In Shelagh Stephenson’s Olivier-award winning dark comedy, The Memory of Water, three sisters reunite to bid farewell to their recently departed mother. As adults, it is evident that their present lives have not lived up to expectations. That’s how life goes. But these girls can’t even agree on their shared past. And that’s how memory goes.
A common estimate used by psychologists suggests that a single ‘moment’ can last up to 3 seconds. So we experience about 20,000 separate moments each day, and about 500 million of them if we live to be age 70. Professor Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and psychologist suggests that the vast majority of these moments simply vanish: poof – gone. And the memories we are left with can be very different from our experiences!
He distinguishes between what he calls the Experiencing Self and the Remembering Self. One of his favourite illustrations of this dichotomy is a story about a music lover, listening to a rare vinyl recording of a symphony. For 20 minutes, he got to experience some of the most sublime music of his life. Then, right near the end, there was a scratch on the record, a loud squeak, and he angrily declared: “It spoilt the whole thing!” But did it? He had enjoyed 20 minutes of lovely music, many moments. But that single negative moment coloured his memory of the entire thing. That’s what he committed to memory. What a shame.
What we now know is that, of the very many moments we experience in life, we are selective about which ones we commit to memory. And, for significant moments, we never simply record the facts. There’s always an emotional component – a feeling – that gets attached to the memory of that moment, and the two parts are not easily separated.
We all know people who lean towards a ‘glass is half empty’ philosophy of life. So is this merely a phenomenon that affects the pessimists among us? Probably not. Scientists believe that we are hard-wired to actively seek out, and remember, the negative. It is thought to be an evolutionary adaptation that enhances our ability to survive. Which I imagine was very useful in the jungle (“Yikes! A tiger, big teeth, scary, avoid in future!”) but occasionally frustrating for us in the modern world. For how does a ‘ruined’ memory of music impact the survival of the species? It doesn’t. But our hard-wired cognitive processes can’t automatically distinguish between the two.
Naturally, we also store and recall good memories. Things that nurture us, or feel pleasurable, are worth repeating if we get the chance, for they can also help our survival. For example, last week I was offered a piece of soda bread in a restaurant. It looked and tasted exactly like my granny’s bread, and I vividly remembered a warm kitchen and the smell of her apron as she hugged me close, more than 40 years ago.
That the girls in our play recall their shared experiences quite differently should come as no surprise. The emotional component of those moments was quite different for each of them, as our audience discovers along the way. One of the key reasons that the practice of mindfulness is so popular today, is the discovery that we can ‘hack’ our minds. By consciously marrying a neutral, or less negative, emotion to an immediate unpleasant experience we can influence our future mental states. Literally, we can write happier endings. It’s fascinating stuff.
In the 1960s Ellie Greenwich was a prolific songwriter, responsible for dozens of classic hits from The Girl Group era. Vi, the girls’ mother in our play, would certainly have sung along to these tunes as she got ‘dolled up’ to go out to the dance hall. One of Ellie’s lesser-known songs laments the heartache of having loved, and lost. The aching end lyric goes like this: “I wish I never saw the sun shine. I wish I’d never saw the sun shine. Cos if I never saw sunshine baby then…maybe… I wouldn’t mind the rain.”
As theatre makers it’s our job to know the breadth of human possibilities, and the depths of our individual character’s possibilities. We work with what the author gives us, and we can’t rewrite the ending. But by holding up a mirror to life, we believe that great theatre can help an audience to rewrite their own script, and maybe learn to love a little rain.
Written by Sean Worrall, an Ensemble Member of Wag the Dog Theatre.
The Memory of Water will play at Drama Centre Black Box, 100 Victoria Street, Singapore from 30 June to 9 July. Tickets are $35, available at SISTIC.
There’s been a lot of talk within B2B marketing circles about the importance of putting emotion at front of mind when creating marketing content.
One of the powers of social media is that it allows you to be yourself or anything else for that matter.
The euphoria of having a platform where your voice can be heard or you can be seen, creates a completely different person to what everyone sees or supposedly knows “offline.” It’s also a ‘space’ where as a marketer, you can display some emotion, even if this is in a virtual environment.
There is plenty of scientific evidence to show that you engage the best with people when you connect with them on an emotional level. It’s not necessarily about high drama or hypersensitivity. It’s about finding a connection, identifying a common ground, spotting a leveler and using that to form the foundation on which marketing conversations, marketing communications, and marketing engagement can be built.
