Jun 06

Larry Ellison Brand Lesson

Larry Ellison is one of the most important tech entrepreneurs of this century, the founder and creator of Oracle, a philanthropist and a passionate sailor. As you all can see from the image below he just joined Twitter and probably (and hopefully) he will start sharing some of its adventures and ideas.

On the other side, this fact can provide some insights for those who have a digital life and actively strive to reach some results via personal branding activities. In detail:

\"Twitter

  • No Description: He simply doesn’t need to be described, what he did and achieved can fully talk for him. He created in years something truly useful that can help business grow in a concrete and solid way. What he did for others is what best can describe him.
  • Following/Followers Ratio: He just opened an account and has more than 15634 followers (including me) and he is following 0 people. The ration is pretty obvious to understand and this means that a lot of people want to learn and get inspired by him (also some of them are just looking for gossips).
  • Verified Account: Owning a verified account is not for everyone, just a small percentage of people has that symbol near its name. This simply mean that he is real, his name is his brand and he preserve it.

Now after those three points, before complaining about your personal brand and on how people are not going to follow you, just answer to those questions:

  1. Have you done something that really matters and that people can refer to you?
  2. Do you have to say something that really matters and that can help people grow?
  3. Is your brand safe? Have you registered to all social media using the same name/nickname?

After that you can start redefining your personal brand and relative strategy and if you are still in doubt read this old post about Personal Branding.

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Apr 04

A Product Marketing lesson by Linux

No matter what you do on marketing, but you have always a product/service to pitch and promote to a defined target. To effectively sell it, there is the need to dress it with a set of characteristics and values, that your potential customer can feel as an extra value.

The video below is a great example by “The Linux Foundation“, on how Product Marketing should work and highlight the four main points, that a good storytelling campaign should touch.

  • Which are the benefits? - Remember to explain why someone should use your product and how it can improve their work or life experience. How much time and resources can be saved?
  • How the product is made? – When an user purchases your product, he gives you his money along with his trust. By showing the value creation process of your product, he would be able to understand what he is buying and feel the quality in what can\’t be seen in the product delivered.
  • Who trusted the product? - Show who choose and trusted your product by sharing their reasons and experiences. Make them feel that there is a community around their choice.
  • What\’s the product spirit? – Every product embeds the company values. What\’s your company mission and how this is embedded in your product?

 

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Mar 12

The State of Europe at SXSW 2012

I have to say that SXSW Interactive 2012 can be called “an experience”. This is something that gives you new ideas and grow, by giving you the possibility to meet together with innovators and young entrepreneurs from the valley (and a lot of internationals) all coming to learn new trends and share experiences and ideas.

During the conference, I had the possibility to network with people from different countries, making me start thinking about how different each culture has its business approach and how they were curious and wanted to innovate. When you want to Do Innovation, to change the status quo, you need first to be willing to change yours, by listening to others people opinions, share your ideas and try to look everything with others eyes. This need of discovery, is what often push people to evade from their usual environments (as offices or even countries), go where people with the same ideas gather and challenge themselves (and their security) to acquire new knowledge and ideas.

A country  (as defined on Wikipedia) is a “geographic region associated with sets of previously independent or differently associated peoples with distinct political characteristics“. This concepts in my opinion, applies to European Union (form now on shorted as EU) as a legal union of countries, with different history, language, mentality and relative approach to innovation, while USA is an union of cultures and heritages that share a common feeling.

As said before, every EU Country has a different culture, mentality and its own approach to innovation, that indoctrinate in different ways their people to new discoveries, and making them understand the possibilities that making a long trip to meet people alike, can give them. Its particularity, that is instilled inside a person by a country’s mentality. To understand if this idea was true (or wrong), I just counted all the participants coming from each EU Country. I logged inside the “Social Portal” that SXSW gave to each subscriber, parsed the data and analyzed each person interest (as interactive, music, film) by looking at the specific package purchased. The following chart, provides a meaningful insight, on the overall participation level.

The renowned long tail is present also here, showing how United Kingdom is by far the leading country with its 1400 participants (all the other EU countries together have 1428). I think that a big part of the credit has to be given to the mentality, but also to the language that permits them to fill easily the communication gap, their government, taxes, salaries and currency exchange, that gives them the possibility to invest on themselves and travel to Texas. Here below you can find the detailed data referred to the graph above (and relative colors).


Another analysis that can be done, is understanding in which countries supposedly is better to develop on Innovation. Innovation isn’t an exclusive of the internet-related environment, people keep create new trends on other fields like music and films, and SXSW has different tracks, where people with different passions are trying to discover something new. As you can see from the table below, I have summed and listed the countries that are more interested in discovering different trends in specific fields.

While writing this article, I was thinking why the USA is good in creating innovation and why EU is following. I think that one of the many reasons (beside their mentality) is the fact that USA owns the privilege in being young as a nation, giving them the possibility to build together their own mentality and spirit. EU on the other side, often has to deal with an old and built culture, making people often losing energies on trying to make “the new” live together with “the old“.

Another data, that isn’t related to the SXSW but that I have analyzed, is the percentage of population that uses Internet in each EU country and give you a clear understanding on how some countries are more open and interested in using new internet services and standards (the detailed list can be found here).

Percentage of Internet users in every country

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Mar 08

Quality is about Details: Check your Grammar

A lesson that I learnt in my early working years (and that has always been valid) is “Luxury stays in the Details“. For some this quote can seem obvious, but includes a full spectrum of meanings that can be used in every single step of your business or value-creation process, and its the key for a solid TQM (Total Quality Management) business approach.

Details are important when are aimed to be noticed, so that the final user would be able to add extra value on your product or service. By providing the feel that even the smallest detail has been taken care, you would be able to build on the customer’s mind the idea that the same quality has been given also to what he can’t see. The cure given to your job, is the key factor that would make you recognized as a professional that takes seriously its job, and this concept delivers better results (on brand reputation) than some expensive communication strategies.

Details are probably more important when they are noticed because they are missing. Part of the cure you put on your product/job will not be noticed by people, that’s because a certain level of quality is always expected depending on what you do and on what’s your core business (for example if you have a restaurant, clients expects you to use high quality products and a cure on preparing a dish). Clients would notice if those “expected” details are missing, making them think that you don’t pay enough attention on what you do, and on the long period it could hurt your brand reputation.


Sometimes we all need to deliver something in a rush, and this means that you can’t take care of every single detail and consequently the overall quality tend to gradually decrease. Anyway something that can’t be forgotten, is the need to always deliver an error-proof spell and grammar, that is the base of every good communication.

For example even if I’m not an English Speaking native, I write approximately for the 90% in English, and beside a continuous study of this language, I have the habit to check what I produce for grammar and spelling errors. To do that I use some online services, and below you can find four of them:

  • Spellcheck.net: The best way to simply check a single phrase (or tweet). It is able to identify errors and propose you different solutions, delivering you a final and correct text.
  • Text Trust: While working on a project (and periodically on the ones that I’m responsible for), I use this tool (by paying a fee) to check for errors on a whole website.
  • WordReference: A great tool to know the definition of a word and its synonyms.
  • Google Search: When you are in doubt for the spell and the meaning of a word, you can just Google it! With a single interaction you can see if the word is correct and how others are using it (see image below).

Just Remember “Quality defines who you are“.

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Feb 27

What to do at the SXSW

Next week I will leave Italy for a short professional USA tour, aimed to network with some of the smartest people on the web and discover new internet-trends and brand new startups. After a brief stop in Boston, where I will meet with Mr.Piskorski of the Harvard Business School (suggest to read this paper about Social Media), I will go to Austin to attend SXSW 2012.

For me this would be the first time at that conference and I want to get the best from every single moment, so looking around for suggestion of people that attended the years before, I came across with this inforgraphic, explaining what need to be done during this days. I have the feeling that #8 would be at the top of my bucket list ;-)

This is a great way that an event have to make their attendants loyal, by helping to have a great time outside the event. By being an Event, part of the Destination, its important to make people understand and feel all the opportunities that the city is able to show, and make them feel welcome!

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Feb 22

Delta Airlines shows its hidden part

As it is said, content is king and for this reason Content Marketing is Vital. This branch of marketing (in my opinion) is often the very starting point of all communication strategies, because you need to create something new and interesting to offer to your followers, in exchange for their attention, and later, loyalty.

If you want to conquer your customer’s respect, you have to be on their mind an opinion leader and a point of reference. To do that you have to provide good insights regarding the different thematic of your professional field, and share your knowledge.

A good example of content Marketing, has been done by Delta Airlines during their iPhone App promotional campaign, where they shoot a very interesting video about an hidden part of their service… the baggage management. They decided to show the way they work, by answering to a question that at least every traveler once thought about: How does my bag arrives to destination?

The three main points of this video are:

  • Reality: This is not a planned commercial that show how things actually work. This is a real video showing what really happens at every person baggage. Delta is also able to show people also about how hard is the hidden part of their organization, and customers are able to see how big the company it is and perceive how professional they are.
  • Consistency: The content aim is to find and effective way to launch their baggage tracking app, and the content is consistent on the subject.
  • Leverage: Delta used as main psychological leverage the human curiosity. Everyone wants to know more about something they only wondered about and the brand managed to use the high level of user’s attention to show also the real dimension of the company.

This commercial, managed to reach their goal, not only because has been seen more that 1.500.000 times, but they also managed to consolidate a line of trust inside users’ mind, by showing how professional the company can be, in wanting to make them travel peacefully.

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Feb 10

Kindle and iPad Compared

Amazon is really one of the starter (and innovative) companies in the world and this Ad is a clear demonstration of this, in every single way.

In the video above you can find all the values that Amazon wants to associate to its products, mixed together by a masterpiece technique. In detail:

  • Comparison: not only the main features of both products are listed in a simple way, but they also managed to  compare the price in a simple way, not by using the cost but highlighting how many items you can buy for, at the same price of one competitor’s product.
  • Family Values: the main caracther is a mom with two kids, used to showing how she is relaxed to give the kindle fire to their kids. Delivering the message that kids can play “intelligent” videogames like scrabble or see teen movies in full security. The mom has nothing to worry about, Amazon took care of everything!
  • Fun: the irony stands on two levels, personal and technological. You can see it on the technology side because the guy approach the lady to try to win the competition, and on the personal side he is not able to seduce her. The men loses on both ways, he simply can’t stand from the beginning.
  • Colors & Setting: the set is a vacation resort and the colors are truly relaxing. This enhance the transmission of brand values, like safety and relaxation that are explained before.
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