NON-SMOKING SIGN IN A TAXI IN JORDAN

Last week some idiot completely blocked off my car and I had to take a taxi to work. By the time I got there, I had a nice acquired tobacco aroma from the driver, as expected! However, on my way back home, I had a very interesting encounter, that made me remember this photo I took in a Jordanian cab. When someone smokes in the car, or in any closed space for that matter, I always remember the techniques used to smoke fish & meats.

Anyway, the cab driver I was driving with on my way back home, though a smoker himself, ask his passenger not to smoke in the car and wait till he gets to his destination. Now that was an unexpectedly refreshing act as opposed to the usual cab drivers taking it as an opportunity to grab a free smoke and puff up in a good company 🙂

Have you ever taken a ride with any similar Beiruti cab drivers?

… and speaking of Beirut & Amman, don’t forget to attend Twestival Beirut-Amman this Thursday, March 25.

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byblos flower festival march 20 21

Even if youy are not in search of a job vacancy, make sure you attend this workshop to learn how to harness this powerful networking tool. See you there: )

smex linked in workshop

Jobseeking and Professional Networking with LinkedIn

Based on the idea that it’s who you know as much as what you know that matters when advancing your career, LinkedIn is a fast-growing ‘Facebook for professionals’ that helps you connect with colleagues and expand your professional circles.

In this half-day workshop, recruiting expert Marie Jo Roepke will introduce you to the world of social media for networked professionals on LinkedIn, help you create a well-regarded profile, and show you how to leverage the application to reach your professional goals. The workshop is perfect for anyone who’s familiar with Facebook but would like to get more out of social networks. Even if you already have a profile, chances are you’re not using it to its fullest potential.

The workshop will be held at SMEX’s new offices in Badaro from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, March 20. The language of the workshop is English.

RSVP to attend: http://bit.ly/smex-getajob.

lebanoninbooks march 20 souk al tayeb


grafitti "Keep your coins, I want change"So you may have had enough of hearing this word, or are probably immune to the meaning behind it. Let’s see how powerful it would be to apply the same in the world of Advertising and Communications.

Anyone who worked in Advertising/PR will probably drone for hours about how clients think they know what s best for them , and how frustrating it is when campaigns do not generate expected results, or simply how thin the line is between a great success and miserably failed Ad.

I ve presented this solution to different Advertising/PR professionals, and it has never been met with anything less than an “AHA!” reaction. Reason being: it is simple yet profound: Change things up.

Benjamin Franklin wrote:

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results…

Advertising folks like to admit that they’re outside the norm. Crazy, you say? Maybe. More like non-conformists. We live by the only code which is: NO CODE.

But when it comes to generating results, attitudes are different. You can t afford to be too crazy (or Insane as Ben Franklin quotes above). Simply put, if you keep applying the same method /concept / approach you should not expect to get better/different results.

In a broad sense this has several implications for Ad folks. For example, if Brand X uses the same general platform for too long it risks two things: people get bored quickly or people simply get attached to the platform and will refuse the new platform.

Solution: Change things up.

If your research is not bringing you closer to the consumer, change your tools. Go out and be the consumer.

If your brief is not inspirational enough, break it down and use a different template.

If your media choice is not generating interest, explore alternative media.

If your client refuses to invest in a bigger campaign, change your selling technique or upgrade your negotiation tactics.

Simply put, same behavior generates same results.

The next time you feel inertia against a new idea by a client, just remember Ben Franklin’s statement – it is simply insane to expect your results to change if you continue doing the same things.

Go ahead. Change it up.

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BIO: Khaled Itani is an ex-AdMan with an MBA in Marketing from the American University of Beirut. With years of Advertising/Communications experience from Grey Beirut and JWT, Khaled is currently a Client Services Manager for a leading North American e-Commerce firm.

____________________________________________________________________________________________


Read Khaled Itani’s Previous Guest Posts:

And also, read other Guest Posts on the Identity Chef.

For some weird reason, I do not know how he does it, but Khaled always ends up sending emails into my inbox with precisely the answers to the questions that are on my mind, drawing from his personal experience and whatever rubbed off on him during his years as an Ad-man. Thank you Khaled for inspiring me and unknowingly satisfying my curiosities. It is an honor to share it on the Identity Chef.
So guys I am interested in what you think, what’s your perspective?

perfect summer job

via ivysays.comToday, IVY was giving dating advice on twitter and asking people for feedback on her make a move rose giveaway and planning a tweetup dinner.

