Author – leadership, branding, marketing, tech, philosophy

"Tough Times, Great PR" book by Seamus Phan

Tough Times, Great PR – dot Zen 3.0: Building brands and publicity for the 21st century

Brands large and small are facing the toughest times of the 21st century, with global pandemics and conflicts causing roadblocks and downturns. So how can brands bootstrap their way to victory in the war for branding and publicity?

Table of contents

  • 4 key steps to harnessing public relations in a recession
  • Is your business ready for PR?
  • Engage your PR at the C-suite level
  • 3 critical tips for spokespersons
  • Is your C-suite merely non-player characters (NPC) in the media?
  • 5 crippling PR mistakes to avoid
  • Hunt for PR help only when a crisis hits?
  • Taking “journalese” out of our writing
  • Feeling let down by your media monitoring service?
  • Drilling down deeper into PR measurement
  • 4 critical tips for marketers facing a deep decline of the “influencer” industry
  • 5 critical crisis management and communication tips
  • 3 tips to build a brand in a crisis
  • Future of PR in the 21st century is the bottom line
  • Crises may not be what you think – be prepared
  • Don’t try to bury bad news on a Friday
  • Physics and the art of crisis management
  • Why all businesses need PR
  • 6 tips on handling difficult questions
  • Speak directly and simply for impact – avoid double negatives
  • The 5 Cs of speechwriting for the C-suite
  • Employer branding through PR
  • Recommendations for building lasting brands through heritage and tenure
  • Future of marketing may not be about personalization
  • Old brands – 7 tips on keeping a brand going
  • 4 tips to succeed in cookie-less marketing
  • 3 public relations (PR) recommendations post-crisis
  • Communications and human resources – synergy and separate
  • 5-prong CELLS™ approach to successful Asia Pacific market entry
  • What a simple word game can inspire us to do in marketing and PR
  • 6 Reasons Why PR is the best way to build brands and win customers
  • 4 ways to build social proof to boost your PR
  • Authentic social media to the rescue in a crisis
  • Beyond mainstream media pitching and going online
  • 8 recommendations for building your own in-house studio for audio and video
  • Digital resilience for communication
  • Digital tools for communicators
  • When tech goes down, the show must go on
  • 5 steps to create NFTs for brands and asset protection
  • 4 tips of AI prompt engineering for PR
  • E.S.G. your life to sanity

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Book Launch Talks (a snippet video)

Pioneer Service Quality Author

Service Quality: The Enlightened Approach by Dr Seamus Phan

I published my first book on customer service in 1994, possibly one of the pioneers in Singapore in this area. This book, “Enlightened Service Providers (ESP©)”, was based on my original work, copyrighted in 1990, which was subsequently adapted for a multi-million dollar project to provide customer service training for a national airline. Subsequently, I was an e-book pioneer, publishing on ISO 9000, ISO 14000, Internet Webmastering (pioneer) and related topics. I co-authored a book on health and fitness with my younger brother, the international bodybuilding champ, and the book journey never stopped.

Dot Zen 2.0 Book

The follow-on book to the first Dot Zen book in 2003

Dot Zen 2.0 book by Dr Seamus Phan

As a publicist and journalist, one of the easiest ways to get thoughts down on paper quickly is with a blog. I have been a blogger for a long time, with only one short break. Writing casually on a blog is a great way to relax, crystallize thoughts, and share ideas with like-minded people.

Inspired by the earlier success of our original paperback “Dot Zen,” I wrote on my blog about various areas of management that are relevant to an owner-manager like me, and perhaps many others like me, as well as departmental practitioners in larger corporations. These broad areas include strategic leadership, human capital and development, customer service, branding and reputation, sales, marketing, public relations, social, audio-visual and mobile media. I believe these can benefit fellow executives and practitioners as we move forward in an ever-changing, ever-evolving business environment that merges previously distinct fields.

Unlike the first book, this second edition is more hands-on, with more tried-and-true tips and tricks that we have researched and used in our work. We include QR codes that you can scan with your smartphone or tablet camera to quickly browse and read the references, many of which we found useful and relevant.

Think of this book as a field and combat survival guide, something to scribble in, make “dog ears” on, and flip through often. We hope you will use it often and show its battle scars from frequent use.

