Business card v.2

I still have to order new business cards after I changed jobs early October. I didn’t just want the corporate default though so instead I waited until this week to add some gapingvoid magic to it. The front of the card will still be the classic Microsoft design but on the back I will have this (see below) from now on. It sort of says the same as on the front but just in another language :) Can’t wait to get these printed.

hughcard_small

And in case you wonder where the ‘geek marketer’ comes from, read this.

Where’s agency 2.0? (Cont’d)

Right about a year ago I wrote this thought:

“With more and more agencies adopting new ways to get the connection between their clients the advertisers and the consumer, I think it’s time they rethink themselves as well and look at how they can serve their clients, their customers a bit better. Just a thought.”

It was at a time that I was working simultaneously with several different agencies across Europe and it struck me how all of them were telling me to focus more on the customer etc while in the meantime operating on a very self-centric approach themselves.

I was reminded of this post (and discussion) this week as Alain Thys and Stefan Kolle from FutureLab released a new report around exactly that topic:

“This is the free version of the Futurelab report on the growing disconnect between what advertising agencies offer, and what their clients are looking for. If you wish to purchase the full report with 60 pages of strategic insights and recommendations, go to: www.futurelab.net/agencyreport.”

Enjoy.

Hugh at LeWeb 08

As I mentioned about a week ago in the ‘Blue Monster in Paris’ post, Hugh MacLeod was a regular guest at the Microsoft BizSpark and Live Mesh booth at LeWeb in Paris this year. We had agreed with Hugh to try out something different than usual and everybody who stopped by while Hugh was there could get a personal Hughcard and maybe even something more… like say a signed Blue Monster wine bottle for instance.

"Amsterdam Blogs" by Hugh MacLeod @ Le Web 08  hermione

It was great to see a lot of people stopped by and had cartoons drawn on business cards, wine bottles, body parts, computers, etc. All good fun and a lot of times real conversation starters, just like we hoped it to be.

Those of you that were interested in the event will all probably have read what The Guardian had to say about it, well if you did then make sure you read Thomas Crampton’s answer to that as well. Every year when I look back at LeWeb it is with the eyes of both an attendee as a sponsor. Every year there are some things that could have been better (yes it was cold, yes I liked last year’s venue more, yes we were definitely spoilt re food last year, …) and there are always plenty of reasons why I will be back next year.

It’s still one of the best conferences for networking, there’s all kinds of great content to be discovered and you just know it’ll start a conversation just like the years before. When I checked with the program manager for BizSpark or the startups that were able to show off what they got as part of that program, feedback was very good. When I checked with the Live Mesh guys, feedback was good. And quite a few people went home with a personal cartoon… yeah it was good for me. Thanks again for joining us Hugh!

Seasick Steve!

Last night I saw Seasick Steve on television and I have been listening to his music ever since :) Not only is that the kind of music I really like, the guy is as authentic as they come, seriously. And I’m sure that it’s partially because of his great music, but also because of that authenticity that he’s going to become even bigger than he already is right now (yes it’s the first time I hear from him, but that hasn’t been the same for everybody).

Check out this clip below from his appearance at Jools Holland more than a year ago and then this little documentary (part 1/ part 2) to see what I’m talking about. Enjoy Steve with the Three String Trance Wonder and the Mississippi Drum Machine:

First thing I’m doing this weekend is buying his stuff, all of it! Authentic stuff, I tell ya.

No Copy

In image says more than a thousand words, that’s no secret anymore. And I guess that people who’ve been reading this blog for quite a while have noticed that I have a soft spot for advertising campaigns that convey a message using just one (but powerful) image. Like the 2 campaigns below, note that the first one has no copy at all.

alkaselzer 
More at Buzzing Bees.

careerbuilder
More at adhunt.

A friend’s birthday

It seems to be quite appropriate that the 2nd anniversary of the Blue Monster coincides with Steve Clayton’s birthday as Steve has been crucial  in getting the Blue Monster where it is today. Hugh Macleod has a nice little write-up about the Blue Monster history, well worth reading. For me this story started at a similar time that I got to know both Hugh (we met for the first time at LeWeb 2 years ago) and Steve and that’s how I got affected by our little blue friend. It was good getting to know all three of them.

In his post Hugh refers to what David Armano had to say about the Blue Monster, something he wrote after he and I met at MIX08 in Vegas:

“What’s to be learned? Blue Monster shows us that no matter how big or small the company that the world is a bigger place. And external influences can become internal influences. And it teaches us that if we are interested in the evolution of corporate culture, that symbols are important. If we don’t find our own—someone will find them for us.”

bluemonster Even more, the Blue Monster became an example of how companies can embrace social media. It has become an example of how a company (or anybody for that matter) can benefit from letting go of control. Just read through Rohit Bhargava’s “Personality Not Included” for instance, or the more recent “Crowd Surfing” from David Brain.

