Samsung offers chance to get photo on Sydney Opera House sails

Samsung Sydney Opera House mock up 1024x406 Samsung offers chance to get photo on Sydney Opera House sails

Samsung and the Sydney Opera House are offering Australians the chance to have their photographs projected onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

To enter you simply need to head over to and upload your photo.

Seeing an idea that was developed over a few beers come into reality and be executed at this scale is incredibly exciting. I can’t wait to see what sort of entries come in and the images being projected onto the sails on 23 April at the Samsung GS4 launch.

Think you’ve got a photo worthy of Australia’s best canvas?

Here is what marketing trade title Mumbrella said about the promotion.

Full disclosure – Samsung is a client of my employer Edelman.


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Should I block employee access to Facebook?

Restricted Access Featured Image Should I block employee access to Facebook?

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked by small business owners if they should block social media access to their staff.  My answer is always no.  Social media represents an enormous opportunity for small businesses to increase sales, better connect with customers and partners, and market themselves in a cost-efficient manner.  Besides, if you block social media platforms at your work, your staff will simply use their phones to access Facebook.

So if there is no way stopping your staff using social media whilst at work, how do you ensure they are doing so responsibly and not placing you or your business in any potential harm?

Head over to the MYOB blog to see my five top tips.

Image credit -

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Go Try It On – a review and overview

Header 1024x513 Go Try It On – a review and overview

The last week or so has involved me trying on clothes in the morning, heading into my little girl’s room (the only room in the house with a full length mirror) taking a photo and then uploading it to Go Try It On, a relatively new online and mobile community that rates outfits uploaded by community members. OK, so I might be one of the few people on the network over the age of 21 and almost certainly the only one uploading pictures with a cot and children’s toys in the background, but I love it. I think the network has huge potential for fashion and clothing brands. Below are some thoughts from me on Go Try It On.

What is it:

A mobile based social network, where users can upload photos of outfits they are planning to wear and then nominate the type of event they are intending to wear it – a work thing, a casual day, for a wedding etc. Once uploaded anyone on the network, assuming the user hasn’t adjusted their privacy settings to show to only friends, can rate the outfit as either, wear it, or change it. Once your picture is up there the scores rattle in very quickly and typically within half an hour you will have 40 or so votes and a definitive community decision on your outfit.

Beyond the ability to simply upload outfits, you can also select stylists to review your look. These stylists may be your friend, or simply someone you have found in the community whose style you like and whose opinion you value. If you are selected as a stylist by a member you are then notified every time they upload an outfit and invited to rate their look.

In addition to fashion, members also ask the community to rate make-up, accessories, shoes and can also upload two different outfits and ask the community to vote for which is their favourite.

The community can be accessed via a web-browser, though the best experience is undoubtedly via the iPhone app, which supports the use of the inbuilt camera.

What about privacy:

Despite the fact you access the app via either via Facebook Connect or Twitter the app only details the first letter of your surname (I come up as Matthew G from Sydney Australia) and doesn’t allow any way for users to get access to your Facebook or Twitter accounts. You can’t even search for users. If a user isn’t already your Facebook Friend there is no way to find users in the community.

To help protect the privacy further there is a nice blur spot option that allows you to blur out your face on any uploaded photos. You can also use it to blur out anything else you might want to.

Given the community is made up of a lot of young girls I think these measures are sensible and commendable.

Feedback 200x300 Go Try It On – a review and overviewTone of the community:

The creator of Go Try It On, Marissa Evans, and her team have gone out of their way to manage the sentiment of the community so that it is more focussed on positivity and suggested improvements rather than bitchiness and laughing at outfits. When providing feedback on an outfit you have rated as ‘change it’ the most insulting you can be is, ‘it isn’t appropriate for this event’, or ‘this doesn’t do you justice’. The outcome of this is that the feedback on the site is very positive, but you can’t help but think some of the fun is taken out of fashion when you can’t laugh at those who you believe less fashionable.

