Know how to ask the right questions in interviews25 maart 2013

Though we often find ourselves the subjects of interviews, sometimes the tables are turned and we find that we’re the ones doing the questioning. What’s the first-time interviewer to do? Though asking questions may seem as natural as chatting with a friend, there’s a true art to interviewing. If you don’t have the time to [...]

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One simple trick to transform your media appearances28 februari 2013

Whether for print, radio, television or the web, there’s no denying that media appearances can be disastrously stressful. In addition to worrying about your appearance, your posture, and your tone of voice, there’s that pesky problem of what in heaven’s name you’re going to talk about. How do so many CEOs and politicians so effortlessly [...]

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Those bourgeois bohemians, and why they’re good for business22 november 2012

Parodied, mocked, and dismissed, the bourgeois bohemian is nonetheless a huge cultural force.  ”Bobos’” for short, these are the people who reject conspicuous consumption and mass consumerism in favor of all things local, organic, artisanal, handmade and authentic. As (slightly) exaggerated in the sketch comedy show Portlandia, these are the people who demand not only to know if [...]

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What is buried under CSR reporting? An engaging story!30 juli 2012

Many corporations are suffering under the increased demands of sustainability reporting. Reports prepared to satisfy the Global Reporting Initiative standards, along with reports specific to individual investors, often mean that social responsibility and communications departments are swamped with the minutiae of slightly different questions that can require vastly different answers. Public-facing storytelling gets buried under [...]

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The value of values9 mei 2012

The financial crisis and changing market developments have made many companies aware of their vulnerability, with increased competition and waning consumer confidence posing new threats. In these turbulent times, it is important to stay strong as a business and to re-examine not just your strategy, but also your values. Corporate brands can no longer just [...]

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A lesson on the Power of Metaphor from Inditex founder Armancio Ortega27 maart 2012

Armancio Ortega,  founder and chairman of Spanish fashion group Inditex, understands the power of metaphor. In an article this week in The Economist, the 75-year-old Galician compares fashion with fish. The metaphor is particularly appropriate for a man born and bred in a small fishing village next to the famous Spanish fishing port of La Coruña. [...]

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Politicians who dodge questions: Too much media training or lack of common sense?18 maart 2012

This past weekend I was invited to give my views on the media performance of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, on Dutch national radio’s Sunday programme Vier Zeven. Did I think Rutte had been media-trained? Did it show? What did I think of his performance? Mark Rutte is a very good communicator, I said, because [...]

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How science is revolutionising marketing5 maart 2012

Visiting the NMSBA neuro marketing conference in Amsterdam recently gave my brain a lot to process. This science of why people buy provides us with numerous ways of literally reading people’s minds. Neuro scientists view surveys and questionnaires as a very limited way of conducting research as participants over think their answers and unconsciously rationalise [...]

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A Monster of a question: Is there any ROI for social media measures?13 februari 2012

Having indulged in the world of social media for several years now, it is quite astonishing how I managed to avoid answering the question: “What is the return of investment on social media?” This question was raised at a social media seminar we held recently . It’s a logical question because in this digital age, [...]

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Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!20 december 2011

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Elephants and Email: a tale of sustainability22 november 2011

What’s the link between a Dot Com CEO’s gruesome killing of an African elephant and a communications company’s stranded email? Supply chain infection! For the past 12 years Media Wise and The Green Place have used the webhosting services of U.S.-based GoDaddy, one of the biggest providers worldwide. GoDaddy offered good value for money. We [...]

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The forgotten dangers of Social Media – are you prepared for your employees’ mistakes?10 november 2011

Embracing the world of social media in research, work as well as in my private life helps me to discover new and challenging tools, interesting topics, great campaigns and gives me helpful insights into today’s international marketing world. Nevertheless it is still quite astonishing to see how online-crazy our world has become. Everybody is always [...]

