Sandiaga Uno and his defense of the Bakries

They say there is a very thin line between bravery and folly.

Today we saw something extraordinary when investor/business man/poster-boy-for-the-next-generation-of-business leaders, Sandiaga Uno pinned his flag to the Bakrie/Bumi Plc mast with his opinion piece in The Jakarta Globe.

In doing so Sandiaga has gone where most people concerned about image making – their own and others’ – fear to thread. The reason is that the Bakrie empire seem to be one of the most unlikeable business entities, if casual anecdotes are anything to go by. At any rate Unspun’s not met any business person not beholden to the Bakries for a living to like them or extol their virtues.

Defending such a hugely unpopular business entity takes guts, or great folly. Sandiaga has done it and the reaction in Twitter has not been very favorable. But that may only be the gripes of the chattering class, so rather than pass judgement if Sandiaga Uno’s brave act is one of great judgement or misjudgment, its best to let the readers of this blog judge for themselves with the survey below:




Sandiaga Uno Says Bakries Are ‘Unfairly Portrayed’ | The Jakarta Globe.

A leading Indonesian businessman has come to the defense of the Bakrie family’s companies in their bitter corporate governance feud with British businessman Nathaniel Rothschild.

In a scathing opinion piece published exclusively in the Jakarta Globe today, Sandiaga S. Uno said the Bakrie-controlled companies had been treated unfairly by a slew of parties, including the media, corporate analysts and international rating agencies.

The colorful intervention by Sandiaga threatens to escalate the year-long feud.

The conflict dates back to the 2010 move by Rothschild and his London-listed energy company, now called Bumi Plc, to embrace two Indonesian units — Bumi Resources and Berau Coal Energy — controlled by the Bakrie family.

But relations had been fraying for a year and worsened last month when Bumi Plc announced it was conducting a probe into operations at the Indonesian companies, hinting at impropriety.

While no evidence of wrongdoing has been made public, the case has attracted international attention and put the spotlight on the gulf between corporate governance in Asia and in the West.

In his article, Sandiaga claims much of the coverage has been slanted against the Bakrie companies. “Many media outlets portray the Bakrie family as being on the defensive. As part-owners of Bumi Plc, the Bakrie family is unfairly portrayed almost as a bully who violates governance standards and regulations,” he wrote.

“I say ‘unfairly’ because this is not the first negative rumor surrounding the family. It is undeniable that the endless public allegations against the Bakries have never proved to be correct, but even so, the accusers have never apologized.”

He went on to attack market sources who made critical statements about the companies to the media but hid behind anonymity.

“It is sickening because those unnamed sources act as though they want to stay neutral and professional. Yet what they have added to this saga is at best speculation and at worst further confusion.”

He later attacked rating agency Moody’s, which downgraded its assessment of Bumi Resources in the midst of the conflict.

Sandiaga’s company Saratoga Capital has investments across the Indonesian economy, including stake in coal producer Adaro Energy, telecommunications company Tower Bersama and avaiation company Mandala Airlines.

In 1997, Sandiaga co-founded Recapital Advisors with high school friend Rosan Perkasa Roeslani. Rosan is a non-executive director at Bumi Plc and Recapital Advisors is affiliated with Bumi Resources, Berau and Bumi Plc.

On Tuesday, shares in Bumi Resources fell 1.5 percent to Rp 670, while shares in Berau fell 2.6 percent to Rp 147, lagging the 0.3 percent gain in the main stock gauge on the Indonesia Stock Exchange.

Jakarta second from last in location branding survey of Asian cities

How well does Jakarta do when it comes to location branding (a fancy modern word to substitute for reputation of a place)?

According to a study by Public Affairs Asia and Ogilvy PR called Location Branding 2012, not that well at all. Out of 16 cities Jakarta came 14, just above Manila.

Another dubious distinction for this city. perhaps it is time for its residents to sport more checked shirts to get the city going.


No comment on Carrefour pullout sends many messages, except a denial

Whenever we conduct media training for executives we tell them to never say “No Comment.”

