Should Companies Restrict Employees Use of Social Media?

I recently met a university batch mate of mine, who is now in the field of HR. While discussing where we are and what we do now, eventually it opened up for a very fruitful discussion on the topic of role of social media in the field of HRM. 

My friend complained social networks as a productivity killer and something, which all companies should get rid of at all costs. This did not surprise me at all, as this used to be the same sentiment I noticed from all HR professionals I meet. In fact, it is not an opinion limited to HR professionals, but also a common belief among most of the senior level executives in many companies I know. Surprisingly enough, these executives somehow agree with me more often than not, about the value of social media as a marketing communications channel. They never show any doubts about using Facebook and Twitter for brand building, customer care or lead generation. They are always very keen in learning more about social media as a marketing tool.
Friday, May 1, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Five Trusted Ways You Can Help Nepal Earthquake Victims Online

If you are like me, who is saddened by the natural disaster in Nepal and looking for ways you can help the victims, here are five trusted charities you can do online donations.

Help Nepal Network is a local charity network in Nepal operating since 1999. After the disaster strike, they have opened a PayPal donation link on their home page through which you can make a donation starting from US$1.Click here to donate.

Oxfam America has opened an online donation link as well, through which you can make monetary contributions to relief efforts they are rolling out in Nepal. Click here to donate.

Save The Children charity organization has opened an online donation link too. Click here to contribute to Nepal Earthquake victims through Save the Children

UNICEF as an agency of United Nation is a trusted source you may use to make donations starting from US$50. Please click here to accesstheir donation link.

Care International has put up an online donation option on their home page. Simply visit their home page on and fill the donation form.

Yesterday Sri Lanka embassy in Nepal established a hotline for any inquiries about Sri Lankans in Nepal. Call 0097 79851020057 to access this hotline.

A friend on Facebook shared this message. Apparently, Sri Lanka government is looking for volunteers to participate in Sri Lankan help mission in Nepal which is already in operation.
“Volunteer doctors, nurses and paramedics needed. [Please share] Prime Minister's Office of Sri Lanka is coordinating the logistics of flying out urgent help to the victims of the earthquake in Katmandu. If you are any of the above medical professionals willing to volunteer please call 071 249 248”
This morning it was reported that the first emergency rescue team of 44 soldiers &4 Doctors, aboard an SLAF flight leaves for Nepal.

Please update in the comments section any other methods people may help the earthquake victims in Nepal.

Sunday, April 26, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

HTC Desire 620G Review – Good Value for Money with Few Minor Bugs

Last month I switched my mobile phone from Samsung to HTC. This was after using two different Samsung devices and a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 as my tablet (still using it) for three consecutive years since I switched from HTC WildFire to Samsung S-Duos 1 in 2012. This time I bought the HTC Desire 620G, which was officially launched in December last year. Here is my small review about what I experienced and what to expect.

First of all, it’s an Android 4.4.4 (KitKat) device with dual SIM capability. When selecting a smartphone, dual SIM capability has become a mandatory requirement for me as I have to carry around my official phone number (paid by my employer) and the personal one I use for last 10 years. It’s a headache to carry around two phones and it’s too expensive to maintain two different smartphones as well. 
I am not going to talk about the technical specs of the phone as everything can be easily accessed on Let me focus more on the usability and other key features.
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

How Do I Change the Name of My Facebook Fan Page? (After Reaching 200 Fans)

The name of your Facebook fan page cannot change once it reaches 200 fans (likes). This is what we all know about changing names of Facebook fan pages. However what if you genuinely want to change the name of your Facebook fan page due to various reasons, including but not limiting to things like a small typo in your page name, or change of business names?

There can be several such legitimate reasons why someone would want to change the name of their Facebook fan page. In my career I have faced this questions multiple times from my clients; ‘How to change the name of my Facebook fan page after it reaches 200 fans?’ or ‘can I change the name of my Facebook fan page?’ I used to say this is not possible, unless you get hold of someone at Facebook directly to do this.

However, lately Facebook has enabled a new option which allows page admins to change the name of their Facebook fan pages. Good news right? Now hear the bad news (read on, I have another good news after this). As of today (21st April 2015), this feature is only rolled out for page admins residing in USA, Canada and a very limited list of other countries. If you are a Facebook fan page admin based in Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan or any other Asian country you will not be able to access this facility through your admin panel.

Let’s get to the other good news. I managed to get the name of my blog’s Facebook fan page changed! As you already know, I’m based out of Colombo Sri Lanka but still I managed to get this done. Facebook fan page of my blog used to be “Amis Space – Marketing 2.0” but if you check the fan page now, you will see the page name is now changed to “Amitha Amarasinghe”.
How did I do this? How did I change the Facebook fan page name after reaching more than 200 fans (1,450 to be precise)?

