Brand Management, Communications, Knowledge Base

Top 10 marketing lessons from the Olympic Games

We love sport in our household; watching it, playing it, taking about it and just occasionally, arguing about it. The…

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We love sport in our household; watching it, playing it, taking about it and just occasionally, arguing about it. The life-affirming nature of it; its ability to bring people together across generations; the pure unbridled joy of victory and learning to be noble in taking the crushing disappointment of defeat.  From jumpers for goal posts to the breath-taking skill of Usain Bolt’s phenomenal style and speed, sport’s power to engage and inspire is endless.

For the marketing industry London 2012 has been a great opportunity to showcase its talent, and bask in London’s history and beauty. In the warm glow of Olympic glory there will be a flurry of analysis on who won the marketing Olympics, which brands stood and out and which ones didn’t even make it off the starting blocks. But there is one thing that unites all these brands: they recognize the importance and power of sport and the passion it inspires in consumers. More importantly they have provided the financial support so vital to London 2012’s success.

So thank you Adidas for creating a campaign, which was an epic trailer for a spectacular main event. Congratulations Royal Mail for reminding me to send a proper letter rather than an email, adorned with a beautifully-designed stamp starring Team GB’s myriad gold-medalists. Thank you LOCOG for making me a tourist in my own city by taking the time to admire its majestic beauty.

And to all the athletes, brands, businesses, individuals, armed forces and volunteers, they have given us the confidence to believe that ‘Inspire a generation’ could be so much more than just a marketing slogan.

1.Don’t be afraid to show your emotion

The BBC’s coverage of the Olympics has been a tour de force of multimedia content, leaving companies across the UK struggling to serve up the necessary bandwidth needed to supply their employees tuning in en masse to live streaming. Not only did the corporation provide a phenomenal depth and breadth of coverage across all sports, it displayed incredible heart. From Steve Redgrave dispensing hugs and support to Team GB’s heroic rowers, to Claire Balding’s nerves of steel, the BBC was the brand that was most in tune with the emotional and passionate response of so many British consumers to this unique sporting event.

2. Pick a side: Don’t sit on the fence

In an age where so many brands are relying on economies of scale and global marketing messages Adidas’ support of Team GB stood out amid a sea of competing marketing activity.  At a time when consumers are grappling with the emotional fall out of the recession, showing you are on their side is everything.

3. Engage with your employees

In the biggest peacetime mobilisation of people since the Second World War, the 70,000 volunteers who worked at the Olympics truly encapsulated the spirit of the Games.  Their enthusiasm was contagious, and we were treated to a view of what corporate Britain could be like if people actually cared about what they were doing.  From the Opening Ceremony to their unshakeable helpfulness they serve to underline the phenomenal importance of engaging properly with your staff. In fact, Harvard Business Review heralded this as the Olympics’ greatest feat: an unpaid, highly engaged workforce.


4. Act like a media owner, not a brand

Olympic-games-medal-owner-brand‘We’ve won the Olympics; we’re going to be on a stamp,’ said Katherine Copeland to her partner Sophie Hosking. It was an unaffected moment of pure joy. And it was marketing gold for Royal Mail. While NBC was given a pasting for failing to stream events live, brands embraced and adapted to the trials and tribulations of the UK’s athletic talent in real time. From printing stamps throughout the night to Adidas’ beautifully designed Metro covers this was real-time marketing at its best.

5. You don’t own the Olympics: your consumers do

The drive to protect official Olympic sponsors from ambush marketing is rooted in economic necessity. However, the flurry of articles on brand police telling butchers and bakers to remove Olympic rings from their shop windows was counter-productive and helped create a climate where sponsors were the default scapegoat for empty seats at Olympic venues. Rights holders must strike the right balance between protecting their assets and appearing as fat cats at odds with consumers. In a national sporting event such as the Olympics brands must take better note of the public mood.

6. Don’t get carried away with brand tracking; focus on the big picture

adidas-olympic-games-london-2012We all know that London 2012 was to be the first truly ‘social media Olympics’ and we had a wealth of brand-tracking and social media studies to prove it. However, for brands such as Nike and Adidas, the real test of their Olympic muscle will be in cold hard sales. Those brands that kept their eyes on the prize with excellent execution, as opposed to endless analysis, thrived.

