Dress For A Party Every Day And The Party Will Come to You

One day before next TEDxLausanne opens its doors and one day after my birthday, I’d like to share this inspiring talk of Steve Bridge from last year’s conference, one that could inspire you every day of the year:

“Dress for a party every day and the party will come to you”

http://youtu.be/Ck-V0fg8rjA

So, I’ll be dressed for a party for the theme: “What if we do(n’t)? “

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Storytelling: The Art of Creating Emotional Connection

The Journey to Shared Value - coca cola storytelling

The Journey to Shared Value – coca cola storytelling

As you might know, the power of “emotional connection” in a marketing perspective is one of the most digged tracks here, at ConvergentTracks.

In a time where people are hyper-connected, overwhelmed by a continuous data flow, it has become strategical for brands to capture attention.

And to connect at a deeper level, in order to grasp this attention and try to transform it into a more lasting action or effect.

In this context, “stories are illustrative, easily memorable and allow any firm to create stronger emotional bonds with the customers. (Wikipedia),
[…]

  • “Stories should be drillable.
  • Each piece of the story should be enriching, but not vital to the understanding of the story (so that a customer can still have a clear idea of the bigger picture even though he has missed a part of it)
  • Involve the fans in the creation process.
  • Build a world in which your story can evolve (such as Coca-Cola’s “Happiness Factory”)”

“The use of storytelling by marketers shows the beginning of a new narrative era in which brand content, brand story, advertainment, street marketing, guerilla marketing … will be essential communication concepts.”
Why?
Mainly because of the real-time over-connectivity, in addition, obviously, to the traditional triggers making stories powerful: “Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and to instill moral values. Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters and narrative point of view.”

Stories help the identification. They create a bond between the conscious and the unconscious, they are rooted at an emotional level. The values, the hero(es), the tone, the drama convey individuals to the escape, the dream or simply a shared world.

When people are “emotionnally connected”, they will more easily remember your message (value), get more involved, thus more loyal and engaged, act as ambassadors, SHARE THE LOVE.

And here we stand at a crossroad, where marketing meets psychology meets technology, each of them augmenting, supporting and enriching the others.

The brand conveys values through a – long lasting- story. The individual is touched via different media. Touched, emotionnally connected, the technical connection will empower him and “help him/ share the love”, acting as an advocate, giving more visibility to the brand, strengthening the chain of the vertuous cercle.

Here are some key factors about the power of storytelling:

  • dream, as identification driver
  • humour, as adhesion channel
  • participation, as engagement factor
  • reward, as loyalty trigger
  • values, as community foundation
  • tools, as sharing support.

Extracted from my blog in French: Livre blanc: Le Storytelling, la stratégie marketing qui fait rêver

As of the key elements of storytelling, as presented by a research firm in a study aiming at uncovering “The Future of Storytelling”, they identified the 4 I’s:

the 4 I's of storytelling

the 4 I’s of storytelling: Immersion, Interactivity, Integration, Impact

New media, especially image sharing sites like Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook, with its timeline as a storytelling channel, offer innovative ways of telling your story:

Life magazine taught us that images are so often more powerful storytellers than words”, Forbes.

Think visual. Think values. Think emotion. Think service. Think shared stories.

“For instance, in addition to tell yourself your story, let your customers speak for your brand and tell your story: “Your customers’ stories add a universe of experiences, which reach beyond the physical properties of products themselves. Your customers’ experiences bring your values to life.” (Storytelling: Branding in practice)

What else?

For more, read this great insightful article:

Whoever tells the best stories wins – where the notion of storytelling as “pull technology” is particularly new, but many other aspects are worth the read. It gives great examples of brands using storytelling, like Nike, and you’ll find plenty of ressources to help you go further, if needed.

