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4 Little-Known Ways to Meet Interesting People

Do you want to meet interesting people?

Have you attended numerous business networking events only to get disappointed by the kinds of people that populate these meetings: salesy, spammy and only talking about themselves?

As we talked in our previous article, 5 tips for business networking:

[bctt tweet=”Networking is only effective when it is mutually beneficial.” username=”brand_minds”]

If this is the case for you, here is a different approach you can take to meet new people.

4 ways to meet interesting people on your own terms

1. Develop personal projects

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Do you want to stand out among your peers? Develop personal projects!

Your projects may be related to your business career or professional niche or they can be centered on your hobbies.

What are your interests? Is there a moment in your life that shaped who you are now? Was it a good experience or a bad experience?

Can you improve other people’s lives by bringing that particular experience to them? Or if it was a bad experience, what can you do to prevent it from happening to other people?

Developing a project that comes from your own life experience is powerful and can influence a lot of people. When you are passionate about your project, that passion comes through in your words, your attitude and your actions. Let your passion speak and it will attract people in your network.

Leverage the power of social media and find other people that are driven by the same interests as you. Reach out to them and ask if they are willing to support your or contribute to your project or cause.

Tip: Browse LinkedIn accounts looking at the Reach out to xx for …. See if what you have to offer is of interest to them.

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2. Interview people to meet them

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Do you have a blog? How about a podcast?

If you don’t, it’s time to start one!

Whether you express yourself easier writing your words on paper or speaking them in front of the camera (yes, it’s not too late to start a YouTube channel), find a way to get your message across.

Start a series of interviews with the people you want to meet: everyone enjoys the idea of people wanting to hear what they have to say.

If you think writing a blog is time consuming, one solution is to establish a writing calendar and wake up an hour earlier than usual to write.

If video is more your thing, you don’t have to invest in expensive semi-professional recording gear, your smartphone will do just fine. You can also use Facebook Live to broadcast your guest’s interview or take advantage of the LinkedIn video feature.

Tip: Be authentic and talk about topics of interest to your guest, make it about him/her, not you.

3. Offer value

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Create a newsletter and offer valuable content to professionals in your niche. Send them tips and tricks, pieces of wisdom you acquired during your professional or business career. Find formats easy to read: how-tos, dos and don’ts, lists, pros & cons etc.

Offer value whether it is curated content or original content. Make yourself the go-to source of information and expert advice on a particular subject.

Tip: Educate yourself on how to write easy to read pieces of content.

4. Participate in or support other people’s projects

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Producing content is time challenging and long-term. If you are not willing to dedicate your time and resources to develop your own projects, it may be better to support other people’s projects.

What do you care about: children’s education, women protection, elderly care, technology of the future etc.?

Find the projects that resonate with you, reach out to their founders and offer them your help and support. By doing this you are entering their network.

Be genuinely interested in helping them achieve their goals and objectives. Become a person of value to them. Dr Cialdini’s theory of influence is based on six principles and one of them is reciprocity. So, if you help them, they will do the same for you. (Dr. Cialdini is one of the speakers at Brand Minds 2019 The Central and Eastern European Business Summit of the Year that takes place on 10th of May 2019 in Bucharest, Romania).

Tip: Choose other people’s projects carefully.

Expert’s statement

We asked Sonia Nechifor, communication and PR specialist

What is the most common mistake people make when meeting someone new?

Talking too much about yourself is an easy trap to fall into, because everyone wants to show off and to make himself known by other people in the room in a positive way. The only problem is that you can’t see your speech can be very off–putting and you don’t let the conversation to be equal. If you want to gain someone’s trust, you have to give him confidence by asking questions and showing interest.

Sonia Nechifor

What will the new Facebook news feed changes bring

One of Facebook’s big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time everybody spends on Facebook is time well spent. “We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness. But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other,” wrote Facebook’s creator Mark Zuckerberg.

Moreover, according to him, the social media platform’s representatives feel a responsibility to make sure their services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being.

Therefore, the company invested in a deep research that shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.

Based on the research and the new desires for the brand, some of the main changes will be seen by Facebook’s users in the nearest future. Facebook’s News Feed algorithm will prioritize “meaningful social interactions” over “relevant content”. Moreover, Facebook will de-prioritize videos, photos, and posts shared by businesses and media outlets, which Zuckerberg considered “public content”, in favor of content produced by a user’s friends and family.

“The shift is the most significant overhaul in years to Facebook’s News Feed, the cascading screen of content that people see when they log into the social network. Over the next few weeks, users will begin seeing fewer viral videos and news articles shared by media companies. Instead, Facebook will highlight posts that friends have interacted with — for example, a photo of your dog or a status update that many of them have commented on or liked,” wrote The New York Times.

“The changes seemed designed to quiet some of the maelstrom of criticism Facebook has received in the past year, as critics have taken the company to task for cloistering users in filter bubbles, facilitating the proliferation of misinformation, allowing foreign interference in national elections, and exploiting human psychology for profit,” wrote Julia Carrie Wong for The Guardian. 

