IRVINS winning recipe for surviving a PR crisis

Lizard.

Gecko.

Cicak.

Spiderman Villain. (Ok not so much this)

The heroes of the household in helping control the fly and mosquito population, but falls into a category of pests when they decide to hop into a vat of frying fish skin.

Recently, we’ve been treated to a New Year saga featuring one of our little friends, dead, very much deep fried, seasoned with the finest salted egg yolk seasoning a company called IRVINS had to offer.

See, IRVINS Salted Egg Fish Skin has become a name synonymous with the avid snacker here in Singapore, and the familiar air seal bag has been a favourite of many eager travellers to bring back to their countries as souvenirs.

Bringing the name and fame of the bag of chips to regional heights, the company naturally began distribute the already popular product to other countries around the region, sounds like a fairytale product growth story.

But all that was about to change. Jeng jeng jeeennnggg.

An enthused customer that resides in Thailand began munching into the bag of fish skin and to their horror, they found the little four legged creature, dead and fried, in the bag. Oh, and they were already halfway through munching through the contents. Phew, at least they weren’t chugging the snack down in a dimly lit theatre.

A “WTF” post on Facebook later brought the virality hailstorm, with media outlets plastering photos of the Irvin’s fish skin bag and the poor dead lizard all over the interwebs. Social media comments and shares went ablaze.

But what happened next was brilliantly textbook.

Read their reply below:

Personally, I’m pretty impressed with the reply. Whether it was sifted through a PR filter or not, this is a textbook example/story of how a company should handle crisis management in this age. Let’s break it down.

Intro

Dear Customers, Fans, Friends & Partners of IRVINS Salted Egg,

Address all stakeholders.

This gives the reader, whether you’re a loyal IRVINS fan, or just a mild mannered paper salesman who have only tried the snack that “one time”, a little jolt, creating a sense that it is them you’re addressing towards.

Context

All of us at IRVINS Salted Egg were very shocked and devastated to hear that one of our customers discovered a dead lizard in a snack pouch that she opened.

Context. Whether you’ve been following the whole situation, is well summarized in one sentence. Also, they immediately made their shock and devastation clear on the get-go.

Apology & explaining company practices

Quality control is one of the most important aspects of our company and we are always on our toes because our customers’ safety is everything to us. We really want to sincerely apologize to the customer and everyone who is affected by this incident directly or indirectly. We take full responsibility for the goods that we sell and everything in it. I have since personally contacted the customer and will continue to do so to make sure that she and her family is alright.

Here is where the apology comes in, first, they explain that quality control is something they take pride in. (But shit happens. Or in this case a lizard.) Apologize to anyone affected, because we tend to blow things out of proportion in this day and age, someone might get offended terribly by just the littlest of things even though the situation has nothing to do with them. But take it in stride, and assume responsibility, after all it’s their product that was involved. Addressing of what the action is to the person(s) affected by the situation also puts public questions at ease.

Next steps and actionables

We promise to investigate this further as we don’t have a full explanation on how the dead lizard ended up in our snack pouch and we promise to make the necessary changes in our production to ensure this will never happen again. The case has been reported to AVA and we will cooperate with them fully.

For all of our customers who still have our salted egg snacks at home, please kindly check on the back of the pouch for the expiry date. If you have a snack pouch that expires on 16 October 2019 or if you are uncomfortable with consuming our snacks, kindly email us at feedback@irvinsaltedegg.com so that our Customer Experience team could assist you with the product recall and refunds required for the snacks. All recalled products would be disposed of.

Talk is cheap. You’re only as good as fart if you don’t shit. The next two paragraphs offer the readers closure, in what they will do following the incident. Being honest about not having a full explanation, but open to working with authorities to solve the issue.

And to minimise even more potential damage, product recall is imminent for the particular batch, with information on what customers should do if they are in possession of a possible dead fried mini reptile.

Conclusion

This is a major blow to us, however we promise that we will fix this issue and continue to be an honest and responsible company to all of you. Rest assured that we are doing the best we could to serve our customers with the best quality & service nonetheless.

This is a reiteration of how this is a horrid situation for everyone, especially the company. But further emphasizes that they are doing all they can to reptilify rectify the situation.