See also: The Economics of Emotion, by TechCrunch 

Update Oct. 3, 2012: Valeria Maltoni (Conversation Agent) adds the “long tail effect” , too, as a benefit of social networks helping spread the word (of your story)

Update Oct. 4: Have a look at this article, too, by FastCompany: WHY STORYTELLING IS THE ULTIMATE WEAPON 

Here some examples of brands using visual storytelling:

oscar de la renta pr girl storytelling instagram

Oscar de la Renta using Instagram to tell their story via OscarPRGirl

diesel instagram #loverdose

Diesel innovates with a campaign on Instagram #loverdose

Burberry backstage facebook timeline  storytelling

Burberry offers on their Facebook’s Timeline pictures of the new look taken by their photographers

The – hidden – power inside Instagram? A strong community management


A lot has been said and written since the acquisition of Instagram by Facebook: about Facebook’s objectives, about the business model of startups selling “their users as products” and its potential sustainability; about Facebook strengthening a dominant position, about users data given without previous permission, about future implications for marketing, and so on.

In the jungle of the debates surrounding that acquisition, a couple of articles analyzed aspects of what lead Instagram to such a sky-rocketting success.

Among the success factors mentioned, let’s recap the most significative ones, inspired by Ann Handley’s article and augmented with my own filters:

– the power of visual story-telling
– a sense of intimacy mixed to universality
– a true unique mobile experience
– the power of the emotional connection
– some technical easy-to-use tricks, aka filters!, making any amateur feel like kind of a pro, but also giving new support to true photographers
– the ability to share with other networks
– the ability to augment pictures with geolocation data and any other data embodied in #hashtags.
– of course, all the “social glue magical features“, such as the ability of following, liking, commenting, mentioning, sharing, #hashtaging.

Many of the above mentioned elements are explained in this excellent article of the NYT, particularly in this statement: “You see that in Instagram. It’s not a technology triumph. It’s a design and psychology triumph.

But at my great surprise, I never read any mention of a crucial element in Instagram success, in my opinion: a strong community management!

To me, Instagram is a model of community management.

Here are some key elements that make Instagram more than an app, but a vibrant community:

shared values:
love of photography, of visual communication, of beauty, exchange, empowerement, to name only a few.
existence, names and community managers for sub-communities:
@igerssuisse, for example, or #teamrebels. All sub-communities related to a country or region have their own account , hashtag, community manager. They tend to emerge freely, and thus have all their own specificities. They highlight members (their pictures!) in their region/country, they often run contests, related Facebook pages with lots of information, provide helpful information, they organize meetings, and so on. In Switzerland, for example, there are 2 dynamic community managers for the country, running the account @igerssuisse, a Facebook Page , Twitter account and Google+ page. And as sub-sub communities, you can find local Instagram communities, such as @IgersGeneva, @igersZürich, @igersvalais, etc…
a community manager, @philgonzalez, playing a central role in the dynamics of the community (and its fast growing rate, too, I am sure):
He, Phil Gonzalez, is at the heart of the community dynamics, which, in turn, spilled further by its own. You just have to turn to the website “Instagramers” to understand the work behind, sustaining the Instagram users community: practical help, contests, gatherings (with a specific name “the Instameets”), with slogans such as “Let’s Instagram the World”.
a name for the community members:
the “Instagramers” or “IGers”, strenghtening the identification to the community
gatherings:
one of the glue of the community identity stems from numerous meetings “in real life”, called “instameets”, largely publicized on Instagram, obviously through pictures and tags! But having people meet, share a passion, tricks, wander together and taking pictures, then sharing them plays a big role in the community feeling, loyalty and growth.
contests:
hubs, themes, many contests have blossomed, relying, as any contest, partly on the gaming trigger.
members empowering and rewarding:
By following closely their community members, commenting, liking, highlighting their pictures (in some specific occasions), the community managers feed the – uncounscious – need of recognition (love?).

Of course, at the heart of the mechanics, there’s the technology and particularly the power of #hashtags, allowing to curate, gather, highlight, communicate, integrate, etc…

Another striking element to me is the volunteer-based work, but just as you can see in many communities. And this is maybe also a reflection-worthy element, if you’re in the community management activity: how to leverage and/or empower the community members strongly enough for them to become volunteer and help the community – and in the end become the strongest evangelists?