But, the biggest problems that may arise, apart from unimportant, silly posts being “privileged”, the changes in Facebook’s News Feed will affect the most the publishers, nonprofits, small business and many other groups rely on the social network to reach people. Adam Mosseri, vice president of product management at Facebook, who is responsible for running the News Feed, quoted by New York Times, acknowledged that “there will be anxiety” from partners and publishers who often complain about the constant changes in what will be shown across the network.

Moreover, according to ABC, “the latest move represents a major shift, one intended to highlight the posts users are most likely to engage with rather than passively consume. There will be fewer videos, which Facebook considers “passive”. The changes won’t affect ads and will likely hurt businesses that want to reach followers without paying to advertise”.

It’s interesting to see how will the other social networks react to this Facebook change and how much it will actually impact the brands and businesses.

How to use YouTube retargeting and why

According to Search Engine Journal, in 2014,  a survey revealed nearly 60% of US Internet users visited YouTube at least once a week.

Re-targeting represents showing ads to an audience that has completed certain actions, such as visited a website, watched a video on YouTube, subscribed to a YouTube channel, or liked a YouTube video. Re-marketing/Re-targeting is a relatively safe and compelling method since the audience/viewers have already expressed interest and been exposed to the product/brand before. It serves to better engage and relate to the audience of your choice. It is also considered one of the most important targeting options in the advertising world.

Therefore, the method can be a really effective way to re-engage with the people who already are familiar with your brand and you can keep your brand in front of people who left your site without converting. For most websites, only about 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit, so it is essential to re-target those lost leads. With re-targeting you can reach the 98% of users who didn’t convert right away on your site. Both Facebook and YouTube have strong re-targeting tools. On YouTube/Google, you can re-target your YouTube viewers with AdWords or your website visitors.

At the same time, with YouTube re-marketing lists, you can re-market to people who have previously interacted with your YouTube channel. Now, you can use these audiences with re-marketing lists for search ads (RLSA).

More insights on the subject you can find here.

10 Things you might not know about Robin Sharma

For nearly 20 years, many of the most well-known organizations on the planet, ranging from Nike, GE, Microsoft, FedEx, PwC, HP and Oracle to NASA, Yale University and YPO have chosen Robin Sharma for their most important events, when nothing less than a world-class speaker will do. More about him you can find next. 

1.He believes you really don’t have to make sudden changes or frightening optimizations to raise your game and revolutionize your life. Instead, just master each day, by simply devoting to delivering a few micro-wins that, over time, elevate you to a place called wow. And a league called legendary.

2. He offered 60 tips for a stunning great life that include pieces of advice such as: get serious about gratitude; expect the best and prepare for the worst; plan a schedule for your week; get a mentor; hire a coach; find more heroes and be a hero for someone, etc. More you can find here.

3. Sharma’s books such as The Leader Who Had No Title have topped bestseller lists internationally and his social media posts reach over six hundred million people a year, making him a true global phenomenon for helping people do brilliant work, thrive amid change and realize their highest leadership capacities within the organization so that personal responsibility, productivity, ingenuity and mastery soars.

4.  He has been ranked as one of the Top 5 Leadership Gurus in the World in an independent survey of over 22,000 business people and appears on platforms with other luminaries such as Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, Jack Welch and Shaquille O’Neill.

5. Robin Sharma is one of the world’s premier speakers on Leadership and Personal Mastery. As a presenter, Sharma has the rare ability to electrify an audience yet deliver uncommonly original and useful insights that lead to individuals doing their best work, teams providing superb results and organizations becoming unbeatable.

6. According to him, fear ruins more bright lives than you might imagine. Each of us, by virtue of our very human nature, has the potential to Lead Without Title and achieve great things that elevate everyone around us by our model of possibility. But the chattering voice of fear in our heads stops us from playing big.

7. He loves the word leadership. It makes him think of Mandela and Gandhi. Gates and Edison. Mozart and Beckham. Bono and Bieber. It’s a word that he has been passionately building the past 20 years of his life around, reminding so called ordinary people that they are called to lead. And create. And contribute. And win.

8. According to him, the job of a leader is to grow more leaders. “If you’re not building more leaders, then you’re not leading, you’re following. Your job (regardless of whether or not you have a title) is to help people do work they never dreamed they could do. Your job is to inspire people to own their talents, express their gifts and do the best work of their lives. That’s part of what it truly means to lead”.

9.  One of the quotes that changed his life is: “I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods.

10. Sharma believes that one should make time every day to reconnect to his / hers highest ideals and boldest dreams. Without hope, people perish.

Best Pieces of Advice For Women Entrepreneurs in 2017

According to fastcompany.com, women entrepreneurs are the  fastest-growing segment of business owners in the U.S. But, compared to male-owned businesses, women-owned businesses generally  fail at a higher rateemploy fewer people and generate less revenue. The reasons for the disparity are complicated and varied: difficulty in accessing capital, entrenched social norms, and differences in the industries male- and female-owned businesses tend to cluster are a few of the reasons behind the imbalance.

We are focusing on the positive and are determined to offer you some pieces of advice that we are sure will help you along the way.

Be bold. Be elegant.