NB: The articles have been heavily edited for the book and will differ from our online writings. Plus, the book is a 6-inch by 9-inch format, great for carrying around. 

The book has broad categories of topics:

Strategy and leadership
We discussed startup mentality, retiring products, the “last mover advantage”, marks of a true leader, the myth of uniqueness, and work ethics.

Human capital and development
We discussed recruiting the best marketing people, structured and unstructured learning, social media and recruitment, and sieving out toxic employees.

Customer service and sales
We discussed the prevention of lapses, customer service myths, managing and developing retail staffers, service failures and recovery, social media and customer service.

Branding and reputation
We discussed good brand names, packaging and industrial design, and brand journalism.

We discussed marketing tips from pop sensations, strategies, analogies to art and paintings, optimizing paid, earned and owned media.

Public relations
We discussed the humanizing of brands, going beyond traditional PR, trends of PR, crisis prepardness and communication, and spokesperson development.

Social media and the Web
We discussed website optimization, content targeting, content development tips, graphics for the Web, responsive websites, building social media communities, business blogging, analytics, and owned media.

Mobile, video and audio
We discussed augmented reality and QR codes, video content, mobile apps, and video journalism.

This Body This Life (Bestselling Book on Health & Fitness)

This Body This Life book by CJ Phan and Dr Seamus Phan

“This Body This Life” was voted by The National Library Board (NLB) as one of the “Top 10 Health Books” in Singapore, on Oct 19, 2005, listed through some local papers!

Briefly: Seamus and his brother and champion bodybuilder and coach CJ, joined hands to write an unique book in 2002 on holistic health, nutrition, proper dieting, exercise, fitness, and longevity.

If you are a journalist who needs a friendly and credible source, you can look at my Qwoted profile, or contact me here.

Earlier Books

I have authored quite many books and other associated products, some of which have been recognized by industry colleagues and the media.

One of my very early books, The Internet Webmaster Logbook, became an Amazon Bestselling Book under the Webmaster category, probably a first for Asia-based authors. My book “This Body This Life” was also a Weekly Bestseller, while the book “Dot ZEN” was a sell-out. My books have also been featured in the Publishers Marketing Assocation (PMA) Buyers Guide 2004, the leading independent publishers association in the USA.

Current books and products available on-demand:

Tweets of a humble pilgrim – A journey of struggling towards God
ISBN: 978-0-9835058-0-8
Briefly: This is a collection of tweets of a simple priest laboring in the world, from 2009 to 2012, reflecting upon his humble personal spiritual journey. NOTE: This book is intended for like-minded and professed baptized Christians only and not intended for others.
Price: US$7.18. 132 pages. Shipping costs calculated separately.

Spiritual Lessons from the Journeys of the Pilgrim
ISBN: 978-0-6154-5450-4
Briefly: This is a pocket book based on a month-long journey to reflect on readings of “The Way of a Pilgrim”, “The Pilgrim continues his way”, writings of St Seraphim of Sarov, and the Didache. NOTE: This book is intended for like-minded and professed baptized Christians only and not intended for others.
Price: US$8.26. 186 pages. Shipping costs calculated separately.

Spiritual Exercises Workbook
Briefly: This is a pocket workbook (and a larger instructor’s version) based on the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises (St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of “The Society of Jesus”, or the Jesuits). Used this in spiritual direction, and also small workshops for pastors and laity, to reflect on the relationship with God, and to develop spiritual discipline on a daily basis. NOTE: This book is intended for like-minded and professed baptized Christians only and not intended for others.
Price: Enquire from us. 87 pages. Shipping costs calculated separately.

Contemplative Thoughts of an Asian Seminarian, Revised Edition
ISBN: 978-0-6152-0800-8
Briefly: This humble book (hardcover) outlines the academic writings of Seamus when he attended a seminary, for his service to God. The writings discussed theology, denominations, liturgy, and missiology. NOTE: This book is intended for like-minded and professed baptized Christians only and not intended for others.
Price: US$29.44. 236 pages. Shipping costs calculated separately.

