Category Archives: Analysis

Sex sells

What’s a better way to start the year than a great article in the Economist on the essence of marketing: people are irrational.

And indeed, my posts on stunning babes hired by Dutch beer brand Bavaria last year and this very post are ranked 3 and 4 among the best read posts ever (see menu at the right), and counting…

Facebook’s next challenge

With a simple and brilliant idea Mark Zuckerberg (and the others) turned social network Facebook into the most successfull venture of our generation with over 750 million users. Magazine Time was fully right when they elected him Person of the Year 2010. Facebook did and is changing the world.

But what’s next? Recently, Facebook launched integrated business network BranchOut in an attempt to get a piece of the pie that LinkedIn is baking really fast. But is it wise to add a business platform to a social network? Do these two go together? Can you shift your positioning just like that? I’m not sure.

Then there is Google+. Can somebody please tell me what the pros and cons of this platform are? For techsavvy persons like my brother it’s probably very clear. But I bet 99% of the people don’t know what Google wants or what the features exactly are. What I do know, is that I get the idea they’re trying to tap into both the social and business networks. (Check out this poll on Campaign Asia about FB vs. Google+. Guess who I voted for?;-)

My point is: social and business networks are still early cycle. With a huge members base as Facebook and Google have, you might think they just launch anything they like and try if it works. But at the same time, you do have a brand that you’re building. You don’t want to confuse visitors. And brands need a lot of attention, especially when markets grow up.

And that’s the phase online networks are in now. The pie has to be shared with more hungry competitors and positioning becomes key. There are so many others around already. I just mentioned the big three, but for the smaller ones it’s at least as important. Branding and marketing will be on top of the list. What’s the competitive edge? How do you distinct yourself? Facebook didn’t need a slogan so far. But they might in two years time from now.

Facebook will probably stand out, because of its ridicilously huge members base. On the other hand, they grew big, because they focussed on social network alone. Will adding a business network confuse their members?

Just look me up on Facebook, Mark. I’m happy to discuss.

Patrick van Hees’ road to happiness: goals, relationships and recharge

The great advantage of having your own blog is that you decide yourself what to write about. Although it’s not my habit, I want to promote the debut roman of my good friend Patrick van Hees’: ‘De Geluksprofessor‘, published in the Netherlands on The Happiest Day of 2011: 17 June. The Happiest Day? Yes, academic research has shown that the last Friday before the actual summer starts, is the happiest day of the year. And on the 17th there’s still some money on the bank as well. Makes sense.

In his book, Patrick describes the road to happiness in three steps. The first is to set clear and realistic goals for yourself. Goals get you started and keep you going. There’s always this perspective you’re dedicated to. Next to this, you have to build true relationships with people, instead of just having superficial contacts. Last but not least, one should on a regular basis ‘recharge’. Get new energy from things that you really like to do and not just because it’s fashionable (if you happen to like the hip and happening, that’s fine of course;-): do sports, go to the beach, walk, have a massage, play cards, spend a long night with your girlfriend, anything you like.

Next to being a writer, Patrick is a successfull marketeer and entrepreneur. That’s why I also asked him to become a member of the Advisory Board of my agency C-People. A great honour to me that he was delighted to do so, but of course a great honour to him as well;-)

Buy the book here.

Be orginal and you’ll be found!

Yesterday, Google announced it launched a big improvement to its ranking system. The change will impact about 12% of all searches (queries). High-quality sites will be ranked higher, low-quality sites will be placed lower.

High quality is being defined as websites with original content, research, analysis, in-depth reports, etc.  Like Hot Curry 😉

I think it’s a good development that web or blog owners who focus on the originality of their site are being rewarded for that.

From a more philosophical point of view (if you allow me;-), it again shows that although the world is getting more electronic, it doesn’t mean we should stop thinking and creating. Creativity and original thoughts will always add value and will therefore survive. And not just because Google sais so.

So be original and be found!

China owns 10% of Euro Government Debt

According to figures published by the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) yesterday, 550 to 650 billion of the world’s second economy reserves are now being held in Euros. The biggest part of this amount is in European Government Debt, which is about 10% of the entire Euro debt.

Next to this, China owns an estimated USD 47 billion in Western-European companies. This is the official figure of announced investments by the end of 2010. By now, this amount has probably increased by another few billion already and it is hard to say if real investments aren’t already higher anyway.

Europe is an important trade partner for China and our Eastern friends will increase their investments over the coming years. That’s a fact.

Fortunately, Chinese is easy to learn. You can do it in 5 minutes.

The Daily: one small step according to criticasters, one giant leap for mankind

Yesterday, Apple launched The Daily. It’s a daily digital paper, developed exclusively for the iPad. Apple developed it together with Rupert Muroch’s News Corporation.

Again, Apple is the innovator.

I heard some criticasters say this is no serious competition for printed daily’s. One of the reasons would be the small editorial team working for The Daily. Uhm, with one of the biggest media network behind it?? Murdoch claims there are 100 journalists working for his new digital baby. And I believe him. If a media tycoon like Murdoch launches a new product, he doesn’t do it just for fun.  And Apple won’t neither. The Daily and upcoming competing digital papers will not make printed versions disappear, but they will be a fierce competitor. This is just the beginning.

Conservative criticasters and media, you better move!

The Chinese invasion: Part II

Last week, the claimed world’s largest bank ICBC opened a branche in Amsterdam. It’s the first Chinese bank opening an office in the Dutch capital and without any doubt, much more will follow. Also Indian and Japanse banks are being pursued to come to the Netherlands and Europe.

 

The Chinese invasion is not limited to banking. Also in transport, infrastructure and shipping the Chinese are making some major investments in Europe.

We are witnessing a global economical shift. I never believed the back to basics story: globalization is in full swing! At this stage, it’s just one way traffic from Asia to Europe.