Yesterday, at the table, we sat arguing for around 20 minutes whether IVY is real or not.

The whole week before, people were passionately interacting with IVY on twitter…

Two weeks ago, Ivy registered to attend a tweetup and blogged about it.

And the truth of the matter is that we shouldn’t care if IVY is real or not. We should be happy that companies have finally understood the language of digital natives and is creating campaigns that resonate and interact with us, as well as the other poor mere mortals. After EXOTICA’s  unexciting Different Christmas campaign, that even failed to point us to the blog on their billboards, Leo Burnett, Exotica’s ad agency,  reviewed all of its mistakes and came up with something with a phenomenal snowball effect. Yes, as I said before my friends, social media marketing is sparking to life in the middle east and you are either with us, or eaten by the competition.

Things to learn from Exotica’s IvySays Project.

1- Give and you shall receive

The IVY we have come to know and love is a giver. She started by giving us dating advise, which though we may not all apply, but we all loved and we felt compelled single people everywhere felt compelled to try out Ivy’s moves and then… Ivy slipped a rose into our hands and made it all the more easier. Think about your clients, think about what they need. And even if you are B2B business, think: Do your they need education, help, comfort, care, empowerment? All of us do, don’t we? Now how can you use all that your expertise to help them, regardless of your product?

2-Engage and you shall be engaged

Before IVY got to her first post, she got a twitter account and after that, she did not just re-tweet her own posts, she replied to people, she talked to them, shared her opinions on outside issues, gave them advice and encouragement. There was no pushing her message or asking for anything for herself. That is why, when IVY asked questions she got enormous feedback, even from those who were in doubt about her true identity. And that is value you will not be able to leverage unless you create a genuine online persona [not to be confused with a retweet bot].

3-Go where they go, do what they do!

Ivy blogged about various creeks and corners in Beirut, be in Kayan, Greedy Goose or Le Grey, and that is what made her connect and resonate with her audience. Ivy did not blog about flowers she blogged about fashion, make-up, glamor, plastic surgery, national pride, chocolate- SUGAR, SPICE and EVERYTHING NICE – and we all like nice things.  Then again, she went to twitter to reach digital natives and, mind you,  she even guest blogged and re-blogged it on her own site. Did IVY ask girls to go to EXOTICA to get the flowers? No, they went out to  the most up and coming place – Gemmayze, Achrafieh and Hamra. The only thing that could’ve been done differently would be  giving out roses all around Lebanon, and not just Beirut.

4-Empower and you shall be empowered

Even if they did not comment, retweet or send emails, thought they actively do, with every dating tip IVY empowered ladies to take actions. Girls, being the gossip machines they are, would discuss it – which means GOING VIRAL offline. And then again with every rose given out to a guy Exotica created a positive sentiment, that is teh first step to along lasting relationship, not with the guy, but with the brand. And come 2011 I expect more girls to send out flowers to beau’s, and now, not because they[roses] are free, but because it makes them feel good. And this is the golden key to any successful brand. And did I mention the publicity, Ivy’s campaign is getting from mainstream media?

5-Going against the current and bringing the currents together

There are two stakeholders in any relationship – MAN & WOMAN. Exotica’s outdoors visuals empowered men, by teasing them with images of women they could have had in 2o09 if only they were brave enough. While Ivy, took a less traditional approach, and she looked to empower women. Mind you, women are not traditionally the ones we think first of when we think about selling flowers, right? But then again, I have seen countless times flowers being delivered to men at our offices from girlfriends, wives or wanna-bes. And then again, think of it, if a girl gives a guy one rose before valentine, and the guy likes the girl, on Valentine he will get her no less than a bouquet and what will his 1st choice be? Certainly EXOTICA. So you see, by bringing people together and spreading love Exotica may actually have record sales on February 14.

Finally,  I want to congratulate Exotica on the Brilliant Initiative and hope that IVY , whoever she is, continues blogging even after February 14, otherwise the digital natives all around, both those who think IVY is Real and Fake, will feel beguiled and disappointed.

Googling I found this song called IVY SAYS, I wonder if it had anything to do with the origin of the campaign.