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CSR Practitioners – Are we writing ourselves out of the script?5 september 2011

I have been mulling over this: if we are successful in our jobs of fully integrating CSR into a company ethos, its business practices, and its product development, then surely we CSR practitioners will have made ourselves redundant? Our extinction, then, will become proof of a job well done.  We have made visible progress and [...]

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Who had the upper hand, Merkel or Sarkozy? Body language speaks volumes.21 juli 2011

Newspapers around the world today ran photos of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French Prime Minister Nicholas Sarkozy pointing fingers as they attempted to break through the Franco-German deadlock in deciding how to deal with the Euro financial crisis. Who had the upper hand in consummating the deal reached later? Let’s examine the body language. [...]

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Electric cars, flogging a long dead horse?26 januari 2011

Then… What most people don’t know about electric vehicles (EV) is that they existed years before the gasoline-powered car came along. The first of these EV’s appeared in the mid 1830’s. In the years 1899 and 1900 the EV outsold all other types of cars (steam, gasoline) in the USA, and by the early 1900′s [...]

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How a good social policy can save the Queen and pizza24 november 2010

News just in: The British Queen and her family are now on Facebook. As of last week it’s possible to “like” the British Monarchy on Facebook. But while it’s great for marketing, social media can also bring great risks. The royal family’s ‘wall’ was suddenly bombarded with nasty comments. The Queen is not alone in [...]

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When in Rome, don’t do as the Romans do!8 november 2010

Unless you speak flawless Italian, on your next business trip to Rome don’t attempt to speak the local language if you want to achieve your communications goals. New research suggests non-native accents are less credible. University of Chicago psychologists Shiri Lev-Ari and Boaz Keysar explore the consequences of speaking a language with a foreign accent [...]

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Lost in Pronunciation8 oktober 2010

Recently, while aboard a flight to Geneva, the Swiss captain offered his apologies for the delay in taking off, which he attributed to “seek voke.” I wondered what he meant. Sick folk? Who was sick? After puzzling a while I realised what he had meant to say: “thick fog”. How much meaning must get lost [...]

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Don’t risk your reputation22 september 2010

Corporate responsibility is, as it should be, high on the agenda these days.  Companies now realise that you ignore sustainability and ethical practice at your peril.  The recent Trust Barometer Survey by Edelman showed that in the U.S and Western Europe trust and transparency are as important to a company’s reputation as the quality of [...]

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When PR goes too far…13 augustus 2010

An article in the Guardian last week and blog posted by Ethical Corporation Managing Director Toby Webb makes some very relevant points about the issue of supply chain responsibility for large multinationals who outsource communications services.  Webb writes:  “It will become untenable for big, sustainably-minded companies to continue to employ PR and lobbying firms, even [...]

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Investments walk when climate change is not on the policy agenda12 augustus 2010

In a recent interview with Reuters, Kevin Parker, the Global Head of the Deutsche Asset Management Division of Deutsche Bank, spurned the US for not being able to come up with a climate change policy.  Deutsche Asset Management Division has a hefty $700 billion in funds, of which $7 billion are allotted for green investments.  [...]

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What’s all this Twitter about, then?22 juni 2010

As I write and you read, millions of football fans around the world are digesting, dissecting, rejoicing and commiserating with each other through Twitter. Three new Tweets per Second (TPS) records were set in the first few days of the World Cup Finals. The service has become a lifeline for fans. In fact, almost any [...]

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Green Vacuum Cleaners11 juni 2010

About 18 months ago we needed to buy a new vacuum cleaner. We went to the local shop, Blokker, where we seriously considered a Miele model. For some reason my husband reckons this brand lasts longer. But then my eye fell on a bright green compact model made by Philips. What I liked about this [...]

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Profit or principle? reducing the blur21 mei 2010

SNS Reaal Group’s CFO Mr. Ference Lamp recently announced that the asset management arm of this Dutch financial institution would be pulling out of Greek government bonds, citing the ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) issues as a reason for this decision of choosing principle over profit.   SNS Reaal says it currently has EUR 150 million [...]

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