Archive for the ‘brands’ Category

Back from Dubai

January 5, 2009

Mid december, I had the chance to be in Dubai for the new media event organized by IIR Middle East. I spoke about big seed marketing. I realize that my presentation was perhaps too technical and maybe a little boring 😉

Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure that the message is the right one and this will be my blogging topic of the coming weeks.

In the meantime, you can have a look at the powerpoint

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I’m a PC and I admire CPB

September 19, 2008

I’ve never seen so much talking about Microsoft. Actually, after almost 3 years at Microsoft I never talked so much about Microsoft myself… This is maybe the reason why I don’t receive comments on my blog anymore :). CPB managed amazingly to put Microsoft at the center of the conversations. First with the Seinfeld/Bill Gates series and now with the “PC pride” (aka Life without walls).

Of course, Microsoft won’t become the coolest brand in the world overnight (see this post).

Yesterday evening I tried to explain to my son the concepts of reason and passion and the strange relations between those two concepts. And the PC/Mac dichotomy is much more about passion than about reason. I really like this quote on youtube by a user called prmd142 who wrote: “Get over it people…. buy only Apple products… Apple will eradicate poverty from the world… it’ll bring peace & prosperity to everyone… Steve Jobs is God’s messanger…. He alone can lead you to salvation… amen! “. Prmd meant this as a joke of course but I’m pretty sure it’s the state of mind of a lot a Mac users who really believe that, for some reasons, Apple is not truly a capitalist company.

I’m not a Mac. I’m a PC and I practice brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I’m a PC and I don’t shave every day, I’m a PC and I thank you for reading this post.

Social Media elevator speech

August 31, 2008

I’m back from 2 great weeks in Turkey.

In my mail, there is a request from Kosta, the organizer of the new media event in Dubai, asking the speakers to produce a 2 minutes video about social media. Usually, I give speeches between 20 minutes and 2 hours (for workshops)… but I never had to make an “elevator speech” about social media.

So, since yesterday I wonder how I could summarize my belief about social media and (new) marketing in 2 minutes?

It could be something like this:

Social media is one of the ways the (advanced) internet population chose to engage with the possibilities offered by today’s technologies. In the social media era, every contributor is a media with more or less audience. Many people try to define social media but most definitions remain too vague (and could even be applied to very old technologies like forums or chat rooms).

Social media is over and under-rated at the same time.

Social Media is overrated because reach still matters for brands and social media isn’t the best way to achieve reach; Because nobody found the magic formula of virality yet; Because social media isn’t a massive collective force but a variety of more or less small tribes. Even if there are links between all the entities of social media, they are hard to identify and to activate; Because it’s difficult to measure its return; Because collective intelligence is sometimes collective dumbness (cf starwars kid); Because the head is more consistent than the tail; Because it has a scalability problem; Because most of the social media users have no (net)working class consciousness.

Social Media is underrated because social media changes the way we expect to use (any kind of) media; Because it’s an incredible accelerator; Because you can achieve great results with low budgets; Because every study show that word of mouth is by far the biggest sales driver; Because it’s the ultimate market intelligence tool; Because it raises engagement; Because it allows viral mechanisms on top/as a part of your display campaigns; Because that’s where your target group is and because that’s where you can talk with him…

As we speak, your brand can still survive without using the power of social media. Many brands advertise and communicate like they used to do 10 years ago. Not all of them are on the verge of bankrupcy. Nevertheless, as a brand, ignoring new media prevent you to maximize your marketing efficiency.

Anyway, I still have to transform this in a nice video…

Misfit marketing (Aultre ne veulx estre)

August 11, 2008

Who’s that girl? The new Betty Page? A recent recruit for the pussycat dolls? Catwoman in the next Batman sequel?

Actually, she’s one of the most famous and innovative Belgian entrepreneurs. Her name is Murielle Scherre and she’s a myspace and facebook star under the nickname of “La fille d’O”. She’s sure isn’t the typical executive woman. I doubt she produces elaborate business cases. She has no background in corporations but she’s successful and already appeared on a bunch of business magazines covers. Besides her entrepreneurship, Murielle also wrote a book, is a stage artist and used to have her own TV show.

Her brand “La fille d’O” is initially a lingerie brand but Murielle is so interleaved with her brand that it’s difficult to distinguish her person from her brand. She recently launched an acclaimed shoe collection.

Murielle is also a very gentle person who kindly accepted to answer my questions. No marketing buzzwords included…

“ I am no marketer. I am a human being and a customer all the same and I try to create a brand like I would want to buy/discover in stores myself. I don’t think about money. I think about satisfaction: For me as a creator and as a person and a customer. The other people wearing my stuff feel the same. They are fed up with the mainstream. More and more people tend to think before they invest their money in a brand. You need to deserve it. That is why I took the risk of linking my person to my brand like this. I knew it would put some people off because of who I am but it would charm the others even more.”

