Three is a good number

This is a post I wrote in Maverick’s blog about us winning the Agency of the Year award for the third year running.

Satisfied is a word that comes to mind. But also paranoid because I’d sure like to see us retain that title for the next few years coming, as well as winning other awards. There’s just no pleasing some people.

On being MIX’s Agency of the Year – for the 3rd year running

We are delighted to read the October edition of marketing communications MIX, in which Maverick was named Agency of the Year 2013 – for the third  year running.

Journalists were polled by the magazine and asked which PR firm they thought had the best media relations. They apparently voted for Maverick for the third year running, so although we think that PR is much, much more than just media relations and that we are more of a consultancy rather than an agency, we are still pleased by the verdict.

This recognition is important to us because it means that one of our most important “customers” thinks highly of us (the other is the client, who usually vote with their check books and we’ve been fortunate in that area as well). To have journalists giving us the thumbs up on how PR people should deal with them is a rare endorsement as journalists are one hard crowd to please.

23-10-13 MIX 2

As a partner in Maverick I  was interviewed by the magazine as a prelude to their announcement of the award. I was asked how Maverick could consistently be at the top of the media relations game for three years running and I told them that there was no big secret to media relations. All we had to do is adopt a customer service mentality when it comes to dealing with journalists. We need to understand what they want, when they want it  and how best to give it to them.

Journalists don’t want spin and they despise PR people who go to them with a begging bowl instead of a strong, newsworthy story . And they usually want the information now, or as early as possible before their deadline. So what all the Mavericks are trained to do is to work with our clients so that they have a great story to tell instead of the usual corporate pabulum that their executives are so fond of. We also, using all our skills as consultants, remind, cajole and sometimes push our clients to meet the deadlines.

The tricky part is to have a team of colleagues that understand this and work relentless to super-please the journalist-customer. In this we are very fortunate to work with a great team of consultants who are probably the best customer service professionals on top of their communications and specialised skills. So a shoutout to the Mavbros and Mavchicks, as they like to call themselves, in the Corporate and Marketing Communications practices as well as the specialists in Digital, Research and Monitoring, Design, Community Engagement, Training and, of course, Media Relations.

And a big thank you journalist friends for voting us Agency of the Year once again. We’ll continue to try our best in serving you together with our clients.

Appalling malls

Interesting article but isn’t an important question being left out in this article here? What sort of spatial planning does the city have or implements to allow that many malls? If only journalists would ask the right questions, we can hope to have a better city.

Jakarta’s Mall Boom Driven by Foreign Retailers | The Jakarta Globe

Just when you thought Jakarta may sink beneath the combined mass of the city’s 130-plus malls, a further 313,500 square meters of retail space has been announced, with just three large malls contributing 83 percent of the increase.

The largest of them is St. Moritz in West Jakarta with 129,200 square meters, followed by Ciputra World in South Jakarta and Green Bay Mall in West Jakarta, with 78,000 and 52,000 square meters respectively. St. Moritz is being built by Lippo Karawaci, while Agung Podomoro is the developer of Green Bay Mall.

Ferry Salanto, the director of research at Colliers International Indonesia, said that the developers of those three malls have strategies in place to secure tenants for their malls.

“If they hadn’t secured tenants they would not build the malls,” Ferry said last week.

Local developers have their own flagship tenants when opening up new malls, such as Lippo’s deal with Debenhams and Parkson, and Ciputra’s with Lotte.

Artadinata Djangkar, a director at Ciputra Property, which is responsible for Ciputra World, said the entrance of foreign retailers has increased demand for more retailing space in Jakarta.

In the past two years alone, several international retailers have set sail for Indonesia. Besides South Korea’s Lotte, there is Parkson from Malaysia, Japan’s Aeon and Thailand’s Sentral Group.

The presence of these chains creates lucrative business opportunities for local developers. Ciputra World 1 will cost its developer Ciputra $130 million, while Lippo’s St. Moritz mall is a part of the $1.2 billion mixed-use St. Mortiz Penthouses & Residences project.