Opportunities for brands.

There appears to be limited involvement from brands at the moment. Sephora, Grazia.IT and Vente-Privee USA are listed as featured stylists, but beyond that it seems pretty limited. In my opinion this could be the perfect platform for a fashion retailer. You could imagine an account that is managed at an individual shop level where shoppers could upload an outfit they are considering and get the community to rate it.

Currently there is a range of online fashion brands that are integrated into the app including ASOSJC Pennyand These stores can be accessed by community members when reviewing outfits, so that suggestions with links to a location where the product can be purchase can be made.

Suggest Retail 200x300 Go Try It On – a review and overviewHow could Go Try It On be better?

There is not much I don’t like about Go Try It On, this is a very cool application. The app is currently only oniPhone, so it would be great to see it on Android and other platforms, though I guess you could access it via your mobile browser. The team behind Go Try It On have a pretty cool blog, where they provide information on fashion generally, though it is primarily US focussed. It would be nice if this and potentially other fashion blogs were featured in the app under a news section.

What do you think?

What do you think? Do you think this will take off? Do you think fashion and beauty brands should be taking note?

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Social activism: how to respond to an attack on your social media presences

Anonymous Image Social activism: how to respond to an attack on your social media presences

This post provides five tips on how to respond to a social activist attack on your brand or company social media presences.

Protesting has changed

Organisations’ social presences, be they on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter or elsewhere, are quickly becoming primary targets for activist organisations attempting to change company policy or build awareness of questionable business practices. Of course this is not to say the days of the old ‘hey-hey ho-ho’ chants, signed petitions and pickets are over, but there is a definite rise in activist activity on the internet and organisations need to be prepared to address and respond to these instances when they occur.

How best to respond to an attack by an activist organisation

  • Pre-attack create escalation procedures - Ensure comment traffic system and escalation procedures are in place across all social presences so that negative comments are quickly escalated to the PR and corp affairs team where additional escalation can be made quickly.
  • Investigate the source of the activity and engage – My mother always said treat the problem, not the symptoms. Identify the source or sources that are convincing people to come to your social presence and engage with them directly. Your engagement efforts with the activist influencers will be more effective that engaging with every single individual on the page. In my experience this engagement will be welcome and shows a willingness to address their concerns.
  • Don’t stick your head in the sand – Be transparent with your community on the channels they are attacking you on and make commitments to investigate their concerns and provide more information.
  • Be timely – an hour is a long time in the social media world. Get responses and information to your community as quickly as possible. Delayed silence will suggest you are trying to spin the situation.
  • Listen and respond – There is no magic number of negative comments that denotes when a company should change its policy, but any considerable number of negative comments should be taken seriously. Comments on Facebook and other social presences are like a barometer on your customers’ feelings towards your brand and products. Only a fool doesn’t listen to their customers.

Do you have any other tips you would add? Do you agree with what I have listed?

Image credit – Gaelx

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Trust Barometer and its implications for social media

This post was first published on the Edelman Australia Blog.

The Trust Barometer findings presents interesting implications for businesses in the area of social media. Below are four aspects of the report that we thought are worth highlighting that should help justify an increased spend in the area of social for your business or organisation.

Listening to customer needs and feedback

Expectations for business Trust Barometer and its implications for social media


As the above graphic highlights, listening to customer needs and providing feedback is the best way to build trust among the general public in Australia. Social media is one of the most effective ways to do this. If you are not listening and responding to the conversations occurring in the social space around your brand you may be missing one of the most effective ways to grow your brand’s or organisation’s trust.

CEOs are least trusted company spokespeople

Expectations for business Trust Barometer and its implications for social media


Trust in CEOs as a company spokesperson has fallen, whilst ‘a person like me’ has risen. This is an ongoing trend that the Trust Barometer has been highlighting for some years. Community managers and normal employees speaking on behalf of organisations in social media are an effective way of building trust in your brand, especially in times of crisis.