The reason is simple. Whenever someone says “No Comment” the reporters and very often their readers automatically think that you have something to hide, or that you are trying to evade having to make a denial.

In the story below one of Indonesia’s richest men, Chairul Tanjung, is confronted by reporters about rumors that French retail giant Carrefour is likely to pull out of Indonesia and in that eventuality he may have to take over the entire equity of Carrefour here.

Tanjung’s response? “No Comment.” Now, what do you suppose he means by that?

CARREFOUR TINGGALKAN INDONESIA: Duh…Chairul Tanjung Irit Komentar |

Linda T Silitonga

JAKARTA—Pemilik CT Corp Chairul Tanjung mau angkat bicara soal rumor kemungkinan peritel asal Prancis Carrefour meningggalkan Indonesia.

Chairul  hanya mengatakan jangan membicarakan soal mungkin atau tidak mungkin Carrefour meninggalkan Indonesia.

Entah apa makna yang tersirat dari kalimat yang terlontar dari pengusaha dengan tubuh tinggi besar tersebut.

“Jangan bicara soal mungkin, tak mungkin,” kata Chairul  ketika ditanyakan soal kemungkinan Carrefour hengkang dari Indonesia di bandara Halim Perdanakusuma, sesaat sebelum CT  meninggalkan Indonesia menuju Mongolia dan Rusia bersama rombongan Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Rabu (5/9).

Ketika ditanyakan apakah CT berminat  untuk menguasai 100% Carrefour jika rumor tersebut benar terjadi, dia tidak berkenan menjawabnya.

Begitu juga saat ditanyakan apakah Carrefour yang menjadi peritel raksasa 5 teratas dunia punya keinginan pergi dari Indonesia, Chairul juga tidak berkenan menjawabnya.

“No comment dulu,” kata Chairul,  lalu segera berlalu.

Seperti diketahui pemilik CT Corp, Chairul Tanjung berpeluang menambah porsi kepemilikan di PT Carrefour Indonesia, jika prinsipalnya melepas saham seperti dilakukan di Yunani.

Pelepasan saham Carrefour di Yunani dilakukan menyusul langkah penyehatan neraca keuangan jaringan hipermarketnya di Eropa yang membutuhkan pembiayaan sekitar 3 miliar euro.

Sebelumnya terbetik kabar Carrefour akan menutup dua gerainya di Singapura akhir tahun ini dan mungkin melakukan hal serupa di Polandia dan Turki. (JIBI/nj)

How far would Maverick go to find talent?

How far would a comunications consultancy go to find good people?

In the case of Maverick, the place where I work, plenty far. So far that we actually created a new position of Community Curator this year where one of the main tasks of that job is to organize The Recruit.


What is The Recruit? It is several things. On one level it is our response to the dozens of requests we get each year from final year or newly graduated students for a chance at internship. In speaking to the students, some of whom had interned in other places before we realised that in many workplaces internship is a horrendous experience. Interns go to work but are treated more like gophers than anything else. The work they get to do, if they are, lucky are the leftovers from the staff, usually routine and mundane.

Usually they don’t have any choice as the number of students entering the workforce outnumber the number of internship places in companies. As a result many of them face the daunting prospect of trying to find work without the advantage of an internship experience.

At Maverick we’ve always believed that there is some great talent out there, especially among the final year or newly graduated students. We also believe that it is our obligation to make the work experience of anyone we’ve taken on board a meaningful, educational and fun one. The reasoning is that even if the intern decides to go elsewhere or into another profession when they enter the workforce, they would have been all the richer in life for the experience they’ve had.

So we combined all those thoughts and came up with The Recruit, where we will run a contest for final year and newly graduated students for an internship position at Maverick. The best of them will get a chance to intern at Maverick, where they will be involved in working for some of the huge brands that we handle. At the same time, we’ll involve then in some of the cool events Maverick organizes such as Pecha Kucha where they’ll get to meet influential and interesting people.

