Congrats: National Geographic Mag turns 125!

Who doesn’t envy and aspire towards the talent of the photographers who capture gorgeous picturesque landscapes, close up of a new species of insect in the Amazon or space exploration and experiments on the ISS? To celebrate the memorable 125 years, has launched a photo blog, Proof which is edited by director of photography Keith Jenkins. According to those on high, the idea of the blog is to take a “provocative and eclectic look” at National Geographic photography and the field overall.

Watch out as the blog will include “everything from how to edit down 60,000 photographs to 12, to which single item a photographer on a four-month assignment can’t live without.”

But don’t think it’s just the pros! Starting October 1, National Geographic plans to engage you, yes you, to participate on your first Nat Geo assignment for the magazine… this will be part of the photosharing-based #communityengagement platform (wow, that’s a mouthful!), Your Shot.

National Geographic magazine was first published in October 1888 as the official journal of the National Geographic Society, a nonprofit dedicated to funding science and exploration. Since then, the magazine has grown to 60 million monthly readers and has expanded to include the National Geographic Channel, which reaches 440 million households, as well as, which has 27 million unique visitors each month.

Congrats on turning a venerable 125!


Social Media – How do you demonstrate real value and relevance? #SMWHK

My favourite quote of the week – so far:

For the everyday man, the benefits of Social Media don’t make much sense. Who cares about a random and their 300 ‘friends’ on facebook? Shockingly, Twitter and Sina Weibao are not just platforms to tell the world about what you ate for breakfast! Pinterest is a marketer’s dream as people create walls of the most beautiful and unique things they find around the internet. Well, we do care. And we are dying to get you involved in our piece of the pie….

Participant A: “How does me ‘liking’ something on Facebook help Animal’s Asia Foundation?”

Participant B: “It’s not just you. By you ‘liking’ it, your friends have a higher chance of going onto the Facebook page, learning more and liking it too.”

Participant A: “But it’s just a ‘like’”

Participant C: “It’s more than that because you like it, look at the page and your friends will also follow suit. This type of engagement taps on you and your friends looking at the page. It raises the profile of the company: especially when they have donation drives, events and campaigns.”

Participant A: “But I am just ‘liking’ it…”

This is verbatim.

What is Social Media? 

Social Media: web-based and mobile-based communication through a community of users on website social networks who share ideas, information and messages in an interactive and engaging format.

This week is Social Media Week (#SMWHK – for twitter followers) and industry insiders are out and about to build their network in real life (#IRL) and also educate, discuss and get the word out on their various buzzwords: engage, tweet, strategize, community, align…

To the everyday man, there is still much mystery surrounding Social Media. How is it different? How can it help me? What is it exactly? In the bigger picture – how does one translate and or measure the benefit of Social Media for a company’s P&L?

Social Media Week – The AdMan:

Sitting in the audience of one of the talks was a traditional AdMan who used his 30+ years of experience to transform his traditional business into a digital marketing agency. One would think that he and his company would be able to take the natural step from digital marketing to social media engaging – but like many companies, he is skeptical.

He questioned the measurability of Social Media. How do you demonstrate real value? How is it different than digital marketing? How do you package social media to clients? And the big question: how does social media translate to profit…

Well, how about running a Social Media campaign about a product. Measure the sales in the market before, during and after the campaign. Compare the numbers to a market where there was no Social Media push. As well, there are “Engagement metrics” which is data from your consumers on how engaged your customers are (time spent on page, click through rates, impressions).

This is the time for Social Media. Traditional marketing brand managers need to take note, start understanding the platforms, align their business strategies, engage their audience and above all – tell a story. By optimizing your levers in a relevant and exceptional manner, companies will be able to maximize share potential. This is real-time marketing, so plan less, use the data and manage more!

Highlights from #SMWHK:

@DarthVader – There was an ongoing competition as to who is the most ‘active’ tweep. Translation: who writes the most tweets using the hashtag #SMWHK to amplify the chatter around town. We loved how Jay Oatway and Kiri Sinclair set out to tweet @DarthVader together with #SMWHK between the two of them to raise the profile of Luke’s Father. He finished the day ranking #13. Not bad….

Sina Weibao – China’s version of twitter – is even bigger! 250 million users with more than 50,000 corporate accounts and every day there are more than 100 million posts. While news spreads fast on twitter, on Weibao the interaction is so high that news spreads in seconds. If any company is keen on getting into China – this is your portal into the hearts and minds of millions.

BINGO – Chic PR firm, Ogilvy, have been main-stays in panels around the city for SMWHK and let’s not forget they have been “shamelessly” raising the profile of their social media team – dubbed Social@Ogilvy with their inventive shirts highlighting buzzwords including pintrest, action, community, leverage, twitterfall and influencers. Love the unique theme!

Dating & Twitter – Dwitter, the must have event for singles on Valentine’s Day! While Single Awareness Day (S.A.D.) is tough for many, what a great and fun way for geeks to get together. Yes, we made fun of it – but secretly were tweeting mates to get the low down. Three couples ended up on future dates. Not bad, I say!

Best Panelist – Peter Dingle, APAC Digital Marketing Manager at Intel has great presence and also tells a good story. I am one to enjoy panelists who do it “Jerry Springer” style and disagree with everything the other panels say. This brings about a real discussion about how things actually work behind the scenes and draws out the stories we really want to hear about when it comes to managing staff, campaigns, and clients; all with real-time needs. Good insights – and would subscribe again to his talks…