About social media:

I got picked up by the media from the very first day so I can easily say it was verrrry important. Word of mouth is another part that can take some credits. I have very happy customers because I see them coming back and all of them bring friends and family.

Instruments such as myspace and my website only make all this ‘teambuilding’ stronger because I show my true face on it and I guess it gives people confidence. I have seen a lot of big companies trying to start up a blog or a myspace but “virtuassionals” know to distinguish the sincere from the marketer.

About advertising:

I have never spent any money on advertisement. I think the people I design for have grown immune to it so I don’t see why I would spend money on useless efforts. I prefer to get exposure where it ‘hurts’. When going out, on stage, playing music, making a decent TV show…

I don’t want to make commercially interesting decisions by being less radical. I want to make stuff I shall fully take responsibility for.  

About the link between being a beautiful woman and breakthrough in social media:

Auch! That is both a difficult question and a compliment! Great! 🙂 I have the slight suspicion things would have been different when trying to make a living selling orthopedic shoes. They say beauty is on the inside but I have never met anyone who could lay eyes upon someone’s inside at first glance so I guess that is just a lame excuse. But I do think my standards of beauty aren’t what the current beauty trends are. I am totally turned off by uniformity, perfection, purity, glamour, all those things have become so commercially vampirized it scares me!

About sharing:

I think everyone who’s eager to learn is stimulated to share experiences since it shortens your own learning process. Collaboration is the new black 🙂

www.lafilledo.com

Brave new world (wide web)

August 4, 2008

No rational person could possibly believe that there is any tension between ‘mainstream’ and “alternative’ culture”

This provocative quote comes from “Rebel sell, why the culture can’t be jammed”, a brilliant and thought provoking (but also pretty mocking) book by Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter.  The culture-jammers (represented today by people like Naomi Klein) state that rebellion and disruptive behaviors endanger the capitalist system and mass society that encourages conformity.  This has been the subject of very popular movies like American beauty, fight club or maybe even Wall-e. It’s also very present in advertising.  Heath and Potter believe the exact opposite and that counter culture relies on a vision of society that is totally biased. Watch this interview

Unfortunately, there is nothing about web 2.0 in rebel sell (the book was released in 2005) and I would very much like to read their opinion about the participative web (there are a few lines about net neutrality)

Anyway, the book made me realize why Microsoft wasn’t (perceived as) cool: It’s not about quality of products, it’s only about counter culture values. Google and Apple are supposedly counter cultural, anti-system, dissent, rebel and “authentic” (as stated in Apple’s 1984 commercial) while Microsoft is supposedly a symbol of conformity and an agent of the system.  Google achieved to be a culture-jammer through their battle for net neutrality and by their “do no evil” motto, Mac thanks to their disruptive/1984/think different marketing strategy.

But are they a menace to any system? I don’t think so.

What about us?*

 

* bloggers and other social media users

Delta skelter

July 1, 2008

I complained about Starwood’s lame customer service.

According to Joseph Jaffe, Delta airlines provides an even worse service to their “preferred” customers.

After the post, here comes the video:

The editing isn’t fantastic (reading is quiet difficult) but I really love the idea. Congrat’s Jaffe, you show us the way.

My Cannes grand prix

June 22, 2007

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Wednesday evening was the momentum of the festival with the cyberlions awards. The creative works of the winners is totally amazing and they show the power of rich media and interactive formats. My favorites weren’t always the grand prix winners. Here’s my selection:

First: 3 online ads

A viral/participative action: Pulse

A website: Diesel Heidies. It’s unconventional, interactive, user-friendly funny and full of personality. They received a well deserved Grand Prix

The full list of the cyberlions awards is here.

I feel very fortunate to work in a media where creativity has almost no limits… If you can think it, you can do it.

Listen and listen good

June 14, 2007

Next week, I’ll be flying to Cannes for the Cannes Lions week, one of the worldwide biggest advertising awards. I can’t wait to be there.

What’s an advertising award? Basically, it’s an award for the best talker. Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think there’s somewhere an award for the best listener and that’s a shame. So… Let’s launch this initiative from the blogosphere!

Here’s, in a nutshell, what I have in mind:

– Collect all your stories about brands that demonstrated an ability to listen and be responsive

– Create a separated blog to present the cases

– Make a little noise around the award (the concept is only viable if we receive a lot of cases)

– Make a monthly survey to present the listener of the month. In 12 months as from now, present the cases to a large audience (bloggers but also some non-bloggers) and elect the listener of the year.

