Archive deepdive

A couple of days ago Mark Goren tagged me, asking to do a deepdive in my blog’s archives and look up 5 posts that have a special meaning for this blog in some way. I didn’t want to focus on only those posts that were maybe the best for me, or the best in traffic so I stuck to ‘special meaning’. Here they are:

The art of being Belgian
I wrote this one after reading the book with that title, and though it should be one of the posts of this list. It was the first review of a book I did on my blog, I added some of the Belgian character to it as well and since it was picked up by the book’s publisher on their website it learned me even more that everyone’s opinion counts.

Naked Conversations
Although not on purpose, another book review (and really, I don’t do that much of them). This one I found interesting since I was amazed to get a comment from Shel Israel on this post and it would lead us eventually in having a conversation over email. It didn’t end here, as I set up a dinner with Shel and Rick inviting a couple of bloggers in Belgium and it was a great experience of the things that happen in this community.

How Influential are you?
This has become a little bit of a series as I’ve written quite a few posts that belong to this theme (here, here and here) and there are certainly more to come. I’m very interested about the question around influence, how you can measure it, map it, … and for that reason I did write my opinion down on it on a few occasions. And given my interest, many of the offline conversations I have are around this little theme as well. There’s also one person that has some great thoughts to share on this as well, that I hope to interact with on this matter and that is David Armano. David, if you have some spare time? ;) He wrote that fantastic post around the sphere of Influence for instance, exactly what I was thinking.

Everyone is a customer
A bit linked to the subject before, ‘Everyone is a customer’ is the title of the last few presentations I have given related to social media, blogging and brands and outlines some of the content of these presentations. Although the presentation itself was always adapted to the time and location, I like to keep the title. It refers to a case that I do always use in these presentations and that show the great effect of brands listening to their ‘customers’, you can read about that one here.

Not enough drama?
This post is an outsider in many ways. To begin with, it has driven far more traffic to this blog than any other post I’ve ever written. Even only on the first day it brought nearly 8.500 visitors to this blog and many thousands followed the few days after making ‘Cross The Breeze the n°1 blog on for a day or two. It learned me that this can happen to anyone, but given the fact the post was a bit off topic, I learned as well that it doesn’t mean people stick to your blog after.

I found this a tough task, but fun to do anyway. Going trough over 500 posts thinking which ones were special in some way is not really easy and I’m sure that I’ll think of another one or two in the next few days :) Anyway, I’m going to pass this along to Ine, Tom and Veerle. Hope you too will find some time to go through your archives, I’m interested to see your top five.

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Global marketing community

Today I received a copy from “The Origin Of Brands” signed for me by Al & Laura Ries thanks to CK (Is it possible not to love her?). You might remember I ordered a copy of it on Amazon in February or so but never received it, but then again you see how the community steps in… isn’t that great?!


This is also another great reminder of the global marketing community that is shaping up big time if you ask me. Although this is not new for today, there have been a number of initiatives that seemed to have speed up that whole marketing conversation and it’s very exciting to be part of that. Think about The Viral Garden’s Top 25 Marketing blogs (a classic) which is now in a new format, Todd Andrlik’s Power 150 that includes +300 Marketing blogs actually, Marketing Profs Book Club, The Conversation Age ebook, … all very interesting projects driven by the people out of this community.

Another sign of the common interest in this community is the fact that people want to learn more about each other and also there we see a few initiatives that are worth looking at. Arun did a great job on profiling all 100 Age of Conversation authors, Todd started doing something similar on the Power 150 called the Power Profiles (with Darryl Ohrt as a first guest), we also have Blogger Stories from Toby Bloomberg and don’t forget the compelling ‘bloggers as teachers‘ post from Ryan Karpeles, you sure teached me Ryan!

If that all ain’t enough, think about the conversation we’re all having amongst eachother, whether that is in each other’s blog comments, via email, on Twitter, IM, … whatever. There’s this special notion amongst blogger of ‘meeting’ people, you know where you put the ‘meeting’ between brackets ;) I wonder if that’s a kind of meeting only bloggers understand, but I sure ‘met’ some interesting people this way the last few weeks and months (you know who you are) and I hope I get the chance to ‘meet’ more of you soon.

