McGallen and Bolden Asia

Award-winning PR & Digital Marketing

Soaring above in a hot air balloon

9 observations of what 2017 meant for marketing and going forward in 2018

For me, 2017 was a disruptive and disrupting year. The year was like a long drawn battle where it demanded every ammunition for us, and literally seem to fly by right before our eyes. There are many disruptive changes in the communications industry, and it would be wise to be prepared for the new year. There are some observations and some forward projections that fellow marketers would surely have noticed from their own work. Let me briefly articulate some of them.

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Leadership Secrets at 30,000 Feet training programs

3 tips to slowing the retail decay

Call me old-fashioned, but I still meander through the city malls here, usually to purge the cache in my brains, to be ready for the next wave of work that demands creativity. Yet, when I traverse through many of these malls, it is common to see white boarded walls in what used to be vibrant retail shops. There seems more and more white walled up spaces than there are active retail shops these days, and it is worrying. It reminds me of many years ago when I was in Melbourne, and there are streets of vacant shops, and plenty of “for lease” signs everywhere. We are now facing that here.

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Inside book pages - book reviews

Storytelling from Bobette Buster’s perspective

This is an almost pocket-sized book, and is a quick and easy read. Bobette Buster is a renowned storytelling consultant and lecturer, and shares her personal perspectives into storytelling.

Two takeaways from reading this book:

1) Vulnerability is not a bad thing, not so much that one should sink into obscurity and play the “victim” card, but just enough so that any reader can identify with the storyteller as a real human being, and not a corporate shill that all too frequently populates the social media channels these days. How to determine what is “just enough” vulnerability is a skill to hone over decades, and not easily done by novices. So my advice? Tread carefully.

2) Don’t be boring. This sounds so cliche and yet it is refreshing in the one quote I found in the book by Yves Chouinard (see below). The whole idea of good storytelling is in its ups, downs, and hopefully ups again. Allow your readers and listeners to join you in a collective journey, where everyone gets to enjoy the adventure together, and emerge together at the destination, drenched in cold sweat and tears of exhilaration perhaps. It certainly reminds me of how I teach storytelling in sales and leadership programs, with references to the 7-point approach.

The rest of the book contains lots of stories, including some you may be familiar with. While there are some basic mechanics of storytelling, the author engages with the reader in a simple and approachable manner.

This is a book for novice and emerging storytellers, or perhaps people who have been trapped by corporate “guidelines” and limitations, and finding little traction for those stories which turned away readers. This book will inspire, and hopefully the readers will depart with new warmth and fire, enough to start new explorations into how to tell better and more engaging business (or other) stories. It is not a manual. it is more like an extended motivational speech.

Here is that quote in the book that inspired me:

“Real adventure is defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive, and certainly not as the same person.”
Yvon Chouinard, billionaire, environmentalist, rock climber

Do Story Book Cover Do Story
Bobette Buster
Business & Economics

Today's world wants the story behind the story. Whether you have a company mission to share, an audience to entertain or a product to sell, we're more likely to engage and connect if you deliver a well-crafted story with an emotional core. Bobette Buster is a story consultant who works with and teaches at major studios including Pixar, Disney and Sony Animation and in top film programs all over the world. In this, her first book, she shares her 10 key principles of storytelling - as used by some of the world’s best storytellers - and helps you to apply them to your own. Find out: How to source, structure and shape your story Ways to discover its essence Why forming an emotional bond with your audience can take a story from good to great. So, whats your story?

Inside book pages - book reviews

Ikigai – Perspectives from Dr Ken Mogi

Ikigai, 生き甲斐, to many of us, whether Asians or Westerners alike, mean a great deal. The phrase means “a reason to get up in the morning”. To put it simply, it means finding the meaning of life.

Although there are many who slog through life without the desire or the energy to find out the meaning of life, there are many of us who truly and humbly seek ikigai, to find meaning, so that we can more readily embrace life, and not simply indulge in activities and tasks just to pass time. After all, time is the most precious asset any one of us can have.

Dr Ken Mogi (茂木健一郎) shares just as an eccletic background as me (I am both a computer programmer, biochem researcher and an artist), having a law degree before he earned a PhD as a brain scientist. He is perhaps very much a philosopher as he is a scientist, and I can identify with his quest for ikigai.

There are many works on ikigai, some written from Asian perspectives, and some from the Western perspectives. But I especially Dr Mogi’s “The Little Book of Ikigai” a great read, because well, it is supposed to be simple. Far too often, academics (and I sometimes fall prey to the same sin) write for fellow academics, rather than embracing the greater populace and helping more people understand things. In this regard, Dr Mogi’s book is a great read for anyone.

Ikigai has 5 simple pillars (until we try to live and breathe it):

  1. Start small
  2. Release yourself
  3. Harmonize and sustain
  4. Find joy in little things
  5. Be in the here and now

When we look at a typical business today, all too often, the top brass focuses on being “big”, and neglecting the need to harmonize and sustain the venture. Many executives only focus on the short or even immediate term. Invariably, nobody is happy. So the simple recommendations of the 5 ikigai pillars would help just anyone who may have struggled a great deal from working life, and is deciding to find a simpler, more approachable, and more sustainable way of living life.


