A Picture Is Worth A 1000 Words: In Content Marketing Too

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a 1000 words.This morning I came across a presentation by Wakster’s Philippe Ingels. Wakster is a British agency dedicated to the use of illustrations for Marketing. I though the topic was particularly relevant to our readers and so I am sharing his presentation with you. Rather than try to bore your readers to death, why don’t you try something different? That’s the meaning of Philippe Ingels’s presentation and also the gist of our work at Visionary Marketing.

A pciture is wortha thousand words
I used Philippe Ingels’s picture above. You will find others in this piece. His presentation is available hereafter

On the web and elsewhere, advertisers tend to believe their own dreams and their motto is “if customers cannot hear our message, let’s shout it out a wee bit louder!

A picture can make you stand out from the crowd

However, the results are poor. Users hate advertisers for being insistent. The more they are the more they hate them. So both advertisers and publishers are trying to lure readers into reading their uninteresting messages by throwing more and more banners at them. I even counted up to 4 layers of banner advertising on one particular website. These publishers’ web analytics platforms will add up all these “readers” into their stables. But it is an illusion. For readers have averted their eyes from that content for a long time. Big data and a big illusion too.

A picture is worth a 1000 words

Read more

Inbound Marketing: lost in translation

Inbound marketing and a certain lingua franca

Inbound marketing isn’t as easy as it lay seem. We are currently working on a content marketing deal which involves writing content about “web to store” technology. Our text is written in English and has to be translated into Spanish and French. “Web to store” is what the French are calling it and the terminology makes perfect sense. The only issue is that the term, in plain English, doesn’t exist or isn’t used. This, in a way, is a bit of a conundrum. Should we, or should we not use it in our English pieces? We have been torn on that issue, and still are. But there are many more issues with translations.

About inbound marketing, translations and adaptations

I used to be a translator interpreter for the French Army Staff (well, that was quite some time ago, but the lessons I was taught were not lost on me). In essence, I believe that translation is one of the most difficult exercises for the mind. Much more difficult than solving an equation. In fact, it’s a bit like solving two symmetrical equations expressed in two different languages and trying to get back to a near perfect transposition of the original text. That kind of exercice may sound easy, mostly when common languages are involved. But it’s far from being the case. As a matter of fact, languages aren’t equations. They cannot be fed into computers – or only imperfectly. This is due to the fact that a) rules are imperfectly expressed (sometimes I read French grammar rules and I can’t understand everything in them) b) a language is not only based on a choice of words and grammar, it’s based on colloquialisms and the choice of expressions which not only seem right to readers, but also sound vernacular c) because translations aren’t just translations, most of the time they are adaptations (all references to local things must be either changed or explained. In our retail example, if I mention Asda or Argos, no Frenchman would understand what I am talking about. Conversely, if I write about Casino or Leroy Merlin, chances are that most Europeans would have no clue that these are retail chains unless I explain it).

inbound marketing is key
Translation is like a key. Any translation would open any door. But the real issue is how to open one particular door when you don’t always have the key and need to forge one yourself

Regardless, we have decided to translate all our blog pieces carefully, both in French and Spanish, in order that the right terms appear in the right pages for the right search engine(s). This is a tad counter-intuitive in an economy which is supposedly globalised, with English as the world’s modern lingua franca. And French and Spanish for other parts of the world.

To an extent, this isn’t new. Assuming that in Roman times, everyone was speaking Latin in the exact same way would be foolish. And the bastardisation of the Empire’s language gave birth to Church Latin (which the French facetiously name “Kitchen Latin” to show you that, well, it isn’t Latin per se). That’s the funny thing about a lingua franca: being a universal language means that many speak it, but this doesn’t guarantee that one will understand it. That’s how certain Canadian films like the hilarious 2011 Starbuck is subtitled for French audiences (honestly, unless he/she has a trained ear, a fluent French speaker would not understand many of the lines spoken in that film, mostly because most are stressed. With received pronunciation, French is spoken flat, it is almost impossible to catch anything when words are stressed in the English way (and conversely when English isn’t stressed properly). Read more

Season’s Greetings from the Visionary Marketing Team

2015 is drawing to a close. This has been a fruitful year from a business point of view. From a personal point of view, it has been a very stressful year, with two deadly attacks at the very centre of our City, a stone’s throw from the Visionary Marketing offices. We have no doubt that 2016 will be another fruitful year from a business point of view and we hope it will also be more joyful and positive. Our Season’s Greetings go to you dear readers. We will be back soon with new content and a brand new white paper on innovation, currently in the making. Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas - antimuseum.com
Merry Christmas : sketch by antimuseum.com

Technology changes our behaviour

David Shing, also known as Shingy, is a digital prophet. His job is to identify trends for brands, audiences and companies at large. He spoke at the SAS Forum 2015 which took place in Paris on November 5 2015. He delivered a great presentation. Right after the show I had the chance to ask him a few questions..

You are a digital prophet. Could you explain this term to us?

The idea is to look at the trends, to still them down from the industry for brands, for clients, for companies and for the industry itself.

So, you work for AOL. But people probably don’t always know what AOL is about now.

You are absolutely right. They don’t necessarily have to know about the core brand of AOL. They know about services and some of the brands I work with; such as Huffington Post and Engadget. There is some science that we own; people call them ‘love brands’. Within our industry, our job is to bring people to brands and brands to people. AOL Inc. is an organization that classes together all brands that actually deliver these ad solutions. And that is the idea of brands to people, people to brands.

