2015 in review

I only wrote one blog post in 2015. But I still enjoyed reading this personalized annual summary from the WordPress team. Makes me want to write more this year!


Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,500 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

A tip for people interviewing for jobs.

I recently got a new job as Head of Digital and CRM at Fiskars! \o/

Getting a new job meant going through some interviews..

When interviewing for jobs, there is a question that I never seemed to answer very well:

It’s always a tough one to answer, as most factual information is available before the interview via the web, or it has been covered during the interview already. Often, people say “not really thanks, everything I wanted to know has been covered”, which leaves the end of the interview on a bit of a flat note.

Here’s my new go-to answer to that question:

It works no matter what topics you have covered in the interview.

It is good because you are asking for a personal opinion, so you don’t come across as under-prepared having not  researched the company fully.

It makes the interviewer think, and to some extent he or she has to sell the job to you. It is quite easy to think of the best thing, but when thinking of the worst thing many interviewers try to minimize how bad it seems. This seems to turn the tables and turns you into attractive prospect who the interviewer is now persuading to join their company.

And, who knows, the answer the interviewer gives might help you decide if you really do want the job after all..

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Giving your Social Content “LEGS”

Renowned ‘social media guru’ Gary Vaynerchuk has released a book called Jab, Jab, Jab, Hook. The basic principle is that your attempts at selling in social media will not be successful if you have not spent time ‘softening your target up’ with jabs first. A boxer who keeps going for the knock-out punch all the time will not be very successful, as it is too easy to avoid his wild swings. Similarly, if all you do is jab, then you won’t ever get the knockout punch (the hook).

I agree with his principles, I just think the analogy is too aggressive, and doesn’t really expand on what the jabs and hooks should be.

So I worked on my own version, which I called:

“Giving your social content LEGS (Listen, Engage, Give, Sell)


It’s essential that you start with listening, to understand the people with whom you want to build relationships. There are great tools available now to help with this, but really Twitter and Google search and some good old fashioned effort can get you there too.


Once you have been listening for some time and you feel ready, start by engaging with your prospects. Find common points of interest, ask questions, things that will encourage conversation and relationships and all that good stuff.


Give something. Add some real value. By now you should have worked out what your potential customers are trying to achieve. So help them achieve it, using your own social platforms or other means at our disposal. They will love your for it, and want to repay you.

(then, and only then)


It’s clear that Social Media is becoming a great place to drive sales. But remember to keep Listening, Engaging and Giving, so that you don’t become Spam.

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“There is no such thing as a low-interest category…

… only low interest thinking”

Richard Huntington, Director of Strategy at Saatchi & Saatchi.

So true.

Agencies always want to work for the Dream Client, for example Nike or Apple.

But perhaps the most interesting thinkers should aim to work with the apparently dull brands, in the boring categories.

For example, through great design and their founders’ passion for innovation, Method have made cleaning products interesting.


My favourite recent example is Volvo Trucks. Unless you are a 5 year old boy, trucks are not the most interesting thing in the world. But Forsman Bodenfors, decided that trucks can be interesting. They created a series of epic test videos, which famously culminated in Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Epic Split video that you must be one of the 60 million people to have seen by now. But this wasn’t just a lucky one-off. Volvo and their agency have shown the ability to generate interest with a series of great videos, for example this chase sequence is well worth a watch.

Many people have watched these videos that will never buy a Volvo truck, of course. But if you are a truck buyer, I will bet that you have watched every one of these Volvo videos and shared the videos with all of your truck-buying buddies.

So, no more excuses that it’s merely a “low-interest brands”. My New Year’s Resolution is to make the dull more interesting.

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Demand Generation vs Demand Fulfillment

There are some examples of digital advertising generating demand for a product, but they are unpredictable –  a viral sensation that is hard to manufacture.

It seems that the real money is on digital media fulfilling the demand created by more predictable “mass-media” tactics – TV, PR etc.

The brilliantly controversial Ad Contrarian has said that the internet shouldn’t really be used for advertising at all, or at least only for Google ads and certainly not for those tiny little Facebook ads.

He points out that targeting ads in a highly specific way, based on demographics, does not seem to work in building a strong mass-market brand. This goes against the new conventional wisdom, which is that targeting will change everything.

However, about a year ago, Facebook released its new FBX ads. These ads are not targeted based on the huge amount of demographic information Facebook hold. Instead they are based on your browsing history, on promoting things that you have already looked at on other sites.

So, what Facebook is doing, is moving from trying to generate new demand, but rather fulfilling the demand that has already been generated.


I see a travel show on TV suggesting a trip to Bali. Or someone mentions their trip, and it sounds cool. The demand has been created. So I check it out on a web site (and get a cookie), but I’m not ready to buy the holiday now.

The genius of Google is that – whenever I am ready – I will search for it. And Google will be there at that very moment to take their slice.

WIth FBX, Facebook will be showing me adverts for Bali now. They will also have a chance of “fulfilling” the demand that was generated elsewhere.

And perhaps, with this, Facebook also have a chance of fulfilling people’s expectations that they can make money from all of the time people spend on their platform.

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The real reason that banners don’t work.

Eye tracking reveals banner blindness

Eye tracking reveals banner blindness

Banners have a dismal record. People are literally blind to banners.

But why are they so much worse than other forms of advertising?

Maybe because advertising should be more like the content it supports.

The best TV ads fill the screen with short stories that compel you to watch them. Sometimes they are better than the shows they interrupt.

Print ads in Vogue are often beautiful fashion photographs, appealing to the tastes of the reader.

