The Buzz about Buzzers in Indonesia

So here we have it, the widespread use of buzzers in Indonesia to push the products or brands of companies.

The questions marketers need to ask before they embark on their next foray with buzzers are these:

  1. What competitive advantage is there for their brand when their competitors are all also doing the same – paying buzzers to endorse or “create buzz” around a product or event?
  2. Is there any credibility in it at all given that everyone using social media knows that buzzers are guns for hire and are a promiscuous lot? If there isn’t, what’s the point of using the buzzers?
  3. Are brands squandering their resources by using buzzers, since it is transplanting the old world practice of using Key Opinion Leaders to influence others? That idea is grounded in Edward Bernays’s theory of Influencing the Influencers that is at least 85 years old. A lot has happened since then, specifically the social media that renders most things transparent and demands authenticity and relevance from brands
  4. Shouldn’t brands focus more on how they can use social media to create a great customer experience for their audiences instead?

 

In Indonesia, buzzers not heard but tweet for money – RTRS
23-Aug-2013 04:00
By Andjarsari Paramaditha
JAKARTA, Aug 23 (Reuters) – In Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, a buzzer is not an alarm or a bell, but someone with a Twitter account and more than 2,000 followers who is paid to tweet.
Jakarta is the world’s tweet capital and advertisers eager to reach the under-30 crowd are paying popular Twitter users to spread their word through social media, starting at about $21 per tweet.
While celebrity endorsements via Twitter are common worldwide, Indonesia is unusual because advertisers are paying the Average Joes too.
These Twitter “buzzers” send short messages promoting brands or products to their followers, usually during rush hour, 7 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m., when Jakarta’s notorious traffic jams create a captive audience with time to scan their mobile phones.
Jakarta has more Twitter users than any other city In the world, according to Semiocast, a social media market researcher, and Indonesia is home to the world’s fourth-largest population, with half the people under 30. All ingredients for a social media marketer’s dream.
“Indonesians love to chat. We love to share. We are community driven as a culture. For us it’s very easy to adopt social media because it is a channel through which we can express our opinions,” said Nanda Ivens, chief operating officer at XM Gravity Indonesia, a digital marketing unit of London-listed advertising giant WPP Group WPP.L.
For advertisers, using Twitter buzzers is a way to personalise the pitch, connecting someone who may have a special interest in a product with like-minded potential customers. A local photography buff, for example, would be a good target for a camera company.
An effective social media campaign will generate real conversations and genuine endorsements, said Thomas Crampton, Hong Kong-based social media director at advertising firm Ogilvy. But one issue with paid buzzers is that they may be seen as endorsing something only for the money.
“It’s not going to be transparent to the people reading the Twitter feed whether they’re being paid, and that’s not very honest,” said Crampton.
“The followers will see that this guy is for sale. It’s really like talking to a friend. If your friend is being paid to tell you something then a) you wouldn’t consider that person your friend and b) you’re not going to believe them.”

MEASURING SUCCESS
PT Nestle Indonesia, a unit of global food company Nestle SA NESN.VX, counts teenage pop singer Raisa (@raisa6690) and heartthrob actor Nicholas Saputra (@nicsap) among its brand ambassadors. They recently tweeted their experiences at a large Sumatra coffee plantation in a campaign supported by hired buzzers who were retweeting the celebrities’ comments and other sponsored messages from the company.
The challenge is measuring success.
“We do have quantitative measurement, which is the number of followers, the number of likes and the number of clicks,” said Patrick Stillhart, head of the coffee business at PT Nestle Indonesia. “But how do we relate that to brands and sales? There’s left a question mark.”
Stillhart said the company uses social media for more than a dozen brands and about 15 percent of its advertising spending goes to digital media. Apart from Nestle, competitor Unilever Indonesia UNVR.JK also followed similar path for their products.
Sometimes things go wrong.
Prabowo (@bowdat), 33, who quit his day job two years ago to scout for buzzers, recalled one cautionary tale about tweets meant to promote an Android product 005930.KS that were sent through a rival BlackBerry BB.TO or iPhone AAPL.O device. Followers could see the gaffe because tweets often include an automatic tag indicating how the message was posted.
Stand-up comedian Ernest Prakasa (@ernestprakasa) fell afoul of the “twitterverse” last year while promoting the Mini Cooper, a popular car made by BMW Group BMWG.DE
“There was a viral video. The idea was, I had to pretend to be locked in a container for several hours and then I escaped with the car. I was asked to act as if I was captured,” said the 30-year-old, who charges advertisers 7 million rupiah ($670) for 10 tweets.
Some of his friends didn’t realise it was an act, and began retweeting he had been kidnapped. They were furious when told it was an advertising gimmick.
“I was cursed at, accused of only trying to create a sensation. I had around 15,000 followers so I didn’t think it could become big. But I also learned that whenever this sort of fiasco happens, stay silent. It won’t last more than two days. Something new will come along and people will forget anyway.” ($1 = 10,490 Indonesian rupiah)

(Additional reporting by Jeremy Wagstaff, Editing by Jonathan Thatcher and Raju Gopalakhrisnan) ((andjarsari.p@thomsonreuters.com)(+62 21 3199 7170)(Reuters Messaging: andjarsari.p.thomsonreuters.com@thomsonreuters.net))

The uncreative PR industry

Last month Unspun was speaking at the International PR Summit in Bali. The talk was entitled was “Sleeping with the Enemy” where essentially Unspun lamented how the Advertising Industry — in defiance of Al Reis’s prediction about The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR — has not only checked its fall but have encroached on PR territory in the use of social media and being very creative in doing so.

The talk was delivered at the Spikes Asia Awards in Singapore and in this year they had a PR category. The submissions for this category were very creative and well documented and packaged. The only trouble with them was that they were all the work of advertising companies, but packed so that it looked like PR programs so they can add another award to their shelves.