Setyo Maharso, the chairman of Indonesian Real Estate Association (REI), said that the strong demand for retailing space is tracking a steadily growing property market. “It is because [malls] are the supporting facilities of neighborhoods and cities,” he added.

With strong economic growth and rising purchasing power, Setyo predicted that the property market will grow between 10 percent and 15 percent this year.

Colliers’ Ferry said that property developers still needed to advance their understanding of mall management in order to generate more revenue.

He said that there are two types of mall in operation in Jakarta, the first being “community malls,” whose visitors are mostly people from the surrounding area, and “destination malls,” which hope to attract visitors from distant areas.

Ferry said that mall construction will slow next year, due to the Jakarta government’s ongoing moratorium on mall construction, introduced in 2011.

He added the policy would encourage more malls to be constructed in regions surrounding Jakarta.

Ferry said that the four regions surrounding Jakarta tended to take turns to host new malls.

“This year, there are more new malls in Bekasi [then the other three regions]. We predict that in 2014, there will be more new malls in Tangerang,” Ferry said.

 

Bloomberg TV in Indonesia – how should businesses cope?

One for the record. Will this up the game for TV business news reporting in Indonesia? What would it mean for companies operating here? Do they need to have better media handling skills to take advantage of this development?

 

Bloomberg Television Expands to Indonesia, 21 Years After Bureau Opening | The Jakarta Globe.

Bloomberg LP will start broadcasting Bloomberg Television Indonesia in May, more than 20 years after the financial news and information giant opened a bureau in the world’s fourth-most populous country and Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

Andrew Lack, chief executive of Bloomberg Media Group, said that Indonesia had huge potential as a market for media content. Bloomberg LP established the Bloomberg Media Group — a combination of its television, print, radio, mobile and digital media properties — in 2011.

Indonesia’s economy grew 6.2 percent in 2012, among the fastest in the Asia-Pacific region and faster than developed economies in Europe and North America. Among the 10 Asean member states, only the Philippine economy expanded at a faster pace.

“When you are in the finance and business information business, you’ve been watching Indonesia in the past several years … I ask, ‘How do I get to Indonesia and how soon?’” Lack said on Thursday.

A survey by market researcher Nielsen in 2010 estimated that there were around 50 million TV viewers in Indonesia, of which around three million were pay TV viewers. Indonesia has a population of more than 240 million people. Bloomberg LP says on its website that the Bloomberg Television network is available in more than 310 million homes worldwide.

To set up its Indonesia operation, Bloomberg Television has formed a partnership with Idea Group, a media holding company backed by Recapital Group, which is headed by Sandiaga Uno and Rosan Roeslani. Idea Group was also behind the creation of the online marketplace Bukalapak.com.

Adithya Chandra Wardhana, the chief executive of Bloomberg Television Indonesia, said that it planned to work with existing broadcast companies in Indonesia on free-to-air, pay TV, Internet and mobile platforms.

Adithya said that the company had secured a deal with local regional television networks such as Jakarta TV in the capital region, Surabaya TV in East Java and Depok TV in West Java. Bloomberg Television Indonesia is also in talks with Makassar TV to provide content for the eastern part of the country.

Bloomberg Television Indonesia is also in talks with several major pay television networks, Adithya said, but declined to name them, as the deals have yet to be finalized. “We target middle-, upper-class and affluent audiences. We will be the only television network that specializes in business and financial news here,” he said.

“We will create business content in Bahasa Indonesia, about 80 percent local and 20 percent international.”

The company has recruited Kania Sutisnawinata and Tomy Tjokro, both of whom are former Metro TV news anchors, and 50 other journalists.

Bloomberg Television Indonesia will also air live from the Indonesia Stock Exchange every day to its global network, which is expected to benefit Indonesia.

“I think Indonesia will benefit most from the exposure that we bring,” said Parameshwaran Ravindranathan, head of Asia Pacific for Bloomberg Television, based in Hong Kong.

