Friday, June 27, 2008

Gestion de marque: Champion devient Carrefour Market

Carrefour champion, marketing, customer relationship Lefigaro nous annonce la disparition programmée de l'enseigne Champion, au profit de la marque Carrefour Market.

«40 % des clients de Champion sont aussi des clients de Carrefour, a-t-il expliqué. Ils aiment la marque Champion. Mais ils aiment la marque Carrefour encore plus. » Cela est encore à prouver. Le fait est que l'idée de créer une marque unique et ombrelle peut être bonne, lorsqu'on a une image claire et forte. Cependant, Carrefour est encore à ses balbutiements concernant sa stratégie de marque. Depuis l'arrivée de la publicité télévisée dans le monde de la distribution, on n'a pas encore vu un acteur se servir de ce média pour affirmer un réel positionnement et une image forte de marque.

Il y a quelques jours, au Brésil, Thierry Garnier, directeur général international (hors Europe), avait été très clair sur le sujet. «Nous croyons à une marque mondiale, une marque unique qui est la marque Carrefour, avait-il dit. La convergence d'enseigne est en route dans beaucoup de pays. ». Peut être pour l'instant, la marque Carrefour est loin de posséder une identité différenciantm et forte.

"Interrogé hier par Le Figaro, Loïc Pelletier, président du directoire de Coop Atlantique, qui possède 40 magasins Champion et est par ailleurs en procès avec Carrefour à qui il réclame plus de 100 millions d'euros, ne l'était visiblement pas«On nous a présenté les grandes lignes, dit-il. À ce jour, nous ne pouvons pas accepter ce changement d'enseigne, car nous ne sommes pas convaincus de son intérêt économique et commercial. On nous dit que la hausse des coûts sera compensée par une probable augmentation du chiffre d'affaires. Nous manquons de visibilité et d'information. »". Je suis d'accord, je pense que le changement de marque ne se justifie pas à ce moment précis.

A mon avis, Carrefour devrait se concentrer principalement sur la définition de la marque Carrefour, son histoire (le "mythe"), son discours, ses valeurs, afin de pouvoir procéder à ce changement, alors que la marque Champion est bien implanté localement.

Et vous, que pensez vous de cette nouvelle? Pensez-vous que ce regroupement de marque peut avoir un effet positif pour Carrefour? Pour Champion? Si oui dans quelle mesure?

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Heading back to France

As some of you probably know, I took my decision last month to come back to France after having spent a year in the Silicon Valley, working as a marketing assistant for Residential Pacific Mortgage. This decision has surprised some, make some other happy. But the main fact is that this decisions has been taken after having considering the question for the longest time.

I have been able to establish a network there, which allowed me to have some job propositions even though I have never really looked actively for a job. But the fact is that I believe it is better for me to come back in France at the moment.

This experience has been great. It allowed me to understand better the Internet world, by meeting people like Loic Lemeur, Robert Scoble, or Michael Arrington. It is fascinating to see this entrepreneurial spirit living in the valley.

I'll probably talk to you more about what were the best part of my internship there in the US soon. Right now, I am waiting for my plane at Newark Airport (I missed my first one, had to spend the night in the airport). I'll give you update about my activities later.
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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Going fast on the Mobile market

Here is a great slideshow I found on Phil Jeudy's blog. Phil is a French specialist of mobile marketing. The slide show is very well detailed, and explain why the mobile market is so exciting.

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The New Five Elements of Marketing

Seth Godin is probably the person that influenced the most marketing the past few years, especially with his book "permission marketing", which settled a new approach for customer relationship management problematics. I read the book and if you are a professional marketer or aiming to be, you should consider to do so.

In one of his new blog post, Seth Godin exposes the new five elements of marketing. Indeed, marketing was mainly sum up by three P's, which defined the different marketing activities:
  • Product
  • Price
  • Place (distribution)
  • Promotion (communication)
Seth Godin proposes 5 new elements to define a marketing strategy:
  • DATA: is observational. What do people actually do? Wal-Mart uses data to decide if an end cap is working. Google Adwords advertisers use data to decide which copy delivers clicks and sales. The library can use data to decide which books to buy (and not to buy). Paco Underhill uses data to turbo charge retail. Data is powerful, overlooked and sometimes mistaken for boring. You don't have to understand the why, you merely need to know the what.
  • STORIES: define everything you say and do. The product has a myth, the service has a legend. Marketing applies to every person, every job, every service and every organization. That's because all we can work with as humans is stories. I want to argue that data and stories are the two key building blocks of marketing--the other three are built on these two.
  • PRODUCTS (and services): are physical manifestations of the story. If your story is that you are cutting edge and faster/newer/better, then your products better be. Average products for average people is a common story, but not one that spreads. When in doubt, re-imagine the product. Push it to be the story, to live the story, to create a myth.
  • INTERACTIONS: are all the tactics the marketer uses to actually touch the prospect or customer. Interactions range from spam to billboards, from the way you answer the phone to the approach you take to an overdue bill. Interactions are the hero of marketing, because there are so many and most of them are cheap. Unfortunately, all lazy marketers can do is buy ads or spam people. Which creates an interaction that belies your story, right?
  • CONNECTION: is the highest level of enlightenment, the end goal. Connection between you and the customer, surely, but mostly connection between customers. Great marketers create bands of brothers, tribes of people who wish each other well and want to belong. Get the first four steps right and you may get a shot at this one.
A good marketer has to balance its work around these 5 poles. I think this new definition of marketing elements is pretty accurate. Marketing is a science constantly evolving, and therefore it is important to redefine the marketing tasks.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

