Volume 1 Issue 2 June 2011

THE NEW VALUE EQUATION

New Age Views: Opportunities for the industry

8
What’s your favourite game?
A child today is growing up in a most exciting world today and he knows it. Going out in the sun to play? What in heaven’s for sir and what really is the point of playing a serious sport if you don’t want to make a career of it, or if you don’t happen to be very good at it?

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Six Stages of Social Media Maturity
The framework is rooted in one important insight: when asked what their social media strategy is, less mature marketers tend to talk about tools and tactics, whereas more mature marketers talk about integrating platforms, ograms and processes.

CONTENTS
6
Cover Story

June 2011

Editor Sanjay Sharma Project Leader Parveez Modak Coordinator Pankaj Desai Sourcing and Compiling Nilesh Kakade Cyril Kirian Sudhir Garimalla Chief of Design Tushar Patel Visualizer Tapan Bhatt

THE NEW VALUE EQUATION
The changing relationship between PR and Marketing, in the context of the social media turmoil, is undoubtedly the top question which all Boards are addressing these days.

2

TRENDS

11

VIEWS

Graphic Designer Vipul Barot Production Dilip Patel Volume 1 Issue 2 June 2011
Editor, Sanjay Sharma, is responsible for the selections of news article under PRB Act. Entire content copyright © 2011 by Hanmer MSL Communication Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved throughout the world. Reproduction or translation in any language in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. All disputes are subject to jurisdiction of competent courts and forums in Mumbai. Printed at Printwell Offset, Ahmedabad. Printed and Published by Parveez Modak, on behalf of the Publisher - Hanmer MSL Communications Pvt. Ltd.

As a PR professional there is no other way but drive a campaign that is omnipresent across all mediums. The most successful companies, products, and brands have figured out how to become the most of something - not just adequate, but downright amazing.

Those of us in the digital inclusion/innovation space have understood the crucial need for e-government. We're not alone, the government has realized it too and many states are making a direct play to turn dusty old files into online folders.

04 Social Awakening : C2C 13 PR / Advertising sector fails to tap government as a ‘market’ 15 In bed dreaming different dreams

FOREWORD
Here’s to the second issue of Social Konnect. I hope many of you went through the earlier one to understand our objective for this initiative. We intend to become a sort of mouthpiece for the PR and Digital Industry. To bring to the fore best practices and catalyze knowledge of the industry. Speaking of which, at least here in India, PR and particularly Public Affairs has been under the regulatory lens and the law of the land, a direct consequence of which is, no one asks me what I do anymore. In fact, now people look at PR professionals with fascination, imagining that we too would be part of some multibillion wheeling dealing. But jokes aside, I think the time has come to start defining this part of the practice for what it really is, and the value it adds to society.
Lobbying is an acknowledged legal way, in most developed countries, to raise real issues with the elected representatives. The concern being how do the constituents further their issues in a democratic process? Establishing a defined path of course is what the Public Affairs practice helps catalyse. To create a constructive dialogue regarding key issues between people and the powers that be. And to arrive at a solution or a way to go about things. Actually, in the day and age of civil societies, this role has become even more important in the area of filtering out the real issues and creating a debate. The conclusion or consensus thus arrived at, also needs to be transmitted to a larger audience, and who can do that better than a PR agency? All this finally results in better governance and more accountability. In a very concise manner, this is what a Public Affairs practice is all about and this is precisely the pledge we put forward for a transparent Public Affairs network like it exists in most parts of the developed world. Food for thought, anyone? Best wishes

Glenn Osaki President MSLGROUP Asia

TRENDS

PR in the age of Continuous Partial Attention (CPA) Consumers
# 1 Launch your campaign with a social object that people can attach themselves too #2 Use several mediums to create a conversation around the social object #3 Having established your presence across adequate mediums move to be AMAZING #4 Launch your campaign using press and spread the message across communities and conversations that AMAZE all The recent launch of the Nokia Dual Sim campaign has been a great example of engaging with CPA consumers. The campaign kicked off over radio, inviting twins to be Nokia brand ambassadors for a day and further directed them to sign into a Facebook page. Conversations and competition got kick started across twins of several age groups as they came together on a Facebook page comprising 500,000 consumers discussing You “2” whacky twin stories. The community of 63 pair of twins met at a Nokia Twin Carnival where the dual sim was launched and press got some

Amrit

We are living in an age of consumers who suffer from what I call a ‘Continuous Partial Attention” – a term that describes consumers who are surrounded by a world of screens of various sizes. They watch television, but are checking email or messages on their phone, have a laptop switched on to chat with their friends….the messenger is taking time to upload the chat so quickly check what are the latest tweets, Facebook status. So, how do brands engage with consumers in a CPA state all the time? How do they get their message across in a world surrounded by hash tags, 140 twitter characters and gibberish Facebook messages? As a PR professional there is no other way but drive a campaign that is omnipresent across all mediums. The most successful companies, products, and brands have figured out how to become the most of something — not just adequate, but downright amazing. Brands become amazing when they catch the attention of CPA consumers across mediums. Some thumb rules