The vibrancy of The Jakarta Globe’s editorial pages

The vibrancy of a newspaper’s opinion page usually lies with the letters to the editor, arguing for or against a proffered opinion from its stable of writers.

By this measure The Jakarta Globe certainly has a vibrant editorial page, if only online.

The recent opinion piece by Berita Satu Media Holdings group publisher (below) is unorthodox, to say the least, in the ideas it expresses but the real gem there are the comments that its readers have posted. Not since the Globe’s Lady Gaga editorial has The Jakarta Globe attracted such diverse comments.

So Bravo Jakarta Globe for the vibrancy and efforts to keep free speech alive. Make sure you click on the link and go to the comments.

Letter to the Editor: For Jakarta Deputy Governor, a Post-Meeting Memo | The Jakarta Globe

Thursday afternoon, at around 6:15 p.m., was a painful moment for me, a resident of Jakarta who had the noble intention of meeting with his deputy governor to provide input on efforts to overcome the city’s many problems. I appreciated the fact that Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama clearly wanted to engage with citizens and had quickly agreed to the meeting. But the experience soon turned into a bitter one because of the inappropriate behavior of the deputy governor and the presence of individuals who were not officials but who appeared to have an exclusive right to be inside the working office of the deputy governor.

As a citizen hoping for a sign that there would be something different compared to the leadership of the previous governor, I came with ideas I thought worthy of consideration — such as a short-term answer to Jakarta’s notorious traffic congestion.

I am fully aware that I am no expert in city planning, or an expert in overcoming transportation problems. But as a resident of the city, I feel called to contribute to progress. The idea proposed may not have been a holistic solution, but a leader should at some point have the courage to make a decision, no matter how hard this is, rather than basking in a never-ending discourse. Residents are tired of hearing their leaders complain or blame each other. What residents are waiting for are breakthrough policies that could at least signal that there is an effort by the government to improve conditions.

Back to the atmosphere at the meeting that afternoon.

After some brief small talk, I presented the idea to help reduce congestion through vehicle-color-based restrictions on certain roads — an idea that I have presented on various occasions since 2010. For this Thursday afternoon, I had prepared a paper explaining this effort, which I was to hand over to the deputy governor after the brief presentation.

The gist of my thinking is that whatever the policy undertaken by the government, it should at least show the public that it has the courage to try and take steps that could be implemented in a brief period of time. The most logical solution, I think, is to manage the traffic based on a restriction on vehicles. Of course, the government should at the same time work hard to prepare a solution that is more holistic and long-term.

However, I had not even completed my explanation of the main points before the deputy governor interrupted to say that there already is an abundance of studies on how to alleviate the city’s congestion. Some in a regulatory form, others involving a rejuvenation of the fleet of city buses and also long-term solutions through better management of macro transportation patterns. But whichever choice is made, these are not short-term solutions, as all would need time. Each proposal has its own weakness and could prompt protests from the public if implemented.

I do understand what the deputy governor was saying about the difficulties the authorities were facing, but as a leader, it would have been great if the deputy governor had been able to listen enthusiastically and respectfully — paying full attention to his conversation partner and allowing him to make his point.

But what happened instead? The deputy governor’s warm and friendly welcome was quickly overshadowed by a situation that was certainly not worthy of a deputy governor and his close entourage. While I was explaining the reasons for the visit that afternoon — to try and help create short-term breakthroughs to curb traffic congestion — the deputy governor was busy typing on his BlackBerry.

I initially thought the deputy governor was busy processing my input, but it turned out that he was in fact communicating with others. Even more painful was that while the deputy governor was busy with his own thoughts, a member of his staff repeatedly interrupted the conversation and addressed the deputy governor using the “loe-gue” jargon for “you” and “me.” I really did not get the impression that I was in the office of a deputy governor. Civility and protocol were simply ignored. This is something that is unacceptable in our culture.