American Airlines proposes Deal Finder

American AirlinesDeal Finder is a new service of American Airlines. If you are looking for a specific flight at a certain price, this service will allow you to be alerted when American Airlines matched your requirement. This service is very convenient, because you don't need to be in an active search to find your deal. Also, this is a great deal for American Airlines, because with this service they can be sure that the shopper will go on their website to find his deal.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Blackberry Curve 8310 Pocket Sales Guide

Blackberry I had the opportunity to get a pocket sales guide for the Blackberry Curve 8310 in a Radioshack close to my place. It was probably by mistakes that the salesperson let the manual with the Blackberries, but I took it and I think this is a great sales support tool.

This book details the different specifications and features of the product. It also explain the different type of customers for whom a blackberry is a great investment.

The guide is simple and with extensive information. I think this is a great marketing effort by Blackberry, as it provides a real help for the sales force on site. I used to be a salesperson for a hi fi equipment retail store, and I know how hard it is sometimes to have information on some products. This guide helps sales force, and therefore offer an advantage to the blackberry upon the competition within this store.

I wish I could show you the guide, whether online or on pdf, but unfortunately I did not find it. But think about this kind of marketing pieces for your retail network.
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Monday, June 16, 2008

Paypal Mafia runs the Silicon Valley

I invite you to read this very interesting article about who saved the Silicon Valley.
What I find fascinating about this article is the story of the Paypal magia. Peter Thiel of Facebook, and Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn, were former Paypal alumni that succeeded in selling Paypal to Ebay and start new businesses.
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Cisco System and Intel to share WiMax patents to spead the technology

This is a good news for the spread of high speed mobile Internet. Cisco Systems, Intel, Samsung. Alcatel Lucent, Sprint Nextel and Clearwire, all of them backers of the wireless Internet standard called Wimax said they want to help spread the use of the technology by limiting possible patent royalties.

Indeed, these partners don't want to experience the same problems other mobile Internet technology that failed in the past because of the patents costs.

WiMax could help cities to develop large urban wireless Internet access.


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Sunday, June 15, 2008

I rent so I am free

This is a very interesting sociological trend that started couple of years ago. We are in a society where life goes faster and faster, and where flexibility is a strength.

From an ownership society to a rental society
The fact is that in the old days, ownership was the key. The United States society has been based on ownership. Ownership was perceived as a dream, a fulfillment. The day you were able to buy your home meant the day you will start build your family.

But nowadays, things have changed. Mobility is a necessity. You are changing at a fast pace, where you live, your life style, what you like. And because of this fast way of life, ownership becomes problematic. Because you own, you are not flexible, you are not mobile. I believe that this new way of life is the main reason why the renting industry became so big.

I rent so I am free
I have talked previously about this topic in my blog, some companies start to get into the trend, and propose to rent various things. Therefore, we are not customers any more, but more consumers or users, that use something whenever they need instead of buying it for life.

To rent only to own the necessary

Zilok Zilok is a new website, allowing you to rent whatever device you need only when you need it. Hence, there are a lot of objects we use rarely for specific occasions. Indeed, an electric drill in a lifetime has a used time of 12 minutes! So why should I own one for couple of minutes. This is the concept, and it is directly link to the sociological trend I exposed to you earlier.

What do you think about it? How do you think this new trend will impact our relationship with brands?

I rent so I am free
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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Poors are stinky and they pollute

Ucar marketing campaignThis is not my opinion, but the baseline of a rental car company in France. Of course, the title is provocative, willing to open a debate and therefore a discussion.

The fact is that they are playing on a true fact: poor people are polluting more than average, because they have old car, non-equipped with anti pollution system.
"Poors are disgusting. They pollutent. The right for a clean car for all. We need to chane our cars in order to lower the CO2 emissions and other polluting gas responsible of the global warming. 15 millions of cars of 11 years old or older are on French roads, non-equipped with new environmental technologies. But not everybody can afford to change his car. Old cars are still been driven because their owners don't have the choice. They should be helped by the government to do so. However, nothing has been decided in the law project in this sense. The car manufacturers and financial institutions are working on this issue. Some solutions exist to reduce the number of old cars and change behaviors..."

Ucar, by proposing discounted rental cars, offers a great alternative and could allow some drivers to get rid of their old cars.

But why did they decide to be so provocative?
I think the idea is to use web 2.0 and the new social marketing trends to promote the car. By being so provocative, the advertising agency is willing to open a debate, and therefore to launch a conversation. Indeed, this is the reason why they opened a blog,

What is refreshing is that since Benetton, it has been a while I haven't heard of such a provocative campaign. This is very different from the other commercial messages we are used to see at the moment.

