Optus displays great customer service with a Christmas card

Optus Optus displays great customer service with a Christmas card
The card above was sent to me by the nice people at Optus’s Social Media team – Julz in particular. As you can see this is no mass mail out.

In my books this card is bloody good customer service and is indicative of the way Optus engages with its customers more broadly. Tweets I have sent Julz and the team requesting assistance, during office hours, are typically responded to within 30 minutes. Though the good service also extends beyond the social media team. The call centre staff are some of the best I have dealt with. If the issue cannot be fixed in the first call the consultant tells you when they will be working next and commit to come back to you personally. That makes a big difference to me and ensures I don’t have to repeatedly talk the consultant through the issue.

Obviously Optus isn’t the only company that has excellent customer service or a social media contact team, but I thought this was pretty special. It certainly made me feel special.

Thanks Julz and Optus – keep up the good work.If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

GM thanks the people of America

GM has created the video above to thank the people of America for rescuing them from going into receivership.

The advertisement aired over Thanksgiving on American TV – nice timing – and coincided with GM being floated again on the NYSE.

I really like the humble and appreciative sentiment of this video. I also like the fact that the video appears to have been created with a relatively low budget. The last thing you want is some flashy and expensive piece of content celebrating the fact the company is not broke anymore.

What do you reckon? Do you like it?If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Windows Phone 7 ads

Yesterday Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7. I don’t normally blog about tech news, but being an ex employee of Microsoft, I tend to watch news around that company a little bit more closely.

Media reaction to the new device appears a little mixed. Wired love it, whilst others like TechCrunch have written it off. Personally I am not sure which way it will go. Microsoft has been playing in the phone space for a long time now and not really made a massive impact or created a strong consumer demand, but you can never right off the Redmond based organisation.

The ads unveiled at the press conference by Crispin Porter + Bokogusky though are very clever. I have embedded the two launch executions below, which you should check out. They do a nice job of promoting the phone by downplaying the role our phones should play in our life. Beautifully shot in what appears to be the US and Europe, it will be interesting to see how they impact demand for the device. Shame there is not any Asia shots though.

UPDATE – Massive coup by the UK PR team (my old colleagues James Tutt and Hazel Thompson were involved I suspect) for securing official endorsement from the legendary Stephen Fry for the phone. It doesn’t get much bigger than that! Kudos.

What do you reckon? Do you like?

Full disclosure, Microsoft is a client of Edelman, but not in Australia. Full disclosure again, BlackBerry is a client of Edelman Australia.If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Virgin America partners with Awkward Family Photos

AFP Virgin America partners with Awkward Family PhotosThere’s nothing like flicking through the old family albums to give the laughing muscles a work out. In homage to this age old pastime, Virgin America has teamed up with the popular blog Awkward Family Photos (AFP) to promote its new air route to Orlando.

The premise is simple; upload your very own awkward family photo to AFP and you will receive 33.3% off your next trip to Orlando. As further enticement, Virgin America is offering four major prizes of roundtrip tickets to anywhere the airline flies for the best photos as voted by the Awkward Family Photos audience.

I love this promotion. A nice break form the normal Facebook/Twitter combo

Oh you’re still here? I thought you would be off scouring your old family photos already.

This post was originally written for and posted on the new Edelman Australia blog, but we’re not quite ready for that to fully go live yet. Stay tuned.If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Oprah coming to Australia – the facts and milestones

Oprah’s announcement last week that she is bringing 300 of her audience to Australia is in my opinion the best marketing Tourism Australia has done since Paul Hogan’s throw another shrimp on the barbie ads of the mid 80s.

The announcement by Oprah generated global media attention last week and will no doubt generate a lot more when the lady herself arrives in Australia.