There is a small workaround which I am happy to share with you, but I will only share the trick with those of you who are really interested knowing it. If you practically have a requirement to change the name of a Facebook fan page, all you have to do is dropping me a tweet on @Amisampath. If you are not on Twitter, the second method is to leave a comment or a wall post on my Facebook fan page. If all these two methods are not working for you, the last option (least preferred for me) is to dropping me an email to the address encoded in “Contact Me” tab on this blog. I’m very slow to respond emails, so first two options would probably work faster.

NOTE: I'm not going to charge you a service fee or anything for sharing this work around. You may find this same method elsewhere on the internet. My past experience is, once you share something like those too often on too many sites, 'someone' will introduce a fix for that workaround. That's the reason why I don't want this to be published publicly on my blog.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

How Credible is Brand Finance Lanka Ltd’s List of Sri Lankan Superbrands?

Recently I stumbled upon  this article on Daily FT containing a list of ‘Sri Lanka’s superbrands of the year’. The list was published by a company named Brand Finance Lanka Ltd., the local subsidiary of Brand Finance PLC who claims to be the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy.
On their website they say, the reports they publish are used for various business needs such as technical valuations for accounting, tax and legal purposes, valuations in support of commercial transactions (acquisitions, divestments, licensing and joint ventures) involving different forms of intellectual property and valuations as part of a wider mandate to deliver value-based marketing strategy and tracking, thereby bridging the gap between marketing and finance.

All are valid reasons why the corporate world should access and trust their reports. However, reading through the article on Daily FT I found this interesting list published by them with the title “Strongest Digital Marketing Brands in Sri Lanka”.

Managing Director of the company which published this report comments on the achievements of Kapruka and Dialog.
“Think Kapruka. And it requires a sustained and long term commitment to ensure it continues to generate value. Think Dialog. Taking the long view is key to building brands because of the time it takes to nurture and develop them.”
All this expert commentary is made about a list they composed using Facebook likes! I have no doubts Kapuka is a great local brand which made a massive progress as a dot com business. Dialog, we all can agree is one of the best case studies of how to build a strong brand. But is “Facebook Likes” the only factor Brand Finance Lanka Ltd could think of as proof to validate the success of Kapruka and Dialog?

To compile a list of ‘Strongest Digital Marketing Brands’ a research agency must use better credible criteria than Facebook fan count. Even a grade 10 schoolboy can put up a list like that using the free version of SocialBakers analytics. Is that the quality the corporate world can expect from a world renowned brand valuation consultancy?

Ok, assuming that Facebook like count is a strong enough criteria to put up a list like this, now let’s dig deeper into the fan count reported for few of the brands in top 5 brands published in Brand Finance Lanka’s list of ‘Strongest Digital Marketing Brands in Sri Lanka’.

Click to enlarge

From what we can see on this SocialBakers analysis of Dilmah fan base, majority of their fans are from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia and Egypt. Dilmah being a global brand targeting multiple markets is reasonable to have more non-Sri Lankan fans on their global fan page. However, my little knowledge about Ceylon tea tells me the market for Ceylon tea is largely from countries like Russia, Ukraine, Egypt, UK and Australia. Maybe Dilmah’s international markets are different, and ironically their most popular markets seems to be the same list of countries which are famous for Facebook “Like Farms” as exposed on this YouTube video.

That’s about Dilmah and let’s now look at a comparatively a more local brand. I don’t think we have any ambiguity about Mobitel’s target markets.

Click to Enlarge

According to this analysis, looks like 28% of Mobitel’s fans are non-Sri Lankans, quite significant amount for a brand predominantly targeting Sri Lanka. If it was 10% we would have concluded it’s by accident, but 28% fans from countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India seems to be something which Mobitel did by choice.

About a year ago a blogger named ‘Veritasium’ published this video titled ‘Facebook Fraud’.

In this video (which was watched by over 3 million people since uploading) he explains how freelancers based in third world countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt, Philippines, Turkey, India and of course Sri Lanka are making money by selling fake likes to brands world over. Go to and you will find dozens of freelancers who would offer you 10,000 likes for anything you have on Facebook for an investment of just US$5.