One of the many advantages that women have other men in business is their ability to be bold and elegant, at the same time. Of having the courage to say what they think, openly, but beautifully. Their strengths, presented in a very elegant manner, makes them special and powerful. Likewise, loved by their employees.

Build for the high-expectation customer.

Here’s a common trap founders fall into: gain users at any cost. Often, they chase after daily active users, monthly active users and retention numbers. “They believe that appealing to every customer is one way of solving these problems,” says  Julie Supan, who has counseled  AirbnbDropbox and  Thumbtack on branding. That’s the wrong approach, Supan cautions. Instead, focus on the high-expectation customer (HXC). She’s your ideal user, “the most discerning person within your target demographic. It’s someone who will acknowledge — and enjoy — your product or service for its greatest benefit,” Supan says. “If your product exceeds her expectations, it can meet everyone else’s.” The HXC serves as a valuable touchstone to ensure that you’re growing in the right direction and to validate — or invalidate — your action plan.

The deeper the context, the better the advice

Advice givers should always reframe questions to orient around the advice seeker, not their own expertise. And, after offering a spread of data points as context, advice seekers should always ask what they should do next.

Invest in people

Your employees are the best power you have after your own and the gem of your business. They will be the ones helping you achieve the success.

There is benefit to failure

Barbara Corcoran, the famous investor from the hit show Shark Tank once said “My best successes came on the heels of failures.” This is a powerful lesson for any aspiring business owner, as most of today’s most established entrepreneurs have been faced with countless failures. The importance of dealing with failure is that you need to be able to learn from the failure, dust yourself off and move on, even if you deal with consistent failure.

Never be afraid to follow your passion

Debbie Fields, the creator of Mrs. Fields, said “what I wanted was to be allowed to do the thing in the world I did best.” This motivated the entrepreneur to follow her passion for cooking, even when others didn’t believe it could turn into the success it is today.

You have to believe in what you are doing

Estee Lauder, founder of the famed makeup brand said “I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.” Believing in the product and service that you are selling is the first and most important component of being a successful entrepreneur. Without a firm belief in what you are doing, you will never be able to find the success that you deserve, no matter how hard you work. You must believe in the company you have and work relentlessly to sell that idea to the world, making them believe in it as much as you do.

Big achievements are possible

Entrepreneur and iconic mogul Martha Stewart claimed that “it is within everyone’s grasp to be a CEO.” Years of gender bias have left some women not dreaming big enough with their professional aspirations. Stewart’s quote drives the point home in saying that everyone has the ability to earn this type of title, if they are willing to do the work. Dreaming big and visualizing yourself in a big role is one of the best ways to get started on a journey towards being a successful entrepreneur.

Taking risks is important

Lillian Vernon, founder of Lillian Vernon Corporation, once said: “I don’t look at risk the way other people do. When you’re an entrepreneur, you have to go in feeling like you’re going to be successful.” When Vernon started her company she was married and pregnant, and heard from so many people that starting her corporation was a risk, but it was one she was willing to take. Sometimes, a little risk has to be involved if you want to see the big payoff in the end.

Tell a visual story

Melanie Abrantes, designer, believes that the most important thing about selling your product online is to make sure that the images of your product are able to tell the full story. “Since people won’t be able to see it in person, they have to imagine what the product is going to look like in that setting. When you have professional photography involved, you are able to create a life for that product.”

The means don’t justify the end

The author and icon Gloria Steinem considers that the ends do not always justify the means, in business or in life. “In the end, the who you are is much more important than the what you are. And as beings who need social interaction to survive, the value in who you are while getting to where you’re going is everything. The means will always become the ends,” said Steinem, quoted by billboard.com.

Doubt is your biggest enemy

Trust in yourself and you will do just great. Don’t let anyone plant you doubts when your gusts it’s telling you something. Keep positive people around you that will influence you in a great way.

Celebrate every important step and victory

Make sure you embrace everything good that happens in your business. Don’t sell short your victories and try and enjoy each one of them. Success is not easy to come by and all your efforts and dedication deserve the party.

Keep in mind the big picture

Don’t get frustrated easily or become unhappy just because of some small step backs. Remember the big picture, what you want to accomplish, your main goals. They are the real deal.

More pieces of advice you may find here and here.

 

How To Avoid The Professional Burnout

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When one is passionate about their job, when one is a high-achiever, one tends to ignore the fact that they’re working exceptionally long hours, taking on exceedingly heavy workloads and putting enormous pressure on themselves to excel—all of which make them ripe for burnout.

According to psychologytoday.com, burnout is a state of chronic  stress that leads to: physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment. In the state of full-fledged burnout, one is no longer able to function effectively on a personal or professional level. However, burnout doesn’t happen overnight, our bodies and minds do give us warnings, and if you know what to look for, you can recognize it before it’s too late. More about the stages of a burnout and its signs one can read here.

But what can we do to avoid reaching this state? According to Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter in their book “The Truth About Burnout: How Organizations Cause Personal Stress and What to Do About It”, when burnout occurs, three things happen: you become chronically exhausted, cynical and detached from your work and you feel increasingly ineffective on the job.