What do you think about this commercial? Is it too provocative? Is it true?
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Two commercials, the same song, the same identity

I would like you first to check the tow commercials herein. The first one is for Airline company Jetblue, and the second one for French wireless network company SFR. The Jetblue commercial is new (about 1 month ago), the one of SFR about a year old. What is interesting, is that both commercials use the same song, Mr. Blue Sky by the rock group Electric Light Orchestra.

What is very interesting is how similar those two commercials are. You can see that the fonts are similar, the use of a slide show-like concept, and also the bright colors (reand for sfr and blue for blue jet), and the clouds. These two commercials are for sure offbeat.

But how can we explain why these two commercials are so similar?
Of course, we can assume that Jetblue copied the commercial of SFR, since they have been launched a year apart. But I think that the music gives a lot of beat and a specific color to the commercial. This is probably why both companies used it in the very same way.

Hence, I think music and sounds can help create brand identity. A sound, a music associated with a brand or a product contributes to the creation of an identity.

What is particular with this example is that we can easily see what type of universe the music brought to a company, because both SFR and Jetblue decided to create similar commercials thanks to the same music.
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Friday, June 13, 2008

Will memory cards replace musical CDs?

 This is the question the Mercury News was asking this week.

CEO of Memory card maker Sandisk believe that "not all media will be downloaded", and therefore memory cards will probably replace music.

The main fact is that the music industry has problem big time to deal with the Internet. You already know the trouble they have with peer to peer softwares like Napster, Kazaa, emule, and now Bittorrent. Their economical model has to be rethought, and as their margin will probably experience a big cut, they are reluctant to change.

SanDisk Chief Executive Eli Harari thinks that the musical industry is more comfortable with the classical retail based distribution, which is selling CDs in a store. Therefore, they'd probably happy to find a new support that could replace CDs and that could allow the musical industry to keep it the old way.

The fact is also that nowadays, all the different mobile devices, cell phones, MP
3 players and others, are equipped with memory card readers. The memory card format is therefore in great position to shift to this new format.

Now what do I think about that?

 I understand memory card producers are seeking for new market opportunities, and that their solution will be great for the musical companies. However, does the customer want it? I don't think that the customers are eager to change once more of format. They are already confused by the Blue ray - HD DVD fight. There is no real technical improvement by the fact of storage music on memory card. First it won't enhance the sound quality. Secondly, I don't think we'll see a 4 gigabyte CDs of 1000 songs by Maroon 5. Even the most prolific singer can't create that much. And if so, the album would be out of price ($1000 for 1000 songs?)

"Not all media will be downloaded?"
 This is a great topic. I can't tell. Maybe that is true, but I deeply believe 90% of it will be downloaded, through a computer, a cell phone, a mp3 players or others. Now I still believe that retailers like Fnac, Virgin Megastore will still have some room in their stores dedicated to music, maybe as a promotional space, where you'll be able to discover new artists for example.

But will a memory card will replace the CD for musical content? I don't think so. We could see that some other supports have failed, like the UMD or the Mini Disc, which both of them had advantages.

 Concerning physical music sales, I think that what people should focus on is offering some more than music. At the time of vinyl discs, the cover and the discs themselves were some piece of art for some of them. I don't believe that the memory card support will able to bring that back versus the disc. As I have said I believe music retailers still have a future. They just need to find how to be innovative.

What do you think about it? Do you see memory cards to sell music? What do you think about the statement "not all media will be downloaded?

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Don't be fooled by the 1080p standard

I have been for a while in my early years a salesperson at the Fnac, French leading retailers for cultural and technical products. I used to sell mp3 players, hi fi equipment, home theaters and TVs. The television market has evolved a lot these past few years. First, the arrival of new technologies, LCD and plasma, have changed a lot. But also, the high definition added some confusion to customers that have already problem to understand the difference between TV sets.

Today, I read a very interesting article in the Mercury News about the 1080p standard.

A couple was shopping for a new TV and they were hesitating between two TV screen, 50" both. One was $500 more expensive than the other one, because he had a resolution of 1080p, or full HD, and the other one 720 p. The salesman explained them that they would have a better quality of image with a higher resolution. However, even himslef was not able to see the difference of quality between both products.

The 1080p definition is great if you have a large screen, of 56 inches or bigger. It is not possible to identify any difference of definition on a 50 inches set. The fact is that the bigger the screen, the better definition you'll need.

There are also a lot of confusion around the different HD standards, full HD or HD ready, but this is another story.
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7 tips in 7 minutes: How to please a head hunter

I watch with a real pleasure this series of video edited by Henri Kaufman and Pierre Philippe Cormeraie, teaching you 7 tips to succeed in different fields: how to write a resume, how to start your company, and so on.

Today, they interviewed Jacques Froissant, president of Altaide, a recruting agency. He is offering us inside information on what the recruiters and head hunters are paying attention to during a hiring interview. Isn't that great that a recruiter can let you know what really matters? This is great information for whoever is preparing an interview.

