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My Favorites in December: CMO Interviews, Undelivered Letters & Happy New Year!

31 December 2015

Photograph: Hague Museum for Communication (via TheGuardian.com)

Photograph: Hague Museum for Communication (via TheGuardian.com)

The year 2015 is over, and after WordPress sent me my 2015 annual blogging report, I start by thanking the readers of this blog, who mainly arrived here through Facebook, eYeka’s blog and Twitter. The 64,000 viewers of the blog came from 179 countries in 2015, most of them from France (about 20,000) and the United States (about 15,000). But enough of the numbers, just a warm and heartfelt THANK YOU for your interest!

In this December recap, I share some of my favorite links that inspired, interested or entertained me – and maybe you’ll like them too? Below are some CMO interviews, articles about (social) media, cycling or memorabilia, and more stuff that I enjoyed looking at in December.

Suzi Watford, the CMO of Dow Jones (a 133-year old organization known for traditional print financial publications like the Wall Street Journal), gave PSFK an interview in which she speeks about a variety of marketing strategies to make a leading brand more relevant in the age of social media, newsletters, and ultra-busy high achievers. Selected quote: “I love newsletters—there is something great about nicely curated content that is a terrific service. Reading newsletters are also research for me, and when I experience a great one I think of what we can do to improve our own newsletters.

This is an excerp of Elon Musk’s talk at Sorbonne University, in which he urged governments and companies to take action against climate change. I had the opportunity to be in the audience and even to ask a question, and was struck by the outspokenness and boldness – in a positive way – of Musk’s positions. Fortune wrote: “Musk […] said governments, which set how companies are rewarded financially, must send a clear message. […] Musk also encouraged the audience to talk to their friends about it and to “fight the propaganda from the carbon industry,” which he compared to the tobacco industry’s often spurious strategies to convince consumers smoking is safe.

This is a cool one: Thousands of pieces of correspondence, never delivered, many still unopened and sealed closed, have been found in the Netherlands. The linen-lined leather trunk, covered in official seals held 2,600 letters it held – 600 of them unopened – which are now being studied by an international team of academics, including scholars from Leiden, Oxford, MIT and Yale. The collection includes letters from aristocrats, spies, merchants, publishers, actors, musicians, barely literate peasants and highly educated people with beautiful handwriting, and are written in French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and Latin. Read the article to find some of the stories it contains.

This is an interesting interview shared by futurist Ross Dawson. Business Insider asked “How will smartphones look in five years?” and – even if eYeka’s community proposed an answer a couple of years ago 😉 – they wanted to dig deeper and asked Aparna Chennapragada, who heads up Google Now, Google’s virtual assistant app — and as such, its features and the philosophy behind it appears frequently in her vision of the future of smartphones. She believes in the power of virtual assistants, explains why they’re the future, and what one of the company’s key architects has planned for it.

This is not just an interesting post – it is an important one! Getting your company’s employees to participate in – and share – your marketing is an important task when you sell products & services that are knowledge-intensive (like crowdsourcing or other professional services). Linkedin writes: “Together, employees have 10 times more connections than their company has followers. Only 2% of employees share content their company has shared on LinkedIn. Yet they’re responsible for about 20% of the overall engagement  – clicks, likes, comments, and shares – that content receives. […] Sharing content on social networks helps employees’ strengthen their professional brands as well. Yet few employees share company relevant content.” Maybe because there is no such content people feel proud of? Or because some employees are simply not interested in sharing their employers’ posts? It’s worth investigating, and some solutions are offered in this post.

Harvard’s excellent NiemanLab website, the online arm that sets out to “advance the Nieman Foundation’s mission to promote and elevate the standards of journalism,” has shared a great interview of The Economist deputy editor Tom Standage, who oversees the magazine’s digital efforts from his office at the newspaper’s London headquarters. It’s a really great piece about the evolution of media, the economic model of newspapers and the role of a brand like The Economist in today’s world. Selected quote: “The VCs have persuaded themselves that [a new generation of organizations] can be valued like tech companies. I don’t think it’s true, and I think an awful lot of these companies seem to have business models that are dependent on advertising, and I don’t think it’s going to work.

No need to present mountain biker Danny MacAskill – right? I shared a short blog about his sponsoring 5 years ago (in French), in which rather small brands benefited tremendously from his incredible skills… and the buzz that they garnered! Now he’s backed by Red Bull, GoPro and consorts and has the means to have even more impressive videos, like Cascadia, a “mesmerising ride across the rooftops and high walls of Gran Canaria [which] takes us on a crazy POV journey that will leave your jaw on the floor,” IMB Mag notes. Sit back and enjoy. Dream of that final jump too!

In an exclusive interview with Cyclingnews, Oleg Tinkov has revealed that Tinkoff Bank will ends its sponsorship and that he will sell the team at the end of the 2016 season. In short, he cites 2 reasons: (1) “Tinkoff Bank has sponsored the team for five years and from a marketing point of view that’s enough”, and (2) “I’ve realised nobody wants to work with me to help change the business model of the sport.” Another big loss for cycling? Reading Jonathan Vaughters’ thoughts on Tinkoff’s decision is interesting: “[Tinkoff] talks about getting their hands on ASO’s television revenue, however I don’t agree with this. […] Imagine you get that cheque, so does everyone else, all it would do would be to inflate the salary market of the very few top riders in bidding wars. The money would be burnt through and it wouldn’t add anything to the context of stability.” He concludes: “You’re always going to have an environment where a rich guy comes in, buys a few expensive riders, gets sick of it and then goes away.” Now what do you think?

In this HBR interview, when asked which ad stands out in history as truly memorable, Sir Martin Sorrell cites this ad for the Berlitz Language School. “It’s hysterical, really hysterical,” he said. The ad, developed by BTS United Oslo, originally pointed to a web site where people could download it and send it to their friends, as well as navigating through to Berlitz Norway. The response was so large that Berlitz was forced to shut down the site.

The interesting aspect of this post is not so much the ad or even Star Wars – there has been so much already – but the words of  Antonio Lucio, Chief Marketing Officer of HP Inc., the consumer-facing PC and printing business that resulted out of HP’s split into two separate companies (the other is Hewlett-Packard Enterprise for servers, equipment, software and services). According to Lucio, the campaign tagline “Keep Reinventing” is much ore than a slogan but a mission for the company to remain relevant: “My objective was to bring the heart back into the brand. I fundamentally believe [that] when the heart commits the brain can only follow. Bringing back an emotional connection to the HP brand is a priority for us.

Duke holds a large number of scrapbooks and photo albums, all of which frequently come to its conservation lab to address inherent problems with the materials or housing issues. Here, Duke’s Library shares “some historical examples so that you can avoid the mistakes of our scrapbooking-forebears” based on a student scrapbook from the 1940swhich perfectly illustrates five common and problematic conditions.

This is just to reflect on a memorable year, with great photos gathered by the New York Times. Not much to say or write, just a couple of moments to think about the world and try to make it a better place in 2016.

Last, but not least, of this great year of 2015: Happy New Year!

Click to see eYeka's 2015 review and 2016 greetings

Click on the image to see eYeka’s 2015 review and 2016 greetings

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