SOCIAL KONNECT | 02

great photo opportunities and sound bytes. Radio and television extensively covered the campaign and captured soundbytes from the twins. The overwhelming response in Delhi is now getting Nokia to take this campaign across other cities in India. What I learnt was how a simple idea could result in downright amazing engagement with consumers. So PR professionals, do not think column centimeters but step back and think how do I engage with CPA consumers? What do I do to be present across various mediums to catch their eyeballs? The toughest task is to get your clients to believe and buy in exploring diverse mediums and move away from just column centimeters. PR pundits are often struggling with, will this campaign get me enough mileage and how will I measure if I am successful? – well there is a difference between engaging brands and being engaged yourself in your profession. First engage yourself in the profession and take pride in being a PR professional. Very early in my career I had a mentor who grew up around Yiddish language and in Yiddish there are about 1000 words that mean fool. There's only one word that means an authentic human being: mensch. My mentor would say, "You've got to be a

mensch," and that has to do with what we call character. To be successful means to have developed character. You should be looking for the joy, the struggle and the challenge of work. What you bring forth from your own guts and heart. The happiness of hard work, no

amount of experience can buy that. Those are things of the spirit." To be totally engaged with all clients, brands and consumers, first engage yourself and answer a simple question – Am I a mensch who can succeed in engaging with CPA consumers?!

As a PR professional there is no other way but drive a campaign that is omnipresent across all mediums. The most successful companies, products, and brands have figured out how to become the most of something - not just adequate, but downright amazing.
SOCIAL KONNECT | 03

Authored by Amrit. She is a PR consultant who loves the field of communication and story telling. Passionate about technology, its impact on society. VP at 20:20 MSL. Also blogs on technology on Techconverse

TRENDS

Social Awakening : C2C
“We didn’t start the fire… It was always burning….Since the World’s been turning”
- Billy Joel – Singer, Songwriter, Pianist

At 8.27pm, on Saturday, April 23rd, 2005 something amazing happened. At the San Diego Zoo, a young guy called “Jawed” was watching some elephants go about their mundane cud chewing lives and commenting languidly about how long a trunk was. And the lives of millions changed. On Nov 4th 2008, the cradle of democracy witnessed the most eventful political event in recent times and may be of all times in American history. Barack Obama became the first black president of the United States. And the lives of millions changed…..forever. And in January, a young woman from Egypt vented her frustration on the Internet to her friends “I’m going to Tahrir Square”, The frustrated cry that resonated in Egypt was an update put up on Facebook! And the lives of millions lives changed……forever. On that languid evening in San Diego “Jawed” shot a small video of the elephant behind him and posted it on this new video sharing website called YOUTUBE. It was the first video ever uploaded on YouTube, Jawed had things to say, and found people who wanted to hear it. Barack Obama’s Campaign was significantly driven on the Internet and especially so on Social Media. No other World Leader had so effectively done so

C R Vinay

before. There’s a spark at every corner of our world. People have wanted to break free since the dawn of civilization and not because Freddy Mercury said so! We’ve simply lit that spark and it’s a raging fire today! The fire as I see it is simply the explosion of Human Beings ie. us, wanting to express, share, engage and sieze the day with one and other. Carpe Diem. Indeed! Today we have the medium and environment, sans geographical boundaries to say what we want to say, to be heard and be what we want to be. As is said in the famous Clue Train Manifesto…People of Earth….. A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter - and getting smarter than most companies. These Markets are conversations. Their members communicate in a language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine.

It can’t be faked”! A snapshot of you and your family enjoying a summer holiday on the banks of an idyllic river and the video of your kids splashing on that river’s banks for the first time in their lives, caught on your mobile phone. Threads of expression and conversations that make us smile, laugh, empathize and exclaim. Threads that weave the network called Social Media have changed our lives…. forever. Let’s get some perspective now. Over 50% of the world’s population is under 30 Yrs and 94% are on Facebook! The average Facebook user has 130 friends. People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook. YouTube receives more than 2 billion viewers per day. Businesses today are engaging with their customers and consumers. Promising to make their lives a better one and promising to make the world a better place. But we as modern humans are not listening…we don’t care! life is too short and social interaction today is only spawning that idea that Life is too short and we need to live it. And in this idiom lies the Holy Grail of

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Social CRM. It’s not about Business to Business, Its NOT EVEN about Business to Consumer. It’s all about Consumer to Consumer. Customers are rapidly moving up the Technographics ladder, and marketers need to be cognizant of which part of the ladder, a bulk of their consumers lie,

Volkswagen commercials after being uploaded only 3 weeks ago, have garnered over 7 million views. If music be the food of love, Play on : 20% of all You Tube uploads are music, which is universal, knows no boundaries, is one of the most powerful human expressions. The classic case of

advocating experiences emanating from products, brands, activities etc. He or she is your best advocate in the social media space. Let loyal customers spread messages easily. And in doing so they relate to us intherently and demonstrate their loyalty to us. And in this scenario we need to ask ourselves Do we really think they care about us as

