Having recently purchased the Canon 100D and 40mm pancake lens recently, I decided to take the on a trip to Thailand. Unknowingly it turned into one of the biggest tests for the camera, the lens and their ability to handle a variety of situations, environments and conditions, from 33C heat to monsoon rainstorm on the street and by motorcycle. Although not the highest end of cameras in the canon range sitting next to the 700D, between the lowest end 1100D and 70D. This little camera surprised me with its fantastic usability, portability, robustness and ability to handle all kinds of weather, despite not being fully weather sealed like the higher end full frame models.
Below are some pictures I took using this set up on the beaches of Thailand.
Below are some close ups of a snake, at a snake show.
I was surprised to find the amount of fish that lived in the rivers of Bangkok, seeing them wrestle over crumbs of bread provided a good photo opportunity.
Riding around the city of Bangkok on a boat is certainly something that needs to be tried.
Being in Bangkok it was impossible to leave without visiting the major temples dotted around the city.
Walking around the streets of Thailand is a key part to a trip to Thailand. Experience the warm hearted and welcoming Thai hospitality, with traders, food everywhere and “tuk tuks” racing between the streets.
That more or less wraps up the photographs I made in Thailand. It was a fantastic experience and the best opportunity to test out my photography equipment, which passed all the tests I could have imagined for it in real world testing conditions with flying colours.
With Netflix recently coming under fire from the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the USA (link), the importance of effective and of course legal corporate and financial communication has come to the fore.
The situation began with the Chief Executive of Netflix sharing information about its strong viewing figures, this led to a rise in the company’s share price. The SEC would have liked the performance figures to have first been published through the more official conventional channels, prior to being shared through social media.
There was no real clear advantage for Netflix of making the announcement through social media first, as the announcement could have been made through official channels (eg: appropriate wire services) and then through social media shortly after, in which case the effect of the good news would have been more or less the same.
Whatever happens with regards to this matter; organisations interested in utilising their digital/social media presence for corporate/financial communication will have to monitor this matter carefully. This case highlights some of the dangers and challenges organisations and communications professionals have to negotiate effectively.
The BBC has recently been in the middle of some of the biggest media and communications failures of this decade. Beginning with their poor handling of the Jimmy Saville fiasco, where Sir Jimmy Saville was found to have committed child abuse and the BBC was facing allegations of conspiracy to cover up these matters. The BBC cancelled a Newsnight “special” examining the Saville allegations, however with Saville’s passing, it was alleged to have been decided within the BBC that the “special” would not be run, this got out to the rest of the media, who were more than happy to bring out their fingers of blame and point out faults.
The BBC decided to deal with the situation broadcasting an interview with the Director-General George Entwistle. During the interview it appeared as though Entwistle was did not receive any media training or warning, as the interview went so negatively that some apportion a lot of the blame for his eventual resignation to this interview. Entwistle took up a fairly defensive position, without taking any responsibility himself and failing to remain calm during a tough interview. After Entwistle’s resignation the BBC appointed a new Director-General.
Things only went from bad to worse for the BBC, when it was reported by their flagship programme Newsnight that a senior official in a previous government was involved in organised child abuse activity, without thorough checks or evidence. They were accused of false reporting and the allegations were denied. Which was a journalistic, ethical and legal disaster.
The appointment of a new Director-General, who is untouched by the fiasco appears to be a move in the right direction. However, due to the communications mishandling of the crisis and the issues surrounding it, the BBC’s reputation is severely tarnished, a reputation which will surely take a very long time to rebuild. The BBC may never be the same.
As you may well know (particularly if you’re reading this from the U.K) Starbucks (among other organisations) has been in the news a lot recently, for allegedly not paying any income tax in the last 3 years. Although some have attempted to use these findings to justify calls for “doing something about such tax avoiders”, I think the real issue here is one of competition, how such tax measures bring an unfair competitive advantage to those who have such measures at their disposal, and the competitive disadvantage to those who do no have such measures available at their disposal.
Such measures lead to an anti-competitive environment, which doesn’t benefit the public or the economy. Where there is a Starbucks on the high street, another could take its place, whether this is an independent cafe, another chain or something else entirely. An even playing field is required for all competitors, so that entrepreneurs have a fair chance to compete. Such a tax environment benefits large global corporations, over small, medium and even large organisations based in the UK.
The subject of the nude Prince Harry photographs has been rearing its ugly head in the media and not just through the tabloids. The question of whether a newspaper is or should be able to publish photos of a member of the British royal family exposing themselves, photos which are already widely available on the internet worldwide has arisen.
