spirit of “friendly relations” with other countries, or “an inauthentic online account or controlled by a bot”. Free speech, with effects on digital marketers’ spicier statements on the products and services they promote, could be muffled out of concern of not wanting to come anywhere close to being on the wrong side of the law. If the proposed law becomes official, digital marketers will likely have to find out for themselves exactly what will be allowed under the law.

 

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PR Stories you can count on

Language alone won’t help content marketers win and retain customers. Telling the kind of story that will truly resonate with online buyers and potential ones is also a numbers game. Data is everywhere, and fascinating co-relations are emerging all the time. The way to make sense of these trends requires an eye for lifting prime examples of them from a sea of information, sharp summary skills, and a knack for telling tales not only with words but with numbers too.

 

Statistics – ideally coming from some original research and analysis as well – lends validity to opinions expressed, and gives a harder news edge to any text. 75% of business leaders say that when weighing decisions on whether to buy from particular providers of goods and services, reliable research is influential in helping them make up their minds.

 

I brake for numbers

 

Monetary figures related to cost invested or ROI, or just about anything, really, lends validity to text that otherwise may seem interestingly thematic, but ultimately abstract for lacking hard data. Numbers give readers and viewers information to add to the key messages that they form in their minds, and reinforce a story’s main message.

 

Visualize this

 

The brain processes graphic images around 60 times quicker than words. A few words employed as labels in colorful pie charts, infographics and tables can convey ideas more dramatically, clearly and memorably than words alone. Images can therefore lend credibility in an age where it’s needed: a survey of 1,000 PR professionals responded that getting customers and audiences to trust you was one of the most significant challenges they faced when making marketing campaigns. Seeing is believing.

 

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Brilliant content! But is it effective?

Communications professionals are losing confidence in their own messaging. Less than 10 percent of digital marketers view their own content as effective, according to a new study. In order for clients’ aspirations to be realized, a more efficient delivery on key goals is desperately needed. But given the disruptive uncertainties in terms of what actual audiences are and what they want, confidence in the tracking and effectiveness of the messages reaching them is likely to remain low.

 

How influential are today’s influencers?

 

Although PR industry professionals, companies and customers all see the value of content marketing, and all the more in the age of digital information, the problem is making and tracking effective messaging.

 

Even in an era where big data is beginning to yield a stunning array of numbers, much remains a mystery. How successful was that clever campaign in driving a company’s impressive profits? What’s the correlation between lower ROI and another campaign from another company that looked cool but is still ultimately hard to track? Would profits have been even lower without that campaign’s messaging, or did it in fact drive profits? Marketers simply cannot clearly differentiate successful campaigns from less effective digital messaging, and rely too much on circumstantial evidence like customer perceptions. The percentage of marketers lacking confidence in the effectiveness of their content has nearly doubled from around one third just two years ago to nearly two thirds today.

 

From e-disruption to a world of innovation

 

As always though, opportunity knocks. To the integrated online marketing teams that can track and broadcast the effectiveness of their messages in reaching the right audiences and delivering desired results, great long-term rewards await.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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News designed to confuse and mislead

Misinformation has always been with us, but has never before had so many many real chances for liftoff.

 

Skeptical thinking and critical reasoning have taken a hit in an era when trust is just as important as ever, yet taken for granted when so much information is presented authoritatively. We’ve become lazy at fact checking – not that it was ever easy. Truth and lies mingle on digital platforms brimming with immediacy and confidence, working to state with authority that the information they help get across is accurate. Although we know this is not always the case, seeing is often believing. Over 60% of respondents in a recent survey expressed difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction in the news that they are consuming. Another report finds that seven out of 10 times, fake news ends up being retweeted than verifiable stories. Even when we try to distinguish what’s real, fiction ends up being more entertaining and worthy of sharing.

 

Freedom of expression and censoring where needed

 

YouTube is widely appreciated for its usefulness in providing free entertainment, though often raises concerns related to intellectual property and profit. The video-sharing site is also awash in conspiracy theories that can get users thinking at best, and believing in mistruths and engaging in dangerous activities at worst. Misinformation is everywhere, and it takes a lot of effort to get to the truth sometimes. Facebook’s iffy algorithms may end up isolating posts when they are found to be based on inaccuracy, but ignore posts more deserving to be taken down. Then, of course, there are grey areas.

 

Even though censorship was anathema to many of the founders of social media platforms, these modern venues for exchanging ideas need more guidance and regulation if their more dangerous roots are to be weeded out.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Keeping it real in a digital age

 

Digital marketers, you have your work cut out for you.

 

Consumers find the content generated by companies, less interesting, less authentic and less impactful on their purchasing decisions than advice given by fellow buyers, according to a new report by Stackla, a marketing platform that focuses on and user-generated content. The report, which says that 86% of consumers place a premium on authenticity, indicates vast differences between consumers and marketers.

