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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.

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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?

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.

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?

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Disclaimer: I am aware that most of my dear readers are nothing like the Lebanese Laila I speak of. In fact, my readers are amazing bright Lebanese women who reject being branded with media stereotypes and have worked hard to become well established respected  professionals .  Male readers, especially those from outside of Lebanon, may not believe that such a species of women actually exists here, but it DOES… And unfortunately,  it co-exists with the cliched “Haifa like” “Lebanese Laila”. Images and personifications of which are all too painful for true Lebanese women to see. So I am really sorry my dear readers for delving to explore this cliche, I do not abet Laila or aspire to be like her, but I  I believe that the Lebanese Laila is a brand. A brand which in spite of all of the harm caused, can teach us a lot!

This post is part of the Kolena Laila Campaign.

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Yes the “Lebanese Leila” gets a lot of laughs and criticism from us women for being silly, superficial, unambitious, short-sighted… But then again, doesn’t Laila always get what she wants effortlessly? And isn’t that what everyone, not just a marketer, wants? … Now you’re listening? Well, take notes:

1) Be where you community is.

No my dears, Laila does not Blog! Laila does not even Twitter! Some of you may say it is because she does not have much to say… But no, it is because she knows all too well her target audience. And she knows that her target audience of Don-Juans and starlets does not read, does not spend time in soul digging and does not have an artistic streak. She knows that her audience is on Facebook, and she makes sure to have a very attractive profile there. Which brings us to point two.

2) Always give your audience what they want.

They don’t read, but they have eye-balls and curiosity. And Laila always makes sure to have a great set of profile pics of her at “such and such party” or “such and such wedding” make-uped and air-brushed to perfection.  Her fans, her target audience, her prospective husband to be, will devour these photos  and comment on them (audience engagement). Moreover, these photos together with the comments will enlarge her footprint on the web and spread her content through her audience. And that is what every brand wants!

3) Be active in connecting to your audience.

Laila is always the first one to wish you a Happy Birthday, give you a nudge / missed call if you have not connected in a while and adding you on facebook after meeting you after a random gig in Gemmayze. And that is how she retains a “loyal” network of connections. [Chuckles of Disbelief in background] Well these strategies are exactly what allow Laila to get extra $$$ on her mobile phone credit whenever her heart desires, get a free invite to a party, or even get that necklace that she put as her display photo for a week on facebook with a tag ” I WANT THIS” instead of slaving for months to buy it…Sad, But True.

4) If you can’t create  – imitate.

To us mere mortals, Laila seems like a fashion victim, with her Haifa lips, tatooed eyebrows, Shakira Curls, Rihanna Shorts… Then again, doesn’t Laila make heads turn in the mall (product placement)? Doesn’t she have her photos all over Layalina and Mondalite (free PR)? Doesn’t she have more friends on facebook as a result (brand equity)? And eventually more choice of rich cavaliers for her to choose to be-wed (product demand) ? And keep in mind this is what she wants!(achieving marketing objectives)


5) Know your competition.

Even Layla knows, that in today’s open age it is a loss not to keep track of what your competitors are doing and using it to your advantage. She will always text you when Celine’s dress is too short, Jana’s husband is cheating on you, or email you and another 100 of close friends a video of Dana wasted at a party. She would always go shopping with her drop dead gorgeous cousin, whom her fiance adores, just to advise her to buy the ugly top and last season boots. And yes , when she was 16, she would spend hours browsing through her “frenemies'” new photos, because if just one of them got their nose done this year, she also had to do it.

So you see, if Laila can do it and achieve her marketing objectives, you with YOUR BRAIN can as well, just play by the rules of the New Media Age.

So tell me, have I missed anything?

P.S. I Found this FANTASTIC lebanese blog all dedicated to Lebanese Illustrators, check it out: http://kootoob.blogspot.com

Images via: Maya Zankoul, http://kootoob.blogspot.com and  Stavro .

patrick semaan logo Patrick is a dream guest blogger, he is someone a host blogger can only dream of. And as promised, he has made a come back and is answering all your questions about blog advertising. Also don’t forget to check out Patrick’s latest project the Gift Cheat Sheet,  that is available for free download, and follow him on twitter.


Read the rest of this entry »

This was sitting in my draft folder for an eternity, I’m gonna just quick post it since the issue was brought up @twitter.

Dunkin Donuts Fire Fighter's campaign

From mid-October until the end of November, Dunkin’ Donuts customers will be able to donate 1,000 L.L. to the Beirut firefighters’ brigade with each purchase of 1 small Dunkalatte or Dunkaccino and 1 Donut. The Beirut Fire Department will use the amount collected to purchase severely needed equipment that will enable them to better save and preserve the environment and thus, to benefit the society at large.  Source : Executive Bulletin

 

Where Dunkin Donuts Fails?

– The guys does not look like a Lebanese Fire Fighter.

