Sep 20

Women’s Leadership Network: Nicola Mendelsohn

My employee’s parent company, IPG, has established a London ‘chapter’ (yes, it’s American) of its Women’s Leadership Network, which has proven successful in the US. After an initial kickoff meeting, to discuss mission and values and all of that stuff, they ran their first general event yesterday, with a talk by Nicola Mendelsohn, who is currently President of the IPA and Exec Chair of Kamarama. The title of her speech was ‘what she wished she knew when she was 20’ and it came down to 10 great tips for getting ahead in your career, regardless of your age.

  • Understand the power of the network. You never know when someone could help you. So help others, make connections and keep them. Don’t burn your bridges, as you never know when that could be a problem
  • Love what you do. You do best when doing things that you love. You have to be passionate about your work, otherwise, why do you do it?
  • Celebrate your differences. Not everyone is the same, likes the same things, does the same things. How can you make something of that
  • Get the right work/life balance. Nicola works 4 days/week, she has a strong focus on her family and that will always come first for her. Other people are different. You have to balance the day job with other activities
  • Find yourself some great mentors. It doesn’t have to be just one. different people can provide different types of advice. You can have many at the same time, or sequentially. Make sure you know what they can offer. It’s useful to have someone who is a few levels higher than you
  • Be confident. Essential. Act confident and you will be confident. You have to project that you know what you are doing as perception is everything. Confidence is essential for leadership.
  • Don’t expect everyone to like you. Why should they – you don’t necessarily like everyone. You will have to do things sometimes and people won’t like you for it.
  • Challenge. And take risks. Why just live with the status quo, why just expect things to be the same. And without risks, you’ll never learn, never get the unexpected.
  • Always be learning. Learning is a lifelong habit. Know new stuff and be curious. And don’t be afraid to fail, as that’s just more chances to learn.
  • Be true to yourself. You are what you are. Don’t be someone else.

After the talk, there was a general panel and one of the topics was about being ‘boardroom ready’. In advertising/marketing, only about 12% of the C-level roles are female, even if as an industry it’s pretty forward looking and with a high proportion of women at the lower levels. A challenge was to make yourself boardroom ready. So look for opportunities to know more of the business side, the financials, to help make yourself ready

overall, a good first event, looking forward to the next one.

Sep 28


Two years ago this week I made the decision to leave Diageo after 14 years – I then proceeded to give 4 months notice! My initial plan was to do freelance social media consulting, an area that was just starting to gain wider traction across businesses. This was slightly scuppered by a chance meeting at SXSW, with someone who’d been part of the team at an agency for some Smirnoff work we did with them. They were looking for someone to help support on digital for a client they had, so I agreed to come across to New York for 10 weeks to do this. This eventually led to an offer of a full time role, with a visa. After a lot of thought, I decided to accept – New York was always somewhere I had wanted to work and had been trying to do so with Diageo for a while. My reservations were that this was advertising and my expertise was more in the marketing/social media space. I mentally gave myself a year.

That is what has now happened; due to a tightening of belts, my services are no longer required. Very little of my time was against clients, a lot of what I did was education and internal stuff and they could basically no longer support that. I’m not surprised, I’d been looking for more work internally for a while and not getting much luck. The result is I no longer have a job and am looking, most probably back in the UK as the visa I have won’t work at another company. Unless somewhere else takes my fancy (I’ve always liked Sydney 😉 ).

Next steps..a short period of misery (I’m allowed, this is the first time it’s happened to me), a take stock and then a push to get a new job (whilst moving countries again!) Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of my time here, enjoy the company of the many new friends I’ve made in the city

Sep 05

Digital challenges for a traditional agency

My ex-boss, who left the company the other week, was interviewed in the Wall Street Journal (subscription req.) about the challenges facing her in new job and those facing a traditional advertising agency as it tries to integrate digital. Some key points from the interview:

  • an agency appointing a ‘digital czar’ is not enough, you need to have the people to implement the plans
  • you can’t just drop a bunch of digital people in the middle of a traditional agency as they’ll all just wonder what they are doing. Digital needs to be more than an extension of the ad campaign.
  • to understand digital you need to live it, otherwise you will never get it as a creative medium. it’s not something you can just read about

The points rang very true, it’s difficult in an agency where many live TV but few seem to live digital.

