Thoughts on 'Singapore Polo Team's Trunks "Inappropriate"" report

There are several lessons we can take away from this episode.

1. Do not assume. When in doubt, always seek official approval. Creativity needs Approval too. There are clear guidelines on the use of state flag, crest and even Merlion symbol owned by Singapore Tourism Board.

2. The brand identity can be expressed in many ways. On national day, people paint their faces with our state flag and it is totally acceptable as part of the celebration. Showing patriotism is great as long as it is at the right places (no pun intended)

3. Let’s be practical, these wonderful swimming trunk of the Water polo team will be a collector’s item now. They should auction it for public funding in 2011. How often do you get to keep a set of items with National identity and yet deemed inappropriate?

4. Body anatomy. Are our private parts more inferior to our faces? After all both are just parts of the body. why is it that we can paint it and not wear it? A thailand’s journalist wrote “The red and white trunks feature elements of Singapore’s national flag, five stars and a crescent moon jutting up from the groin, leaving a somewhat unfortunate impression.” What if I paint our state flag on my face and frown the whole time, will this also constitute a “unfortunate impression”?


Singapore Polo Team’s Trunks “Inappropriate”

Reported : Friday, 26-November-2010

Singapore rebuked its national water polo team for wearing swim trunks that feature an “inappropriate” likeness of the city-state’s flag.

The trunks, which were designed by members of the men’s team currently competing in the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, show the flag’s white crescent moon jutting up from the groin area with five stars to the side on a red background.

“Unfortunately the team did not seek our advice on the use of the crescent moon and stars when they designed their swim trunks,” the Information Ministry said in a statement Thursday. “We would have told them that their design is inappropriate as we want elements of the flag to be treated with dignity.”

The ministry, which normally evaluates the use of the flag on uniforms on a case-by-case basis, declined to specify which part of the design was objectionable.

The trunks sparked a controversy in the local media and on Internet message boards, with some offended by the use of the national flag while others were amused at the furor.

Asian Games rules stipulate that a team’s uniform cannot be changed in the middle of the tournament, so the government will allow the water polo players to wear the trunks when they play Kuwait on Thursday for fifth place. The team apologized and said it would retire the trunks after the Asian Games.

“We didn’t have the slightest intention to do anything funny on our trunks to insult Singapore,” team manager Samuel Wong, who helped design the trunks, told the Straits Times.

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Branding Challenges

Are you a business owner and suffer from one of the following?
  • People don’t know about your company.
  • People don’t care about your company.
  • People confuse you with another company.
  • People have mis-perceptions about what you do.
  • You are not engaging your customers.
  • You are not enjoying media attention.
  • You are not getting the deal or funding you need.
If you answer YES to at least 3 of the above, you have a branding challenge.
Branding is business strategy; above marketing, sales, Customer Relations Management and even Public Relations.
To find out your “branding quotient”, try this test –
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20 pitfalls to avoid when using Facebook for Branding

[slideshare id=4218781&doc=20pitfallstoavoidwhenusingfacebookforbranding-100522034626-phpapp01]

  1. Indiscriminate Tagging • Nothing is more irritating than finding ourselves being tagged to something that doesn’t concern us!
  2. Excessive Routine Group Broadcast • It will be a disaster for your brand if you use Facebook like just another broadcasting channel
  3. Posting your Product onto Competitor’s Group or Fan Page • If the owner of the page or group reports to Facebook, you can be warned, or eventually banned!
  4. Create a Fan Page with No Fans and No Update • What’s the use of creating a Page where the Fans have nothing to cheer about the page? Remember the content is imperative for good conversation to happen
  5. Create a Personal Profile of your Company & Adding others as Friends • Facebook is for anyone who has a real “face”. If you are a person managing your brand, create a profile. Consequently create a Fan page for your company
  6. Forbidding Your Fans to Share (Feedback) Anything on Page • The main activity on social media is conversation. Who wants to be your fans when only you can talk and they can’t? Your page will become just like any other mass media.
  7. Fan Page with No Twitter, Youtube or Slideshare tabs • Fan Page is your brand’s homepage on Facebook. Leveraging its huge base to bring traffic to other platform where your brand has a presence is important
  8. Over Crowding Your Pictures with Only Your URL
  9. Deleting (Censoring) Negative Comments • Do not ever think people won’t notice it! It will be embarrassing if fans post the comments a 2nd time. Use every opportunity in finding a bridge from handling negative comments to communicate your brand further
  10. Spamming by Sending Group Private Messaging • Though this may be done on a personal level, it may result in bad personal branding and affect the image of your brand which you broadcasted
  11. Failure to Include Facebook Forecast/Growth Metrics • Forecasting and Charting growth in areas like Fan base, postings, content upload are key measurement of Social Media Branding. No measurement means no ROI!
  12. Failure to Plan for Posting Schedule on Your Page • Forecasting and Charting of Growth in membership, postings or content upload are key measurement of Social Media Branding. No measurement means no ROI
  13. Only 1 Administrator • Designating only one person to manage a page may not be able to cope with the job scope of monitoring feedback, updating, event management, etc. Having more administrators will add more variety in the form of human voices within the page. Moreover, your page will risk being dormant if the administrator’s profile is disabled for some reasons.
  14. Bad Grammar in Posts or Replies • Having social conversation doesn’t necessarily means bad grammar is cool. Anyone who maintains a page represent the brand. No company wish to associate bad English as an attribute of their brand.
  15. Lack of Monitoring through Google Analytics for Facebook link • The success rate of converting of prospects to customers from Facebook depends on analysis of web users’ behaviour on your web. Monitoring all new users from Facebook link contribute to the overall ROI of a Social Media marketing approach.
  16. No Integration With Other Web Strategies • Having a Facebook’s page is just another channel of marketing and branding. All other web strategies must be aligned, implemented and integrated with Social Media channel eg. Customer Relationship Management system, etc
  17. Failure to use Targeting option in FACEBOOK Advertising • Though Facebook is almost reaching 500 million users, its unique advertising preposition lies in the Targeting Option where you can select your target audience anything from gender to location to interest to even educational level.
  18. Under Bidding in Facebook Advertisement • Plan for a monthly budget, decide how many clicks you wish to get from Facebook users, the higher the bidding for Pay-per-Click (PPC), the more occurrence your ad will appear. Bidding the minimal will never be effective for obvious reason
  19. No Facebook Application to Engage Your Fans • Facebook is a application on social media which gives opportunity to more than 50,000 other applications. Design and Develop an application on Facebook through API to build your brand. Be creative in forming new ways for fans and prospects to interact.
  20. No Facebook Connect From your Website • Your main corporate site will not be deemed as ready for social media if you do not have Facebook Connect. • It allows users to join your site as members by allowing their profiles to be connected. • Open ID serves a similar purpose although not as effective in lead generation.
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