The Inadequate Masterpiece – The Last of Us 2 Review

3rd July 2020


SPOILER AHEAD! Please do continue with this article only if you’ve completed the game. Otherwise, finish the game and then come back to this! Without further ado, this is my review for the highly divisive, The Last of Us 2.

Before we get into the game proper, I think there’s a need to take a small look back at the predecessor of the game. What made the original Last of Us a brilliant game, and quite possibly, one of the best games ever, was its masterful blend of gameplay, storytelling, and music. Crossing the post apocalyptic USA, Joel and Ellie, two people from entirely different backgrounds, had their lives somehow intertwined when Joel was tasked with bringing the immune Ellie, to the Fireflies, a group opposing what’s left of governance so that they could develop a vaccine to the Cordyceps infection that has wiped out a large portion of humanity. With the state of the world in shambles, Ellie, was quite possibly, the only hope left for a cure. But having lost in his daughter during the initial stages of the outbreak, Joel comes to develop fatherly feelings for Ellie, and soon after, Ellie begins to reciprocate this and the pair share a rather strong and believable Father-Daughter bond. Travelling across the country, Joel and Ellie faced and overcame many adversities that they met, with Joel taking on a mentoring role, teaching Ellie the essentials to surviving the world, such as not being too trusting, and being strong and courageous. When the time came, Joel refuses to hand Ellie over to the Fireflies, massacring any members of the group that got in his way. When questioned about what happened, Joel lies to Ellie, and said that he took her away from the Fireflies as there were dozens of others who were immune to the infection. This selfish act alone could quite possibly be seen as dooming the world to a rather bleak future where humanity may never regain its foothold in the world. So, isn’t Joel in this sense, the real villain of the game?

The Last of Us, in my opinion, is one of the few games that I consider the best that I’ve ever played, and I’m sure that many others would agree with me. So why has its highly anticipated sequel, The Last of Us 2, despite high critic ratings, been dividing fans and receiving much criticism? Well let’s take a look.

First and foremost, I won’t be reviewing all parts of the game, but parts that I believe to be most contentious, divisive and important to any possibility of a third installment of the game coming out. So if anyone has anything to add, please do leave a comment and I’ll try my best to address them.

No.1 – Joel’s Death

A highly controversial moment early on in the game. Given that he’s a much beloved character, killing Joel off so early pissed off a lot of fans. And this more or less started people hating on the game from the get-go, based of purely the fact that he died. However, I beg to differ. As I mentioned earlier, Joel more or less doomed the world in the first game, so in my opinion, his death was somewhat justified. Typing this, I know that a lot of people will have something to say but hear me out. I very much love Joel as well, but I see things differently. While no doubt a great in gaming history, Joel will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the best video game characters of all time. But, what was great about him? What made the first installment so great was the way it showed how people could potentially react during a global, zombie-like crisis. The relationship between Joel and Ellie was simply, highly engaging and believable. Taking a deeper look at the dynamic between the pair however, what really motivated Joel to do what he did? As established, Joel began to see Ellie as a replacement to Sarah and did what any father would do, protect his children. Nonetheless, in that instant, Joel’s decision, caused him to make an oversight about what his task was, bringing Ellie to the fireflies to provide hope for the world. By instead doing more or less the opposite, that was when he became one of the most selfish people in all of gaming history and made him in my eyes, a really great antagonist rather than a protagonist. So, his death in The Last of Us 2, while an unpopular decision, was to me, still the right one to make, looking at it from a justice-seeking point of view.

Granted, the whole process of his death was somewhat rushed and abrupt and could’ve been structured so as to give a more wholesome feel to it. But I don’t think it was all that bad. When Owen and Abby discovered the whereabouts of Joel in Jackson, Abby blinded by rage, decided to go on alone to find and kill Joel. Eventually, she needed some saving and ironically, was indeed saved by the man she had set out to kill, and his brother Tommy. At this point, from what I can tell by looking at comments and whatnot, people were saying how Joel’s behaviour leading up to his death was unusual given the fact that he was so cautious in the first game. But here’s the thing. People can change. It should be noted that 5 years have passed since the events of the original game and it’s entirely possible that Joel had to change and adapt. Don’t forget. The community of Jackson was much bigger than it was initially, and as time passed by, it’s entirely possible that the initial residents of Jackson had to learn and cope with new people coming in to create an environment where everyone could survive. This is one solution can easily explain Joel’s so called change. Before being led up to the lodge by Abby, Joel made a decision based of his past 5 years in Jackson to trust Abby, potentially seeing her as someone in distress. Although it was the wrong one to make as it inevitably lead to his demise.