Jul 18

CScout Trend Spotter

Do you fancy yourself as a trend spotter? Ray from CScout has asked me if I know anyone in London who wants to take a crack at spotting trends for them

Here’s a job description.

Background: living and /or working in London who is immersed in the web 2.0, technology sector, startup, social media communities. Good candidates in the past have been bloggers, writers, and marketers.

Duties: This is for part-time work, on a contract basis. Scouts could either have a day job in the area, or be a full time freelancer. Typical assignments are short reports in Word doc or PPT with text and images.

Fees and rates depend on length of project and experience.

CScout is a global trend consultancy with 12 full time employees in offices in New York, Munich, Tokyo, and Beijing. In addition, 25+ scouts placed globally are activated depending upon the needs of our clients.

They also have opening in Sydney and/or Melbourne. Contact Raymond for further details if interested: r a y . c h a at g m a i l ( d o t ) c o m , (you know the drill with munged addresses)

Feb 27

Color Showdown is here

Shameless plug for a site and campaign I’ve been working on, but check out* from Sunsilk for some fun stuff.

Colour Showdown

The site taps into the blondes vs brunettes war (you don’t think it’s a war – take a look a the MySpace groups!). Not sure how many of the target audience read this, but if you are, you can do the following:

  • watch videos – the TV spots, behind the scenes, jokes (send your friend a joke video)
  • see results of our ‘secret experiments’, currently it’s who eats healthiest, but we have a few more to come.
  • read all about the product and see how it works (look out for the easter egg)
  • answer polls, get stuff for you website, download wallpaper and AIM icons and (soon) play games

Throughout the site, you earn points for your side, so go and take a look and click around the brunette side, more points for us 😉

The campaign is not just the website, that is just the first stage and there is a lot more to come. The TV breaks tonight.

*The number of times I have to retype that ‘correct’ the right spelling is getting annoying.

Jan 25

Domino’s Anything Goes – Tracking a video

This is now back…some changes but nothing substantial.

One of the projects I’ve been working on, at least from a metrics and tracking perspective, is a US campaign for Domino’s Pizza: Anything Goes, any large pizza, any topping any crust for $9.99. Supported by a heavy TV promotion, in-store, email, SMS, online advertising, all the usual stuff, it also had an unusual contest and teaser video component.

The concept behind the online promotion is that anything goes for $9.99. So for 5 weeks, starting 1 Jan, Dominos have been auctioning items on eBay for $9.99. From ipods to video cameras to home entertainment systems everything was the one price. It was set up as an Buy it Now auction; to find the items, a clue was posted everyday on the microsite that when solved gave the keywords associated with the auction page and you were told within what time period the items would be posted. There was a lot of commetary about it within the eBay community as well, as this was a new thing for the service to participate in.

There were also 4 big prizes. With each of these, there is an associated set of videos that tell a story that leads up to why the item is being sold. The first one went up 15 Jan, 2 weeks before the campaign was launched, in 3 video channels (YT, metacafe, AOL Uncut). So, meet Mackenzie.

Mackenzie is a sweet (!) 16 year whose father bought her the wrong colour car for her birthday. Looking at her videos, you eventually find out that she gets the car that she wants and she puts her Saab convertible up on ebay to sell it. And it went pretty quickly – see the winner here. A second series set up the sale of a big screen TV and there are 2 more that went up this week, one for a Harley Davidson and one for one last big surprise. (the big surprise was a Lotus car)

So that’s the campaign, let’s take a look a little closer at Mackenzie. Her behaviour drove a lot of comments, most people condemning her at various levels of politeness (it definitely brought out the worst online attitude in some people). And the views that the series for, especially the first one, were OK but not spectacular. That was until it was ‘borrowed’ – downloaded from one of the services and reposted. If any of the initial re-posters credited their source, I could not find it, which again indicates an interesting attitude. We found it first on YouTube, then Break, then 4 other sites and saw the views really stack up. Break has by far got the most views that we can count. It may be in many other places that we’ve not found yet.

The pinnacle has been appearing on the front page of AOL, on their video blog,(where it is the most commented at the moment) making their top viral video and being picked as video of the day. If only we could get the viewing numbers!

Mackenzie on AOL

Interestingly, AOL got the video from iFilm. Now, none of these reposts are branded, although the connection is normally made in the comments. But the company is still getting the benefit, being able to talk about the success in press and on TV.

