The Power of Social Media in a Globalised World

[ad_1]

Much has been talked about globalisation, its pros and cons, its promises and failures, and how it can or cannot help developing countries follow the trajectories of development charted by those who have already achieved the distinction of being officially called the ‘developed nations’. The debates have centred on pure economics of it: the merits or otherwise of market economics based on international trade and investment, with resource allocation mediated by international free market forces. In more sense than one, globalisation is not new – even before the Europeans rode the high tide of globalisation, Chinese and Indian traders dominated the globalised market of pre-medieval world.

There are three important factors that are overlooked in most discourses on the current round of globalisation, although these have potential to make significant impact on the lives of billions of people in poor countries which globalisation has simply passed by. First, when Britain and America led their brand of globalisation in the eighteenth to the twentieth century, they ensured that they were themselves not ‘globalised’ – they developed their domestic market and capacity of the masses to play their role in the market. This helped in broadening and deepening the effects of globalisation by making sure that the benefits were not confined to the rich and the moneyed who went out to ‘globalise’. That unfortunately is not happening in many of the poorer countries now where millions of people remain disenfranchised, and too incapacitated to play their role in a global market.

The second most important departure from previous globalisations, and perhaps the one that holds out the most prospect for the poor and the powerless, has been in the concept of global rights, especially in the global policy regimes on rights to development and application of humanitarian laws. Just as the current chapter of globalisation drew the world closer in terms of free market mechanism and unfettered capital flows, it also brought about a realisation that basic rights to protection, assistance and development as enshrined in different human rights conventions and international humanitarian laws needed global application. These are often referred to as second generation rights involving universal minimum welfare entitlements, as opposed to the first generation rights which relate to individual liberty and freedom on which an universal consensus ideology is yet to emerge. You could not have economic growth and prosperity for some, while turning a blind eye to the denial of basic rights to life and protection for a large majority of the world. The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and reshaping of the international aid architecture following the Monterrey consensus are part of this global agenda. MDGs are not just wish lists for donor agencies or governments, but reflect commitments to ensure that various instruments under the international humanitarian laws and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) are met by the governments in the first instance.

For the first time in the history of humanity, the language of rights entered the frame of discussions and policy making at national and international levels in the past decade. The economic, social and cultural rights include a number of claims, like claims to social security and a certain standard of living, including claims to adequate food, clothing, housing, health care, sanitation, education, etc. Prior to this, despite having various conventions and protocols agreed and ratified by governments, these hardly provided any strong reference point when it came to implementation, especially in developing countries. The introduction of rights in development discourse recognised that access to good healthcare is not just something a good government ought to provide, it is a right of the villagers who never see their health workers visit the derelict primary healthcare centre to demand it. Likewise, when the devastating Tsunami hit the Indian Ocean area, the affected families in the Tsunami-hit areas had a right to receive assistance in the form of food, shelter and livelihoods from the national governments and from the international humanitarian agencies like the UN, the International and national non-government organisations. It is no longer the case of ‘a good government’ doing a favour to its chosen subjects, nor a poor woman surviving on the generosity of a large-hearted non-government organisations (NGO). There are rights, duties (duty of care) and obligations that come into the equation. Thanks to globalisation that triggered this global thinking.

This has been the most significant achievement of globalisation: the recognition of individuals as ‘subjects’ of international law, and so of international concern, and bringing into the development equation the economic, social and cultural rights which national and international development processes ought to strengthen.

Thanks to globalisation, global media and public opinion, the renewed commitment to providing basic needs of life and livelihoods as a matter of right has meant that governments can no longer hide behind the curtain of sovereignty and still maintain a facade of a nation which tramples upon the rights and liberties of individuals. China could get away with Tiananmen massacre in 1989, but Chinese businesses and government would shudder to think what would become of their global dreams if the same were to occur in the 21st century. It is globalisation again which by leveraging public scrutiny of war crimes now enables international governance to bring to book perpetrators of crimes against humanity in the International War Crimes Tribunal.

Finally, it is globalisation again which has made the world flatter by democratising technology. That you and I, and billions others, can communicate in real time, although separated by a distance of tens of thousands of miles, and that we ordinary folks can have the same access to vital information which in the past would have been handed down to us from those who rule and govern us, mean that each one of us now have tremendous power to influence the world. After the Haiti earthquake, we saw social media, (the facebook, twitter, Digg, Myspace to name a few) play a vital role in bringing out the reality and gravity of the situation through numerous stories and eye-witness accounts as the situation started unfolding from day one, including where aid agencies were failing in reaching out to the affected communities. Five years ago when the Tsunami happened in Asia, we were relying on the big newspapers and TV channels to bring us stories, which sometimes were either late or only covered areas the TV cameras could reach. After the Haiti earthquake, through the millions of blogs and micro-blogs, we saw millions of concerned citizens the world over expressing their solidarity with the victims. Through these, we also saw a more extensive and mature portrayal of the crisis that was unfolding: the catastrophic destruction and damages aside, we also saw the challenges in providing any rescue or relief operations, the lack of infrastructure for providing relief and why aid was slow in reaching out to the affected communities, real time stories of what the humanitarian response was or wasn’t doing. We were no longer relying solely on the news that the governments, established media and aid agencies were dishing out to us. That was a remarkable transformation in a short span of five years.