An idea would be to try and be more optimistic and make sure you don’t fall on a pessimistic slide, or, if you have the necessary means, just try a vacation. Realistically speaking though, things are not as easy as they seem, hence the problem creeping out on you and making it quite a big issue.

Pay attention to the voice in your head. When it starts describing negative events as permanent, pervasive or personal, correct yourself. By remembering the 3 P’s (permanence, pervasiveness and personal) and flipping the script, Martin Seligman, author of “Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life” says you can make yourself more optimistic over time.

Increase your social activity. Spend time with friends, they will bring a balance into your life. As shown by bakadesuyo.com, when the American Medical Association surveyed top doctors to find out how they avoided burnout, one of the key things mentioned was “sharing issues with family and friends.”

Increase your self-efficiency. Paula Davis-Laack, JD, MAPP, an internationally-published writer who travels the globe as a stress and resilience expert, wrote for Psychology Today that self-efficacy is having the belief in your own ability to accomplish (and exercise control over) personally meaningful  goals and tasks. People who have a stronger level of perceived self-efficacy experience less  stress in challenging situations, and situations in turn become less stressful when people believe they can cope (Albert Bandura, 1989).

Have creative outlets. Burnout interferes with your ability to perform well, increases rigid thinking, and decreases your ability to think accurately, flexibly, and creatively. Even if you aren’t able to flex your creative muscles at work, having some type of creative outlet will keep you engaged and motivated.

Take care of yourself. Make sure you always put yourself first and don’t forget what is important to you and your life. Moreover, pay attention to your health and the outside-work life. Our bodies aren’t machines and one has to remember that things will still be here to be done after taking a much-needed break.

Start saying “no” from time to time. Don’t be afraid to say no. Every “yes” you say adds another thing on your plate and takes more energy away from you.

Get support where you can find it. The number of people who say they have no one with whom they can discuss important matters has nearly tripled in the past two and a half decades. The more depressed or into-work people get, the more they tend not to speak with other people or spend time with others, considering they are always under-time pressure or with a deadline hanging over their head. It’s a state one must make sure he / she doesn’t get stuck into.

According to http://99u.com, to help relieve pressure, schedule daily blocks of downtime to refuel your brain and well-being. It can be anything from meditation to a nap, a walk, or simply turning off the wifi for a while.

Concentrate on positive emotions. Studies show that increasing your diet of positive emotion builds your resiliencecreativity  and ability to be solution-focused, things that are in short supply if you feel like you’re burning out. I made it a point to start noticing when people did things well (and told them so), and I tried to stop being so hard on myself. Aim for a ratio of positive emotions to negative emotions of at least 3:1, which is the tipping point to start experiencing increased resilience and happiness (Fredrickson, 2009).

Limit your contact with negative people. Hanging out with negative-minded people who do nothing but complain will only drag down your mood and outlook. If you have to work with a negative person, try to limit the amount of time you have to spend together.

Make friends at work. Having strong ties in the workplace can help reduce monotony and counter the effects of burnout. Having friends to chat and joke with during the day can help relieve stress from an unfulfilling or demanding job, improve your job performance, or simply get you through a rough day.

Take time off. If burnout seems inevitable, try to take a complete break from work. Go on vacation, use up your sick days, ask for a temporary leave-of-absence—anything to remove yourself from the situation. Use the time away to recharge your batteries and pursue other burnout recovery steps. Entrepreneurs or freelancers can be especially prone to burnout. Joel Runyon plays “workstation popcorn,” in which he groups tasks by location and then switches, in order to keep work manageable, provide himself frequent breaks, and spend his time efficiently.

Set boundaries. Don’t overextend yourself. Learn how to say “no” to requests on your time. If you find this difficult, remind yourself that saying “no” allows you to say “yes” to the things that you truly want to do.

Nourish your creative side. Creativity is a powerful antidote to burnout. Try something new, start a fun project, or resume a favorite hobby. Choose activities that have nothing to do with work.

Set aside relaxation time. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response.

Get plenty of sleep. Feeling tired can exacerbate burnout by causing you to think irrationally.

Avoid nicotine. Smoking when you’re feeling stressed may seem calming, but nicotine is a powerful stimulant, leading to higher, not lower, levels of anxiety.

Batteries, solar panels and the end of fossil fuels

study published in January in the Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment predicts that the combination of battery storage with renewable energy will make fossil fuels increasingly obsolete. The driving forces of this disruption include the “decline in retail renewable electricity prices,” along with plummeting costs of batteries. Fossil fuels are the most widely used source of energy because of base load power, which means they provide energy at all times, night and day. In contrast, renewables have faced the ‘intermittency’ challenge—the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow.

But authors Jemma Green and Peter Newman of Curtin University in Australia show that as storage gets cheaper, renewables will become more competitive with fossil fuels on costs and reliability. By 2050, these irresistible technological and market forces could make oil, gas and coal seem too costly and cumbersome, leading renewables to account for “100 percent of global energy demand.”

source: energyathaas.com

According to Vicente Lopez-Ibor Mayor, chairman of Lightsource—the biggest solar energy company in Europe—there will be an immediate impact within just three years. Moreover, Mayor told Motherboard that the speed of technological improvement means solar storage is “going to be massively disruptive to the business-as-usual processes of oil, gas and coal.”