Some lessons from this:

  • Don’t be surprised how long it takes for something to take off. Most views on the videos have taken place after the auctions are complete, items can have a slow burn
  • Be prepared for the comments. Once it’s out on the web, people can say anything. However, comments were closed on the video with the winner in it – there’s a difference between a character and a prize winner.
  • Don’t expect success with everything, even if the creative team is the same. Mackenzie did well, Rich man not so much. It’ll be a few weeks before we now the results of the last 2 sets.
  • Don’t be surprised when things are taken and not credited to you. Work out how to make that a success as well

After that, I’m back to recording video views.

Jun 21

Studio Work

Prep Work

Originally uploaded by RachelC.

On Monday I got the chance to spend a little time in the studio where some of the content for a site I’m working on is being filmed. There was no actual business reason to be there – I just wanted to see what a filming set looked like! The bigest surprise to me was just the large numbers of people required to do the shoot…as opposed to the one person video blogging stuff that mainly appears on the sites I visit.

May 10

Marketing Overload

I’m spending some pretty intensive days talking marketing. My brain is overloading. I soooo need to find a geek to talk to 😉

May 05

New Job

For the next few weeks at least I’m going to be working in Manhattan. I’m working with an advertising agency to develop a digital strategy for one of their clients. Found a good apartment via Craigslist way up in Washington Heights; the commute this morning took just under an hour but was complicated by me trying to find my way round. The most difficult bit to date has been trying to fill in some of the forms!

Apr 27


I’m going to be spending at least the next few weeks in New York, so I’m looking at the Craig’s List to find temp accommodation which would be far more cost effective than a hotel. I used the service to find accommodation in Austin earlier this year, but New York seems to have a whole different level of posting, with what appears to be 100’s of ads going up in a day. My first foray into the service gave good results, let’s hope this one does.

Feb 01

Corporate Policies

One of the letters on my doormat when I got back last week was from the company, announcing the relaunch of its wellbeing policies, along with a telecall centre to provide you with anomynous support for all types of problems. The letter had obviously gone through legal at some point, as there was a wonderful paragraph reminding us that we were contractually bound to follow all of the policies and that action could be taken if we did not. So if someone has to take time off because of stress, it’ll be because we did not follow the policies?

Jan 24

Conference Tiredness

Two days of the conference over, another 3 to go. Despite some of the cool things being shown and shared, it’s come back to me how tiring just sitting and listening is. Without the alternative input that can be obtained from shared wikis, back channels, flickr etc, the conference can drag. Without a shared space to track the conversations, information is lost. The risk here is that so many of the market representatives here (it’s a European Marketing conference) may not get everything written down in their notebooks and then have no way to get back into the information.

Now, I wonder who I need to talk to in order to see if they would do it differently next year?

Jan 17


Last night I went to a business networking event. Unlike some I’ve been to, where it is a ‘come along and chat’ night, this one was more structured in that there were a number of experts who provide free 30 minute sessions during the night on their specialised subject. Even though they are trying to convince you to use their services going forward, the selling was pretty light and the sessions are no obligation with some pretty good advice given out. Last night there was an emarketing expert, a Management consultant, a voice coach and a lifestyle coach.

In conversations with the attendees I spent a lot of time talking about blogging. There was a lot of interest from people who were aware of it but did not understand if and how it could help them in their business. A lot of people had websites, often because ‘they had to have them’ but were not leveraging them to drive business. One person there was getting their website rewritten, unbeknownst to them it was going to become a blog – but the word had never been mentioned, it was just being described as an easy site to update and get comments on. By the end of the evening I had a number of people to whom I need to send out a load of links. (which I can use as a post in my new blog about my new business…). I was also busy recommending Naked Conversations as a good starting point as the book is out in the UK at the end of January.

Looking for the book, I found a weird glitch. Using the search term ‘Naked Conversation’, Amazon came back and told me there was nothing that matched the term ‘naget’…I’d love to know why it does that.


Jan 01

Business Tips

Rick Segal has posted a few business tips for 2006. I especially like this one and can so see the advantages into trying it.

Forward your phone to a responsible person.

