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Nicole spoke with SmartCompany about cheeky customers on social media

Sydney, Australia - Mar 26, 2016: Westpac bank branch entry on Market street, Sydney, Australia. Westpac is one of Australia's "big four" banks. The bank is Australia's second-largest bank by assets

“The response should be very much audience led,” Matejic told SmartCompany.

7 ways to control your narrative during crisis

Nicole writes for the Firebrand Talent Blog: “Social media crises very rarely happen by accident. Spontaneous instances of successful social media crisis management — are rarer still…”

Nicole spoke to SmartCompany about social media scams

Woman shopping online in the cafe

David Jones, Myer hit by marketing scams: How to shut down scammers by listening to what the internet says about your business…

The Instagram Diaries #1: From Photographer to iPhonographer

This blog is shared from the fabulous Jordana Borensztajn‘s Instagram Diaries on LinkedIn. Jordana is a Social Media Strategist ★ Creative Content Producer ★ Humourist ★ Author ★ Speaker – and we’re thrilled to have her as part of the Quantum CIQ team. Check out her new book:Capture My Attention: How to Stand Out Online with Creative Content or book her to MC or speak at your next event.

I was a professional photographer for more than a decade and my journey into the world of photography began in the same way as most pre-digital shooters; in a dimly lit black and white photography darkroom.

The Magic of the Darkroom

I can still smell the strong mix of chemicals that hit me every time I entered the darkroom in the Creative Arts Department at Melbourne University. I’ll never forget the excitement of it all; processing films, creating proof sheets of negatives, and using the enlarger to manipulate image size, resolution, cropping and composition. Most exciting of all was seeing my images come to life on paper as I moved them from the developer tray, into the stop bath, and into the fixer, before rinsing them and hanging them up to dry. A small red safe-light in the corner of the room provided just enough visibility to find our way.

I spent hours in the darkroom, in the classroom and out on shoots. I learnt aboutlighting, filters, exposure, camera settings, aperture, contrast, composition, depth of field, shutter speed, framing and so much more. And I invested thousands into my photography kit. I had two camera bodies, a wide angle lens, a telephoto lens, lens filters, microfibre cloths, two flashes, a tripod – and rolls and rolls and rolls of film. My kit was my most treasured possession.

From Photographer to iPhonographer

Fast forward more than a decade and I don’t use my photography equipment – at all. The world has changed. I don’t need big, heavy gear to take great shots anymore. While a lot of photographers might disagree with me, all I really need these days is a smartphone and the Instagram app.

With that knowledge I have proudly transitioned from Photographer to iPhonographer. What does that mean? It means I can be a photographer anywhere, at any time, without any equipment other than my iPhone. It means I am free to capture images in a completely hassle-free way; no giant lenses, no spare camera batteries, and no back-up rolls of 200, 400 and 800 ISO films. My only priority items are a charged iPhone battery and the latest version of Instagram.

The Power of Instagram

As a social media strategist, Instagram has always been my favourite social network.Through capturing colours, moments and expressions, Instagram allows us to show the world who we are, what we love and what we stand for. It’s a platform to express our lives, our journeys, our interests and our passions – all through visuals – which is such a powerful concept.

Thankfully, my photography background makes me appreciate the power of Instagram’s amazing functionality. Instagram allows us to create – in two minutes on a handheld device – what could take hours to complete on a shoot and in the darkroom. Better yet, Instagram allows us to immediately test, preview and apply photographic effects to our images – techniques that professionals can spend years practising and perfecting. I don’t take any of this for granted.

It actually makes me really, really excited because it means we all have the opportunity to create more, learn more, and capture more than ever before. At a time when the internet is speeding everything up, we hold the power – in our hands – to slow life down, even just for a moment, in order to capture it forever. And it’s so easy to do. What a gift.

Instagram’s a powerful photographic tool and there is so much brilliant content we can create simply using our smartphones. So this is the first instalment in a series I’m launching called The Instagram Diaries where I’ll draw off my experience as a photographer to share strategies, lessons and techniques to help you enhance your Instagram account. I’ll run through a variety of photography principles you can use to improve your images, as well as tips and tricks to get the most out of Instagram’s functionality.

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”
– Ansel Adams

So, what are you waiting for?