In three years, he said, it will “begin to transform” the electricity infrastructure of major cities. “Solar storage is pitched to become so cheap it will make relying on natural gas peaker plants pointless…It will lead to rapid adoption of solar by businesses, local governments, and households—not because people are environmentally conscious, but simply because it will make more economic sense.”

More on their approach you can read here.

The Powerwall system

While wind and solar power have made great strides in recent years, with renewables now accounting for  22% of electric energy generated, the issue that has held them back has been their transience.  But now, the renewable power billionaire Elon Musk has just blown away that final defence. In an event held in California he introduced to the world his sleek new Powerwall – a wall-mounted energy storage unit that can hold 10 kilowatt hours of electric energy, and deliver it at an average of 2 kilowatts, all for US 3,500. That represents an electricity price (taking into account installation costs and inverters) of  around US 500 per kWh – less than half current costs, as estimated by Deutsche Bank.

“That translates into delivered energy at around 6 cents per kWh for the householder, meaning that a domestic system plus storage would still come out ahead of coal-fired power delivered through the conventional grid,” explains iflscience.com.

Moreover, the reality is much closer than we might think as Musk is  going to manufacture the batteries in the United States, at the “gigafactory” he is building just over the border from California in Nevada. And that while not staying and waiting for some totally new technology, but scaling up the tried and tested lithium-ion battery that he is already using for his electric vehicles.

The Powerwall system offering 10 kWh is targeted at domestic users. It is complemented by a commercial system termed the Powerpack offering 100 kWh storage, and a stack of 100 such units to form a 10 megawatt hour storage unit that can be used at the scale of small electricity grids. Whole communities could build micro-grid power supply systems around such a 10 MWh energy storage system, fed by renewable energy generation (wind power or rooftop solar power), at costs that just became super-competitive.

More than that, Musk declared that the entire electric power grid of the US could be replicated with just 160 million of these utility-scale energy storage units. And two billion of the utility-scale units could provide storage of 20 trillion kWh – electric power for the world.

Solar panels have repaid their fossil fuel debt

At the same time, another study says that thanks to the growing solar power capacity around the world, solar power has reached the break even point. The study from the Netherlands, published in  Nature Communications, says that the power generated by solar photovoltaic panels over the last 40 years has offset the polluting energy used to produce them.

By the researchers’ calculations, for every doubling of global solar power capacity, the energy used to produce them fell by 12-13 percent and greenhouse gas emissions fell by 17-24 percent, depending on what material was used. Solar capacity has grown roughly 45 percent a year since 1975, reaching 230 gigawatts (GW) in 2015. By the end of 2016, there could be 300 GW installed.

“The researchers believe the break even point was likely hit about five years ago for both energy consumed and emissions meaning, at this point, global solar energy is having a net positive impact and will continue to increase that positive impact going forward. This feels like a major cause for celebration. If you’re a homeowner with solar panels, the researchers say that individual solar panels repay their fossil fuel debt several times over during their average 30-year lifespan,” wrote Megan Treacy for treehugger.com.

Personalization online shouldn’t be too personal

We don’t like to be looked at in groups anymore. We hate the idea of being seen as one and the same as others around us. We want to brands to find a way to address us and our desires and issues with a personalized message, with an as clear as possible idea of whom we really are, each one of us. It’s a reality that more and more quantitative and qualitative researches show. For example, according to eMarketer, 80% of users find emails with personally recommended products helpful – but can be turned off by display ads that follow them around the internet as they read the news or check Facebook.

“Users like it when they feel like you’re helping them, not when you know where they live or publicise your purchases.Essentially, it’s important to find that sweet spot where personalisation doesn’t feel too personal. This personalisation works because it adds value to their experience. It helps them find what they want. It’s streamlined and doesn’t follow them around as the browse elsewhere. It’s personal, but the user itself controls the action. If that email converts, it’s because the user themselves opened it and decided they wanted to buy. It’s a reminder as opposed to a salesman following them around a store, asking “do you want this now? How about now?”,” said Gurmeet Lamba, chief operating officer at Sentient Technologies, for Campaign UK. 

According to Econsultancy’s Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2016 Digital Trends, the priorities that sit atop marketers’ lists are tied together by their focus on the individual: personalization (31%), content optimization (29%) and social media engagement (25%) are overlapping capabilities with the customer at the center. Moreover, nearly half (46%) of respondents rank the process of creating a cross-team approach with the customer at the heart of all initiatives as 4 or 5 on the difficulty scale.

In terms of marketing, personalization is when content is tailor-made with an audience segment or individual user’s characteristics or preferences in mind. This is typically based on previously collected or readily available data, such as website browsing behavior and interests on social media.

