December 2009

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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 .

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Haven’t we all got used to the “one page of content / one page ad” ratio in all our periodicals. Most of the time you start subconsciously to focus only on the left hand side pages, completely ignoring the sponsored content. Sometimes we just glance at the photos, as a visual distraction to text and completely ignore any content. As a believer in new media I often wonder about the returns of ads in print media. Do they really justify the costs? Don’t get me wrong, I love the print, the glitter of colors on pulp, the slithering of leaves… * But it does not get as many eyeballs as it did before. Your executive / target buyer is really buying the magazine for content, he has no time, he reads the content he wants to read and then goes off to his emails, rss feeds, reports… even fashionista’s are not so easy to seduce these days…

Oh well, I have veered from the subject, the second best way to get people engaged in your ad, besides giving them a freebie or a discount, creating a teaser ad. Curiosity is a drive and people will readily flip to the next spread just to see what’s going on. Works on all of us, even the snobbiest execs. And this what EFG Hermes are counting on.

Now, Tell me what you think!

{some see aim for the top}

{We consider it as our launching point}

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* But the environmentalist in me wants the print dead or at least wants to see it be more sustainable, and the rationalist in me says that digital natives will take over the world in the upcoming 20 years which will drastically change the Print Media. But of course the consumerist in me LOVES the Print as it knows far too well all the intricacies of what it takes to Print and to Print well.

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Just give marketers an occasion, and they’ll carve out a product for that. And what better festivity o leverage than Christmas? Even in these hard economic times, people will willingly part with their money for a dream of happiness. And apparently, this year, happiness is all about the freedom of choice of investment and liquidity.

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HSBC world's local bank business adHSBC world's local bank business ad

Check out the previous installment where HSBC addresses the traveler in you.

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-What is Live Tweeting?

- It is a lot like Live TV transmissions or Live Radioshows, only on Twitter.


But , you’ll say that everyone is Live Tweeting, and you are right because Twitter is all about the NOW. But you need to think of Live Tweeting as a live transmission of some football championship or a Miss World pageant, per se. It has to do with live coverage of a certain event by tweeps through tweets.

So why would you* Live Tweet ?

1- For Advanced and Compact Note-taking

Live tweeting seemed very natural to me, being a multi-tasker by nature, it is very hard for me to concentrate on one thing. So concentrating on a talk, while tweeting, helps me concentrate better on both.  But not everyone is as screwed as me, I know. So think about it this way. If you watch Oprah, you’ll notice Oprah sometimes repeats several times tips, ‘aha moments’, conclusions, main idea during the talk show to direct the conversation and concentrate the viewer’s attention. In that context, livetweeting is the equivalent of bullet-point summarizing an event. But instead of using pen and paper, you now have the ability to do that online, while sharing it with everyone who is interested in ”what are you doing right now” – your twitter followers. Which brings us to the next reason to live tweet.

2- For Personal Branding

When you are at an event, especially a conference, you hold access to privileged information. Afterall, there are a maximum of 2,000 people at this event, sharing the same experiences with you at that moment. As we are in the ME, a maximum of a 100 (very optimistically) of these might be tweeting about it. How many people are out there who want to know what is happening at this event? How many are tracking the event’s hashtag? How many searching this event on Google? How many people will RT a clever idea, a quote or a remark you beam from the trenches? By providing quality ( content is king at all times) exclusive information, you are not only tweeting to your followers, you are tweeting to everyone interested in the event/subject. Are you seeing the implications of this: the greater number of followers/blog readers you will get, the people at the event who will want to meet you, the grateful organizers who you can now ask for a favor….

And after a series of live tweets of various events, you will have complete authority in the community on the subject matter(s) you’ve covered, but not only that, they will be grateful to you for sharing your experience and dedicating your time to making them a part of it , their own Prometheus. In short, “Sharing is caring!” and caring in the Social Media world is always recompensed in tenfold.

{Not to mention that some events now provide free entrance to live bloggers and live tweeters}

3- To Promote Your Event (During the Event)

Here’s something I learned from the queen of  twitterEven if you do not have one follower on twitter, even if no one in your niche knows what twitter is, you can still harness its power. You can summarize the key points of your event as it happens, you can post photos of your event live and display your whole twitter stream on YOUR event’s website.

Did I hear someone say: “What if my customer / target group does not visit the website, is not computer literate?”