And if they are really good they’ll win themselves a permanent position with us. A permananet position with Maverick unlocks some of the unumsual but fun and gratifying perks we provide to our staff. Some of these perks include the Personal Development Fund, where if you work at Maverick for a year, you’ll be entitled for the Personal Development Fund of up to a month’s salary worth. You can use the fund to take a course that you’ve always wanted to help you develop personally (the course should have nothing directly to do with sork so some Mavericks in the past have taken it for learning belly dancing, diving, getting a drivers’ licence, Reiki etc). Of you can use the fund to travel to somewhere that you’ve not been before. Mavericks have used this fund to go to Santorini, Greece, Australia (to watch U2), Hong Kong and lots of other exotic places.

And we do all this because we recognize that the most crucial element in our business is talent. We are after the best talents and The Recruit, we think, is a great way to discover the best of the best talents coming into the market. So if you know of someone or is a final year communications student, then check out our website about the The Recruit
and give it a shot.

What’s in a name, when it still carries Semen?

This must qualify for one of Unspun‘s shit-for-brains tag. The Government wants to give state cement maker Semen Gresik a higher international profile.

So one of the thirst things it wants to do to make this happen is to change its name. Fair enough. Semen doesn’t exactly travel well when it crosses linguistic borders, especially in the lingua franca of international trade, English.

So in the tradition of solving the wrong problems precisely the Government is planning to change Semen Gresik’s name to – wait for it – Semen Indonesia!

Happy Friday and enjoy the weekend coming up.

Semen Gresik Eyes New Name, Higher Profile | The Jakarta Globe

.State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan said Semen Gresik, the country’s biggest cement maker, would change its name to Semen Indonesia in an effort to raise its international profile.

The change must be approved by shareholders, which could happen in October or November, the minister said on Tuesday. After the change is official, Dwi Soetjipto, the president director of Semen Gresik, will become chief executive of Semen Indonesia.

Dahlan said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had already signed off on the new name.

Semen Indonesia would group several cement makers, including Semen Padang, Semen Tonasa and Semen Rembang.

Dwi said the company was working to finalize the brand change, which he hoped would lift its international image and name recognition. All of the operational details that go along with the change should take about a year to complete, he added, without providing details.



Corporate Social Responsibility is now an industry on itself. Like all industries where consultants owe their living to, the importance of CSR is talked up to death.

Yet CSR is often not what it is cracked up to be. Companies that invest much money in their CSR programs often still get attacked, criticized and sanctioned, sometimes by their people themselves they are supposed to be helping.

Unspun’s always thought that there’s something missing about the concept of CSR. It begins with the word “responsibility.” Responsibility is about doing something that you’re obliged to do. Whether you’re passionate about it, agree or disagree with it or committed or not to it is immaterial. How much sense does it take.

Then there is Creating Shared Value, a concept advanced by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer that starts from the viewpoint that a company can’t really proper unless the society surrounding it prospers as well. Put simply it believes that a rising tide rises all ships, so its in business’ interest to create that rising tide.

Seems to me to make more sense than CSR. Here’s a bit of the debate going on in The Jakarta Post today:


Still, some say corporations need to think of their social responsibility as more than just an afterthought. Nur Shilla Christianto, vice president of communication consultancy Maverick, questions the way many corporates in Indonesia run their CSR programs. “Some do it with the best of intentions, but mostly the CSR attempts sound contrived. This is partly because of the philosophical disconnect between CSR, which is essentially philanthropy, and the imperative of a business to make money,” she said.“What makes more sense than the concept of CSR is the concept of Creating Shared Values [CSV],” Shilla adds. “Unlike CSR, CSV starts off with the premise that a business should recognize that societal needs, not just conventional economic needs, define markets. It also recognizes that social harms or weaknesses often make a company less efficient and profitable.”

via Turning over a new leaf with a corporate green conscience | The Jakarta Post.