Dot ZEN (on Entrepreneurship & Leadership)
ISBN: 981-04-5645-X
Briefly: Dot ZEN is a book published in 2003 aimed at small business owners, high-tech startups, knowledge entrepreneurs, free agents, and senior business executives, to help them see a whole new way of managing marketing, publicity, public relations (PR), branding, human resources, and the use of the Internet, in a non-aggressive, enlightened manner. Unlike some business or organizational practices that stress on short-term results, mercenary tactics, or legal trigger-happy types, this book takes a compassionate and meditative look at how businesses can be run. Co-authored by Seamus and Hui Peng based on their consulting work. First print run sold out! Now in reprint on-demand version! More at the book page.
Price: US$11. 200 pages. Shipping costs calculated separately.

Street ZEN
ISBN: 978-9-8105-0436-6
Briefly: This is a work of fiction to contemplate on life’s challenges and issues, right up to the year 2004. NOTE: This is an OUTDATED work of Seamus when he was still a Buddhist scholar.
Price: US$9.50. 134 pages. Shipping costs calculated separately.

Private Window 1984: Confessions of a depressed soldier
ISBN: 1-4116-1433-X
Briefly: Seamus wrote poems, prose and other short pieces during his national service days in 1984. None of the serious professional or “work” stuff, just his emotional rants during his MUCH younger days. Find out more at
Price: US$7.95 per book. Shipping costs calculated separately.

From Employee to Entrepreneur VideoCD (Based on Dot ZEN book)
ISBN: 981-05-1187-6
Briefly: Knowledge entrepreneur Seamus shows his audience in a LIVE session, on how to succeed with skills, knowledge, and expertise. Unlike less-proven network marketing and franchise schemes, Seamus shows that it is possible to startup a business based on the entrepreneur’s expertise, with very little startup capital.
Price: US$68. Around 40 minutes. Shipping costs calculated separately. Out of print. Request directly if required.

Media Training Primer for Speakers and Trainers VideoCD
ISBN: 981-05-1188-4
Briefly: Seamus, TV and radio commentator/analyst, accredited journalist and editor, and former publicist, shows peer speakers and trainers insider’s tips and secrets of media communication, media relations, and on-air secrets (for TV and radio).
Price: US$68. Around 40 minutes. Shipping costs calculated separately. Out of print. Request directly if required.

Using the Internet as a Service Quality Weapon to leapfrog your competition VideoCD 2001
ISBN: 981-04-4557-1
Briefly: Seamus spoke on how to leapfrog your competition, no matter how large you are (or how small) or what industry you are in, with Internet technologies. A fast-paced, engaging and Asia-centric training delivery. Seamus is at his best talking about the “marriage” of Service Quality and the Internet, as Asia’s pioneer in BOTH areas.
Price: US$188 per Video CD (playable on DVD players, PC, Mac). Approximately 60 minutes. Out of print. Request directly if required.

E-Business (Audio CD)
ISBN: 981-04-4556-3
Briefly: Seamus hosted a segment on national radio. He was the first Internet and technology speaker to host that segment (previously for business speakers only). In this audio CD, you can hear clips on how to develop an e-business strategy, components necessary for a good infrastructure, Internet security, mobile commerce, and streaming media techniques. Hear a sample here.
Price: US$68. Approximately 40 minutes, on Audio CD format. Out of print. Request directly if required.

Service Quality: The Enlightened Approach (Book/eBook)
ISBN: 981-00-6457-8
Briefly: Rather than stick to motivational approaches (“quick-patchers or fixes”), Seamus uses a synergistic approach of motivation and implementation. The program has been implemented in multi-million projects.
This book was the culmination of Seamus’ pioneering work in Singapore, from 1989 to 1990, which resulted in a copyrighted program declared before a Commissioner of Oaths in 1990. The concepts have been delivered and deployed in many organizations thereafter, including aviation (a million dollar project), banking, technology, etc. The book was the result of the program and published in 1995.
Price: US$18 (1995 first print edition), or US$18 for digital version (1999). Out of print. Request directly if required.

Internet Webmaster Logbook (eBook)
ISBN: 981-00-7648-7
Briefly: Seamus takes an in-depth look at how he helped to set up various Internet and Intranet web sites and servers in Asia for Human Resource Management and Development (HRM/HRD), without burning a deep hole in your budget.
Price: US$39.90 for digital version (1999). Print version sold out. Out of print. Request directly if required.