Though trailers seemed to depict that Joel would accompany Ellie on this journey, I can definitely understand and agree with sentiments that Naughty Dog provided false advertising on their part. Though I hate such a marketing tactic, I ultimately think that it was still alright, considering that Joel’s death played a large role in the motivation of Ellie and her actions in the game. So truth be told, Joel kinda did accompany Ellie on her journey, just not in the way people expected him to. This is just my train of thought. If you disagree, please go ahead and do so. Though, I will admit that the decision by Naughty Dog was not very good and wise as surely the company would know how much their decision would hurt fans.

Again, I agree that perhaps more could have been incorporated into the reasons as to why Joel did what he did, but ultimately, I still feel that his actions there and then were warranted, thought not completely understandable.

NO.2 – ABBY & The wlf

The introduction of Abby certainly wasn’t welcome by all fans. But undeniably, nearly half the game revolved around her which made her a very important character. Her killing of Joel didn’t do her any favours either. Then again, her actions were all understandable. Revenge. But I think the bigger question at hand would be as to why did the small contingent of WLF soldiers leave Ellie and Tommy alive. Granted, that small contingent comprised of former Fireflies and only sought to deliver justice, but on hindsight really should’ve finished the job knowing full well what Joel and his crew are capable of.

Moving on to later segments of the game, we see Abby, a WLF soldier teaming up with sworn enemies, Yara and Lev of The Seraphites. I really do think that this is a huge aspect of the game. Namely, because of change. Throughout both the original and sequel, we see people in the world of The Last of Us changing their behaviours for one reason or another. In the case of Abby, Yara and Lev, it’s a case of “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”, which I personally feel is really apt in a world that’s gone to shit. The only real way the trio was going to survive was by sticking together and that they did. They questioned about where their allegiances lay, what was right or wrong and many other questions in between. Coming to a common understanding, they decided it best to put their differences aside and work with one another. I do think that this relationship, though perhaps cliched to a certain degree, works well enough in the game’s context where the seeds of distrust have already been sowed and believe that it can be a catalyst for any potential installments for future iterations of the game. Though if improperly managed, can be rather disastrous and needs to be mixed well together with a adequate amount of violence and storytelling to drive a holistic narrative, as we were accustomed to in The Last of Us.

NO.3 – Hashed Deaths and the lgbt agenda

The one thing in the game that sort of irritates me would be the deaths of Jesse and Manny. They were both killed in similar fashion. I mean, come on, opening of a door and bam! Gunshot to the face. Really? Why would that ever make a good impression when used more than once? I’m actually surprised that not everyone seems to feel this way. Jesse and Manny were important side characters to both Ellie and Abby respectively and without really giving them a proper send off is quite shameful. Again, it’s a case of a decent idea, but inproper execution.

Considering that the whole LGBT issue can be a real touchy subject, I won’t mention much, other than the fact that it seemed to provide no real value whatsoever. Dina, bisexual, Ellie, lesbian (or maybe bi?), and Lev, a transgender. Was there any real substance at all in the sexual orientations of the characters? It didn’t really make me think any different of them. So if Naughty Dog intended to push the LGBT agenda, is really was a fail on their part, at least in my eyes.

NO.4 – Ending

The one thing that I would say was downright bad about the Last of Us 2 would be its ending. Towards the climax, we see Ellie hunting down Abby in Santa Barbara. When the two ultimately meet, Abby ultimately says that she doesn’t want to fight but Ellie threatens to kill Lev if she doesn’t do so. Reluctantly, Abby agrees and the two begin an intense fight, with Ellie ultimately gaining the upper hand. But in a anti-climatic fashion, Ellie decides to take the high road and lets Abby live. Why this change of heart, I don’t know. While I can agree with change, like I mentioned earlier on as to why Joel had a sudden change of character as compared to the first game, this was a little too late in my opinion. I was really looking forward to Ellie finally getting her hands of Abby because wasn’t the whole point of Ellie’s journey in the game revenge? So letting Abby go sort of defeats the game’s purpose. Of course, the optimist may see it as a “want more of what you can’t have” situation, but I disagree here. Though setting up the events of a potential The Last of Us 3, I feel that the ending of The Last of Us 2 would leave a bitter taste in the mouths of those who played the game.