I just wanted to highlight a phenomenon mainly ignored (from outside of the community at least) and that could be helpful for any community manager.

As a side note, and in the light of the previously listed main elements of Instagram community management, I just wonder if it has been valuated and rewarded in the transaction..?! Maybe Phil Gonzalez would like to add a word? Or anyone knowing more about it?

Also, I would be glad to have you comment here about this discussion and other aspects of the community management that have maybe been undervalued.

To finish, it was funny to follow the saga of the acquisition on different platforms, from “the outside” (as already related at the beginning of the article) and from the “inside”, to emphasize the feeling of community!

The story can therefore be told with different angles (as it is true for any story) and fueled with different emotions. I first took notice of the news on Instagram, via the image shared at the top, and saw there the first, mainly hot! , reactions! Then I turned to Twitter and Facebook for more factual and less emotional information.

Here, 2 reactions, from which some tempered quickly :)

Update, April 23:

Here’s the answer of Phil Gonzalez on Twitter:

Make the most out of #lift12. Musings of a veteran member

claudia benassi faltys twitter profile for lift11
Every year, before going to Lift, I used to write some notes on this blog in anticipation to my forthcoming lift experience, sometimes sharing what makes it so special to me and sometimes what it had brought to me.This year, I won’t participate, even if I’ll try to follow as close as possible via Twitter, but as a “veteran” member of the Lift conference community, I thought that my previous experiences at Lift and other conferences could be of help for newbies, such as @taissacharlier. With a slight ironic look, having in mind that there’s no right way of doing it.
Nevertheless, here are a couple of suggestions:

  • set a couple of objectives before going: business objectives (e.g.meet x people with a specific purpose) as well as more personal objectives, more about new perspectives. This will help you focus your attention on the most important things for you, even if serendipity can bring along good surprises. 
  • take time to have a look at the participants, again with your objectives in mind, even if the presentation doesn’t facilitate this (participants are lisited by alphabetical order and with no keywords visible, for example)
  • in order to facilitate the networking and growing highly targeted contacts on Twitter, have a look at the participants on Twitter, here’s a list by B-M Switzerland
  • create a list on Twitter to follow the hashtag of the conference #lift12, and , of course, connect, connect, connect!
  • try to add your personal point of view/additions, when live-tweeting, always with the hashtag (#lift12), but don’t spam the timeline neither!
  • If you can, try to organize a workshop, it’s a good way of diving deeply into your subject and a unique opportunity to get experience and input from brilliant people, from diverse horizons.
  • be prepared with your personal “tagline”, matching your objectives: the way you’ll present yourself will play a big role in the success of your “networking” (seen in its broader meaning)
  • avoid facility, don’t stick too long with known friends, even if you’re happy to see them, but instead don’t hesitate to place yourself in uncomfortable situations, where you’ll have to do big efforts towards “strangers”!
  • if you can, take notes and wrap them up on a blog, it will help you “digest” the rich content and add another look or perspective to the Lift experience for others
  • use and abuse of the experience corner: arts mixed with all kinds of experimental projects, interaction design, among others, will truly help you think out of the box and infuse new perspectives into your life. Maybe. Surely. 

Enjoy!
And comment with your own advice!

Acquisition and loyalty: the digital marketing mix


How to gain more customers and how to make them come back? Those are the key objectives when it comes to marketing. How can marketing contribute to achieve business objectives?

Traditionnally, you have the 4 P’s of the marketing-mix: Product, Price, Placement (distribution), Promotion.

With new technologies and new media, the 4 P’s remain, but they can be influenced and enhanced in new ways: internet has deeply modified the distribution channels, technology can augment information about the product and the experience with the product (or the brand), you can have more price segments and price calculation, such as dynamic pricing (think of EasyJet), and last but not least, the promotion opportunities have grown exponentially, bringing along huge progress (segmentation, tracking, social graphs, etc..).

