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Communications and Marketing Consultant Allena Tapia provides companies through GardenWall Guides. A store marcom firm focused in Mi, but serving customers worldwide. Her communications job was started by her with positions being a promotion author, an advertising writer as well as a project assistant, helping at both Michigan State University and Community College being a full-time employee within offices, but quit the cube to freelance regular in 2006. She constructed GardenWall Publications with only one consumer from scratch, and turned a profit within six months. In just a couple of decades, GWP began contracting with periodicals and companies, sites, editors such as the New York Times’, Huffington Post, BITCH magazine, Houghton Harcourt Cengage, Government magazine that was Hispanic, and Latino magazine.

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A little white lie. We all tell them occasionally. Dan Ariely explains why. In recent years he has studied the irrational behaviour of human beings. The choices we make unconsciously. He went in search of the ‘truth’ behind dishonesty. With the publication of his latest book The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, Airley provides an insight into how we all lie and especially to ourselves. What makes deception so interesting? And how does it influence advertising?

By: Klaas Weima en Eva Roos

Why have you always been so intrigued by behavioural economics?

‘’My interest is particularly in irrational behaviour. I began my research career whilst laid up in hospital with severe burns. During my time in hospital I observed what was going on around me. When I was discharged I began to carry out research based on my experiences. That’s how I discovered that the method of treatment for my burns was not the right one. And that whilst the nurses thought that they were doing their absolute best for me. This is just a small example that demonstrates that sometimes we do not see reality for what it is. We think we approach matters the right way but in actual fact we are doing the opposite. The role of social science in this is to let us begin to view the world differently. How we can solve the problems. The irrational behaviour of man is something we should try to understand and comprehend.’’

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Marketing is the art of seduction. Dr. Robert Cialdini is a guru of marketing seduction techniques. He is best known for his book on persuasion and marketing, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. The American psychologist describes in his book ‘Influence’, the six universal principles of persuasion. We spoke with Cialdini on the application of these principles in the digital and social world. How universal are these principles?

By: Berber Hoekstra en Klaas Weima

“To research your book you spent three years going ‘undercover’ to study the main laws of persuasion and to observe real-life situations of persuasion. Is that right?”

That’s right. I participated in various training programmes without people knowing my true identity. I have learned to sell cars and insurance and collect donations for charities. What emerged were the six universal principles of influence: reciprocity, social attachment, consistency, liking, authority and scarcity.

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Earned Attention® has, together with ten other marketing titles, been nominated for the PIM Literature Award 2012. The Platform Innovatie in Marketing (PIM) awards yearly, in cooperation with the Free University of Amsterdam, this prestigious prize for the most innovative marketing book. The results will be announced on November 27 during the event Key literature for marketing practice.

I’m quite proud of this achievement. I never thought that my book would be nominated for the best marketing book. I am extremely pleased with this nomination. Other notable books on the nomination list include: Steven Belleghem’s second book, The Conversation Company, Miss Marketing and the best seller, Blue Bananas.

Who do you think deserves the title? Molblog has already placed a poll:
All ten authors will have half an hour to convince the nine-member jury. According to the PIM site, the literature prize has the following goal: 

“ The goal of the PIM Marketing Literature Award is to promote innovation in the field of marketing in the Netherlands and bring good publications to the attention of marketing and sales managers. In addition, it brings attention to high quality and innovative Dutch marketing publications that contribute to the further development of the field of marketing.”

If you would like to be at this Literature Award, please sign up for the event.

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Yes, it’s been a while since my last podcast. The reason was that I’ve been pretty busy with the launch of my own book, the apps and of course this blog. This time an interview with Steven Belleghem, author of The Conversation Company, The Conversation Manager and managing partner at InSites Consulting. In the podcast we talk about the Net Promoter Score, corporate culture and the power of conversations.

Listen to this Sparkcast – Steven Belleghem on “The power of conversation” Changing marketing is not enough

Changing marketing is not enough

The Conversation Manager is a marketing communication book, where the conversation manager is someone who listens and talks back to customers instead of just transmitting. The Conversation Company goes one step further. According to Steven it does not suffice to change the way we perform marketing communication. The organisation must change as well, not just the marketing department. Company culture must change, including the Personnel Department and Finance. That reminds me of Josh Bernoff’s latest book ‘Empowerment’. According to Steven, The Conversation Company describes how to get consumers back into your business. The boundaries of the organisation are becoming blurred. Directors have to see customers as their own staff, without being on the payroll.


If you hear Steven talk, you think: “Makes sense, right?”. But why is it then that so many companies still find it difficult to take a step in becoming a Conversation Company. Many companies are sales driven, rather than customer driven. Steven: “That’s a shame because there are in fact many opportunities for positive conversations by providing good service to existing customers.” Or in the words of Joseph Jaffe: “Retention is the new acquisition.” It’s not about what companies say to customers but what customers like to say about us. A practical way to measure this is the Net Promoter Score. Despite the criticism, the fact that top management embraces this standard is an advantage. Steven finds the NPS useful because it clearly shows the difference between functional satisfaction (report rating 7,5) and emotional satisfaction (report rating 9 or higher). Conversation Companies need scores of nines and tens.