Sign off

Regards,

Irvin

IRVINS Salted Egg

“Regards, the CEO.” This is important, it shows that the bossman himself has fishskin(ok i’ll stop after this) in the game. Again, whether the apology release was penned by him or not, it does give a little more confidence that the top guy himself is taking this seriously and looking very much into it.


Because i’m not a PR practitioner myself, I decided to ask my buddy Renhao, who is pretty ace at what he does when it comes to PR, what he thought about the whole situation. Here’s what he had to say about it:

After the initial customer post, IRVINS took about 80 hours to respond. It’s a tiny bit long, and personally I would have put out a holding statement to the effect of “we saw this and we’re looking into it, we’ll update soon”. Just to minimise accusations of ignoring the issue (they had a couple of normal marketing posts after Dec 29, before 2 Jan apology).

That said, the apology itself was solidly handled. The wording was great, and the next steps for both themselves, and customers, were clear. The most powerful bit about the apology, however, was the absolute humility in tone. This comes through with subtle choices of words – devastated, take full responsibility, personally contacted, major blow. Not only that, they volunteered info that the case is reported to AVA and that they are fully cooperating with them, and more importantly, plainly laid it out there that they could not find an explanation as to how the lizard could have ended up there. I kinda think that’s a masterstroke, because I’d interpret that as “gee that’s really unimaginable because our production floor is so clean we usually just eat off it.”

One of the biggest things that I think PR professionals need to make their stakeholders understand during a crisis situation is that the ball has already dropped. The milk has already spilled. Crisis management should not be an issue of protecting corporate reputation, it is about repairing the already damaged reputation. People don’t want to hear about your robust infrastructures or processes, or how this may or may not have been your fault, or how perhaps a vendor slacked off along the way. They want to see that you are fully invested in making things right with whoever was affected, and taking steps to right the wrongs that made this happen.

The negative comments can be minimized, but they will still be there. No amount of PR expertise can protect you from that, because you already messed up. What your crisis management strategy should focus more on doing is treating the incident with every last bit of transparency you can afford, and letting your customers know that above anything else, you have their needs and feelings, not your standing or reputation, at heart.


Now again, this may not be the ultimate and best way to handle a crisis like this. But it should be the least that a company should do in addressing the situation. We’ve seen similar oopsies with creepy crawlies happen to other F&B companies here in Singapore, and those were definitely handled poorly compared to this. Here’s an example, Old Chang Kee cockroach in curry puff, and a pretty good breakdown of how it was handled by SBR.

In any case, here are quick points to remember from the whole situation:

  • Shit happens, bugs happens, take more care in quality control and be ready for such a crisis happening
  • Address the situation, if it happens to your product, take responsibility
  • No one else should front the problem but the leader/CEO/boss – at least towards the public
  • Writing a good press release is just step one, walk the talk, and show action as well, everyone will be watching closely from here on
  • Learn and grow from this, unlike some who never seem to, complacency will draw you into another whirlwind you don’t want to be in

 

Jack of all trades, master of?

Ok, I’m fickle.

When it comes to hobbies that be. Not sure if you can relate, but hear me out.

Now, for most people, they seem to have a clear cut focused hobby. Like for example, I’m pretty sure we all have that one friend who loves reading, or cooking, or collecting stamps, or binge watching shows on Netflix. Which is all cool and all. But the last few months being in a state of mild melancholy and a state of drift whilst I wait for the fate of my professional career to pick up its next card, I realised quite unequivocally that I can’t settle on one single hobby that I’d like to pursue.

For example, in social situations(however rare that arises), if/when someone comes to asking the vague question of “what do you do in your spare time/for hobbies.” I can’t seem to give a definite answer. I mean, I do love cars and music, so generally that tends to be my go-to answer to the question. However, it sure does seem as well that there’s a heck lot of other stuff that I seem to enjoy doing as a “hobby” as well. The word hobby, as the dictionary puts it, is an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure. But what if there’s lots of activities that one likes to do in his leisure time…

Recently, I seem to have found a new hobby interest in darts. In which a group of friends and I would play almost weekly. These weekly bouts led me to watching random darts tournament videos on the interwebs, as well as.. yes, buying my own set of darts. I’ll find a way to drop a post about darts sometime else, before it gets placed on what I like to call the hobby shelf. We’ll talk about that in a later paragraph.