 The video is in French, and below is the translation in English.
  1. The waiting room. The recruiting process starts right after you have entered the building. When you are in the waiting room, your behavior is checked: Are you complaining, how you behave with the employees.
  2. Show that you have prepared the interview: You have a consistent speech, you know about the company. Some people don't even know sometimes how to get to the company's building for example. You should know as much as possible about the company.
  3. Summarize your career: Stop repeating your resume. This is long, and the recruiters have already all the information. Recruiters expect a fast summary, in 7 minutes (7 minutes, 7 bullets), only the best. Watch out! Don't talk about not relevant information, like where you went to high school. Don't make it last 45 minutes
  4. Be prepared to basic questions: This is the main questions that recruiters usually ask. What are your strengths and your weaknesses is a good example. You have about 30 questions that you should be prepared to answer.
  5. Jump on the occasions the recruiter will offer you: Sometimes recruiters will ask you specific questions to start a conversation. Like, I have seen that you like basket-ball. You should be able to jump on the occasion, because the recruiters would like you to speak more about the topic.
  6. Be active/ask questions: You need to be active in the conversation. Ask questions. This is about your life, the next step in your career, you should picture yourself working there. Therefore, ask questions about how it  works, to show you are very interested by this position. Be curious: Who would be my manager, how is the atmosphere, how is doing business.
  7. Conclude: There is a simple and unique question to ask in order to conclude: What do you think about my candidature?  There is two possibilities:
      • The guy says yes, he likes you. As 95% of candidates don't ask this question, you would be one of the only guys that he will say yes, and the recruiter will keep this in mind (this is by the way a manipulation technique). He'll remember the person he said yes to.
      • He has doubts. Thus, this is a good occasion to work on it, and to reassure the recruiter of your qualities. If you did not ask the questions, you would have never had the opportunity to defend yourself.
To conclude, it is always important to learn from your experience. If it did not work it is find, but it is important to know why it did not work in order to correct your mistakes.

I am sure that after having watched this video, nothing will stop you to get your dream job!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Think different - Apple

Think different apple
I really like this idea. First, let's think about the situation. In 1995 Apple has seen its supremacy challenged by the arrival of Microsoft. In no time Microsoft acquired about 90% of market shares. Whereas Microsoft's main advantage was to own most of the market, and allow its users to share data easily (data that were not accessible on a Mac at this time).

So Apple came with this baseline: "Think different". As we became marginal, we accept our new status, and we will show why being different is great, even though every body wants to be the same.
The idea is very strong, and explains in two words the whole approach of Apple.

Also, on a personal view, I think that a baseline has to be different. Marketing is about creating uniqueness, even though there is none. And by affirming and showing that Apple was different, it allowed Apple to create a great brand equity. And therefore, I really like this slogan.
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New Twitter idea: my favorite marketing slogans

I might not be a great Twitter users, compared to people like Loic Lemeur or Robert Scoble. However, I believe in the development of its use for non-geek users at some point, and also that we did not see yet all the different uses you could have of Twitter.
Indeed, I believe that Twitter could offer great opportunities to promote a business, but also I think that it could be great for educational purpose. I think that it could help people learning for example a language, or following some courses, whereas people already uses Twitter to transcript seminars and conferences.

Therefore I had the idea that I could use Twitter to share with my community some of the best marketing slogans, that I found original and inspirational.  As you know, I consider one of the main strength of a marketer to keep things simple, and creating a great motto which defines a product or a brand is something cool.

The first that comes to my mind right now is "think different"- Apple.
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Different types of networking groups

Ivan Misner, president of the BNI, a networking group company, is explaining the 7 main types o business networking organizations to consider joining:

  • Casual contact networks. These allow many people from overlapping professions and meet monthly.
  • Strong contact networks. Their primary purpose is exchanging referrals. They meet weekly.
  • Community service clubs. They provide an opportunity to give back to the community you do business in while making contacts and getting PR.
  • Professional associations. They tend to focus on one specific industry. The primary purpose is to exchange information and ideas)
  • Social/business organizations. They combine social activities with business or networking.
  • Online networks. Includes groups such as Ecademy, LinkedIn and Ryze, which are social networks for businesses.
  • Women’s business organizations. They are non-threatening groups for women to increase business. Many also allow men.
What is important as a professional is to have multiple networking organizations. Because of these multiple opportunities, you will be able to build your own original network, that will fit your needs.
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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Ipod 3G

Today as expected Apple decided to launch its new version of the Iphone, the 3G iphone. Indeed, it did not really make sense that Apple launched a EDGE cell phone whereas they were suppose to deliver the best of the Internet on a cell phone. This new version will correct this problem.
  • Download speed is 3.6 times faster than the regular Ipod (Edge), almost as fast as Wifi, 18 seconds vs 5 seconds.
  • The battery life has improved and propose 300 hours in standby, and 5 to 6 hours of web browsing.

  • Real GPS vs Google map-based GPS.

  • New price, with $199 for 8 gb, $299 16gb (also available in white) way cheaper than the first version.
This version is really looking much better, correcting some of the weaknesses of the former version. I am sure this cellphone will be a great success, even though the competition will become tougher and tougher with the arrival of Android and the Blackberry gaining more and more marketshares.
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LinkedIn proposes private companies group

Linkedin groupsI received today an email from LinkedIn letting me know that they have launched a new service for companies.