Forrester Research recently published a paper on the hierarchy of the Social Media calling it the Social Technographics Ladder. Shown below:
• • • • • • • • • Publish a blog Publish your own web pages Upload video you created Upload audio/music you created write articles or stories and post them Post ratings/reviews of products or services Comment on someone else's blog Contribute to online forums Contribute to/edit articles in a wiki

Creators

Groups include consumers participating in at least one of the indicated activities at least monthly

Critics Collectors Joiners Spectators Inactives

• Use RSS feeds • "Vote" for web site online • Add "tags" to web pages or photos • Maintain profile on a social networking site • Visit social networking sites • • • • • Read blogs Listen to podcasts Watch video from other users Read online forums Read custome ratings/reviews

• None of the above

and hence customize marketing strategies to build and nurture the community. Customers today are expressing actively and willingly across touch points of an enterprise. How can some of our enterprises leverage across business: Product Launches: A company today unveils and launches your favourite products and services using a social webcast, create fan pages, integrating with social games and video virals. The latest product commercials are on You Tube and companies are even creating content specific to the social channel. On the other hand addressing customer queries & grievances regularly by being in the environment where they thrive is so much easier and more exciting for an Enterprise. Extend the life of your very expensive TV commercials : Also, with the convergence of TV and the internet, and the sky rocketing rates of television “prime time”, increasingly the channel of choice for all advertisers is becoming the internet – the buzz that the superbowl commercials created, were seen almost instantaneously. The

Businesses today are engaging with their customers and consumers. Promising to make their lives a better one and promising to make the world a better place. But we as modern humans are not listening…we don’t care! Life is too short and social interaction today is only spawning that idea that Life is too short and we need to live it.
a country singer, as a disgruntled customer who used YouTube and Twitter to spread a music video detailing United's mishandling of his $3,500 guitar and the company's subsequent refusal to compensate him. The song was called "United Breaks Guitars." Within one week it received 3 million views – and the reality was he sang about it, rather than talk about it. Customers are talking to each other and

much as we care about them? Ther answer lies in the next question “Are we Loyal to our Customers and Consumers??” Here’s what it will take – if we want to succeed in the Marketplace - the Market place of Conversations as so aptly propogated in the Clue Train Manifesto - we have to enter the world of our fellow consumers and customers and breathe the same air they’re breathing. We have to Listen, Engage, Energize, Motivate, Share, Laugh, Empathise and Serve. We have to trust as much as be trusted. We have to Love as much as be loved. We have to relate as much as we seek a relationship. There in lies the truth. We have no choice but to adopt the C2C idiom or be left out…forever
Authored by Mr. C R Vinay. He is the Founder & MD of Customer Centria and has nearly 14 years’ experience as an advertising and marketing professional. His penchant for customer management coupled with his strong background of technology-driven marketing helps him achieve his goal of developing Customer Centria into a globally competent Customer Management company.

SOCIAL KONNECT | 05

COVER STORY

THE NEW VALUE EQUATION

Pascal Beucler

SOCIAL KONNECT | 06

The changing relationship between PR and Marketing, in the context of the social media turmoil, is undoubtedly the top question which all Boards are addressing these days. This is what Paul Holmes, during a recent « ThinkTankLive » we had in Prague, calls "the most significant shift in the way people communicate since the inventing of the printing press".

It should now be clear for everyone that social media is not just "another channel", but something which has “completely changed the way organizations and people interact and communicate with each other." How big is the change, and why does it matter so much to us, PR agencies? Social Intelligence & Design These are the new boundaries of the Conversation Age, as Marc Zuckerberg underlined it during the recent e-G8

we organized in Paris: « People being empowered to share whatever they want is THE trend for the next decade : that’s the core social dynamics ». We are in the age of People and Communities : « Real people from real communities, engaging in a collective social discovery », as the founder of Facebook summarized it. This is our business too, as PR people (« PR » is for us « People Relations », not « Public Relations », dead concept) : helping our clients engage with real people & communities, to spread word of mouth about the brands and issues they care about. We are the experts of the « earned media » : word of mouth, the most trusted source for purchase decision, peer to peer conversation and opinion building. Trust is in peers, not in organizations. This clearly is a key issue for everybody, in a world where 8 people out of 10 say they only trust their peers, not advertising. The distrust equally affects every form of top down communication. Organizations and brands are no longer determined by what they say (people do not care about it that much), but by what people say about them in the on-going conversation (and this is what organizations should care about). In other words, it's all about audiences targeting you, not you targeting audiences. Performance with Purpose is the new frontier. Having an articulated expression of what you stand for as a business is fine, but it's not going to suffice. A clear, strong AND social purpose is today mandatory for all organizations and brands. And it is crucial for companies and brands, to (re)define their purpose in a highly "interactive" or "co-creative" way. It cannot "just" come from the Board, or from a group of consultants: it has to come from all stakeholders, it has to be shared, it must be social squared. New consumers touch points evolve very fast: values and sense of purpose matter to the majority of them.