By doing so, marketers have a better chance of meeting consumer needs more effectively and efficiently, as content will be written about particular subjects or with a certain tone of voice, published on appropriate platforms, and promoted through relevant channels. This also results in easier, faster and better interactions with online audiences, which can contribute to user satisfaction, strong relationships, and brand loyalty.

 study conducted by Yahoo finds that most consumers are not only aware of online personalization, with 78% of those surveyed expressing a desire for some type of personalized content. And, according to Piers North, strategy director at Yahoo UK, quoted by The Guardian, the greatest opportunity for marketers today lies in managing personalization on mobile devices. He admits, however, that this is not easy and he points out that access to data is the key.

Therefore, personalization should be done with a lot of attention in order to be relevant and bring true value to the table. Despite all the opportunities that might occur in the online business today, for increased personalization,  it’s important not to personalize for personalization’s sake – nor to become fixated on the latest tools or techniques.

In fact, Michael Smith, marketing leader for mobile and social business at IBM, quoted by Lucy Fisher for Marketing Week, warns it is easy to chase after personalization strategies “just because you can”. He says: “Customers want engagement with some brands, but not others. Whatever we do, it has to be with the customer in mind”.

We leave you here , with a psychological explication about why people love and crave for customized experiences.

20 Things you might not know about Karim Rashid

Karim Rashid is one of the most prolific designers of his generation. Over 3000 designs in production, over 300 awards and working in over 40 countries attest to Karim’s legend of design.

Here are some things you might not know about him:

1.He received a bachelor of Industrial Design in Ottawa, Canada and Postgraduate studies in Italy in 1984. He worked at Rodolfo Bonetto’s studio in Milan for one year then for 7 years at KAN Design in Toronto.

2. His award winning designs include luxury goods for Christofle, Veuve Clicquot, and Alessi, democratic products for Umbra, Bobble, and 3M, furniture for Bonaldo and Vondom, lighting for Artemide and Fontana Arte, high tech products for Asus and Samsung, surface design for Marburg and Abet Laminati, brand identity for Citibank and Sony Ericsson and packaging for Method, Paris Baguette, Kenzo and Hugo Boss.

3. His work is featured in 20 permanent collections and he exhibits art in galleries worldwide. Karim is a perennial winner of the Red Dot award, Chicago Athenaeum Good Design award, I. D. Magazine Annual Design Review, IDSA Industrial Design Excellence award.

4. Karim is a frequent guest lecturer at universities and conferences globally disseminating the importance of design in everyday life. He holds Honorary Doctorates from the OCAD, Toronto and Corcoran College of Art & Design, Washington. Karim has been featured in magazines and books including Time, Vogue, Esquire, GQ, Wallpaper, and countless more.

5. Karim’s latest monograph, XX (Design Media Publishing, 2015), features 400 pages of work selected from the last 20 years. Other books include From The Beginning, an oral history of Karim’s life and inspiration (Forma, 2014); Sketch, featuring 300 hand drawings (Frame Publishing, 2011); KarimSpace, featuring 36 of Karim’s interior designs (Rizzoli, 2009); Design Your Self, Karim’s guide to living (Harper Collins, 2006); Digipop, a digital exploration of computer graphics (Taschen, 2005); Compact Design Portfolio (Chronicle Books 2004); as well as two monographs, titled Evolution (Universe, 2004) and I Want to Change the World (Rizzoli, 2001).

6. In 1992, Rashid started designing for US tableware company  Nambé, producing a range of products – clocks, vases and candlesticks – that would help establish his signature look. Alloy and glass are perfect materials to convey Rashid’s organic “blobular” forms, and his work for American lighting brand George Kovacs and German glassware manufacturer Leonardo in the late 1990s again produced modern yet beautiful forms.

7. Rashid’s designs often incorporate a folded-ribbon look (using materials such as fabric, laminate, acrylic and steel) and his computer-generated asterisk, cross and figure-eight motifs, which can be seen on his stools, rugs, kitchen utensils and even Rashid’s own body tattoos.

8. His 1996 ‘Garbino’ rubbish bin for Canadian plastics company Umbra is Rashid’s most well-known design (along with its larger equivalent, the ‘Garbo’). This simple, softly rounded bucket in recycled polypropylene is still one of Umbra’s biggest sellers and is also placed in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

9. Once labelled the Poet of Plastic, New York-based interior designer Karim Rashid is known for his curvaceous designs and outspoken persona.

10. The same concept was applied to the affordable and award-winning ‘Oh’ chair, from 1999, which fulfils Rashid’s belief in ‘democratic design’. His skill with polypropylene has also been evident in the highly acclaimed packaging he has designed for global brands like Issey Miyake and Kenzo. More recently, Rashid has also undertaken a number of architecture projects, including the Semiramis Hotel in Athens and the newly opened Switch restaurant in Dubai.

11. In his spare time, Karim’s pluralism flirts with art, fashion, and music and is determined to creatively touch every aspect of our physical and virtual landscape.

12. Him and his team specialize in pattern, print, branding and creative direction. They produce designs that help create or revitalize brands that get noticed through a variety of print and other media. Depending on the nature of the project, graphics is intertwined in product and interior design. They have the ability design a project under one roof which allows for a more seamless process and holistic design.

13. Karim believes that we live in a very special time for humanity, where technology, through the digital revolution, has afforded us new tools to design better space in ways never before conceived.

