2016: Beauty & Connections

Echoing an article written in French, 2016 will see a dramatic increase in content, and, therefore, it will become more and more difficult to arise from the “mass” and make your brand/values shine.

That’s why, to all of you, in the digital world (is there any other place? ;)), I wish BEAUTY for 2016.

Beauty nestles strong bounds. Because:

Beauty is Emotion.

Beauty is Connection.

And you can find beauty – almost – anywhere:

  • Beauty of nature
  • Beauty of your engagement
  • Beauty of the community
  • Beauty of a shared moment, of the experience
  • Beauty of products
  • Beauty of creation,
  • … so much more, it’s up to you to decline this infinite list.

happy 2016 bw


Inspired by @gapingvoid:

beauty is conenction gapingvoid

But reflecting a very old credo of mine, already developed in 2008, in this article >>>

Adults training as a tool for tourism destinations’ visibility

After more than 10 years training & coaching  tourism & hospitality professionnals in digital marketing, it has become obvious to me that it is an – underevaluated – strategical asset for a destination.

Bring together a maximum of destination’s partners, help them acquire the right digital skills, train them, coach them, drive them according to the destination’s positioning and USP, and you’ll witness the results. The destination will start to shine and touch new, wider, specific target potential customers. Its core values and assets will become embodied in “particle messages”, creating the overall targeted perception. And, in fine, generate leads and sales.

Throughout the years, after having developed a Diploma for tourism & hospitality professionals in Switzerland based on my own idea and initiative, the results are impressive and support the above mentioned elements.

Thank you Daniel Plancic for having supported the project (and me!), with high expectations and pertinent, sensitive, constructive remarks. Long life to this diploma, Cursus diplme gestionnaire emarketing et réseaux sociaux pour le tourisme, l’hôtellerie et la restauration – Lausanne – Claudia Benassi Faltys, formation digital marketing..

recommandation Daniel Plancic cursus diplome gestionnaire emarketing claudia benassi faltys tourisme hotellerie formation

Tourism and Technology: Travel In The #Hashtag Land

The #hashtag is at the heart of the most powerful marketing opportunities of the moment. As “The Hub for the Shared Love”, as I once defined it, well understood and strategically deployed, it allows marketing campaigns with a deep impact and large visibility.

The tourism industry, marked by a high emotional component, has all it needs to make the #hashtag one of its preferred marketing strategies.

Here are a couple of slides in French presented at EHL alumni back in May.

Please credit this post if finding it somehow useful.

The Internet in Real-Time – And What It Means for Marketing

Click the animation to open the full version (via http://pennystocks.la).

People (aka also your – potential – customers) spend a lot of time on the internet, searching, buying, communicating, creating & sharing content, liking, commenting, reviewing… Bringing along, as a side effect, a couple of challenges to face, in a marketing perspective:

– identify, be visible and take control of a maximum of touchpoints
– offer great experiences at those touchpoints – engage, inform, reward
– optimize your presence at different stages of the digital journey – dream, inspire, plan, buy, experience, share… on the right platform
– tap into the “wisdom of the crowds”, enhance your community, have your “fans” speak for you and transform them into ambassadors
– connect emotionnally, create that bond that will “make your brand travel” (metaphor borrowed from Ariel, during an EMBA course) , with its emotional content encapsulated
– find what makes your community tick and have the word spoken out loud for you
– see your customers, fans as partners, co-create to achieve richer content and ideas
– crowd-source content

Volatile attention span to capture, good data mining and analytics to better understand your customers, their habits, expectations, performant monitoring are among critical success factors in this extremeyl quickly evolving environment.

With a dose of soft skills leading to bring life and a soul to your brand. Storytelling being clearly a winning differentiating factor.

Enjoy your ride on the digital journey!


A few hours after having published this post, McKinsey has released this fundamental article:
Digitizing the consumer decision journey. An absolute must-read article.
“[…] devise the perfect cross-channel experiences for their customers—experiences that take advantage of digitization to provide customers with targeted, just-in-time product or service information in an effective and seamless way.”

“..digital channels no longer just represent “a cheaper way” to interact with customers; they are critical for executing promotions, stimulating sales, and increasing market share. By 2016, the web will influence more than half of all retail transactions, representing a potential sales opportunity of almost $2 trillion.”