Purpose + Participation + Profits: this exactly is what we believe is determinant today for our clients, at MSLGROUP. Brands need to be built from the inside out. In order to make brand (re) building a success in the Conversation Age, nothing is more important than to engage with employees first. This is the cornerstone of every company's ecosystem today. See the new HP positioning and campaign, which was first shared with all employees, with 70% of them engaged within two days. It incredibly helped spreadout outside the company through

consistency, continuity, creativity and commitment accross the board. Why are we still talking about channels, when people should be at the centre of our conversation? Brand and Reputation are more and more to be managed at the corporate level, which requests a far higher level of integration, on the client side, as well as on the agency side. CMOs want to stop wasting time and money with too many suppliers. It's both a question of efficiency and effectiveness. It is even more obvious, given the fragmentation of audiences and channels. This is the main topic of conversation for global CMOs, and

It should now be clear for everyone that social media is not just "another channel", but something which has “completely changed the way organizations and people interact and communicate with each other."

Facebook and other social media, with over 10 million (yes, ten million) people engaged in less than a week. Social media force collaboration in all areas, and reputation is closely depending upon it. "It takes two to tango".

they have started to reorganize around this. Agencies and networks should better act quickly too! Indeed, siloed oriented approaches and mentalities must die, leaving the place for Value Creation Partners.

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Marketing and PR MUST work hand in hand, if they want to maximize the expected impact. This is not an option if you want to reach the right level of

Authored by Pascal Beucler. He is SVP & Chief Strategy Officer, MSLGROUP. Pascal has 25 years of experience in strategic consultancy, image & speech analysis, consumer marketing, corporate communications & PR, branding & design.

TRENDS

What’s your favorite game? I asked my 10 year old? Black Ops you say?? Funny, I thought it was cricket!
you don’t want to make a career of it, or if you don’t happen to be very good at it? Remarked yet another 12 year adult. Playing performance sports as against what I call recreation sports is at an inflection point. By playing performance sport, I mean sport which can be later played at a professional level with some financial upside. More and more children (and I have spoken to a few) believe that sport should be played seriously, and they mean seriously, with a coach, classes, proper training, or not at all. Given this situation some key trends are emerging and marketers and social media experts would do well to study them and utilize them for creating stronger Brand Engagement. world. Did someone say gaming was not competitive? Parallel worlds are now real: Psychologists always told us that children live in parallel worlds, the original premise for the birth of super heroes and toys. Hero figures that children would make fly with their hands. Well, now the make believe is for real, thanks to the kind of immersive and almost real worlds that gaming creates. New environment, old audience: All recent data suggests that the moment a child has access to gaming, his consumption of TV dips substantially. Since limited time is available he would rather play than “watch”. This has opened new channels for brands to communicate to this audience. It’s a very focused medium and a very attentive audience. Of course, creating compelling engagement between brands and this audience is material

Sanjay Sharma

The next time you go looking for your kids when they are out playing, you need to look no further than perhaps your living room. Chances are you will find them there or maybe in their own pad. Welcome to the new playground. Your own living room. And the new games, “virtual sports” which take various forms, many a times violent, and are delivered out of a multitude of consoles both, handheld and stationary. Enough to keep children occupied for a few hours if not for the entire day. So when did all that change? Remember when we were growing up, we used the first excuse to run out of the house, get hold of our friends and using whatever primitive sport equipment we had available, embarked on an enthralling few hours of pure sport with nature as the audience. Sure we do remember. But those were the “good old days”, were they not? Well ask any typical child today and he will dismiss your claim as pure humbug. A child today is growing up in a most exciting world and he knows it. Going out in the sun to play? What in heaven’s for Sir and what really is the point of playing a serious sport if

SOCIAL KONNECT | 08

Gaming is moving to playing: With the revolutionary Wii and the gyroscope in the iphone, gaming is no longer the static state we used to believe it was. Jumping, waving, moving in impossible Well ask any typical child today and he will dismiss spaces is the your claim as pure humbug. A child today is growing new cool and up in a most exciting world and he knows it. Going it has added out in the sun to play? What in heaven’s for sir and the much what really is the point of playing a serious sport if needed you don’t want to make a career of it, or if you don’t “physical” in gaming and happen to be very good at it? now our children are for another article. really playing albeit not cricket in the sun, like we used to. As you can imagine, ‘catch them young’ is easier said than done in the Friends are back: new emerging age of technology. The Thanks to online game play great Bob Dylan sang a few years ago technology evolving, all your friends “the times, they are a changing”. And are available to play with you in the since this song is still on top of the living room virtually. Why waste time charts , guess what ‘the times, they travelling huh? All games now come continue to change’ with IM built in. No more lonely children you see, whatever we may Authored by Sanjay Sharma, Senior Strategy believe. And of course, they all share Counsel, Hanmer MSL playing scores with the rest of the

