Of mistakes, bloopers and emojis


THE year 2019 is starting to look interesting. After a boring January where nothing much happened, the pace is picking up both in business opportunities and political activities. After getting the New Year and Chinese New Year celebrations out of the way, entrepreneurs and politicians have started planning and strategising for the year ahead.

For both young and old entrepreneurs alike, the hope is to make more good decisions and minimise the silly mistakes. Politicians in power are hoping to become more popular and are trying to reduce the bloopers so as not to be portrayed as incompetent on social media.

My favourite emoji on WhatsApp is the facepalming one. It reminds me of the many mistakes and bloopers that I have made throughout my entrepreneurial and personal life. How I wish I could retract those bloopers whether in the spoken word or irrational actions – the not-too-smart moments that I have lived to regret. These are the many humbling experiences that show that we are human after all.

The latest saga that caught my attention involves a not-so-young bumiputra entrepreneur who had alleged on social media that our very young Youth and Sports Minister had broken his promise to help him promote his brand of bottled drinks. He alleged that after sending drinks worth RM192 to the minister, the drinks and his company credentials were not presented to the Cabinet. The minister did not promote his drinks on his personal Instagram account and as such, the minister was called a pig in our not-so-young entrepreneur’s social media posting.

He eventually took down his posting after the minister came out with his explanation on how he had tried to promote his drinks. The minister had met Tan Sri Vincent Tan of Berjaya Corp Bhd to get his assistance in listing the “drinks” in 7-Eleven outlets – 1,905 stores in total. The minister had also brought the drinks to the Cabinet meeting but I dare guess that the presentation of the company’s credentials was not made to the Cabinet, which I presume was too busy fending off the supposedly rising popularity of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “Bossku” campaign and debating on the on-off East Coast Rail Link project.

As our Youth and Sports Minister has set up a committee within his ministry to help promote young bumiputra entrepreneurs, I hope my analysis of this saga will help young bumiputra entrepreneurs to decide on the merits and demerits of the case.

The young and good-looking minister had posted his picture on Instagram – hard at work with the drink on his table. 2 thumbs up on successful (free) influencer marketing.

If he gets his products (assuming there are four flavours) listed in all 7-Eleven stores without a listing fee, he will save RM381,000 because 7-Eleven normally charges RM50 per product per store as its listing fee. 3 thumbs up.

There was no picture of the drink on the Cabinet table, especially one with our dear Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. This was a missed opportunity, as a previous photo of Dr Mahathir post-GE14 had caused a massive spike in the sales of certain Vitamin C and sandal brands. Just imagine the civil service and the GLCs in their efforts to please Dr Mahathir serving the drink in all their meetings! 4 thumbs down.

The company’s credentials were not presented to the Cabinet. A Face with rolling eyes emoji is now appropriate. Why on earth would the minister promise to present the credentials of a bottled drink supplier to the Cabinet? Perhaps the Cabinet, after 1MDB, is running short of “national interest” topics to discuss. 5 Face Palming emojis.

The minister has promised to pay back the RM192 for the drinks supplied and pray for the success of the drinks. What magnanimity shown by one so young! This was the best return on investment in any digital marketing campaign I have seen in my 35 years of business life. OK Hand emoji.

The drink went from an unheard and unknown brand to a much loved brand now even being promoted by the Umno Youth chief. This is a potential EFFIE (media marketing award) winner! Victory hand.

I fully recommend that all young bumiputra entrepreneurs make a beeline to meet up with our supportive, young and energetic minister. I do believe that in the next Cabinet reshuffle, the ministry will be renamed as the Youth, Sports and Young Bumiputra Entrepreneurs Ministry. The Entrepreneur Development Ministry, on the other hand, might be renamed as the Old Entrepreneurs and Paralympics Ministry since it is fashionable nowadays amongst ministers to cross-promote functions of choice amongst ministries. Rolling on the floor laughing emoji.

To the young non-bumiputra entrepreneurs, I would recommend that you look for a non-bumiputra minister to promote your unknown products. You could benefit a lot from a low-cost social media influencer marketing campaign, provided you supply free samples. Winking face emoji.

I am instructing my brand manager to send our latest lipstick samples to our young and beautiful Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh. All we need her to do is to post a picture of her applying our lipstick on her Instagram and Facebook pages. Face blowing a kiss emoji.

We will provide Yeoh with additional lipsticks to be given to all the female ministers and deputies with strict instructions not to mention our company name, as we have no credentials to promote. Just make sure our brand name is properly highlighted in all social media postings, thank you. Folded hands emoji.

If many more cosmetic suppliers approach Yeoh for support, I am sure with the support of her minister, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, she will set up a committee in her ministry to work on how she can help young female entrepreneurs. It will then be known as the Young Women Entrepreneurs, Family and Community Development Ministry. Woman gesturing ok emoji.

Just a word of caution to all entrepreneurs who are looking for ministers and deputy ministers to promote their products on social media though. Do not expect politicians to keep to their promises. Just look at the number of unfulfilled, broken promises of the GE14 manifesto. Just be appreciative that the minister has promised to support your brand. Man bowing emoji.

Whatever the results of your digital influencer campaign, please do not call your ministers by any derogatory names. This zodiac year is not the perfect year for name-calling, and neither is the next, as it would be the Year of the Rat. Perhaps, we could rename this year as the Year of the Frog, which might be more appropriate. Frog emoji.

If you are ungrateful to the minister who has tried his level best to help you, not only will you get a facepalm emoji, you might even get a palm to your face, which will garner more likes and handclap emojis.

Some bloopers are just unforgivable. Facepalming emoji.

Analyst Reports , tan thiam hock , column