The Fairfax press over the weekend wrote an insightful article outlining the events leading up to the announcement and some of the numbers involved. I have summarised the facts below:


  • April 2010- discussions to bring Oprah and her audience to Australia started with Oprah’s production company Harpo
  • Around 14 August 2010 – the deal was put through to Oprah herself
  • 17 August 2010 - Oprah confirmed the deal and advised she would like to announce on her first show of her final series
  • 9 September 2010 – the filming of the show where Oprah announced the trip occurred
  • 13 September 2010 – the show was broadcast and widely reported in world media
  • 7 December 2010 - Oprah and her audience arrive in Sydney  and will be split up into three groups; the groups each visiting either NSW, Victoria or Queensland
  • 14 December 2010 – everybody will reconvene back in Sydney  for filming of the first show in front of an estimated audience of 6,000 on the Opera House steps
  • Mid-January 2011 - The Australia episodes will go to air

The numbers:

  • Tourism Australia is spending $1.5 million on the extravaganza (an absolute bargain)
  • Tourism NSW is contributing ‘between $1 million and $2 million. Tourism Victoria is investing about $500,000, and Tourism Queensland about $400,000
  • Qantas is flying the 450 crew and audience free of charge
  • The Oprah Winfrey show is watched by about 9 million people daily in the US – mostly women over 55
  • The Oprah show is screened in 145 countries
  • A 30 second advertising spot on the US network screening Oprah comes in at around $100,000 (though this number is expected to be much higher for the final series)
  • Advertising equivalency is no suitable measure for measuring PR effectiveness, but if people are willing to pay $100,000 to reach Oprah’s audience during an ad break for 30 seconds, you can only imagine the value of the two episodes, each made up of 43 minutes of Australian focussed content
  • Like there was for the announcement, I expect global media coverage to of the event to extend the reach well beyond the Oprah audience itself

Included in the article I mention above was this paragraph:

According to Janice Peck, author of The Age of Oprah, advance notice that a book is to get the Oprah seal of approval is enough to persuade most publishers in the United States to increase their print run by 500,000 copies.

Congratulations Tourism Australia, PR success doesn’t come much greater.If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Wonderbra 3DD billboard

article 1311856 0B2ACEAF000005DC 113 634x401 Wonderbra 3DD billboard

Wonderbra is causing a stir yet again in the UK, this time with a 3D billboard that builds on the campaign’s origins 16 years ago.

Don’t you hate how often times the most brilliant ideas seem so simple once they are presented to you? Now where are those Avatar glasses?

Full disclosure – my current employer’s UK consumer agency, JCPR, has previously worked for Wonderbra. I am not sure if they are involved in this campaign.

I lifted the image from this DailyMail story.If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Want to work in a PR agency? Here are some tips

This week I had the honour of presenting to PR students at the University of Newcastle (my old university) on the topic of working in a PR agency. Above is the presentation I gave. It was intended to be light-hearted and was pitched assuming minimal knowledge of the agency environment. The simple reason for this is that when I was at uni I had no idea about what a PR agency did or how it all worked.

I often get asked what skills you should have to get a job in PR and how you go about getting a job at an agency. My advice typically covers the following points:

  • Do work experience - every junior hire we make is via work experience, I know of almost no exceptions to this. If you want to get a job in a PR agency the best route is to identify the agencies you would like to work for and approach them about work experience opportunities.
  • Know the media – understand the media. Watch all the television news regularly and not just the news you like. Understand the difference between ABC, Ten and SBS. Read the papers and not just the one you like best. Know the difference between the tabloids and broadsheets, understand the difference between the SMH and The Australian. Listen to the radio, think about the stories they cover. Read online voraciously. Google News is a good start. It provides a good overview of the Australian landscape but also gives an insight into international media too.
  • Read and comment on blogs – read PR, marketing, social media and other personal interest blogs. Understand how writing for a blog differs from a traditional media outlet. Make sure you comment and engage. The beauty of blogs is that it is about  a two way conversation. Take part and enjoy the benefits. This post by the PR Warrior Trevor Young provides a good overview of some blogs to get started with. The fact I am listed in hist post is not the only reason I suggest following his advice either. icon smile Want to work in a PR agency? Here are some tips
  • Understand how Facebook can be used to build a community – Facebook is a brilliant platform for sharing photos and staying up to date with your friends, but it can also be a platform for building a community around a particular topic, brand or passion point. Join and analyse some of the Facebook pages of your favourite brands. In fact why not try it for yourself? Set up a page for your football club, your university club or other organisation.
  • Have a digital footprint – I always perform a Google search when I receive a new CV. What will I see if I search for your name? Having a blog is one of the most obvious ways to grow your personal brand. Your traffic will not be high to start with, but it is not about traffic rather is more about having your thoughts and opinions there when someone searches. If having a blog is too daunting Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are easier places to start. For extra points you may want to start building an understanding of basic SEO and HTML. Check out my advice on growing your personal brand online.
  • Get a university degree - having a university degree is one of the things I look at. A comms degree is the obvious choice, but really I am not all that fussed what degree you have. The reason I mention a degree is because it shows you understand how to research, know how to form and present an opinion and perhaps most importantly can stick at something and get it finished without having someone looking over your shoulder. Having said that I have also worked with some amazing people that don’t have a degree.
  • Get involved and help a local charity - if you are a PR student odds are you already know a lot more about PR than the average punter. Why not volunteer some of your time to a local charity to assist them with their PR and social media planning. The experience you gain will likely be invaluable and will make a difference for a needy charity.
  • The marketing mix is converging, so understand the whole marketing mix – gone are the days of clearly defined roles between marketing functions. Media, advertising, digital and PR agencies are all increasingly offering similar services as the roles blur. The more you know about all these disciplines the better.
  • Finally, be creative in getting people’s attention - PR agencies receive a lot of CVs each and every day, so think about how you can stand out from the rest of the pack. Rebecca Griffith from the University of Wollongong got my attention by posting a job request on the Mumbrella job boards and this effort by an advertising hopeful in America is brilliant.

This is just my advice. What other tips should we be giving to students and others looking to start a career in PR?If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Social media and Election 2010: a missed opportunity

juliavotes 420x0 1 Social media and Election 2010: a missed opportunity

Photo: Andrew Meares (SMH.com.au)

As I have mentioned already we at Edelman have been conducting research through the 2010 Election campaign on Twitter use by Australian politicians and the election. As I prepare to spend the night watching the results of the election I wrote the post below for our Edelman Election blog. I thought I would repost it here also. Would love your thoughts on the election campaigning so far in the comment box if you feel so inclined.

Reposted from here:

As I write this post Australia votes. On the whole I think social media has been a massively under utilised platform for connecting with and influencing the voting decisions of Australians.

There have been examples of social media use:

  • The Liberals offered a Facebook app, and managed a Facebook community, but with only around 14,000 members this is a massive missed opportunity when you consider there is in excess of 8 million Australians on Facebook of voting age.
  • The Labor Party created a YouTube video, which has generated around half a million views, which is considerable, but with no clear call to action at the end, this too has to be considered a missed opportunity.

There were other examples, but not many. Social media was seen simply as something to dabble with on the periphery of the campaign. It was not integrated, or used nearly as effectively as it could have been. Imagine the communities that could have been generated in Facebook if the advertisements on television and in print media directed people to join a page. This simple exercise could have created environments where information could have been provided, social actions could have been encouraged and political movements created. Instead the ads simply ran at great expense to the political parties without a clear call to action to engage online.

This post by Trevor at Park Young is a good overview of the opportunity missed. Also worth checking out is the excellent The Social Election blog the team at Amnesia Razorfish created.

The final standings in our Twitter influence rankings are outlined below. There were no great changes throughout the campaign, but we do like to think we played some small part in getting Julia Gillard to engage.

[table id=2 /]

Yesterday we presented our research as part of a PRIA panel. Check out the presentation below:

Twitter and the Australian Election 2010

View more presentations from Matthew Gain.