THE NEW WAY

Six Stages of Social Media Maturity
integrating platforms, programs and processes. Stage 1: Let’s create a campaign microsite This fascination with tools can be traced back to the days when marketers created flash-based campaign microsites to support advertising campaigns. These microsites were heavy on experience but light on content and had the same shelf-life as the TVC (typically eight to twelve weeks), after which they were either preserved for award entries or taken offline. I’m relieved to see that most marketers have moved beyond the campaign microsite. Stage 2: Let’s create a Facebook / Twitter page When Facebook and Twitter become mainstream, marketers rushed to create a Facebook Page or a Twitter Profile, without really thinking about what they will do with it. Even when marketers increased the fan count on their Facebook Page by buying ads, the fans rarely engaged with the brand. Even as the first wave of marketers are seeking ways to increase engagement, the next wave of marketers are still setting up their social media presence. Stage 3: Let’s do a Facebook contest / Twitter influencer program As marketers seek to increase engagement on social media platforms, they often start with tactics that are specific to the platform, like a Facebook contest or a Twitter influencer program. While these tactical programs are successful in engaging fans and followers in the short-term, they fail to exploit the full potential of social media. Most marketers are still in this stage, but some are ready to move beyond. Stage 4: Let’s integrate social into our web platforms After much speculation that the Facebook Page might replace the brand website, sophisticated marketers are beginning to view the website as their social hub. Marketers are integrating social into web platforms by adding content creation features like blogs, wikis, photosharing and video-sharing; contentcuration features like commenting, voting, reviews and ratings; and connection features like profiles, groups, activity streams and leaderboards. Marketers are also integrating websites with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn by adding social sign-on, sharing buttons, profile boxes and activity stream widgets to their websites. Some marketers like Dolce Gabbana (http://dolcegabbana.com) and the CP+B Group (http://cpbgroup.com) are even reimagining the website as an aggregation of their social media activity streams. Stage 5: Let’s integrate social into our marketing programs Some sophisticated marketers are beginning to realize that their marketing programs are most effective when they don’t only use social platforms, but also become social at the core. As a result, marketers are moving from TVCcentric 360 degree campaigns to

Gaurav Mishra

Over the last six months, I have led more than 50 social media strategy workshops with more than 1500 marketers across six countries in Asia. These workshops are often challenging because participants have different levels of experience with social media. Some participants wish to know how they can start small social media experiments. Others would like to start using social media more strategically. Still others want to benchmark themselves against the best in the world. Over time, I have found it useful to structure my workshops around the six stages of social media maturity framework. The framework is rooted in one important insight: when asked what their social media strategy is, less mature marketers tend to talk about tools and tactics, whereas more mature marketers talk about

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THE NEW WAY | Six Stages of Social Media Maturity

community-centric 360 degree campaigns. PepsiCo is leading the way shifting the focus of its marketing “from moments to movements” and creating path-breaking multi-year community-centric marketing programs like Pepsi Refresh Project (http://refresheverything.com) and Mountain Dew Dewmocracy (http://dewmocracy.com). Stage 6: Let’s integrate social into our business processes The most sophisticated marketers know that social media is most effective when they leverage it for doing the right things, instead of merely saying the right things. Companies like Dell, Starbucks and GE are using social media as a tool for business transformation by integrating it with their sales, support and innovation processes. Early experiments to crowd-source innovation are particularly promising, with Dell Ideastorm (http://ideastorm.com), My Starbucks Ideas (http://mystarbucksidea.com) and GE Ecomagination Challenge (http://challenge.ecomagination.com) being the most prominent examples. I have also seen some interesting trends across geographies and business context. While consumer brands tend to focus on Facebook pages and contest apps, corporate and B2B brands tend to focus on Twitter profiles and influencer programs in the incubation stage. In specific markets, the social

Over time, I have found it useful to structure my workshops around the six stages of social media maturity framework. The framework is rooted in one important insight: when asked what their social media strategy is, less mature marketers tend to talk about tools and tactics, whereas more mature marketers talk about integrating platforms, programs and processes.
platforms in the incubation stage might be different, but the six stages of social media maturity still remain the same. In China, for instance, both consumer brands and corporate brands tend to focus on creating Sina Weibo pages and running Sina Weibo KOL programs in the incubation stages. While most companies go through the six stages of social media maturity, they realize meaningful results only when they move beyond tactical experiments in stage 1, 2, 3 and integrate social media into their platforms, programs and processes in stages 4, 5, 6. I have found that this simple framework helps marketers not only contextualize their own experience with social media, but also plan for strategies to extend their engagement. Begin by asking yourself which stage of social media maturity you are at, and plan for platforms, programs and processes to move to stages 4, 5, 6.
Authored by Gaurav Mishra Director of Digital and Social Media, MSLGROUP Asia. Gaurav Mishra helps global brands benefit from Social Squared, the intersection of social as in connecting people and social as in benefiting the society, as Director, Digital and Social Media, MSLGROUP Asia. Read more articles from Gaurav on www.gauravonomics.com.

SIX Stages of Social Media Maturity for corporates
4 Integration

While consumer brands tend to focus on Facebook pages and contest apps, corporate and B2B brands tend to focus on Twitter profiles and influencer programs in the incubation stage.
5 6

Let’s integrate social into our platforms!

Let’s integrate social into our programs!

Let’s integrate social into our processes!

Incubation

2

Let’s create a corporate profile on Twitter!

