Archive for 'Strategy'

Decennial = every 10 years

Miles after miles

Miles after miles

Who likes things to stay as they are? Everything you know is changing on a daily basis. We should change everything at least once in 10 years, right? Better every day, it’s really simple:When you wake up in the morning hungry for a change, with a passion to eliminate everything wasting your time and living someone else’s life, or perhaps a muse enters your life, or when your life hits you – your brain gets empty and virgin as January snow – no thoughts, no dogma, no foreign worries and noisy opinions. You throw out all your dream dictionaries, all your prejudgments and illusions and only then you are ready to reach the power of dreams, the courage to follow your heart.

Remember what you truly want to become, to have, to experience? You take the first step, the first mile. Maybe you trip and fall over after hundred miles, you slip and fall after three hundred, but after the first thousand you get experienced, you forget about riding and start to feel the road, the wind, the fresh mountain, almost like flying, the routine heaviness is replaced by innovative lightness.

Those who make every day a new day and don’t take everything for granted, they will be successful. The confident ones, who believe that “the dots will connect down the road” as Steve Jobs used to say, the “mad ones, who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn..” as Jack Kerouac used to say – they will survive.

Try to rethink everything, everyday! You think “recession” can help you change your mind? No, you have to free your mind to live and work from wherever you like, whenever you want, to clear out the old and make a way for the new. You’ve got to find what you love and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you love and what you dreamed for. If you still haven’t found what you are looking for – keep looking.

If you thought you’ve found it, you’ll want to become an “expert” in your field without being a genius or talent. Maybe you will, “it’s the hours that you put in to become a phenom”, as the inventor of the 10000 hour rule Malcolm Gladwell says, it takes approximately 10000 hours of deliberate practice to master a skill or approximately 5 years of full-time employment to become proficient in your field.

For example the skills and joy of riding an enduro. Adventure sports bikes are currently the fastest-growing market sector in motorcycling. At 37% up on last year they are flicking two long-suspended fingers. The latest Transalp will thud dependably over the horizon for at least another 10 years, mile after mile. It’s a Honda, so it’ll run forever and since it’s got 20 years of refinement behind it nothing will fall off.

So, we have miles to go. See ya on the road!

Expo Green Global 2011

Brand Touch, the European interactive kiosk and digital signage totems manufacturer, will present LUMINA™ at Expo Green Global 2011 as a sponsor, exhibitor and digital media partner of the event. The luxurious digital totem will bring totally immersed interactive experience to the visitors and exhibitors at the greenest cruise ship on the planet – MSC Fantasia, where over 120 brands from more than 32 countries will meet to discuss and present their latest green initiatives.

The Power of Dreams

Mobility & the power of dreams

The Power of Dreams

First yellow leaves cause shivers up my “move” passion and dreams. As little kids, we all got those ridin-swimmin-jumpin-climbin wounds and scarves.
Cycling gives you a unique feeling beyond the frame, cycling in the wild moves your soul and personal, open-minded mobility, a guaranteed freedom. Country/ mountain roads are the best, highways/ freeways are the worst…

My favorite book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is written in the late 60ies, rejected by 121 publishers (which is yes, the Guinness Record) and finaly published in my year of birth + 41 times later…an iconic book. There is nothing much about Zen or motorcycles, it’s about the important things – Emotional intelligence, Attitude, Quality of life, Rational and Irrational mindsets. Attitude, which is more important than facts, than past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It can make or break a life, a family, a home, a brand. With an Attitude, life is not what happens to us, but how we react to it.
I’ll give you just some samples, which literally shaped my mindset long time ago:
“And what is good, Phaedrus, And what is not good — Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?
The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there. When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a Religion. The only Zen you find on tops of mountains is the Zen you bring there.

The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of the mountain, or in the petals of a flower.

Is it hard? Not if you have the right attitudes. Its having the right attitudes thats hard.
The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn’t any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it’s right. If it disturbs you it’s wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.
Absence of Quality is the essence of squareness. To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.”
But where are all those dual-sport/adventure touring enduros gone? Remember Africa Twin, Dominator, Funduro, KLE, Ténéré, TDM…
There are only 3 Mohicans left – BMW G650GS, Suzuki V-Storm 650 and Honda Transalp XL700V.
So let’s read between the lines, between the Chautauquas and computer manuals… breathe in the Power of Dreams and start the engines, sharing the Road with the crazy ones, the rebels, the ones who worry and see things differently, living on the edge, beyond rules, “ the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn”, the ones who change things, innovate things, move things and create the future.
Sharing the road, warmth, pain and touch with the tender One – beyond career, solutions, cures, horoscopes and politics. The one who can be silent with us to contemplate the reality, the one who worries, who cares…
Have fun, have passion to create, ski down the Seven Summits
See you at the top!