Maybe the brands listed on Brand Finance Lanka Ltd.’s list have not purchased fake likes from these like farms. But there’s another side to it. They would have most probably targeted their legitimate Facebook ads campaigns to one or more of these geographies. When you set your Facebook ads goal to “more likes for my page” and let Facebook decide where to target your ads, the Facebook ads algorithm will automatically deliver your ads to the users who are most biased to click “Like” button on anything they see on Facebook (based on past behavior).  Unfortunately, the fake FB accounts from that third world like farms are doing only one job from morning to night; clicking on “like” buttons. Automatically, your FB ads campaigns now get targeted to the FB accounts created for like farms and they will click on your ad and like your page, just to make sure that there have “variety” in the things that they like (to fool the Facebook system, to show that they are not only liking content from certain FB pages only). In the end, your page will accumulate thousands of fake likes from these farms. If your aim is to achieve that one KPI of hitting X number of fans before your competitor does the same; yes this is an easy tactic to impress your CEO.

It’s obvious that the people who composed the list of ‘Strongest Digital Marketing Brands in Sri Lanka’ at Brand Finance Lanka Ltd, has no clue about this reality about Facebook likes. It’s ok to be ignorant about something but it’s not cool to assume rest of the country is ignorant about it too and that’s exactly what BFL did. They would have thought, nobody will suspect the credibility of our list and simply went ahead and published a report without proper substance.

Bigger issue here is something else. It’s clear Brand Finance Lanka did a low quality job in selecting the strongest digital marketing brands in Sri Lanka. Then, how can we believe their other lists? What if all their other lists too lacking a mix of credible criteria to evaluate the brand worth? What if those lists too are done in a hurry, by just looking at surface level criteria? Should the corporate world base their business decisions on such a substandard list of superbrands? Where is the credibility?

Thursday, April 16, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

What Turns a Situation into a Social Media Crisis?

We all can agree on the fact that Social Media is not like traditional media, but when it comes to sensitive conversations about a brand on Social Media we quickly tend to forget this truth. Moment you see someone talks negatively about a brand, the first question most managers ask is “can we do something to stop this guy?”

“Do something” is a very popular way of briefing agencies, especially in the field of Social Media Marketing. Just like a wife goes out of her mind when she sees a cockroach in the kitchen and shout at the husband “do something!”, the client goes all crazy when they see these negative (sarcastic) posts appearing on social media, and shout at the agency “do something!”. I’ve seen on many occasions, this lack of patience to understand a situation before responding, turns harmless situations into fearful crisis’ for a brand.
Friday, April 10, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Festival of Media Asia Pacific 2015 - Post Event Thoughts

Google Singapore managing director Joanna Flint (center)
 taking a group selfie with her selfie stick. 
I am back in Sri Lanka after attending the Festival of Media Asia conference which happened in Singapore last week. I’m sure some of you would have followed me on Twitter for all the live updates and pictures from the event.

I wanted to do daily sum-up posts here but it was too tempting for me to get some time off after the conference to go and explore the Lion City :-). I had to make maximum out of my time in Singapore, so I didn’t want to be stuck in a hotel room and update my blog after the conference is over.
All in all, it was two days with highly concentrated high quality content on latest trends in media and communication. Selection of speakers for the event was excellent, and timing of sessions, the order of activities was organized in such a way that participants would never be bored by being there for two days.
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe
Tag :


Official website of Festival of #FOMA15 announced today that Twitter has teamed up with the Festival of Media Asia Pacific, Power98FM and Starcom MediaVest Group to launch #YPL (Young Promising Leaders Program), a competition where five internships are up for grabs at Twitter.

The #YPL program promotes the mission of supporting young talent deserving of developmental opportunities with a view of spotting, nurturing and training the next generation of leaders in Singapore. Candidates are invited to enter the first stage of the competition by submitting a pitch via a Tweet (text, photo, video) on why they should be selected, along with three Vines of supporting endorsements.

 Finalists will be invited to make presentations at the Festival of Media Asia Pacific conference, where the public will be asked to vote and tweet for their favourite candidates. The five winners will be announced at the Festival's awards gala dinner ceremony on the evening of Tuesday 24 March 2015 at the Capella Singapore Hotel.

 Check out the details of #YPL program on FOMA website here.
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Understanding ICC’s Brand and Content Protection Guidelines for Marketers

With the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup coming closer to its business end, we see more and more local and international brands getting aggressively involved in Cricket World Cup related marketing promotions campaigns. Even in Sri Lanka, we see a lot of radio and TV stations, super market chains, Telco companies and many more companies doing various marketing activities in parallel to the ICC Cricket World Cup.

However, most of these marketing campaigns are done in a manner they violate the stipulated rules and regulations by the ICC to protect ICC’s own intellectual property rights (IPR) and the best interest of the ICC commercial partners.