ISO 9000 Primer
ISBN: 981-04-2532-5
Briefly: This work makes it easy for small businesses to quickly understand ISO 9000 without the complex jargon, and follow through examples in a sample manual. It includes templates for readers to deploy in their small businesses. The product includes PDF, eBook and Palm DOC. Templates in PDF for practical reasons. Featured on national radio!
Price: US$29 per eBook product on CDROM. Out of print. Request directly if required.

ISO 14000 Primer
ISBN: 981-04-2531-7
Briefly: This work makes it easy for small businesses to quickly understand ISO 14000 without the complex jargon, and follow through examples in a sample manual. It includes templates for readers to deploy in their small businesses. The product includes PDF, eBook and Palm DOC. Templates in PDF for practical reasons. Featured on national radio!
Price: US$29 per eBook product on CDROM. Out of print. Request directly if required.

Readers’ accolades

Dot Zen (leadership)

  • “No one connects East and West, high-tech and ‘high-touch’, the body and the mind better than Seamus. Read this book and get to know – as have I, to my great benefit — one of the brighter lights, anywhere, in the worlds of business, professional education and personal improvement.” – John Rapp, Principal, Emerald Education Group; former Director of Prof. Dev., Baker & McKenzie, Asia Pacific
  • “Seamus marries global business, eastern culture and Buddhist philosophy in a diamond text that will open your eyes, ease your mind, AND make you lots of money! Buy this book now.” – Ron Kaufman, bestselling author of “UP Your Service!”
  • “Combining the wisdom and philosophy of Buddhism, martial arts, and real-world case studies from Asia, Seamus has again given us a book that educates, entertains and entices. A MUST READ for anyone!” – Michael Podolinsky, renowned keynote speaker and bestselling author
  • “Have finished reading your book, I’m very impressed and convinced by your insights and experience.” – Tan Ai Li, Apple Computer
  • “What a great job you and Ter Hui Peng have done on your new book.” – Dr Douglass Capogrossi, President, Akamai University
  • “I really enjoyed your book! You did an excellent job. I hope you sell a million copies.” – Dr Harvey Menden
  • “Dot ZEN was fantastic; concise, real and fun!” – Sean Shea, Virtual Strategy
  • “Bursting with refreshing ideas that won’t be in Western MBA textbooks.” – – Philippa Yelland, Sydney Morning Herald

This Body This Life (health & fitness)

  • “Seamus and CJ demonstrate that as long as you keep focused, disciplined and stay motivated on your goal, the results will show.” – Ms Timea Majorova, European fitness champion and model.
  • “I couldn’t put it down! You have written the BEST book on health and fitness I’ve ever read! The book is awesome. It should be put in the hands of every fat person on the planet.” – Michael Podolinsky, renowned keynote speaker and Karate sensei.
  • “The content of this book is fantastic, with lots of new insights and well-rounded views. Should be staple reading for people in schools and in the army.” – David Chin, editor.
  • “Eye-opening information on the secrets of antioxidants in this book.” – John Pellam, BWW Society.
  • “I love your book. It offers clear and practical methods for getting in shape. I didn’t see the results I wanted until I consulted your book for insights on diet and recovery. Now I feel more energy, and the stress seems easier to bear. Thank you.” – Jeff Brown.
  • “Seamus never ceases to amaze me with his boundless energy and capacity for friendship. He wants to get the most possible out of life, and firmly believes in extending himself into his community. This book is just another example of where Seamus wants to share his energy and enthusiasm for life with the reader.” – Daniel O’Callaghan, PhD (Pharm).
  • “CJ has demonstrated that there are varied options available and open to us in life, if only we will take cognizance and put in efforts. And so as with this book, he is sharing with us the options available, to make ourselves healthier, feel, look and live better. – Arthur Kan, Director, Raffles Medical Centre (Cambodia).
  • “Testimony of CJ’s belief that exercise is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle comes from the fact that even after all these years, he has maintained his passion and quest for physical health and fitness, and did us all proud by winning the Commonwealth Bodybuilding Championships.” – Dr. Ben Tan, Asian Games sailing Gold medalist.
  • “I have just bought your book last week. I love it so much. Thank for writing this book, as I have been looking for a book like this for the past few weeks. When I saw it in Plaza SIngapura, I just paid without a second thought. – Danny, Singapore.

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