Lately, as well, seem to have found an interest in marker drawing. Now, I am no artist(lol), and clear of that I am. However, I recently picked up a random empty notebook I found lying around my desk and started drawing and coloring it in with markers. That set me off on another spree in buying random cheap markers I find at stationary or bookstores. It’s quite therapeutic though if I am to say so for myself, you should try it sometime. But I digress. Somehow though, I do seem to feel that every time I get into one of these new random hobbies, I dive in and spend money. Of which I have a limited amount of. For a TL;DR context, I’m just horrid with finances.

Here’s where the hobby shelf comes in.

I enjoy music as a hobby, I spend money on it, I get myself an artist page on Spotify, get music equipment, start a random music instrument collection. I enjoy games as a hobby, got myself a PC, some games, some console collection of sorts seem to arise as well. I like designer toys… well, you sort of get the idea. And these stuff(amongst the many many others), I very much enjoy. But, there’s only that finite amount of minutes in a day that I get to spend on these, rather than like most people do with one or two hobbies. And all these hobbies of mine, gets placed on the (not physical) “hobby shelf.” This selfish hobby shelf of mine allows me to enjoy as and when I’d like, my hobbies.

Oh, I feel like playing the guitar, there it is. I feel like playing a game on the computer, let’s get to Overwatch-ing. Though at the tough expense of throwing up money at the beginning. That puts me quite so in a Jack of all trades position, but Jack is rather much poorer now.

Well, as random as I decided to write this down. I just wanted to share a little peek into the world of my hobbies. Well I’m also kind of hoping this post here will serve as a pre-cursor to other random postings about the stuff I do in my spare time in the future.

In any case, I’ll try to make the conscious effort to being more time allocative to the myriad of “fun stuff” I like to do that’s on my hobby shelf, finding that balance is key. That, and also money management for sure. LOL. Well, I hope it’s not too late. Let’s see where this all goes.

Am I just being randomly paranoid about this? Or do you think you’ve got a Jack of all trades(hobbies) issue like I do too?

Of Beanie Babies, Bubbles and Pops

You see, Cheryl and I have an unhealthy obsession in the form of Funko Pops and designer toys. We dish out cash for the latest releases, and more so for the exclusives. I also keep telling my buddy Yi Long about how brilliant the Funko business model is, how they managed to create demand for the toys they make, sticking it into a valuation cycle that is mainly driven by community.

We went crazy with the Funko purchases, I think jointly, we both own about 300 pops. A single pop costs about SGD$17 on average. Oh boy Mom and Dad are not going to be happy when they find out. I’ll leave you to do the maths. Maybe that’s why my bank account balance is what they coin these days “miserable af.”

After we crossed the 200 mark, we stared at the collection and decided to slow down. “It’s crazy.” But that’s when we discovered Bearbricks and Designer Toys, holy shit.

The Funko market is pretty straightforward, where in there are price guides on the internet, in the form of “Pop Price Guide” and “Stashpedia“, where they take an average of the sales happening on eBay and Amazon and set a valuation of the particular pop based on that. I’ll dive more into valuations in another post.

Where Bearbricks might have “ToysDorado“, which takes a rough and unreliable valuations at best, designer toys does not have any. Hence the best form of deciding the valuation for these toys are eBay(with a pinch of salt).

We all know of Beanie Babies, you know, the TY company toy that bubble burst. There is a fear of a similar thing happening in the Funko sphere, with mad amounts of Pops, valuations and licenses – churning a ton of products that floods the market every time a new movie license is obtained. Either way, read this article on The Hustle here to understand more about the Beanie Babies bubble burst.

In any case, these companies play on the demand and value creation of the toys as well as preying on the minds of completionist collectors everywhere.

After all that’s been said, we will still buy them, we will still collect them, after all, it’s something that we enjoy. Everyone has their hobbies and here’s ours, amongst many others lel. Here’s a few points from our collecting strategy that you can employ if you’re just starting out.