"We just launched a new beta feature that gives you and your coworkers at Residential Pacific Mortgage a private place on LinkedIn to communicate and collaborate. This new Company Group allows you to:
  • Discover and discuss with your co-workers news articles that are relevant to your company, competitors, and industry
  • Ask questions to members of your company group and answer co-workers questions
  • Find employees in different parts of the company and stay updated on what they're working on"
This is a good idea. One of the things I did not like about LinkedIn is that they were not allowing people to create groups within the service. Viadeo, on the other hand, have hubs where you can share information and discuss inside a private group. But the problem of Viadeo is that you have to pay for the service, which limits the potential of this network.
Thus I consider this new feature will be great. The only regret I have is that it is limited to companies. I wish it would work with alumni group. But I think this is moving foward, and I expect this service to be available for alumni associations soon.
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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Social Networking Ad Spending Lower than expected published May 13, 2008 some new social networking ad spending, which are expected to be lower than the previous estimations, from $1.6 billion to $1.4 billion. Does that mean that the appeal of the market is down? The fact is that these figures have been impacted by the recession in the US, and that it has affected marketing

Nicolas Schriver, CRM and marketing
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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hellomoto commercial

This is a great commercial going on in the US. I like it because it tries, with a humorisit approach, to show the different uses you could have of a smartphone. Indeed, the character is browsing the Internet, using a GPS system, watching videos.

This one is even better, because it shows you how your mobile phone could save you.
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Twitter lacking of customer relationship strategy: blaming its best usersfor technical problems

Scoble wrote an article on How Twitter is blaming its best users for its frequent (way too frequent) technical problems.
Twitter is the leading micro blogging service, allowing million of users to share what they are doing at the instant. But the fact is that after having known a tremendous growth, the service is constantly experiencing technical problems. You can't post, you can't see previous twits from friends, and so on.

Twitter is explaining its problems because its best users are using too much the service, and they can't deal with the amount of twits received.

'The events that hit our system the hardest are generally when “popular” users - that is, users with large numbers of followers and people they’re following - perform a number of actions in rapid succession. This usually results in a number of big queries that pile up in our database(s). Not running scripts to follow thousands of users at a time would be a help, but that’s behavior we have to limit on our side.'

 This is totally wrong. You can't blame your best users, the people that are promoting your service, because they are enjoying your service. The problem is that they have not been able to set up a structure that would be able to manage the fast growth of the service. But this is not the fault of your users if you are not able to satisfy them.

 If you propose something you must deliver. Also if they can't deal with the increasing number of twits, they should close the registration explaining that the platform can't accept anybody else at this time. Because it is better to make people wait than to accuse your users to drive technical issues. As a company, you must offer the best service as possible, because these people represents one of your core assets, especially for a web 2.0 company which value is based on the number of users.

So Twitter, please, stop accepting people that you won't be able to please, and focus on your best users, because they are the one that could save you during these bad days. Maybe this example shows that it is still important to have public relations skills, in order to give better response to the public.
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Advice to marketers: Keep it simple

I was reading Seth Godin's blog, and an article called "Start with a classified". He explains that you should keep your ad as short as possible, as if you were writing a classified where every words will cost you. The idea is to simplify your idea as much as possible to make it easy to deliver, and to understand.

I wanted to speak about that because I believe that one of the main quality a marketer should have is to keep it simple. Trust me, this is very challenging. When you have the occasion to speak with an audience, you want to make the best out of your time, and spread the most information you can. This is human. Also, when you have a limited marketing budget, you think that it is important to jump on every opportunities to say what you want to your customers.

But the fact is that by doing so, you confuse your listener, by providing too many information that he can retain, or that he wants to have. Your ad loose all interactivity, which is important as you want people to read your ad.

A good market should be able to focus on the main information, the information that will trigger the sale, and expose it in the simplest way, thanks to a picture, a slogan, an idea.

So my main advice is Keep it simple.

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." (Albert Einstein)

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

How to start your company and get rich

The title might seem cocky, but it is the one used by Henri Kaufman and PPC to explain us the key factors of success to start a company. Henri Kaufman has hence funded multiple companies, and is an expert. You can watch the video in French, go here to see the points in French, and the transduction is below.

  1. three concepts:
    1. Understand when is the best timing to start your business, when you are ready for it
    2. Work very hard at the beginning, to give to the project the best chances to succeed
    3. Make other people work for you. This is important to be able to delegate.
  2. Dare! You should not let anything stop your ideas. Leave all the different problems aside. These problems and things that stop you to pursue your goal, you invented them. You should drop them.
  3. Push the accelerator. And the gas is both your ideas and the adrenaline. You gonna have a lot of adrenaline, because starting a business is a lot of risk, and risk creates adrenaline. This is a great thing and it will help you move forward.
  4. Accept the risk. Every business is risky, so accept it. However, make sure you have the adhesion of your relatives and close friends. They'll be here to support you during good & bad times.
  5. Try to start with a client. It is easier. But what is important it is the second client. When you can get a second client, that means you have succeeded.
  6. Set a deadline of success, and a maximum limit to your investment. Win or fail fast. Don't get stubborned, if you fail, image a new project. There is no use to keep on with a company that don't start up.
  7. Hide your stress: You will have a lot of stress because of the risk, expecting some sales that are not coming for example. But you need to hide him because you will meet with a lot of potential clients, investors, suppliers, and it is important to hide your stress from them. You need to show your confident, because people don't buy to losers. You need to have a winner face.
Conclusion: Burn your vessels. You need to look forward, accept the risk, and take action.  Also, starting your company is not a part time job. It is full-time.
Also, have faith, be confident.