Do you have a smartphone? Great. Have you installed Instagram? Excellent! (If not, go ahead – it’s free!)  And there you go. You have everything you need to become an iPhonographer and dive right in.

Is there a photography technique or Instagram feature you want me to cover? Tweet me at @JordanaOZ.

When I’m not taking photos, I work with clients to enhance their creativity, online content and social media marketing skills. Check out my new book:Capture My Attention: How to Stand Out Online with Creative Content.

How Emirates Airlines turned their social media feeds into a crisis brand newsroom during the EK521 incident

Written by Quantum CIQ Managing Partner Nicole Matejic; who along with our Aviation Industry Adviser Steve Baker has experience in managing high-stakes issues and crisis communications in the aviation industry.

As the investigation into Emirates Airlines flight EK521 continues to determine why the Boeing 777-300 caught fire on landing at Dubai International Airport yesterday, those working in high stakes industries and leadership roles should be taking notes from the airlines’ exceptional handling of its communications during this crisis.

An multi-award winning airline, Emirates ability to navigate through crisis to recovery and soon, back into business as usual has been an impressive display of how well planned crisis communications strategies can be delivered with leaders and teams who have been well prepared.

By turning their social media channels into an immediate crisis brand newsroom, Emirates established itself as an information authority on platforms that enabled them to communicate their trustworthiness and humility. This is a savvy move in retaining control over a narrative that could be quickly overrun by speculation and misinformation in the absence of strong leadership and appropriate information transparency.

Emirates handling of this crisis is a lesson for everyone in how to maintain consumer trust and effectively convey empathy, humility and authority in a high stakes environment.

Here are 5 key takeaways form their crisis response:

Emirates airlines communicated immediate action.

Emirates swift implementation of their organisational crisis communications plan was evident as flight EK521 sat wrecked and billowing smoke on the tarmac at Dubai International Airport. There was no delay in communicating known facts, and then continuing to update stakeholders through a well deployed series of Facebook updates, tweets and video.

Emirates Tweets

Emirates airlines communicated precisely the information that was relevant to its stakeholders without delay.

No overarching statements about their organisational history or aviation safety record.

No lengthy press statements that were hard to find on their website.

No spin.

Just straight up facts about the incident, the details they had available and what they are doing for their most important stakeholder: their passengers.

AND all this information was everywhere you’d expect it to be should you go looking for it.

Emirates Australia _ Book Flights, Hotels and Car Rental

Emirates airlines demonstrated consistent leadership throughout the crisis and now recovery period.

H.H Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group demonstrated consistent leadership by investing in the 24/7 news media cycle from the outset. By being the face of the organisation during a critical incident H.H Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum demonstrated timely corporate responsibility at a critical trust juncture for the company. H.H Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum’s delivery of high stakes leadership acumen should be a lesson for leaders in organisations around the world because it allowed Emirates to feed the 24/7 news media cycle with copy-link-play content. This is a testament to their appreciation of not only their audience and the news media but also the totality of the information domain.

Emirates airlines consistently demonstrated crisis gravitas for their most important stakeholder: their passengers.

At the forefront of all information communicated during this crisis, Emirates has remained steadfastly committed to prioritising its attention and concern for those passengers and crew aboard EK521 and their families.

Emirates airlines had a thorough crisis communications plan in place and a team trained to deliver it.

It is evident from their polished, deliberate investiture in the use of social media to create a crisis brand newsroom that Emirates Executives and their staff had prepared strategically and trained tactically for organisational crisis.

Much of what you see in their statements, tweets and posts would have been words, talking points and statements pre-prepared for exactly this kind of incident. Apart from obtaining passenger manifests and flight details, very little leg-work needed to be done to produce this body of work leaving the communications and public relations team to concentrate on matters of passenger and crew safety and media relations.

Emirates understands what a bad day in their business looks like, and yesterday was very nearly a catastrophic example of the depth of their understanding of their organisational risks and the essentiality of planning for crisis communications. While all passengers and crew survived the incident with few injuries reported, in a sombre reminder of the risks first responders face when saving the lives of others, firefighter Jasim Issa Mohammed Hassan died during the aviation rescue operation.

In what is perhaps the most sombering lesson arising from this incident, is the dignified way Emirates and Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum have communicated this tragedy to the world. While the focus of the news media remains on the investigation into why the plane caught fire on landing along with stories of the passengers and crew who survived, time has been taken to remember firefighter Jasim Issa Mohammed Hassan as hero who died saving the lives of others.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, offered his condolences for the firefighter who was martyred while attempting to put out the fire.