Vellyours, BrandMover

Digital Mall

Digital content creation and management – trends, strategy, technology and tools – digital signage, interactive totems and retail kiosks. Coming soon at your favorite Mall.

Digital Signage 2.0

Interactive digital signage totems and self-service touch kiosks are in the top3 advertising trends of 2011.
See you at Kiosk and Digital Signage Expo Europe 2011!

Digital Signage за модерни банки

Best CRM 2011?

CRM 2011Greetings to all the “best CRM” fans these days – the CRM’s spring peak is back with lot of interesting projects. Should I use an in-house or hosted solution, how to integrate our ERP, the Asterisk call center, helpdesk, our email marketing center, RSS feeds and 30 social media profiles?… The old myth about ”the magic CRM software, which “the management installed last year” is dead.

Welcome to the social CRM cloud!

Few friends manage their sales transactions, campaigns and lead tracking progression from their smartphones/ iPhone or Android-based PDAs.  Skype and even Seeismic and TweetDeck are main tools – that’s how they like to streamline interaction, maximize sales and customer satisfaction. Most of the folks I meet are happy to practice CRM with their Excel 97 spreadsheet or MS Outlook with Business contact manager. Nostalgic users of ACT, Maximizer or GoldMine lately are moving to online contact managers like SalesNexus and Zoho. For end-customer shops we use efficiently InfusionSoft, customers with bigger shops and several websites/ brands / language version in Europe use Magento with CRM extensions.

SugarCRM led the open-source way in the last 6 years with a flexible one-hat-fits-all solution, yet for huge projects with dozens of users and specific modules with custom workflow you need the enterprise edition or a more sophisticated, yet open platform – we had great experience with the CRM-in-the-cloud platforms VTiger and openCRX. Enterprise-wide multilingual coordination of sales generation, fulfillment, product structuring and pricing, real-time issue tracking and drill-down dashboards with pipelines are not a bread-and-butter task. Which is my favorite CRM beast? Salesforce.com of course, but it comes pricy when you grow, so for SMBs we stick to customized SugarCRM, vtiger or openCRX implementations. What about SAP CRM or Oracle Siebel? They are out of reach for most of the local companies, plus we are fans of scalable platform-independent and vendor-neutral open-source solutions, aren’t we?

CRM is just a database tool to collect, manage and present data to optimize and meet your goals. The software is not the solution – the focused definition and execution of the business strategy and objectives is the roadmap for success. Self-service portal and social marketing integration is much more important than the system itself. There is no “top” or “best” out-of-the-box CRM. As a CRM implementation consultant I always try to understand and help customers to define the brand challenges and strategy, to tailor every aspect of the CRM experience from the start. The right opportunity management solution comes a month later. The perfect – 2 years later. Understanding your own business and introducing features to your staff makes the difference.

Back in 2008, CRM 2.0 was still beta, today it’s a >$3 billion business. More SocialRank than PageRank, more customer insights and social media  analytics than noisy spam. Go social (2 billion web users worldwide) and Mobile (1 billion mobile workforce worldwide).  90% of organizations will support corporate applications on personal  devices by 2014 so grab your iPad or tablet and mash your perfect CRM deck on iGoogle, CoTweet, Pardot, Facebook, Foursquare… you name it. Compose a more experimental, Twitter-like social CRM for emotionally high-touch customer engagement.  See you in Gartner’s Social CRM magic quadrant!

If you have any questions, feel free to comment or contact me. Join the cultural transformation, get closer to the customer and keep walking!

Brand Integrity Management 2010

Top Brands

Every third import in the united European market is suspicious counterfeiting with infringed brand or design rights. The global loss is $30-50m just for one brand and billions per year for the top 5 cosmetic brands, mostly in less developed markets. Seems when your brand is 120 years old and you sell in 210 countries, you have an attractive critical mass to be attacked by counterfeiters, even if your licensee produces the goods in the same Chinese factory where the fake products come from.

What would you do? You develop a brand integrity strategy, you invent optical quality packaging, laser-focused quality control, nanocoatings, sophisticated visible/ invisible color shifting labels, individual 2D barcode tagging, transparent packaging, licensed factories and exclusive authorized distributors. You constantly secure, enhance, deter, partner and do brand ID trainings of law attorneys, National Customs Agency officers, The Border Police, NSCOC (National Service for Combating Organized Crime) agents.

Thanks to Turcu & Turcu law office, we had a chance to meet dozens of brand integrity managers and government, police and customs agents, monitoring and protecting global brands such as Sara Lee, Timberland, Samsung, Epson, Eli Lilly, Nokia, Estee Lauder, Coty Prestige, L’oreal, Lacoste, Chanel, General Motors, Levi Strauss, Puma, Daimler, Adidas, Bvlgari, Harley-Davidson and many others.