Oh wait…Are there regulations like that? I suppose, some of you may ask. Yes, it’s true most marketers in Sri Lanka do not know that there are such regulations governing a brand’s ability or inability to run a CWC associated promotion and from the ones who are aware of that fact, a vast majority is simply ignoring the rules thinking that the ICC is not enforcing those regulations in Sri Lanka.

I am not a lawyer, so please don’t take any of the opinions and recommendations mentioned below as legal advice. If you are a marketer who is concerned about the implication of these ICC regulations, please consult your company’s designated legal partners to get the best interpretation of ICC regulations.

Let’s start with what are these guidelines and where are these rules published. You can download the full ICC branding and promotions guidelines for CWC 2015 on this link.

This document clearly defines what are the protected IPRs of ICC and clearly explain why the interests of ICC commercial partners are protected in these guidelines. All the ICC commercial partners pay a huge sum of sponsorship fee to ICC for the conducting of ICC Cricket World Cup. After investing that amount of money for this gala event, is it fair for ICC to turn a blind eye on the competitors of these commercial partners getting mileage out of Cricket World Cup? Definitely not. That’s why, ICC is putting this much emphasis on the rights of the commercial partners.

For example, after investing a huge sum of money to become the official beverage partner of ICC World Cup, Pepsi would never want to see Coca-Cola running an under the crown promotion to give away World Cup match tickets (a simple example). By now I guess you realized it well; this is why the Sri Lanka cricket team is not wearing their official sponsor’s logo on their world cup jersey. Because, Reliance India is the official telecommunications partner for Cricket World Cup so for their best interest ICC has ruled out the possibility of any other telco brand to have space on player jerseys for this world cup. Yes, Dialog may be the official sponsor for Sri Lanka cricket team but ICC is bigger than SLC. In that scenario, Dialog is considered a competitor of a commercial partner of ICC for this world cup and hence being deprived of taking any advantage of their national team sponsorship during the World Cup matches.

 Now, does this mean none of the ICC commercial partners can do any marketing communications with related to the World Cup? No, it’s not the case. As you may realize, all these things are governed by a “law” and as always every law has a flaw in it.

There’s so much that ICC can do to protect their commercial partners. Beyond that, the competition can take control. For example, according to the television broadcasting rights agreements, every channel who gets the license to broadcast CWC matches in each country are supposed to offer their sponsorship deals exclusively to the ICC commercial partners in the first round of offering (no bidding allowed). If any of the ICC commercial partners are not buying the advertising properties on the TV channel, then the channel can put it openly on sale for any interested advertiser. This is how Channel Eye studio discussion advertising property ended up in the hands of Mobitel. Now, Mobitel being (technically) a competitor of Reliance, can still use a CWC property to advertise their brand (which is perfectly legal). Problem arises, if Mobitel (for example) start running promotions during this broadcast directly linking to the CWC matches. For example, asking questions like “what would be the first innings score of today’s Pakistan Vs UAE match?” and then selecting a winner would be a violation of ICC promotions and brand regulations (refer the doc).

Now, there are lawful ways of brands sneaks through these promotions guidelines.

In reality, Reliance, LG, Pepsi, MRF, Emirates, Reebok, Castrol, Moneygram, Hyundai, ESPN Star, and SAP are the only commercial partners ICC has who can have a commercial association with the ICC World Cup.

Any competitor of those brands attempting to create a commercial association (running promotions directly linked to CWC matches, offering tickets to the final etc) with World Cup is both unlawful and unethical.

HOWEVER, anyone (including brands - who are legally "persons") can use their Social Media profiles to "report", "discuss" and "engage" about matches which takes place in the CWC with an intention of "information sharing" (no commercial/trade association).

For example, when Mahela Jayawardene scores a century, Samsung or CEAT Facebook pages may put a status congratulating his achievement, but LG or MRF can't make a lawsuit out of it for violating ICC regulations. Technically, a tweet is not an advertisement, so mentioning “Congratulations Mahela for that wonderful century against Afghanistan” on Samsung Twitter account is not at all creating a commercial association between the Cricket World Cup and brand Samsung.

You can run promotions for your brand during the World Cup season, using only the word “Cricket” (and not World Cup) or the other way around (World Cup, but no mentioning about Cricket). You can run “Cricket Quizzes” and give away non-CWC15 related gifts during the World Cup season, which is perfectly a legal way of riding on the cricket wave. Or, you can run “World Cup” related raffle draw and give away non-CWC related gifts. Because, ICC’s IPR protects only “Cricket World Cup”, as FIFA, IRB and many other sports bodies maybe sharing the term ‘World Cup’ so nobody can claim exclusive rights for that.

OK, those were my interpretations and as I mentioned before, take this advices at your own risk or consult your lawyer :-) I am not responsible for you getting sued by ICC for trying out any of these suggested options.