To conclude, this is how I would break down the game.

Story – 6.5/10
Characters – 6.5/10
Gameplay – 8/10
Music – 9/10
Visuals – 9/10

Overall – 8/10

In a nutshell, The Last of Us 2 was a game that’s an alright follow up to its prequel but ultimately suffered from it being not nearly as good as the original. I feel that most of the game’s criticisms stem from improper planning and structure, ergo affecting a large chunk of the story and its characters. Despite the criticisms the game has received from fans, I opine that it can be a bit biased due to things not happening the way people wanted them to happen, and that also despite good ideas from Naughty Dog, were ultimately rushed and clearly showed in the end product. These issues could potentially have been resolved if Naughty Dog had taken the time to properly review and rectify them. I’m sure that people would rather wait for a good end-product rather than one that’s rushed to achieve less than desirable results.

Though somewhat justified depending on the point of view you choose to look at the game from and thus my relatively respectable score of 6.5/10 for both “Story” and “Characters”, not everyone will be pleased with the end result of the Last of Us 2.

Please do leave a comment and I’ll try my best to get back to you asap! Lets’s have a good discussion on the matter!

***Pictures are not mine and can be found from the following links


No one right way! How to carry your pet canine correctly!

Gabriel Chua
April 7th

Don’t be fooled! Just like humans, dogs come in many shapes and sizes. And because of that, there is no one right way to carry your furry friend! For instance, did you know that every 1 in 4 dachshunds, more commonly known as the sausage dog, will suffer from a spinal related injury in their lifetime? Due to their structure, the spines of dachshund tend to bend quite a bit and improper carrying techniques can put extra stress on the spine, thus increasing the odds that they will suffer from a spinal related injury. It is no wonder why carrying dogs the wrong way has been noted to cause back problems in dogs.

You certainly wouldn’t want your canine companion to end up like the dog in the picture above, am I right? So I already hear a few of you readers asking, “Is there a proper way then to carry my dog?” And the answer my friends, to that question, is that it really all depends! As I mentioned at the beginning, dogs come in many shapes and sizes and it really depends the individual body structure of your dog. Good news is, that dogs of the same breeds tend to be similar in terms of physique and as such, methods applied to one canine will most probably apply to another canine of the same breed. For tips, please visit this site to find out the proper way to lift up your furry little pal!

But wait! That’s not all there is to it. You should know that certain dogs don’t even liked to be picked up at all! There are many telltale signs that dogs don’t like being picked up. They include; sudden growling, refusal to budge from ‘sit’ position and many more! Trust me. In my time in the K9 unit during my NS, I’ve seen so many dogs having this issue. And they were big, and I mean, really big dogs, mind you. It’s one thing for a Chihuahua to suddenly snap at you, but can you imagine a fully-grown German Shepherd doing that? You’ll have nightmares for days. Apologies, I’ve digressed. But my point remains the same. If you find your dog suffering from such a problem, one good trick I’ve learned would be rewards your pet with treats when managing to successfully carry them! This will mentally condition the dog to associate treats with performing an act of some sort and long gone will be the days where your dog absolutely refuses to be picked up! Then again, this method is not foolproof and if you find that this technique doesn’t work for you, please check out this site or consult your local vet and/or dog behaviourist!

That’s it from me today! For more pet-care tips and advice, please do continue reading as I make updates and new posts to this series of blogs. Till the next time!



Signing off,
Gabriel.

Stop Whining, Start Marketing

April 2nd
Gabriel Chua

Image result for what now

Social Media Marketing and Digital Marketing. I’m sure you guys have heard what it’s about, so I won’t get into its details. But what I will do is instead pose you this question. “Is Social Media Marketing, and by extension, Digital Marketing, the way for marketers in the future?” At the surface, the answer seems like a resounding yes. We’ve heard it time and time again. “Traditional advertising is dead!” “Out with Traditional, in with Social Media!” “The days of Print Ad are gone!” Okay, fine. Perhaps they weren’t phrased exactly as so, but I’m sure you that sentiments along these lines already exist. But if anyone were to ask me the question, I’d say, “No! Not for a very long while.”