3 Let’s run an
influences program on Twitter!

SOCIAL KONNECT | 10

1 Inaction

Let’s create a campaign microsite

Platforms

Programs

Processes

VIEWS

By Mahima Kaul

GOI’s Social Skills
There seems to be these waves of imagination and creativity passing through the Indian government, especially when it comes to the internet. But it will have to trust its people, and it will have to trust its own ability to respond to the people. Governments need to learn from private companies who have employed social media to connect with their users and strengthen their brands. Otherwise this system is going to crash.

Those of us in the digital inclusion/innovation space have understood the crucial need for egovernment. We're not alone, the government has realized it too and many states are making a direct play to turn dusty old files into online folders. This intention has been further solidified by the first draft of Electronic Delivery of Services Bill, 2011, which has proposed that all ministries and government departments will have to deliver services electronically, be it through the internet or mobile phones. Digitizing the internal processes of government departments, or else, digitizing the front-end delivery system have for the most part defined e-government projects. This is typified by projects like Bangalore One, MP Online and so on, which offer citizens a way to pay for utilities, book tickets, get certificates and even renew passports from offices littered across the city.

So, at a conference called "The Power of Social Media for Governance" in New Delhi, March 2010, a new dynamic emerged. It was called the 'Gov2.in' forum. Social media, we all know, can be employed to create knowledge networks, disseminate information and keep track of the world around you. Twitter is a better source of news than any newspaper homepage can hope to be, and Facebook is an interactive address book. Social media allows strangers to connect over a decidedly neutral platform and talk about issues. Sure, people get nasty, but there is the distance of a computer screen (mobile) to save you from any unnecessary facetime. The first time any government official really engaged with people online was probably Shashi Tharoor's twitter account. LK Advani's homepage had created a lot of buzz during the last elections but it wasn't quite as chatty as Twitter can be. In fact, I was invited

to a BJP youth meet where Advani was speaking, and to my surprise he did not answer a single question asked of him or even address the topic at hand but gave a speech about the first time he saw a cell phone and then basically said what he wanted and left. Contrast that to what we see online today, with politicians actually answering individual questions online, with the safety net of being measured if they want, because they can type, delete and retype before pressing enter. Tharoor, of course, ended up on national TV in (for the most part) retarded "scandal" after "scandal" and social media was perceived as something "serious" politicians should not do. However, there were signs of positive influence as well. The Ministry of External Affairs’ Public Diplomacy Division set up a Twitter page to let people know about what the ministry and diplomatic missions do. At the time they were focusing on

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VIEWS | GOI’s Social Skills

government departments to social media, because it seemed, in his mind, it would go the way of TV News. The way TV news picks up a topic and wages war against it has clearly left a lot of politicians burnt, and it seems Sibal was looking at FB and Twitter (and other social media which we use next) as a device by which campaigns against the government will be waged, and complaints made even more public. He chose to, instead, focus on simple delivery mechanism e-gov stories, which kept the narrative simple. "I build software, you save time = less corruption". promoting India's soft power (even within the country) by creating goodwill among people. The whole theory turned on its head in the light of events in Egypt and Libya, where the MEA actually had a Twitter account set up, with MEA officials manning it, and they were able to save lives through the technology. MEA officials themselves were taken aback as individuals users came to their twitter site and updated them about their (or relatives) whereabouts and asked them to help them exit the countries. And the MEA had to give real time responses. The entire experience has changed, in a sense, the functioning of the MEA. Other government departments were experimenting too: Delhi Police's Facebook page which helped citizens turn in photographic complaints about violations and give traffic updates, the MCD’s online FB page that focuses on garbage disposal, India Post, which helps people track parcels through Twitter etc. Now imagine being able to converse with any and every department, finding out about electricity issues, passport issues and having someone get back to you the same day. However, these experiments are personality driven and only a few government departments have warmed to them. At the Gov2.in conference, Kapil Sibal, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, gave the first speech. I was immediately struck by the reluctance Sibal had in opening up The panel that followed, which included many bureaucrats, was more encouraging. These were IAS officers who had taken steps to engage with the public, specifically, using social media to complement e-government work. The takeways were simple enough: although there is criticism, however, if you respond to it then social media users will also come to your defense. And even if the technology seems alien to you, if you keep at it, you can really bring people over to the side of governance. Perhaps the most important was: if you don't have a team in place to deal with all the questions/comments/complaints that come your way, people become very impatient and think your department is lazy. So, all in all, its not easy to *just begin* but as someone noted, if you are not in it, you are out it. Sounds simplistic, but being out of it will cost a lot. However, there is also the IT policy to keep track of. The draft amendment to the IT act places intermediaries responsible for content. For example, now that bloggers have been called intermediaries, they will be responsible for comments on their blogs. And because of these changes, the government can then shut down blogs and sites because of concerns, none of which they are really concerned about spelling out. During the conference this question was asked twice: is there a list of banned blogs and

