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, NationalGeographic.com has launched a photo blog, Proof which is edited by NationalGeographic.com 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 NationalGeographic.com, which has 27 million unique visitors each month.

Congrats on turning a venerable 125!

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Work…work…work….

It’s blazing hot this summer! As I go through drafts and drafts of manuscripts, I have one beacon of hope: ice tea in a box.

Here are some pictures of what’s happening these days….

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Coming to the end of a three year project. Can’t wait to see the final book published…. Tamar; the Art of Construction by me!


3 Hot Tips: How to Market Yourself on Social Media

With the explosion of Social Media, it is no wonder that people are guarding their own personal brand more carefully these days. I have friends who refuse to have facebook sites  in fear of over exposure. Other embrace the quick pace web world and are happy to toot their horns all night long.

There is a happy medium to be had, but how does this work? Well, being proactive is the best means of staying ahead of the curve. But be patient, creating something takes time so learn about what your brand represents, invest your time and keep updating!

Here are a few tips to help you on project: “Brand Me!”

1)      Know your audience and create specialised content

People often ask me, what do you blog about? I take on this question as a former newspaper ‘columnist’. Essentially, I blog about what I want. But when really pressed, there comes the realisation. All blogs have parameters and these are dictated by your audience.

Who are you targeting? What is your blog about? Who will read your blog – more important, who do you want to read your blog? When thinking about your personal brand, pictures of a rocking night out might not be relevant (unless you are comedian, Russell Brand) while more career oriented topics and trends might appeal. As you start thinking, themes about pop culture, fashionistas, motherhood, foodies and designers will start to become a reality.

Once the audience is identified, create content under this ‘broad’ scope. Be fun and be yourself!

2)      Platforms

Don’t be a stick in the mud. Cross post. Use one community to leverage onto the next. The more platforms you have knowledge in, the better you can ‘work it’.  Linkedin to connect within your industry. Tumblr for your fashionista side. Facebook to keep in contact with your high school friends. Blog to pontificate about your views on the metaphysical world. Tweet to bring out your inner comedian. Pinterest to satisfy the wedding planner you are.  Instagram to create snapshots of your everyday world.

Now I am not saying you need to be on every platform, but knowledge is power and positioning yourself and your brand on different platforms will help grow your social presence. Keep abreast on the new platforms to figure out if they are right for you. May be not now, but potentially later? Keeping ahead of the curve keeps your brand fresh!

3)      Update on a regular basis

We are all guilty of this. You know. Starting something online and letting it just lay fallow for weeks, then months and wow, a year has passed. It’s no longer 1999. If you have that personal website which can be accessed by the way back machine, it might be time to either rebrand the site or even start again. And when starting (or restarting), keep at it.

Scroll down to my first posting: Content is King. This is something every website and brand should have in their rainy day drawer. But even more important, one has to be committed and focused to updating on a regular basis. Each post does not need to be a 36-page memo. Finding your voice – consistently, is the key. Try posting interesting links with a few pars of snappy commentary. May be photos which are interesting and even funny.  Guests posts are also interesting.

The take away: Figure out who is “Brand Me!” and target your growing audience. Work the different platforms to build your growing community. Don’t let things slide! Create an editorial calendar which you feel you can adhere to. This is your own personal brand. Keep updating, creating and re-editing.


Suiting up Jeremy Lin – Black Lapel


Jeremy Lin suiting up in a custom made suit from Black Lapel

Linsanity took over the world this year and it seems there is nothing stopping young Jeremy Lin – who rocked into  TIME’s 100 most influential awards gala sporting a custom made Black Lapel suit. Congrats to my brother (co-founder) of Black Lapel for drumming up great buzz from a noteworthy Asian-American! Check out his site for your next chic addition….

Tweeting from the red carpet of the TIME gala event, Lin was responsible for crashing Black Lapel’s custom clothier’s site! The 23-year-old (third backup!) point guard took the world by storm by leading the New York Nick’s six game winning stream. A tear in the meniscus of his knee and subsequent surgery has kept him off the court, but the celebrity status of this free agent player is still hot.

From the blog of Black Lapel: “Jeremy is as solid a guy as they come and simply oozed class and charisma in his Black Lapel suit.  So we won’t hold it against him for crashing our site within 5 minutes of tweeting and posting about the suit.  Stay classy Jeremy and godspeed on your recovery.”

Update update update - Black Lapel!

Lin and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton (wow!)


Pinterest Boards: What does KSA do?

There just can’t be enough said about Pinterest and how utterly awesome it is, both for it’s target demographic 19-45 well-to-do females and the thousands of brands they love ‘pinning’.

When I first heard about the concept of Pinterest last year, I knew in my gut that I was their target audience. A colleague showed it to me and I shied away for months, knowing that the black hole of pinning would consume me if I signed up. I bit the bullet a month ago and have restricted myself to a daily regime of 15 minutes. How has that been going? Well, I am currently pressed for time because we are closing up a project but to be frank, it’s like digital crack cocaine to a girl like me (much like when I first discovered tumblr!)

Shiny. Pretty. Gorgeous. Fun. Lovely. Want. Yummy.

These are many ‘descriptive’, if not, giddy words which are used on a platform which celebrates consumerism, gluttony and design esthetic. (Oh no, I think I just described myself)….

So what is Pinterest and why has it been generating such a volume of press? How does it affect us consumers? More than that, how does it affect the brands?

 

What is Pinterest

Pinterest is a virtual board which allows the user to curate and share pictures and videos they find on line. Users are encouraged to ‘repin’ images they fancy onto their boards as well as ‘like’ or ‘follow’ other people’s images and boards.

“According to Google Ad Planner, in January 2012 Pinterest’s audience was primarily interested in fashion, arts and crafts, recipes, seasonal events and holidays, and interior design,” wrote a BBC article.

 

Who is on Pinterest:

On an average day, 1.36 million users scrolling through Pinterest pages which boast a plethora of cute puppies and over frosted cupcakes so it is no surprise that more than 68 per cent of the site visitors are women. Recently, Modea, a service agency used stats from comScore and other analyses to find out the following:

  • 28.1% of users are earn US$100,000+
  • Since May 2011, total unique visitors have increased by 2,702.2%
  • 50% of users have children
  • The 25-34 age demographic is the largest at 27.4%

 

Why is it interesting for Brands:

Referral traffic from Pinterest hovers around 3.6%, more than Youtube, Google+, Linkedin combined. Companies which are already on board include Esty, RealSimple, Nordstrom, Whole Foods and West Elm.

It is the level of engagement which is shocking many data analysists. The measurement is minutes per month.

  1. 405 minutes: Facebook is the most engaging site.
  2. 89 minutes: Pinterest and Tumblr
  3. 21 minutes: Twitter
  4. 17 minutes: LinkedIn
  5. 3 minutes: Google Plus

What has KSA done with Pinterest:

So KSA has embraced Pinterest and take it one step further. The key to any brand enhancement is engagement as well as a thematic board. We have chosen “What does KSA do” and this is a variation on the concept from www.christopherspenn.com who originally came up with the idea for his advanced social media university class.

 

 

 

Take a look and let us know what you think….. Also, why not try making your own. Let us know how it goes!


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…