  • Collect the ones you want and like, only the ones you want and like
  • Completionism is almost impossible, be realistic and hold back when you need to
  • Budget! (Working on this very much)
  • Go for exclusives rather than commons, in some cases commons are worth a pretty penny, but the Limited Edition ones usually spike better in value(This does not happen all the time, remember supply and demand)

Or.. you can just not collect at all, and admire everyone else’s collections on the internet instead, which is what we do for our grails. Those just cost too much. Too much.

Where my crew at

Photo by Jacob Ufkes on Unsplash

I thumb through my Insta-stories again. 

Oh, there goes the friend that always seems to be travelling. She seems to be in Japan. Man I miss Japan. Wonder how long it was since I caught up with her. Well, not since her job change we don’t talk much anymore. But it’s fun when we do catch up once in a long while, gossips and all.

Oh, there goes the friend that’s at the clubs again. Gee, how long has it been since I’ve been to one. “Old already”, I tell myself. But gosh were those days fun, and expensive. I make a mental note to bring it up in a conversation with Liang again when I see him. We could probably tell ourselves that we’re, “Old already.”

Oh, there’s the couple that just had a baby. Cute. Though 11 out of 10 of their Insta-stories were stills and crying vids of the kid. I get why they post so much but I flick right once I’m past the first 2. I chuckle, I’ll probably be posting a mad amount of such pics and vids of my kid in the future too. Gosh, wonder when that’ll be. Still a couple of years more, time to save more money. But those designer toys sure look good. And I do want that Op-1 synthesizer as well. Ok, I’ve definitely got to sort my priorities right. I chuckle again.

Oh, there’s my schoolmate from uni. She’s walking her dog. Man it’s been long since I met with the uni group. Wonder how they’re doing. I wonder if they wonder how I’m doing. I remember when we used to hang out opposite school at the void deck right by the mama shop. Heh, and taking too long a break there too. Oh the nonsense we’d talk about.

Oh, there’s someone showing their ride again. Wow is that a JCW. I get envious.

I flip through the next few stories.

Oh, it’s the awesome bunch of peeps from the office. They’re at a bar. Sure looks fun. Drinks, singing along to songs blaring in the background. Must be great to be part of a crew.

Oh, it’s the same bunch again, from a different perspective. I guess it’s a “story-ception” bout they’re having again. Heh, I love watching those. They’re having a ball of a time.

I put my phone down.

Where did my mates all go?

Hmm.

Well, there were those who found love and disappeared into thin air. Was I like this? Did I do this to them too? I deny doing so, but a little guilt aches over.

Well, there was the group which we’d always hang out at LDF. But somehow split apart. I reminisce for awhile, those were fun times too. I’m thankful I do still catch up with Liang from time to time. Phew.

Well, what about the poker peeps. I guess that fluttered away when we all split. Life happens.

Well, what about my Army guys. I remember the rounding nights. The time spent at Dam just chilling, making a fool of ourselves. Talking endlessly about the future whilst watching speeding cars go by. Everyone’s gone their separate ways – grown up much too, Ellen is gone, and frankly Dam isn’t like it used to be now is it? I make another mental note to ask JJ out for a karting bout soon, but it’ll probably take some time before that happens.

I miss the old crews. Those were fun times. There is a theory that we only have a specific number of good friends, where the old goes and new comes. If that were true.. Where my crew at. I shrug at it with a tinge of sadness and jealousy.

I pick up the phone again, turn to lie facing the other way. I text a goodnight message to Cheryl, tell her I love her.

I yawn, it’s been a long day at work. I should turn in soon. I’ll turn in soon. My eyelids droop.

My phone notifications beep softly.

I thumb through my Insta-stories again.

Oh.

 

Back from a hell of a trip to Japan with Mitsubishi!

Tokyo, Japan. Was the prize. 3 winners.

I was one of them. It was a competition set up by Mitsubishi Singapore(Cycle and Carriage).

The competition involved having to submit either a creative video or two creative pictures of a Mitsubishi. I chose the former, and managed to snag an all expenses paid trip for two to Tokyo, Japan. Oh boy oh boy oh boy.

We were treated to awesome food, sights and sounds.

We also took a Taiko Drum lesson, which was much fun. HOO! HAH!

Tokyo Big Sight was the destination for the Tokyo Motor Show 2017!

We were treated to witnessing the launch of the Mitsubishi E-Evolution as well as the showcase of the Eclipse Cross!

