Friday, 11 December 2015

Perfect image sizes for your social media posts

You must have come across this. You are doing a social media post and when you upload an accompanying image, sometimes it bleeds off and sometimes looks like a tiny button on a handkerchief. Then you keep on with trial and error till the Eureka moment.

That's frustrating. Isn't it?

Thanks to Jamie for the below cheat sheet explaining the social media image sizes. He has re-created and updated the 2015 cheat sheet. It keeps you updated on the forever changing image sizes and formats for different social media platforms.

2016 Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet

2016 Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Don’t risk your reputation on rude front desk staff

Teach your staff to be polite. Flickr image by user KoiQuestion. CC BY-SA 2.0

Recently I was at one of the famous guest houses in Thamel of Kathmandu to meet one of my friends from India.

He had called me from the guest house landline and I could not grasp the room number correctly. When I asked the front desk staff, he fumbled through few pages, could not find the name and threw the ledger to me. I scanned through the pages but could not find the name.

The staff showed no interest at all to help. Instead, he claimed my friend might have lodged with some other hotel.

I took out my cellphone and showed him the number. Luckily, it was dialed from the guest house. Then the next person at the front desk came forward and checked in the computer’s log. And there he was – in the room no 308.

He dialed the room and handed me the phone. I thanked the man for his kindness. However, from now onwards I would never recommend any of my friends to stay there.
                  ****                ****                ****                ****

A reputed bank in the heart of Kathmandu, known for its customer base and profitability, has no dearth of customers. However, one thing that it lacks and which makes its service sucks – is again, the front desk staff manners.

Recently, I was at the bank and was a victim of snobbish behaviour of a front desk officer at one of its branches in Maharajgunj. As I was in a hurry to collect the statement, I rushed to the twenty-something guy and asked him where I can get the statement. To my astonishment, he behaved with me as if I was a schoolboy asking him irrelevant questions. Not even looking at me, he pointed me to a teller and said, “Can’t you see, it’s written over there – in BIG letters?” And literally, he was pouring his frustration on me.

When I enquired at the counter, the officer once again politely pointed me to the same guy. I was miffed to be directed to the same rude officer. However, this time, he yelled the guy’s name and asked him to hand me the envelope.

As I got to the front desk, he asked, “NAME?” When I told him my name, within a minute, he took out the envelope, handed it to me and said, “Why didn’t you ask me to search the envelope?” And again he was rude as earlier, as if I had asked him to fetch the three golden apples.  

Dumbfounded, I returned from the bank and decided not to continue banking with them.

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Incidents like above happen all the time – even at so-called reputed organisations. And they only bring bad names to those organisations. In the past, nothing much happened to such rude front desk staff and the organisations. However, things have changed and with the return of word-of- mouth era along with the advent of social media, the customer base can deplete in the blink of an eye.

Few months back, one of my seniors bought a pair of shoes on sale from a reputed store in Durbar Marg. As he reached home and found some defects, he went back and asked for a replacement. However, the shop owner didn’t listen to him. Vexed by the irresponsible behaviour, he clicked a picture of the shoes and posted it on Facebook detailing how he got cheated. Within minutes, everybody was cursing the storekeeper. The post went viral. You can imagine how many customers the store lost to that silly mistake.     

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Now let’s again talk about the two incidents of irresponsible behaviour of the front desk staff. Replace myself with an angry customer. Then add the power of word-of-mouth and social media. With every tweet and every comment, the customers would have cursed them and asked their friends not to deal with them again.

With the popularity of social media, the power to promote and of course, to demote is controlled by the mere fingertips of customers. And believe me, most of the times, there is no involvement of the brain! It can either enthrone or dethrone you within seconds. 

Remember, customer relationship starts at your organisation’s gate itself. If you want to keep yourself ahead of the competition, make sure to train your guards and front desk staff to treat every customer with politeness. 

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Wouldn’t you prefer a celebrity posting a selfie with your sweet and polite janitor?

The names have not been mentioned to protect the identities.        

Further reading
Protecting Your Company’s Reputation From Employee Risk

Here’s a paragraph from the above piece.

In Deloitte’s 2014 global survey on reputation risk, it was revealed that over half of the high-level executives surveyed believed that their biggest risk to company reputation came from its internal staff.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Office jargons you need to get rid of

‘Think outside the box’.