Henri Kaufman says at the end of the video that it happens to fail, it happened to him. But he also said that when he failed, it was because he did not respect these key bullets.

I love this series of video explaining you 7 keys in 7 minutes, I think all the advices are great. Hope it will help people who are willing to start a business.
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Why blogging is the best way to communicate for a small business?

A lot of people know how powerful the blogosphere is. You can in couple of hours spread a great buzz about a new product, or discredit a customer services in couple of lines. It is also one of the greatest asset for a small business to boost its communication. Indeed, the blogging activities have some attributes that can't be match with any other kind of media. Here are couple of advantages for a small business.

Low cost solution
A blog could be theoretically free. Most of the platforms, wordpress or blogger are free, you just need to join and then you post. Isn't it great, especially when you know you can have access to more than 50% of the US population? At least, the blog will cost you a dozen of dollars if you decide to pick a more sophisticated plateform like Typepad, and buy a domain name, which I recommend for search engine optimization purposes

Search engine optimization

A blog is way more powerful than a standard website on a SEO point of view. Indeed, whenever you post an article, it creates its own web page, and then multiple the number of pages that will be referenced on google. Also, if you add always proper tags to your article, it will be more efficient, and Google will take it into account while browsing your blog. Let's not forget also that on the contrary of Flash-built websites, blogs are mainly text, which is also a great help for Google. Also, because of its form, it is easy to add some pages. Blogs are for sure the best way to get a nice search engine ranking, fast, and with low effort.

A way to expose your knowledge and that you are up-to-date with your market
A blog is something very reactive, that will allow you to communicate on an information within very few moments. If you need to place a new information on your website, it will probably mean that you need to edit your website, which is most of the time complex and long. With a blog, you could do it from a cellphone. This reactivity is a great plus, especially while people are looking for fresh news.

Trigger people to come back often
Because a blog is always evolving with fresh information, that incite people to come back often to check the news. How many times will you come back on a corporate website? The form and what it has been designed for is far away from allowing you to communicated on a daily basis. If you post new comments often, people will come back at you. Also, how many times I had people sending me emails to let me know they were expecting for new articles while I was on vacation.

Help to build relationships
A blog is about discussing. People can leave comments, contact you to get more information. I have been able over the last past year to build a great professional network mainly thanks to my blogging activities. You'll be able to meet peer colleagues, but also some potential buyers. People react better after having read an article than after exploring a corporate websites.

Learn more about your business

On a personal point of view as a small business, by blogging, you will be forced to document yourself, seek for information, and explore the different resources the web will offer you. This activity is great. It is like monitoring the market, knowing the competition and potential opportunities. By blogging, you also become aware of what is happening, and more reactive.

Is there other ones that I forgot? Probably. Blogging is a great activity. But I also have to warn you. Blogging is not for anyone. I believe, from my point of view and my experience that blogging requires you to dedicate time and a real will to write. If you don't feel any pleasure  at writing, there are a lot of chances you will fail. You have questions? You want to share something?Feel free to leave me a comment.Why blogging is the best way to communicate for a small business
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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Rent your brand purse with

Louis VuittonI was watching this week end the new sex and the city (which is actually a great movie I recommend you), and they were talking about a service where you could rent some couture bags for a month or so. I found the concept great, and thought it would be such a pitty if did not actually exist. That is why I decided to go online to chase some websites proposing this kind of service. And I found it!

It is called, and proposes to rent some bags for as low as 5 dollars a month.

I believe this service has a great future ahead of it, for different reasons:

  • The democratization of luxury: Luxury has become with the days more affordable. Anyone can decide to spend money to buy a Louis Vuitton bag. We can also see that the brands themselves changed their approach, by changing their communication code. They are not afraid anymore to use rock stars (Keith Richards from the Rolling Store) and rappers to promote their products.
  • We are in a society of changes: We are always moving, geographically for our career, we have more and more spare time and more possibilities to spend this time. That is the reason why we don’t like contracts. We’d rather rent to keep our freedom to change houses, we dislike when we have to subscribe a two years plan because we would like to be able to find new opportunities after a little while. A long term-rental car company in France has for slogan: “renting is keeping your freedom”. This is not false at all. So if I could rent a house, acar, a dvd for the night or a suit for a wedding when I need one why wouldn’t I be able to rent an expensive purse, and change it every months?
This story also tells us that business ideas can emerge from anywhere, watching TV, going to the movie theater. The most important is to be aware, and to catch up the occasion.
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Quelques conseils pour consommer mons d'essence nous propose des conseils pour limiter votre consommation d'essence et donc rouler moins cher. les voicis:

Conduire plus efficacement

Le style de conduite peut faire varier de 20 à 25 % la consommation d'une voiture sur un même trajet et pour une même vitesse moyenne. Tout est question de doigté : démarrage en douceur, vitesse constante sans à-coups et conduite au compte-tours. Il existe des stages de conduites écologique ou économique accessibles aux particuliers : Groupe 24 dans les Alpes-Maritimes, OK Drive dans l'Eure, Automobile Club Prévention-Sifa ( qui dispose de 7 implantations régionales.

