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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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Resisting Change

Photo by the fantastic Naeema Zareef (twitter.com/naeema)

Two events have been the highlight of the last week of 2009 for me. One of them was my darling’s stiff resistance of the flu and the other was a live encounter with a typical Marketing Manager 1.0. And , eventually, yours truly got to celebrate the assent of the new year in bed with fever as well… making the lessons learned from these two encounters all the more vivid.

1)Ignore it, Maybe it’ll go away

Years of evolution have not killed the breadwinner’s instinct in men, which even stands above the instinct of self preservation. When your man falls sick, he would always keep on going to work, as usual, doing all his house chores in an exemplary manner, without admitting that something is wrong. I suppose in ancient tribes, the sick were isolated or cast out of the villages & left to die alone. So God forbid for your man to admit that something is wrong. But what goes in the manager’s 1.0’s head is beyond my understanding. M1.0 says that the marketing has not changed and that the foundations and underlying rules still remain valid, he has a moment of truth when he condescends to admit that advertising has changed, and then he switches back to denial by saying that advertising is only a part of marketing, he goes back to touching on changing customer needs, but breaks off at specifics… And, of course, in the same manner that prince charming audaciously refuses to take a sick day and stay in bed, M1.0 would say, – “We do not need a website now, we’ll start working on it in a couple of months, we’re studying our competition for now.” But by the time they are weakened and overpowered by their disease, the first would’ve plowed through a week of 20% productivity at work and then lying in bed for 2 days to recuperate and another week and a half of insane coughing, which is a significant trade off for staying at home for two days, as I did, and then going back to work a 100% recharged.  And our M1.0 Would greatly benefit said competitors by not having a significant online presence by as much as he will frustrate his prospects, who would be unable to find a way to contact them and find out more about their products. And no, a Facebook page is not as good as Corporate website (if you disagree with that, let me know, I’d be more than happy to share my views!).

2) Time Heals everything

Mon Beau will tell you that it takes seven days to cure a flu anyhow, so why bother and put your life on hold? M1.0 says that brand awareness will come with time, after my comment about missing opportunities 5 months after market entry. Well, in my dictionary, one week equals, on average, 70 tweets, 3 blogposts, and a possible email marketing or other online campaign. Multiply that by 5 and you will have thousands of touchpoints with your clients that come at a fraction of a cost of traditional media. Maybe our generation is too aggressive, but less than a month in my new job, I am already feeling unproductive for not bringing in more value and having to cram up on literature/research 50% of my time and that is precisely why, I use the remaining 50% to make actionable change NOW. In my eye, less is more in the long run, and little things done now, be it a greeting card, sms, news release… may not just prevent you from LOSING an existing client, but also get you a new client TODAY!

3) Expenditure = ROI

When hubby does reach a pharmacy, after 5 days, he’ll sweep off the shelves everything  that can remotely help him, or at least that is what he thinks. But by that time, the poles have shifted and all he needs to do is really wait, sip orange juice and rest to recover, instead of ingesting antibiotics which will further drain his life -resources. M1.o will also go to extremes, after 5 months, hiring top models, pampering them and doing runway shows, publishing ads in glitzy magazines… in two words maniacally spending!  But same-same, time would’ve done its thing, and that extra investment would’ve been too little too late! But that does not mean that you shouldn’t still take in your vitamins regularly. Don’t wait until you get a soar throat to take action. Act now, act always! Because,

4) Nobody Cares about YOU, as much as You!

Your boss is not going to give you a day off when you are saying you are a little sick but already came to work, and your clients are not going to run 20 google searches, searching for your coordinates if you landing page, facebook page, twitter handle or corporate website have not been SEO and keyword optimized. And if your marketing campaign does not relate to me, your target client, and if I do not find what I want about you, no money in the world would buy you my consumer’s sentiment and loyalty. And beware, I am too studying your competitors, and so far , they are ahead of you.

5) Birds do it, bees do it…

Men have this secret solidarity pact about enduring illness at the office, when I used to take a sick day at my previous job, I sometimes felt my boss took it as a personal offense. On the other hand, my spouse’s boss can call him while he’s sick saying, – “Aren’t you man enough, chuck on some pills and get on going!”. Bizarre and unacceptable, but, nonetheless true! But, even if denial is the trend, you should take advantage of it. While everyone is “hachooing” at the office, retreat and come back rosy cheeked and productive. And while your competitors are stuck in their old ways, you have the time to experiment, innovate and advance! Your mindset is your only handicap!

Post Approved for publishing by Prince Charming, M1.0 feedback pending. What about you?

In the “New Media Age” hiding information is no longer ‘in’ especially for companies in the service sector, especially if those services are related to New Media. Moreover, when it comes to Marketing, it is now considered “mauvais ton” to push your content or offers onto your clients. The trick of the trade nowadays is being found, producing and spreading your content, educating your clients,  creating free tools… In short, Inbound Marketing.

Inbound Marketing is a relatively new discipline, though if you take a closer look at it, it is rooted in the same basic principles of all human interactions since the beginning of time.  Nevertheless, no one teaches us about Inbound Marketing in Universities (at least in the ME). Unfortunately, the academic world is unaware that the rules of Marketing & PR have been changed, and this is one of the reasons I am delaying my MBA.