Earn Attention

Steven also has a clear view on Earned Attention®. Lovebrands like Apple and Nike have an advantage. Many companies have a positive emotional involvement with the brand and are more likely to talk positively about the brand. There are plenty of brands that do not have that. The challenge for these companies is to come up with distinctive, refreshing and surprising initiatives. Customers will be pleasantly surprised and give the brand more readily the attention it deserves. Companies are afraid to take the step in the direction of Earned Attention®. Steven: “It’s the way we are trained. Managers are trained to focus on the negative and want to steer accordingly. Whilst research shows that 80% of all brand conversations are positive.” We need to stop making decisions based on negativity, but steer on input from positive conversations.


Steven names three key ingredients in his interview to see if you are working effectively: the number of conversations, the sentiment and the impact of the conversation. The ultimate goal is ‘The Serenade’, in which the consumers influence each other’s behaviour and attitudes positively towards the brand.

Further in this interview we talk about:

  1. Social discrimination – Beware of a predisposition of people with a large social network;
  2. Content Sparks – Small, guerrilla-like initiatives that keep people talking about your brand;
  3. Social DNA – When starting a Conversation Company, know who you are, who you want to be and be consistent in everything you do;
  4. The right CEO – Without the right leader any attempt to become a Conversation Company is useless;
  5. Practice what you preach – How Insites Consulting applies Stevens vision.

Especially for the book Earned Attention® Joseph Jaffe recorded a video message. Joseph is one of 50 visionaries who I interviewed for the book. He is the author of the bestsellers ‘Life After the 30-Second Spot,’ ‘Join the Conversation’ and ‘Flip the Funnel’.

He blogs about social media, digital communications and brands on
Joseph was guest speaker at the 25th anniversary of Online Tuesday held in early May. Many thanks to freelance motion designer Jelle Pothoven who made a great compilation of the interview

There you are. Staring at your screen. Your smartphone in your hand, laptop in front of you and a pile of papers on your desk. All ‘to do’. As quickly and as accurately as possible. David Allen can help. This guru in the field of personal and organisational effectiveness provides useful tools in this Sparkcast to get jobs quickly and well done! Long live the summary!

David Allen is well known for his simplicity. With a few simple rules you can change your behaviour and get a grip on your overloaded inbox. Allen prevents you from drowning in the flood of messages. It is also good to work on your personal computer skills. Long live lifehacking! Social Media can also come in handy but according to Allen you should know where you want to go with this ‘digital cocktail party’.

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In this Sparkcast the Godfather of co-creation is the speaker. In this interview, Venkat Ramaswamy comes with good and practical examples on how to implement co-creation within your company. He is full of success stories (no, not the well known ones) and innovative ways in which marketers can develop new ideas. I interviewed Venkat during a meeting of the European Centre of Experience Economy in Amsterdam.

Venkat is known from the bestseller The Future of Competition he wrote together with the late strategist C.K. Prahalad. Together they developed a groundbreaking vision on a new way of creating value: co-creation. And yes, that is something completely different from crowdsourcing. Co-creation goes way further. The strength lies in people, channels and the direct implementation of the ideas in your business processes. Speed and openness are key to successful co-creation projects, so that everyone on a large scale can communicate with each other. Venkat mentions the recent uprising in the Middle East. We can learn a lot from this. Dare to see and recognise the value of a large group of people and their underlying strengths.

Venkat goes deeper into the definition of co-creation and how you should go about making it happen. About how your organisation should be open for creative impulses from inside and outside. Bottom up leadership has the future. You can’t escape from that.

  1. This (English) Sparkcast covers the following topics:
  2. How the Spanish bank Caja Navarra became super social.
  3. Vekat about meaningful communication.
  4. What did Starbucks and Dell do well in their co-creation initiatives?
  5. Why can Pepsi do better? 

All of the Sparkcasts can be downloaded via iTunes. You can also subscribe to our free podcast RSS feed.


It is a typical case of political blinkers on multinationals. Josh Bernhoff, VP at Forrester Research was keynote speaker at the B2B Marketing Forum in Amsterdam and speaks in detail in THIS Sparkcast about the ‘social behaviour’ of companies and why people are ‘afraid’ to share. Previously he did this in his bestseller ‘Groundswell‘, but now he is back with the sequel: ‘Empowered‘. Be inspired by the man who predicts the online future time after time.

Large companies are afraid of employing social media because of the risks. But to what benefit? Everyone has smartphones and computers at home. The danger is your company finds out too late. And that’s just it…too late. You can of course sack disobedient tweeters but is it not a lot better to establish social media guidelines? What can you do to prevent this, without forbidding it?

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For many it remains a dream: to sell your company to Google. Jyri Engestrøm did it with Jaiku, the counterpart of Twitter. Today he is busy with his start-up Ditto and he is an angel investor. Pretty good going for someone who has just passed 30 years of age. How did he manage that? In this SparkCast, Jyri goes into entrepreneurship, start-ups and his vision of mobile and social.

Entrepreneurship is hot. Everywhere you see start-ups springing up like mushrooms out of the ground. MBAs are out, young people want to be the new Steve Jobs (now’s your chance!) or Mark Zuckerberg. And it’s possible. Jyri Engeström: “Starting was never before so simple.”

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