It was the most used office jargon when I was working in an advertising agency. Every time the visualiser would come and say, “Hey guys, the clients want something new, think outside the box.” “Use your brains and get me something new!”

And we would re-start the discussion, go through the old issues of creative magazines and run through the database of creative advertisements – to create something outside the box.

Then while working with a non-governmental organisation, my supervisor’s most preferred word was “synergy”. He would barge into our chamber and start advising, “Team, I want you guys to collaborate and work together.” “Synergise and deliver 2+2=5!”

Well, these are only few of the office jargons that we come across in our offices every day. Want to know more?

Here’s a list of corporate jargons that we should get rid of, compiled by

The Landscape of Office Jargon - Infographic

Friday, 4 December 2015

7 essential sourcebooks for development communications professionals

Are you into communications? To be specific, if you are into development communications and need to develop a communications strategy for your organisation or a campaign, what steps do you follow?

If you haven’t gone through my earlier post on developing a communications strategy, here’s a quick recap.

  • Analyse the background
  • Formulate goals and objectives
  • Analyse the target audience
  • Develop the key messages
  • Craft the call-to-action
  • Design the tools and activities
  • Set a budget and timeline
  • Monitor the actions and measure the impacts

For a bird’s-eye view, develop a communication matrix so that you find everything on a single page starting from the communication goals and objectives to the communication channels you will be using to meet the objectives. A communications calendar will be an added advantage.

If you want to go through the process once more, here’s a link to make your job easier.

To analyse the situation, here’s how you carry out the PEST (Political, economic, social and technological), SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and competitor analyses

Now, if you want to delve much deeper into developing communication strategies, here are seven essential sourcebooks that will help you hone your skills.

Development Communication Sourcebook: Broadening the Boundaries of Communication
By Paolo Mefalopulos
The World Bank

Communication for Rural Development: Sourcebook

Writing a communication strategy for development programmes: A guideline for programme managers and communication officers

Strategic Communication for Sustainable Development: A conceptual overview

Communication for Development: Strengthening the effectiveness of the United Nations

How to use communication to make aid effective: Strategies and principles for programme-based approaches
BBC World Service Trust

At the heart of change: The role of communication in sustainable development
Panos London

Visit this page to download related documents.

And here's a case for communication in sustainable development.

The case for communication in sustainable development
Panos London

If you are interested in research communication, this guidebook can be of much help.

Guidance note on research communication 

Also have a look at the below:

Toolkit on Communication for Development (C4D)
Six useful guides on communication strategy

Life-changing corporate lessons from animals - 2

Do you remember the corporate lessons from animals in my earlier post? If not here’s a recap.

Corporate lesson 1
To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Corporate lesson 2
Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.

Corporate lesson 3
Not everyone who drops shit on you is your enemy.
Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
And when you are in deep shit, keep your mouth shut.

And now here’s a new one that I recently found posted in a Facebook status of one of my friends. 

Corporate lesson 4

Horse with goats. Image by Marcia O'Connor. CC BY-NC 2.0.

 Copied from Facebook

There was a farmer who had a horse and a goat.

One day, the horse became ill. So he called the veterinarian, who said, “Well, your horse has a virus. He must take this medicine for three days.” “I'll come back on the 3rd day and if he's not better, we're going to have to put him down.”

Nearby, the goat listened closely to their conversation.

The next day, they gave the horse the medicine and left.

The goat approached the horse and said, “Be strong, my friend.” “Get up or else they're going to put you to sleep!”

On the second day, they again gave the horse the medicine and left.

The goat came back and said, “Come on buddy, get up or else you're going to die!” “Come on, I'll help you get up. Let's go! One, two, three...”

On the third day, they came to give the horse the medicine and the vet said, “Unfortunately, we're going to have to put him down tomorrow.” “Otherwise, the virus might spread and infect the other horses.”

After they left, the goat approached the horse and said, “Listen pal, it's now or never!” “Get up, come on! Have courage! Come on! Get up! Get up! That's it, slowly! Great!
Come on, one, two, three... Good, good. Now faster, come on...... Fantastic! Run, run more!
Yes! Yay! Yes! You did it, you're a champion!”

All of a sudden, the owner came back, saw the horse running in the field and began shouting, “It's a miracle!” “My horse is cured. We must have a grand party. Let's kill the goat!”

The moral of the story:
Nobody truly knows which employee actually deserves the merit of success, or who's actually contributing the necessary.