But not all hope is lost, in fact, thanks to the Inbound Marketing philosophy of sharing and creating great content all marketers and people interested in personal branding have access to Inbound Marketing University.

The University is organized by Hubspot, one of the leaders in providing Inbound Marketing services for SME’s. You may also know about Hubspot form their great tools such as Twitter Grader and Blog Grader.  For this great project, Hubspot has partnered with the leading companies in the industry, each sharing its expertise in the continuously growing series of webinars/classes. But most importantly all the resources are FREE (thanks to the sponsors).

Another thing IMU focuses on is growing the Inbound Marketing Community where all can share their experiences in the New Marketing era.

IMU is a subject that I am very passionate and excited about, one of the reasons being that I am an IMU graduate myself now. So, register, download the webinars and start learning.  And in my next post I will be telling you about how it went for me, and all the drama I lived through before the Exam and then the turmoil of waiting for my certificate. But that is a completely different story!

Last week, when we were in Jordan, my prince charming  and I had a whole 15 minutes prowling around the hotel room and shoving out camera and mobile chargers into all the three-wholes sockets with hope of energizing our appliances. And hasn’t every traveler gone through that?

And that stretch to the inner ‘aha moment’, that establishes a positive interaction and sentiment is what makes this ad simply genius!

HSBC think local act global ad electrical switches hsbc the world's local bank advertisement sockets

Mastercard installation ad in istambul airport

This goes to show that even if you work in marketing, even if you are remotely involved in any of its functions, your mind gets rewired. And now you are always on the lookout for how others are grasping their branding opportunities. At around 6 in the morning, after a 3 hour flight to Istanbul, while my prince charming was simply looking for our bag, which would later turn out to be lost somewhere in the hidden dungeons of Turkish Airlines’ storage facilities…I was thinking of how to get a good snap of this installation to put on my back then non-existent blog…And now that i’m frantically jamming that same suitcase for an impeding trip to Jordan, I thought I’d break my silence and, hopefully, entertain you. 🙂

35 pubs and bars on Gemmayze Street in Beirut participated in the non-smoking night* that took place on Wednesday 28 October. Nevertheless, many of these establishments did not uphold to their promise to the organizing NGO, Rotaract, and were blazing with glittering buds and retortful puffs. I know I am late on the posting train** about that, but I have been analyzing it backwards and forward thinking: “What would’ve been done to make it a success and give non-smokers a night to ENJOY?”

One one of the pubs we passed had a 'bright' marketing ploy - an anti-campaign - "Smoking Friendly environment".

One one of the pubs we passed had a 'bright' marketing ploy - an anti-campaign - "Smoking Friendly environment".

The answer is very simple: Education, Promotion, Reward and Punishment!

Admittedly, all nights are busy in Gemmayze, and from my new born addiction to Dinner Dash I can now see how hard it is to cater to all the client’s needs. Nevertheless, on this special night an extra effort by the Ushers, Managers and Waiters in welcoming the guests and explaining the event their establishment is participating in would’ve gone a long way. Just Putting the leaflets on each table, would ‘ve served the purpose. For instance, the vile smokers in our restaurant did not know / have not been told that the night was a non-smoking night (or so they told us).  This is something Rotaract needs to educate all the pubs about for next year to avoid any mishaps.

A further step to be taken, is finding out who the smokers are and thanking them in advance for making this effort and providing a happy environment for all. Maybe some brochure or leaflet which included a thank you, the accomplishment they are making, ways to quit… would’ve helped if physical time was unavailable.

Now for reward. In my world a LOT is focused on giveaways, and promotional materials. What could help smoker’s through the night? Some nicotine patches and nicotine gum distributed at entry would have further enhanced the night’s theme and would’ve made any smoker beyond shameful to light up inside. and if smokers were to go outside for a smoke, why not thank them by a mini-desert or a free drink? Smokers could also be given extra privileges like a 10% discount for their next visit, or even faster service.

And now for PUNISHMENT, shaming is a good punishment. And here I have a great story to tell you!

This weekend we came back home to some poop on near our flat’s entrance (which is also shared by our neighbors). What simply stepped over it and ignored it (I’m not cleaning that!). But what our two neighbors did was INGENIOUS, and I have to  give them so much credit for thinking of this! They wrote on an A4 the following: ” Please clean after your DOG, our entrance is not a TOILET!“***  and pinned it to the door. And when we came back in the afternoon, the poop was gone and the A4 was snatched from the door. Justice has prevailed!

The pubs and bars that participated in the event have benefited immensely from the free publicity and the extra amount of visitors who wanted to relax in a smoke free environment. But what about negative publicity? What about Rotaract binding them to some penal clause in case of breach and monitoring them more effectively? And a last word on shaming, what if those vile smokers from our story were faced off by the ‘metre’ after they lit up, who would have with a smile reminded them of the policy and offered them a desert / drink on the house  (had they been informed about the policy in the first place)? You see the reward – punishment (in our case shaming) – reward is a very effective and simple manipulation tool that or parents have used on us, and at heart we’re all children!

