Tomorrow starts with Chemistry

Porter Novelli organised a three-day event for Cefic  (the European Chemical Industry Council ) ‘Tomorrow Starts With Chemistry’, in the framework of the International Year of Chemistry 2011.

The event included a series of workshops as well as an exhibition designed to draw attention to the wide use of chemistry in our everyday lives and the role that it will play in solving some of tomorrow’s societal challenges, especially mobility, housing and water. It was held at the historical Palais des Académies in Brussels and was visited by business leaders, EU and Belgian decision-makers, schools, and the general public.

The exhibition displayed the spectacular Solar Impulse plane, interactive demonstrations and breath-taking experiments such as the quick dry paint demonstration and 3D holograms of the mobility of the future. An Awards ceremony was organised to congratulate the winners of the 2011 Xperimania competition jointly organised by Cefic and European Schoolnet. They were selected out of entries submitted from 65 different schools, in 16 different EU countries. The interactive XperiLAB bus (parked outside the museum) held sessions for invited Brussels-based schools. A ‘EU Class of Chemistry’ also took place for a group of more than 200 Brussels-based students representing 27 nationalities, addressed by Dr. Andrea Sella, a chemistry lecturer at the University College London and a regular guest of the BBC Series “The Story of Science”.

Workshop sessions brought together scientists, entrepreneurs and EU policy makers to discuss different topics like the Creative Economy, Innovation for Europe, Plastics shaping tomorrow’s mobility or “European Women: Innovating for Smart, Sustainable & Inclusive Growth”.

The project included event management, graphic design, advertising, media relations, and an extensive social media campaign. For more information, visit www.tomorrowstartswithchemistry.eu




They did it!

By Kathy Van Looy

Yes, we are proud: the Porter Novelli Cycling Team made it to the top of the Galibier in the French Alps. Climbing for Life was a great success: 2500 Belgian cyclists conquered the famous mountain last Saturday. The 20 people currently diagnosed with either asthma or cystic fibrosis were also able to make it to the summit – without a doubt the biggest “champions” of the day.

“It was a tough climb, but a wonderful experience”, says Steven Robeyns, one of our PN heroes. “During the whole event, there was a wonderful group atmosphere, and the concert on Saturday evening was the cherry on the cake. I especially liked the massive support we got from our colleagues via Twitter and Facebook : it was wonderful to see that people were thinking about us.”

Climbing for Life already raised 120.000 euros, and thanks to the huge success, there will be another edition in 2012. So for all Porter Novelli cyclists out there: start training and join our team next year!


International launch event COMPEX Wireless



Five months the Porter Novelli DJO team had been working on this huge project, last week it was finally there: the International Launch Event of the COMPEX® Wireless.  With the COMPEX Wireless, Compex® (one of DJO Global’s leading brands in Europe), launches the next generation of electro muscle stimulators for sports professionals. COMPEX Wireless is the first wireless electro muscle stimulator (EMS) in the world that offers professional, safe and effective muscular contraction while using wireless technology.

 The launch event took place in the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, a beautiful venue at Lake Geneva. In the morning, the Compex employees could enjoy a full introduction of the product, and in the afternoon there was a big event for the distributors and the journalists (more than 50!). In the evening all could enjoy a dinner and party, and from what we’ve seen on the pictures, they all had a great time.

The Brussels team was responsible for the complete campaign, from concept to communications: the logo, the packaging, the advertising campaign, the viral campaign, the website (http://www.compexnolimits.com/), press conference, direct marketing campaign, the launch event, POS material, etc.

Mark Cavendish behind the scenes

A truly integrated campaign. The VIPS that DJO Global used for the campaign are quite impressive: Mark Cavendish, Marc Herremans, Chris McCormack and many more. We find the viral campaign especially a lot of fun, because of the interaction with the user.

Go have a look on http://www.compexnolimits.com/online-challenge and let us know what you think!

 Congrats once again to our DJO Global team: great team work, wonderful campaign.

Watch the amazing video with Marc Herremans here


Golden bullets from the Sundance Kid

Originally posted on Heliade by Danny Devriendt

Thousands of top notch creative people in Cannes. The crème de la crème of the advertising, public relations and communications industry. Sessions on nice podia, given by the world’s most confident client facing people. A delight to attend this #canneslions thing, and watch.

But still, this year it seems to be about content. The power of the community. Crowdsourcing. Co-creation. Creative storytelling. Message delivery platforms. The power of change and integration. Concepts and words skillfully used, like Jedi knights wield their lightsabers.

But still, in walks an old man, with a weathered face. Born in 1936, a high school drop out. A backpack adventurer who’s seen hunger, cold, and endless routes under his sore feet… in walks Robert Redford.

He still has the sparkling eyes of his Sundance Kid days, and more charisma than is good for the rest of the presenters. Robert Redford has a presence. He does not present, he is. Dressed in a faded jeans, and naked feet in casual moccasins he talks, and smiles, and reflects.  Robert Redford enchants the audience.

And teaches many in the audience (me included ) some lessons, shot right at the heart, from the hip. About authenticity, being real, true and transparent. About how you earn respect and trust by being true to your word. How the way to success is long and thorny. How you only get to the top by taking risks. How taking risks will make you fail. How failing will make you learn. How vision comes from the heart, not the head, and how stubbornness gets more done than eternal reflection. How life is more than work, nature better than art, and how experience mellows even the most rebel soul. How even thinking that winning or losing does not matter is so wrong… as life only deals with winners.

Robert Redford was as credible as it gets. As big as the theatre. As sharp as a knife.

Robert Redford still knows how to tell a story…. Have we forgotten?


Virtual Tears

By Molly Verbeeck

Yesterday a young Belgian professional cyclist Wouter Weylandt (pronounced WOW-tehrk WAY-lahnt) was killed in a high-speed downhill crash at the Giro d’Italia. A talented cyclist of only 26, father-to-be. Way too young to die. Immediately the online world wakes up: #wouterweylandt becomes a trending topic on Twitter, his Twitteraccount reaches almost 4000 followers, a Facebook-mourning register is published that is liked by 72,542 people only a few hours later, and his Wikipedia page has already been adapted a few moments after he died with the exact place of death. Instead of giving interviews, most of his colleague-cyclists and other cycling teams tweeted their condolences and their disbelief.

A few months ago the son of a Belgian advertising guru died at the age of 22 after an accidental fall at a party. The whole advertising community, but also the Twitter& Facebook community, was devastated and started sending tweets, messages etc. to the father and the family. A lot of people that didn’t even know the man or his son in person. In an open letter published in a newspaper, the father explained what this meant for him and that every small message, Facebook-like or tweet gave him more power to deal with this loss.

It’s as if everyone is part of this one big family that is feeling the same loss, supporting each other, even if they don’t know the person. When you are part of the Social Media Family, mourning is no longer something you do in a small corner. You share happiness and troubles and yes, even tears.

On the other hand: mourning takes time.  Supporting someone in a grief process as well, it’s a long-term commitment. So I wonder: does the Twitter & Facebook support perhaps fade away too soon? It’s like fireworks: marvelous and overwhelming but lacking the warmth of a real fire.

Is the online sorrow support a good evolution? I think it is, I am convinced that these short messages and words can really support those left behind that are in deep mourning. Seeing that the online mourning register of your lost loved one is liked by 72,542 people doesn’t bring him back, but it surely feels good that they empathize.  But still, I think a lot of people would crave for lots of big hugs if they would ever be in this same situation.

Sources: Sporza, De Morgen


Glue and paper, (or a shiny application) do not make you a curator

By Danny Devriendt

With Flipboard, Storify, Zite, Scoop.it and some other nice applications in the spotlight these days, the terms aggregation, filtering, re-publishing, and curation are being used like there is no tomorrow. Apparently, people are curating via Twitter, filtering signal from noice, turning buzz into intelligence… curation is the new aggregation… etc. Curation seems to be the old yellow, which was the new black. But in my humble opinion, true curation goes (or has to go) further than some (most) of the stuff I see today. With literally petabytes of info, news, and user-generated content being uploaded every single week, the term info overload is an understatement. My personal Tweetdeck presents me with three tweets a second, in average. To avoid me getting a whopping headache, I filter it on people, and keywords… filters do come in handy… If I browse the news on keywords, and put the results in a space, I’m aggregating. Aggregation gives me topic relevant news @ a glance. To narrow down for relevancy, I can filter it further, using artificial or human filters. Machine or human filtering..I do not care, it stays aggregation in my eyes. Very often, it is smart re-publishing. My personal requirement for curation goes a step further, it needs to bring me content on a higher level. It requires a necessary step beyond aggregation and filtering: it needs to add a relevant; active and editorial component. Curation needs to bring me relevant news, filtered, positioned in context, and condensed… following a what I call smart content strategy. I want the news to be gathered, processed and brought to me on a way that brings me intelligent added value. The news needs to be tailored to my content needs. And answers to crucial questions are primordial: why is this news relevant, out of what context was it taken, what is its authority, reach… how will it impact me, or my client. The editorial interpretation by a trusted source is primordial in the validation of the gathered content. It’s a process that starts with adequate sources, filtering on relevant key-words, followed by content evaluation according to tailored criteria. Follows interpretation of the content mirrored against a broader context, weighing in sentiment, relevance, and authority. That piece of work published is a piece of curation. I’ll settle for nothing less. Content is King. Dealing with is a métier, an art. Re-calibrating content is what gives curation value. Carl Sagan phrased it eloquently: if you want to create an apple pie from scratch, you’ll first have to invent the universe. Good luck with that one…


EMEA’s Best Multinational Consultancy To Work For: Porter Novelli

By Kathy Van Looy

O yes, we are proud: Porter Novelli has been named Best Multinational Consultancy to work for by the Holmes Report. The Holmes Report is made by the Holmes Group, dedicated to proving and improving the value of public relations, by providing insight, knowledge and recognition to public relations professionals.

The 2011 survey was the biggest in the 11-year history of the Holmes Report Survey. More than 75 agencies participated in the survey and more than 5000 employees responded to an online questionnaire. We were praised for the fact that, while there is clearly a shared culture from office to office—one that is warm, friendly, and collaborative—there is also a high degree of local control when it comes to specific policies and practices. Luc Missinne, Managing Partner for Brussels and Paris, agrees: “We indeed have an aligned and powerful culture. All offices are different, all people have diverse cultures and backgrounds, but we feel united. Whatever Porter Novelli office you visit, it has the same vibrant and wonderful atmosphere. I think it makes us unique.”

Some quotes from the respondents:

 “It’s a great place to work with brilliant people. We may be a global agency but each office has its own culture and feels like a boutique office in terms of solid relationships.”

“Being a graduate trainee can be daunting, however no question is too stupid to ask and everyone treats you with respect! I am given responsibility and encouraged to progress and learn more.”

“I am really encouraged by the progress we have made in the past year. It feels like we have a much stronger grip on our business and we are at the start of an upturn in our fortunes.”

“I think we are underrated in the market place. We have some great talent, innovative thinking, great people and fantastic creativity but we are too modest to shout about it!” (hence this blogpost!)

Click here to see the original post by the Holmes Report


Connected TV

By Céline Mercier  

According to MediaTic, a program that focuses on media news on the Belgian French speaking public radio, traditional TV may die in the future. Why? Because of the competition of the Internet and the rise of web connected TV. Some TV makers fear that they will have to go through the same crisis with the Internet as the one that the traditional media had to go through.

I remember when I first had my own TV. I was a fresher at university and at that time TV was still a major channel to get news and access to the public debate – whether political, economical or cultural. A couple of years later I went abroad for my studies, and lived without a TV (for the first time in my life – apart from the holiday periods). Internet was my main source for research anyway, but I realized then how I didn’t need my television. And I still don’t have one – that makes more than 10 years without a TV!

The people who are most surprised about this are my grandparents – “so how do you follow the news?” They are the generation that experienced the start of television. I think they see me as a kind of hermit, while I often feel like I have never been so overwhelmed with information than ever before. I read the newspapers almost every day (in print or online), I listen to the radio every morning, I have access to the most interesting programmes via podcasts or YouTube, I get instant news via social media –Twitter or Facebook – and basically I am connected with the outside world from dusk till dawn via mobile devices and my laptop that I can take everywhere.

The future of television will definitely be connected, and not only on the Internet, for the coming generations. In a way Internet has already replaced the traditional home TV screen. People now want to watch whatever they want whenever they want. The TV makers that understood this are developing more and more applications like on-demand TV, more interactivity and connection with the web, what is called Connected or Smart TV. Maybe then I’ll go back to watching more TV programmes. Ok, only when I am my grandparents’ age…



By Kathy Van Looy

Just came back from an excellent internal training by Tim Edgar on Lynda.com. www.lynda.com produces thousands of tutorials, invaluable training, inspiration and more to help you get the most out of your software. And all this ONLINE. Tim gave us a short intro, and all who attended agree: this is a great tool to learn new things and develop new skills, whenever and wherever you want.

The site offers tutorials on software from Adobe, Apple, Microsoft and more. There are classes for beginners to experts, you c an learn at your own pace (play, pause, rewind), and you can watch one tutorial at a time, or a whole course. Tim showed us a few short tutorials, and in just one hour, we learned loads of things we didn’t know about Office: extra buttons for shortcuts, tips for a better overview, extra navigation buttons, etc. Next to tutorials on software, there are also “Inspirational Videos” you can watch: documentaries on eg an interactive design studio, a photographer, etc.

So we all agreed this calls for a sequence of group trainings – with a facilitator – around different subjects such as Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Outlook as well as some inspirational videos.

Learn more on www.lynda.com


Journalists: to tweet or not to tweet?

By Kirsten Malfroid

Smartphones galore Thursday evening at the Roularta entrance as journalists and communication pros gathered to participate in a debate organized by BJIT (Belgian Journalists on Information Technology). The topic of the day, “Journalism and social media: a marriage de raison?” clearly divided the group in social media adepts and negationists.

A survey done by Quadrant Communications showed that the use of social media among Belgian journalists has doubled in a year time. Still only about 30% of journalists use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or blogs as a professional tool. Why would there be such reluctance among journalists to embrace social media? Do journalists have little confidence in new technologies? Do they rather avoid mixing private and professional environments? Does the transparent nature of social media clash with journalistic tactics? Or are experienced journalists suspicious of hypes?

A panel of (social) media professionals, lead by Luc Blyaert, tried to find out: Michaël Opgenhaffen (researcher and lecturer New Media at Lessius and K.U.L), Alain Gerlache (journalist at RTBF), Jo Caudron (founder of Dear Media, advisor digital media innovation), Ivan De Vadder (political journalist at VRT), Pol Deltour (national secretary of the Vlaamse Vereniging van Journalisten) and Jos Grobben (publisher at Roularta).

Surprisingly or not, the discussion mainly focused on Twitter. Is Twitter an up to par news channel? I think all agreed that Twitter is more of an opportunity than a threat: it completes the traditional channels instead of replacing them. News reaches you quicker, but you lose the privilege of a scoop. Messages are more direct, but you only receive a subversive selection of the news. As Jo Coudron said, “Twitter is a kind of distribution of the headlines, but it acts as a second gatekeeper”.

Twitter’s main advantage for journalists is that they can engage in a one on one dialogue with their audience. The end consumer has more power, but will this mean that media as intermediaries gradually disappear? Journalists will certainly not be wiped out, as Twitter allows them to do their own PR. However, Pol Deltour fears that the journalist’s new role as marketer will undermine the authority of the medium as such. The main anxiety is that rubbish will prevail on explanatory background.

This explains why a clear framework and proper education are needed. The elementary rules of the journalistic game should not be forgotten. Whether a social media policy is the ideal solution for this is questionable: the personal tone of tweets, which lies at the heart of its power, might be lost. So shine your personal light on the issue and join the hundreds of tweets that have been sent during this debate!