14. He has an international staff that speaks 12 languages. Presently he is working in 23 countries.

15. To Karim, functionality and minimalism are essential, but, at the same time, he wants to move people and create furniture that make people feel at ease. He calls this approach to design ‘sensual minimalism’.

16. The notion of design being a “high art” has always felt ridiculous to him. “I’ve spent my career trying not to fall into that trap. Early on, companies interested in me were small. They charged more so that they could afford the tooling and the crafting by hand. That’s just what it took to make it. I started to think, Why aren’t bigger companies more interested in design? The designer humanizes our physical and virtual world. Fortunately, things have changed a lot since then. Companies now recognize that design is what differentiates. It’s critical, and demanded,” Karim said for interiordesign.net.

17. He loves doing packaging design, technology, synthetic processes and materials.

18. He used to be obsessed with drawing eyeglasses, shoes, radios and luggage throughout his childhood. 

19.  He loved Andy Warhol, Rodchenko, Picasso, Calder, Corbusier, Dec Chirac, YSL, Halston, and so many other artists that were pluralists.

20. Karim was also very inspired by his father who was a creative renaissance man, and he saw him create every day. He would design furniture, make dresses for my mother, paint canvases, design sets for television and film, and constantly take us to museums.

6 Instagram Policies And Tools Often Overlooked

Instagram has a licence to use your content

If you’re posting images on Instagram, you’re giving up some control of your content. As outlined in the most current Terms, the license you grant Instagram is “a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service.”

This means you’re granting Instagram the rights to use your pictures (although you can still grant those rights to anybody, not just Instagram [non-exclusive]) and Instagram doesn’t have to pay you anything (fully paid and royalty-free) no matter how they use your pictures (even if they happen to make money off of them). Instagram also has the right to transfer this license to anyone in the world (transferable and worldwide) and even sell that license without having to pay you anything (remember royalty-free).

What it means in essence for you and the brand to are taking care of is that, after posting on Instagram, you no longer have any control on what will happen with that post, as anybody can repost it, with their own personal comments and ideas.

When it comes to Instagram contests, you must provide complete rules and terms

Instagram contests and giveaways are super-popular these days. They’re a great way to gain followers and additional exposure for your business. However, there are a few things you need to do to make sure you’re complying with Instagram’s promotional rules. The key is that your contest post must include (1) acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way, shape, or form “sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with” Instagram; and (2) a release of Instagram by each person participating in the contest. “In your contest rules, also include the terms, any eligibility requirements, and the prizes offered. You can list these rules directly in the post or link to a separate website that includes this information, plus other contest rules. Also, make it clear to participants that they can’t inaccurately tag content,” said socialmediaexaminer.com.

It’s really important to use hot and trendy hashtags

It’s not enough just to use the hot hashtags. Your goal is to use the most relevant and highest traffic hashtags. Hashtags are the Instagram equivalent of keywords, so you need to find out which ones your target users are most likely to click on and here is the part where the research gets involved. You must search and see who are the best hashtags for your target and to them, as they are the ones that will get relevant traffic. If you’ll make sure to pick the right keywords, relevant and targeted, you’ll gain a lot more popularity and followers. If you choose the wrong hashtags, you won’t get the level of engagement that you’re looking for.

Comment on other people’s or brands’ pictures, don’t just like them

A research showed that on Instagram, there are 575 likes every second, but only 81 comments. People like photos 609% more than they comment on photos. Obviously, it’s easier to double tap a photo than it is to tap comment, and then think of something creative to say. When you go to that extra effort, people like that. They’re more likely to tap your profile and follow you. You can also get a lot of exposure by leaving meaningful comments on the photos of other people. When you leave a thoughtful and positive comment, there’s a good chance that the author of that photo will become curious to check out your profile.

Using direct messaging

You have the possibility to message your followers, but, unfortunately, few brands use it at its full capacity. Of course you need to it elegantly and from time to time, making sure you are not annoying your followers with every update. But, it is a great tool to leverage when you want to announce something big, like a rebranding, new product line, a sale, or a company merger.

Attention to the bio

On a social media platform where pictures and videos are the stars, your company bio must be creative and smartly written. Make sure to highlight all your key points, using short and to-the-point sentences. Don’t make it crowded and suffocating.

 

To multitask or not? This is the question

When I was little, my parents taught me to do one thing at a time and do it the best possible. Not trying to start ten projects or jump from one thing to another without finishing what I began first. Although I’ve always had the internal push to do several things at one time, I kept remembering their advice and trying to stick to it. As much as possible. Back then, the idea of multitasking wasn’t around and known to us, but I believe they were right. And recent studies seem to back them up as well.

According to Larry Kim, Founder and CTO WordStream, our brains are designed to focus on one thing at a time, and bombarding them with information only slows them down. MIT neuroscientist  Earl Miller notes that our brains are “not wired to multitask well… when people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost.”