Dear bloggers and friends, I would really like to read your feedback on this. What do you think about the idea? If you like it, what would be the best way to promote it? Do you already have cases in mind?

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This idea was inspired by Bring the love back and by Mack Collier’s blog checkup series. Thanks!

Last transmission

June 3, 2007

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All good things come to an end. Here comes the very last interview of the Blogger interview series and it’s Mark Goren, author of Transmission Marketing. I wish I wrote that 🙂

1/ What was your first blog post ever?

7 November 2006: “Brand Health Care”. The idea behind the post was say that are many ways to treat a marketing problem and that if you’re agency doesn’t accept it when you challenge them, maybe it’s time to seek a second opinion. I still think it was a good inaugural post, but I’ll be the first to admit that it took some time for me to find my blogging legs after that one.

2/ What will happen with brands that are not entering the conversation?

They’ll lose out in end and, the thing is, they won’t know it. They won’t know it because if you don’t know what’s being said, you’re powerless to take advantage of the good and/or turn a negative into a positive. It’s our job to show them what they’re missing, teach them why it can help their company/brand and ultimately find a way to measure the effects of joining in.

3/ What is the next big challenge for online media owners?

I think that their biggest challenge lies in figuring out how to make their online ad revenues higher than their print edition ad revenues so they become less dependent on the broken model of traditional advertising. Once their online revenues outweigh their offline take, they can then become more creative in finding ways to help advertisers reach consumers in more targeted ways.

4/ What is the next big challenge for advertisers?

Getting out of the mindset that a bigger ad spend is better. I’d love to see more advertisers just put their toe in the waters and allocate a little bit of budget towards trying to target a more qualified audience online. I just can’t get past what I truly believe: that you can never get close enough to your customers to help them, engage them and build a relationship with them through traditional advertising. Advertisers have to learn that it’s about Give + Take, not Tell + Take.

5/What is the most relevant book/article/post ever written on new marketing?

Wow, this is a tough one. I’ve basically given myself on MBA on new marketing over the last little while. Anything written by Seth Godin is a good place to start. Cow, Moo, Permission, Ideavirus, Small, etc.. But then there are the other must-reads: Cluetrain, The Tipping Point, Naked Conversations, Creating Customer Evangelists + Citizen Marketers, these are all obvious. However, if you want new marketing ideas, case studies that move away from traditional solutions, I’d have to go with Jaffe’s Life After the 30-Second Spot. It’s the new marketer’s bible.

6/ What makes your blog different?

The best compliment I’ve received about the blog came from a reader in Ottawa. He told me that he enjoys how, from time to time, I use my other interests – sports, movies, TV – to bring home some points and keep things light. Of course, I don’t do that with every post, but I do find inspiration from a broad range of sources.

So, Philippe, how’d I do?

You did great, Mark, Thanks a lot!

The concept and the questions of those interviews are copyright-free. So, if you like taking this over, I’d be glad to see upcoming interviews on another blog.

Viva la Diva

June 1, 2007

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From Sidney to Atlanta… After Gavin Heaton, here comes a divine diva intervention. Toby Bloomberg kindly accepted to answer the questions of the blogger-interview series. As usual, I won’t comment the answers but feel free to do it. Toby we’re all eyes.

1/ What was your first blog post ever?

Thanks for the walk down memory lane Phillippe. The first blog post on Diva Marketing was titled, “Pop A Cork For The New Diva Marketing Blog.” It combined a brief intro about the focus of Diva, a thank you to Dana VanDen Heuvel who encouraged me to blog, a link to an article about branding and a quote of the month.

The quotes were so popular that when I redesign the skin I added the quotes as a feature on the sidebar. Every time you click into the site you see a new quote.

2/ What will happen with brands that are not entering the conversation?

What happens to people who are not part of conversations where others are discussing issues that affect them? They miss opportunities to influence their future, they miss opportunities to correct misunderstandings, they miss opportunities to develop relationships with people who are interested in similar concerns. Same thing will happen to organizations. Will they die on the vine? Probably not. Will they appear to be self absorbed and will their customers wonder where they are in the conversation? Eventually.

Way back in the ‘90’s when websites were the hot new tactic companies that launched websites were perceived as innovators. When the internet became ubiquitous websites became an expected cost of doing business and a well to establish credibility. I think that will eventually happen with social media/blog initiatives.

3/ What is the next big challenge for online media owners?

In one word – Choices.