7. Don’t be afraid to polarise opinion

First there was the London 2012 logo, then the Olympic mascots Wenlock and Mandeville, which, to some critics, unfortunately resembled a one-eyed penis. Then there was the initial ire reserved for Stella McCartney and her (rather beautifully designed) Team GB kits.

With the power of retrospect, love it or loathe it, it is difficult not to be impressed with the standout and adaptability the London 2012 logo has shown throughout the Games. The Olympic mascots have been a huge hit with children (their target market) and both the Stella McCartney and Adidas brands have had a huge boost from adorning the backs of Team GB. The lesson is clear: when brands and agencies are prepared to play the long game and ride out the fear factor, the rewards are there for the taking.

8. Be eccentric

For confirmation that Britain is a nation of eccentrics, look no further than the Beach Volleyball. X Factor style voice-overs, a troop of dancers, an air of the ridiculous typified through the playing of the Benny Hill theme tune – yet all came together to create an unexpectedly, hugely entertaining event. As Puma showed with its tie up with Usain Bolt and the Jamaican Olympic team, do anything except bore consumers.

9. Activation is everything

Recession or no recession; investment and activation are everything. As Channel 4 has shown by producing the best and most supported piece of marketing in their history to promote the Paralympics Games, in a highly cluttered market creativity at its best will shine through.

10. Embrace real role models

For the generation that has grown up amid a sea of young people seeking fame for its own sake, without a focus on having any discernable skill, the London 2012 Olympics represent a phenomenal cultural shift.

From Nicola Adam’s historic gold medal in women’s boxing to sprinter Kirani James swapping his running number with Oscar Pistorius, the Games gave brands the opportunity to get behind some phenomenal and diverse role models. This trend will leave smart brands reappraising their reliance on over-pampered footballers to back the kind of heroes British consumers’ desperately need. The diversity and strength of Team GB’s female athletes also represents a huge opportunity for brands to take their sponsorship to the next level.

With the Paralympics around the corner the best could still be to come. So in the words of Channel 4’s current outdoor advertising campaign, ‘Thanks for the warm-up’, and thanks, London, for the memories.

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Knowledge Base

Apple employees keep hitting HQ’s glass walls! What you can learn for your new office?

Late last year, Apple finally opened up their newest Apple campus, Apple Park. The smartphone manufacturer built what is now…

Late last year, Apple finally opened up their newest Apple campus, Apple Park. The smartphone manufacturer built what is now called the “Spaceship,” creating one of the most aesthetic working locations yet.

The buildings follow the industrial look that the manufacturer is famous for, using clean steel and glass to provide their workers with some of the best workplace views. Unfortunately, the glass walls may come tumbling down.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s employees are running into the very glass walls that are meant to help foster teamwork and a more open atmosphere.

Distracted by the iPhones that were made famous by the company, employees are unable to notice the walls until it is too late, according to sources.

Some even started sticking post-it notes to the glass walls as warnings, but those were taken down as they don’t fit with the building’s aesthetic.

It’s not the first time that Apple’s love for glass had consequences. In 2011, 83-year-old Evelyn Paswall walked into the glass wall of an Apple store, breaking her nose. She sued the company, arguing it should have posted a warning on the glass. The suit was settled without any cost to Apple, according to a legal filing in early 2013.

But it asks an important question, should we be making glass wall partitions? How much can we use?


Why and why not.

Glass partitions/walls have been having a great time lately, becoming a popular choice for many companies who are building or remodeling.

This is due to some of the great benefits it can bring.

Glass walls take less space and are able to maintain an illusion of openness, even if you’re office has a lot of rooms. It provides natural light for all employees, which is proven to improve productivity, and reduces your utility bills.

It allows employees a space to write and scribble, making it a great addition to brainstorming sessions, and is great at encouraging teamwork.

These are some of the reasons why glass has become widely selected for new offices, but as we can see with Apple, it does have its own drawbacks.


Disadvantages of glass partitions

The “Fishbowl” effect may have team members unable to cope with pressure, as they may feel like they are always being watched and unable to relax. This is a common feeling, with some people leaving the office or hiding in enclosed rooms to take a breath.