Trouver les pompes au meilleur prix

Internet et ses comparateurs de prix facilitent la recherche des stations-service bon marché. Le site public est le plus exhaustif puisque les pompes ont l'obligation de lui fournir leurs prix. D'autres sites, privés, comme ou, plus riches en informations (services disponibles, accès à la station, etc.) sont partiels, puisqu'alimentés par des internautes. On peut aussi consulter les prix sur son GPS, avec le logiciel de Navx, moyennant un abonnement de 6 € par mois ou 30 € par an.

Se mettre au covoiturage

La formule existe depuis belle lurette mais elle n'a jamais vraiment décollé en France. Et pourtant les sites de mise en relation, quasiment tous gratuits, fleurissent sur Internet. Trajets quotidiens, longues distances et déplacements exceptionnels, sites régionaux, dédiés aux entreprises… il y en a pour tous les goûts. Mais la multiplicité de ces sites (,,, dilue leur visibilité et le nombre d'offre. Cela reste malgré tout le moyen le plus radical de diviser sa facture de transport par 2, 3 ou 4.

Soigner ses pneus

Un seul pneu sous-gonflé de 10 % peut accroître la consommation de 2 %. Pour consommer moins, il est conseillé de rouler en permanence avec la pression préconisée pour les trajets autoroutiers ou à pleine charge (200 à 300 g de plus que la normale). Un léger surgonflage diminue la résistance au roulement du pneu. Il est aussi possible d'opter pour des pneus « verts », à faible résistance au roulement. Michelin vient de lancer l'Energy Saver qui permettrait d'économiser 0,2 l de carburant aux 100 km.

Mettre de l'huile dans son moteur

Sans aucune modification, les moteurs diesel tolèrent jusqu'à 30 % voire 50 % d'huile végétale. Pour passer à 100 %, il suffit d'effectuer quelques modifications mineures sur la voiture et d'accepter les odeurs de friture. La technique est fiable : un couple franco-mexicain effectue actuellement un tour d'Amérique latine en carburant à l'huile de friteuse. Mais, en France (contrairement à certains voisins européens) le Code des douanes assimile l'huile végétale pure à un carburant standard et la taxe. Seule exception : les machines agricoles. Des associations militent pour la modification de cette fiscalité (voir

Limiter la clim

À elle seule, la climatisation peut représenter 3 à 5 % de la consommation d'un véhicule. S'en passer ? Oui, mais sans rouler vitres ouvertes à grande vitesse, la surconsommation serait quasiment la même. Solution moins radicale : la climatisation électrique.

Tenter le gpl

Un plein à 30 €, voilà l'atout du Gaz de pétrole liquéfié (GPL). Depuis le 1er janvier, les véhicules GPL neufs émettant moins de 140 g de CO2/km bénéficient d'une prime écologique de 2 000 €, étendue aux véhicules d'occasion qui s'équiperaient et émettent jusqu'à 160 g. Vous pouvez faire équiper votre voiture chez l'un des 213 installateurs agréés*. Il en coûte entre 2 500 et 3 500 €, rapidement amortis par la prime et les économies. La France compte 140 000 utilisateurs et dispose d'un réseau de 1 850 stations service. Seul hic : une difficulté à la revente en occasion. * ou

Faire décoller le gnv

Citroën présente à partir de demain et jusqu'au 5 juin à l'occasion du Salon de la nouvelle ville, au Parc floral de Paris, deux modèles fonctionnant au gaz naturel véhicules (GNV) mais acceptant également le super. Ce GNV assure une réduction des émissions de CO2 de l'ordre de 20 % tout en étant proposé à 0,70 € l'équivalent litre en gazole. Le moteur ne consommant guère plus qu'avec un carburant traditionnel, on roule à moitié prix. À cela s'ajoute une prime de 2 000 € pour les véhicules au gaz naturel émettant moins de 140 g de CO2 par km. Hélas, la France ne compte qu'une trentaine de stations GNV (contre 800 en Allemagne). Constructeurs et Gaz de France doivent faire un effort pour lancer la filière.

Passer aux énergies alternatives

Si les biocarburants de première génération n'ont plus le vent en poupe, la recherche planche toujours sur des carburants synthétiques. Dans dix ans, les déchets agricoles ou les algues pourraient servir de matière première. À plus court terme, le marché de la voiture électrique pourrait aussi commencer à décoller dès 2009. La palme de l'originalité va déjà à l'Eclectic, fabriquée par Venturi. Ce véhicule urbain pourra transporter trois personnes à 50 km/h en jouant sur une large palette d'énergies propres (solaire, éolien et électricité).

Se garer plus rapidement

Chercher à se garer en ville est vite énergivore. Or, bon nombre de places de parking privées sont inoccupées. Partant de ce constat, des sociétés anglaise ( et américaines ( proposent de mettre en relation par Internet ou téléphone des automobilistes en quête d'une place et des particuliers en ayant à proposer au mois, à la semaine ou à la journée. En France, s'est lancé sur ce créneau il y a quelques mois. Autre initiative,, met en relation par SMS des personnes recherchant et libérant des places de stationnement résidentiel.