What it’s like working with a kick ass team

Unspun’s very proud of his co-workers because they kick ass every so often. The latest ass kicking lies in the publication of Maverick’s Indonesian Journalists’ Technographic Report.

It was a team effort, spearheaded by Raconteur and Mabverick’s media relation’s team and they’ve done a superb job capturing how journalists consume and use the media. More importantly they telly why it is important for anyone interested in marketing, branding and corporate reputation building or protection.

Is Unspun blowing his horn as usual? Well, not according to Slideshare where we posted the report. Here’s the message:

If you’re interested in the results of this survey, the second one in two years, then click here.

If you want to know more you can always write to

How much do you love Brand Bakrie?

A brand, as we all know, is the manifestation of the brand promise, a reflection of the brand’s values and a mirror to its acceptance by the market.

Now, how much more electable is Golkar when associated with the Bakrie brand? Does it make you feel all warm and fuzzy or elicits violent reactions from your bile?

Unspun has no answers and so would like to solicit answers from the readers in this simple quiz.



Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie speaks during the opening of a party meeting in Jakarta in February. (Antara Photo)

Golkar Lawmakers to Spend Rp 10m Each on Bakrie-Branded Campaign Merch. | The Jakarta Globe.

Golkar Party lawmakers will have to spend Rp 10 million ($1,090) each on merchandise emblazoned with party chairman Aburizal Bakrie’s face as part of his 2014 presidential campaign, a party member said on Monday.

The purchase — which is mandatory for party members — is proof of politicians’ loyalty to the party, Golkar Party lawmaker Bambang Soesatyo said.

“We all support this move… We’re even ready to give more than Rp 10 million,” he added.

The packages– each consisting of 1,000 bags and banners — will be distributed to electoral districts in the coming weeks, explained Nurul Arifin, another party lawmaker.

Nurul said that party members were happy to purchase the goods.

“It is mandatory [to purchase] it. But, members basically don’t mind because it is part of our contribution to the party,” Nurul said.

The merchandise is part of efforts to drum up early support for the business tycoon’s 2014 presidential bid, she added.


The social media buzz: Nyunyu, Taecyeon and Multiply in Indonesia

An owl backed by big names on Twitter, K-Pop celebrity Taecyon backed by Indonesia’s avid K-pop bloggers and Multiply shifting its HQ to Indonesia are the items highlighted by the Raconteurs in this week’s installment of the Indonesian Social media scene.

Indispensable information for marketers, anyone interested into what drives the young Indonesian psyche and, yes, even our competitors. Heh.


How did on liners react to the Tugu Tani tragedy and what in blazes is KOWAWA \(´▽`)/?

Very proud of how my colleagues at Raconteur, the social media division of Maverick, are using their knowledge, savvy and expertise of the Indonesian cybersphere to keep the rest of us informed about what the online community is saying, what’s hot with them and how they are reacting to offline events, like the tragedy at Tugu Tani when a car driven by a women stoned out of her wits, ploughed into a crowd of pedestrians killing seven people including a pregnant woman and several children.

In this week’s update the Raconteurs also discuss what’s behind the online fad of using the expression “KOWAWA \(´▽`)/”, the urban legend behind the wary tweets about Nenek Guyung and how Telkomsel’s online tricks as it launches the IPhone 4S.

The idea behind these weekly updates is that old fogeys like me who aren’t on the Net as much as we should, as well as corporations and communicators who need to keep abreast of the conversations in Indonesia’s social media scene, have an easy way of accessing this information.

What do you guys think of this service?


Why RIM Blackberry may be heading for more trouble over promo gone wrong

Here’s why:

1. It took them a week before expressing regret. A week is a very long time in today’s BB Messenger-fuelled world of communications. In the meantime word has already been spreading around town about RIM’s seemingly slow response.

2. After all this time and it was short of an apology. It was only a “regret”. (You can imagine the internal debate. Executive: “Do we apologize?” Lawyer: “No. We don’t because it would open us up to lawsuits.” Well, in Canada maybe but have you considered that Indonesians apologize al the time for the small infractions and its culturally expected for someone to do so.

