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Well with all my business I forgot to tell you about my 1st guest post over at GigaLB.com, which is a hip Lebanese Tech Online Mag run by the Maniachis for technology insiders, lovers and addicts, and early adopter consumers. When I sent Chadi the post, 2 days late I did not imagine that he would accept posting it with the headline that I put. But anyways he did, so now, if any of you want to berate me for the lack of posting you can read between the lines to check the reasons why. Anyways, here is my blog post with the takeaways Lebanese marketers and Social Media enthusiasts need to munch on following the event.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

And keep on the lookout for other posts of mine over at GigaLb who are good hosts.

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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?

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Right when I asked the Question on trusting your guts and making tough choices, Khaled surprises me with this to the point post in my inbox. And though you all know how much I question my own decisions (it’s out of my control), especially career related, the fatalist in me rejoices at his words. Read on…

My advice to you on facing decision-making time.

Every other day I interact with individuals that are at crossroads of making life-changing decisions. The one thing in common among people weighing out their options is the stress that accompanies such a high involvement exercise. Making a decision is something we do every day; whether we pay attention or not: almost hourly we are faced with choices. But the decisions that really take their toll on our minds are the life-altering ones; the major ones that determine our career path, future, personal and professional progress.

Stress of decision making

via http://www.freewebs.com/kachukeland/paintguys.htm

Nearly a decade ago I received the single most helpful advice of my life: advice that I pass on to anyone who knows me on a personal level. And this is advice that I will share with you now. I was in the process of making a major decision, and at the period of time, this decision and its projected outcome were weighing heavily on my conscience. Until an old family friend helped me approach the decision-making process differently. Their advice was as follows:

“Any decision that you make, is the right decision.”

Yes it might be hard to conceive or accept. But it s very true. Any major decision that you are required to independently take will end up being the correct one*. How so, you may ask? This is very simply due to the ability of the human mind to adapt. Humans are able to cope and become accustomed to the situations they’re in (mostly) and are continuously looking for improvement. I like to cite an example that fortifies this advice and illustrate it.

Think of the last time you suffered a minor injury (a small cut or bruise on the arm, per se). The one thing that was definite after your injury is that your skin healed itself daily. Your body is built to recover, regenerate new skin, and eliminate the wound. Likewise, your mind is able to recover, regenerate new thought and attitude to help you cope with stress. Reflect on that while you review the last major decision you took. You will then realize how that same decision you made was the right one simply because you were able to excel and manage the outcome in a way that worked best for you. So if you re about to choose a university major, a job offer, or a change in career path: don’t stress yourself out. Face the decision with head up and a forward-thinking attitude being confident that you will be doing the right thing!

*that being said, I am by no means referring to decisions that involve unhealthy or destructive behavior. Those types of decisions are never the right ones obviously.

BIO: Khaled G. 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.

If you still haven’t, Read Khaled’s Guest Post on Mastering Habit No. 5 to imprive your understanding of people and situations.

Oh & don’t forget to Participate in my Fringe GiveAway.

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Firstly, Happy New Year my Dear Readers. I have been submerging myself in work, but do not fret, amazing material is coming up on this blog, as well as a possible move and re-decoration :) The year ahead is full of surprises.
As usual I am VERY lucky to receive very devoted, much more experienced guest experts. In fact, my dear Khaled, was dedicated enough to write this post on his blackberry, within the same day! So, before I leave you with this post, I would like to thank him for enlightening me on there being more to number 5 that Chanel, and drop a spoiler: Khaled will be contributing 4 more posts to this blog on amazing subjects, imparting his priceless experiences in Advertisement, Communication and Personal Branding! So Read on and stay tuned!

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. If you read/follow the work of Stephen R. Covey, then you have already recognized this as Habit Number 5 from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If you don’t, then there’s a chance that this phrase may come off as sort of a cliche. Let’s explore how essential this practice is in effective communication: Understanding your respondent; Seeking to gather as much information as possible before you respond. As simple as it may it sound, I still find it the number one challenge in business and personal communications: the ability to put yourself in the other person s shoes (metaphorically, that is). The analogy I will present next is my aim at materializing this practice (seeking first to understand) and clarifying it.


I’ve developed a useful habit while driving over the past few years. I find this new habit particularly helpful considering the strict driving laws in the State of Arizona. Recently I’ve started applying the learning from this driving habit to everyday communications, and the results: fascinating.

The Habit: As I drive I always look beyond the driver ahead of me. I focus more on the cars in front of him/her rather than on this driver s behavior. This usually improves my reaction time and helps me better understand the driving dynamic.

The application: How does this help communication? Simple: imagine a normal conversation as a driving experience. You steer the conversation as you would drive your car: to get to places/destinations. Now imagine yourself as driver A. Imagine the person you are talking to as driver B (the car right in front of you on the freeway). And imagine all other concerned individuals to be drivers C,D,E all driving in front of Driver B.

As driver A, you are less prone to colliding with driver B when you understand how driver B is reacting/interacting with drivers C,D,E If you notice driver C coming to a sudden stop, you will focus more on slowing down BEFORE reacting to driver B s sudden stop.

Now apply that same logic to a human interaction: In order to better interact with someone, you need to first know why they behave as they do, how are they reacting to their surroundings, what drives/motivates them. These are the things you need to understand first, BEFORE attempting to put your points across.

Several years back, I applied habit number five with a client and it resulted in a successful communication flow. I was handling an account with a client who was continously angry, and hence agressive in their approach to matters at hand. A few months of having to deal with this, I found out 2 facts that shifted my paradigm:

1-The client was in fact a working mother, who due to the excessive amount of business trips was experiencing frustration and disconnect with her 2 year old daughter.

2-I stumbled upon a survey result that said ‘Working women, are the employees with the highest amount of stress levels’

Knowing these 2 facts made for a much smoother approach to my angry client. I understood the nature of her behavior was in no way related to the quality of work or the people that are delivering it.

In conclusion, Habit number 5 (Seeking first to understand, then to be understood) can be put to use by understanding that: the best relationship you (driver A) can have with someone else (driver B) is to understand how they are acting in response to other individuals (drivers C,D,E ).

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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I am really glad to inform you about my first ever guest post over at Krikor.info , which a very interesting design & architecture blog.

The post is actually a follow up on the Ramadan Greeting cards post, as it is a selection of the Eid Al Fitr cards I have been collecting .  Without further ado I will let you now go over and visit this post, but first I would like to once again thank Krikor for the invitation and more so for allowing me to do things at my own terms. But of course he will be all too humble about it and say that he is not CNN. :)

Also do not forget to follow @krikor over at Twitter.

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