Revinesh Kanaiah shares his internship experience with us!

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Hi everyone, I am Revinesh and I’m currently an intern at Bask Communications. Internships are pretty enriching in terms of skills and experience. As a marketing undergrad, I decided to challenge myself by taking up a second internship in a different field - public relations. I was excited about the opportunities that the internship had to offer, along with the start-up environment and learning directly from Lay Peng, the founder of Bask Communications.

In the past five months, there have been many key moments that will remain with me, ranging from hosting the media tour for a large scale event at PetExpo 2018 to the opportunity to work on SPARK Fest 2018: Asia’s 1st Sexual Wellness Festival.

For the former, I have to admit to being very nervous even though we had thoroughly prepared ourselves prior to the event. However, as time went by and with the opportunities to chat with the media from the start of the registration through to the tour, I gained confidence in becoming a media host, answering questions and making conversations. The simple “thank you” from the media at the end of the event made all the efforts worth it.

As a guy, I must admit that it felt a bit strange to be working on a sexual wellness festival but I stepped into this project with an open mind. In the lead up to the event, we held numerous media interviews together with Erin Chen, Founder of SPARK Fest Asia. It was then when I truly understood the purpose of the festival and was inspired that we are working directly with the game changers trying to #breakthewall to normalise conversations about sex in Asia. Through our project with SPARK Fest Asia, it opened my eyes to the world of sexual wellness, and I was surprised to see how people can be open-minded about the topic when they are encouraged to talk about it.

It’s back to university in July, but here are so key learnings I’ve made in my internship so far.

1) Do not be afraid to ask questions

Asking questions provides clarity on tasks, prevent avoidable mistakes (and a waste of time), and a guide on how to accomplish it. In the PR industry, every piece of information is crucial to writing an accurate press release which will reach the eyes of both the press and public. Asking questions helped me to explore different ways of completing a task. For example, I was tasked to come up with a proposal for a client. Initially, I had mixed feelings of excitement and confusion as it was one of my first few tasks and I was unsure of what information to include or exclude. However, taking a step to ask has allowed me to tailor the solutions according to the client’s needs.

2) Step up to the plate

The responsibility of an intern goes beyond assisting your colleagues. It involves taking charge of certain situations and making decisions on the spot. Even when conducting media drops, the process of logistical arrangements and media interaction has allowed me to explore alternative perspectives in handling different situations.

 

3) Multitasking becomes a part of you

In the PR Industry, you have to be updated on what’s happening out there while managing our clients as well. One moment, you could be writing an email to a client, another moment you could be on the phone talking to another. Therefore, learn to set priorities according to deadlines and hone the ability to multitask.

Overall, this has been fulfilling and as promised by Lay Peng, no two days are the same. It has definitely opened my eyes to the world of public relations.


 

Bask Spotlights: Justin Fernando, Photographer & Videographer

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Last September, we

collaborated with Singaporean photographer and videographer Justin Fernando to produce Dan & Max: How NOT to Open a DurianThis month, we are going behind the lenses to chat with the man himself. 

1. Tell us more about yourself

I've been working in this industry for the past nine years and spent most of my career working in production houses. Last year, I've decided to venture solo and it's been a pleasure partnering with Bask Communications to produce photography and videography for clients like Biconi, YOLO Group, Forest Adventure and Red Bull Singapore. 

I'm one of those lucky ones who get to do what I love for a living. Being able to get behind the lens, capture moments and watch everything comes to life putting the footage, graphics and music together during post-production has always been one of the most exciting things. 

Check out more of Justin's work on Instagram (@juggalofernando).

2. In recent years, there has been an increase in demand for video content for social media marketing. Can you please share with us three pointers for brand owners to keep in mind when developing video content. 

Yes, there has been an influx in the need for video content for social media. It has become the fastest way to reach audiences and get the message across in the most timely fashion. Although the lifespan of these videos has been drastically cut short, maybe a week tops, before it becomes ancient news. In order to stay ahead, businesses tend to want numerous short clips to be dished out weekly rather than a single 2-3 min video.

On a personal level, the art of cinematography has been compromised in this social media world. Now, when I shoot content, I have to switch my mindset from, "does this look good?" to "does this look good when its cropped to 1:1 for social". There are so many details lost in the visuals. Thus, finding that balance is always a challenge for me.