Shinkansen rides brought us to Okazaki, to visit the Mitsubishi Factory!

You can tell by the excitement on my face, I got to meet my hero. Tommi Makinen’s Evo 6 Rally Car.

We visited Tsukiji, Skytree, and Asakusa too!

And to top it all off, we tried on Kimonos and experienced an awesome tea ceremony.

All in all, it was a blast of a trip. Thank you Mitsubishi for this opportunity to experience what we did.

The photos were shot by Zotiq Visuals. They look pixelated because I pulled them from the Mitsubishi Album here. But yeah, shoutout to Adrian and Nicholas from Zotiq.

After the trip, we extended for a few more days. Needless to say, we had a ton of fun there, especially when we took the Mitsubishi craze a step further and rented an Evo 8. Check the vids out here and here.

We can’t wait to go back again. Till next time Japan. We’ll be back.

Kidrobot Adventure Time Puff Jake N Lil Finn

Kidrobot_Finn_Jake_Box_Front

Everytime we pop by the toy store on the weekends, I seem to see this Kidrobot piece sitting on the shelves. Being an avid fan of Adventure Time, I can remember of times I’d be whining about how awesome the toy is.

Recently, Cheryl bought it for me as a surprise! And lo and behold, I present you, the Kidrobot Adventure Time Puff Jake N Lil Finn Medium sized figure.

Kidrobot_Finn_Jake_Box_Back

Striking on the side of the box, we see a graffiti scribbling of the Puff Jake N Lil’ Finn words. And the back showcases a graphic rendering of the toy.

Kidrobot_Finn_Jake_Box_Top

The top of the box features Finn’s face, he doesn’t look too pleased. Nay, he looks badass!

Kidrobot_Finn_Jake_Box_Bottom

In the usual Kidrobot fashion(I looove the way they do their packaging by the way), they left little tinges of easter eggs around the box. On the bottom, there is a little print that reads “designed with the feelings of liking someone a lot”. Aww.

Kidrobot_Finn_Jake_Box_Flaps

And even on the flaps once you open the box! Gotta love the little detail bits they put into this. Appreciate the effort!

Kidrobot_Finn_Jake_Front

Ok now let’s get to talking about the figure itself, here we’re looking at a 6″ limited edition figure, with the stretchy “he-can-be-ANYTHING” Jake in the form of a parka, covering a badass looking Finn, who is also plugged in listening to some tunes from BMO. We can only assume Hip-Hop’s finest playlist playing, either that of the symphonica plonks of a modular synth.

Kidrobot_Finn_Jake_Face

Finn’s face features a print/paint on, looking grim and fierce, with Jake looking all happy with a gleam in his eye.

Kidrobot_Finn_Jake_BMO

Oh, and we can’t forget about little BMO, who’s clipped onto his waist.

Kidrobot_Finn_Jake_Feet

On the back, we see Jake’s legs and his cute little tail dangling, one grip I have though, was Finn’s flat feet/shoes, no biggie, but would have preferred proper kicks and feet.

Kidrobot_Finn_Jake_Backpack_Sword

We also see Finn’s backpack and his sword! Which is a pretty neat touch! Nice details on the hilt too!

Am really glad to have gotten this piece! Now, to hunt for the elusive Jake and Rainicorn one.

Thanks for reading through this! If you’d like to see more of it, Cheryl and I have unboxed in this Rookie Collectibles episode.

Fast forward to 13:00mins to see it if Funko’s are not your thing.

Stay frosty! Keep collecting!

It’s all video now

image credit: pixabay
image credit: pixabay

Wow. I realised that I have indeed been neglecting this blog.

Video has definitely taken over and killed off such forms of.. well.. documentations of life. LOL

For a quick update, i’m 3 days away from a full year of vlogging.

And that’s a great feat in itself. I’ll keep this blog alive for as long as i’m still earning a salary.

After all, it holds memories. And memories should always be kept. Even so, the vlog is named “Betterdanthis Vlog”.

And that works for now. I’ll continue vlogging for now as far as that takes me. Let’s not let that die, at least for now. 😉

One year looms ahead.

Oh it’s been a busy one

Hello world.

It’s been awhile since i’ve dropped an update here on this blog. It’s been rather dead now hasn’t it. Surprisingly though, traffic has been rather steady, for the old posts that be. #SEOFTW.