So, what’s the marketing magic that happens when you get in touch with your emotions?
- You create content that’s meaningful and not abstract
- You make a lasting impression, and your content is bound to be remembered
- You expand your creative vision
- You churn out relevant stuff that’s reusable
- You start to feel, and pick up what’s going on around you
- You awaken from a sense of dullness, boredom and slumber
- You identify your own value and pour it out to others
- Content creation becomes a hobby and not a chore
- You develop a personality and your image flows through every word, sentence, paragraph, campaign etc.
- You stop hiding and reveal who you are.
To sum it up, marketing is a thought process, and if you are ready to revolutionize your marketing, then get emotional.
Post by 4CM, a member of the Evoke PR Network.
2016: Time to Unwrap Your Potential
Another year has come and gone! Is it me or did 2015 just slipped us by? Again!
Now that 2016 has arrived, many of us are tentatively jotting down resolutions for the new year. Along with personal goals like doing more physical activity and watching less Reality TV (none hopefully in the near future!), I’m sure you’ve spent the final weeks of 2015 refining your business strategy, so much so that you’ve probably not had the chance to reflect.
Fret not, here are some resolutions any PR specialist (PRs) will need to make 2016 their year:
Dump the creativity
Thinking outside the box is so passé. While those so-called creative experts may try to convince us otherwise, we all know that the best ideas come when we’re alone, seconds to the deadline, wired with lots of caffeine. But, in an era where the process is everything, any PRs worth their salt needs to at least play along with the notion of collaboration. 2016 is the year to embrace the brainstorm for what it is – group therapy with a flipchart – and save your real critical thinking for your alone time.
Connect with your audience
PRs should live and breathe the organizations they represent. You may have tried a bit of client immersion in the past, but 2016 is the year to get your “Freak On” as the song goes. Starting on a new hip alcohol brand? Unleash your inner youth – listen to “Five Seconds to Summer” until you know all the words to their songs, watch the MTV Video awards again and again, go drinking in the millennial club. It probably won’t make your work any better nor your head, but it’ll definitely get you a step closer to “connecting with your audience.”
Talk the talk
Touch base, flag up, check-in, sell-in, reach out….. You’ve tried long enough to avoid using PR-speake, but my friend, you know deep down you’re fighting a lost battle. Sure, these phrases don’t really mean anything, but hamming up the industry lingo is guaranteed to boost your clients’ trust in you and make your senior management team take notice. Use it enough, and you may start to believe in yourself too.
Don’t shy away
If there’s one thing we can guarantee in 2016, it’s that another viral craze will come along demanding we stick ourselves to one digital platform or another – probably in the name of some charity. As a professional bandwagon jumper, it’s important for you to be one of the first to get involved – just make sure you’re not the last.
In the same way a pencil makes no noise as it drops unless you’re there to hear it, your hard work means nothing without a steady stream of online updates. The trick to curating a strong professional feed is a lot easier than you think. You don’t need to read articles before you share them, just make sure your post is snappy and includes a personal comment, e.g. “Interesting read … ” or “Great piece from HBR blog… ” Looking like you enjoy your job is also key – jokes and group photos will help build your online brand.
Update your LinkedIn
With top companies trawling the site for talent and ideas, it’s time to embrace the cringe. Add pictures, join groups, and list skills – both abstract (creativity, team work) and specific (blogs) – then watch as the business roll in.
Rise above the norm
2016 is the year of big picture. Avoid getting bogged down in too much of the nitty-gritty by becoming an expert in delegation. The key here is in packaging it up as empowerment. Empower your juniors to take more ownership of administrative details. Empower your seniors to use their specialist knowledge. In no time at all, you’ll have empowered your way to a clear plate and have more time to focus on improving your own skillset.
Happy New Year! May the Force Awaken in Each and Every One of Us!
Posted by Irene Gomez, CIO, CorpMedia
A crisis is any situation that disrupts a company’s operations, undermines the loyalty of its customer base or harms its financial performance. In short, a crisis – be it related to the underlying business, regulatory action or shareholder activism – represents a significant risk to an enterprise.
For the financial sector especially, rebuilding investor trust and value is a costly proposition. Never have managers been more compelled to address investors’ complaints over market losses than in such a time of economic uncertainty. However, the communication behaviour of most financial institutions has shown that strategic, crisis-oriented communication is simply not taking place in many companies.