Sitting in your own office should be focusing and orienting, but many are actually having issues with distractions.

It may be hard to concentrate as people walk by, or you can see coworkers talking and joking together. Glass makes it harder to shut out the world around you.

Glass may be used to foster teamwork and open communication, but individual privacy takes a big hit with only glass walls. In an office filled with glass or with an open plan, you may find conference rooms taken as people need space for private calls, or even just a small space to take a break.

It also makes it harder for some team member to enjoy the small things. Taking breaks, relaxing and napping, may become difficult. Although these relaxing activities help with productivity, many may opt for coffee instead of being seen openly.

Glass office owners must also close doors softly, which can be saddening for the door-slamming lover.

The “Bird” effect of glass partitions, as we learn from Apple’s Spaceship, walking around the office can become dangerous when distracted.

Lastly, soundproof doesn’t always mean soundproof. While you may not hear everything clearly, glass does allow for sound to go through, unlike a solid drywall. Those with loud voices may have to lower their voices, and people outside the area will need to keep it down a notch.


What to do?!

If you are truly into the trend of glass partitioning, you may try adding something to your glass walls to ensure people can see them.

A sleek logo made of vinyl frosting may be a perfect addition, or patterns of frosted glass may give your office a chic and personal look. You could also try a slightly tinted glass, it may be enough to provide your team members with some warning before they crash into it.

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Knowledge Base

7 Must-Have Skills Every Marketer Should Master

It’s already the second month of the new year, how have your resolutions been? But seriously, let’s talk about what…

It’s already the second month of the new year, how have your resolutions been?

But seriously, let’s talk about what our resolutions should be, as someone in the marketing business, or soon to be.

Every single year we tell ourselves that we’ll get healthier, leaner, work hard, and etc. What about improving ourselves for work? What and how should we be improving anyway? In the marketing business, we know that everything can change in a week.

Social platforms update, programs and websites change, new algorithms introduced. All these things can subtly and drastically change how we do our work, but there are certain skills that we can build upon to help us through the tough times.

So, these are 8 skills you should improve or master in 2018


1- Talent Management

For those in HR, this may be a familiar term, but we want to take a deeper look at the most important part of its job.

Talent Management is the ongoing process of developing and retaining employees throughout a company. It is also coined as an organization’s commitment to recruit, hire, retain, and develop the most talented and superior employees available in the job market, and so much more.

Mainly, it is all about ensuring your company has enough of the right employees to keep your company functioning correctly, and developing them.

For entrepreneurs and marketers, Talent Management means an important skill, in which they must be able to understand the skills and talent of their team members to assign the right tasks for the best efficiency.

Knowing exactly what your team members can and cannot do, as well as their potential, is a crucial skill that we continue to see rise in importance throughout the year.


2- Design Thinking

Design Thinking may not be a new concept for some, but for many it still is an important yet misunderstood ideology.

You don’t need to be a designer, or know all the principles of design, to learn and develop this growingly important skill.

Design thinking is a problem-solving thinking process that focuses on the user/consumer, integrating user needs, possibilities of technology, and the requirements needed for success. It is a method for practical and creative solutions for problems that was inspired by designers, but one that ultimately can provide a lot of help in the marketing business.



The focus on users really help in targeting your audience with even more relevant solutions to their issues, or more relevant content to capture their eye.

While the chart above isn’t set in stone, it is a great set of guidelines that you could use to help zero in on your problem’s solution. You can learn more about Design thinking here and here.


3- Omnichannel Communications

Don’t get lost with the word’s “Omnichannel,” no, it’s not the same as Multichannel marketing/communications.

Omnichannel communications is ensuring that all communication platforms are working so seamlessly that there is no difference between them, allow customers to choose the right communications method/platform that is right for them at this exact moment. Their experience continues the exact same way when they switch to another platform is another example of good Omnichannel communication.

This means that there must be a flexible yet ironclad set of communication rules attached to your overall communication plan. Unfortunately, it takes time, and a lot of effort, to get the experience as seamless as possible.

But in a world where people expect rapid answers, and a great experience that continues whenever they switch devices or channels, it is definitely one skill you should be improving.