 

Information being shared on products should ideally focuses on personalized experiences with brands, say nearly 7 out of 10 customers surveyed for the major report. But while 92% of marketers think their brands are providing the personalized content that buyers prefer, less than half of the customers themselves agree with this. Not surprisingly, customers are also over twice as likely to find customer-to-customer shared content interesting, compared to brand-created content.

 

Tell me a story, and keep it personal

 

The Stakla report also says that customers are turning to first-hand accounts on social media platforms for advice from fellow experiencers, shoppers, travelers and other buyers of various services and products. Nearly 90% of respondents would post about a positive travel experience, while 85% and 65% would do the same about a similar encounter with a restaurant or health/beauty product, respectively.

 

The chasm-like consumer-company disconnect is compounded by how consumers are 2.4 times as likely to think customer-created content is most authentic, while companies are 2.1 times as likely to think that brands are better at generating the most authentic content. The study indicates that nearly 80% of buyers say user-generated content affects their decisions whether to buy something. Compare that to with a paltry 8% who said the same thing about influencer-created content. That doesn’t sound very influential, actually.

 

Digital marketers, you have your work cut out for you.

 

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PR you can prove

Public relations is slowly developing the capability to prove the value of its results. Yet too often, especially for this day and age, PR firms continue to focus on impressions created rather than the desired results delivered.

 

The hard to quantify value of “good PR” is part of the problem. Indeed, other kinds of businesses are finding more success in improving the nature of customer service relations by attending to a few vital concerns, according to a recent report by Infiniti Research. Customers love it when questions or complaints are addressed efficiently and promptly. It leads to return purchases and word-of-mouth value that has positively impacts ROI. Other key findings in the study are that short and to the point surveys more effectively gauge opinions of clients and customers, and that having a focused goal for surveys will result in more useful and insightful data.

 

Publicity vs profits

 

As PR becomes better at tracking impressions, their effect will have to become less impressionistic, more clear and focused. The relative worth of ads and stories in newspapers and magazines, and online articles vis a vis online advertisements, remains hard to quantify. But that doesn’t mean PR agencies should continue challenging themselves to find out what techniques works best.

 

Beyond traditional KPI tallies, PR needs to focus more on outcomes, not just activities, and learn some tricks from the hardnosed nature of management consultancy companies and their role in strengthening brands. Successful campaigns will then be shown to be those better synched to improving the bottom line.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Once more, with feeling, please

Public relations professionals must cope with a complicated work environment that even more than usual now calls on them to be adaptive to disruption and ready to shift their core skills onto new platforms, even when the ground beneath their feet is giving way. Customers in the Information Age are making a majority of buying decisions that are, ultimately, based on emotional factors, says a partner at a big B2B marketing firm.

 

Buyers want a good story, and to develop a connection with a company before committing to a purchase. Trust and authenticity matters, not slick marketing. Just make sure what you say is interesting: in the B2B world in particular, boredom has become a significant factor to overcome, as prudence too often overrides the need to take bold action when called for.

 

I heard it through the grapevine

 

Beyond the sometimes overhyped influence of influencers on social media and the like lies the commonsense persuasive power that comes from word of mouth. Conversations with friends and colleagues count as much as online influence, according to a study from data and analytics firm Engagement Labs. Face-to-face sharing also tends to allow people to exchange thoughts on a wider range of products and services, and in ways in which we are freed up from online values in terms of showing awareness of what’s trending, getting wrapped up in “social signaling” or being in broadcast mode. Offline, you are more likely to give unfiltered, no-nonsense advice, and on products (like laundry soap) you may not necessarily feel the need to tweet about.

 

If your product is good enough and the story to sell it is touching, the hard work is already done.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Kylie Jenner: Superinfluencer and billionaire

Much has been made of the recent news that Kylie Jenner, 21, has raked in her first billion dollars. She moved up on an elite list in doing so, shaving a couple of years off the previous record held by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who hit the $1,000,000,000 mark in 2008 at 23, and who had bested the record set by Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who made his first billion at age 31 in 1987.

 

The milestone was independently confirmed by both the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and Forbes, shortly after an exclusive deal was inked between Kylie Cosmetics, founded and owned by Jenner, and Ulta Beauty Inc. She succeeds in combining winning marketing/PR skills and a compelling personality with a sense of authenticity to her legions of fans, including 128 million Instagram followers. This comes on top of growing up on hit TV reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”, and has created an aura of indelible charm. When you’re your own best influencer, it seems nothing can go wrong.

 

She is, of course, still 21. Yet her recent posts about her rap-star partner’s rumored cheating on her seems to keep her in a world of believability and enhances her fandom; her PR awareness has yet to make significant dents in her online persona, as the billion-dollar mark indicates. But even superinfluencers are ultimately beholden to their integrity, so her greatest tests may not have come yet, given the media spotlight always shining on her and her intriguing family, and the many challenges that come your way with fame.

 

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