Alright. I can already hear some of you in my head. Saying things like,”You’re crazy. Social Media is the new marketing norm!” “The Digital age has already taken over! Television, print-ads and whatnot have already been almost forgotten!” Well, before you make comments such as these, let me tell you why I’m against the current perceived norm.

Do take look at the video that I’ve posted above. It is quite scary, don’t you think? In the video above, Ritson proposes that Traditional forms of marketing and information dissemination come out champs when competing against its Social Media and Digital counterparts. And I agree! Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not ignoring the benefits of Social Media and Digitalisation. Instant communication, real-time updates.So on and so forth. It’s just that the metrics for calculating audience reach has been manipulated such that it favours the current norm, when in actual fact Traditional Modes of Advertising and information dissemination still pack a punch, and a large one at that! Furthermore, according to the Nielsen company, it is still apparent that TV still trounces over Digital advertising!

So why the big brouhaha? I can imagine one reason.

Image result for maslow's hierarchy

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs proposes that individuals have a common set of needs that will help them realise their fullest potential. If you were to take a look at the pyramid above, one of the tiers of the hierarchy includes, “Love & Belonging”. Whoever started the “Social Media and Digitalisation are the future!” ball rolling has clearly exaggerated its potential. In fear of being left out and not being able to become the best version of themselves, more and more individuals are jumping onto that particular bandwagon thus helping them to hit the “Love & Belonging” tier of the hierarchy, giving them the platform they need to better themselves, when in fact, the whole “Social Media and Digital is better than Traditional” sentiments may not even be remotely true! Thus, Maslow’s Hierarchy is the reason , or at the very least, what I believe the reason is, for more and more people people taking the side that Social Media and Digitalisation trumps Traditional in this modern day and age.

Image result for now what gif

So, “now what?”, you may ask. I’ll tell you. Social Media and Digitalisation will continue to grow. But that doesn’t mean it should totally replace what is considered traditional since whatever is considered traditional, be it radio, television, or print-ads, has its own set of distinct advantages. I believe that all of these can actually be incorporated into a single entity that will be of greater benefit for the future. Think about it like this. Imagine the different advocates of the original question I posted. Social Media may be one boat, digital the other, and lastly traditional. But in actual fact, they’re all part of one bigger boat. And that boat, is called MARKETING. And what’s more important is that they all want to reach treasure island, together. (This quote is adapted from the game, FFX-2. For the actual quote, please check out this link).

So that’s that! What do you guys think? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below! Until next time!


Signing off,
Gabriel.

Ready? Set? Fail!

March 27th
Gabriel Chua


“Congratulations! You’ve just failed!”, is a sentence no business in existence would like to ever hear. But here’s the thing. There are still Social Media companies that, surprisingly, still do not exercise due diligence and care when it comes to businesses seeking to utilise their platforms for online marketing campaigns, and have it proven ultimately unsuccessful from these Social Media companies not dealing with trolls, bots and other Social Media aspects that seek to do harm. Instead, these Social Media companies choose to reinforce their their own spam policies without getting down to the heart of the matter. And that could have some real serious repercussions not just for them, but for the businesses that they attempt to aid as well.

So why exactly do these Social Media companies do what they do? I am of the opinion that they are overconfident in their systems and setups that they do not bother to be proactive in the way they manage their content.

Walkers Crisps #WalkersWave Selfie Stunt Backfires In Spectacular

Does the picture above surprise you? I kid you not, that this was a picture that actually appeared on particular company’s Social Media campaign when they utilised Twitter..Walkers Crisps, a UK based snack company, had the brilliant idea of offering UEFA Champions League tickets as a competition prize in which they asked Twitter users to send in selfies of themselves to promote the brand after which footballing icon, Gary Lineker, would show the submitted selfies on an animated video. All good right? And what possibly could go wrong? Well, the picture above was an example of what could go wrong. Instead of submitting selfies, trouble-makers submitted photos of murderers and images of other ethically questionable characters. Twitter clearly didn’t bother setting up control measures in the event that Walker Crisps marketing campaign failed and instead allowed their spam policies to oversee the process trusting that it was foolproof. True, Walker Crisps could have better managed the whole fiasco themselves but Twitter, in my eyes, have to accept a majority of the blame since they are the ones responsible for allowing what users get to see. Such fallacy by Twitter caused not only Walker Crisps to suffer from negative publicity, but additionally once again showed the many potholes when it comes to using Social Media.