You delivered an amazing and very inspirational pitch this morning, in which you said “technology changes our behaviour; it does not change our needs”. What do you mean by that?

Technology is something you are holding that has changed your behaviour. In fact, I saw a photography piece done recently: an artist who had taken out the divisors to see how people’s behaviours have changed. The result is amazing! We’ve had these touch screen devices for less than about 10 years now, and look how our behaviours have changed. I was thinking about it yesterday: I have all these photographs of people that are completely not interacting and they’re missing actual connection because they think they’re connecting elsewhere. We have a generation of people that are head down. We’re going to end up with some sort of syndrome
I’m sure! But this is almost a disconnection; that’s changing the behaviour of what we are
doing. Now does it change our need? No, we still need to connect. So a younger generation is actually connecting more digitally at physical events like sporting, because they still have a need to connect. They’re just doing it differently now, they’re doing it digitally.

You mentioned something that really struck my mind as well: “the current generation has more to do with their grandparents’ generation that they have with their parents”, how can you explain that?

The values that they have are definitely more in tune  with the grandparents’ generation. They understand consciousness, they understand things like organic and eco. Read more

Digital transformation: The Boiling Frog syndrome

I recently delivered several presentations to the chartered accountants community composed in and around town. My impressions after those presentations are reminiscent of the boiling frog syndrome’. This phenomenon mirrors the issues linked to change management in a large number of businesses concerned with digital transformation. Surprisingly, I found chartered accountants to be the epitome of the ongoing changes in the service business, an area much impacted by automation and new generation IT systems and cloud.

digital transformation

Digital impact on chartered accountants: already old hat

The definition of ‘digital’, including automation and the convergence of cloud/IT and mobile, is broadly accepted even though the ubiquitous ‘digital’ moniker is quite recent. When it comes to chartered accountants however, the story goes deeper into history and reminded me of things I had heard and seen as a young man even though the context has changed.
My Father, in the 80s, came up with one of the first (if not the first) accounting automation system, at least this side of the channel. Let it be known that he was an IT director with a background in IT which started in the early. His newly designed HR and accounting system included stock management, payroll management, the whole trappings.

He had also created a very sophisticated book-keeping subsystem (considered a visionary initiative in those days). This system could collect stocks through remote personal computers, powered from a distance by a Mainframe computer. That central computer was connected through the Transpac network. It was a bit like seeing E.T. connect to remote information systems via a phone connection at the time. It was really ground-breaking. Most companies had to wait for years to get something which worked like that.

“You have automated 90% of our work!”

 “You have automated 90% of our work”, the chief accountant commented when my Father released his new system. And what do you think happened after that? Absolutely nothing, of course. The accounting team went on using pen and paper. They were sinking in the comfort of their routine, and patiently waiting for retirement age. Which came in due course. They were right not to fret after all.

35 years later: the scene changes

It’s not surprising at all, I should mention, that it is far more convenient for many to procrastinate and prefer routine to change. It might even pay in the short term, but could prove quite dangerous in the long run however.

35 years later, accountants are finally faced with the need to change. And even to change fast. Their tasks will have to increasingly evolve towards consulting, as recommended by the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

Well, on paper, this isn’t such a difficult task. Accountants have everything which is required to succeed: finance skills, know-how and the habit of working in the service industry. But if we dig deeper, we find that there will be a strong need for employees to evolve and be able to drive the business. A far more difficult task than that of keying in data manually into systems and validating accounts. A lot of training and support will be required, not everyone can become a skilled consultant. And not everyone will welcome that change.

salaries industry transformation

What will happen to the accounting industry then? It looks like it’s been like a frog which stayed for tooboiling frog syndrome- transformation
long in boiling water and did not see or understand what was happening to him. Other sectors (healthcare, banks, education, travel and tourism…) may be given less time. Let this example encourage them to reconsider their need for a real digital transformation.


Note: I have reproduced per below the recommendations issued by ACCA to British accountants a few years ago. I’m not sure they have all stood the test of time. It’s not always easy to predict what will happen and when. Having said that, most of their predictions are highly plausible.  

ACCA’s 10 tips to British accountants facing a professional disruption

  1. In 2015, every accounting firm will offer their clients an application granting them access to their business/accounting information using a Smartphone or tablet;
  1. Accountants will have to stay up-to-date to maintain their role as guardians of corporate data;
  1. The Accounting sector needs new ways to measure and evaluate technological costs and benefits of cloud computing;
  1. Accounting will shrink as a profession, while software vendors progressively integrate financial expertise with products that are increasingly considered self-learners;
  1. The CFO of tomorrow will have to have as much technological knowledge as financial knowledge;
  1. If accountants do not seize technology, they will go extinct just like dinosaurs: both as individuals and as a profession;
  1. By 2020, audits could be conducted in real time. Auditors will extract data directly from the information systems, that are linked to real time stocks using sensors (stocks, livestock, employee count);
  1. If accountants do not position themselves as emerging trend experts (i.e. crowdfunding, new payment platforms, …) other professions will do instead;
  1. Accountants must use emerging technologies to attract talents and develop existing talent;
  1. By 2025, all digital data will be available to everyone.