But considering the contribution of new media & communication tools to the above mentioned objectives, coming back to the basic sometimes cannot hurt.

And for me, explaining the different aspects, in a very simple (yes, a bit simplistic, too!) way would be as in the image. From there on, you can dive into details, explain the points of convergence, how social media mechanisms impact almost all aspects and how to leverage them in an optimal way according to your company’s objectives. But at least you can get the big picture.

The mobile is in grey, but it could be illustrated in another way, as it permeates all aspects of communication, now.

Do you agree with the general idea? What would you add or change? And why? I would love to know!

Make a Wish: Use Art to Turn the World Inside Out

In my previous post, I was asking “What can the Future do for you/me”?, taking upon my own #lift11‘s title. Obviously, you don’t get – nor give – answers to such a question in a few words but you can get tracks of reflexions, and that’s one of the reasons #lift is so much appreciated. The following article gives you a deep understanding and good highlights of this year’s conference: Reflections on LIFT Conference 2011.

After the conference, Lift launched kind of a reverse project, called “What can you do for the future”? (I don’t find the link). And, oddly, it’s the speaker of another conference, that gave me a clue to this question, by making a wish: “Use art to turn the world inside out”.
And creating insideoutproject .

Grab a cup of coffee, lean back and take the time to watch this video (images are very important). Maybe will it whisper to you an idea, the small idea creeping in the back of your head, waiting for the right moment to light up. It acted that way on me. I already see which face will be on the picture. A picture with a voice, wanting to tell his whole story to his sons, daughters, grand-children, and to the world. Because his memories override History’s. And his face will be worth hundreds of words.

What Can The Future Do For [You] Me? #lift11

As every year before the Lift Conference‘s kick off, I have a look back and a look forward, in order to assess where I hope and want Lift to lead me to.

Looking back from now on, I see lots of – personal – progress, human connections and new horizons made possible, as already largely evoked.
But at the same time, tools like Twitter and Facebook have become mainstream and play now a role of “talents discoverer”, trends detectors. You know the latest hype – product, platform, application, etc.., the latest success stories, case stories, and all other industry experts and reports. With good sources, you really are ahead of the wave. My favourite, as you surely already know, is Paper.li, a good curation tool. You can call yourself ” a trend watcher”, “trendhunter” or whatever trendexpert, following the maturing wave of “digital experts”.
In this context, answering to the question “What can the future do for you”, as promises the #lift11 theme is highly challenging. How to deliver a message different from what you can already find in your timeline? How to deliver added-value?

I see tracks of answers in the speakers, of course: not all of them are “mainstream” and they surely have specific angles for their presentations and outstanding qualities. Other tracks of possibilities could lie in the quantitiy and quality of “lifters” (yes, it has become an official term :-)), in the interactions arising during the workshops, in the Lift experience and other networking spaces, like the fondue.

In this context, what I expect from this promising Lift’s edition is: getting back in touch with people met at Lift, some becoming friends :-), catching up with them, getting true insights into future issues and opportunities – especially linked to marketing/social media/business model – being inspired, be it by people, Lift experience, speaches. I also set objectives for Sosoftware, having a couple of interesting meetings scheduled. I really hope to get means to cut down into the noise of some digital platforms and get true value.

Side considerations: some of friends met at Lift will be missing. I’ll regret them (you know who you are!).
I also have a special thought for a person met during my very first Lift, more precisely during the workshop where I opened this blog, with Stephanie Booth. That person was among the participants, we talked a bit and kept contact over the years. He very sadly passed away a couple of days ago, he was my age, I have a special thought for him, I know he was very respected.
Last but not least: I am looking forward to listening to @BrianSolis live tomorrow morning at a special presentation organized by Label.
I’m lifted! Follow me on Twitter with my brand new #lift11 avatar made by @nicktalop

Convergent Tracks in 2011: Marketing and Technology

As we’ve seen it in the past couple of years, the acceleration of technological innovations has been impacting many sectors, marketing included. Some disciplines like communication, PR, marketing, customer service have partially blended, technology contributing to “dis-cluster” them, bringing along in the same time new challenges.

