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Interview with Daniel Yap!

Today, IKIGUIDE has the huge pleasure of interviewing Daniel Yap, head of creative communications at Right Hook Communications.

We discuss social media, creative communications and how to tell what is “fake” vs “real” in social media.


IKI: Hi Daniel! Thank you for your time today!

Daniel: No problem!

IKI: As the head of creative communications, what does your daily job routine look like ?

Daniel: I work in agency, so I come into the office, do the usual routine of clearing my mails, spend some time of the phone with a client (as a small agency, we have a very close link between the client and agency management) to run through the ongoing results or objectives of a campaign/tactic.

Since Right Hook majors on PR accounts, I spend a few hours preparing for or pitching stories to the media (lots of writing) with my team – this is bread and butter stuff that I don’t think even senior guys should lose sight of.

I also spend time developing strategies for potential client pitches or working on business ideas, most of which have to do with the integration of different channels/media/disciplines and services.These days it’s usually some sort of digital+PR.

IKI: Pardon us for asking, but what is the meaning of creative communications?

Daniel: I come from a mixed A&P background, having worked in ad creatives, accounts as well as PR. Creative communications is when a company or agency has great ideas at both the tactical and strategic level to achieve its communications objectives.

Getting creative is when you make the most of your tactics and come up with great creatives that work, or else it is finding a great combination of channels to really get the message across.

IKI: How do you think companies can use social media to stand out/make an impact?

Daniel: I’ll approach this from the perspective of two types of social media: the channels you own and the channels that you don’t.

Using social media well is basically all about engaging your target audience over the given medium. Each social platform (FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc) has a different strength and capability and character. For the ones that you own, your community manager is going to have to be able to channel your brand well but he or she also needs to engage effectively. Sometimes brands need tweaking to be engaging.

As many have said before me, it is about real, quality engagement. Don’t treat your social channels as advertising opportunities or simply another chance to talk about yourself. Social media is a relationship so as with all good relationships, you have to be genuinely interested in your fans and your customers and your publics.

Channels that a brand doesn’t own are opportunities to reach an audience beyond the current fan base. You are presenting your brand through the social channel of a third party, so there is another layer of personality to deal with, but a relationship that is well-managed effectively expands your reach beyond what you could achieve on your own, with no or little financial investment.

It’s really a lot of practical psychology and relationships.

IKI: What is the strength in social media, as compared to traditional media?

Daniel: Social media is a lot more fluid. You can communicate with your publics in real time and in two directions. You actually hear back from the ground (if you do it right) and get the opportunity to react to it.

It is also a lot more engaging, as far as platforms go. The knowledge that there is a warm body behind the voice is also more prevalent when it comes to social media. This means that your audience is going to be more forthcoming, less distant and typically more intimate. Don’t lose this key advantage by talking like an advertising channel.

Social media is a lot more innovative as well. Or rather, it offers the opportunity to be more innovative. There are tons of new applications and opportunities for engagement that have not been tried out yet.

Plus, with the technology behind platforms being built on every day, lots more opportunities to exploit algorithms, human behaviour, code, technology and media are available to us.

IKI: What would you change/develop in the field?

I would definitely love to have bloggers learn and apply proper editorial processes. If they can add the disciplines/quality of good editorial to their strength in voice/character/celebrity, then the blog scene would be much more stable and trustworthy. These days it’s quite hard to tell if certain KPIs are really there when it comes to blogger engagement.

I feel that many consumer blogs are quickly becoming “advertorials”, albeit with personality. It is unfortunate that the biggest way to monetise blogging is to sell out in the editorial department, but that is also a function of the early stage of development we are at. Readers largely haven’t caught that distrust of the advertorial when it comes to blogging yet. Or maybe it is just the personality of the blogger that overrides all the blatant advertising.

IKI: How do tell if the message is real or fake in social media?

Follow the money. After that, you have to consider the reputation of the voice behind the channel.

IKI: How to choose the right channels in social media, and manage all of them?

I’d say for a small brand, pick the two most relevant and focus on that. If you can do it well and get good KPIs, then you can grow other channels. If you can’t hit your KPI with one channel, you will never hit it with multiple channels.

IKI: How do you measure if you have successfully ‘stood out’?

There are the usual internal channel measurements, analytics and metrics that are available. These are going to be key quantitative indicators of your success. In addition to this you also want to take a look at (and maybe gather data on) your brand personality on social media – how appealing it is to your target audience (it’s actually okay if non-target groups dislike your brand), what your social presence is associated with, and other “soft” metrics.

IKI: Give us some outstanding examples of companies with great social media presence.

IKEA is great, even here in Singapore.

Of all the government agencies (Government Communications is quite old school here), SCDF is doing quite well. Internationally, I’m a fan of Staples, but some brands are easier to be entertaining with than others.


“We don’t give excuses, we just do damn good PR…” Visit Right Hook Communications here!
Alternatively, feel free to follow Daniel Yap on his facebook, blog, or twitter.

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