Hell no, the Blue Monster is not dead – it’s alive and kicking, not only within the spirit of many Microsoft employees but also outsiders are starting to see change. And did you read Hugh’s 7th point? Well the Blue Monster is going to Paris… but more on that soon ;) For now, it’s just happy birthday.

When did we start trusting strangers?

“When did we start trusting strangers” is a new research from Universal McCann done in September of this year and is part of their Wave global digital research program. The research/survey was done in 29 countries involving 17.000 internet users.

“It explores how the web and in-particular social media have made it incredibly easy to source and share personal opinions. This has created a revolution in where we source information and what we trust that has massive impacts for the role of professional media and marketing communications.“

I strongly recommend that you take a look at the presentation as it holds some pretty valuable and recent information on consumer behavior and commercial influence. You can find the presentation below, there’s one thing I wanted to highlight specifically though. At a certain point the research talks about superinfluencers:

“In a world of mass influence – some people rise above the average. These are the individuals that influence regardless of category. This is why we call them superinfluencers – they go beyond the average.”

Now that is nothing new, but then they look at these superinfluencers motivations to recommend products or services to their peers (indexed against all respondents) and then you get this:

superinfluencers

You’ll notice that these motivations are pretty similar to all respondents when you look at good or bad personal experiences or when it involves high quality brands, but that they are a lot more driven than the rest of the population by values such as celebrity endorsement/usage, fashionable brands or in case brands are unknown amongst their social group. Now I found that pretty interesting.

Anyway, as said, interesting research and good presentation so go check it out below:

Moving on…

… to a new role at Microsoft. During my 4 years at Microsoft, first as the Belgian Consumer Marketing Manager for MSN and later as the Marcom Lead for MSN and Windows Live in EMEA, I’ve been experimenting with social media. Remember the Windows Live Sessions we did all over Europe (e.g. Brussels, London, …), inviting bloggers to events such as MIX, sponsoring and attending Barcamps or Girl Geek Dinners and bigger events such as Le Web for instance, the adventures with Steve and Hugh around the Blue Monster, speaking at events, getting the word out on ‘Bring The Love Back‘, engaging on blogs and twitter, etc… Although it was only a small part of my job (the main part was setting up online marketing campaigns), I’ve always been very passionate about it.

Since October 1st that has all changed. Since then I’ve started working in a new role as Digital Media Communications Manager for all Windows Consumer brands – PC, mobile and online – as well as MSN and Live Search in EMEA. I got to say, it’s like getting paid to do your hobby just like Steve seems to think about his job as well. And it’s also the reason why this blog has gone silent for a bit, as I’m still transitioning stuff from my old job to other people. Also our fiscal year started on July 1st so I got to get my new plans ready asap, expect more about that here soon.

Anyway, I’ve been waiting for the moment I could tell you all this, wish me luck and if ever you have ideas on how you think I should run this… let me know in the comments.

Your friends always with you

My marketing colleagues in The Netherlands just launched a new campaign to promote the mobile version of Windows Live Messenger… and I like it a lot. The site is in Dutch so might be a bit hard to understand but you should still go take a look. Click “Geluid aan” (aka Sound on) on the main page and then choose between in browser of full screen play. Once you’ve done all that you get introduced to Mike chatting on mobile Messenger from the metro station. All of this is visualized pretty nifty, but what’s especially nice to it is that you can change between the 4 people participating (by clicking on their names in the status bar, botton left of the screen) while the story continues. Just go and check it out for yourself, kudos to Monique and the team.

overalbijjevrienden

Once I know who the agency was, I’ll update right here. The site was created by Red Urban Amsterdam.

Wait until September

When The Kaiser really really likes something, It has to be good. And so it is. IKEA in Germany is running a campaign called ‘”Warte bis September” or in English “Wait until September”. Just go and check out the site, where you can see a guy called Nils … waiting. And you can send him an email or even better, give him a call to ask why if you want. He doesn’t seem to answer the phone all the time, probably when emailing or twittering (GTD right) and it really is a German campaign but like Marcus suggests, why not give it a try wherever you are in the world and give the man a call ;)

Check it out, curious to see what happens in September. It’s pretty clear though that Nils could use some furniture.

NilsSeptember

Call Nils on +49 40 22 61 11 61 or email nils@warte-bis-september.de. He can also be found on Twitter. Kudos to The Kaiser for finding this!