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My Favorites in October: Importance of Self-Discipline, 100 Years Contour Bottles & Meaningful Branding

31 October 2015

Image via VSA Partners (click to see video)For the first time since I started blogging, I’m sharing a self-improvement a.k.a. life advice article written on Medium, which seems to be the top of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs’ Hierarcchy of Needs. Entrepreneur and blogger Oskar Nowik writes about the importance of self-discipline in life, and it’s geniunely a great article. Other cool stuff in October include a fantastic interview of Coca-Cola’s brand historian Ted Ryan, a feature about the most prolific of all Wikipedia editors, and a short video called “IBM on Brand,” part of a series of short films created to capture the current thinking behind leadership brands. I hope you’ll enjoy it, and I’m looking forward to an inspiring and exciting month of November now!

I rarely share self-improvement articles. I read them, but I seldom share them as I think they are either stupid or, when they’re well-written and true, they’re personal. But this one is actually quite true, and I think nails it: There are plenty of skills which would change your life completely, but the one he highlights is one that I truly believe is paramount to a fulfilling life: self-control (I would also use the word discipline): “If you look around, people kill themselves every single day. […] The urges, and today’s economy is based on your urges, become more powerful than you’re, so you act accordingly, instead of acting the way a disciplined person would.

Through research and personal experience, Joanna Lord (VP of Consumer Marketing at Porch) shares recurring traits that she nooticed across the most successful CMOs: “I’ve even been able to break these traits into four distinct areas: expertise, leadership, business and personality.” Just an insightful read if you – like me – seek to grow in a marketing management career.

A couple of months ago I shared that article about P&G’s marketing challenges, including the one that they don’t stand for something as Unilever does (for sustainability). Now here’s a sign of it at the brand lever – not the overarching corporate level. Brands that have purpose and “stand for something” can inject value into a business, according to Jan Zijderveld, president Europe Unilever. Speaking at the IGD Big Debate in London today, Zijderveld said that brands with “purpose” at the heart of their message were growing at twice the rate of other brands across Unilever’s portfolio.

On September 24th I participated in a conference at ESSCA Business School, where I graduated from, to present some of my research findings. I had the researcher’s hat and discussed some of the latest crowdsourcing research (crowdsourcing across cultures, attracting communities, motivating participation…) with Creads co-founder Julien Méchin. A great event, some challenging questions from the audience, a bit of champagne to close the event… and a cool video. More about the next Digisearch events here.

For the 100th anniversary of Coca-Cola’s contour bottle, Marketing Mag assistant editor Michelle Herbison took the opportunity to go back in time through some of the brand’s history with Coca-Cola historian Ted Ryan. How cool is that job? Anyway, Ryan shares many cool facts about the brand, including that design contest that was at the origin of the iconic bottle: “In April 1915, The Coca-Cola Company authorised the expenditure of up to $500 and they agreed to send out a creative brief to design a distinctive package […]: it called for a bottle you could recognise lying broken on the ground or might feel in the dark. The Red Glass Company in Indiana in the middle of the United States sent a couple of their researchers to the local library for design inspiration.” Read more in the interview, very cool!

The Future Show is steeped in Under Armour’s goal of maintaining its underdog, entrepreneurial identity, despite now being a $4 billion global brand. Executive VP of innovation Kevin Haley says the competition is central to the brand’s overall innovation strategy and its heritage. “If you go back in time, our founders were the athletes and looking at innovation that could be done quickly by partnering with other people,” says Haley. “There was no R&D department. So it was all about partnering with people who were the best at what they did and bring to light innovations that may not have come to fruition otherwise.” 2015 marks the 4th consecutive year Under Armour invited companies, entrepreneurs, and inventors to participate in the Future Show, in which employees vote on their favorite products and innovations.

With a new ad campaign, Dropbox is hoping to lift perceptions of the brand from merely being a cloud storage utility to a facilitator and driver of collaborative creativity. The 60-second ad collects work from 141 creative people of varying professions, the premise being that if people have the freedom to work where they want, how they want, and with whom they want, the result will be more creativity. The spot ends with the tagline “Your work. Your team. Your way.” I really like it!

What’s life like as Wikipedia’s most prolific editor? And what has compelled this man to dedicate thousands of hours of his time, knowledge, and energy to an online encyclopedia for absolutely no compensation? Since joining Wikipedia a decade ago, 32-year-old Justin Anthony Knapp has established himself as the the site’s most active contributor of all time. He has made an astonishing 1,485,342 edits (an average of 385 per day). “When the 1 millionth edit happened, members of Wikimedia Foundation were generous enough to fly me out to DC. It felt great that my work was being appreciated,” he explains to the the data science blog Priceonomics.

Since eYeka launched in 2007, as a platform that connects amateur creatives with brands and media outlets, our mission hasn’t changed much. The main difference between the very first version of our website and the current one is just the central role of contests. To put things into perspective, let me take you back through time and show you how our platform evolved since 2007.

In this two-minute tour, the roots of the IBM brand are traced to the company’s management of its character. Narrated by Jon Iwata, IBM Senior VP of Marketing and Communications, “IBM on Brand” is part of VSA Partners’ “_____ on Brand” series of short films created to capture the current thinking behind leadership brands. I found this video by reading this article about IBM’s content marketing, which is another great read!! Enjoy.

Growth Hacking is a new term that describes a mix between business development, marketing and technology. “The really great growth hackers out there […] understand that it’s not just about getting as many users as possible, but about helping to get the product experience right and ultimately amassing as large a user base as possible. Those are two very different things,” says this post’s author, Justin Caldbeck. “There’s no inherent problem with growth hacking [but] right now, far too many entrepreneurs are focused more on that than they are on what I believe to be the most important thing of all.” A great user experience.

A trove of 2,363 diaries filled with the everyday details of British lives are part of the biggest collection of time-use diaries in the world; Kept by the Centre for Time Use Research at the University of Oxford, they have been gathered from nearly 30 countries, span more than 50 years and cover some 850,000 person-days in total. They offer the most detailed portrait ever created of when people work, sleep, play and socialize — and of how those patterns have changed over time. Interestingly, “we do not get indicators at all that people are more frantic,” says John Robinson, a sociologist who works with time-use diaries at the University of Maryland. This, and other interesting facts from many other studies, are shared in this article.

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