Warning to PR firms: Dubious client in search for someone to handle their business

Think of what’s the worst a client can do to you (apart from not paying you for work done).

That client is now looking for a PR firm for Indonesia. Be careful if you are thinking of taking them on just because they are a big brand and in a popular industry.

Tremble Facebook, Google and WhatsApp because the FPI is onto you

The FPI is known for many things but not exactly for digital or intellectual prowess. But no more. The FPI’s Secretary General for Jakarta Novel Bakumin has a novel suggestion for the faithful to avoid those Satan-inspired search engines and chat platforms with good ole Indonesian ones.

Novel imparted the information for the interview with Tirto via WhatsApp.

FPI Promosikan 3 Aplikasi Pengganti Facebook, WhatsApp, dan Google


FPI Promosikan 3 Aplikasi Pengganti Facebook, WhatsApp, dan Google
Ilustrasi Front Pembela Islam (FPI). Tirto.id/Andrey Gromico

  • Novel Bamukmin

    Novel Bamukmin

    tiMeter: -33

Reporter: M. Ahsan Ridhoi
25 Desember, 2017dibaca normal 1 menit
Novel mengirimkan tiga tautan situs aplikasi alternatif untuk menggantikan Facebook http://redaksitimes.com, pengganti Google http://geevv.com, dan pengganti WhatsApp http://callind.com.

tirto.id – Front Pembela Islam (FPI) membuktikan pernyataan mereka tentang boikot menggunakan Facebook tepat di hari Natal, Senin (25/12/2017). Sekjen DPD FPI DKI Jakarta, Novel Bamukmin mengatakan pihaknya sudah menemukan aplikasi media sosial yakni Geevv, Callind, dan Redaksitimes.

Kepada Tirto, Novel mengirimkan tiga tautan situs aplikasi alternatif untuk menggantikan Facebookhttp://redaksitimes.com, pengganti Googlehttp://geevv.com, dan pengganti WhatsApphttp://callind.com.

Menurut Novel, ketiga aplikasi tersebut masih dalam tahap pengembangan, tapi sudah layak untuk digunakan dan bisa dijadikan alternatif selain FacebookWhatsApp, dan Google yang menurutnya produk Amerika Serikat.

“Cintai produk-produk Indonesia untuk kebangkitan bangsa,” kata Novel kepada Tirto saat dihubungi melalui pesan WhatsApp.

Reporter: M. Ahsan Ridhoi

25 Desember, 2017

Ketiga aplikasi masih dalam tahap pengembangan, tapi sudah layak untuk digunakan.

Novel mengirimkan tiga tautan situs aplikasi alternatif untuk menggantikan Facebook http://redaksitimes.com, pengganti Google http://geevv.com, dan pengganti WhatsApp http://callind.com. tirto.id – Front Pembela Islam (FPI) membuktikan pernyataan mereka tentang boikot menggunakan Facebook tepat di hari Natal, Senin (25/12/2017).

Sekjen DPD FPI DKI Jakarta, Novel Bamukmin mengatakan pihaknya sudah menemukan aplikasi media sosial yakni Geevv, Callind, dan Redaksitimes. Kepada Tirto, Novel mengirimkan tiga tautan situs aplikasi alternatif untuk menggantikan Facebook: http://redaksitimes.com, pengganti Google: http://geevv.com, dan pengganti WhatsApp: http://callind.com.

Menurut Novel, ketiga aplikasi tersebut masih dalam tahap pengembangan, tapi sudah layak untuk digunakan dan bisa dijadikan alternatif selain Facebook, WhatsApp, dan Google yang menurutnya produk Amerika Serikat.

“Cintai produk-produk Indonesia untuk kebangkitan bangsa,” kata Novel kepada Tirto saat dihubungi melalui pesan WhatsApp.

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That ahensi influencer blacklist

A blacklist, apparently compiled by communications agency professionals of social media influencers, caused a stir last week when it began to be circulated over Whatsapp groups and then on social media.

The list divided these influencers, aka KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) aka Buzzers into those with Bad and Good Behavior and invited comments. Since it was prepared on Google Docs it was a collaborative effort to list down agencies’ experience in dealing with the influencers.

Bad Behaviour included not keeping to deadlines, acting like prima donnas, having managers that were difficult, not delivering what was promised and shoddy work. Good Behaviour was generally the opposite.

As expected, anak ahensi, influencers and wannabe influencers took to Twitter and other social platforms to express their approval or disdain for such a list and affront what the Brahmin class of the Netizenry. After all, who dared to question the behaviour of the influencers who theoretically commanded thousands and thousands of followers and supposedly can influence them?

The fact that some anak ahensi did, and that heaven did not fall on their heads, however, is quite telling of the influence of the influencers. Some, such as Elinor Cohen,  would say that it exposes the fact that the Influencer Emperors has no clothes. I think a bit differently, that Naked Emperors have some function – to attract attention and therefore to build awareness of a brand or some messaging. But that’s where their usefulness stops as they hardly influence decisions to buy or change attitudes.