Brand owners looking to develop video content, here are some of my tips:

  • As always, less is more. Trying to squeeze everything into a 1:1 frame and still keeping it within 30s -45s tend to lead to information overload. Keep it clean and simple. Remember that your audience wants to be engaged within the first few seconds before skipping onto the next thing on their feed.
     
  • You cannot please everyone on the internet. There is no one formula that makes people on social media happy. So as much as you and your team may think it is a great marketing video, be prepared for some weird comments arising online. 
     
  • Following trends online can be tempting. Viral videos are great but trends online do not last long. Either get on the bandwagon fast or move on to something else. It's not a good thing creating something that by the time it gets approved and gets online, becomes old news.

3. What's the pros and cons of engaging a professional photographer and videographer vs. doing it yourself? 

With videography and photography making becoming so "easy", doing it yourself can look like the best option. However, if you have a little budget, do hire. This gives you the creative freedom to think about what you want rather than having to think of all the technical details AND your brand guidelines in mind.

4. What kind of photography / videography do you best enjoy? 

I love taking people. When I travel, that is how I remember the places, through my lens of the wonderful people I meet. For videography it would have to be documentaries. Telling stories of real people that my audience can resonate with is the most intimate connection you can have with someone watching your work.

5. Any photographers / videographers that you particularly look up to?

Phillip Bloom has always been an inspiration to me. Although Christopher Doyle would be my fav, Phillip Bloom was the godfather of DSLR film making to me. He made cinematic film making attainable for someone like me back then. Joey Lawrence is a photographer that I highly admire as well.

Lessons We Can Learn from Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg Hearing

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is embroiled neck-deep in possibly one of the most amusing (for us at least)  PR crisis of our time. While we are pretty sure that the team is more than prepared to answer questions with regards to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it is quite another ball game altogether to explain social media, and basically the internet, to an assembly of politicians who do not understand how it works, does not provide one enough time to answer, and also waste a good quarter of the time giving a shout-out to family and friends just to “prove” that they know social media. 

 

We’ve been following the live hearing broadcasted on Facebook, and here are our top three takeaways from Zuckerberg: 

1) Taking responsibility for the mistakes
Zuckerberg did not shy away from taking responsibility for the company’s failure in protecting consumers’ data privacy, and this was recognised and applauded by more than one congressman. In a crisis, it can be a knee-jerk reaction to take flight or shirk responsibilities. In owning up to the gaps in the social media giant's security protocols, announcing the team’s work in progress to strengthen security and informing affected account holders, Zuckerberg is taking the first step in albeit a long journey to win back users’ trust.

2) Staying cool, calm and collected
His robotic veneer may be the butt of countless jokes and memes, but we all know it’s no easy task staying composed and coherent facing hundreds of ill-informed personnel trying to take you down. With dozens of cameras broadcasting you live around the world, every misstep has immediate repercussions. Zuckerberg managed incredibly well in clarifying questions and providing answers that are clear and concise to prevent misquotes. He doesn’t shy away from admitting if he doesn’t know answers to questions and makes immediate corrections to inaccurate answers when available.

3) Respecting the time and place

Mark Zuckerberg donning a suit and tie actually made news around the world. It’s a sign of respect towards the Congress and an acknowledgment towards the gravity of the situation. Had Zuckerberg showed up in his regular t-shirt and jeans, the Congress would likely feel rather displeased and slighted. Zuckerberg respectfully addresses each person by their official title and patiently answers each question, even if it means educating the Congress on technology.

One can never overprepare in the face of a crisis, and it is clear from the folder of notes that the team had strived to cover all grounds and possible questions that may arise. 

Even in good times, companies and brands should anticipate possible challenges instead of leaving it too late to react.

Bask Spotlights: Susannah Jaffer, Founder of ZERRIN

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This month, Bask Spotlights chats with Susannah Jaffer, former magazine editor turned entrepreneur!

1. Hi Susannah! You kickstarted your editorial career in Singapore following your move here from the UK back in 2012. Can you share with us a little bit more about your journey, and what are some of the biggest difference you see in the editorial between Singapore and the UK?

