Book Review: Contagious

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How To Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age…by Jonah Berger (Stanford MBA Alumni and Wharton Professor)

Over the last 3 days, I read ‘Contagious’ – at 210 pages, it’s a quick and enjoyable read filled with great examples and easy to understand language. Berger focuses on his research on defining the six qualities of how products, services, and ideas spread through the human population. You can make content contagious by following these STEPPS:

S – Social Currency – people share to make themselves look cool.

T – Triggers – people share things that are top of mind and tip of tongue.

E – Emotion – not positive versus negative emotions, but the key is high arousal.

P – Public – if you can’t see it, you can’t share it.

P – Practical Value – Useful news.

S- Stories – like the Trojan Horse, wrap your product or service into a narrative.

It’s a great book for anyone in marketing, product, or business. I’d say a 3.7/5 read. And he mentions some pretty great YouTube videos (like the Parisian Love one I posted about) or this one about corn:

Now, I’m going to start a Bulgarian comedy called ‘ожених се за веганка’ (I married a vegan). And I’m going to read the book in a lovely coffee shop in Sofia called Chucky’s Coffee & Culture.

чао за сега!

NextTECHnow Expansion

There are some exciting times ahead for NexTECHnow – the start-up outreach program for Publicis Media. We’ve been a global capability (Business Transformation) since the summer, and the past 2 weeks have shown us continuing to go through hyper growth. This means growing laterally – across the Publicis media brands such as Zenith, Optimedia Blue 449, Starcom – and globally – across new countries. We even have a new logo and website. (Yes, for those of you keeping track… this is our third logo iteration).

http://nexttechnow.net 

On the 3rd of November, NextTECHnow launched in Singapore:

And today – the 10th of November – we officially launched NextTECHnow @Zenith here in the UK.

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TEDxBrighton

It’s always been my dream to speak at a TED conference. Second to that is actually getting to attend one… and this year, that dream came true at TEDxBrigton on October 28th 2016. The theme for this event was ‘We Can Be Heros’: a celebration of impact.

My top 2 talks were:

  1. Rory Sutherland – Rory is a change maker at Ogilvy. He gives fascinating talks on marketing, human psychology, and choice. This time he focused on the paradox of choice and wealth because we now live in an era where wealth doesn’t always come from having more products and services, but from having a better way to choose between different options. Read more about it here. 
  2. Sarah Giblin – Sarah was a commuter with a problem: with the backpack behind her, she constantly felt threatened by the people around her. After deliberating the design of backpacks, she realized… that maybe… just maybe, backpacks were designed the wrong way around! So, Sarah set out to design and manufacture a backpack that includes the zipper against the users back, rather than being exposed to the rest of the world. RIUT stands for Revolution In User-Thinking because she believes that as consumers, we all have the ability to solve the pain points we experience on a daily basis.

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Other interesting speakers that grabbed my attention:

  1. Beau Jessup – a 17-year old British Girl that has named over 250,000 Chinese Babies through her ‘Special Name’ website.
  2. Dave Perrins – A man who saw felt males were not properly trained to become fathers, so he created ‘The Dad Course’ (a relaxed environment meet-up to help first-time dads prepare for fatherhood and become more engaged, more confident and healthier fathers.
  3. Cat Fletcher – Cat gained national recognition when she sourced the materials for the University of Brighton’s award-winning Waste House, a two-story building constructed almost entirely of re-used waste materials.

Qui est Louise Delage?

Now this is a true content marketing strategy that uses the Instagram platform to its fullest potential. I love the idea and execution of this campaign against alcoholism in France; it definitely understands consumers and their behaviours (even the bad ones).

This reminds me of the AI chatbot Sweetie… see more on that story here.

‘Mentor A Female Entrepreneur’

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The program continues with our second event tonight – focused on decision making in business environments. But as an art project, we also took all pictures of all the women and asked them ‘what’s the best decision you’ve made so far?” Generally, the answers fell into three buckets:

  1. I’m happy I moved to London/the UK.
  2. I’m happy I pursued a career  that I’m passionate about even though it was different from my university  degree/previous job.
  3. Deciding to get married/have a family

For me, I wrote: Investing time in learning other languages

Why? Because I now realise the power and cultural awareness that comes with being able to speak to people in their native language rather than always relying on English. The Bulgarian language is fundamental to my identity and my ability to connect with friends and family back home. Meanwhile, French was a great push into a language that I chose to learn for my own curiosity and passion.

Couple interesting articles discussed at the event:

FEMALES: Let’s unite in our search for Moderate Drinkers

I love this new ad from Heineken:

It’s so much more than just a CSR campaign (Corporate Social Responsibility). It’s based on a real insight that women ACTUALLY want to interact with men who know their limits. I think it’s funny, well shot and extremely engaging. A moderate drinking campaign in the alcohol category that is executed correctly. And it makes me proud to be working with them on their communication and marketing strategy.