“Yet tools and standards are changing faster than companies can react. Customers will soon be able to search for products by image, voice, and gesture; automatically participate in others’ transactions; and find new opportunities via devices that augment their reality (think Google Glass). How companies engage customers in these digital channels matters profoundly—not just because of the immediate opportunities to convert interest to sales but because two-thirds of the decisions customers make are informed by the quality of their experiences all along their journey […]”


And read on for the details on the “how”, which you seldomly have the opportunity to see. Digitizing the consumer decision journey.

Mixing #Innovation, #Etourism and Adults Training Into an #EMBA in #Tourism Innovation

This is the time when you look back at what you have accomplished in the past year and you turn and look onwards at what’s coming in the next months.

verbier tourisme20

2013, first: after almots 10 years teaching digital marketing to tourism and hospitality professionals, I set up a Diploma of “E-marketing and social media manager for tourism, hospitality and restaurants”, officially recognized in Switzerland by the leading association “hotelleriesuisse”. It’s been immediately a huge success, “sold out” weeks before the beginning. The full training leading to the Diploma has taken place two times in 2013. It’s been a big amount of work defining the objectives, skills to be developed, what kind of work to deliver for the exam, the evaluation criteria, …. But it was worth the effort, the quality of the training having been highly rated. And, above all, the participants were enthusiastic! I really enjoyed these experiences.

In parallel of that, I’ve been myself following a training program and have obtained a CAS (Certificate of Advanced Studies) of trainer for adults. I decided to continue and I am currently heading towards the “Brevet Fédéral de Formatrice d’Adultes”, basically  a University level degree, in the professional field (not Academic), allowing you to have your own Training Institution, with quality labels, or more generally to be responsible of or to set up and engineer training programs.

The third domain I’ve been active in the past years, and still in 2013, is innovation, with the continuous development of Solo: Solo Mobile has become a service, fully cloud-based, it still is, and more than ever, a highly innovative service and I am proud to be member of the team and member of the board. In 2013, we launched solocloud.ch, from scratch: strategy, communication strategy, brand identity, web site, social media, sales collaterals, etc.. Before the creation and launching of solocloud, we spent a lot of time imagining the Business Model, with the precious help of the Business Model Generation method (I am proud to have the first generation book, with a beautiful paperback.. I love that book!).

bmgen Business Model Generation

And since things tend to follow naturally, I got a very nice and stimulating mandate: to help set up and teach at a CAS part of an Executive MBA in Tourism Innovation (mandate of Prof. Schegg). The CAS is about Etourism – TIC-Driven Innovations. The official EMBA program is HERE. It hence perfectly rounds up my main activities of the past year: Innovation, Etourism, Marketing, Adults Training.

Other projects for 2014, besides obtaining the “Brevet” include developing new training programs in digital marketing and some consulting mandates.

As you may know, I am a believer of the #genflux mindset, so I also share here bits of personal projects:

On a more private level, 2014 will see a trip to Boston (Feb) (mixing professional visits to private ones), starting with some running trails, like this one: Trail de la Vallee de Joux, and some cycling tours.

So, the upcoming months will be very intensive.. chances are that you see me less on Facebook! :))… But still on Instagram @clodia_me

Cheers, and do not hesitate to share here your thoughts and comments.

2014: Shine On!

shine on in 2014

After a 2013 very rich in achievements on my side, onto which I’ll come back more in details later on, I just wanted to share with you this inspiration: Shine on! Just let the glitter spring out of you. Smile. Like. And smile. And like again.
And Shine On .. You Crazy Diamond!

Best wishes for 2014.

See you at #lift13


As for the past 7 years – except for last year -, I’m getting prepared for an inspiring and insightful conference, Liftconference #lift13.

I’ve written a lot about it – see my last year’s “Make the most out of #lift12: Musings of a veteran member“.

My main focus and interests this year?

One of the main themes – as highlighted on the poster the lift’s team generously distributed before the conference and which is now proudly decking out my office wall :) – agile, is very relevant to our company and the service it offers (Solo and #solocloud). Resilience, which was also a main theme at TEDxLausanne this year, as well as the mobile session are highly interesting for me.

More broadly, creativity, inspiration, people, design, trends and the experience area are the main drivers to me.

Shaked, mixed and baked this gives me food for thought for the next months, it usually leads me to new ideas.

If you are going to LIft, please, tell me, connect with me or drop me a note at cloben at gmail dot com!

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”


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

Best Wishes for a Sparkling 2013


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.”
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