Sure. I’m 27, British and moved to Singapore at 21 to find a job after completing university in the UK. When I came here, I had a teaching job lined up but it fell through because of visa quotas. However, I into a PR internship for 7 months at a local agency. This was followed by being recruited for a job at Expat Living magazine in 2013. There I worked my way up through various roles, from junior editor to fashion and beauty editor, to launching and running a monthly women’s supplement called LIV for the company, to being appointed their creative director. In a nutshell, my career has largely been in media in Singapore until I launched my new company, ZERRIN.

To be honest, I’d say the biggest differences editorially are topical. Trends are often more geared towards a Western audience, which is a lot bigger and more diverse. I’d also say there’s more freedom of speech in the papers back home than there is here, which is more regulated.

2. Having worked in the magazines for over 4 years, what are some of your favourite stories to do?

I love putting together and directing creative shoots, or alternatively conducting or writing interviews with business owners or entrepreneurs. It’s something I really got into when we launched LIV (Expat Living) back in 2015, which featured an inspiring cover story every issue. I had so much fun writing them. I feel so blessed to have connected with many incredible and hard-working individuals over the past few years through those features, a number of which have become personal friends.

3. Any tips from PR and/or brand owners in reaching out to editors for potential story pieces?

Always know and be in tune with the publication’s target audience. Make pitches personal, or as tailored as possible. It’s worth the effort to make a great connection and crucial to make a good first impression.

4. You have recently transitioned into a freelance role with Expat Living, and at the same time launched ZERRIN, a sustainable fashion and beauty online store. Congratulations! Please tell us more about ZERRIN?

Thank you! ZERRIN is Asia’s first e-tailer dedicated to conscious fashion and beauty brands. We source and curate labels from around the world that are environmentally or socially responsible. Our mission with ZERRIN is threefold:

  • To enable women to discover and shop conscious brands conveniently on one platform.
  • To educate women about the impact of the retail industry and what part can we play to make a more positive impact.
  • To empower women to #shopmeaningfully; purchase more mindfully and place a higher value on their clothing.

We’re proud to support and carry a range of labels from around the world including Hong Kong, Bali, Canada and London, as well as home grown labels from Singapore.

5. With a shift in consumer spending, especially in the millennial group, towards businesses focusing on greater good, how do you see businesses creating sustainable programmes to maintain authenticity over publicity to causes that they are trying to benefit?

If you want to incorporate sustainability or social impact causes into your business, my personal take would be to go into it with a true purpose and a real passion behind the cause that you’re supporting. Businesses shouldn’t be jumping on the bandwagon just because it’s seemingly becoming a trend. Be authentic in everything you do, as your customers or clients will soon realise when you’re not being genuine.

6. We celebrated International Women's Day back in March. Are there any female entrepreneurs whom you look up to? 

Emily Weiss, founder of Glossier and Into the Gloss, as well as Yael Aflalo, founder of Reformation, are inspiration from the retail sphere for their drive, smarts and business strategy. I’ve also been so inspired by women in Singapore I’ve met, interviewed or worked with, like Stephanie Crespin, founder of pre-loved designer marketplace Style Tribute. I met her when she first started the company a few years ago and she’s really built an incredible business from the ground up. I think she’s the true definition of a #girlboss!

7. What’s next for you and ZERRIN?

We’ll be focused on brand building and spreading the word about what we do over the next year, in Singapore and in a few key countries internationally. I really want to focus on building our community and changing the way women consume. We’ll also be putting on a lot on local events between now and June. Our next pop-up is happening at the F1 Pit Building on 14-15 April for the Income Eco Run 2018 race pack collection! We’re also hosting an ethical fashion show as part of Fashion Revolution Day, held at The Hive Lavender on 28 April.

OH HAI! We had a double win at PR Awards 2018!

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We are so thrilled to share that Bask Communications has won a Silver award in the Best Use of Broadcast / Video and a Bronze award in the Most Creative PR Stunt for our work for Red Bull Racing in 2017. It's been half a year and we still haven't got over how funny Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were trying durians for the very first time!  

We are beyond grateful for the opportunity to work on such a great brand with a fantastic team who embraced us even though we are a new and lean team; we are happy to be recognised by industry peers for our achievements. Our wins at PR Awards 2018 are for everyone - clients, media, friends and interns - who have supported us in the past 18 months.

Ng Lay Peng Bask Communications

Thank you, and we look forward to more exciting work in time to come!