Limiting your spokespeople to handful of very senior people is not the most effective way to build trust.  The days of control communication are over. Open up your communication channels so a wide range of ordinary employees can speak on behalf of your your brand within social media. Of course that is not to say training and governance for people commenting on your brand/organisation in social media is not necessary.

Trust in social media as a credible source of information has doubled

Growth in social media trust 1024x637 Trust Barometer and its implications for social media

Social media as a trusted source of information about a company has consistently risen over recent years. The 13% above are people that listed the fact they trust information they find about a company on social media ‘a great deal’. It does not mean that 87% of people don’t trust information they read about a company within social media.

If you haven’t already the time to take the jump is here. People are on social media researching your company and are trusting what they read. If you aren’t present you are missing an opportunity to influence and grow trust.

Repetition overcomes skepticism 

Repitition overcomes skepticism 1024x640 Trust Barometer and its implications for social media

Australians need to be exposed to the same message multiple times before they will trust the information. If you are simply relying on traditional channels you are missing opportunities to repeat your message.

Social media is one of the most cost effective means of communicating frequently. Take advantage of it.

What are your thoughts?

Does the above make sense, does it align with your experience of implementing social media and growing trust within your organisation?

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Managing crisis in the digital age

Crisis 225x300 Managing crisis in the digital age

Does the potential of a PR crisis played out in the modern social media environment keep you up at night? If so, this post and the presentation, created in conjunction with Edelman crisis management expert Grant Smith, at the bottom may provide some guidance.


Managing Crisis in the Digital Age

Last week I was invited to present on the topic of Managing crisis in the digital age at the PR and Communications’ the Future of Social Media Forum.

The event was a three day conference for people in the PR and marketing industries and  included presentations from the likes of Gavin Heaton (servant of Chaos), Ian Lyons (who I had never met before), Alexandra Kentman (who I sadly missed) and fellow PR agency staffer Dan Young.


The presentation in summary:

The context:

  • Social media in and of itself is not the cause of crisis, it is merely a vehicle that people use to communicate about or learn of a crisis
  • Social media has, however, changed fundamentally the speed of response required to get on top of a crisis at the early stages and requires constant responses throughout the crisis
First things first:
  • Organisations need a way to identify the differentiate between an issue and a crisis. An issue is unfortunate, a crisis prevents business as usual
  • Crisis communication is part of the solution, but it isn’t the solution. An organisation’s (note I am not saying the PR person’s here) primary focus should be on finding the source of the crisis and fixing it
Five steps for managing crisis in the digital age:
  • Prepare - every organisation should have a crisis management plan that is ready to manage crisis in the digital age. This includes identifying all potential crisis scenarios and having Q&A documents with responses ready for multiple formats including Facebook and Twitter
  • Listen constantly - listening constantly to conversations happening around your brand online should be standard practice for any business of consequence
  • Prepare to respond quickly -  the news cycle moves at blistering speed today. It is better to be part of the conversation clarifying you are seeking more facts than not at all
  • Online visibility - nobody is better placed to own the facts about a crisis than those in the middle of it. Owning the destination for facts about your crisis is crucial. Consider preparing a dark site that can be turned on in times of crisis and also set aside budget for an SEM buy to direct people into your online destination
  • Train staff and practise - in the modern environment potentially everyone is a spokesperson. Train a wide range of staff and practice regularly. Crises have a knack for appearing when key members of your team are away from the office

What do you think? Do you agree? Is there anything you would add to my advice?

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Australian social media stats video by Box Hill TAFE

I saw the video below on Lee Hopkin’s blog by Box HIll TAFE today and couldn’t resist sharing it here.

I love how videos like this can break down a bunch of stats into something entertaining. I am so not talented in this area. if I attempted to make something similar it would likely look like a series of moving PPT slides. If you can do this, and are looking for a start in agency land get in touch. I may some work for you.

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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 .

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 .

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 .