As stated in this excellent article, “Social technology is permeating everything in our lives. It seems that every medium of media has integrated social into the message. The Facebook craze has pulled over 500 million people into use of social technology for multiple purposes. Humanity is experiencing connectivity to the human network like never before in history.

The influence of technology on humanity is affecting all market sectors whether private or public, on-line and off line. The intersection of technology and the human network is disrupting old business models, organizational theories and beliefs systems founded in old knowledge.

In this disruption context, question is: How to bridge the gap? How to leverage those (r)evolutions to empower your organization’s global efficiency?
It has become essential to understand new technologies, how they can augment your marketing’s objectives, impact your business results.

New kinds of jobs are emerging: community manager, chief marketing technologist, digital strategist, etc, that all have in common to mix combined skills in technology and communication, marketing.

Paradoxically, the more fragmented the world becomes, the more “convergent tracks” we’ll see, with an emphasis on the convergence of: mobile (highly fragmented)-social-local.

Here are some of the -new- challenges marketers are facing:

  • keeping track of new trends
  • understanding the mechanisms underlying the power of technologies
  • understanding how they can impact your product/price/communication/distribution/customer experience
  • figuring out strategies optimizing a mix of media according to the objectives (acquisitoin, loyalty, brand awareness, ..)
  • understanding key data factors: analytics, performance, ROI, social CRM, …
  • diving into social media…
  • And enjoying this high-pace evolving environment!

And, at the converging point between marketing and technology, connections and emotions, the lattest being the central linchpin to valuable connections.

That’s why you see those 2 signs on the image: <3 is the symbol of love in the digital media and the other one, on the right, is the symbol of sharing/connecting (via 2.0 technologies).
It is my personal way of wishing you all a happy 2011, under the sign of love and connections, all real, no matter the media!

If you’re interested in decryptering the discussed trends, you can focus on these 2 information sources:
Adage Digital
The Marketing & Innovation Daily

And for the upcoming months:
10 digital predictions for 2011
Top 10 Stories on AdAge.com in 2010
Social Media in 2011: Six Choices You Need to Make

PS: social media is implicitely included in the article, as being one of the most disrupting trends, mix of platforms, technologies, participation, interaction, crowdsourcing potential, etc, etc…
PS2: Focus. It’s getting more and more noisy out there.
PS3: Follow your own track

Image courtesy of a dear friend, Jacques-Antoine Besnard, quadruple airship world champion who’s leading the engine on the image. Official site of the last world championship. His official Fan Page (not regularly updated). A model of a focused mind. Merci Jacot :-)
Icons taken from The NounProject

Read My #Paperli Daily News Rather Than My Twitter Account

A couple of months ago, during a lift@home event – Think Data, sitting among a couple of other “happy fews”, we assisted to the presentation of a brand new project, called “paper.li“, by Small Rivers. The idea? To create a new kind of “newspaper”, online, offering the quintessence of curated information through the lense of a person (until now, her or his Twitter account) by a subtle and complex aggregation between the shared tweets of that person and followers. The initial project has improved a lot, allowing for instance to create a newspaper based on a #hashtag or a Twitter list.
paperli claudiafalt ClaudiaFaltysBenassi Daily

One of the main benefits is to offer to a specific audience an “augmented information“: selected, curated, and augmented by the “curator” and her/his “followers”. The resulting aggregated information, displaying multi-media formats – videos, pictures, slideshare, tags, themes, real-time tweets, selected articles, links, ..- is a highly value-added information.

In these times where it is very challenging to sort the “good” information out of an ever-increasing “noise”, this Daily Newspaper is a breathe of fresh air… and a gain of time!

For your followers, for your company, for your customers, try to think of the best Paper.li that could offer them most of added-value? Think of a theme (a hashtag on Twitter), a Twitterlist?