Reputation can be a company’s biggest asset. Reputation management is first and foremost about building relationships with key stakeholders that includes communicating with employees, engaging with clients, reacting to investor concerns, collaborating with government, partnering with the media, and well, everything in between.
It is important for organizations to realize that different stakeholders make different assessments and not all stakeholders share the same view of what your business’ reputation is. The personal experiences, perceptions and expectations intrinsic in relationship building are what complicate the reputation management process. The values of these groups differ and change over time. What was important yesterday may not necessarily mean as much today, and can even be of little significance to some stakeholders. It is, therefore, important to keep your finger on the pulse of what aspect of the business is important to which stakeholder group, and to make sure that your actions and communications are geared towards addressing these needs.
Managers in today’s competitive market can no longer afford to be in the middle of a media firestorm without a plan of action. How well your company communicates in a crisis could be the difference between simply surviving, or thriving and strengthening the brand. Companies must strive for openness and above all, a willingness to accept responsibility in order to rebuild confidence.
In a crisis, the main focus of public relations is rebuilding corporate reputations and restoring confidence in the organizations. What should we keep in mind with regards to this? Here are some key attributes we’d like to share that should drive any crisis management plan – before, during and after the storm.
Crisis Management – Before
Build the right team: Prior to the crisis, put together a crisis communications team. The key players should include legal, public relations, compliance and investor relations professionals. Hold regular meetings to ensure that all the team members are on the same page.
Train the company’s spokesperson(s): It can be quite damaging, not to mention, challenging for an untrained spokesperson to speak to the media directly. Companies need to allocate adequate resources to ensure communications specialists have the ability to deliver accurate and timely information to investors and a public who demand quick answers.
Crisis Management – During
Determine key messages: Ensure that anyone who is telling the story is delivering an accurate message, both internally and externally. At a time of crisis, clarity, consistency and conviction are critical to effective communications.
Be authentic: Companies must take ownership for what’s happened. Do not deflect blame or fail to express the impact that the event has had on investors. A company’s ability to empathize with its investors’ needs, concerns and emotions will go a long way towards restoring investor confidence.
Full transparency: Provide investors with all of the information they need to help them understand what’s happened, and the implications for the company going forward. Being transparent requires courage but it may be the only way to rebuild corporate reputation.
Define the new order: Make sure the company clearly articulates what is changing as a result of the crisis (whether it’s product, people, process or organizational structure). Define the next steps, implications, and how you will keep investors informed.
Get the news out early: This is critical! Make sure your investors, their partners and any other intermediaries hear the story from the company first. You have to control the message.
Crisis Management – After
Debrief: Identify what worked and what didn’t. Use what the company has learnt to refine your process and protocol.
It is important to remember that the best preparation for a crisis is the long-term fostering of relationships with stakeholder groups. By doing this, companies can build up goodwill which they can draw on in times of crisis. And these days, when news cycles are measured in minutes rather than hours, rapid responses to crises are absolutely essential to winning any communications battles. Follow these simple steps to get in front of clients early and companies can survive the crisis – and emerge even stronger.
Posted by Irene Gomez, CIO, Corp Media
So now you know the basics of social media listening, how do you go about executing it? Social media has provided people the ability to voice their opinion on companies, brands, people – in short, anything and anyone. What people say can be good or bad, but that alone doesn’t determine your social media success. The way your company listens to and engages with these posts is what dictates how those opinions influence your online presence and brand sentiment.
The key to making the most of social media is listening to what your audience has to say about you, analyzing the data and, finally, reaching social media business intelligence by using all these insights to know your customers better and improve your marketing strategy. We have picked out some Social Media Monitoring Tools that take your social listening up a notch.
The Lowdown: Hootsuite’s publishing features can automatically discover, schedule, and post content for you, freeing up more time to engage with customers. You can also create keyword search streams to track mentions, respond to customers and nurture leads so you can monitor every conversation across your social networks; you are always in-the-know.
Why you should use it? Hootsuite lets you manage over 100 social networks, share task with Team members and analyse performance using one login, in one dashboard. This is thus an integrated platform where we can not only find and share content which interests your audience and will also keep your social presence active when you are not.
2. Social Mention
The Lowdown: A social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information, Social Mention allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors 100+ social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc.