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Videos from the Google Android

I picked these videos from Fred Cavazza's blog. Google Android seems to be almost ready, and we should expect to see it in the market probably on September, or at least for Christmas holiday. Google chose to use the tactile technology as Apple did with the Iphone. We can see though some functionalities and an interface that differ from its competitor.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Why Peugeot, Reunault and Citroen should come in the U.S. Market (2)

Why Peugeot, Renault & Citroen should come in the USI want to go on with the article I posted couple of weeks ago about Why Peugeot, Reunault and Citroen should come in the U.S. Market. I had a great comment of Andrei, who is working in the automobile industry in Russia, that drove me the will to explain further details on how it could work.

- About the dealer network: I must agree that establishing a dealers network is not that easy. This is probably the main problem. It is actually the main reason of the failure back in the 80s. But things have changed. Renault has already established some Nissan dealers on the US territory. Also, in the US, on the contrary of France, most of the dealers are selling not only one brands. For instance, you have some dealers specialized in high class European cars (BMW, Audi, Mercedes), and it would probably easy to place some models there.

- Concerning the lack of branding of French manufacturers, as you have said, they made a great effort on this point. I believe that French cars have been able to innovate in the market, and have enough brand power to get into the US market. I think that the fact US car brands are so weak nowadays force US consumers to seek new companies. And I also believe that Peugeot and Renault made great job by developping Latin America and Asian markets.

- About the product range, I think that French car has a pretty wide range of vehicle. Yes they do great small cars, and I believe this know how and expertise are the main key factor of success in case they decide to get into the US market. But they also have very elegant bigger cars, like the 607. The US market is attracted by small fuel efficient car to face both the gas price spikes and the traffic in town. Why Peugeot and Citroen US Market

I am agree with you Andrei, this is not for now. Entering the US market implies a 3 to 5 years plan. Roma has not been built in a day. But this is the best time to think about it. Especially right now that the big historical US makers are in trouble and struggling to find their place in the market.

I highly appreciated your contribution as an expert of the car industry, and your comment show well that there are still a lot of questions to be asked, and problems to be solved. But this question is in the air of time.
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Sunday, June 01, 2008

When hard discounters face prices spiking

You are worried? You might be with all the bad news you have to listen to, whether you are in France or in the US. Gas price spiking, healthcare system issues (in France, no cashback for eyeglasses, in the US, problem for the whole system), and food price is also at historical highs.

The fact is that most of the time, while the conjuncture is not good, it is great for hard discounters. While household budgets are struggling, families usually goes to hard discount stores, such as Wall Mart, Ross among others, in order to limit the higher cost of life. Hence, you can see with the chart below that Wall Markt stocks are doing great. Wall Mart StockSo if you are an investor, maybe you should think about it. 
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New dot-com bubble, or great optimism? European VS US venture capitalism

venture capitalistI was reading an excellent blog post on, where the author was discussing mainly about the different topics that made the headlines of the Internet media last week. And then, he was speaking about the venture capitalism market in France. Indeed, funding is slow there, and it is hard for French start-up to make money nowadays, with the slow economy and that the hype around web 2.0 is not as big as it was last year.

Venture capitalism in the US
The fact is that I find this picture of venture capitalism so different from what I have seen here in the Silicon Valley. Here I see so many start up launching, money is really not a big deal since finding funds is really easy. Also, a lot of these companies are raising funds without really knowing how to make money out of their ideas. As said Loic Lemeur, the business model is not that important as long as the idea is great and your able to deliver a good product. He always speaks about LinkedIn that have been launched with no focus on how to get money out of it. The results is that investment in start ups is the highest since years in the

I believe it is true, that if you have a great product, you'll be able to find a way to monetize it, but I still have some concern (probably my European personality...) about all these companies coming up with no business model.

Venture Capitalism in Europe

In Europe, or at least in France, we have fewer capital, and VCs are more "traditional": they need a lot of data and figures to back up the potential of the start-up. This implies that European start-up have less funds most of the time than American's. This is probably a safer approach, because it is always very risky to give money to a company that don't even know how they'll be able to make money, but it gives less chances to the company to expand.

The fact is that you have two ways to interpret what's going on:
  • The US "style": the Internet is expanding so quickly, that there are great room for new actors with great ideas. As long as you are able to have an original product, you'll be able to make money out of it. On an investor point of you, you need to invest the most you can to give the most chances to the projects
  • The European "point of view": The economy is low, there was a lot of noise around the 2.0 phenomenon, but there is no real return on investment right now. Is it a good time to invest? What is important, is to be sure that these start ups will be profitable on a midterm timeframe.
What do you think? Do you believe in a new Internet crash? Or do you think that the Internet is expanding so much that it deserves all these funds?

In my opinion, from what I have seen of the mortgage market, the US investors love to invest in bulk, until something happen. This is exactly what happened with the mortgages, where they bought highly risky mortgages but with great potential margins, whereas they should have keep their portfolio of subprime products low. I wish that it won't happen in the Internet market.

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