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Marketing Checklist

 

I know I am usually all about the Social Media Marketing, but let us not forget, traditional marketing is still amkes up a huge part of a marketer’s day to day tasks. And though participation in tradeshows*, exhibitions and conferences may become less frequent it is still there for every marketer and is essential for business networking, at least for now.

 

When I was preparing for an exhibition at work I made this checklist in order not to forget anything, and thought I would share it with you. It contains the major things that you should do/coordinate/get before, during and after an event / exhibition that your company is participating in. Let me know if you would add anything to it, feel free to download it, modify it and scribble your own notes in, that  relate to you industry or specific event.

Fell free to ask me for the original file, in case you want to make major changes, I would be happy to see it get a new life.

 

 

 

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* Not that I like/enjoy the fact, to me they are more like the inevitable. Networking 101 without the 2.0 element ( and some events that I have to attend/participate in are like that) seem to lack an extra layer of richness and context. I do enjoy events directed towards netizens though.

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Anti Aoun Group Facebook Ad

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anti Aoun Group Facebook Ad , unusual uses of facebook ads lebanon

I would sure like to see the digital strategy and the ROI behind all of these. Facebook has indeed become the new political landscape in Lebanon.

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Last week I gave two lectures at the Amercian University of Beirut as part of the AUB Online Collaborative #SM101 Series.

In the first I spoke briefly about how Social Media should be approached and some do’s and don’ts expressed by case studies from the Middle East. The below slides cover glibly what we talked about (hopefully I can post a video of it soon). The lovely Brooke Anderson from the Daily Star wrote an insightful overview of the lecture here.

If you are interested in the subject of setting up a Social Media Strategy you will be also interested with the interview I did over at GIGALB with Patrick Atallah from 90:10 Group which gives first hand insights into the subject.

The second was an introduction to Social Media Monitoring and was all about the free tools one can use to monitor social media activity and creative way of putting them to use. Let me know if there are any tools you love to use that were not mentioned here.

It was a very interesting experience indeed, big thanks to Mohammad Hijazi for inviting me over and Mrs. Leila Khauli for the support by telling her students that the material will be on their exams.

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Forward Forum - Poltical Demonstrations ad

 

Everyone is up to stirring a revolution these days, or at least, trying to juice out the buzz out of them towards their gain.

I’ve showed you previously an example of Irhal’s response to the Egyptian revolution.

This new example tries to echo a recent political rally here in Beirut, re-purposing it to promote their event. My Eyeballs, being used to political slogans all around were definitely caught up to read on. Nevetherless, I do not believe it added to the event’s exposure or made more impact compared to Forward’s usual print materials / ads.

 

What do you think?

 

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For revolutions I am interested in, I advise checking out Ontornet’s amazing efforts for advocating for faster internet in Lebanon.

 

 

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creative corporate end of year and christmas greeting cards middle east , cartoon

I receive a lot of e-greeting cards and I am usually more than happy to share the most interesting ones with you, because I believe that seasonal greeting cards are an important touch-point within the overall marketing communication strategy.  Among the many cliche and uninspiring greeting cards I have received so far, the above is just beguiling in its quaintness, naivete and absolute personalized depiction of the business.

Have you seen any enthralling corporate e-greetings lately? I would be ecstatic to take a peek.

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Lately I am going to so many events , most are tech or social media related, but … well… a lot of the time… the digital me feels at unease and disappointed, unable to share the event with the world or growing a grudge against the organizers, so I decided to write this simple guide declaring openly to all event organizers that anything less would be a disappointment, and ,well if they do the things I mentioned, they will make the online community more involved in their events and expand their reach and visibility. Don’t they all want that?

Ah well, as my main objective is self centered I mainly focused in things that need to be going during and after the event. (Plus most of them score well on before event stuff after I corner them with my questions in emails) .

1. # – Have a HASHTAG!

This is an out most basic, but then again most event organizers forget to make it short enough, announce it publicly more than once and most importantly forget to register it at a hashtag repository like twubs or  wthashtag,  so most of the time I am livetweeting from an event my followers start asking me “what is this and that #xyz … any links…  ?”

2. Official LiveTweeting

That brings us naturally to livetweeting. I have already talked about the importance of livetweeting here but i just wanted to emphasize that event organizers need to keep on livetweeting from the official event account to update people at the event on what is happening, remind who the speakers are and what their handles are, tell them where the live feeds are (doesn’t hurt to do all that in parallel on linked in and facebook as well) … AND if you are an event sponsor, especially at an event centered around social media, especially if your produce is focused around social media, big thumbs down to you if you are not tweeting about the event and not quoting your guest speaker. Yes @zawya I am talking about you and your zero tweets at MediaMeForum and your replying only two days later to my tweets. Which brings me to my next point.