For better clarity, read the full document published by the ICC. For simplicity, let me quote two of the most relevant paragraphs from that document to end this blog post.

What uses are unlawful without a licence from the ICC?The unlicensed and unauthorised use of any of the ICC CWC Names, ICC CWC Marks (or any other marks or logos that are confusingly similar to, or likely to be mistaken for, them) or ICC CWC Footage is strictly prohibited. For example, without a licence from the ICC, it is unlawful to
(i) use the ICC CWC Names and ICC CWC Marks in a manner likely to cause confusion among P a g e | 6 members of the public as to the existence of a commercial association with the ICC CWC 2015, or
(ii) reproduce or distribute items using ICC CWC 2015 IPR in the course of trade. The ICC CWC Names and ICC CWC Marks cannot be used on goods, in business names or in advertising or promotions without a licence from the ICC or one of its authorised licensees that, in turn, has the rights to grant sub-licenses.

It is also unlawful, through the use of ICC CWC 2015 IPR, to falsely represent or imply any association, affiliation, endorsement, sponsorship or similar relationship with the ICC CWC 2015. It is important to note that a formal or pre-existing association with any of the participating national teams, players or the tournament venues does not permit a team partner, team sponsor, player sponsor or venue sponsor any right to use the ICC CWC 2015 IPR (other than the specific rights such team is authorised by the ICC to licence) without the prior authorisation of the ICC.

When can the ICC CWC 2015 IPR be used?
The ICC CWC 2015 IPR can be used with the licence and authorisation of the ICC or its authorised licensees that have been expressly granted the rights to grant sub-licenses. Such licence and authorisation will only be given to official ICC CWC 2015 sponsors, partners, licensees and noncommercial partners. There are very few situations in which the ICC CWC 2015 IPR can be used without the ICC’s explicit licence and consent.

The ICC CWC Names, ICC CWC Marks and, to a limited extent and subject to the ICC CWC 2015 Media Accreditation Terms and Conditions and news access guidelines (and all relevant copyright laws), the ICC CWC Footage, may be used for news reporting purposes in noncommercial editorial-only pieces without the ICC’s prior authorisation. In certain circumstances when reporting and providing information on the ICC and/or the ICC CWC 2015, journalists are able to use the ICC CWC Names and ICC CWC Marks to illustrate their editorial-only feature subject to full compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Such use of ICC CWC 2015 IPR must be in compliance with these Guidelines. The ICC’s intention is not to restrict people from interacting with the ICC CWC 2015 or providing or sharing information on the ICC CWC 2015, but, when they do so, the ICC’s legal rights must be recognised, respected and fully adhered to.

Mentioning on certain brand names on this post was solely for the purpose explaining the concepts, but in no way I intend to mean those brands are violating the ICC brand and content protection guidelines.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Full Agenda Announced for Festival of Media Asia Pacific

Finally, it’s confirmed. I will be travelling to Singapore for the Festival of Media Asia-Pacific which will take place from 22nd to 24th March 2015 at Capella Singapore, Singapore.

They have announced the finalized agenda for the conference and there are some exciting topics lined up throughout the two day conference.

I’m particularly looking forward for some sessions, covering the emerging techniques in digital media.

TV and programmatic is the topic for Chris Dobson, Executive Chairman of The Exchange Lab which is scheduled for the day 1 of the conference itself. “Traditional media has become digitised; cinema distributors have moved to digital formats, outdoor has invested in digital billboards. TV is the last of the traditional media sectors to move into programmatic. These 'next generation' advertising solutions all have one thing in common, technology. It's the connective tissue between content and the consumer, brands and advertising.” That’s an impressive synopsis of the session Chris is planning deliver at FOMA15.

On day 2, there is another interesting topic lined up “Working offline for the masses”, a session by Deepak Ravindran, Co-founder & CEO of Innoz. This session discuss a topic very much relevant for the Sri Lankan market. How do brands reach millions of consumers that own mobile phones, but not smart phones? How can you create effective campaigns that resonate and generate brand engagement for the offline mobile user? It’s going to be very interesting to find answers for these questions before us.

These are some of the topics I found very interesting among much more valuable sessions lined up. It’s only four weeks more for the conference, and you still have chance to reserve a place for you.
Drop me an email (contact me) if you are planning to take part on this conference, we can catch up during one of these networking sessions :-)
Saturday, February 28, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Follow by Email

Follow on Facebook

Powered by Blogger.

Google+ Followers

Blog Archive

Search This Blog


- Copyright © -Metrominimalist- Powered by Blogger - Designed by Johanes Djogan -