Why you should use it? Social Mention currently provides a point-in-time social media search and analysis service, daily social media alerts, and API. Not only is it free, Social Mention monitors over one hundred social media sites and analyses data in more depth and measures influence with 4 categories: Strength, Sentiment, Passion and Reach so you have an integrated 4-point matrix on your hands.
The Lowdown: A social media dashboard application for the management of Twitter accounts, Tweetdeck interfaces with the Twitter API to allow users to send and receive tweets and view profiles. You can create a custom Twitter experience by organizing and building custom timelines and keeping track of lists, searches and activities. Tweetdeck is geared up to work with multiple accounts so you can monitor all of your accounts, including direct messages and notifications, all from the same TweetDeck interface.
Why you should use it? Part of the beauty of TweetDeck lies in how much information you can have on screen at the same time. The list of column types you can add is impressive: you can view your timeline, your notifications, your mentions, the activity around your account, your favourites, any of your lists, search results, direct messages, tweets from a single user, trending hashtags and more.
The Lowdown: While most social monitoring tools are tailored to B2C management and focus on engagement and brand awareness, Oktopost takes a different approach; it simplifies B2B social media management, helps you manage content and measure the true business value of your social media marketing.
Why you should use it? So like every other social media monitoring tool, you can schedule your content distribution in advance and manage all your social marketing and measure the results for each campaign. Oktopost has another added advantage: it allows you to leverage seamless integrations with third-party platforms such as Marketo, and automatically syncs valuable analytical and lead data so it delivers the true business value of social media, generating new sales and integrating marketing and sales in today’s social-centric marketplace.
The Lowdown: This tool has its own Crawler which continuously crawls all social media platforms for relevant mentions and even cleans up duplicate entries and spam mentions up to the most relevant set of data for the client. Each mention is also analyzed for sentiment detection and for recurring phrase identification. The title and main content of the page is also extracted and displayed within the system.
Why you should use it? The most attractive benefit is the ease of setting up queries. Search queries can be set up using simple Boolean Search operators and different searched can be combined to form a single query. The query also permits using inclusion and exclusion terms to bring out the most relevant mentions, thus narrowing your data for you.
The Lowdown: This is an analytics dashboard that doesn’t provide analytics on its own but instead aggregates data from multiple other places (including Google Analytics, Paypal, Stripe, MailChimp, Twitter and Facebook) so you can see all your data in one spot. You can use SumAll to set goals, combine metrics, and use the mobile app to view your data, among other things.
Why you should use it? SumAll Is not just the first analytics tool to give users transactional, social and web traffic on a single dashboard; users can see their full social history updated in real time. Site visits, page views and events are important but SumAll connects data from credit card transaction analytics providers such as Authorize.net, across multiple devices and visually sums it up. So you can take five different web analytics services and collapse them into a single sales line on a chart.
The Lowdown: A search tool that tracks content on all social networking sites and ranks them based on the number of shares on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest, BuzzSumo monitors content by topic or user and uses an advanced search engine to deliver accurate results. You can even analyze qualities of the most shared content such as the format, style, and tone; Do people tend to share articles that are casual with lots of visuals or is it more serious, and educational?
Why you should use it? With BuzzSumo, you can evaluate the quality of the articles with the most shares. And you can see the list of people who shared the article on their social media. This is very useful as you can reach out to these influencers and ask if they will share articles of the same content, thus increasing the probability of them sharing your article. And you can also find out what these influencers share, thus gaining valuable insights into their distribution behaviour.
It is helpful to monitor your brand online so you can engage when appropriate and respond when necessary. And this is exactly how Hershey’s did it. Rather than promoting events that are happening elsewhere, Hershey’s found success with a S’mores photo contest held entirely on Facebook. Posting once or twice every day, with the philosophy that “more content generates more engagement”, fans’ questions are answered if the company’s “decision tree” determines that they should receive a response. So there’s a system in place to respond to questions, but it doesn’t guarantee that each post will receive a reply.
Like Hershey’s, you can use social media to engage your fans, but you don’t always have the upper hand on how the conversation will go. But this is definitely something you can attempt to regulate. These tools are time savers that make monitoring easy. Many of these tools are notification systems that allow you to act when you see alerts. And most of all, these platforms have a real-time search component.
So if you’re monitoring a brand of any size, a combination of these tools will help you stay on top of conversations and become part of your social strategy.
Posted by Stephanie Robert, Advocate, PR, CorpMedia