3. Answer & Engage Tweets

For starters, there is no fun for a hashtag without a livescreen. At MediaMEForm the guys did a great job of livetweeting what was happening, BUT [yes it is a big but] they completely dismissed the twitter community. The twitter Screen was live only during the panels and it was put in a place where no speaker can see what we were talking about, and even the moderator did not address any questions from the tweets, nor did their official twitter channel. Unlike ArabNET, where there were ginormous screens dedicated to tweets and speakers paying full attention to what was happening with one speaker undressing to get a wave of tweets. Still , I think the impact will be even more augmented if you have a dedicated moderator to pick at least two questions from the twittersphere for each panel/speaker and ask them at the event. Honestly speaking, the questions are more pungent, very well formulated and more daring and provoking more mindful discussions, isn’t that what you want? Aren’t your events targeted at identifying the trends of the future?

4. Live Ustream

I was on the peak of bliss drinking my Pepsi, eating popcorn in my PJs watching the pitches at Yallastartup weekend day 1 and working on the other laptop in parallel… but then, lo and behold once the pitches ended and we started getting some cool behind the curtains views of the audience, their feedback and interactions, seeing familiar faces….. THEN the stream turned off and a vigilant message told me that the stream will only resume after one day to show the final pitches and that all in between will not be documented… I felt that that was plain mean… YallaStartup weekend is a sort of non-commercial example.

So all of you event organizers will be saying :”why should we put the stuff live for free, when people pay to attend?”

And I’ll tell you. one has nothing to do with the other.

Most of us attend the events for the networking and has nothing to do with the panels and the speakers, who by the way we realize travel from one event to the other with similar presentations, who most of the time blog a lot and more in depth about the subject, or write whole books on the matter… So you putting up a live stream doesn not diminish your financial gain, which BTW you have reaped in full from teh event sponsors and paying attendees. So you may as well give the sponsor’s their money’s worth and help promote their brands and spread their messages and you event’s messages (while your at it) to even more people. People, who by the way are highly targeted individuals, who simply could not catch a flight, or whose bosses came to the event but left them at the office, or teh bosses who sent employees there and want to make sure that they sent them to an interesting event… People who would love to come to the event next year. People who would tweet about the event and talk and talk about it…

It was so amazing to watch the few panels I have missed (due to my weird trip schedule) at Media ME Forum on their UStream account and the quality of the videos/voice/ the nice music they put when nothing was happening – really professional! And ArabNet, they really understood that if they just empower the social media addicts, their event will be promoted across the roof and that’s what happened.

4.PHOTOS

We live in the now and like to see photos now, and share them and comment on them – ALL NOW! So do not make us wait two days for your flickr or facebook gallery upload. You can set up something extremely simple on site, like that photo booth Arabnet had (could not find link), that immediately sent all photos to their flickr account. Also make sure if you have something like that up & running, promote it well before and during the event.

You have a lot of room to be creative here and there are more wonderful ideas out there to engage people in crowdsourced photography at your event.

5. Icing on the Cake – Netvibes

So you do all of the stuff I mentioned above and integrate all of them into one awesome netvibes page that people courting your event could easily follow.  This is one of the more magical tools out there and one I really, really adore to look at when it comes to events I am not at and ones I am at (if they have one that is). For instance check the cool netvibes page SpotOnPR does annually for Gitex and while you are at it, check Spot On PR’s Netvibe’s page. Don’t you see how that will help your event to become more sharable and viral?

6. Social booklets

You lovely event organizers always give us those nice and creative booklets with all the info about the speakers, but why oh why don’t you mention the speakers’/moderators’ twitter handles, websites, blogs next to their names, so we can connect to them, address our questions to them, or just plain stalk them? and while you’re at it, dedicate a page at the beginning providing us with the event hashtag, livestream, netvibes page… et all

7. PLUGSSSSS

I always email event organizers about plugs, they always feel so happy when i tell them i am planning to bring my laptop to livetweet and welcome the thought and assure me WIFI and electricity plugs are available, but up till now, none of them have delivered on that. Do you expect our battery lives to be infinite? Do you expect us to have spare batteries for our iPhones? We want to enjoy the event all of its durations while checking on work email and tweeting or life-blogging YOUR event. Plain and simple, there should be a dedicated plug at least for every four attendees… Not that I mind making eyes to the camera guy to co-share his plug and carrying around at all times a multi-plug adapter, or stealing power for my mobile from a fellow attendees dying laptop…

8. GOOD WIFI

This probably should’ve been at the top of the list, but I consider it a basic and only as I reread the whole thing I decided to highlight it, just in case….

9.Screen & Screen Brightness

Also a little after thought: try to have several screens at the event and make sure that their brightness is optimal, so we are able to take good cellphone pics no matter how far from the stage we are without stealing your speaker’s valuable “top secrets”.