Maybe it is just me and nothing really has changed, but I get the feeling it has. I’m looking forward to more of this and wouldn’t it be fantastic if eventually we find a time and a place we could all meet up face to face and have a sort of Marketing Mashup? Sounds good to me ;)

Book Club – round #3

It was burning on my lips for a while, but finally the news is out: ‘Made to Stick‘ was selected for the third round of MarketingProfs Book Club. Regular readers will know that I really enjoyed the conversations in the first round, and knowing that I might have influenced the title for this round a little, is fun to know. If you’re into a good conversation about Marketing but haven’t heard about this initiative before, you should sign up, it’s quite interesting.

And what’s especially good about this book – apart from the book itself – is that I’ve actually read it already. Knowing that ‘The Origin of Brands’ from the second round is still underway to Belgium (it have only been 3 months so far – thank you Amazon) I’m off for a good start.

To CK and the other members – talk soon.

Age of Conversation: profiling the authors

Drew McLellan who is one of the instigators of the ‘Age of Conversation’ ebook (together with Gavin Heaton) points out to the blog of Arun Rajagopal who has started to profile every single writer of the project. Knowing that there are a 100 writers involved, that is quite a piece of work but Arun has already written about a third of them (see 1, 2 and 3 so far). This is a really good idea and from what I can see that Arun has written for Geert (who’s a colleague) he’s done a great job at it as well. Reading this stuff is like the perfect introduction to the many people/blogs I didn’t know yet, and I wasn’t able to visit all of them yet. He must have put a tremendous amount time in this.

One of the things I was thinking of after reading the comments on this blog about my chapter was to create a map that would show all writers in their respective home location. The reason for this was the clear international aspect of this ebook, something that was discussed in the comments with Connie Reece, Valeria Maltoni, Luc, Becky Carroll, Robert Hruzek and Toby Bloomberg. And Arun is another obvious example of the international aspect of course.

Good stuff Arun.

Simple truth about advertising

A couple of years ago I received a funny little book from Duval Guillaume called “Simple truth about advertising”. I don’t exactly remember when or where I got it (the copy I have is from the ’98 first edition) but I think I pretty much carried it with me in my pc bag ever since. Anyway it’s nothing new, but it still presents a very simple and amusing view on advertising that is not outdated at all.

“This amusing little book will not teach you how to become a great advertiser-but at least should help you understand why you’re not.” – Sir Richard Branson 


You can still order your copy at the website of Duval Guillaume and if you’re a bit interested in advertising I think you should. It’ll cost you 9 EUR (shipping cost included) and it’s definitely well worth it.

You get a long way with common sense

Yesterday I finished my little contribution to ‘The Age of Conversation’, the ebook project I talked about earlier. Sitting in the one of the hallways at MIX07, in between 2 sessions I just had to make time for it as the deadline came really close and I wasn’t able to write it on the flight to Vegas as I had hoped. The piece I wrote is about being part of the conversation, the many fears that seem to come with it and how common sense will get you over a lot of these.

Many of the discussion & conversations I’ve been having recently were exactly about this. What can we say in the comments, can I have someone else write my blog if I write the initial basic piece myself, … etc. What I wanted to say is that this conversation is not so much different from any other conversation you’re having on a daily basis, so don’t let the technology behind it frighten you. I’m not sure if it’s well written, whether it’s valuable but make sure you get the ebook (all revenue is going to charity remember) and let me know what you think.

Also, this ebook project includes contribution from many interesting marketers out there, you got to admit that’s an impressive list:

Gavin Heaton
Drew McLellan
Valeria Maltoni
Emily Reed
Katie Chatfield
Greg Verdino
Mack Collier
Lewis Green
Ann Handley
Mike Sansone
Paul McEnany
Roger von Oech
Anna Farmery
David Armano
Bob Glaza
Mark Goren
Matt Dickman
Scott Monty
Richard Huntington
Cam Beck
David Reich
Mindblob (Luc)
Sean Howard
Tim Jackson
Patrick Schaber
Roberta Rosenberg
Uwe Hook
Tony D. Clark
Todd Andrlik
Toby Bloomberg
Steve Woodruff
Steve Bannister
Steve Roesler
Stanley Johnson
Spike Jones
Nathan Snell
Simon Payn
Ryan Rasmussen
Ron Shevlin
Roger Anderson
Bob Hruzek
Rishi Desai
Phil Gerbyshak
Peter Corbett
Pete Deutschman
Nick Rice
Nick Wright
Mitch Joel
Michael Morton
Mark Earls
Mark Blair
Mario Vellandi
Lori Magno
Kristin Gorski
Krishna De
Kris Hoet
Kofl Annan
Kimberly Dawn Wells
Karl Long
Julie Fleischer
Jordan Behan
John La Grou
Joe Raasch
Jim Kukral
Jessica Hagy
Janet Green
Jamey Shiels
Dr. Graham Hill
Gia Facchini
Geert Desager
Gaurav Mishra
Gary Schoeniger
Gareth Kay
Faris Yakob
Emily Clasper
Ed Cotton
Dustin Jacobsen
Tom Clifford
David Pollinchock
David Koopmans
David Brazeal
David Berkowitz
Carolyn Manning
Craig Wilson
Cord Silverstein
Connie Reece
Colin McKay
Chris Newlan
Chris Corrigan
Cedric Giorgi
Brian Reich
Becky Carroll
Arun Rajagopal
Andy Nulman
Amy Jussel
AJ James
Kim Klaver
Sandy Renshaw
Susan Bird
Ryan Barrett
Troy Worman

Remember when …

When I wrote about my participation in the “The Age of Conversation” ebook, I said how I was a bit anxious of the idea to actually write a page in a project like this, certainly looking at my fellow contributors. I also made the comparison with my first blogpost here, that felt about the same way.

I edited my early posts many times before posting, the first time you comment, etc… Today CK wrote a great post about this which I think all of you should read. It brings back memories and also makes you wonder how fast things change. Check it out.

And regarding the ebook, I’ll be traveling for about 20 hours on Saturday to MIX07 in Las Vegas so I guess I’ll have plenty of time to edit it over and over again ;)

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Don’t be negative about rejection

This weekend I flipped through the pages of this new book I got (Whatever you think, think the opposite) I stumbled upon this funny (but true) quote:

“When I was Creative Director at Saatchi’s I gave a young man a grilling for production an underwhelming piece of work. Later in the day, somebody told me he was in his office crying. I went along to console him. I said, ‘Don’t worry, I was useless at your age too.'”

An IM conversation earlier tonight reminded me of the quote and made me blog it, so this one’s for all the ‘interns’ out there.

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Made to Stick (Cont’d)

I said it before, this is a great book and I still think so now I finished reading it. Just like with Naked Conversations a couple of months ago, I first didn’t want to write too much about it since you just have to read it, so I’ll keep it short. Every time I read a book like this, I’ll put a small piece of paper between the pages that I want to re-read later on. Normally I’ll end up with about 3-5 pages ‘bookmarked’ this way, but not this time… the book is full of little pieces of paper (a bit like this). Here’s why.

The whole book is built around SUCCES, where SUCCES is an acronym for Simple Unexpected Concrete Credentialed Emotional Story, a sort of checklist for creating a idea that sticks. To explain this, Dan & Chip use a whole lot of concrete examples throughout the book that help you understand what they’re talking about. Read on about the Curse of Knowledge in Tappers and Listeners, the definition of a watermelon, the Sinatra test, … and much more interesting stuff.

” Memory is not like a single filing cabinet. It is more like Velcro. If you look at the two sides of Velcro material, you’ll see that one is covered with thousands of tiny hooks and the other is covered with thousands of tiny loops. When you press the two sides together, a huge number of hooks get snagged inside the loops, and that’s what causes Velcro to seal. Your brain hosts a truly staggering number of loops. The more hooks an idea has, the better it will cling to memory. Your childhood home has a gazillion hooks in your brain. A new credit card number has one, if it’s lucky.”

Today I notice that when I’m working on a new strategy or creative idea, I remember the key elements in SUCCES and I cross-check to see if I got enough elements in my idea to make it work. The same counts for when I see work/campaigns of others that I like, I’ll go over the list to see why that is indeed a good idea.

I definitely recommend it to everyone, and not just everyone in marketing. This works when you are in education as well as when you are in advertising. Let me know what you think of it.