Let’s face it, you need the personal touch of a responsible assistant but, as a start up, you can’t afford it. Simple. Forward your phone to a responsible friend. You know the one that keeps the desk neat, remembers people’s birthdays and never seems to have any fast food wrappers tossed in the back of their car. It works brilliantly and you don’t even have to tell them because, being all responsible -n- such, they will handle the calls. A live call gets a responsible person who will take a message for you after the “uh, I’m looking for Rick” stuff. A voice mail gets done with “this is, uh, a message for Rick” which, of course, gets dutifully transcribed by your responsible friend. Try to get the one not particularly tech savvy so you can blame this on the phone call company with a reasonable shot of getting away with it. As a start up, these costs savings will add up.

Dec 14

Flickring Expectations

Last night was another of the Christmas functions at work, this time with the IT function. After dressing up and loading onto a coach, we arrived at our venue for the night – the Hard Rock Cafe – to take part in plenty of food, drink and karaoke. Scattered around the venue were dressing up accessories, such as hats, funny glasses and wigs, plus lots of cameras.

The cameras were all going to be collected and processed, with the photos shared round the office. There were a fair number of personal cameras being used, including mine. However, unlike Saturday night’s geek dinner, very few of those photos will end up on Flickr. In the one’s that I’ve put up, the people in them know I blog, know I put photos online and were aware I would be doing that. Looking at the photos from Saturday, I’m in some from people I don’t know, who never asked permission – but nor would I epxect them to. You can see the same thing from the Les Blogs conference last week – plenty of photos, no disclaimers ever signed. So I’ve been thinking about the type of photos I publish and in what circumstances I put them on the web.

The first type is usually of complete strangers, from events around London or at festivals or get togethers. They’re never identified, but by being in a public place their pictures are open to be taken.

The second type is the semi-private/invitational event. And for me here it is down to expectations. The geekdinner was organised online and many/most of the participants appear to have blogs and Flickr accounts which are not necessarily anomynous. My expectation would be that the people attending understand that they may be photographed, or linked or, or mentioned in a post, even if I’ve never met them before. It is part of an unwritten contract that comes from attending such events. I perceive no such agreement at a work event – it’s far more a private function.

Oct 16

Hotel Manners

For our team development sessions, we were lucky enough to go to one of the best hotels in the UK, Cliveden. A wonderful experience, with the added spice of some celebrities staying. (we did eventually get a photo)

The service throughout was outstanding; except for some particular fussy behaviour over dinner. Eating as a group, we ordered red and white wine, different preferences. For some reason, the staff assumed that we would all have white with the starter and red with the main – not so, so we sorted that out and somewhow I’d ended up with none. Asking to get some wine, apparently the person currently serving could not do it – she asked someone who asked someone who wnet and got someone, who then proceeded to wander over, stare at the table and go off again. The second time of asking, the same chain of whispers was carried out – but at least the server found out who was missing the wine this time. The bottles were 2 feet behind me – but I had visions of being tackled to the ground if I had dared to grab the bottle. Apart from – superb place, well worth the visit.

One of the outcomes of the 2 days was a shared vision/mission statement. Usually (I’ve done this a few times) they end up being in the format of: ” We will………..through…….”; filling in the gaps with whatever the team is working on. This time, something a little different came out, something that I can apply to other areas as well -“Evangelise the why, revolutionise the how, innovate the what”. Of course, I want to say ‘innovise’ – it just sounds so much better, so what if it is not a word!


Aug 02


Ben Metcalfe’s rant about working with people who just don’t ‘get it’ struck a chord.

I guess it’s unfair to expect that the Internet exists as part of the fundamental fabric of everyone’s life in the same way it does mine. However it’s equally frustrating that concepts such as remixing content, tagsonomies, user generated content, collaborative filtering and so on could not be bought into the debate because most of my fellow participants were unfamiliar with even simple examples of them (eg Flickr). And the few that did viewed them as frivolous follies that would not form mainstream interests and behaviours.

It’s a absolute fact that most people I discuss these ideas with have no idea what I’m talking about. Showing them the various tools makes them interested, but not yet committed. Slowly, minds are changing, but there are many out there up and down the heirarchy to change.

However, reading the article immediately bought to mind a cartoon from the Metro that has been put up on my desk since I saw it last week – it just sums up some days.


Jul 03

Photos and Interviews

I had a slightly surreal experience (for me) last week. I was interviewed by the Independent on Sunday for an article on on why more and more women are using various types of technolgy (PCs games etc). It may appear some time (it’s not there today). The surreal bit was haivng my photo taken. I hate being photographed at the best of times, but being snapped by a guy lying on the floor of the work’s reception, whilst various senior management walk in and out was an interesting experience.