No shame in that for the Advertising industry. But shame for the PR industry players who are consistently outclassed by their advertising brethren when it comes to submissions for such awards. And in the creatie ideas employed in the programs.

The study mentioned below is further corroboration that the PR industry needs to jolt itself out of its smugness and be more creative. 

By Staff Reporters on Nov 20, 2012 (1 day 6 hours ago) filed under PR , Asia-Pacific

GLOBAL – Nearly two-thirds of PR professionals agree that it’s fair to criticise their industry for lacking creative ideas, and about half would label the industry’s creative output as no better than “ordinary”, according to a study published by The Holmes Report in collaboration with Ketchum and No Go Create.

PR industry recognises importance of creativity, but lacks big ideas: study
Just 6 per cent label PR-industry creativity as “inspirational”

Titled ‘Creativity in PR: A Global Study’, the report (available in PDF form , or below) is based on a worldwide survey of more than 600 people in 35 countries. Respondents included agency and in-house and a diverse a range of industries and sectors covering consumer, corporate, healthcare, technology, digital and public affairs practices.

The report found that just 6 per cent of respondents labelled PR-industry creativity as “inspirational”, while one in 10 described creativity as “unsatisfactory” and 6 per cent said it was “poor” or “non-existent”.

The PR professionals surveyed acknowledged the importance of creativity (95 per cent) and consider themselves to be creative individuals (89 per cent). So why is the industry not delivering more creativity? Popular answers included a lack of time (65 per cent), overworked staff (37 per cent) and a lack of clear creative objectives that hampers personal and organisational creativity (33 per cent).

Asia-Pacific respondents viewed the industry’s creativity in a worse light than those in North America. Among Asia-Pacific respondents, only 37 per cent see PR creativity as “good’ or “inspirational”, while 20 per cent find it “unsatisfactory” or worse. The corresponding numbers in North America were 51 per cent and 11 per cent.

Other findings:

  • 42 percent of businesses don’t reward or incentivise creativity.
  • 35 percent don’t use any specific interview methods to assess creativity in potential employees.
  • 40 percent of clients said their agencies could do better when it came to their creative capabilities.
  • Just 16 percent were consistently happy with these capabilities
  • 23 percent said they were not happy with their firm’s creative capabilities.

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?

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.

20120910-143200.jpg

Ernest Prakasa’s failed viral campaign and Kathy Perry’s kiss

Why are Indonesian onliners peeved off by Ernest Prakasa’s pleas of help after his “kidnap”; what are they saying about visiting megastar Kathy Perry’s kiss and what do Indonesian onliners have to say about what’s happening about half the world away – America’s Stop Online Piracy Act?

Find out and keep abreast of what’s buzzing in Indonesia’s social media hive in a weekly update started by Unspun’s colleagues at Raconteur here

Gong Xi Fa Cai everyone. .

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

The trouble with contests and awards

There’s been much comment and discontent about Indonesia’s poor showing in the New 7 Wonders of The World Contest. In the conversation led by, among others, The Indonesian blogosphere’s Comeback Kid, Priyadi, many Indonesians are criticizing the methodology of how the New 7 Wonders were chosen.

The problem in their arguments, however, is that Indonesia chose willingly to enter into the contest, knowing full well that the selection process may not hold a candle next to Ceasar’s wife, so it is a bit churlish to complain when, having been complicit in the progress of the competition, you turn around and criticize the organizers.

Unfortunately, however, most of us – Unspun included – are suckers for that whatever slim chance at recognition and victory that we tend to overlook the flaws of a contest or award, only to have these very same flows come back in their mocking glory when we do not win any prizes.

Unspun knows this feeling only too well. Last week Unspun was invited by some friends to join their table at the SABRE Awards that was organized by the Holmes Report. Unspun went there because 1. The spot was free, courtesy of my friends and Unspun’s a cheapskate and 2. Unspun’s firm had been short listed as finalist in two of the award categories.

Unspun was skeptical of the awards from way back (see this link) but so hard wired are we all to optimism and The Slim Chance that he trekked to Singapore for the dinner. When the results were announced, the spoils went mainly to the Big Boys of PR, who also happened to be sponsors.

At this point Unspun reasoned, you could interpret the results several ways: Big Boys, because of their resources, are inherently more creative; Big Boys have more clout because they also happen to be the sponsors of the dinner (or conversely, because they are aware of how good they are, they sponsored the dinner so that they could be recognized); Small Boys generally can’t compete with the Big Boys; Big Big Boys rule,maven against other Big Boys.

Unspun wasn’t alone. There were others more skeptical than him. Many questioned the impartiality of the awards, pointing to the close connection between the viability of the organizing body and advertising/sponsorship for its existence. This, however, is a bit unfair because the Holmes Report did conscript some judges who should be impartial although,
Ironically, they did a bad job of PR-ing that fact.

Unspun thinks that the Holmes Report’s present dependence on sponsorship and advertisement leaves its credibility vulnerable but at least they are trying to do something to recognize PR.

The real problem is that the organizations with the heft and resources to really do something for the profession – the Big Boys – are doing squat to set up a forum where good PR work can be recognized and encouraged in a manner that is much more beyond reproach. (Human psychology is such that if you belonged to a Big Boy team and won an award, the fact that you are intelligent enough to figure what Unspun’s said so far would not stop you from The Ecstatic Moment When your firm or team’s name is announced). Then again, if you are a Big Boy, why would you want to upset the apple cart?

So there you have it. Unspun is probably churlish for complaining (and would he write a completely different post if his firm had won an award that night?) but at the same time feels that the whole matter should be brought up for a good airing and unspinning. Any opinions from the PR fraternity?