Dear Rotaract! Us non-smokers really need this night to be a full success next year!

__________________________________________________________________________________

* You can check out The Star Scene photos of the Night

** Check out these great posts by Lilliane & Maya.

*** turns out one of our new neighbors has a dog :S

I am developing a particular liking to the fact that not a week passes by, when there isn’t one or two twitter related events. Twiendships are formed on the basis of like-mindedness, and geographical coexistnce allows for the next step! I hope to see one day the extend twiendship goes as being a support system, but so far we’re having a great time, aren’t we?

Well this time we met over at Cafe Younes.

 

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Then a small fraction of us went on to Pecha Kucha.

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This is LaraZ taking her picture of the day! [that is how magic is born]

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And let me tell you something, well you already know that, but I’m gonna say it anyhow – Maya in the comics is really Maya!  I do not know how she does her magic, she has tremendous introspection to convey every bit of her, including her mimics ( yes really the body language of Maya the cartoon is Maya’s), onto her character. It startled me a lot this time around… it really startled me and I developed a new found fascination! So she’s really a communication artist!

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Well anyway, here’s Maya’s take on all of this:)

 

If you are not following me on twitter you have missed a lot! We have been going at this for about 2.5 weeks and I am really impressed by the tremendous feedback from all my tw-friends… And now is the moment of Truth!

 

 How did #MYDESK Start?

Well, I was reading this blogpost about “working space image” from one of my favorite bloggers – Penelope Trunk. So basically it says that your desk portrays your image and you should be careful on how you manage you desk space, and what that projects about you. Having a messy desk myself ( even extremely messy at times) , I was disgruntled by that people with neat desks are considered more productive.

I am one of those people who can not manage a tidy desk, i simply can’t work on one, having so many projects I need all my papers to be within reach and combined and mixed for me to start forming the bigger picture. I feel less productive if I have to put the files back every two seconds… Even Penelope’s blogpost provides a counter argument saying “”Messiness is related to creativity because it tends to juxtapose things that don’t normally go together.”

Anyway, I know that its a pretty radical subject so I will not be blabbing about it any further, here is a photo of my desk at its worst! There you have it!

need to say in my defense that i specifically chose a very messy photo to post. (why do we messy people always feel the need to justify ourselves?)

need to say in my defense that i specifically chose a very messy photo to post. (why do we messy people always feel the need to justify ourselves?)

So anyhow, after I read this post, I wanted to know if there are people out there like me. And I Tweeted about the link and asked the question. I did not even to gets pics… and then I did… and everybody started participating and commenting…

 

The Desks

 As I said it went back and forth the pst three weeks, with me encouraging everyone on the network to show us what their desks look like and starting a mini competition. and at one point I wasn’t able to keep up with you guys:)

 

So let’s move the competition here. Comment, tell me what you think ?

 & if I’ve missed your desk, give me the link & I’ll repost it.

 

The “Creatively Organized” (code name for messy, but we do not accept the negative connotation)

(hover over the photo to see whose desk it is)

 @funkyozzi's colleague@manuelwazen@madhattar

@danyawad

nadjakh@ghassanb@ammouni@dashkoun34449368@smaldosari@larazankoul@hazz

The Elegant

hatemdex

@patricksemaan

The playful

@samerjay@noisythinking31608020@sleiman zr

The Zen Like & Minimalistic

 @scdxb@sanatawileh

 

What Normal Desks should look like?

961 nerd@sragheb@shanty2@shanty2@vipwoody@funyozzi@mayazankoul@marienakhle

 

The Musical

@toniyammine

Social Networking Workspace

@samerkaram

The Hig-tech

 

@haythamkhouja

@rtayyem@najinujumi@danymoussa

The Untraditional

@dksfood

@inine

 The Office with the Best View

I couldn’t embed Twitvid so you have to go through the link, but truly this office space needs to be seen http://www.twitvid.com/163C5

@mhallani

& this @mhallani's desk at this amazing office 😀 Lots of natural light and a beautiful view of the marina!

 

So What does your desk look like ?

* I’ve noticed there’s a new user on twitter Mydeskpicwho got recently created yesterday, just wanted to tell you, that it has nothing to do with me.:)

Some of my photos from the Brazilian Carnival in Down town Beirut, as well as my commentaries on the cancellation of the Carnival in Tyre. If you’re interested you can read Arabic, or French, if you just follow the hyperlinks 🙂

Recently, I have had some incidents which attested that ALL the people in my life with exception of  ‘the one’ ( and maybe my mom too) firmly believe that I can not cook ( only because they have never witnessed it not because they have seen any ultimate failure). And even my best friend, who on many occasions said that I am good at everything I attempt, does not hide the fact that she does not believe I am capable of any culinary achievements.

Well, something needed to be done to counteract this paradox, even more so as I have been thinking of re-starting blogging for a while now, and maybe this event will give me the extra nudge.

But  this is not to say that this will be a cook blog. ( NO WAY)

This blog will be about all the flavors of life around me and the things that interest me, which you will find more about if you keep visiting.

Things are quite raw around here for now, but it will grow and prosper. If you have any suggestions give me buzz…

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