Image result for internet troll gif


In the event that trolls beat you to the punch, there are some serious consequences that you might have to suffer from as a result. Well, in the short run, it’s rather obvious that marketers would suffer from backlash and for consumers, they’d not be able to get the results they wanted when participate in certain campaigns. But what about in the long run? If tweeting and posting a Facebook update doesn’t seem to be working, then companies, by and large would stop utilising platforms which could them see them suffer from a drop in sales and revenue and consumers, on the other hand, would again boycott the products and services by the companies which the Social Media giants failed to protect. All quite scary, is it not? When you have to suffer from something that was not really even your fault to begin with.


Are Social Media companies ready? Will they set you on your way? Will you, user of Social Media, experience success or failure?What do you guys think? That’s the end for me today so do let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below!



Signing off,
Gabriel


IS IT A MAN? IS IT A PICKLE? NO, IT’S AN IMC!

March 18
Gabriel Chua


Here’s the thing. We’ve all heard of the term “Integrated Marketing Communications”, or IMC, for short. But what exactly is it? To put it simply, it’s all the promotional tools used by a company that ensures a clear linkage between communication and messages in a marketing campaign. So with that out of the way, why do some IMC campaigns succeed and some don’t?


A sudden breeze changing direction? Or did someone, somewhere, not get the memo, and followed through the campaign without knowing how it was to function? Regardless, I am of the opinion that some campaigns, ultimately fail due to an inherently flawed design.



According to Kaplan and Hein, there are 5 key pieces of advice when it comes to a successful viral marketing campaign, as shown above, and thus 5 key pieces of valuable information needed when building an IMC campaign. So, is there any consequences if these were not properly considered?

You’re absolutely right there is! A General Motors (GM) campaign for its Chevy Tahoe SUV well, didn’t cause a stir, when it allowed customers to market the vehicle themselves, using GM sponsored products. And then, BAM! Instant backfire when most of the videos filmed by the customers appeared to show the Chevy Tahoe as a totally unsafe product. Clearly, GM didn’t consider that their viral marketing campaign had to be backed up by traditional marketing methods of their own, which was one of the key pieces of advice that I mentioned earlier, and thus clearly, a flawed design had ultimately ruined their campaign. So then, what must be done, you may ask, in order for a campaign to go viral when planning and executing one?


I’M PICKLE RICK! Oh how I love Rick & Morty. Anyways, Rick and Morty is an ongoing adult-cartoon that referenced a McDonald’s product, the Szechua Sauce, in one of their episodes. Picking up on this, McDonald’s brought back the sauce and after it was unavailable in most of their US outlets, apologised and decided to ship another 20 million units of the sauce across all its US outlets. So what’s my point in mentioning all of this? It’s just to show how McDonald’s, capitalising on Rick & Morty’s status as one of the best cartoon as one of the most beloved cartoons of all time, brought back a product, that the show referenced, in order to reinforce their tagline of, “I’m Loving it,”. See the connection? One of the most “beloved” adult cartoons, and ‘I’m loving it”? Again, what this shows is how why it is hugely important to make sure tactics utilised are integrated with the overall brand strategy. It is no wonder at all why it has been noted that this particular campaign by McDonald’s , had the ability to not only reignite customer interest but boost business as well.


With all that I’ve mentioned, what exactly can help drive business? No. not a man. No, not a pickle, but a properly planned and thought-out IMC! So what do you readers think? Do drop a comment in the section below and share with me your thoughts!


Signing off,
Gabriel


It’s alive, it’s alive!

March 10
Gabriel Chua

Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO for short, has been claimed by many to be dead for some time now. But, what exactly in the world is SEO? To put it simply, SEO is the techniques and methods utilised in order to place a website at the very top in the results page of a search engine, so as to garner more traffic to a website.


With definitions out of the way, I really question why critics of SEO claim it to be dead. True, perhaps attention is shifting away from SEO due to inherently high costs, but that does’t necessarily mean its dead. Not all companies are following through with this claim so, how can SEO be dead even if it’s just a few companies out there that are using it?