Sure the photos are distasteful. But taking away the media’s ability to investigate and publish widely distributed pictures, which though distasteful are in the public interest. The prince is a member of the royal family and the British establishment, an individual and family who are quite rightly under public scrutiny. Not only would a curb to publishing abilities resemble censorship, but would arguably make the tabloids less competitive and in turn less viable as an investigative tool and an important part of the economy.
The very fact that this has become a topic of debate indicates public interest. If the media were not to publish, nor have the ability to do so, the current debate would not even take place.
The choice to publish such reports and pictures must remain an independent editorial choice, and not one that should be so easily censored.
Following the media recently, it seems to have been impossible to ignore, the negative stories about the banking industry, it seems as though the public have lost the little trust which they had in the banks, with Barclays’ reputation in particular being left in a bad state of disrepair, thanks to the LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) scandal.
Barclays appear to have mishandled much of the crisis. This is atleast in part due to Barclays’ use of a “closed” approach to communications, with non-disclosure seemingly being made a priority. Such handling of the crisis is likely to have a serious negative effect on the bank’s reputation and in turn its bottom line. In addition, such an approach is likely to alienate the media and public. A more open approach should have been utilised.
A more open approach would have been more suitable, with an open line of communication between the organisation’s spokespeople and the media. Either the Chairman, CEO or COO should have appeared on the major television news channels, this would have given them the opportunity to lay the facts as they were at the time, while establishing themselves as the authoritative source of information.
Barclays should have focused its communication on explaining how the organisation felt about the crisis and its impact, perhaps some sympathy? Then the key message would have been to outline what actions they would be taking to remedy the situation. This should have also been backed up by a strategic operational and communications action plan.
Organisations should not take a risk with potential issues and crises, as this could leave their reputation and bottom line in ruins. A proactive approach must be taken. Such an approach allows for effective communications, operational planning and an organisation which is better prepared for crises.
I have always found that people do not ask why enough, whether this is questioning why something is the way it is or perhaps why they do what they do. People tend to focus on what they do mostly, not why they do it. In particular when it comes to much of the marketing, advertising and public relations activity by organisations they tend to communicate what they do, sometimes they will go further by communicating how they do things, but very rarely why they do what they do.
However a change is afoot…
Some organisations such as Apple are now selling people the why and they have been doing so for a while now. People buy their products because they buy into their brand and the organisation that comes with it. There have been some other organisations such as IBM that have communicated why they do what they do, however Apple has made this question a key part of their corporate philosophy and strategy. They tell their consumers what they do and why they do it.
Now this explanation has been very organisation focused and you may feel this…
So i will give you a short and simple conclusion.
Whether you are trying to complete a project at work, university or you are sitting at home pondering about a certain problem. Remember to ask what, how and why.
In recent times it has been becoming increasingly clear that bank stakeholders with shareholders in particular becoming more active then they have been in the past. The recent case of Barclays Bank shareholders standing against what many of the viewed as unjustifiably excessive executive pay is a case in point (Guardian article). This is an issue that is no longer just constrained to banking with recent developments (Daily Mail article) indicating that shareholders will take a stand if they feel they need to in other sectors.
A renewed effort in investor relations and issues management is required. It is in the interest of these businesses to protect their reputations and the best way to do this is do what is required to satisfy shareholders, after all once a business becomes a public limited company (PLC) they have a duty to their shareholders.
Shareholders invested their money within that particular business for a reason, they wish to make a gain and therefore care about what happens to the business. These businesses must work together with shareholders and their business communities by listening to their shareholders and stakeholders. Appropriate action may then be taken, which should have mutual benefit as a core guiding principle.
Motorola Mobility is one of the few brands that frustrates me, with such history, such successful brands in the past and such stories to tell and yet it seems to fail to get people excited about much of what it does. Due to this failure Motorola Mobility is currently being eaten up by its competition.
What can they do about this? Well there are four key aspects of their business they need to take care of, these are their advertising, marketing, public relations and business strategy.
Motorola Mobility must embrace their history, look at their past successes and then look towards establishing themselves as future thought leaders. Thought leadership is something that must be achieved if they wish to gain a stronger position in the mobile (cell) phone market and build a strong reputation. The key to being a thought leader is the ability to look ahead, gaze into the crystal ball, recognise upcoming trends, while anticipating threats and opportunities.
As you’re reading this, do you know that Neil Armstrong’s famous first words on the moon were communicated through a Motorola transceiver? and that they created the first truly rectangular colour television, which eventually became the industry standard?
These are all factors that must be embraced and used by Motorola Mobility (MM) when planning their advertising, marketing and PR activity.
Their business strategy must change. Cutting out under-performing products and replacing them with more business orientated products, the old Blackberry professional audience is becoming disillusioned with them. Blackberry’s threat is MM’s opportunity.