If you define online media owners as organizations (for profits, non profits and government agencies) that use content as a strategy to provide value to stakeholders (readers) in order to achieve business outcomes .. then it is what it always was .. assuring there is fresh relevant, credible content (within an easy to navigate environment). However, add to the mix the expectations of including social media tactics, as well as, nifty Web 2.0 technology and you have a smorgasbord to choose from.

The challenge then becomes: what does your target audience really want, what is right for the brand and what is doable with your resources (time, money and people). Once you answer those questions (which marketers have always asked) the next challenge is how to form a cohesive, integrated strategy. Our job as marketers has certainly grown complex.

4/ What is the next big challenge for advertisers?

Making sense of the same smorgasbord of choices and in doing so determining where your target audience actually hangs out. Then of course developing the right message and creative for that media. Successful ads on blogs are very different from ads in a print publication. A video on YouTube is a far cry from a spot commercial. Consumer generated branding promotions have their own unique set of challenges. It sounds like a fun idea to ask your customers to film a little video about your product or service but it’s not as easy as it appears to put the pieces together for a successful campaign. Of course there are the risks involved of less than flattering messages, as well as, determining the right incentives to encourage participation.

5/What is the most relevant book/article/post ever written on new marketing?

Great question. Wish I had a great answer. Let’s just say I’m still waiting for it to be written.

6/ What makes your blog different?

When I launched Diva Marketing I was actually looking for a new “home.” I had developed the “diva girlfriend voice” for an online publication that closed its doors and I wanted to continue the funky, fun writing style. That voice became a signature which turned Diva Marketing into a “blog brand.” The skin of the blog was eventually designed to support the voice. With so many smart people blogging in the marketing, PR, business space I think of Diva as more of a “feature” than a “hard news” blog.

In terms of content, my focus is shifting from writing about general brand marketing to how social media/blogs can be leveraged to support marketing strategies. I also frequently include interviews with business leaders and authors. Friday Fun has become a popular post giving me the opportunity to go off topic. Oh and of course there is Max, my Westie pup who I’ve been told has a fan club in the blogosphere!

Thank you Toby!

I don’t know anything (yet) about conversational marketing

May 25, 2007

ignorant1.jpgOf course, I understood the benefits of the conversation, I understood the value of the feedback, I understood that the conversation was not very risky and has a lot of potential benefits, I understood that the conversation monetizes itself

But there are so much things I didn’t figured out yet about conversational marketing:

– Can any brand enter conversational marketing? If I take myself as an example (I know you should never do that as a marketer), I can’t think about something to say to a household products brand or to a toilet paper brand (except maybe “be sweet”) or even clothing brands

– Should conversational marketing be part of the new marketing mix? this would mean that conversation would be managed by objectives which seems odd to me

– Is there an ideal balance between monitoring initiated conversation (monitor what is written about your brand on the participative web and join the conversation) and conversations initiated directly by the brands (ask a particular question to the surfers or invite them to join a previously defined conversation)?

– And of course, should you put a KPI in place for the conversations you have with your customers and target groups in order to evaluate the “efficiency” or the return of the conversation? If yes, which one?

I feel like I still don’t know very much about conversational marketing but Alfred North Whitehead once wrote “Not ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance is the death of knowledge.”

The audience is listening, HP isn’t

May 25, 2007

It took me 2 minutes to post the story of Laurent struggling with an HP keyboard and HP’s kafkaesque customer service. I was amazed to see the HP-post on the very top of the top posts of the week.

No reaction from HP so far… but a few hours after the publishing of the post, John P, a very helpful representative from Dell (!) tried to help us out and gave us some directions in the HP labyrinth. This must be superman’s Bizarro world.

Maarten was the first to blog about this oddity on Blogologie (in dutch). A few hours later, I see a pingback leading to an excellent post entitled “Dell Quells HP Hell” on Steven Phenix’ blog. The post is great and even offers us background information about John P.

So, HP is not listening while Dell learned to listen and monitor and understood that everyone is a customer. Laurent decided to buy a new laptop. It’s a Dell.

HP Hell

May 23, 2007

Here’s a mail I received from my colleague, friend (and soon my boss) Laurent. I hope HP is monitoring the blogosphere as efficiently as Dell does.

