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My Favorites of July: Keeping a Journal, @KuperSimon’s Frenchness & The #Jennergate Analysis

31 July 2017

This beautiful image of Paris is taken from Time’s short video about France banning petrol cars by 2040, published on July 6th after our Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot announced the measure. A bold, courageaous and necessary one, even though I am convinced that the market will move there by itself before the end of the next decade. But it sends a strong message, signaling determination. Will we be in the prospective France imagined by The Economist in “The Macron Miracle”? We’ll see. Here are 7 articles I enjoyed this month. I would mostly recommend you the last, which compares two recent ads by Heineken and Pepsi, and explores brands’ motivations & ability to embrace societal issues.

France is the first big EU country to set a time limit for phasing out gas and diesel entirely,” Time writes. The ban is key for Emmanuel Macron to deliver on the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, but it’s also a response to the growing pollution problem in French and European cities, caused partly by the proliferation of diesel-powered vehicles in recent years. As a Parisian, I am very happy to see bold measures being taken in France, where Paris is at the forefront of fighting fossil fuel based mobility. I’m optimistic for our cities.

I do keep a journal, actually I do keep many different kind of journals. One is the one you are just reading – my blog – and another is this diary that I fill with notes & ephemera. I don’t keep a professional diary, but I would understand the value of doing so, based on my experience and on this HBR article by author & consultant Dan Ciampa. Overall, it’s not that much about the writing, rather is it about taking time to think: “Slowing things down leads to better-thought-through, more effective judgement and to learning what to do more of and what to change,” Ciampa concludes.

 

Interesting to read about the two main “fintech” or “roboadvisor” players in the U.S., which are benchmarks for folks like me, and especially about their marketing & positioning strategy. This FastCompany article about Wealthfront goes into the specifics (“aspirational illustrations instead of clip art or stock photos, and a sense of real-life journey throughout the site”)  of the platform’s new marketing strategy, supervised by its new VP of marketing. I just like to see how both, Wealthfront & Betterment, are taking different approaches to a very similar product & service.

First and foremost: there is no such thing as a Macron Miracle. At least not yet. This is the latest “The World If…” piece by The Economist, a prospective article, in which the author imagines a version of Frence “if France’s reforms suceeded.” The Presidential Palace would be in the outskirts of Paris (Saint Denis precisely), Macron will have held two mandates, and “even France’s public finances were brought into line. From Berlin, into her fourth term as chancellor, Angela Merkel watched, speechless.” I like the blunt projection into a future that is precisely described, how ever unlikely it may be. We’ll see by then.

After last month‘s article about the role of the CMO, here’s another great article about evolving one’s marketing? Even if I do not head a large marketing organization (yet!), and I believe our brand voice is very consistent (because of that?), I found some value in this Mc Kinsey article about “having a consistent brand voice in the digital age,” mostly because it’s filled with examples. For instance: “One large fast-food restaurant made a conscious move away from organizing marketing teams by channel to focusing teams on customer segments. That naturally led them to bring together people with different and complementary skills.

This is a filthy move by me, because you can neither read the article on the photo nor access ite online, as it is paywalled on Le Monde. But I want to share what it is and what I liked in it. Titled “French people, I increasingly resemble you” and published in yesterday’s edition, this article by FT journalist Simon Kuper explains what he likes (restaurants, culture, common sense) and disliked (impoliteness, noise, personal distance, inability to celebrate failure) in France, where he lives since 2002. I really enjoy the outside-in perspectives on my country, hence I liked this view on France. Welcome in The Merde!

I had not watched these ads before reading this opinion piece by Doug Kessler, a well-known author and expert on marketing, I just saw some Pepsi-bashing on my news feeds without paying much attention. But this article looks at the #Jennergate ushered by Pepsi’s ad as well as Heineken’s Worlds Apart ad (which is strikingly similar to the XX ad I already shared in February this year). Excerpt: “Here’s the thing: Without a brand, it’s impossible to make people associate brown sugar-water with things like love and caring and family. With a brand, it’s easy. Just add budget. […] Pepsi borrows the idea of caring about the political world we live in… and all hell breaks lose. Go figure.

Thanks for reading !

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