MAFE…

… stands for ‘Mentor A Female Entrepreneur’. It’s a program that pairs managers and directors in our media agency with women who have founded a start-up. My inspiration for our opening session was Sheryl Sandberg:

“Presenting leadership as a list of carefully defined qualities (like strategic, analytical and performance-oriented) no longer holds. Instead, true leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed… Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.”

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Our mission statement builds off this idea of leadership and raw conversation:

Create a prolonged authentic conversation between two women that are similar enough to relate, but different enough to inspire each other and fill knowledge gaps.

Everything was Mobile. Now, Everything is Start-ups.

One of my first public industry talks – so please be nice! It was extremely nerve-wrecking, but it was exciting at the same time. I love public speaking and hope to continue improving this skill….

The overall session was about mobile, but I chose to compare the rate of adoption for mobile to the rate of adoption for start-ups in B2B environment. The overarching umbrella was around ‘innovation’ and the tipping point at which it diffuses into the masses. (and how brands + agencies approach working in mobile and with start-ups because of those laws of diffusion).

Feedback always welcome.

 

Today’s agenda: Coconut Pancakes and the Start-up community

If there are two things I like more than anything else: it’s breakfast and lists.

Today’s breakfast: Coconut Pancakes. Recipe here. 

Coconut Pancakes

Today’s list: 10 things I’ve learned from working with start-ups

  1. Start-ups exist in a COMMUNITY and the more you participate, the easier it gets to network and meet others in this community.
  2. Authenticity is needed for ‘commercially-minded corporates’ to successfully enter this sector
  3. An idea is worth nothing, but a company with actual products, strategy, and a team is worth something (potentially).
  4. The definition of a ‘start-up’ is impossible to pinpoint. And that’s never going to change.
  5. Corporates and start-ups are not enemies; they just don’t know how to speak to each other. It’s a classic lost-in-translation situation.
  6. Money is not the issue; execution of ideas and scaling up past ‘shiny new start-up’ is a problem.
  7. It’s a numbers game – the number of start-ups, investors, mentors, accelerators, brands, clients, etc.
  8. There are two types of people in this world: entrepreneurs and curious observer. Having or not having a start-up is NOT the defining characteristic. It comes down to personality – there are people who build and people who support.
  9. There are a lot of bad ideas, confused business plans, and inapplicable pieces of tech that have hundreds of thousands of pounds in investment funding. Again, how much money you’ve raised is secondary to the monetization strategy.
  10. Both breakfast and the start-up community involve a lot of coffee.

Samedi matin à la start-up.

Am I able to give career advice? I’m only 22 after all.

I’ve been helping out at my old university – King’s College London – with their careers and employability office. A couple weeks ago, I went in to speak to current undergraduate and masters students at a career festival for the Film Studies program. After graduating in July, I now have 7 months of experience through my full-time job in a media agency. Walking down the all-too-familiar corridors created an interesting sensation:

Here I was in the exact same location and it’s very clear that it’s me who has changed and not the environment. In fact, the architecture, smell, feel, and people looked exactly the same as last year (when I was attending this career fair as a hopeful final year student). But this time, there was a different confident stride in my steps, not one of getting a first, but one of having job security figured out.

Most of the students were there looking for a way into the film industry. In that respect, I was their counter example of someone who veered away from the ‘artistic’ satisfaction of the creative arts for the more corporate world of marketing and advertising. I think speaking to the students was just as informative for me as it was for them. Nevertheless, I stood tall and explained my role and plans for the future in the business world.

Two weeks after the speaking event, the careers office asked me to write a blog post for them. And it finally came out, so I thought I’d share it (which was the point of my whole rant above). Enjoy:

http://blogs.thecareersgroup.co.uk/humanities/a-case-study-in-digital-advertising/

It offers some insights and advice to university students trying to figure out what they want to do after graduating by drawing on my own experiences of job hunting/soul searching.

I obviously still have so much to learn about the world of work: what skills are most employable, how to change jobs, how to progress, how to balance work/life, etc. However, I still feel that I can offer advice and help to university students, especially because the experience of transitioning lifestyles is still so fresh in my memories. It’s important for people to stay in touch with university students as they progress in their careers because, essentially, those students are the future of the work force. Their desires, mentality, and capabilities are a direct reflection of generational changes, economic situations, and cultural values. And it’s very hard to know what the future holds if you don’t understand the people that will be working it because let’s be honest, most business are people-led first and foremost. So an understanding of the younger work generation is ALWAYS key to any company that wants to grow.