Computer : 2.5 years old HP Presario 2500 laptop, bought on Ebay when it was only 2y old
I bought this for my girlfriend during her maternity leave so she could stay connected, even while “emprisoned” home
I took the opportunity to initiate her to the joy of  instant Messaging and she pulled her mother and half her family – living far in the countryside – to it 😉 I also showed her how to use Ebay and she spend half my salary in baby clothes in a month

A few weeks ago, the “h” touch died. I checked the web and apparently it’s a common problem with this model (or at least, people have been vocal about the “h” touch)
But, ok, she could live wit tat, h is not tat important is it?
Yesterday night the whole keyboard stopped working. “e” gives “w”, backspace, delete and enter don’t work… She was really sad

Soooo, arriving at the office today, with all the references in my pocket, I surf to the HP website to find an after-sales/customer service number I could call to solve this asap. It’s not critical, she does not need the computer for work matters, but it has become really important in her life and I don’t want to let her without that.
Ok, number found..doh, a 0900 billed 0.74€/min…?? Ok, the computer is probably not guaranteed anymore, but still.
First call, robot voice spelling me a huuuuuuge (this is stupid by the way, who can possibly remember that?) url I could check to read about HP privacy policy, press 2 to get someone answering, wait wait wait, at least, a friendly human voice.
The guy asks for my postal code so he could give me phone numbers of companies that could repair my laptop.
I hung up the phone with 3 numbers.
1st number : number does not exist
2nd number : yess!! It rings!! Bad luck for me, that company works only in B2B
3rd number : number doesn’t exist

Hmmm, ok, I have an issue there. Back to my 0900 overtaxed number (again 2 minutes waiting time to get that humongous url spelled), press 2 to get someone answering, a lady now.
Postal code thing and she gives me a 03 phone number. I kindly ask her to give me a number close to my place (why asking for the postal code otherwise?) and she tells me that’s the only one she has (??) The number? : 03.382223366. For those of you who don’t know, Belgian phone numbers do not contain 8 digits. That’s what I told her of course. She puts me on hold “to check sir”… the line was cut after 10 minutes waiting time :-/

Back to the HP website, a bit angry and bored, I see a small link allowing to estimate what the repair price could be. If I can not get the contact of someone who can help me, maybe at least I could figure out how much it would cost. Click, click, click, my computer model? of course I have the reference, click click again : 389€ estimated repair price…but nowhere I could type what type of reparation I needed, so how can that estimation be right?

HP? Are you listening?

The f*** you-attitude in advertising

May 19, 2007

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After Jeep Compass, here’s a new communication action for a SUV that is really shocking me. This time it’s Belgian ad for Fiat Sedici. They issued a brochure taglined “Every day is 4×4”. On page 9, they seem to promote the airco (among other options) with the following message: “In a near future, the increase in our planet’s temperature will be about 1,4 to 5,8 degrees…”

This car has a CO2 emission of 174 g/km… Compared to other SUVs, it’s not that much but it’s still a lot (the Toyota Prius, a clean(er) car, has an emission of 104 g/km)

Using the global warming argument to sell SUVs… what is that supposed to mean? Is it meant to be provocative? Or would it mean that SUV drivers don’t give a damn about climate crisis? Unless they just didn’t realized what they were writing…

As written on Asia Market Research: “Based on the premise that brands can have personalities in much the same way as humans, Brand Personality describes brands in terms of human characteristics. Brand personality is seen as a valuable factor in increasing brand engagement and brand attachment, in much the same way as people relate and bind to other people. Much of the work in the area of brand personality is based on translated theories of human personality and using similar measures of personality attributes and factors.”

At first sight, Fiat Sedici isn’t a personality I want to know better.

Dell-icate

May 3, 2007

2 weeks ago, I published a post entitled “Dell Hell strikes back“. Even if, as described in the post, I had a little troubleshoot with my old Dell, my point wasn’t to be negative about Dell. It was a very old laptop, it was a Murphy’s law day and I may have been voodood. My post title was more a reference to Jeff Jarvis than an attack against Dell.

Yesterday, I had one comment on the Dell post. Here it is:

Hello,

My name is Rick, I’m a Dell Technical Analyst located at Dell corporate headquarters in Round Rock, TX. I’m part of an internet outreach team developed to interact with the online community regarding technical questions and issues that customers face with Dell products. I read your post and I understand how tough a presentation can be when your notebook chooses not to work and you are left to improvise. Hopefully the issues with your Dell have been taken care of, but if there is anything I can do to assist please email me at Customer_Advocate@Dell.com (and put “Attn Rick” in the subject line)

Thanks,
Rick

Of course, I knew that Dell was a monitoring champion. Still, I’m surprised they took the time to read my post (the answer of Rick is personalized) and react. My blog is still brand new and I’m not an influential blogger. My blog is far from the top 100.000 of the Technorati ranking. So, thanks a lot Rick for your comment.

Dell is watching me… and I kinda like it

Ikea Phobia

April 26, 2007

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After Dell Hell, here comes Ikea Phobia

Between Clo and Ikea, the war is about to start… and I’m not sure Ikea is going to win. Feel free to join the fight, show the power of the global conversation and relay the case on your blog.