The Little Book of Ikigai Book Cover The Little Book of Ikigai
Ken Mogi
Body, Mind & Spirit
Hachette UK
September 7, 2017

Find out how to live a long and happy life thanks to the ikigai miracle, a Japanese philosophy that helps you find fulfilment, joy and mindfulness in everything you do. It is extraordinary that Japanese men's longevity ranks 4th in the world, while Japanese women's ranks 2nd. But perhaps this comes as no surprise when you know that the Japanese understanding of ikigai is embedded in their daily life and in absolutely everything that they do. In their professional careers, in their relationships with family members, in the hobbies they cultivate so meticulously. Ken Mogi identifies five key pillars to ikigai: Pillar 1: Starting small Pillar 2: Releasing yourself Pillar 3:Harmony and sustainability Pillar 4:The joy of little things Pillar 5:Being in the here and now The Japanese talk about ikigai as 'a reason to get up in the morning'. It is something that keeps one's enthusiasm for life going, whether you are a cleaner of the famous Shinkansen bullet train, the mother of a newborn child or a Michelin-starred sushi chef. The Five Pillars at the heart of everything they do. But how do you find your own ikigai? How does ikigai contribute to happiness? Neuroscientist and bestselling Japanese writer Ken Mogi provides an absorbing insight into this way of life, incorporating scientific research and first-hand experience, and providing a colourful narrative of Japanese culture and history along the way.

Seamus Phan, aviation enthusiast, and trainer at

Tips for small businesses and startups – To expand is to survive

The media is not a pretty place. Whether we read, hear or see something in the media, invariably some gloom and doom news await us, ranging from wars, natural disasters, sanctions, and general shaky or volatile business climates.

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2017 Asia Pacific Stevie® Award - Most Innovative PR Agency of the Year

PR Agency of the Year 2017 (Silver Stevie®)

McGallen & Bolden Pte Ltd Wins Silver Stevie® Award in 2017 International Business Awards (sm) for “PR Agency of the Year for Asia, Australia and New Zealand”

2017 International Business Awards by Stevie® Awards - PR Agency of the Year for Asia, Australia and New Zealand - SILVERSingapore, 10 August 2017 – McGallen & Bolden Pte Ltd was named the winner of a Silver Stevie® Award in the 2017 Corporate Communications, Investor Relations & Public Relations category in The 14th Annual International Business Awards today.

The International Business Awards are the world’s premier business awards program. All individuals and organizations worldwide – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small – are eligible to submit nominations. The 2017 IBAs received entries from more than 60 nations and territories.

Nicknamed the Stevies for the Greek word for “crowned,” the awards will be presented to winners at a gala awards banquet at the W Hotel in Barcelona, Spain on 21 October.

A record total of more than 3,900 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories, including Company of the Year, Marketing Campaign of the Year, Best New Product or Service of the Year, Startup of the Year, Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year, and Executive of the Year, among others.

McGallen & Bolden Pte Ltd won in the 2017 Corporate Communications, Investor Relations & Public Relations category for Public Relations Agency of the Year in Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

“Against very vigorous competition, we are grateful for the Stevie® Awards in recognizing our ongoing efforts in providing cutting-edge, visionary, and sustainable digital marketing, public relations and training programs for our clients. ‘Kaizen’ (continuous improvement) is in our agency ethos – we never stand still. Technology has always been a powerful enabler in our firm for over 25 years, emblazoned in our corporate logo. As a training and development provider, we have been a pioneer in interactive learning solutions such as interactive video, as seen in our programs for airlines. As a digital video pioneer, we have successfully integrated video into both public relations as well as digital marketing and training. We have also demonstrated our ongoing creative brand launches and PR campaigns,” said Seamus Phan, head of content and technology, McGallen & Bolden Group. “We are very grateful for the esteemed judges, who commented that our submission showed impressive and commendable work, really nice work for diverse clients, and a solid submission package.”

Stevie Award winners were determined by the average scores of more than 200 executives worldwide who participated on 12 juries.

“The IBA judges from across the world were highly impressed with the nominations they reviewed this year. With the level of achievement documented in the nominations from 60 nations, the Stevie Awards are proud to honor organizations that demonstrate a high level of achievement in a variety of industries” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards. “We look forward to sharing many of these stories with people around the world over the coming months, through the Stevie Awards blog and social media channels, with the hope to inspire others to high achievement.”

Details about The International Business Awards and the lists of Stevie Award winners are available at

For a preview of some of the exciting video and events work we have done, visit our gallery page. Check pages for client successes and clients we served.

About McGallen & Bolden Group
Founded in 1991 in Singapore (first as a design consultancy), McGallen & Bolden Group is today one of the most established “boutique” full service digital marketing and public relations consultancies focused on Asia. The firm has consulted for government agencies, large multinational corporations, emerging technology enterprises, fast-moving consumer products companies, medical and pharmaceutical companies, etc. The small agency is an Internet technology pioneer since the inception of commercial Internet in the 1990s, and have kept pace with every facet of Internet and digital media development, with in-house expertise and managed infrastructure to serve clients’ needs. The firm is also an established corporate leadership, sales, media training and crisis communication provider since its inception. Visit

About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in seven programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 10,000 nominations each year from organizations in more than 60 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at


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