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty stuff. We all know what search engines are. When we search for things online, search engines are the ones that actually help us filter out what are the websites that we’ll be interested in. This really does go hand in hand with SEO. In a world where competitors are always competing to outdo one another, it stands to follow that whatever appears on our results page will be better than what previously appeared on it. Businesses would rely on SEO to come up with better content and more easy to use interfaces to ensure that they are always placed top. Sure, paid placements may guarantee top positions, but what’s the point of it all if the website is poorly designed? Again, this is why I’m an advocate for SEO.

When it comes to the utilisation of SEO, there are actually 2 main categories. The first SEO, labelled “Black Hat”, which basically entails using inferior content and loopholes to direct traffic. The second category, labelled “White Hat”, which involves the creation of content which is tailor-made for interested parties to increase the number of clicks a website receives. Evidently, a “Black Hat” SEO doesn’t seem to make much business sense unless your intention is to grab cash quickly. Otherwise, “White Hat” SEO is the way to go to create a smooth customer experience which ensure that they’ll always come back. Additionally, considering we’re in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT) where so many devices other than computers and laptops are connected to the internet, optimal website layouts, strong brands and attention grabbing content is required if you want to truly create a good business which has evolved SEO, effectively adding more points to the table in the picture shown above.

Now, how does the SEO link to internet marketing metrics? YouTube rewind, a video released by YouTube at the end of each year, highlighting the various trends and whatnot of the year, was a huge fail in 2018. Tons of negative comments flooded in , the video received so many dislikes and YouTube had so many complaints. Granted, YouTube is not exactly a marketing company, but the point nevertheless remains the same that if businesses were to suffer the same as YouTube rewind 2018, their internet marketing metrics would like show the same statistics as YouTube, receiving bad reviews and dislikes amongst other form of complaints. When utilising SEO, it’s always worthwhile from a business perspective to pay much attention to feedback, both positive and negative, so that they can alter whatever that needs to be changed such that they are able to create and online environment where customers feel comfortable navigating through.

So there you have it. My take on SEO and it’s huge involvement in internet marketing matrices. So, to answer the question once again, is SEO dead? No, it is not. It’s alive, it’s indeed alive, and will continue to evolve as technology evolves. But that’s enough from me today. What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments section!


Signing off,
Gabriel.

Big, Bigger, and Biggest

March 4
Gabriel Chua

Here we go again. Questions that were first asked when modern technology started to develop are being raised once more. In the age of Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT), people are being connected more than ever before, in more ways than one. But what exactly is Big Data and the IoT?

To put it simply, Big Data is a collection of large volumes of data with varying degrees of structure that can be mined for various analytics applications. On the other hand, the IoT is a concept that basically connects any device, that can be turned on and off, to the internet.

With that being said, is there product and/or service out there that encapsulates the very definition of these two terms?

Jason Kumar, co-founder of Terra Sol (left) explaining the capabilites of the solar-powered smart compacting BigBelly bins as Mr Steven Goh, exectuive director of Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA) (right) looks at the bin.

Indeed there is! The picture that you see above actually shows a Smart Bin. The above Smart Bin not only allows for waste disposal, but can also act as a portable Wifi hotspot. Moreover, it can send out text alerts and emails to the smart devices of cleaners to inform them know that it is time for the bins to be cleaned. With such bins in existence, it enables for a more efficient collection of waste where companies are able to monitor which areas of a certain place are more frequented than others in other to optimise trash pick up routes. Smart Bins are indeed, a prime example of how Big Data and the IoT can be fully integrated with one another in a product.

Then again, this begs the question, as I’ve previously mentioned, that has already been asked when modern technology began to make headway. “Will the security and comfort of people be affected?”

It really all depends. While no doubt an avenue for businesses to grow, there are ultimately consequences that might follow as a result of mismanaging Big Data and the IoT.

The above picture is actually of the reception lobby of the Henn Na Hotel in Japan. The lady, and her fellow female colleague standing next to her, are actually robots that can help guests with the check in process. They are able to scan the passports of guests, assist in 4 different languages that ultimately serves to ensure a smooth experience. Again, this gives the Henn Na Hotel the ability to ultimately know where the bulk of their guests are travelling from, how they felt about their stay and as a result, tailor strategies that may conform to the filter bubble of potential guests. But alas, in early 2019, as a result of ‘annoying guests’ by waking them up for no apparent reason while sleeping, and for other practical limitations, the hotel fired over 200 of its robotic employees.