So why then do clients and their marketeers turn to the influencers? I’d think its largely because of laziness and fear.

Laziness because without outsourcing the noise making business to influencers, the marketers would have to work very hard to generate the kind of content that keeps them relevant to their audiences. So they get the agencies to hire the influencers who generate noise, that in turn generate impressions, reach and sometimes even engagement. But does all of this help push the sales of their products or change attitudes toward a brand? Questionable.

Fear is the other motivator that keeps influencers employed. Clients do not want to confront the fact that with social media the audience rather than the brands is in control. And the end of the day there is no guarantee that the customer would be herded down the Purchase Funnel to buy your products. So they resort to agencies who resort to professional noise makers.

The Blacklist has since been taken down in the social media hubbub that followed. But it’s actually a good thing. Although some of the influencers are a joy to work with many of them are very young – in their early 20s – who discover they have a knack of attracting followers because they can amuse them with their passion for clothes, make up or other past times or propensity to scold others with acerbic wit.

The path from nobody to Influencer for  them is short and devoid of the many stumbles and lessons learned along the way. As such, many of these influencers exhibit the behaviour of people with arrested development, relative children suddenly vested with great superpowers before they learned responsibility, the art of getting along with others and the compromises that one has to make in a collaborative effort. Hence the list of bad behaviour.

If some of these influencers can come to grips that the Blacklist is good, honest feedback then there is hope that they would mature faster and be great guys to work with. If they decide to take umbrage then it’s likely that they will flame out within a short time as the Net throws up influencers by the hundreds every few weeks and the some form or other of The Blacklist would persist, probably in closed social media channels such as WhatsaApp.

As a payback to this Blacklist, some in the influencer camp has threatened to come up with a Blacklist of their own – of agencies who delay payment to the influencers and other vendors for services rendered. I think it would be a good thing if they came up with such a list. There are too many agencies who delay payment to their vendors because the client has yet to pay them.This is unfair on the vendors, some of whom are freelancers or small outfits who rely on a steady cash flow and timely payments to stay in business. Agencies should honour their agreements with their vendors, and if clients do not pay them that shuld not be an excuse to renege on this agreement.

I guess the lesson here is that Blacklists may have silver linings. One of the things the Net does well is to make things more transparent and more transparency can only be the better for the communications business, large swaths of which are riddled with unprofessional and unethical behaviour, both on the side of the influencers and agencies.

Let there be more light.










On why Maverick will not go to Singapore to accept an award it has won

Why, if we have won a regional PR award for Crisis Management, will we not attend the awards ceremony in Singapore next month?  I explain why in the post below in the Maverick blog.


Flushed with our Gold Standard Award for Issues Management and Crisis Communications in Hong Kong in December last year, we thought we should submit our work for another award. This new one one is run by a marketing portal that includes public relations as one of its disciplines, confident that our work will win an award.

True enough, we got shortlisted!

And that’s when the disillusionment began.

We were informed that our submission had been shortlisted as a finalist in the Crisis Management category earlier this week via a phone call followed by an email with the subject: “Pop the champagne, stamp your victory and take a bow in front of your peers in the PR industry!”…

Read more here…

Are environmental NGOs cowed into silence about the industry most responsible for environmental destruction?

This is what I wrote for The Palm Scribe, a platform focussed on the development of the palm oil industry in Indonesia. 

“Suggest you watch the documentary “Cowspiracy” if you have Netflix,” said the cryptic message from a friend of mine in the palm oil industry.

I took his suggestion, watched the documentary that allegedly exposes the hypocrisy of the world’s largest environmental NGOs such as Greenpeace and the Rainforest Action Network in attacking industries such as palm oil, pulp and paper and mining for deforestation while steering clear of the biggest culprit of deforestation – animal agriculture.

There, in the documentary, officially called Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, is a lesson and a half for palm oil growers on how to deal with the likes of Greenpeace and the Rainforest Network.

But first a bit about the documentary.

Made in 2014, the thrust of the documentary posits an important question: Since animal agriculture is the main driver of environmental destruction (from the methane emissions, water consumption, deforestation because of land needed to feed and graze cattle) why are these NGOs not going after the cattle industry as they do the palm oil, pulp and paper and mining industries?

Read more here

An actual story of Indonesia’s loss because of the LGBT madness

It says a lot about Indonesia today that when an employee of mine recently quit his job to apply for asylum in Canada on grounds that he’s gay and feels discriminated against in Indonesia, they not only put him on the Protected Person’s list as they usually do to asylum seekers – they classified him as a refugee instead.

He now has to undergo some procedural hoops but it looks like he will be accepted by Canada, who will now gain a productive, caring and professional person. Indonesia, on the other hand has lost someone like him that could have contributed so much to the social and economic development that it so needs.

Z had been working for me for the past five years. He had been a journalist and when he started off at our workplace he was tentative and unsure of himself. He quickly picked up the needed skills and soon became one of our potential consultants.

