Online Marketing, a precious tool for NGOs & more…

May I kindly share the presentation I gave to the teams of Help Without Frontiers ( and Rays of Youth ( in Mae Sot, near the Thailand/Myanmar border?
Most of the presentation also applies to many other businesses and companies CSR.
Don’t hesitate to ask me questions since the presentation is only the framework, I talked for one hour around 20 slides.
Thank you.Help Without Frontiers Workshop 04_02_2014

2014 already and so many opportunities


We all  see it coming, in the next few days you’ll get two types of blogs and posts: An overview of 2013 and the forecast for 2014. I would rather talk about the 2014 opportunities because there will be zillions (not a spelling mistake, just means a lot more than millions) of them.

Talking selfishly about my line of work, Content being King, I believe Brands and Companies need to work at developing compelling content and that’s where I come in as content creator.

Content creators, 2014 will be YOUR year since companies realized SEO tricks, repetitive one-way communication & bi-monthly website updates are Marketing tactics of the past. Companies and brands need to allocate resources to being CREATIVE, UNIQUE and COMPELLING.

Companies and Brands have, in turn, zillions of opportunities to “amortize” all these efforts in providing content because they can use it on so many different platforms, 80% of them being mobile. Tablets, smartphones and soon smart watches are becoming essential to our life. People are connected all the time and they’ll be connected to your company and brand if you can persuade them they need to or would love to.

Because we all are Brand Ambassadors and that we all have a virtual presence, we can choose the brands and companies that meet our objectives or rather our desires.

It’s not about the money…well, it is actually, to some extent… Would you buy a Lamborghini if you had the money, I wouldn’t, I would buy a sailing boat. We don’t have the same desires. That’s why companies and brands need to understand who we are, how we live, when we intend to buy, where and at what price.

That’s called BIG DATA, the 2014 Big thing! Companies and organizations that will provide professional and tailor-made Big Data will be at the forefront in 2014.

Last but not least here is my latest prediction for 2014 and I sincerely hope I’m not wrong, I see a major increase in Social Enterprises. 

People, all over the world, as they become more informed and aware about how we have mistreated our planet to serve the greed of a few will gather and stand out to create Social Enterprises based on local community organizations.

Social Enterprises will find zillions of opportunities to save energy, grow healthy food, protect the ocean and the environment in general and well as to educate people about what this world craves for: love, compassion and understanding.

If not a prediction, consider it as the Nr 1 item on my Wish List.

As the sun goes down on Bangkok, let’s dream about zillions more opportunities!





What’s a “swiss knife” Marketeer

From Swiss-knife to Diver. See if you like Deep Blue Com.

Deep Blue Com, diving deep in Digital Marketing

I like to call myself a “swiss knife” marketeer because that’s how I can best describe what I can do, have done and will be continuing doing: putting more than 25 years of experience in Marketing & Communications at the service of companies, large and small, young entrepreneurs and travel, leisure and sports events organizers (regattas, Adventure trophies, etc).

It might sound odd to have chosen being a “swiss knife” Marketeer although I was born in the tiny country called Belgium but then again, it’s what I am.

With the years, I had the chance to develop business plans and models for companies large and small because I always look for details.

Market analysis, Marketing & sales techniques, Business plans development require discipline and I am keen on discipline. There is a clear path to establishing Business models and plans far from the perception people have of a MarCom person…

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Did you say Digital Marketing is a Must!

Yes, I did.

When people ask me if being a Digital Marketing consultant is like well…designing websites, I say, no but…I’m a content writer, I develop Digital Marketing plans including design recommendations then the website developer can start working with me on both design and content.

When I add that I also develop Social Media strategies then people get even more confused. I get the “I don’t like Facebook, people publish photos of themselves when they drink or photos of their plate in a restaurant, this is irrelevant” or “I never used LinkedIn, it”s boring”… This is when I go in “educational mode” and get the message that if they or their companies are not visible online, they will altogether disappear from the scene.

“Well, I have a website” is their common answer; “And how do you drive traffic?”…”The name is on my business card but then again, I don’t want to drive too much traffic, I don’t have time to update it and haven’t posted any updates for 3 months.”

I must admit I get these remarks all the time since I’ve been networking for the past 6 months in Bangkok and distributing 260 business cards.

I find it very positive since this means that there is “room” for me to sell my services as Digital Marketing specialist.

So far, I’ve audited a couple of websites and made design as well as content recommendations. I even had the chance to go back to square one  and develop the operational Marketing plan with a company launching a new project but my favorites are both Social Media Marketing and Mobile Marketing.