So that’s the thing. When things go south, how will businesses ensure that their reputation doesn’t hit a snag as a result of a failed business approach? The hacking of data is ever more prevalent in today’s society, with the hacking of Facebook in 2018 leaving over 50 million users having their data being exposed to others. Furthermore, knowing that there are hacking attempts are made every 39 seconds, Big Data and the IoT can potentially exacerbate this ongoing problem by giving hackers even more access to potentially private and sensitive data and information.

I am of the opinion that Big Data and the IoT can work together for the common good of better business practices and approaches, only if they can be successfully managed in sync with better and updated security policies and protocols. So in this current digital age, who will be bold and daring enough to go big? Who will take it a step further and go bigger? And who in the end, will be the biggest? Only time can tell as the age of Big Data and the IoT continues to progress at a unprecedented rate. But, enough rambling. What do you guys think? Leave a comment and tell me what are your thoughts!


Signing off,
Gabriel

An App a Day

February 26
Gabriel Chua

Social Media, the pinnacle of communication in the 21st century thus far I would say. It’s used almost every hour of every day. And at the rate things are going, will Short Message Systems (SMS) messages soon be a thing of the past? But let’s not get into that. Really though, Social Media has so many uses in the modern world and many, if not all companies, are jumping on board. Evidently, there is of some benefit to these companies, but what exactly are they?

It’s almost certain isn’t it? Companies are using Social Media because it gives them an opportunity to market a certain something, be it their products and/or services.

According to Kaplan, Social Media Application (Apps) can be subdivided into 4 categories.

Again, this is all well and good. But is what’s the relevance of it all? Beats me. Because what is essential is that Social Media marketing via apps happens regardless of whether companies are in control of a particular marketing stunt.

Case in point. Amy’s Baking Company. A restaurant that was absolutely horrible, and I mean, horrible, to the core. The restaurant had many complaints but when a particular customer complained about bugs in his drink, he and his guests were kicked out. Additionally, they actually hurled insults towards Yelpers who were trying to inform them of what they were doing wrong! Don’t believe me? Take a look at the picture below.

Like seriously, who does that? But that’s exactly my point. Yes you could have your own Social Media account and whatever category you would like to label yourself, please go on ahead. But don’t forget, others have theirs too and they play a really, really big part in how your business is marketed. It is no wonder that after the realisation that the business couldn’t be saved, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay even walked out from his attempts to save the business. In the end, Amy’s Baking Company ultimately shot themselves in the foot by not listening to the complaints made by visitors to their restaurant on Social Media, so much so that they eventually closed for good.
Amy’s Baking Company clearly did not listen to their customers who were already marketing the restaurant in a bad light and were forced to suffer the consequences. So that’s the story of Amy’s Baking Company, a restaurant that ultimately failed as result of their inability to recognise that others could market their own business much better than they ever could.

So what do you guys think? Do the categories of Social Media Apps really matter? Or is the realisation that other users of Social Media apps could market yourself on a much higher scale, more important? Either way, just with the use of an App a Day, in my utmost opinion, will help businesses as they enter the fray.

Signing Off,
Gabriel

Like a Wildfire

February 10
Gabriel Chua

Now here’s a question. Why do ideas spread? I mean, we all know why it does. Maybe it’s funny, maybe it’s meaningful, or maybe it’s just so that interesting that people take notice of it. But surely, there must be more that lies underneath the surface.


There are three main theories as to why ideas spread. The first would be the characteristics of the message, proposed by Berger, which basically entails that the fundamentals of the message is the driving force behind why it spreads.  The second of these three theories would be the characteristics of the medium that the message is delivered by, proposed by Gladwell, which implies that the success of an idea depends on the network said idea travels through. Finally, the last of these theories would be the characteristics of the people delivering the message, proposed by Godin, which says that whether an idea flourishes or not depends on the creator of said message itself.

All these ideas are well and good but I am, on a personal level, still not able to agree with either of them fully. It is essentially due to the fact that I feel its a combination of these three theories that determines whether an idea spreads or not.