One of the things he enjoyed most about our office was that we accepted him for what he was. The other was the Personal Development Fund we had for consultants who completed each year of service. They could use the fund, that amounted to a month’s salary to develop themselves personally, not professionally. We do this because we feel that people who have an active life outside the confines of the office make the best consultants as they would then have new perspectives, knowledge and experience to bring to the table.

Z mae the most of the personal development fund, traveling to Europe and Egypt with it. But his wanderlust wasn’t slaked by these forays and in 2015 he applied for a Sabbatical to travel and work overseas. He applied and received a Work and Travel visa from Australia and spent about a year traveling and working. He then crossed the Atlantic and went to the US.

Overseas, he got something that he could not find in Indonesia – not only tolerance but acceptance of the fact that he was gay. Then, circumstances intervened and for family reasons he had to come back to Indonesia. h began to work for us again and this time around his traveling had contributed to his experiences and world view, making him a much stronger professional.

He had become so good at what he did that I could delegate tasks to him and not worry about the quality. And when a client needed help in one of the most remote and difficult parts of Indonesia, working under very stressful and demanding conditions where he had to advice and push back against unreasonable demands, I felt comfortable sending him to lead the team.

He was to stay there for close to a year with only short R&R breaks in between. In his stay he had to endure sniper fire, labor strikes and violent destruction of property directed at our clients. He also lived through a mud slide and flooding that destroyed parts of the work site, even it was 2,300 meters above sea level and in remote mountains.

There were times when he felt it was too much but he bore it all with good grace and turned in a stellar performance that not only won the clients’ hearts and praise but also won for us a prestigious regional award for crisis management.

By any count Z was an asset to us. if I had more people like him I would be able to grow our company much faster, provide more jobs and even better working conditions to our employees. If Indonesia had more people like him we would be able to attract more investors who need skilled professionals to propel its national development.

But we have now lost him to Canada. When explaining his move Z told us that his one wish when he first joined us was to travel, travel and travel. Working at our workplace allowed him to do that with the Personal Development Fund and our decision to allow him to go on Sabbatical allowed him to travel more.

Paradoxically, however, all that travel made him want to settle down more. Now all he wants is to have a partner, kids, house – and a dog. This is something that most of us want but just because he has a different sexual orientation he no longer feels safe or welcome because of the rising intolerance, not least to the LGBT community that has become so shrill lately in Indonesia, his own country.

He feels so persecuted that he is willing to uproot himself to seek asylum in a county that he has not been before. I applaud his courage and hope he finds everything he is looking for in Canada. He’s Canada’s gain and our loss.

What has become of you of late Indonesia?

Note: For Z’s account of his adventures since landing in Canada check out this link: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/92959508/posts/3221


Two sides of IDX head Tito Sulistio in balcony collapse incident

Is Indonesian Exchange President Director Tito Sulistio a callused, professional devoid of any empathy or a caring man of action who responded selflessly and bravely to the disaster when the balcony of the stock exchange building collapsed yesterday?

Well, it depends on which aspect you see and base your impression of the man on.

If you see how he reacted to reporter’s questions, as in the videoclip below that went viral on Twitter, you’d probably come to the conclusion that he’s insensitive, and a bit of a self-perceived macho kinda guy.

That was the conclusion you’d come to when watching the video. The almost defensive insistence that the trading system is unaffected against a few injuries, gives one the impression that he doesn’t care about the injured victims and all he’s concerned with is that the trading resumes. Visually he had a couple of buttons undone on his shirt and a gelang (bracelet) that is more associated with preman than professionals (The parking attendandant at Beautika on Jalan Moestopo sports one as well).

But there is more than meets the eye with Tito.

Apparently he was looking a bit dishevelled in the interview because he had been busy helping carry victims to safety and, according to the Twitter user below, had had his jacket on but had used it to wipe the blood from the would of one of the victims. So it seems that his unkempt look came because he was too busy attending to the victims rather than his looks.

So there we have it: the appearance and the reality. Which should public office holders prioritize in emergency situations?

Both, is the answer. The reason is that the thousands and maybe millions of people out there who have no easy and thorough access to information will judge Tito and the IDX based on what he says, and how he says it, to reporters. They will see only what is on a videoclip or television segment and react from there.

On this score Tirto and the IDX seems ill prepared. He should have expressed sympathy for the victims, explained to the best of his knowledge what happened, why and what he plans to do about the situation. This is called the 3Rs of crisis communications – Regret, Reason and Remedy. Anything less than three elements in a crisis-like situation and the audience is likely to come to the wrong conclusions about your motives, sensitivity and ability to bring things under control.

The visual cues the spokesperson sends during his media interview, even door-stop ones, are also important. If he has to stop to speak to the media he should be trained to ensure that he looks composed and in control. He may roll up his sleeves but a couple of buttons undone sends the wrong signal. And that bracelet. Tirto needs to ask himself what signs that sends out, even in non-crisis-like situations.

Some would say that it’s not fair to expect him to be mindful of being media savvy in such a turbulent moment, but hie is in public office and during moments of crisis or disasters the public needs people like him to stand forth and point the way. It is not fair but that is one of the demands of high office. Its not fair but its life. Like it or not, one has to deal with it.