Sofia is a part of a worldwide network of administrative and brand integrity investigators and I was happy to see so many fake website knock-downs, seizes, raids and litigation programs. With more than 75 000 annual counterfeiting cases for Europe only, you can be sure that buying a fake Estee Lauder perfume, full of sulfur, ammonia, phosphorus, potassium, titanium and horse/dogs urine as a binder to keep the alcohol and oils, will not be the best bargain to make you girlfriend happy, especially if you don’t wanna see her face and skin burned tomorrow. It’s not only a brand protection or tax/unemployment protection issue; it’s your own health and consciousness.

Keep brandmoving. See ya at the top!

Rebranding fever 2010

2010 is just around the corner and with it come all kinds of warm reflections time and great strategy advice about what we should be doing and what we should avoid.

RebrandingDecember was full of rebranding projects. We helped 10 brands – most of which with over a decade of history – to start the New Year with rebranded identity and websites (links and case studies coming soon).
After thousands of answered question concerning their brand strategy, web architecture, site structure, layout, design, content, ranking, long-tail keyword clusters, tags and gadgets…in the end of the day the formula of industry perfection, profit explosion and business optimization is brilliantly simple and repeatable:

   80% quality traffic share
+ 80% customer’s mindshare
= 80% marketshare

Not only to survive, but to grow and thrive the highly challenging “downturn” economy, we need a systematic approach and focus to identify the current values and capitalize on new opportunities, far ahead of the competition.

So, what will work for 2010 is absolutely the same top 10 trends, which worked perfectly in the last 3 years:

Brand strategy – a clear and solid foundation for your sales. Leverage all channels and maximize your current resources and business growth activities with measurable, brand performance metrics.

Innovation – creative thinking, mindmapping, drawing, playing music – one hour a day, away from the stressfull  office meetings and negotiations.

World-class design. Good design means clarity, clearly differentiated value proposition, performance, function and service, sales and trust. Quality in products, customer experience and content is the king. Brand reputation through word-of-mouth – the queen. Satisfied customers – the key to repeat business.

Budget & time to cut operating costs – everything which helps to cut costs and improve performance. Focus on what you do best and outsource the rest. The core fundamentals – strategy, KPI’s and most profitable customers. Outsource areas that are not your business’ core competencies. Let the experts do the work. They are better, faster and more cost-effective.

Digital media as the main channel for reaching your customers. Web & mobile are now mainstream, faster, cheaper and easier to target your perfect customers with immediate, real-time and measurable results.  Forget print and postage delays and fees. Go wireless, invest in digital and grow organic.

Reach the top of the Search. 1.3 Billions of indviduals are searching for a specific need every day. If you are not found by your target audience on the first page of Google, you don’t exist. Being on the top leads to serious sales. Digital users research and digg before they buy. Leverage Web 2.0 tools to allow the customers to engage, share, follow and become fans of the brand. Get the best brand awareness, market research and real-time knowledge about your customers for free! Local or global – search engine optimization and top ranking are sophisticated, time consuming and change on an hourly basis, so better outsource them to an expert.

Build the Brand. Top companies make absolutely certain that brand is a central management principle, the platform on which your customers make their buying decision. Any time  they touch the brand via any channel, it must consistently and credibly communicate its promise and value.

Move to the SaaS cloud, digg the CRM Database. Make sure your have a detailed platform, deeply integrated with all brand channels and Web 2.0 interfaces.The new world of permanently online, social & knowledge hunting communities provides you with endless opportunities.

Leverage the good old analytics – we define and measure progress toward critical organizational goals,  offline and online metrics, established in the strategy. Try and improve – new layouts, design, titles, copy, meta… Only  results matter.

Wherever you are, enjoy your holidays! Cheers for a great 2010!

Caffeine ranking

Caffeine ranking

Caffeine ranking

Yesterday was the first clear day in a month, clear and sunny enough to dream about snowy peaks, ski vacations, Christmas and presents… after the rain is gone, one can see clearly that we all are eager and busy to update our brand platforms, deeply immersed in Google Wave or Huddle’s tags-based collaboration. The localization of our branding platform in 4 new languages runs well, the last projects for 2009 are polished on a staging server.

Recently some clients of mine have been asking about Google changing the SEO game again, why all their linkbuilding efforts crashed, why strong on-page and off-page ranking factors are so messed and interwoven, why we optimized the websites of 3 direct competitors for top3, do we provide a top3 ranking guarantee – you got the idea.

Well, after the last month updates and Google Caffeine grabbing real-time results twice faster, chances are you are not top3 anymore, your competitors grab the most of the leads (don’t worry – they don’t). With only few organic results showing up above the fold of the browsers, recent changes at Google mean top3 rankings are more valuable than ever, and SEOs will have “few” more Christmas projects.

Crawling deeper, it means that we all need a brand new victory plan for 2010, a platform foundations upgrade, regardless whether to launch a new product, rebrand your company and emerge stronger.