The deputy governor’s attempt to strive for egalitarianism, to not overly crave respect and to try to avoid excessive protocol is commendable and should be supported. However, this does not mean that in a civilized society, the deputy governor’s working environment can do away with the spirit of respecting the institution of a deputy governor as a symbol of leadership. The loe-gue jargon is perfectly acceptable in daily interaction, but it is not appropriate for use in the official environment of a leader like the capital city’s deputy governor.

The encounter offers a valuable lesson for those who have chosen to dedicate their lives to public service: learn to be a role model for the people, learn to listen. And stop complaining and blaming each other, because now is the time to really do something.

Peter F. Gontha is the group publisher of BeritaSatu Media Holdings, of which the Jakarta Globe is a part.

 

What is the end game for all social media investments?

Unspun was conducting a social media workshop recently when the topic settled on KPIs – Key Performance Indicators. The answer was simple but I could tell it was unsatisfying to the audience: it depends.

The audience wanted definite answers to tell them when they were getting their money’s worth if they poured money and resources into using social media to connect with their audiences. It would have been easy to pull one of the metrics suggested by off-the-shelf social media monitoring systems and tell them that that was it; or, try to convince them that hashtags and followers/fans are an indication; or even the by-now-ubiquitious “engagement” metrics mainly of comments to a Facebook posting.

The problem, however, was that we had decided to embark on the road less taken by many communications consultants: to tell the truth even when it can be inconvenient.

And the truth is simple. If you subject an organization or brand’s social media efforts to the question: “What is the end game of getting into social media?” the long-term answer must be “to build belief in the organization/brand.”

This is because on the Net, the audience has an overabundance of choice. The audience is also skeptical and  yet prone to what behavioral and cognitive scientists call System 1 Thinking. In less than a blink of an eye, if you are less than “trustworthy” you would have lost them, perhaps forever.

What this means for organizations and brands, more than ever, is for them to develop a distinct point of view — and, if you are old-fashioned, you could call it character — and use this as a compass to navigate themselves through the virtual sea.

Will this result in the organizations and brands increasing their sales? Not necessary. And this is the scary part for most business entities – to contemplate investing in social media that may not yield immediate bottom line results.

Yet what choice is there in a world dominated by the the Net where social media levels the playing field like never before and overwhelms its denizens with so much choice they have difficulty picking one from the other. Should trust be the new metric for social media?

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.

Walhi scores court victory in Aceh

Something for issues managers to watch out for: Walhi’s success in getting the Medan District Court to revoke a business permit by an oil company to mine in a peatland. Unfortunately, the story does not say whether there are other similar cases, make it difficult to ascertain whether such favorable decisions for environmentalists is part of a trend.

To Unspun’s knowledge, however, such victories by environmentalists against business are rare. Worth keeping a watch for cases like these.

Court grants Walhi appeal, cancels plantation permit in Aceh

Sita W. Dewi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah has been instructed to revoke a legally problematic business permit owned by oil company, PT Kallista Alam, which operates in the carbon-rich Tripa peat swamps in Nagan Raya regency, Aceh, by the Medan Administrative Court after granting an appeal filed by the Aceh chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi).

The permit was granted to the company by former Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf on Aug. 25, 2011, contradicting Presidential Instruction No. 10/2011 on the moratorium of new permits in primary forests and peatland conversion areas.

Walhi Aceh’s executive director, Teuku Muhammad Zulfikar, applauded the verdict, which was signed by a panel of judges led by Arpani Mansur on Aug. 30, saying it was an important ruling supporting efforts to protect more than 61,000 hectares of Tripa peatland.

“We urge the Aceh governor to immediately follow up the verdict by revoking the company’s permit, as well as evaluating all permits owned by other oil palm companies operating in the area,” Zulfikar said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post Digital on Wednesday.

Tripa peat swamp is peatland with a depth of three meters or more, meaning it is protected under a 1990 presidential decree.

PT Kallista Alam is also the subject of an ongoing investigation by the National Police for allegedly illegally burning the protected peat swamp to convert the area into an oil palm plantation, further threatening the ecosystem of about 200 orangutans that live in the area.