“We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of firefighter Jasim Eisa Al Beloushi. May God grant his family and relatives solace and patience,” tweeted Shaikh Mohammad.

“As sad as we are over the passing of Jasim, we are also proud of our youths and their sacrifices while performing their duty in saving lives and rescuing people. The UAE has men that many generations can be proud of.”

Lessons in Spin from Mad Men

Nicole writes for the Firebrand Talent blog on all things crisis communications. For great social and digital business updates, make sure you subscribe to receive all their articles.

Feeling a little dizzy after reading today’s headlines?

From global affairs to sales, politics to journalism — everyone is taking their turn spinning stories on the merry-go-round of public opinion. It’s exhausting. It’s overwhelming. And it’s entirely strategic.

But what happens when your audience realise they’re being conned?

With trust the leading differentiator in your ability to manage issues and crises; the spin tactics of years gone by no longer produce the same outcomes in an environment where information has been democratized and anyone can and will have a voice.

We don’t live in the Mad Men era, it’s not 1967. But have spin tactics really changed that much?

Here are my top 10 lessons in Spin from Mad Men:

1. Strange bedfellows still get laid

10 lessons in spin tactics from Mad Men

Lies manufactured for quick and dirty impact won’t stand up to scrutiny — in which case you’ve just manufactured your own crisis. Stop playing coy — however uncomfortable the truth, better it comes out on your terms while you retain some control of your narrative than waiting for a journalist to ring with questions they already know the answers to.

2. Oh cry me a river!

10 lessons in spin tactics from Mad Men

Crisis not your fault? Media to blame? Competitor to blame?

Seriously — it’s not them, it’s YOU.

If you want to be taken seriously roll up your sleeves and get some skin in the game. No one wants to listen to ranting incoherence in the midst of a crisis. You must demonstrate leadership, accountability and communicate a vision for the future. Respect is earned.

3. A polished turd is still a turd

10 lessons in spin tactics from Mad Men

Take off those rose coloured glasses, there is no disco ball on your ceiling. If you can’t fairly evaluate the players that contributed to your crisis — your bias will lead you from crisis to disaster. Yes, managing individuals may be uncomfortable, but you can’t cover for people’s incompetence forever unless you are prepared to wear a badge of negligence.

Don’t put your needs or the needs of a subordinate above the needs of your organisation and its shareholders.

4. If it’s on Facebook it must be true…

10 lessons in spin tactics from Mad Men

Do you believe everything you read on Facebook?

No? So why then, are you so concerned with what people say about your organisation?

Unless their complaint is legitimate or defamatory at law, being overly sensitive to what is said about your organisation online isn’t the best use of your resources. Your social media analytics will tell you what matters and from that you can make informed decisions about changing your approach (or not). Don’t let subjective opinions by keyboard warriors and trolls create a workflow effect without doing your due diligence first.

5. Let’s talk

10 lessons in spin tactics from Mad Men

If you don’t like what is being reported about your organisation in the media during a crisis — ask yourself why that is and what you can do to change it.

Are you accessible to the media? Have you taken responsibility for the crisis? Like most communications activities, you need to invest in the news media cycle over the long term to get a return on your investment — so don’t wait until a crisis hits to start that investment strategy.

6. Dirty laundry day

10 lessons in spin tactics from Mad Men

White washing.
Green washing.
Rainbow washing.

Dress that inconvenient truth up all you want; people still won’t buy it. What they will walk away with is a distinct perception about your corporate culture and ethics. Own your crisis with honesty and transparency or spin your reputation into the ground.

7. Disco denial

10 lessons in spin tactics from Mad Men

If your leader is missing in action during an organisational crisis, you best hope the paparazzi aren’t camped out at their golf club. Leadership necessitates you lead during good times and bad, and the needs of the organisation come before those of the individual leader in the majority of cases.

Creating a smug, aloof or mysterious persona during a crisis only leads people to suspect you are both out of touch and being dishonest.

8. You like it? We’re taking it away

10 lessons in spin tactics from Mad Men

Nothing creates fear more than taking away something people relate to, rely on or think they can’t live without. Spinning the loss, however insignificant or far-fetched is sure to manufacture outrage BUT beware: you need to have a pivot point in your strategy or before long you’ll just sound like a broken record.