[ad_2]

Internet Marketing – A Maze In A Haze?

[ad_1]

Internet marketing, website marketing, call it what you will, can be a bit like a maze. You charge off down one route……dead end. Someone sends you off down another route with a big smile on their face…….another dead end. Another route looks promising…….until it fizzles out and you reach another dead end. You can’t cheat by looking over the hedge, it’s about 20 feet high! A big ladder so you can get a good view? No, they’ve all been hidden. None left on the planet! Except those in the vaults of the internet gurus, you suspect.

So, you keep going around this maze, and at every turn there’s advertising, all about the maze itself, telling you about which way to go. Plans of the maze which, if you follow, may get you half way round, only to find you need to buy another plan to get the rest of the way. So what do you do? Carry on around this maze unaided? Or buy another plan? You buy another plan of this maze, and lo and behold, you end up at a place somewhere near the exit into real open daylight (you think), but how do you get the correct final few turns? Anyway, maybe you’re not near the exit after all? You could be on the far side of the maze from the exit. Sound familiar?

If you’ve been researching the internet from a business point of view for any length of time, you have probably found that much of the advertising, the marketing, is about …………….. internet marketing. This is partly why it can seem like a maze. If you are not sure what is going to work to market your website, or the products in it, how do you know which advice to listen too, which “offers” to take up?

Why is Internet Marketing Such a Maze?

Marketing is a subject I’ve been interested in for many years, long before I was partner in an advertising related business in the early 90’s. Then, marketing was a quite stable world. The most recent “change” of any significance had been TV, and TV advertising had evolved steadily over several decades. It was glossy, glamorous, and………..very expensive. That was good for the big advertising agencies, and they chased the big advertisers with massive budgets for TV advertising. They had their creative departments to come up with memorable TV ads, often designed to be memorable rather than to sell, and their media buyers to buy time on the commercial TV stations.

The glamour was in TV, but every company and every agency would work on a marketing mix: radio advertising, sales promotions, glossy magazine advertising, newspaper advertising, trade ads, direct mail…..all played their part. These all had one thing in common, though: they had been around for a very long time. Marketing was a stable industry, not in economic terms, but in the “tricks of the trade”. There were a few minor variations here and there, but basically, the marketing industry had its accepted, well documented, ways of doing things. Skill levels varied of course, and that’s where competition came in between the agencies and between companies in the same industries. The point is, though, it was all basically stable. Good or bad, it was stable.

Then along came the internet. Being involved in advertising in the mid 90’s, it was obvious to me that the potential was absolutely enormous. Mind boggling. It was difficult to demonstrate, though, as speeds were painfully slow. You’d try to show someone over a cup of coffee or tea, and you’d finish the drink while the second page was loading. Try coming back in 5 years. Well, they did. With a vengeance.

The internet itself came on in leaps and bounds after that. Technically it developed rapidly. Companies started to realise they “had” to have an internet presence. Why? Well, often because their competitor did, or because they thought they should before their competitor did. They were diving in, pretty much blind; they did not understand what they were getting into. The stock markets cottoned on that something big was in the offing, so .com shares were being touted to ever higher levels. Shares of companies with no substance in most cases.

I used to trade shares on a daily basis in those days, and I never touched one internet related company. I cringed every time I saw the financial figures of a listed .com. Prices of shares were often in the stratosphere while turnover was meagre and profits non existent, then and into the future. The traders in the London Stock Exchange and Wall Street did not understand. The internet was new, there was no history to go on. They simply did not understand. They were excited, and were exciting others too. The buying was frantic. The crash inevitable.

Companies all over the world were realising, though, that they must have a web presence. Companies had marketing departments and/or advertising agencies. So they too had to go along with the the tidal wave of internet anticipation. What did they do? They followed the accepted patterns for marketing in those days. TV advertising. Radio advertising. Big newspaper ads. The massive costs of those methods bore no relationship then to the potential for additional income, for sales. They were throwing money down the drain in most cases. Why? They simply did not understand!

The internet was, and is, a revolution in communications. But the marketing industry had not had a revolution, it was too bogged down in the rest of the marketing mix to realise what was really going on here. The printing press was a revolution in communications, but it took many years to spread its influence. Radio was a revolution in communications; likewise. TV? Likewise.