Anyhoo, dropping an update on what’s been going on lately. In the last two months, I’ve popped by two cities, namely Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, and oh boy it has been quite an interesting eye-opening trips.

I’ve been on work trips before, but none as tiring as these, see, we’re expanding community initiatives to these cities first. And if results are good, we’ll head to other cities as well.

I’m gonna just leave you with a picture blast from the trip will little captions below them, it’s been fulfilling. But it opens a doorway into many busy busy work days to follow.

dan-9gag

Visited and had a sharing session at the 9GAG office, awesome stuff. Remind me again to not to take photos in portrait orientation, they’re a pain to upload here. #rookiemistake.

gogovan-team

dan-steven-gogovan

We said hello to the lads at the Gogovan office too, and had a blast during a sharing with them too!

friends-work-hongkong

And the nice people we’ve met along the way, who will be aiding us in the fight!

theco-tri5-kl

We had more hands for the KL skirmish, which was also equally as interesting and much to learn about!

IMG_3298

food-kl-heislyc

Nothing stopped us from kicking back with good food and whiskey after all that’s done.


All in all, the trips were rewarding in its own ways, i’ll be jumping back into HK next month, yikes, much to plan and do this coming round too. But hey, let’s make that happen.

And yes.. I know I know.. I need to update more.

Cheap DIY LED lit cupboard shelf for under $10

diy-cupboard-dark

The picture above is a shelf on my cupboard in my wardrobe(yes). And it’s rather dark with the ceiling lights turned off. I wanted a quick solution to light the spot up.

Cheryl told me that Daiso has offerings for LED strips (or something along that line). And off to hunt for it we did. And we came across this.

battery-decoration-lights

Yup, battery type decoration lights, in all it’s glory for $2. Our initial skepticism about the brightness of the lights were quelled when a lady buying the same lights said that it was bright and she was rather happy with it and was looking to get another set. <Bingo>

Then we added this hook thingy to the cart.

cord-hook

It has a double sided tape thing on one end, and a hook which you can manipulate/force down to lock the cable/cord in.

Pop in a little battery and off to work, well actually it was just hooking it up and sticking the battery console using a double sided tape/3M tape to the side. Stick up the cord hook thing to the roof of the shelf and voila! It’s Christmas in a cupboard!

battery-sticktoside

Yes, I cracked it. Too strong from last week’s gym workout.

cord-hook-shelf

led-cupboard-diy

And voila! The finished product! Indeed, bright enough to my liking, cheap enough to my wallet’s liking. And the best part. If it spoils, just replace it with another.

Breakdown

  • LED Deco lights(Daiso) – $2
  • Cord Hook(Daiso) – $2
  • Two AA Batteries(Anywhere) – $2
  • Double sided tape/3M tape – $3-4

Now, go light em up!

</dan>

Co-writing on the blog

dan-cheryl

So when Daniel first suggested to co-writing on the betterdanthis domain, I was a tad hesitant.

I don’t often write, much less blog. I take too long to pen down my thoughts. Also, what if my writing changes too much of the original betterdanthis blog?

Then, I thought, why not?

Aside from helping to reduce digital cobwebs off this little borrowed (paid) space, it’ll be nice to have a trove of snippets to look back on and reminisce.

I also occasionally throw diarrheas of text in captions of pictures and instagram posts already anyway. This would just be another avenue for longer thought bubbles and spontaneous ramblings.

Lastly, I’ve realized that while it is natural to worry, being caught up on things that could go wrong takes too much of my time away from the experience on the runway. Most things that worry are visceral and don’t actually happen anyhow. Acknowledge, move on, learn from the ride.

dan-cheryl-foodinmouth

That being said, I will mostly be posting on things Dan and I do together:

  • RC cars (from a idiot driver’s POV)
  • Building Star Wars models
  • Funko Collecting
  • Food joints we hit and eating habits
  • Building a gaming com
  • Video games?
  • Other projects?

Regardless of whatever the topics are, I am excited: It will be an experience, and it will be another fun activity we’ll be on together.

Looking at it that way, there’s really no reason not to take the invitation into this little domain on the interwebz.

Til next time!

Love Cheryl