the reasons why the government has banned them. The person asking drew the comparison to books and said; we all know which/why books are banned. IT lawyer Pavan Duggal also pointed out that state governments have a lot of power in blocking sites and in the case of non national interest reasons, they must disclose what the reasons are. (There has been an indication from Kapil Sibal that he is open to revising these rules, but the statement came after much protest from internet activists). What all of this is adding up to is that there is a divide between the government's instinctive reaction to *not* trust people with the kind of freedoms the internet’s intrinsic nature allows them, and harnessing this power/potential goodwill to become a better democracy and a more responsive government. They seem to say: we want to adopt egovernment because “technology” is here to stay, but we are wary of blogs/social networks because citizens can offer direct and public opinions, and the tide may go against us. There seems to be these waves of imagination and creativity passing through the Indian government, especially when it comes to the internet. But it will have to trust its people, and it will have to trust its own ability to respond to the people. Governments need to learn from private companies who have employed social media to connect with their users and strengthen their brands. Otherwise this system is going to crash.
Authored by Mahima Kaul. Mahima is a ICT4D professional and a consultant with the Digital Empowerment Foundation, New Delhi.

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VIEWS

By Aravind G Shivkamal (Columnist)

PR / Advertising sector fails to tap government as a ‘market’
It is surprising to note that top PR and advertising firms of the country have failed to treat government as a ‘market’ though enterprising , ministers and officers are willing to explore tieups with PR firms and advertising agencies.
The Karnataka government organizes a cultural festival, Hampi Utsava, every year in the ruins of Hampi, North Karnataka, with a budget of Rs 10 crore; similar events are held in other important places of tourism interest like Dharwad, Davanagere, and Mysore, with budget of each event being not less than Rs. 1.5 crore. However, a glaring omission at such high profile events is organized PR activity and advertisements-based promotions, which result in poor response from the sections of audiences / business communities concerned. The government PR machinery – Information Department – is tasked with the job of handling PR and advertisements relating to such events and programs. The government officers, who have limited exposure to PR, media and the advertising world, invariably end up disappointing the event organizers. It is surprising to note that top PR and advertising firms of the country have failed to treat government as a ‘market,’ though enterprising ministers and officers are willing to explore tie-ups with PR firms and advertising agencies. The only government-related event that has generated considerable interest among the PR agencies is the annual Bangaloreit.com, aimed at attracting investments in the IT sector. Major Opportunities Bangalore can be the main market for PR firms looking for business with government departments or agencies. A number of departments are in the modernization mode and reforms are in place. For instance, utilities like Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom); Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSS); Bangalore Metro Rail (Namma Bangalore) and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), which have borrowed from leading financial institutions or World Bank, as a rule, have to undertake reforms. These reforms are not just restricted to citizen-centric services of the government agencies, but the entire administrative machinery and the allied functions. The reforms mandate the government organizations to adopt the latest and best practices / communication tools in reaching out to the intended audiences. Many of these organizations have tried the external PR model by hiring Bangalore-based agencies. However, wide gap between the expectations of these organizations and those delivered by the PR agencies, proved a major hindrance for PR agencies to pursue such contracts. Bescom and Bangalore Metro Rail had hired local PR agencies in the past; however, the contracts were not renewed because of lack of expertise among the PR agencies to handle such clients. Even now, Bescom and BWSSB seek external PR support for specific events. In 2008, the World Bank implemented a special program

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VIEWS | PR / Advertising sector fails to tap government as a ‘market’

makers, when it comes to finalizing PR contracts, always face paucity of time. It is for the PR agencies to convince officers, particularly those open to ideas, to try the external PR model. Some of these officers in key agencies, such as government-owned Boards and Corporations (PSUs) are empowered to take decisions independently even without seeking the consent of the government. The state PSUs, by themselves, constitute one huge chunk of market within the government. Bangalore may be the major market for PR agencies to tap business opportunities, but beyond Bangalore, there are greater deals. In Mysore, every year, on the occasion of Dasara festival celebrations, the government organizes various cultural, sports and literary events, running into more than Rs. 25 crore. Similarly, in the northern tourist town of Bagalkote, the Tourism Department organizes a cultural expo, which is attended by cultural czars and Bollywood celebrities. However, these events hardly receive any importance, both in terms of media attention and commerce. The average size of the market from the government sector alone constitutes more than Rs. 10 crore each year in Karnataka, taking into account the budgetary announcements. If the private PR sector is successful in taping just 10 per cent of this market through appropriate strategies, the returns are immense.
Authored by Aravind Gowda. With more than 13 years of experience in diverse segments of the media, Aravind Gowda is a columnist, who writes for reputed newspapers on Current issues. He has worked for premier media houses like The Times of India; Business Standard; The India Today Group;and Deccan Herald. He has also contributed to international publications, such as, The Khaleej Times (West Asia); Global Sources (Hong Kong); and EE Times (Europe). He is a Communications & Content Consultant for various MNCs. He has also featured in awardwinning TV documentaries.