– The posters only started appearing recently, while I was stalking shops all of last month to find one.

Lessons to be learned

If you want your campaign to succeed, have images that your audience can identity with.

IF you want a campaign to succeed, campaign in advance agressively.

*Male readers,  passionless for shoes, do comment about subjects that move you & I’ll try my best to find a guest blogger on that matter… but take a peak I believe you’ll still be interested…

bianco

Remind me to someday show you a photo of my [our, technically, but over 75% of the closet and the floor and the boxes over the closet… belong to me] shoe closet! In the last two weeks I became the proud owner of not one, not two, but FOUR pairs (!!!) bianco shoes and two clutch bags… And I must say in my defense that, usually, I shop in moderation (one pair every 2-3 months) but massive amounts of sales and good shoes put together are just like absinthe to me!

So anyway I decided to check out what this brand is made of marketing wise, because usually it is hard to find clever shoe advertising, and ,my oh my, I was up for a treat! I’ll let the gallery and movie speak for themselves now!





Another thing I loved is the bianco shoes contest that has the ultimate shoe lover’s dream prize : ALL THE SHOES YOU CAN CARRY OUT F THE STORE! The contest asks participants to submit their feet’s photos! And there are a lot of interesting entries you should check out! The contest closes in end November so await an update!

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You can buy bianco shoes in Lebanon in Sports et Loisir and  Dunes Verdun. If you know other places please share.

I found this little beauty in last month’s Executive Magazine. I am half certain that I have seen this concept before in some design handbook, but one must admit its interactive and very effective!

techbizad1techbizad2

After you take off the business card you, the message reads:

“If not you can remain in a business of wasted opportunities where clients complain which will lead to your employees resigning. You won’t get any bonuses. You wide will stop hosting dinner parties. You will sell the Chalet, the sports car and the golf kit. then before you know it your family will be living on discount coupons.

The only thing that I don’t like is that it does not convey the fact that Terra Biz is part of Terra Net and the services they offer are internet related.

If you’ve seen any of its predecessors , tell me!

Impressive animation that ‘speaks’ to you without words conveying the message – CCTV is aware of everything ! Even if you have a very slow connection, WATCH IT & tell me what you think!

 

 

 

CCTV Ink TV Commercial – Directed by Niko Tziopanos from Troublemakers.tv on Vimeo.

[Found VIA: Creativeroots]

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, but was always afraid to approach it, or undermine the importance of the subject matter. Because it is a story that personally touched me & encourages me to push myself every day…

In her last month in the company Angi had an extra beat to her step, a glamorous shine in her eyes and was always accompanied by a very trendy white clutch bag. Only at the farewell party, did I find out that this is what she was planning to do in the future – her own brand of hand bags, purses and clutches…. I instantly had a million questions and incessantly bullied her into answering them & showing me more….

The Dream

“I always had it my head that I want to do something, my own thing, so that people will know this is Angi“*, Angi told me. But when there is a flood of Graphic designers with raging price wars, Angi though to herself : “What does a girl want? What can’t she do without?“.

The unique business model

Having previous experience with leather business gift items, certainly helped. But please do not understand the challenges of finding perfect quality execution, raw material suppliers and building a satisfactory business model. All of which Angi has achieved through sweat and blood slash careering between her office job and her entrepreneurial dream.

She focused on selling through various exhibitions, getting the word out through Facebook, and certainly satisfied customers. She told me that a whole chain of recurring clients can sometimes build up through one random purchase: “A guy buys a bag for his girlfriend, then his mother, then his friend wants to buy for his fiance… and now you have a group of loyal clients.”

And her business-model has a lot of integrity too. “I do not pitch up my prices like many retailers do, it simply doesn’t work for me, my prices are fixed and I can not bargain a lot with my clients, but at the end, I would never allow myself to price a handbag over what I, as a young girl, would afford to pay for one…It is not fair  it is not right…”. Angi told me that on average all  her handbags are between 30-65 USD, which is a premium bargain, since they are hand made in Lebanon using the best materials and accessories.

Going an extra mile is also normal for Angi, she accepts orders via telephone and can even design custom models upon request. Moreover, she is ready to deliver anywhere within Lebanon, and she even does it in person most of the time.

Angi Barakat Biel Invitation

The Future

Besides being in every major exhibition on the Lebanese terrain, Angi is now planning to open her own store really soon, and is also working hard on launching her own website. And she is happy with what she has achieved so far – ” The good thing is that people are starting to know Angi as a brand.”

 

So even if you are not in need of a handbag drop by the Mother & Baby exhibition @ Biel to meet this extraordinarily inspiring girl, who has such amazing energy. Maybe it will rub off on you, as it did on me 🙂 And remember if you think hard enough about it and work enough your dreams will come true too.

 

 

 

Do you know any other successful young entrepreneurs?

*All quotes in this post are liberal and not literal