There is still so much to learn, so much to explore than I read and post on roughly six Social Media platforms not only to test them but also to make myself known.

My all times favorites are LinkedIn and Facebook. LinkedIn because it’s how I keep in touch with the contacts I made in Brussels, Paris, London, Munich, Orlando, Miami, San Francisco, Dubai, Singapore, …you name it. I traveled the world and lived in 25 different places so far including sailing around the world so, guess what, how can I possibly keep my professional contacts if not on LinkedIn?

As far as Facebook is concerned, this is my social virtual world. Being so far from family and friends most of the time, Facebook gives me the opportunity to keep all the bonds I have with them alive. I share my photos, my stories, my travels with them all and their reactions is what keeps me going. Moreover, because I share all my photos with all of them, I get news from most of them at one time or another.

I even created my own Facebook company page, Deep Blue Com.

Coming back to content, that’s what I believe most in. Anyone or any company can run a successful Digital Marketing plan provided they are ready to invest in proper content. Content needs research time, looking for the perfect writing style and the appropriate content according to the online platform it’s aimed at.

Content is King and I’m the Queen of content, Mmmm, overrated…no, why?


Really enjoyed reading this post. I agree, we are in the midst of a Mobile revolution and I want to be part of it. Moreover, I love Dubai.

CoolBrands Influencers

Today I’m meeting Gavin Payne, the head of technology for JWT MENA in Dubai. We’ve agreed to meet at the Internet City metro station and Gavin is waiting for me in the ticketing area. He instantly picks me out from the crowd and comes striding over with a big smile.

“You must be Anouk!” he says as he shakes my hand vigorously. “It’s great to meet you!”

“Let’s jump on the next train towards the Burj Khalifa. We can talk on the way.”

As we get on the escalator to the eastbound platform, Gavin starts telling me about his background: he is Irish and moved to Dubai a few years ago with his wife and daughter. His second daughter was born in Dubai last September and was given an Arabic name, Aiya.

“I come from an entrepreneurial background,” he explains. “After setting up a number of start-ups back home, I…

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Mobile Marketing, it’s all about Location, Call for Action and Reward.

Having taking part in so many discussions both with potential clients and agencies who decided Mobile Marketing should definitely be part of their Marketing Communications plan, I realize I found some of the answers to the “Why” and “How” of Mobile Marketing.

I’ve seen some lousy “gaming” ads, some intrusive ones, some funny ones (they at least made me smile) but when I have seen some effective ones they all had 3 common denominators: Location, Call for Action and Reward.

Location, location, yes, it’s all about Location otherwise what would be the point in getting information while being Mobile. If Mobile Advertising is only about static ads which I can find in the same format on TV, on my tablet and on my laptop, what’s the point?

No wonder some of the most efficient ads are “Search” ads, for hotels, restaurants or shops. It’s all about Location. As I am on my Mobile device, I want to find out what’s around me if I feel hungry or feel like going to the cinema or buy a pair of jeans.

Why I use Foursquare for example? It’s because not only my friends know where I’m but I can also search what’s around me and find out, for example, that I can go and watch the latest movie since I’m only 0.2Km from the nearest cinema.

What people, myself included, like most about being “hit” by an ad on their Mobile is to have at least a Call for Action they can choose to react to or ignore.

I don’t like intrusive ads, I like intriguing ads, the one that will trigger my reaction, will trigger an action I find either useful for me or the community or my family and friends or just an action that will make me feel happy (I’ll get a voucher to see my favorite movie soon) or useful (this orphanage will get a $1 per view) or feeling part of the local community (I’ll meet my friends at Starbucks later this afternoon).

As I receive the Call for Action, I should also feel this Call for Action is directed to me, not to everyone. I’m constantly “bombarded” by Mobile (very static and ugly) ads on games and I have to admit, I hate games.
I just don’t like wasting my time and was never fond of gaming even when I was young. I just don’t like gaming so I would love to have the possibility to “opt out” of these ads.

I love photography and wouldn’t mind being “bombarded” by pictures and Tips and Tricks to take better shots because that’s what I am interested in.

I believe Mobile Marketing should both cover “Call for Action” and at a later stage, “Opt in” or “Opt out” just like emailing instead of this “Spray and Pray” concept of Mobile Marketing no matter how cost-efficient it is.

Last but not least, I believe in Reward. Not only the 10% voucher or $2 discount but in the human reward.