After Event Tips

  • Encourage us to send feedback
  • Send us all the lovely links for the photos, social pages, videos, slides … post event stats, news clippings about the event
  • It is also lovely to receive some post event answers to questions that were asked during teh forum but did not have enough time to be answered properly or the material/numbers was not at hand.
  • Send us an industry newsletter (yeah i do not mind up being automatically signed up for that)
  • Ask us what do we want to see at your next event
  • Continue Tweeting, Updating the Facebook/linked in page of the event and engaging all who were at the event

Next month, I am planning on attending the 1st Arab Social Media Forum, which the organizers are promising to be a wholesomely dedicated event to all social media aspects… so…. Guys, I am really hoping on seeing all that stuff there [wink, wink]!

Have I left anything out? What is it that you found missing at the last event you have attended?

*Update 1: Forgot to tell you how at Microsoft Open Door Event this year there were special giveaways prepared for tweeters. Small giveaway, but nonetheless, it was pretty sweet.

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Advertising and design companies around the Middle East have always worked on Ramadan greeting cards, which hold corporate messages and link back to the brands of their clients. Every year, the challenge gets even more interesting with a focus on creativity and visual impact that would surprise and inspire. But as globalization takes over the Arab world, interesting developments are easily noticed.

Starting with the design phase, all creative’s scout around for inspiration and ideas to create a card that is visually interesting, modern and creative. An essential part of “Islamic design” is the integration of old and modern Arabic calligraphy, the “star” of the visual, coupled with a layout design including interesting die cuts and new cardboard treatments and rendering the card an interesting design to display.

In the past few years, the display factor has become essential. With designers creating cards that would “stand alone” and display the message without necessarily being an actual physical card. Ideas range from regular cards to developed boxes that would hold two main messages: first, the company name, which would link the message to a specific brand and second, the actual message, which is a heartfelt wish and portrays the “humane” aspect of a caring company.

Recently, we can notice the introduction of Latin and Arabic texts at the same time, something never done in the past, a symbol of adaptation to the world and a way of sending a clear message and communicating the “Islamic life” to countries and people who do not necessarily understand the Arabic Calligraphy.

Similarly, the calligraphy, which is also a beautiful graphical element, is coupled with modern Arabic typefaces, an interesting thing to note. Calligraphy stays a visual link to the traditional Arabic past, a visual and historical story developing over time. In Ramadan, as people read and remember God’s word, they are reminded by its beauty and form (calligraphy is the Islamic expression of the beauty of Allah’s word).

I view this period as a form of advertising the Islamic world brand. All Arabs from around the Middle East unite in a similar manner (the everyday lifestyle adaptation to rituals). This unity creates a global brand forcing itself on the global audience. These greetings, given out to clients and businesses around the globe, are a simple form of communication. On one side, a certain company promotes itself (as noted above) on another side, it promotes the Islamic world, the religion, the people as one group, one complex identity, one brand.

This brand is currently evolving, integrating itself on a global, massive scale (Arabic typeface development is a simple example). On another hand, the global audience is more open to the Arabic language (with so many interested in learning it, and so many learning how to draw Arabic calligraphy) there seems to be surprising developments awaiting us in the years to come.

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Gabriel Ghali

Art Director, Blogger, Columnist, DJ

Blog: http://gghali.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @gabrielghali

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I want to thank Gaby for jump-starting this great collaboration and  his wonderful and insightful review of trends in Islamic art and the development of what is know as an “Islamic brand”, based on his many years of experience in branding and advertising in the middle east. Gaby has also provided the great gallery of cards, which we would like to contribute to as well. Just send your company’s corporate greeting card to contact [at] theidentitychef.com or add a link to it in the comment box.

Do not forget to subscribe to Gaby’s Blog and follow him on twitter for his amazing daily doses of positive vibes. While you are on Gaby’s blog download his Exotic Sensation’s Tracklist, which is simply divine.

Ramadan Moubarak My Dear Readers, I wish you Warmth, Empathy & Spiritual Uplift in this Holy Month.

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SMEDS Ad Campaign for Car Giveaway

My Car has been giving me a very hard time lately, it has had it coming  since I graduated Uni and yet we have been concentrating on getting through with the wedding and then saving up for the house

So even though I do not eat any type of processed cheese and don’t even like the car that SMEDS are giving away, those typical scenes from our daily commuting lives, just make me feel so understood. And I get that certain warm feeling towards SMEDS.

This is what every Campaign should be able to achieve, right?

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Despite the stupendously negative reaction of the online community to the demeaning Mon Bijou Mon Droit Ads, I have spotted these once again on Big Banners all around town.

This time around it seems that Moukarzel have a brand champion in the form of some starlet, livid on capitalizing on the huge wedding wave in Lebanon.

This is what happens when brands do not study the return and feedback on previous campaigns and bastion themselves within the walls of their own ignorance – Sad but True.

Moukarzel’s Competitor’s take notes and rejoice while they are stuck in Marketing 1.0.

Mon Bijou Mon Droit strike 2

Some Links from Bloggers regarding the first wave of this Campaign:

- Cafe Thawra

- @Naloves on twitter and on her blog

- Beirut NTSC

- Maya’s Amalgam

(if you have written an opinion about this campaign, please let me know so I can link back to it)

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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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