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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Best Wishes for a Sparkling 2013

Image

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

Are Social Networks Signing The End Of Paparazzi?

photo johnny hallyday instagram laetitia hallyday 24 heures

photo of Johnny Hallyday taken from the instagram account of Laetitia Hallyday for the 24 heures (swiss magazine)

Many industries are being deeply impacted and revolutionized by social networks.

One of them will surely be the news industry living of “scoops” and stolen images.

As an illustration of this, have a look at he way Johnny Hallyday, one of the biggest French “stars”, with thousands of fans and certainly one of the most sought after by paparazzi, and her wife Laetita are communicating via Instagram (see Laetitia’s Instagram account..)

It is simply a genious “coup” of communication. Why?

They give the fans a direct connection  with their idol, they offer them pieces of intimacy, fans have a direct interaction, they can “talk” directly to the star, and they are rewarded by being directly adressed to, even thanked, given love. By seing Johnny communicating “intimately” (it’s a public account, so the notion of intimacy is relative) with his wife, people can dive directly into the couple’s privacy, a bit of what they are looking for with magazines like “Closer”, etc..

In this way, the couple takes back the control of their communication.

Recently, when rumors said that Johnny had to interrupt his holidays for health problems, people turned to Instagram to get news… but newspapers, too, as witnesses the above picture of a swiss magazine, showing the Instagram pictures of Laetitia’s account. Interesting to see that even the print media turns to social networks to find pictures, convokating a higher emotional power.

As an answer to the general anxiety and the thousands of love message received on their Instagram accounts, Laetitia answered with  this picture, thanking everybody and giving love:

news johnny ill l hallyday instagram merci thank you

On her feed, you can see pictures of her husband, of their daughters, their friends (many of whom are very famous), their holidays,  many backstage photos.
It’s free, it’s original, it’s intimate, it’s true!

Conclusion: Will magazines have to buy pictures directly from the people they want to feature?

Are the stars becoming the new paparazzi?

concert johnny photo intimate instagram

johnny hallyday before stage laeticia instagram intimate backstage

hallyday backstage instagram obispo kids intimate

lhallyday backstage concert stade de france instagram

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:

TEDxLausanne: Ideas Worth Spreading

As any participant to a TED conference, when I registered for TEDxLausanne, The Future Doesn’t Just Happen, I engaged myself to “spread ideas worth spreading”, following TED’s motto.

The conference was very rich, with many inspiring talks.

BUt the one that stroke me the most and for which I mostly wanted to attend the conference, was Michael Yaziji’s – Rethinking the structure of corporations .

No slides, a clear vision, that intends to rethink capitalism, integrating social aspects.

Coming from a finance professor at IMD, the prestigious Business School, expected ( I wrongly assumed) to perpetuate a – hard – capitalistic vision, really surprised me, and delighted me!

So it is with a huge pleasure that I share here his talk at TEDxLausanne and invite you to listen at him.. and think about what his vision could change to our daily life.

Taken from the video:

Michael Yaziji, professor at IMD http:://www.imd.org focuses especially on the relationship between corporations, NGOs and government. He has a strong interest in issues associated with sustainability and the environment, and in the role of the corporation in a changing world.

In his talk, he argues that the existing corporate structure is no longer optimally adapted to the needs of society or of corporations themselves. He proposes some bold suggestions about the modifications he sees as necessary.

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!

Blending intimate with universal

#lifeisgoodclo
Image credit @gapingvoid

After having read “This Is Generation Flux: Meet The Pioneers Of The New (And Chaotic) Frontier Of Business”, I definitely decided to embrace my different sides, without boundaries of “professional” or personal or whatever other artificial frontier. No, we are all made of multiple facets, every one nourrishing the other ones.

Once again, it is an intimate event that forced me to take a slight distance with my usual “stance”, to take a step back.

And it finds its natural place here, where I aim at bringing together convergent tracks.

It’s a story about a loss. Such a big loss that one cannot keep going as if nothing had happened. Because the world will no longer be the same. Never. Ever.
Loss means “hole”. Disbalance. Dizziness. Grief.

The risk is seing the hollow instead of the full. To fall into the hole.

But one can also chose to see the “full”, the bright side, what has been received, more than what has been lost.

That’s what I have decided to do.

Being of that “Gen Flux”, it naturally came to my mind to mix different elements in order to achieve a result full of meaning, diving into the intimate to extract some universal sense. A sense of humanity. Of sharing.

Strangely, it brings me back to the origins of this blog, initially created at the death of my uncle, a visionair.

So, this project is called “Ursulove”, to celebrate what I received from my 27 years of friendship with my friend Ursula, who so tragically passed away 2 months ago. This is the intimate part. I will share some bits of thoughts via Instagram, linked to a tumblr blog.
Why this format? Because I very often have thoughts to share, but never have the time to build them more consistently. So I thought that an addition of pictures, augmented with texts, related by a common tag, #ursulove, would create, in “the end”, a true story rich of meaning.

But, I’ve been thinking, too, that personal losses have a universal side. And that it would be enrichening to have in addition testimonials of other people about what they have “received” through similar events, losses. So I would like to encourage people to share their stories on Instagram, with the tag #lifeisgoodclo. Or to participate to the blog.

So that it wouldn’t be just a personal testimonial of a loss , but a sense of universality in this experience. That coul be helpful or inspiring to many other people.

The project URSULOVE is HERE.

It is just in its raw shape.

But if you feel like participating, adding your voice, your own experience, I would love to add it to the blog. So contact me at cbenassi at convergenttracks dot com.

The project is in French, but open to any other language.

One of the first presents that I received through this experience, is the need to connect back to a passion: writing.

But I am forever grateful to my friend for every second shared together, for every smile, laugh, worry, for her children smiles, for connecting back to old friends, for being her, simply. I will cultivate the flowers of this garden.

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!

Happy 2012

This time is dedicated to celebrate joy, love, even for a little tiny second, it matters.

Life can be stolen so abruptly, sometimes, it’s good to remind the moments of “fullness”, to be thankful for what we’ve got and stop a second to think about it.

In a period where I can feel the loss, where a part of me has been teared away, making the ground uncertain, bringing waves of saddness, I want to see everything that has been sowed and that I can cultivate.

And, from there, I’d like to share with you some thoughts, on what to cultivate in 2012, for any of us, to make it sparkling & joyful:

* the joy of a smile
* a kind word
* listening
* giving: time, attention, a thought, a gaze
* opening the space

For, every moment cultivated in that spirit will help make the following come true. And it matters:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” -Maya Angelou*

I felt good so many times thanks to my friend. To her, I say “Thank you”.

And other friends and family help me feel good, and to them I say “Thank you”.
And to all of you: A Happy 2012.

* Quotation offered by a friend. :-)