4- Storytelling

There isn’t much to explain when it comes to why our storytelling skills need to be upgraded. Storytelling has become an integral part of any branding, marketing or content marketing strategy and planning.

As Rachel Gillett wrote in Fast Company, “when we read a story, not only do the language parts of our brains light up, but any other part of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing what we’re reading about becomes activated as well.”

The way we tell our brand stories have to keep evolving, to keep entertaining and capturing the attention we want. We must continue developing this skill to catch up to memes, viral content, whatever else we have to fight against to capture attention.



5- Content Creation

Content Creation is such a broad term, which makes it such an impressive addition to anyone’s list of skills.

A content creator is someone who creates and publishes original content, content can be created for both online and offline platforms. They are the jack of all trades, able to use most creation software and capable at photography and videography.

For the everyday marketer, the basics of creating any original content will help tremendously. You can now control the narrative; through writing blogs, posting images and short phone-filmed videos, and etc.

Knowing these skills will also provide you with a wide range of applications, as well as a better understanding of the skills and jobs your team does.


6- Data and Metrics

Want to future-proof your resume and career? A deep understanding of data and metrics will ensure you are ready for whatever comes your way.

Currently, we have access to a ton of data, from online data providers to accessible APIs by companies. Because of this, there are prime opportunities to get deeper and more meaningful insights on customers and the marketplace.

Marketers who are able to understand, collect and analyze this data will be able to create better decisions, think up relevant and enticing campaigns and better optimize running campaigns.

Just remember; although creative thinking maintains itself as one of the most important things when creating a campaign, data-backed decisions and optimization will ensure a great campaign.


7- Understanding the Principles of Design

You may think that the principles of Design, just like with Design Thinking, is something that only designers and artistic types should be thinking about. It’s not.

A sense of what looks good and what feels strange can only get any marketer so far. Sometimes, it is up to us to improve designs, videos or photographs. There is also a lot of psychology that goes behind design, and how it can be seen or felt by viewers.

Learning some of the basics, including the psychology behind certain popular colors, can help you not only understand what your designers are trying to explain to you, and they’ll be ever grateful, but also know what to say to improve something.

You can easily find a lot of free source material on Pinterest if you get interested.


Add-on: Understanding Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality, new social platforms and updates, IoT, social selling, Artificial Intelligence, a new loved ad that “makes” a new trend, and etc. We are bombarded everyday with things that distract us from our goals, and keeping a narrow focus on what we can do to improve ourselves and our work.

Distinguishing what is hype vs trends and what can actually provide us with new knowledge, techniques, or technology that will enable us to improve is a skill in and of itself.

Being able to prioritize what can benefit us, as well as filter our distractions, is a skill that will help any serious marketer out.

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Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Knowledge Base, Recommended Stories

When and how to start outsourcing your business?

There is a reason why freelancing and outsourcing is becoming a popular trend with many international companies. With a tough…

There is a reason why freelancing and outsourcing is becoming a popular trend with many international companies. With a tough local and international economy, companies have to do what it takes to maintain a steady profit, and find ways to reduce costs.

Outsourcing is becoming a big trend in many industries, due to its many advantages and low costs.

For small and big businesses alike, there comes a time when a decision must be made. Do you build a new team or primary service, buy certain tools or do you outsource for a short time?

That is another way that outsourcing can help.


So, when should you start considering to outsource?

Do you procrastinate when faced with a particular task?

Is it a one-time task? Is it a primary service that your business offers, or something for a specific client or project?

Is it a once a month task? Such as Legal duties, or financial accounting?

Are you still saving up for an expansion? Could you afford an expansion for this task?

Is it a non-essential function of your business?

If you’ve answered all by one of those as yes, then that is when you should be outsourcing.

A definition for outsourcing is “the strategic use of outside resources to perform activities traditionally handled by internal staff and resources.”

The reason is simple, because it can be advantageous most of the time.

Your business is saving money, effort, time and energy, making it more efficient on that tasks that truly matter.


Why should a business outsource?

So, you know when you should be looking into it, or maybe you’re interested.

The thought still lingers in your mind, it might be a good idea but why should I?

There are many things that you can consider that could make outsourcing a great opportunity for your business.