May I come back to the Cannes Grand Prix Mobile Lion award? The agency Grow Interactive re-imagined Coca-Cola’s classic ‘Hilltop’ commercial (“Buy the World a Coke”) for a modern audience, in the digital age. The rich media ad ran on Google’s AdMob network, within apps for iOS and Android devices.

Fulfilling the promise of the original ad, it allowed users to connect with strangers by sending a Coke around the globe to an unsuspecting recipient. A viewer could react to the ad, deciding where to send a Coke by selecting one of many custom-designed vending machines located around the world, from New York City, to Cape Town, to Buenos Aires. They could then add a custom text message to personalize their Coke delivery.
Once the Coke was delivered, recipients were not only treated to the generosity of a stranger, thousands of miles away, but they could also say ‘thanks’ by sending a video message of their own back to the user.

This is, to me, what I call Reward at its best because it’s not based on the usual “money” reward but to the reward as a human being, to sharing between human beings.

I believe that no matter how much time we all egoistically spend looking at our smartphone screen, there is always a time we all look up and see people, the people we would like to interact with, complete strangers smiling at us, elderly people we’d like to help crossing the street. We want to be part of the local community, care for others, make them smile,…we all look for the human touch.

Be Mobile, be Agile, Be Human, that’s what Mobile Marketing should embrace over and above Location and Call for Action.

We are all Brand Ambassadors

Since the present trend calls for conversational online marketing, it’s time for the brands to realize that Brand Ambassadors are key to their marketing strategy.

When you choose a new car, a new motorbike, a new household equipment, a new shop, a new restaurant, don’t you first ask your family, friends, colleagues about what they think about the new car they just bought, the new motorbike they just drove to the office on this sunny day, the new shop they went to since you’ve seen a shopping bag with a name you didn’t know about, a new restaurant they might have found in the neighborhood?

I believe you do and your family, friends, colleagues become Brand Ambassadors.

Brand Ambassadors are key to the online marketing strategy of brands since you constantly see the effects of “Favorite” on “Twitter”, “Like” on Facebook, “+” on Google+, “Share” on LinkedIn, “Pins” on Pinterest” and more.

Everybody wants to join the conversation of “likes” and “shares” because people like to share, not only about their job, their passion, their hobby but also about the “things” that made their life easier or more fun, whether a new electric remote for their garage door or a new movie they just saw.

Brands have to leverage on this new trend by finding their Brand Ambassadors.
Asking for simple recommendations is not enough, they must engage in a conversation with their present customers to get to know when, how and why they choose their brands.

By doing so they will create not only an awareness of their brands through conversation but also a “good story to tell” with pictures and videos. Brands must believe in “story telling” by their Brand Ambassadors because people don’t particularly look for specifications when they buy, they look into fulfilling a dream, a crave, an authentic need.

When we sold our boat last november after 15 years of sailing around the world, and when I packed a few “things” I had on board to take with us, I realize I could be a good Ambassador for IKEA for example since I took the kettle I used for 15 years.

Can you imagine, this kettle has actually been around the world one and a half times, made us coffee and tea in quite seas and storms, never failed us, never rusted, never broke.
I could recommend that kettle as a good equipment for the kitchen but the story telling of this kettle going round the world would be more about dreams coming true since mine was to sail around the world and much more.

I believe brands should find then engage in a conversation with their Brand Ambassadors. Some are beginning to do it but within their own “dream” environments, not the one their customers are using them in.

Coming back to being a Brand Ambassador after this circumnavigation, I could list a larger number of brands that I imagined first, so here they are just as examples of how a “story” can tell about more than one brand actually so shouldn’t the brands join in a “story telling” that would favorite them all?

Here are the brands: Lalique, yes, Lalique, I was offered a Lalique small fish before I left and it resisted all storms although it’s breakable glass…or is it?
Delvaux, yes, Delvaux since my dark blue Delvaux wallet (a precious gift I got 20 years ago) was always with me when I went on land, this wallet has “seen” all the continents, was opened in thousands of markets from Madagascar to Fidji, opened in thousands of shops from Cartagena to Singapore. It’s still perfectly looking. I could well be a Brand Ambassador for Delvaux, couldn’t I.
I could also tell about Arcopal since we left with a 6-piece set of plates from Arcopal in 1997 and never broke one although we went through some pretty bad storms.
I could also mention Nivea, Umbro, Billabong, Pioneer, Ariel, Nescafé, Côte d’Or and many many more.

We are all Brand Ambassadors!