Well if worst, comes to worst, besides advising you to find a job in a web 2.0 savvy industry, I am going to tell you two things. One, it is always hard to be the pioneer, but you will leverage the greatest benefits. Sooner or later everyone will be online, be it on twitter or any other en-mode platform. But now you have the advantage of learning the rules of engagement, and experimenting with social media limitlessly, something you will not be able to do in the future. ans second, if for nothing else, once your event is over, you will need to have a good old press release or or your newsletter (printed or online). And the summary of all the tweets about your event ( be it yours, or your community’s)is not only a good place to start gathering your thoughts, but also a good appendix to your press kit (all of which is a part of traditional media) . And third… well I was going to talk about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) again, but then I remebered you are still in Web -1 so ask me about it when you catch up!

There is not one resource, more powerful than twitter for spreading word of mouth, and that is what marketers dream day and night about, isn’t it? So Why not use it and leverage it, after all, it is also FREE!

4- To measure an event’s success

As I said, everyone needs to be concerned about word of mouth, and your real estate space on the web. By announcing an event hashtag prior the event, provide a live-tweets stream on your site displaying all tweets with your hash tag, reply to all questions and comments, learn from positive and negative feedback… then you are on the right track. It has become customary to evaluate and event’s reach, success through evaluating the volume, quality of tweets during and after it.

Simply: Tweets = Publicity = Brand Equity

5-To promote your business in the context of the event

If you are just attending/visiting an industry related event or venue, on behalf of your business / personal brand, you can tweet about things that are in context of what your company does around the subject of the event. Let us say your company sells Ceramic tiles. “Twitter and Ceramic Tiles?! !” – say you? Well you go to Italian Exhibitions about Ceramic Tiles, don’t you? Do your customers know that? Wouldn’t they want to know what kind of tiles you are going to buy for your new collection, what are the tile trends this season, what colors/materials are in? Wouldn’t they want to see some photos? Wouldn’t they want to share this with others who want to buy tiles, change their home decor, interested in interior design?

And now tell me, wouldn’t that enhance YOUR company’s image as a point of reference and an expert in YOUR  field?

As I mentioned, Live Tweeting has always felt very natural to me, but what has inspired me to write this post  was the launch of livetweeting.com today for the live broadcasting of LeWeb to the Arab world. Livetweeting is the 1st Arab Live Tweeting Platform with Crowd-sourced Translation to and from Arabic.

” A group of live tweeters will be covering the event in its Native Language, for example English, and at the same time multi-lingual tweeters will crowdsource translation of the coverage to a second language, for example Arabic. All that will be presented in real-time on LiveTweeting.com.”

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* as a marketer , someone who is online for networking or building their personal brand

* you may also want to check some tips for livetweeting

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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!

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Join us this Friday, December 11th at 8:00 for the screening of Twilight new Moon and tell everyone you know about it.

Your participation is especially important since in order to get a discount we need to get at least 40 people to attend. Additionally, we are asking you to pay an additional 1,000 (making the movie ticket price 11,000) to enable Lebfunrasing to buy more gifts.

As we are getting closer to Christmas, we need all the support we can get, so spread the word to draw smiles.

For additional details on the event checkout funraising.info and RSVP your event attendance at the Facebook Event page.

P.S. If you’ve already seen the movie, just drop by to say hello, show your support and drop off your gift. And if you can’t make it, but still want to help contact Lebfunraising. Gifts will also be collected at the event.

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help fight children's cancer this christmas donaye to ccc

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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

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Eid Al Adha, in unfortunately one of the feasts disregarded by a lot of corporate marketers, in their communication strategies. Nevertheless, if you do concentrate on it your PR you will receive larger exposure and sentiment for that same reason.

This time around, unlike Fitr and Ramadan, the collection of cards is small but elegant.

Brand Embassadors Corporate Adha Card

Corporate Adha Card

Corporate Adha Card

Corporate Adha Card

Corporate Adha Card

Corporate Adha Card

Corporate Adha Card

Corporate Adha Card

Corporate Adha Card

Corporate Adha Card

I don’t know if you have noticed, but Blue is always the prevalent color in corporate communication. Of course, partially that is due to the fact that many companies’ corporate identities are blue.  But i believe there is also a psychological reason for that.

If you have received any other greeting cards, please forward them to me.

A Belated Happy Adha to all my Readers!

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