Tough times

By Jurgen Mortier

Today, we live in a world where we are connected with friends and colleagues in every corner of the world. The digital media are providing us a huge amount of opportunities to share our most individual expressions and views on life, trends, kids or even more serious subjects like business. Even with those instant digital social interactions, it strikes me that, every now and then, we do need to get together with colleagues and business partners to share our knowledge and experiences by means of seminars and conferences.

Last week Porter Novelli organised a Global Conference for 170 managers worldwide in Coral Gables, Miami. I know, there are worse places in the world to attend a 3 day conference.  Typically these kind of conferences are packed with breakfast sessions, presentations, workshops, receptions and dinners. No time to have a quick break or dive in the swimming pool.

This one was no different. But to be honest, I like the fast pace of these conferences: day and night blur into each other, the small amount of sleep you get is very intense and makes you drive on adrenaline. And that to me is the ultimate measure of a good conference: the vibes that you capture and exchange with hundreds of familiar and new faces from Beijing over Brussels to Buenos Aires.

Mark Goldstein, Vice-Chairman of BBDO North America, was one of the speakers who was able to energize the conference from day one with an interactive session about “Making The Tough New Business Decisions”. Before the conference all delegates were asked to read a case study about a high stake and unusual new business situation that happened with BBDO. The case study in itself was great  but it got even more interesting when  we were asked with a group of 12 people to decide what we would do in such a situation. The decision had to be made in 30 minutes. If only we would make those kind of tough decisions as quick in real life.


NEWS: Social Media Lab @ Porter Novelli

With 80 million bloggers worldwide and more than 300 million people on Facebook, social media and digital communication are undeniably becoming increasingly important. There is no faster, better or more balanced way to spread information than via social media channels like Facebook, Twitter or FriendFeed. Global public relations leader Porter Novelli therefore decided to invest in the set-up of a social media lab in Brussels, a special taskforce designed to integrate social media in every communication plan Porter Novelli develops: @PNBR5.

By the people, for the people, socially controlled by a busy cluster of very critical web users. That is what social media is all about. News that is aimed at consumers can now easily circumvent journalists and traditional media and hit millions of online users in an eye blink. Forums, bloggers, social networks and very active Twitter jungle birds are passing along what they identify as news faster and more thoroughly than the classic news channels. Companies scramble around to find creative ways to harness the power of these social media, because it can be an extremely effective way to promote products and services to a targeted audience. While websites are static, social media opens up the dialogue with your audience, allowing interaction and discussion.

“What makes us different from other players on the market is that we simply do not believe in a digital strategy”, says Danny Devriendt, Director Intelligent Dialogue at Porter Novelli. “Opening a Twitter channel and calling that a strategy is too dumb for words. We help our clients develop an integrated way of approaching communications. Digital and Social Media are new tactical add-ons in the art of reputation management and allow for intelligent dialogue between brands and their audiences.”

“Social media allows you to learn about your audience, tailor your products and services and build your brand”, says Luc Missinne, Managing Director at Porter Novelli. “It enables companies to directly connect with customers, consumers or clients. But the only way to be successful with social media is to understand that people will only visit if you have something interesting to say. Engaging, topical content is therefore a must. By offering interesting information, visitors will see you as an expert and recommend your site to others, thus increasing the traffic to your site.”

“In the very near future, companies won’t able to avoid social media anymore”, says Marta Majewska, Social Media Expert. “Whether you love it or hate it, I believe it is crucial for companies to embrace social media if they want to survive long term.”


NEWS: Twitter is Top Word of 2009

Twitter is the Top Word of 2009 according to the Global Language Monitor’s annual global survey of the English language. Of the 1.58 billion English speakers in the world, it looks like Twitter is the most used word of this year surpassing even Obama and the H1N1!

Below the top 10 words of 2009:

#1 Twitter — The ability to encapsulate human thought in 140 characters

#2 Obama — The word stem transforms into scores of new words like ObamaCare

#3 H1N1 — The formal (and politically correct) name for Swine Flu

#4  Stimulus — The $800 billion aid package meant to help mend the US economy

#5 Vampire — Vampires are very much en vogue, now the symbol of unrequited love

#6 2.0 — The 2.0 suffix is attached to the next generation of everything

#7  Deficit — Lessons from history are dire warnings here

#8  Hadron — Ephemeral particles subject to collision in the Large Hadron Collider

#9  Healthcare — The direction of which is the subject of intense debate in the US

#10 Transparency — Elusive goal for which many 21st c. governments are striving