This constant task-switching encourages bad brain habits. When we complete a tiny task (sending an email, answering a text message, posting a tweet), we are hit with a dollop of dopamine, our reward hormone. “Our brains love that dopamine, and so we’re encouraged to keep switching between small mini-tasks that give us instant gratification. This creates a dangerous feedback loop that makes us feel like we’re accomplishing a ton, when we’re really not doing much at all (or at least nothing requiring much critical thinking). In fact, some even refer to email/Twitter/Facebook-checking as a neural addiction,” said Larry Kim for inc.com.

As shown by Marketing Week,  Academics at Vanderbilt University found evidence in 2006 that the brain’s frontal lobe creates a “bottleneck of information processing that severely limits our ability to multitask”. The proliferation of media channels and devices makes this worse. Another study, published by  Stanford University researchers in 2009, found “heavy media multitaskers are more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli and from irrelevant representations in memory”.  And this hampers the ability to switch between tasks.

We can shift our focus really fast, sometimes it takes just a 10th of a second. But the time doesn’t matter as much as the bandwidth the brain requires to move back and forth. Now that might affect your performance, and might also affect the quality of the work that you finally produce.

New research suggests the possibility that cognitive damage associated with multi-tasking could be permanent.

A study from the University of Sussex (UK) ran MRI scans on the brains of individuals who spent time on multiple devices at once (texting while watching TV, for example). The MRI scans showed that subjects who multitasked more often had less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex, the area responsible for empathy and emotional control. Unfortunately, the research isn’t detailed enough to determine if multitasking is responsible for these affects, or if existing brain damage results in multitasking habits.

Moreover,  there have been studies that show  women are generally better at  multitasking than men. Also, people who thought they were the best at  multitasking are almost always in fact the  worst. In fact, multitasking seems to be something not all of us are truly able to achieve, as only about 2% of the population is formed of  super multitaskers (people who are truly able to do several different activities at the same time without losing efficiency or losing quality as they do all that work). Most of us don’t have this gift.

According to Forbes, the problem with trying to multi-task is all that shifting back and forth between tasks isn’t all that efficient because, each time we do it, it takes our brain some time to refocus. So while it might seem efficient on the surface, it isn’t – studies show that multi-tasking can  reduce productivity by as much as 40%.

More than that, a study published by the American Psychological Association concluded that the ability to switch between tasks, which they term, “mental flexibility” generally peaks in the 20s and then decreases with age, in average of 30.9% from a person in their 40s to a person in their 70s. The extent to which it decreases depends upon the type of tasks being performed.  The information is back up by another study, this time around conducted on UK soil, at  the University of London where the results have shown that the participants who multitasked during cognitive tasks, experienced an IQ score decline similar to those who have stayed up all night. Some of the multitasking men had their IQ drop 15 points, leaving them with the average IQ of an 8-year-old child.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Gary Vaynerchuk

We are thrilled to announce that Gary Vaynerchuk is coming to BRAND MINDS 2020!

BRAND MINDS is The Central and European Business Summit taking place in Bucharest, Romania.

Here are 10 things you might not know about Gary Vaynerchuk

American serial entrepreneur, four-time New York Times bestselling author, speaker and internationally recognized internet personality. First known as a leading wine critic who grew his family’s wine business from $3 million to $60 million, Vaynerchuk is now best known as a digital marketing and social-media pioneer at the helm of New York-based VaynerMedia and VaynerX.  Angel investor or advisor for the likes of Uber, Birchbox, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, he is a regular keynote speaker at global entrepreneurship and technology conferences.

1.No matter the amount of success and money he has at this point he is still working 13-15 hours a day. 

2.  He is into every aspect of his life 100 %, ready to give 51 % of the value to the other person.

3. He tries to figure out what you are going to do, before you do it

4. He’s passionate with the New York Jets. His dream as a child was to become the owner of the New York Jets and it still is.

5. He’s an HR Driven CEO. He is very interested in his employees’ ideas and opinions and their feedback on everyday work.  He uses empathy and tries to understand “why”. 

6. He believes it’s in his DNA to be an entrepreneur. It’s the life he breaths and loves to, every day. 

7. He doesn’t care about others’ opinion on him, as he knows very well who he is. “I put zero weight into anyone’s opinion about me because I know exactly who I am. Can you say the same?”, quotes medium.com

8. He believes that a person’s friends and family can influence their success. “Maybe if you got rid of one friend or spent a lot less time with one friend who’s a real drag and a negative force and added a positive person in your office … If you switched it from 80 days hanging out with your negative friend and one day with your office acquaintance who’s super positive, to four days with your negative friend and 12 with this new person. I’ve physically watched I mentor in my organizations have a totally different life on that thesis……I think that people are keeping very negative people around them and if they aspire to change their situation, it’s imperative to audit the seven to 10 people who are around you,” Vaynerchuk told Business Insider.

9. He is a Judge and Adviser at the Apple’s show ” Planet of the Apps, alongside Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, Will I.AM.  More on the program you can read here.

10.  In #AskGaryVee he cuts straight to the heart of the question and what it says about the person asking the question — their motivations, their fundamental assumptions and what their real question should actually be.

Are you a #worldchanger?

Come to BRAND MINDS 2020: Gary Vaynerchuk, Malcolm GladwellMartin Lindstrom, Michio Kaku, Tara Westover and host Richard Quest

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