through the BWSSB on creating awareness on water-related health issues. Shockingly, the funds allocated for PR activity, Rs 10 lakh, went unutilized because of flawed rules. Paradigm Shift Required The PR agencies need to keep a regular tab on various government departments and organizations, particularly those that regularly interface with the people (customers). Only experts can understand the processes and procedures of government organizations as they are complex in nature. The PR agencies need a paradigm shift if they have to emerge successful in bagging important contracts from the government. The government sector rules deviate from those followed by the corporate world. The government agencies and departments follow a typical rule to partner with external PR agencies. Unlike the private sector, the focus is not on series of meetings, PPT presentations or examining proposals. The government organizations follow the archaic ‘tender-based’ model to invite participation from the PR agencies. It is not that they deliberately pursue this model, but government rules compel the organizations to follow it in view of transparency and

accountability. The government departments routinely place advertisements in newspapers, especially linguistic dailies, seeking PR support during the beginning of fiscal year. These tenders appear to be cumbersome. For, the PR agencies interested in applying through the tender model should quote their pricing; specify media plan and predict the outcome. Unfortunately, such advertisements go unnoticed by leading PR firms, as they appear more in the linguistic newspapers. Consequently, PR agencies that neither qualifies to service the clients nor have the requisite expertise bag contracts for a limited period. In the process, poor servicing of the clients leads to early termination of contracts. Creating Awareness The awareness about external PR support or the understanding of the PR world is pathetic in the corridors of power. Many top officials in the government are of the impression that PR exercise means just generating optimum media coverage for the departments or the campaigns they lead. The IAS / IPS officers, the key decision

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TRENDS

In bed dreaming different dreams
heard. (A little embarrassment, which is eased by kind editors of the day who were my once my juniors.) But it affirmed yet again the trend I have been noticing: the vast majority of students in graduate and post graduate courses under the university scheme of media studies are not dreaming to be journalists. They would much rather be in public relations. From what I deduced talking to her, this kid who is doing a BA with an alleged media orientation, would like to be a marketing communication professional. Can she? Yes, if she is trained right. (She has the personality and the background, going by what I know of her family and schooling.) Therefore, at issue is the catch-all media studies courses into which all kinds of tinsel ingredients are tossed to attract all kinds of confused children at inordinately high fees compared to other bachelor’s and master’s degrees in these colleges with diminishing glamour value. Clearly, there is a demand for media courses. But to do what, is the question. One can point to lack of suitable career guidance and aptitude assessment. But peer pressure which parents and children face, negates any sensible advice. Questions about the academic or professional competence of the teachers to teach what’s blandished in the curriculum or the availability of appropriate infrastructure to teach all these subjects, are conveniently overlooked when the mad rush for admission in a “good college” and in a course with “good prospects” is driven by extra-mural considerations on all sides. This is largely why any kind of media practitioner – the fancy colleges at least try to have guest lectures and send students to intern – will find varied levels of disinterest in his/her area of work in a classroom and is flummoxed by the contradictions in aspirations which he/she dared to ask as a way to fathom what and how much to teach an apparently bright lot of students. Yet some determined ones from this cohort will manage to make contact and get into the PR industry (as also to Journalism and Advertising) and how well they do or have done is the burden of my thesis: What if they had been given the requisite grounding and training before they came seeking a job? How comfortable the wonder years (for both sides) would have been and how better and higher the young ones would have grown! Professionals (industry practitioners) suggesting a customisation of the syllabus handed down from the university’s inner sanctorum is abhorrent to academicians who place greater

John Thomas

The other day I made a courtesy call at the editorial of a prominent English daily in Bangalore where I had commended a media student from a renowned city college for summer internship: to thank the editor under whom she’d be working and to check on how things were. What I heard to my dismay was the editor concerned telling me how unprepared this kid was for the practical experience and media industry exposure the college in its wisdom had made mandatory for her to acquire during the vacation. What was worse was to hear the editor recounting what she said on being given some reporting work, “But ma’am, I can’t write.” Having been in the role of mentoring trainees in my journalist years and having since taught in colleges, including the one this student is from, it didn’t shock me to hear what I

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TRENDS | In bed dreaming different dreams

value on academics than on employability of their wards. But there is no reason why the PR industry should not find volunteers with the aptitude for teaching to try getting a foot in the door of colleges from where there has been a supply of talent. Alumni provide the best access for this effort. It’s a way of talent spotting and talent-grooming. The PRSI and PRCI can campaign to create trainers for this outreach work to sustain the growth of the industry. Even training those in employment is essential for the health of the industry to face the challenges of quality and standards that come with expansion through globalisation. Some PR companies can also venture into training as a CSR activity for the good

Therefore, at issue is the catch-all media studies courses into which all kinds of tinsel ingredients are tossed to attract all kinds of confused children at inordinately high fees compared to other bachelor’s and master’s degrees in these colleges with diminishing glamour value. Clearly, there is a demand for media courses. But to do what, is the question.
of the profession. There may be more examples of individual and collective training ventures in journalism because news operations have been around far longer and staff demands are many times more than public relations. But what stops the PR industry from stepping up? It’s a choice between making do with stragglers into the profession who may or may not turn out to be geniuses (as our diffident and confused protagonist mentioned earlier may well turn out to be) and ensuring a steady supply of talented and qualified professionals to stay committed to excellence.
Authored by John Thomas. He has work experience that spreads over 34 years and six newspapers in India and two top news agencies abroad. He currently holds the position of Dean at team.i - a media institute focusing on event management, public relations and advertising.

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