PR experts will make sure that a brand makes the news in a way that makes sense for the media audience.

The best branded Youtube videos need to be as good as the best user-generated content. If they are not, they will be ignored. But at least the content is a similar format.

Search ads look very much like search results, and will not be shown for long if their relevancy is too low for people.

Sponsored Tweets are still Tweets, so do not jar too much. Facebook it starting to have more success with sponsored stories.

But banners are relegated to the sidelines. They look nothing like the content you actually want to read or see on websites. Which is probably why, 20 years after they were first introduced, they are still ignored by nearly everyone, and are still so very ineffective.

Information overload.

For the past 5 years, I have been living as a functioning Infoholic.

These are the signs:

The first thing I do when I wake up is check emails and Facebook, and then NBA scores and news. I tell myself I do this “to wake my brain up”, but the truth is that I do it because I am addicted.

When I am with my beautiful daughters, there are many times when I am checking Facebook, instead of listening to what they are saying or watching them play. I sometimes get annoyed with them for getting in the way of my information-gathering habit.

I usually look up trivial facts during each movie I watch: What else has this actor been in? Who wrote this screenplay? It’s become quite normal to tweet during TV events, but I struggle to watch a whole movie nowadays because of my reduced concentration span.

A few days ago, my iPhone broke. I went a few hours without it. Then I realised I’d gone a whole day. Then three days. And nothing bad happened. I read a book. A whole book, not just the article about it on Wikipedia. I felt liberated, as though I am not at anyone else’s beck and call. The constant worry was gone, and I felt my brain starting to work at full speed again as the data haze started to disappear. The information stopped becoming so immediately abundant, but a visit to a library reminded me that there was still more information available than I could possibly consume.

John Naish, author of the book Enough, lives in Brighton UK without a mobile phone. When I first heard that, it sounded impossible. But maybe he is making a wise choice. Maybe we don’t need our gadgets as often as we think we do. Maybe the constant flow of information is paradoxically making us less informed. Maybe our inability to be bored, is actually getting in our brain’s way from doing the sorting and indexing required to make new creative connections. Maybe we’ll soon realize that our cultural and creative progress is being held back, and we need to move past this information addiction that so many of us seem to suffer from.

But for now, my iPhone is back. My ipad is always nearby. My Facebook feed is just a click away, wherever I am. And my daughters have started to ask constantly for the ipad or the phone, and they get really, really annoyed if they aren’t allowed to use them…

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Branded Content is older than your Grandad.

It’s funny to me that people think that “Branded Content” is a new idea.

It’s so old. (Vanha, as we say in Finland).

Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 3.30.11 PM

MIchelin first published its Michelin Guides in 1900. Michelin Stars are still the thing that all the world’s restaurants strive for.

I found a new example today. A radio show, completely commissioned by a drinks brand, in the 1940s.


The 10-2-4 Ranch was aired in the south during the second world war. Great tunes, and a great connection to the brand which was (according to their research) consumed mostly at 10am, 2pm and 4pm. They used the 10-2-4 thought in their print advertising too – a true 360 campaign based on a real insight and including branded content.. almost 70 years ago!

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Who is your most valuable customer?

Yesterday I saw this sign in a food shop in Helsinki. The owner is rewarding people who promote his shop by giving them a small discount.

It seems that Kellogs are also playing with this idea, with people able to pay for cereal with a tweet.

I said a while back that the most valuable customers are not always the ones who spend the most, but can be the ones who promote you the most.

The CLV should be the Social CLV.

The best CRM database systems in the future will measure transaction activity and social activity, and reward you for both. I don’t really know anyone who is really nailing this yet. Do you?

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Why advertising pitches are like ‘The Bachelor’.

For most of my career, I was The Client.

Whenever we needed to pick a new agency, we used to think that pitching was the responsible thing to do – we tested out agencies “for real” as we got to see them work on our problems, not other people’s.

But now I work at an ad agency, and the truth I’ve come to realise is: pitching is the worst way to start a relationship.

Pitching is the equivalent of the TV Show The Bachelor: one guy picking from 30 women according to a pre-defined process and time schedule, regardless of initial chemistry and compatibility.

You get a winner, but you rarely start a genuine relationship.

Just like with personal relationships, it is great when we meet a team on the client side who is so close to us in terms of thinking. It could be the start of a great relationship, a true partnership.

However, nearly always now, we have to pitch creative ideas next. My experience of recent pitches is that, even if we win, it is not a good way start to a relationship:

  1. It distances us from the client at the outset: it sets the relationship on a path of “us” vs “them, of “judge” vs “competitor”.
  2. Partnering and collaborating are not part of the pitching game: Media agencies are told not to intervene, time with the client and other information is limited, and the result is a contest that is more a test of endurance than a test of suitability.
  3. It also frustrates creatives: they know that the work they pitch is only a test, that it probably won’t even be used.
  4. Perhaps, most importantly, by setting agencies against each other, the competition – winning – becomes the important thing. Helping clients and building a true understanding becomes secondary to just beating the other guys.

Instead, when it feels right, when the chemistry in the relationship is there and both parties want to party, then maybe we should just start working and collaborating together and not competing for the prize of a new account. In my experience, working on a real project is the best way to get a team fired up and passionate about the new relationship.

So, to any clients reading this, here’s my advice: have a few “dates” and talk to a few people, and look at their previous work, but then make a decision and start working on something. You’ll find out pretty quickly if it was a good decision, and you’ll be much better off for it.

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