So, get your brand moving again and grow on your global top5 ranking mission. Still I have to admit – there are some brand-building elements, where we have to forget about precise control and “the long-term healthy future” – it’s only the clear facts and the very moment of NOW which exists. The key metrics are still the same – Authority, fresh growing Content and relevant Anchor links. Website growth rate is getting very imporant, as well as organic brand growth.

How much of your time does it take, dear Mr. CBO? An hour to set up the platform, 3 hours to train the co-workers, an hour a day for writing, updates and monitoring, permanent linkbait and snippet links stacking /scultping. Brand-building is a process, not an event.

In the end of the day it gives us 3 sweet competitive advantages to outrank and outperform the competitors: top ranking, brand awareness in thousands of web channels and a brand-crisis proof shield.

So, don’t moan – act now! Fish where the fish are, in the muddy postcrisis waters. Only after that can we escape the “unable-to-stop” collective insanity, visiting dozens of global locations, collecting music, wisdom and tribal art, inspired and creative, full of fresh energy, as in the good old school days.

December is always full with tons of professional SEO webinars and seminars, so I’m looking forward to seeing you there or on our InterNations Christmas party!

BrandBuild to the top

Life strategy? One life, live it.

Life Strategy 2009When you ask your friends if they have created a life strategy for the next week, month, year, five or even ten years – over 90% will answer No! or should I?

Yes, we should. Some of us create to-do lists, (I prefer to make not-to-do lists), other are permanently writing “business-in-recession” strategies, but do we share our life strategies? Rarely. Are you interested to prepare a life strategy, if you knew how to?

We share those mumble-grumble social network status updates that “it was a great weekend, but now it’s Monday again and I have to wait 340 more days for my next vacation“… but there is no time to think and commit to paper?

Most of my friends from the past have only shorter life horizons because it is difficult for them to look far into the future and predict an outcome.
We didn’t learn why it’s important to create a life strategy at school.
It was only “I want it all and I want it now”, or “I’ll be happy if I can afford a beer tomorrow”. Carpe Diem, live in the moment – spontaneous, natural and keep rolling?

Well my friends, I don’t agree. Well-being is the way you want it to be. We should be open to all possibilities and not overlook new opportunities, but how will you  know WHAT’s a new opportunity, if you don’t know where are you going?

A life without a strategy is like a ship without a target and a reason. Your canoe will definitely sail you somewhere, but where you end up may not be where you really want to go. Or the most important part is to live every moment as though the whole world were watching?

Life strategy is not about a boxed career, income, buying a house, getting married, having kids or being self-reliant, financialy self-sufficient entrepreneur, retired as multi-millionaire at 60. It’s about the big idea, HOW to achieve the desired level of freedom, relationships, income, business, emotional and spiritual intelligence, etc.

I’m happy that most of my current friends and contacts have a life strategy. They can share it with a Tim Ferris’ DreamLine or Richard Koch’s ActionPlan in 10 minutes  and we can compare our progress, meeting for monthly happiness plan brainstorms and and shortening the horizon to our goals together.

Do I have one, yes, I wrote one, called Clouds (abstract, but solid foundation of clear life-goals) when I was 15-17 and it’s continually tuned every day, with every new knowledge and experience, tweaked for perfect outcome. Clearly, developing and sharing a life strategy makes a lot of sense and can be useful to all of us, who want to find something to be happy about.

Why? Because we can feel unlimited where we stand, to know that anything that we desire can be ours, that we are eager and full of life, free and fun and easy. Let’s challenge our perception of personal limits and don’t let our dreams stay dreams.

Here are 10 highlights from my mid-2009 life strategy update:

In the second half of 2009 I will:

  • Move from doing most of the things to what I do best and let others do the rest. (I can’t be expert on 80 things, just on 20 ;-)
  • Leap-frog my top5 direct competitors in the next 6 months, building and top positioning global brands with higher quality at 70% of the price.
  • Increase the quality and reduce the quantity of my relationships and friend-lists by at least 30% for 6 months.
  • Decrease compromising my integrity for anything or anybody.
  • Decrease the communication and social noise by 60% more in 3 months.
  • Say NO politely but immediately 20% more often.
  • Stop wasting energy on peripheral issues that cannot yield a payoff no matter the outcome.
  • I’ll use pure strenghts and truth instead of trying to make true that which I love or I am weak at.
  • Use free will and energy to go ahead and uphill, day after day
  • Stop wasting time talking about my plans to others. Give you only 2 minutes to say what you have to say quickly and simply – then we probably stop talk/chat? Zipping the lip.

We have all the time on this planet, but without Destination, Route and Actions, we are going nowhere.  Success is our own damn fault. So work less, succeed more, enjoy more, be more strategy-focused, less tactic-focused,  and let me know what do you think.

The Revolution starts on 1st of July. You are Vellycomed to join.