What do you think about the election? Do you have comments on our research? Do you think social media could have influenced your vote?

If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Julia Gillard embraces Twitter and engages

As I mentioned in my previous post, myself and the team at Edelman have been monitoring the use of Twitter by Australian politicians and their staffers at – Election.TweetLevel.com.au. On the whole it has been rather uneventful. The majority of the politicians are simply ignoring the platform and social media more broadly for that matter.

But all of this took a turn this week, when Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, started engaging. The initial impetus was the offer of a charity donation in exchange for a @reply by Karalee Evans and another staffer at digital agency Amnesia Razorfish. Check out the full story here.

Following this initial engagement, JG has been replying regularly to Tweets she is receiving, including a message to yours truly.

In response to this message:

MG Tweet Julia Gillard embraces Twitter and engages

Julia Gillard sent this response:

JG Tweet Julia Gillard embraces Twitter and engages

Obviously, social media will not be the only thing that wins or loses this election, but it will have an impact. So Julia engaging in my mind is a very good thing. Jim Macnamara commenting on this in a SBS News story tonight summed it up best:

No one thing will cause people to vote, not newspapers, not TV debates, not social media, but does social media have a role? Yes.

I couldn’t agree more with Jim. Social media does have a role to play. If most politicians continue to ignore it they are missing a trick. Follow this link to view the SBS story, which in addition to Jim, includes an interview with myself and Karalee Evans.

What do you think? Do you care if our politicians are engaging on Twitter? Do you think their time would be better spent on Facebook? Or should simply stick to traditional media?If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Want to know who is the most influential Australian politician on Twitter?

TweetLevel image1 Want to know who is the most influential Australian politician on Twitter?Election 2010 offers politicians the opportunity to embrace an ever-maturing portfolio of social media platforms to engage with Australian voters, but sadly most are simply using social media platforms to push out their messages in a one way direction.

Myself and the digital team at Edelman Australia have been working on some research in the lead up to the election that aims to measure the Twitter activity of Australia’s politicians and staffers and provide a rank on who is the most influential. Check it out at the dedicated site we have set up – election.tweetlevel.com.au


To track Twitter’s influence on the election, we have input all the politicians we could find into Edelman’s TweetLevel tool, which measures the influence of individuals on Twitter based on a number of factors including re-tweets, followers, frequency of tweets, references etc. We have included a detailed overview of how the tool calculates the scores on the site.

The results

Currently the top ten most influential political Tweets are:

[table id=1 /]

The findings at the moment show that the Greens are using the platform most effectively with a large section of Greens MPs and candidates using the tool effectively to communicate and engage with potential voters.

The top two positions on the table are controlled by former party leaders Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd. Malcolm is effectively using the platform to engage with his followers and tweets regularly. Kevin Rudd on the other hand has secured his position largely due to the huge following he has (close to 1 million followers), and updates his account sparingly and engages in virtually no two way dialogue via @replies.

Both PM contenders Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott feature highly on the influence score, but this is due in main part to the high number of followers and the high number of re-tweets they are generating. Disappointingly, both candidates are only using their Twitter channels to push content as opposed to using it to engage with Australian voters. Both engagement scores are woefully low.

Will the battle for votes be won by Twitter?  Not this time it seems, but Twitter’s influence on the conversation and its use as a political organising tool cannot be underestimated.

We will be updating the Election.TweetLevel.com.au site on a regular basis over the course of the election campaign, so check in regularly if you want to stay up to date.

Another site that is tracking politicians’ use of social media during the election is The Social Election, which has been set up by digital agency Amnesia social media guru Karalee Evans. It is well worth checking out as well.

Any feedback you have on the research we are undertaking would be very much appreciated. If you would like to discuss it with me don’t hesitate to get in contact with me via the contact form on this site or via Twitter – @matthewgainIf you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .