Porter Novelli Traffic Jam In Pictures!

Dear Guest,

Thank you for attending the Porter Novelli Traffic Jam social event on Sunday, 12 May. We hope you enjoyed the short film, the atmosphere, the entertainment and, of course, the company. We look forward to welcoming you at one of Porter Novelli’s future events!

The PN team


* Please don’t hesitate to contact Yasmina Plas, PR & Marketing Manager at Porter Novelli on should you want high resolution pictures or if Porter Novelli can be of any service. 
* Photos taken by 

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Contagious: Why Do Things Catch On?

By Marta Majewska (@princess_misia)

How can we make our campaign, product, idea more infectious? Why does one video go viral while the other gets less than 500 views? It is a never ending question, one that every marketer, agency and brand has asked themselves more than once. As there is no clear answer, we like to think that it’s luck. But according to Jonah Berger, a professor of marketing at Wharton Business School and author of the book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, it’s not luck. It’s science.

At his SXSW session, Berger might not have entirely solved the mystery but he has definitely shared some really good insights based on the 10-year research he conducted on why a product, a video, or an idea becomes more infectious.


It is common thinking that to generate word-of-mouth you need a handful individuals which are exceptionally ‘connected’.  Even though influencers might help you with creating awareness around your product or campaign, they are usually not very effective in making things go viral. Contagious content spreads regardless of who is doing the talking, therefore think of not focusing too much on the messenger but rather on the message.


Ever wondered why Rebecca Black went (and still is) so annoyingly viral? Because every Friday, people still search YouTube for her video. Friday, in this case, is what Berger calls a mental trigger, stimuli that reminds people of products and ideas, prompt people to think about related things. Designing products and campaigns that are frequently triggered by the environment is key.


Have you ever saw something you really liked but decided not to share it after all? Do you remember why you didn’t do it? Most probably because you thought it would reflect badly on you or make you seem dull, dumb, boring? Word-of-mouth has become a tool for us, to make a good impression, just like the car we drive and the clothes we choose to wear. Sharing has become a social currency so next time you are developing a campaign, think about how you can give people a way to make themselves look entertaining, clever and hip while promoting your products along the way.

If still in doubt, get a mean Panda to help you create word-of-mouth for your brand. It sure is contagious.





Global communications leader Porter Novelli announced that the agency won a total of five 2012 SABRE Awards for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, with Apex Porter Novelli of Kenya winning the coveted Platinum Award for Best PR Program of the Year. Porter Novelli also was named the Best Multinational PR Consultancy to Work for in EMEA for the second consecutive year, and the third time in six years.


The SABRE Awards, which recognize Superior Achievement in Branding and Reputation, are presented by The Holmes Group, a leading global public relations publishing operation, and were recently announced at a ceremony in Brussels.


“I am delighted that Apex Porter Novelli took the top prize of the night for its work with Unilever Kenya,” said Gary Stockman, CEO, Porter Novelli. “The ‘School of 5 Hand Washing Campaign’ delivered extraordinary results in increasing the frequency of hand washing and educating the community on the direct connection between hand washing and improved health and hygiene.


“On top of our network’s campaign wins, we are honored to be named the top multinational agency network across EMEA for the second consecutive year,” Stockman continued. “This award confirms that we can make the most transformative impact for our clients when our colleagues are encouraged to thrive and are given the tools and the opportunity to think big, act big and provoke the change the client needs. I applaud our leadership across EMEA for putting those principles into action and giving our staff the opportunity to truly be their best.”

 Platinum SABRE

  •  Apex Porter Novelli of Kenya took home the Platinum SABRE Award for the EMEA region’s best public relations program of 2011, on behalf of its cause-related and public education effort, the “Lifebuoy School of 5 Hand Washing Campaign” for Unilever Kenya.



  • Apex Porter Novelli (Kenya) for the “Lifebuoy School of 5 Hand Washing Campaign” on behalf of Unilever Kenya, in the Africa geographic category.
  • Porter Novelli (Netherlands) won for “JIJ & Provincie Overijssel,” in the Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembourg (BENELUX) geographic category.
  • Prat Porter Novelli (Sweden) won in the Marketing to Youth category for its “Durex Condom Tester Campaign” on behalf of Durex (Reckitt Benckiser).

Silver SABRE

  • F&H Porter Novelli (Germany) for best press kit for Mattel, “Comeback of the Year: Ken.”

Inspiring people

By Kathy Van Looy

Some weeks are just more exciting than others. Period. This week was a week that didn’t pass by unnoticed:  we had some brilliantly wonderful people over in our office, and yes: we want to share that with you. Not that we want to make anyone jealous or anything.


On Monday & Tuesday we had the pleasure of welcoming Michael Goldberg in the office. Michael is a Senior Partner and the global CMO of Porter Novelli, and based in New York. He gave a truly inspiring presentation to all our staff on new biz and pitching, and led a workshop on Business Development, helping us to shape the future.  Michael left us with an energy boost, a great feeling of commitment, a new way of looking at things and a real American football helmet (we are still fighting over which floor it can stay on).


As if one American wasn’t enough, Kiki McLean also landed in our office for a couple of days. Kiki provides leadership for the Porter Novelli Washington DC office, as well as the agency’s global public affairs efforts. One of the top public affairs strategists in the country, she appears frequently on national television as a commentator on politics and current events. During the 2008 election season, Kiki served as a Senior Advisor to Hillary Clinton for her Presidential Campaign, and frequently appeared as an on-air surrogate for the ‘Obama for America’ campaign. In other words: she drinks coffee with the Obama’s AND the Clinton’s. Yes, we were impressed. And proud to have someone like her within the Porter Novelli family. Kiki gave some media interviews (national TV, newspapers – more info to follow in the coming weeks), an internal training session, went to see the US Ambassadors Gutman & Kennard, and gave a presentation to a selected group of clients on “The US Elections and the Impact on Europe”. A woman with a huge agenda, tremendous knowledge and an even bigger heart.  


Watch this blog for more details on the media interviews with Kiki in the weeks to come.



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




Tomorrow starts with chemistry

Porter Novelli were faced a particularly challenging location in which to organise an expo entitled “Tomorrow Starts with Chemistry”. The three-day event, being organised for the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) to celebrate the International Year of Chemistry,  is being held at one of the oldest and most traditional venues in Brussels, the Palais des Académies. It is a beautiful setting but it is also home to a large number of sculptures, busts and other ornate artefacts which cannot be moved.  The solution was to make some of the statues come alive and act as narrators.  The Porter Novelli Brussels team includes (left to right) Consultant Catherine De Vulder, Account Manager Daphné Martin, and Consultant Céline Mercier.  The famous chemists are Alfred Nobel, Dorothy Crowfoot-Hodgkin (seated), Marie Curie and Irène Curie. The exhibition is being staged from November 21 to 23.

Mark it in your agenda if you want to be surprised by what the world of chemistry has to offer in the future!

More info can be found on




The PNCycling Team: Climbing for Life

By Kathy Van Looy

On the 3rd September, 2011, 2,499 people will be climbing the Col du Galibier, one of the most beautiful mountains of the French Alps. They are not only doing this for themselves, they are doing this for a great cause; to raise funds for non-profit organizations supporting asthma and cystic fibrosis. Amazingly 20 people currently diagnosed with either one of these diseases will also try to reach the summit to show that they can also practice sports in a responsible way – with the necessary medical guidance, of course.

Amongst the cyclists are 10 Porter Novelli people, two of which are from the Brussels office: Steven Robeyns and Simon Dibb. They have been training for 4 months now, and are really looking forward to climbing the very famous Galibier (climbed twice during the Tour de France this year). They will be accompanied by the Head of the Flemish Government Kris Peeters, previous judo world champion Gella Vandecaveye, singer-songwriter Ozark Henry (the patron of Climbing for Life) and radio presenter Tomas De Soete from Studio Brussel. Tomas will present his morning show from the foot of the mountain on the 2nd September, and on the 3rd September he will climb the mountain himself. To make the trip even more memorable, Ozark Henry will also perform live on Saturday evening. A truly momentous occasion for all.

We wish Steven, Simon and the rest of the team all the best of luck – make us proud!

 Follow them on Twitter via  @PNCycling @steventweet1  and @simondibb, hashtag #climbingforlife


45 quotes from the Cannes Lions Festival


Brilliance: The power of trust, team, respect and mutual sparks

Originally posted on Heliade by Danny Devriendt


#canneslions : this is the Mecca of creativity, here the world’s top talented people in advertising and PR meet, compete and interact. A mist of almost holy creativity hangs over the French Riviera city for a full week.

The winners of the first Lions, the prestigious Cannes awards, have been unveiled, and even the very critic peer jury was in awe of the level of brilliance that radiated from the awarded entries. Daring, edgy, entertaining, moving, captivating… it was all there.

The old journalist in me looked as much at the audience, as at the stage. It was fascinating to see how agencies and their clients were sharing these awkward seconds between introduction of a category, and announcement of the winners. Sometimes, client and agency literally await the verdict hand in hand… and every time, winning, close second… or losing was shared by a joined team.

Great brands need great agencies. Great brands and great agencies need great people. Great people in the right environment spark pure brilliance.  None of the winning or shortlisted agencies was working for a client. To even compete at this level, it takes more than working for someone. It means partnering. It implicates blind trust and tremendous respect. To win, you need to think outside the box, deliver above standards, re-invent the path to success, and break down any barriers that might prevent flawless delivery of stellar ideas. Not even a team can chew that off. You need a tribe.

There is no arrogance in successful teams, no politics, no poker faces… to win, every single tribe member needs to break through all that, and become the selfless soldier of a platoon under heavy enemy fire: the confidence that comes when you know you’re covered.

The old French elite Musketeers already knew the key to success: all for one, and one for all… More social than that, it does not get ;-)


Different Words, Same Ideas

Originally posted on the Porter Novelli blog by Marta Majewska

During World Word II, an American spy was caught by the Germans. Not because of his language skills. He spoke German like a German. But one little detail gave him away: the way he held his fork and knife.

Speaking a language is not enough. Not to be a spy, nor to be a good communications professional. In order to successfully blend into a culture, you must know that culture inside out. And that goes way beyond the language.

“When a pharmaceutical multinational launched a new product internationally, they thought they could avoid translation issues by using pictures to explain the benefits. The picture on the left showed an ill patient, the middle one, the patient taking the medication and the picture on the right showed him looking well again. Among the markets for the launch was the United Arab Emirates. Arabic speakers read from right to left.”

This is just one of many examples from “The Little Book of Transcreation” that I found in my Cannes Lions goodie bag today. Never heard of Transcreation? It’s about translating words, creative concepts and ideas without losing the cultural impact. Very often what it comes down to is: different words, same ideas.

Although the book mainly gives examples from the advertising world, I can see similar challenges when it comes to language and linguistic associations that underpin the campaigns in the world of communications. And those have gotten even more complex with the rise of social media.

Much has been said about how global social media is and how it doesn’t know the boarders and don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of truth in there. Your customers are able to see what your brand is doing in different markets and what happens in one country, good or bad, can easily become a ‘thing’ in another. But your target audience still lives in one country, with their own language, their own sayings, their own slang, their own culture and their own cultural heritage. No matter how ‘cool’ and creative your campaign or program might be, without taking into consideration the market’s language, culture and the brand’s positioning, you can harm not only your campaign but an overall brand too.

Don’t be mistaken, I am a big fan of global campaigns. They ensure greater brand consistency and messaging across markets and can be executed at reduced costs. But a global campaign will never be successful globally, if it’s not relevant locally. How can you ensure your audiences get culturally relevant messages wherever they are in the world? Involve the locals. Have all communications signed off by a local product manager or marketing manager. Have a local community manager who communicates and engages with the local audiences. Think globally, act locally – I know this slogan has been overused, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t true.