Take that emotional connection and move your audience from issue to action, or your legacy will stagnate with your negative campaign without producing a tangible outcome.

9. If you can’t convince them, confuse them

10 lessons in spin tactics from Mad Men

Unpopular decisions don’t win friends or favour. An often misunderstood aspect of spin is the old ‘confuse your audience’ tactic to ensure they focus on the gaffe rather than the issue at hand. Because if your audience truly understood what you were doing with their entitlements, there would be a mutiny. With purposefully confusing people comes reputational damage — your trust rating takes a hit as the perception of incompetence reigns.

Can your organisation withstand the repercussions of using such spin tactics?

10. The lesser of two evils

10 lessons in spin tactics from Mad Men

If your organisation is prone to incidents of crisis, redirecting attention to a previous crisis and what you’ve done to ‘fix’ those problems is a smokescreen tactic. Why? Because unless you keep fueling that fire, at some point the smoke will clear and people will see your current crisis for what it is and to make matters worse, they’ll also see your attempts at flying it under the radar.

In using fear as a motivating agent for change, we often create organisational cultures that make our messaging less trusted. Like the Boy who cried Wolf, what will happen when you tell your next story if your legacy is steeped in spin tactics?

If you want raving fans, act like a great artist

Last week I flew into Sydney for a conference and while I was waiting at the baggage carousel I noticed that not far away from me was a famous Australian singer. She was dressed down and had with her a couple of members of her entourage and I heard her remark how tired she was.

Even though she had glasses on (not sunglasses – it was 8pm and she’s not that pretentious) it wasn’t long before a little girl on the other side of the carousel noticed her and waved. The singer smiled and subtly waved back at her. Wanting to meet her idol and dragging her mother in tow, the little girl walked over.

Despite being worn out and with no paparazzi around, the singer took off her glasses, got down on her haunches to bring herself down to her little fan’s level and said “hello princess, how are you?”. She then spent a couple of minutes talking to her. It was a beautiful moment that I had to capture.

Delta in Sydney


It got me thinking about the link between performers/fans and businesses/customers. What can businesses learn from performing artists that will help them to create raving fans? Here’s the list I came up with:

1) Be a star on stage – every customer interaction is a chance to perform. Prepare for each one and give 100% every time you’re in front of customers.

2) Put on a show – back in 2012, my partner and I went to a Coldplay concert. As we walked in we were given these wristbands and told to put them on. It was only when the lights went down later that evening and the band started playing Paradise that we realised what they were for. Check this out:



Businesses, too, need to create experiences every now and then that wow customers by surprising and delighting them.

3) Give them an encore – just when customers think an interaction is over, impress them by anticipating their next need and going the extra mile.

4) Respond to requests – similar to bands that play songs that have been shouted out by the audience, listen to your customers and customise your offerings based on what they’re telling you.

5) Play new songs but don’t stop playing your hits – Never forget what brought your customers to you in the first place. Continue to innovate and deliver new offerings but maintain the basics – those things you’ve always done that solve core customer needs.

6) Enjoy the applause – positive customer feedback is the applause a business gets from its customers. Everybody loves hearing it. Connect all areas of your business to customers by spreading feedback far and wide internally.

7) Offer high value packages – just as artists offer different levels of seating at their concerts ranging from the stalls to general admission and high value packages where high-paying fans can go backstage, businesses must understand that they too have different segments of customers. Some segments are worth more to your business than others. Know who your high value segments are and prioritise investments in them.

8) Ensure your entourage reflect your values – I was watching a documentary on Prince the other night and learned that not only would he always dress sharply (he never wore jeans) but that he also insisted that everyone in his entourage dress sharply too! Define your organisational vision, mission and values then ensure everything you do is consistent with that: the people you hire, the training you provide, the way you treat customers, the way you do business. Everything.

Follow these tips and soon you too will have fans that rave about you the same way the little girl at the baggage carousel will one day rave about her favourite Aussie singer.

Ben Motteram is a Customer Experience (CX) consultant that works with us to ensure your customer journey is primed for success. We’ve republished this great blog from his website with his permission.

Follow him on Twitter @CXpert for more great CX insights.