The internet has been more like an explosion, and after an explosion it takes time for the dust to settle. That’s one of the reasons for the maze of internet marketing. The dust is still settling. You can’t see through the dust yet. More of a haze than a maze I suppose! No, a maze in a haze!

[ad_2]

Cable TV 101: The Power of TV Commercials

[ad_1]

As we watch various TV shows at home, there is something that you may notice after taking a break. This is what we call commercial breaks. It is some kind of advertisement that are placed in a TV network during break time. Advertisers are paying the TV company on a pay-per-view basis until the credits expired. It means that for every advertisement viewed by the cable TV customers and subscribers, credits will start to charge. Why is it that lots of advertisers are willing to promote their product, service or company through TV commercials?

First of all, cable and satellite TV providers are having a huge market. The reason that cable or satellite TV is a huge market because of the great demand. In other words, everybody loves to watch TV all the time. This is where the advertisers came in, and they’re willing to spend their money for advertising credits. But how would they benefit from their advertising credits through TV commercials? For example, if you advertise a shampoo product through a pay-per-view basis, you might target a lot of women who are watching cable TV.

The channels that you are targeting for the product must be related to beauty, fashion, lifestyle and other variety channels. As cable TV providers and the advertisers agreed to a deal with this campaign, the commercial mode starts to roll. As you are targeting the right niche or audience, it gives them a lot of interest to check out the product advertised on TV. If there is a possibility that your product or service made sales through your TV commercial campaign, it is a sign of success for your business. This is where businesses are very successful through their campaigns.

However, if you choose the wrong target or demographics, you will get no or less sales from your products or services. It is important for your campaign to be targeted by means of pay-per-view, and it reflects the performance of your product or service itself. There is no guarantee that you may have a successful campaign with any cable TV provider, because there are lots of advertisers out there. In other words, there are some competitors in your niche or area that are running their campaigns through TV commercials as well.

Overall, it is worth for your business to test anything for the best. If you don’t test it out, you will not succeed. It needs you to take action to make your business profitable, especially in terms of promoting products and services. There are lots of ways for you to advertise the product and service, and it has no limits for you. As long you have a big budget to run a campaign for your product or service in a cable TV company, you’re good to go. This is the real power of TV commercials in running their campaigns through a pay-per-view basis. It may give you a real risk, but it’s normal for all businesses.

[ad_2]

Social Media Marketing – Wake Up to the Revolution, Market Your Business Online – Part 1

[ad_1]

Are you stuck in the wilderness of old fashioned marketing techniques or are you part of the new revolution?

You might ask, what is Social Media? I’ll ask you: under what rock have you been the last couple of years?

If you want to be part of the revolution I’ll share a few facts with you that will show you why Social Media is one of your most important and powerful marketing strategies to promote your business online TODAY.

What is this Monster then?

“Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media use web-based technologies to transform and broadcast media monologues into social media dialogues.” As defined by Wikipedia

It is Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, MySpace, Blogger, Digg, Orkut, Flikkr to mention a few.

Lets ponder on a few interesting facts that will undoubtedly demonstrate the enormity of this ever evolving media that is fast becoming the new economy of the world – A Big shift indeed!

– When you look at the worlds population, over 50% is under the age of 30 and 96% of them joined some kind of Social Media Network.

– Baby Boomers are joining in their masses

– Personal relationships are formed on these networks – 1 out of 8 marriages today met through Social Media

– It grows faster than any other media in history. To reach 50 Million users:

– Radio took 38 years

– TV took 13 years

– Internet took 4 years

– iPod took 3 years, BUT

FACEBOOK alone added 100 Million users in 9 months,

– today it is the number one activity on the web, outperforming the previous number one- pornography,

– In the USA today there are more online students than students who receive face-to-face education (revealed by a study done by the US Department of Education)

– There are 15 Million articles on Wikipedia (Wiki-Hawaiian term for QUICK). These articles is as accurate as the Encyclopedia of Britannica

– It is a truly on the go media/platforms

– People using it everywhere and at anytime

– It is used by young and old

– This will undoubtedly have an impact on the way you market yourself, your business and the quality of the product or service you render

– This bring a truly new meaning to the term “Word of Mouth Marketing”

This is the NEW ECONOMY, driven by people for people. Instead of having a selling mindset you have to shift to a listening mindset before you can even think of selling to that customer.

You have to come to the party. You must focus on providing high value content, product and service. If you get this right you’ll be able to start showing profits. Why?

People will trust YOU!

This is true for your business. It does not matter if you’re a business from home, a traditional brick and mortar business, an online internet business, or a big corporate business. YOU have to get educated.

Look out for Part 2

[ad_2]