This week Smex Beirut was kind enough to invite all of us to their new offices to announce their plans for 2010 and socialize. I know the guys have cut out for them because:

Prince Charming: ” So what do these guys do?”
Me: ” Basically they teach NGO’s how to use social media for change and to reahc their target audience”
PC: ” Did not know you need to have training for that, isn’t it natural?”
Me: “well yeah , but most NGO’s don’t even know why they should have a website, leave alone, what they should post on it…and think of all the help and exposure they could get if they work on it using Funraising’s model…”

So below is their monthly newsletter, with their plans for the months to come. Obviously, SMEX is branching otu to reach greater audience and enable all citizens, which is even better. Social Media novices, get involved with SMEX

February 4, 2010 • Volume 1 •?Issue 3
SMEX Re-Launches with a New Website and Open Office Party

SMEX Re-Launches with a New Website and Open Office Party

On February 2, SMEX opened its offices to Lebanon’s growing social media for social change community to celebrate its relaunch as a full-time organization. Visitors were treated to a tour of the colorful offices, which include a social space for intimate events and screenings and a training room.

The open office coincided with a launch of SMEX’s new website and official registration of Social Media Exchange as a Lebanese NGO. We also took advantage of the opportunity to ask visitors what they want from SMEX in 2010. One suggestion: A workshop for parents and children on the responsible use of the Internet. What would you like to see? Let us know at ideas@smex.org or by calling 01-380-553.

Thanks to all those who made it, and for those who couldn’t, we invite you to pass by anytime.

Workshop: Social Media for Jobseekers

In February, Social Media Exchange, in collaboration with recruitment specialist Mary Roepke, will host Career Development with Social Media. Delivered in two half-day workshops, this training will introduce you to the world of social media for networked professionals and show you how the Web and social networking can help you reach your goals.

The workshops will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11, and Thursday, Feb. 25. The cost for each half-day course is 60,000LL per participant, or both courses for 100,000LL. The course will be given in English.

For more information, visit our website or you can RSVP now.

NOTE: We will also be hosting two half-day workshops for human resources professionals on how to use social media to recruit better candidates and diversify their talent pools. Please get in touch at training@smex.org or 01-380-553 for more information.
Workshop: Basic Internet Privacy and Security

Have you had enough of computer viruses and malware? Are you worried about identity theft or what might happen if your Facebook details get into the wrong hands? Well, If you aren’t, you should be. SMEX is launching a pilot internet privacy and security workshop for select participants on February 15, 16, and 22.

The first two sessions will cover the basics you need to know to keep yourself and your data secure. The third session will take place a few days later and focus on troubleshooting and answering specific questions. All sessions will be given in Arabic. For more information about how to sign up for this free training, please email training@smex.org or call 01-380-553.

Screening: 10 Tactics for Turning Information into Action

English with Arabic subtitles.
On Sunday, Feb. 14, at 5 p.m., SMEX will screen a 55-minute video on how to turn information into activism. Case studies from Lebanon and around the world are presented by activists working on a wide range of issues. The documentary, which was shot during the InfoActivism Camp, India 2009, is brought to you by the Tactical Technology Collective and was translated into Arabic by Rebecca Saab Saade at SMEX. Watch a preview. Activists and NGO representatives who attend the screening can purchase the DVD and companion toolkit for 15,000LL. Proceeds will go toward shipping taxes and refreshments. Please RSVP to let us know you’re coming.
***

That’s all for this edition of the SMEX newsletter. You can also keep up with our upcoming workshops and events on our calendar. We hope to see you soon!

Empire popcorn box design competitionWhy limit yourself to your internal pool of designers when you can hire an agency? But why would you limit yourself to an agency, when you have thousands of designers with explosive ideas, right? And, oh , they will give you their ideas for free hoping to expand their portfolio and win a substantial prize.

Moreover, given the needed exposure the campaign will raise overall brand awareness and will give people a sense of ownership in the brand as well as hype their curiosity.

I think it’s brilliant and as a cinephille and popcorn addict I will be watching the result closely.

If you are young designer, why not give it a go, you never know what will happen!

No color - no life - Toufoula PosterNo color - no life - Toufoula PosterNo color - no life - Toufoula PosterNo color - no life - Toufoula Poster

These visuals are truly amazing, they are down to the point, they convey the message, and visually communicate what the organization does. Just thought I’d share them with you, in case you haven’t seen them around.

Toufoula is a young Lebanese NGO that seeks to improve the life of terminally ill children in any way possible. One of their projects aims at decorating hospital rooms of the sick children. You can check out more about them on Toufoula’s website and while you’re at it, check their profile which has photos of all the rooms they’ve done.

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funraising.info

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