3. Trying to inject corporate self-serving message (“It is very important to us to continue to demonstrate that we’re a strong, responsible corporate citizen in Indonesia”) when all the public wants to know is are you sorry, do you take responsibility, are you empathic, why it happened and what you are going to do about it. Nobody wants to hear or care how strong and responsible a corporate citizen you are.

4. Pointing fingers (“We are reviewing [the contracts with Experiential and Hill & Associates], as part of the … investigation to really take a look at the details, [and] relationship, to the event,” he said) As everyone should have learned from BP’s fiasco, it doesn’t matter whether it was your vendor or contractor who is at fault, when you are a big brand and it happened under your watch, you need to take responsibility and not blame, or imply it is the fault of others.

All classic no-no’s in the practice of Crisis and Issues Management from a PR perspective.So what will happen next? If RIM is very lucky things will die down. If they are not then they may be be heading for more trouble as others react against the mistakes they are making. It’s all very unpredictable in crisis-like situations, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t minimize the potential flash points.

via RIM Regrets BlackBerry Promo Gone Wrong | The Jakarta Globe

Research In Motion said on Friday that it regretted the mad rush for the new BlackBerry smartphone on Nov. 25 that left 90 people unconscious and three injured.

“We sincerely regret that many loyal customers experienced frustration and were upset, and that some individuals suffered injuries,” Gregory Wade, RIM’s regional managing director for East Asia, told the Jakarta Globe.

He also said that staff from RIM and others involved in the event had visited hospitals to “extend our support and sympathy to those injured.”

“We are deeply committed to Indonesia and greatly value the passionate support Indonesians have shown for BlackBerry smartphones and popular apps like BBM,” he said.

“It is very important to us to continue to demonstrate that we’re a strong, responsible corporate citizen in Indonesia.”

The new BlackBerry Bold 9790 was made available first in the world in Indonesia and the first 1,000 people at the launch at Pacific Place mall had the chance to buy one for Rp 2.3 million ($255). The half-off discount attracted a huge crowd, some of whom had started lining up the day before.

Wade said the Nov. 25 event had been organized on behalf of RIM by event organizer Experiential and security consultant Hill & Associates.

“We are actively cooperating with the authorities who are investigating this incident,” he said, adding that RIM was also undertaking its own investigation.

He said the company was also conducting an internal review, focusing on preventing a similar incident happening in Indonesia.

“We are reviewing [the contracts with Experiential and Hill & Associates], as part of the … investigation to really take a look at the details, [and] relationship, to the event,” he said….

Ogilvy in Jakarta: Family or package?

Seems like interesting times are afoot in one of the largest Marketing Communications firms in Indonesia. So, is it family or package? Misunderstanding or spin?

This news and photo  from marketing-interactive com:

Mangham speaks out

By: Deepa Balji, Singapore

Published: Nov 04, 2011

Regional – Stephen Mangham has refuted Ogilvy claims that he left the group for family reasons, telling Marketing it was a personal disagreement over terms that led to his departure.

A statement from Ogilvy said that Mangham had resigned from the agency for family reasons, however Mangham has since said this is not the case.

“The role which Paul Heath (Asia Pacific CEO) outlined to me was a fascinating one – to realise the potential of Indonesia and create another India/China type operation.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t agree on the personal terms, so I decided to turn down the role and explore other options. I haven’t finalised my plans going forward, but I hope to do so soon,” he told Marketing.

His role in Indonesia was that of technical advisor PT Indo Ad.

Mangham had been a long serving group chairman at O&M’s Singapore office. His role was taken over by Fiona Gordon, who continues to lead the business out of Singapore.

Following his departure, barely more than a month into his new role, president of Ogilvy & Mather ASEAN David Mayo will step in to handle the former’s duties until a replacement is found.

“I am taking over responsibility for the Jakarta office while we search for a new chief executive officer,” Mayo said.

Rest of story  here