For me, for you, I’m of the meaning that http://www.paper.li/claudiafalt, aka The ClaudiaFaltysBenassi Daily is of higher value than my Twitter account (@claudiafalt), if you want to have a “bigger picture” of the key trends and sectors I follow and share. Above all if your are NOT on Twitter.
Some great examples I like to follow:
The #etourisme Daily: a field I’m active and interested in (in French, here), gives me in a glimpse the major information of the latest 24 hours. Easy to stay up-to-date, easy to share!
The Musee de l’Elysee Daily : for personal interest in arts (in my region and wider)
The EdelmanDigital Daily: for same kind of things as on mine, but far more popular! (shared by @armano) (Note: I don’t publicize my Daily Paper.li on Twitter)
So many interesting newspapers out there!

Personnally, I decided to share this link as one of my major (most representative) digital accounts on my LinkedIn Status and added it to my other “websites”. Still thinking how to organize next steps, for example for the business card.

Since I’m committed to share information that 1. I read thoroughly 2. I think is worth to share, and since I decided to broadcast my daily Paper.li, I’ll be more restrictive with the people I follow, in order to offer a valuable information.

For the moment, as you cannot interact yet via paper.li, it’s still a restriction for a broader adoption (as of right now, but things seem to evolve very quickly).

But you can already import your Daily paper into a blog or site (click on “promote”), (not yet for wordpress.com..).

For more, up-to-date information, on Twitter, follow @SmallRivers

And you? Did you plan to integrate a Paper.li Daily on your blog? For your company?
Do you already follow some paper.li’s Daily News? Would you like to share them?
****************
Here’s a video of one of the co-founders explaining Paper.li during lift10Conference (via the article below)

Some more articles (French):
Paper.li: la veille sur Twitter
Le Temps: SmallRivers, de l’eau au moulin des média

#FF Follow Not Only Friday in More than 140 Char.


See, Twitter has influenced even the way you write your blog’s titles!

Why this strange idea to write a Twitter list not on Twitter, but on a blog?

Because I need more than 140 characters to describe some of the people I enjoy following on Twitter and why you could be happy to discover them…

The true value of the “Follow Friday”‘s tradition is to help your followers find value in following new people/accounts (that you follow).

To follow the people mentioned below will help you (if you’re on Twitter) get value.

They’re all based in Switzerland, human connections are complex.

@BristolGva : because I’m among their favs!! Seriously, their communication is at equal level with the quality of their service and restaurant: fresh, tasty, generous!

@VMarchand: because she is the CEO of victoriamarchand.ch! Her tweets are highly focused on the French part of the Swiss Advertising market, but she shares more developed insights on her blog and in a Swiss business review. A touch of humour combined with a caliente character for hot tweets.

@stephanekoch : I follow him to be sure that he follows me! But he’s one the very few I check regularly the tweets to be sure that I didn’t miss something essential in issues regarding digital trends: security, politics, marketing, strategy, social media, and more. Expert. Serious. But not only.

@annajobin : a meteorite. A unique mix of grace, sensitivity, sharing and learning passionately, pouring some sociologists drops into her mixture.

@carobertazzo : as already mentioned in a tweet, a sharp mind, it seems that she tries hard, with no compromise, to understand deeply the world’s complexity!

@cmic : the only person of the list I haven’t met (yet?) personnally, but she gives a thorough overview of technical, political, social, trends. Also a generous “sharer”, making connections, curating the information.

@ideadetective : for a sharp focus on innovative ideas, follow him, your next (big?) idea might pop up !

@oliviertripet : if you want to know more about the hot topic of the moment, Community Management, follow him, he has developed a community for community managers. Where you get true insights, a reflexion, reflexion tracks, and much more. “He does as he says”, and this is highly valuable.

Final word: they all don’t (really) mind if they have the biggest……. number of followers!

And sorry for all the others I follow with high interest, this is not an exclusive list, just another way to say #FF (and thank you).