Taking Marketing Digital to Harvard Business School

It’s been more than 10 years since I am working in the Communication field, from which, the last 5 were dedicated to the digital area. It was not because I chose so but because back in 2007 my boss announced me that I will be in charge of the digital department of the advertising agency that I was working for. My answer came straight ahead: “But I don’t know anything about the internet!”

The learning process started with a blog development for a telecom company. I remember that back then the focus was on web development or banner creation and finding ways of making them more effective. Today we mix a lot more “digital ingredients” for a plus of efficiency, reaching every day a higher degree of complexity. One of my latest projects, a CSR campaign for responsible drinking, was deployed on iPhone, iPad, web, youtube, facebook, online and offline media with incredible results.

I always tried to provide highly creative solutions based on results and on the every day technological advances. But even-though, I feel like there is so much to learn… every single day. The digital marketing is about creativity, technology, fast responses, permanent presence, security, software development, intuition… and so many others. But more than this, it is about how we communicate today and it is taking a more important role in the marketing mix. It is the business tool of the 21st century.

In my job, I’m searching every day for new solutions and ways to implement them in the most efficient way, for new recipes that will provide the ultimate experience, shortly, for knowledge and ideas. And for more than 100 years now, there is a place for this: Harvard Business School- an elitist and exclusivist institution where ideas and knowledge born from business case studies and the participants’ own experience.

I spent a week to HBS’s campus, attending Taking Marketing Digital class together with executives from  25 countries.

We shared our experience with the world’s most qualified professors and professionals, discussing, questioning or arguing on different matters without ever to impose a verdict. Because at Harvard, the professors don’t make statements but mainly ask questions and they prefer to use the term “instructor” when describing their role.

The instructor sets the path of discussion, but the class has control too. There is an agenda, but the class decides whether it gets followed or not.

Most case discussions end with the instructor delivering a wrap-up for two to ten minutes. It reviews the highlights of the discussion, presents a summary of key ideas, and generalizes to other situations.

The instructor’s job is not principally to “teach” the case, to tell you the right answer or to show you how you should have analyzed it. Why not? Because such heavy-handedness would discourage the class from playing the game to the very best of its ability. Solving cases is a performance skill. It is learnt by doing, not just by watching.

Business schools teach many things: facts, techniques, attitudes, habits and even philosophies. Case instruction is the method used at Harvard. A case is a statement of conditions, attitudes, and practices at a particular time in a firm’s history. It usually describes challenging problems that the company is wrestling with, and symptoms that it is experiencing. Some of the problems may be self-evident, but more often one has to dig for them.

A case gives you some, though rarely all, of the facts that were known to the players in the situation under analysis. It is deliberately written so that you must rearrange facts and interpret them. It also gives you attitudes and feelings. Sometimes it tells you exactly what the players feel or want to do, and at other times you must infer opinions and intentions. Much of this material is relevant to the solution, but some is not. This arrangement of the material aims to simulate the disorder of experience.

Cases work best when the task is to acquire a talent for diagnosis and prescription. They give practice at isolating problems so that the tools and techniques of the discipline can be brought to bear on them. Cases teach habits and attitudes so basic that must not merely be learnt, but must become second nature by frequent and varied application.

Readings, lectures and so forth teach “hard” knowledge. Cases teach the more elusive skills needed to frame and define management challenges, analyze them, and cultivate a taste for action.

During the class, the opening speaker should present a statement of the problem, defend it, and present a quick overview of a solution. Then give up the floor, to hear your colleagues’ response to your argument.

There is etiquette to group discussion. Follow the flow of the discussion and try to tailor your contribution to the needs of the moment. Sometimes the previous remark needs to be challenged or probed more deeply. Sometimes, when a topic has been sufficiently aired, we need a summarizing observation or a bridging comment, which moves us forward. There is a time for data and a time for opinion: a time for analysis and a time for decision.

One of the most important concepts that shaped from the majority of the case studies was about “co-creation” – the way brands should build in the digital age, together with the consumer. Before, the brands’ communication was unilateral. Today, they can and should listen and answer to the consumers’ perceptions, needs, or requests and genuinely apply them to their marketing strategies. Today’s consumers have advantages that no previous generation has ever had. In the digital environment the constraints of the physical store disappeared and the selection process is supported by rich amounts of information.

We reviewed the strategy, results and future approaches of brands like Dove, United Airlines, Schibsted, TripAdvisor, Radihead, Baseball American League, Facebook’s platforms, Zynga, Porsche, Groupon, eBay. We also received valuable insights form companies like comScore (the first research company to provide insight into the audience size, composition, behavior and brand engagement of consumers reached by brands on Facebook).

Professor John Deighton (  the Dean of the course) provided as a conclusion more questions, meant to serve as a guide when developing a digital marketing strategy: it’s all about context, customers, company, competitors and collaborators (or the 5 C).

An other valuable idea worth mentioning is that it is not enough to think and do. You have also to influence.

But the most important is to understand that the brain is not a bucket. It is a muscle and in order to keep it exercised, during the 1900s you had to write a book, during the 2000s you had to write a blog and starting 2010, to write a Tweet. Any guess for 2020?

Andreea Guidea graduated the University of Bucharest with a specialization on Administrative Sciences, has a SNSPA Masters on International relations and European Integration, an MBA from Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP), London Campus. She also completed the courses of the National Defense College of Romania and The Romanian Diplomatic Institute. She published different studies on national defense, critical infrastructure and crisis management in Romania and abroad.