1. Employee costs and non-productive hours

Office space, cafeteria benefits, hospital visits, insurance, and lunch breaks are things that cost the company profit per full-time employee.

These are also things you can save on when outsourcing.

These make a full-time employee more than twice as expensive as a short offer for a freelancer.


2. Efficiency

Freelancers and outsourcing give you a special opportunity, an opportunity to capture and use talented people that you may not have been able to afford otherwise.

Talented graphic designers, high-end lawyers, highly-organized accountants, and smart assistants can be found as freelancers, and at a lower-price than full-timers.

They tend to be more efficient as they have stricter deadlines than full-timers, and may be able to do the job better than you or any other current employee.


3. Frees up internal resources

Getting freelancers doesn’t only work as a way to do unrelated or menial tasks, they also function as a way to lift weight off of your shoulders.

Using a content marketing freelancer to prepare content calendars, or receiving content from freelance content creators, can help free up internal resources.

Freeing you and your employees up for other important tasks, tasks that they can handle more efficiently with less of a work load.


What are you waiting for?

As you can see, outsourcing could be a very beneficial strategy for you and your business.

It does come with its own issues, such as communication and delivery of work, but if you plan it right, it will help you and your business thrive.

So, what are you waiting for?

Have another reason why outsourcing won’t be a part of your business strategy? Let us know in the comments below.

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Brand Management

Juhayna steps in 2018 with bold yet humble campaign to support Baheya hospital

A fundamental quality of successful marketer is the mindset and willingness to do whatever it takes to build a solid…

A fundamental quality of successful marketer is the mindset and willingness to do whatever it takes to build a solid brand that makes revenues and changes the world.

Juhayna has decided to take its sponsorship of the beloved Al Ahly team and use it for good by launching national donation campaign to support Baheya hospital.

For years Juhayna have been doing whatever necessary to increase the brand value. Hiring Sherif Ekramy to promote Juhayna Mix, Dora as Juhayna Pure’s brand ambassador, the controversial Dundo Advert and major sponsorship deals.

After 19 years of being the most visible logo on one of the most watched teams in the country, Juhayna is taking a step back and letting someone else get the limelight.

Throwback ► Juhayna Cheering Egyptian Mothers in Emotional TV Commercial

Juhayna teams up with Baheya Hospital & Al Ahly in long-term plan which aims at delivering a bold yet humble marketing message with much emotion involved. The move definitely will re-capture the audience attention to Juhayna’s logo and strengthen the long-term sponsorship to Al-Ahly SC.

Early yesterday morning, Reporter Sara Fouad posted a small teaser of Juhayna’s new campaign.

كلكوا عارفين أنا زملكاوية قد إيه.. والإنتماء ده موضوع بجد مفيهوش هزار.. لكن في حاجة بتجمّع كل الناس أيًا كان إنتماءهم ا…

Posted by ‎Sara Fouad – سارة فؤاد‎ on Monday, January 1, 2018


The post states that for the first time in 19 years, something was going to change with Juhayna and Al Ahly.

Fans questioned what would happen, the brand has been a main part of the uniform for so long. Many wondered if they would change logos, or focus on a certain product instead of the company as a whole.

Juhayna themselves, later the same day, posted a short video/would be GIF on the topic.

Stepping back for 90 minutes

The FMCG company has decided to take a step back in order to lend a helping hand. So, after 19 years of unchanging visibility, the brand is partnering up with Breast Cancer NGO Baheya.

The partnership allows Baheya’s logo to sit upon Juhayna’s place to help 4000 of those afflicted with the disease.

For 90 minutes, during the match between Al Ahly and Al Masry on the 12th of January, Juhayna and Baheya hope to receive donations of up to 19 million EGP, which will be spent on helping more than 4000 Breast Cancer patients.


Only 7 hours in, the video already has over 5k reactions and over 400 shares.

People have reacted positively to the change, some stating that it’s honorable to use the money Juhayna uses on being on the uniform for some change and good in the world.

Baheya is a non-governmental organization that aims to help spread awareness of Breast Cancer, and the importance of early detection through testing. While Breast Cancer can be beaten at later stages, with lower rates of success, early detection provides up to a 98% chance of curing the Cancer.

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