OPPA GANGNAM STYLE! Whatever the heck that means. Case in point. Gangnam Style. Seriously, has anyone not heard of these two words? Because if there exists such a person, I pity them because they have missed out on a mega-sensation. Anyways, Gangnam Style was uploaded on YouTube in 2012 and became the site’s most viewed video in a matter of months, holding on to the position for roughly 5 years before being overtaken in 2017. Performed by South-Korean artiste, PSY, Gangnam Style was also the first video in history to hit 1 billion views on YouTube.

But what made Gangnam Style the worldwide cultural phenomenon that it is today? The catchy beats and lyrics? YouTube’s strength? PSY’s undoubted flair and charisma? It’s actually all three. Any musical artiste would be unlikely to succeed if the music that he or she, produces, has poor sound. YouTube, being one of the most popular and most used social networking sites, thus unquestionably, holds enough power and influence to reach a global audience. And PSY, he has it all! A good voice, audacious dance moves, and a real nice personality to boot. With this being said, doesn’t all this ring a bell?

Exactly. With the example of Gangnam Style, we are able to see the theories put forth by Berger, Gladwell and Godin, come together where, Message, Network, and People, work hand in hand to create a masterpiece of an idea that will undeniably go down in history as one of the most iconic music videos of all time.

With that being said and done. I firmly uphold the view that the theories put forth by Berger, Gladwell and Godin are to work in tandem for any idea to truly spread like a wildfire. But, what do you guys think? Drop a comment and let me know your thoughts!

Signing off,
Gabriel.

Connect the Digital Dots

January 7, 2019
Gabriel Chua

download

The progress of Digitisation and Digitalisation hardly ever ceases at failing to astound the majority of the worldwide population, especially with regards to the usage of Social Media. The reasons for the usage of Social Media encompasses a wide range, from simple information searches, to social networking, and even business prospects.

Many countries around the world have seen a large change in Social Media trends, and Singapore is no exception. But what do these trends entail exactly? Do organisations have to be on the most popular Social Media Apps? How much budget should be allocated to marketing on these apps? And should they totally ignore traditional modes of media? So many questions, yet so little answers. With the myriad of opportunities and threats that are seemingly omnipresent, these are the 3 most important things that I personally believe organisations in Singapore should take note of.

1- Market on the Right Platform

In January of 2018, Facebook had a total of 4.8 million users, with active users of the app forming a whopping 83% of Singapore’s population. This is in stark contrast to Instagram, where there are only 2.2 million users, with active users forming only 38% of Singapore’s population. At a glance, it would seem wise to primarily market on Facebook. However, this is not necessarily the case. As noted in article published by Business Horizons, different types of people are attracted to different types of Social Media Platforms. As such, organisations should not jump the gun and take information as it is at face value. They have to set aside time to analyse the composition of the various Social Media Apps in order to best tailor to the needs of their consumers

alternative-social-media-platform-blog-resized

2- Listen and Stay Connected

In January 2018, active Social Media users had increased by 9% from the previous year, while 91% of the population owned a smart mobile-device, and 62% of the population believed that technologies were more of a boon than a bane. All this points to local Singaporeans having a more active presence on Social Media Platforms.

26156079281_939563448d_b

Considering this, Organisations have to listen to what the people are saying on Social Media in order to enhance and diversify their business portfolios. Additionally, this also entails that Organisations should be able to provide reliable customer service not just via traditional hotlines, but through Social Media as well to provided well-rounded care to their consumers

3- Old but Gold

As Social Media gains control of marketing, it seems that there is no longer much room for traditional modes of media. But this is not the case. As noted by relevant parties, traditional forms of marketing is still the best provider of reliable and relevant information while potentially still having a greater reach as compared to marketing done via the usage of Social Media.

social-media-marketing-vs-traditional-marketing

In light of this, Organisations should not totally ignore traditional forms of media when marketing due to its inherent benefits. Further research should still conducted into which markets would traditional media prevail over Social Media which would ensure the Organisations will not lose out of reaping further rewards.

With that, I have presented my personal opinions to the facts which I believe to be the most essential, with regards to marketing via Social Media. Will Organisations go with the flow and and purely market via Social Media for the sake of doing so? Or will they Connect the Digital Dots, and further consider in-depth implications and analyses? Well, the choice is theirs.

Signing Off,

Gabriel.