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Zenergy has created a new game: „PAPER PLANE BATTLE”

This is a game that reminds everyone of the childhood.
Start your amazing journey on a piece of paper and reach the sky and even the outer space.
Prove your strategic skills against the artificial intelligence or challenge your friends via bluetooth.
Check right now how good you (still) are in one of the oldest strategy games!

Game description

There are four levels to play, from classic paper to outer space, in which you can play against the artificial intelligence. Of course, you can challenge your friends via bluetooth or play with them on the same device. The winner is the one who can choose the next level in multiplayer.
Don’t forget to let your Facebook friends know when you win or when you crush your friends at this exciting game!

Usefull links:

Appstore: http://itunes.apple.com/ro/app/plane-battle/id437502085?mt=8
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xnj562WTHtQ&feature=player_embedded
About us: www.zenergy.ro

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Dr Edward de Bono at Cannes Lions 2011

One of the most inspiring and creative minds of today, dr Edward de Bono is considered the founding father of modern creative thinking and has uniquely applied himself to inventing and sharing practical methods for instant analysis, structured decision making and action.

He developed the concepts of “lateral thinking” or “the six hats”. The latest word that he invented was presented during this session: “EBNE” = Excellent But Not Enough.






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Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt and Vice-president of Google’s creative lab, Andy Berndt at Cannes Lions 2011

Google’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt and Andy Berndt, Vice-president of Google creative lab having a discussion at Cannes Lions 2011 about how the internet is changing the word, through innovation and imagination.

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3rd is better than 1st: Malcom Gladwell, Kraft Foods, at Cannes 2011

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Robert Redford and Yahoo, at Cannes 2011

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Cannes Lions

The Festival Palace is situated at the very heart of Cannes, surrounded by the port, the sea and the best shops.

As I was entering the building I was expecting to see lots of people running in all the directions in an atmosphere similar to the stock exchange, as the organizers announced thousands of participants. I was happy to see that everything was well organized and ready to start: no crowding and enough room for everybody.

The first day proved to be interesting and even great in some points – probably this was the warm-up.

Some anecdotes for example deserve to be mentioned: one of the Goviral representatives was describing his trip to India where he discovered a Beckham’s statue, made of Gold and representing Buddha.

The priest’s answer when he was asked about it was even more astonishing : Beackam is about football and people love football. Then why not combine football and religion? The priest needed “to increase the traffic” of his temple so he did what he had to do….

So, one of the ideas was that brands are influencing as much as religion and – if you didn’t know it – according to a recent study, 37% of our talks are about brands…

And an other thought that deserve consideration – even if you don’t have anything to do (because of a bad period), go out and do something, anything!

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Kronos celebrates International Women’s Day with a video highlighting the achievement of female pioneers and the general advancement of women in the workplace.

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Social Network Starts Movie Rentals, Threatening Apple, Netflix, Hulu

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Castigatorii turneul FineDrinks, Februarie 2011

Portalul FineDrinks.ro, sustinut de Alexandrion Grup Romania, a organizat duminica, 27 Februarie 2011, un nou turneu de pocker. Locatia a fost si in aceasta luna, Grand Casino din Hotelul Marriott, Bucuresti. Bineinteles, participantii la turneu au fost in numar de 20, si au venit din toata tara cu speranta de a iesi castigatori.

Castigatorul locului 1 a fost Minoiu Mihaita Adrian din Constanta. Locul 2 a fost ocupat de catre Varzaru Constantin Radu, iar 3 de Dumitrescu Adrian, amandoi din Bucuresti.

Minoiu Mihaita Adrian joaca pocker online de aproximativ 7-8 ani, iar pe portalul finedrinks.ro din luna ianuarie a acestui an. De cand a intrat in comunitatea finedrinks.ro a participat la turneu, si s-a clasat pe locul 10. Despre turneu, Adrian spune: „avand in vedere ca am avut si putin noroc, a fost foarte ok”, iar despre site afirma ca „este foarte ok ca web”. El ii sfatuieste pe colegii sai din comunitatea finedrinks.ro: „sa isi incerce norocul sa se califice la turneele live”.

Varzaru Constantin Radu joaca pocker pe portalul finedrinks.ro tot din luna ianuarie, iar online de un an si jumatate. Turneul i s-a parut „interesant si palpitant”, desi nu a avut parte de carti tocmai ok, iar cu banii castigati planuieste sa isi plateasca buying-ul la un turneu ce va avea loc in luna Martie. El a mai participat si la turneul din luna ianuarie, unde s-a clasat tot pe locul 2, desi jucase online doar de cateva zile. La intrebarea: „Cum ati reusit sa va clasati la doua turnee succesive pe locul 2?”, Radu a raspuns simplu: „Cu rabdare si momente favorabile!”. „Ar fi ideal daca pe viitor turneele se vor organiza cu mai multi participanti, si poate chiar intr-un alt oras decat Bucuresti, inclusiv cu stabilirea unui buying”, propune Radu. Iar pe colegii sai din comunitatea finedrinks.ro ii sfatuieste „sa se pregateasca si din punct de vedere teoretic”.

Lui Dumitrescu Adrian turneul i s-a parut „foarte strans, mai ales ca ultimii doi concurenti s-au dovedit a fi destul de puternici”. Cu premiul castigat planuieste sa ii cumpere copilasul sau de 2 ani si 4 luni, tot ce mai are nevoie. El joaca pocker pe finedrinks.ro de aproximativ 2 luni si considera ca portalul este „foarte ok, palpitant si cu jucatori destul de buni”. Sfatul sau pentru cei din comunitate este „sa persevereze si sa se instruiasca in permanenta”.

Urmatorul turneu va fi anuntat de organizatori si va avea loc cel mai probabil in luna Aprilie.

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