Monthly ArchiveMay 2007
Uncategorized Melvin Yuan on 25 May 2007
I.Z. Reloaded recounts the courtship that led to a Blog-sponsorship/Brand Ambassador relationship with San Street
San Street, a street-wear company in Singapore, has appointed local blogger – I.Z. (of I.Z. Reloaded) – as Brand Ambassador. I.Z. will represent San Street’s portfolio of clothing brands, and the company will be the main sponsor of his blog. Details can be found in the official announcement on Scoopasia.com.
Today, businesses are clearly interested in reaching out to online communities by working with bloggers that attract such an audience. The tactic? Creating associations with Global Microbrands.
When I.Z. gave me the heads-up on this news, I interviewed him in the hope of providing companies with insights on how to approach bloggers with a marketing agenda (an issue that still divides the blogosphere):
Q. Did the company approach you “cold”? Or did you have friends in the company?
A. I did not have prior contact with San Street until several weeks ago when the company was scouting for bloggers to work with.
Q. How did they approach you? How did they strike up that conversation?
A. They sent me an e-mail with a brief description of the company and its clothing brands. They also mentioned that they were looking at new marketing platforms, and were interested in using my blog as part of their marketing plan. I agreed to meet to discuss further, and that’s how the conversation started.
Q. What did you like about their approach?
A. I liked it that they were straight-forward and very clear about what they wanted. And I think that (approach) is important. Not many companies know how to approach bloggers properly for such purposes.
Q. What would have made or broken the deal for you?
A. Before this, I was already talking to a few companies about similar endorsement/sponsorship arrangements. Because of that, I was prepared with the right presentation (on my reader stats: the number of readers per day and month; and a breakdown of where they come from) and the right plans (how I would promote their products on my blog).
Q. When I first asked the question above, I meant to ask if there was anything San Street would have done to make or break the deal. But it seems you feel that the blogger has an equal part to play; and certainly an equal reward to look forward to in the relationship.
A. Yes. There are many bloggers out there who are interested in some form of sponsorship. So, if a blogger would like to be selected by a company for such deals, he should go all out to impress the company.
Q. How do you feel about your blog being labeled “a marketing platform” by San Street?
A. I’m happy with it because it shows that blogs have come of age, and that companies are starting to regard them as an important marketing tool or platform. I’m not saying that every blogger should start pursuing sponsorships, but I think as a blogger and publisher, it is always satisfying to know that you can make a difference; not only to your readers, but also to the companies that want you to help them market their products.
Q. Did you wear their range of clothing and accessories before this?
A. I never wore their apparel before this, but I guess now I will have to! I’m obligated to wear their stuff during functions and events, but I’m pretty comfortable with the clothes that I’m representing now. They have an entire range, not just t-shirts, but jeans, caps, wallets, bags, slippers, even girls’ stuff!
Q. How many brands do you think a blogger can effectively represent at any one point of time?
A. Ha! Well, David Beckham represents quite a few brands doesn’t he? I don’t think there’s any limit for a blogger seriously but he or she must try not to be seen as overselling because having too many ads and other marketing messages on his blog may put off readers. For me personally, three is the optimal number of brands I can represent effectively.
Q. What do you think will happen if you disagree with some or all of San Street’s future business decisions? For example: a range of clothing that you absolutely detest, a corporate decision that you object toâ€¦ What would you do then?
A. Well, we have a pretty flexible agreement so I’m sure that if we don’t like what each other is doing, we will be able to come to a quick solution. But I don’t see any problems because I have a very good relationship with them and it’s something that is growing everyday.
Q. How often do you meet San Street to discuss branding/marketing issues?
A. We talk and meet daily or as often as I can. There are a couple of interesting things that we have planned and you will see the end product of those discussions on my blog in the near future.
Finally, after quizzing him, I distilled three factors to consider in establishing a ‘marketing relationship’ (for current lack of a better term) with a blogger:
- Personality – the blogger’s personality and how well it complements your brand identity. There is no substitute for reading the blog thoroughly and assessing the blogger’s style of writing, as well as the responses from his/her readers.
- Popularity - the extent of the blogger’s influence, and perhaps more importantly, his/her ability to keep readers constantly engaged. Blog popularity awards are a good (but not always reliable) indication of bloggers who are tried and tested in their ability to do this. I.Z., for example, was runner-up in both the 2006 Weblog Awards (Best Asia Blog) and the 2004 Asia Blog Awards (Best Singapore Blog).
- Chemistry – how well you can get along with the blogger. It is crucial to have a good rapport with the bloggers you work with because:
- they can get very involved in the publicity and promotions activities;
- their personal brand is intrinsically affected by your business decisions (and vice versa – their personal decisions can dramatically affect your company brand); and
- a ruined relationship can possibly result in rather negative publicity on the same blog thereafter
San Street’s business relationship with I.Z. Reloaded follows other similar PR tactics in Singapore, and I am sure we’ll see more of such Blogger-Brand-Ambassadors emerge in the months ahead.
Uncategorized Melvin Yuan on 16 May 2007
In Mission Impossible 3, Ethan Hunt, played by actor Tom Cruise, had a bomb planted in his brain. It was later triggered by the villain who placed it there; and in order to deactivate the bomb, Hunt had to electrocute himself in the hope that his wife would be able to revive him later.
And so it is with this blog. Because of problems with my web host, I have decided to migrate to another server. This means that the blog will be down/inactive from 0600 hrs to 2359 hrs on 17 May 2007 (Singapore time, GMT+8). In the meantime, nothing in the world would have changed much.
And unless you tell me otherwise, I will remove this frivolous post when the migration is complete.
Uncategorized Melvin Yuan on 04 May 2007
Bravo! Paul Holmes has absolutely nailed it with his recent article: A Manifesto for the 21st Century Public Relations Firm.
Paul’s essay was published in the latest issue of the Holmes Report dated 30 April 2007. The weekly newsletter is available on a paid-subscription basis, but Paul has generously given me permission to republish his entire article in this blog entry.
It is a brilliant combination of revelation and affirmation for the case of PR 2.0. It draws out everything in my heart on PR. A must-read. Thanks Paul.
And here is the manifesto… Continue Reading »