Tag: English

video cv and other ways to market yourself.

Bleustein Blanchet – one of the late fathers of advertising – once said that the Communications Industry was all about difference. I could not be more in agreement with him and have even extended this statement to Marketing and our every day’s life. Having a look at the employment market, the release of the “Doyoubuzz” website highlights this quest for differentiation: job applicants are now more than ever looking at ways to differentiate themselves from the crowd. That’s right, this is individuals marketing themselves on the job market.

black-sheep-of-the-family

If the CV and the covering letter are evolving, one would be mistaken to think they are disappearing. The CV is, to me, the ultimate way to give the employer what he wants (on top of its administrative purposes). It needs to be simple and almost standardised – imagine everyone using the same template for their CVs just like most corporations are now asking us to fill in these lengthy questionnaires that literally re-organise the information already presented on your CV. With this in mind, the only way to differentiate yourself will be to do anything around the CV that will be clever enough to 1) make your voice heard, and 2) sell yourself.

A (very) basic way to understand the message in Marketing Communications could be to split it between the What and the How. The How could be a ATL comms, raising awareness whilst driving engagement through emotional cues, and the What that could be a retail leaflet or a company website, providing your audience with detailed info about the product in a convenient format. Back to our employment market, the How will be your covering letter (showing your personality and getting your reader to consider your CV), and the What will be that very CV. Again, agreeing that all CVs should be standardised, your only opportunity of differentiation will be your covering letter or whatever this is. Let’s look at an interesting example: the video CV.

Typing “video CV” on YouTube will give you a broad range of good, bad and even ugly executions. I have given myself a try at this risky exercise (risky as, if it will undoubtedly give you fame, that fame can easily turn into bad publicity) after graduating, and therefore having a fairly “light” CV in terms of experience. Here are my advices to any fellow ambitious risk-takers:

  1. Have a clear goal. This will narrow your ambitions, making your video to the point and relevant. There is a huge difference between “I want a great marketing job with great money” and “I want to be a successful advertising account executive in London”.
  2. The idea. This is not a CV but an inspiring deliverable with sole goal to inspire your employer to read your CV. Ideally, the end frame will actually call the viewer to download your actual CV.
  3. Relevance. I have seen some fairly bad examples that were so famous they probably destroyed these guys’ careers. Why? Because you don’t make a video of yourself if you don’t have that minimum of charisma, creativity or if you have nothing better to say than reading your CV in front of a camera for 5 minutes. Relevance also covers the Industry you are after. You wouldn’t do a video CV to land a part time job at McDonalds would you?
  4. The execution. Remember that the execution supports the idea, and not the other way around. You could simply post it on YouTube and wait for the buzz to take off, or send it directly to employers with a catchy line, or you could combine both into a clever activation plan whereby you will start broadcasting it (online and auto-generated buzz) to then narrowcast (direct emails)

The video CV is just one of the ways to market yourself on the employment market, just like putting yourself on eBay for auction. Remember to always stay true to yourself, to showcase your personality instead of replicating your CV in audio, and to execute it as part of a well-thought activation plan. Here’s mine open to critics… I would steer away from Barney Stinson’s execution!

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re-defining advertising.

Advertising is a term that is proving hard to define. Of the countless definitions you can find on the web and in those academic books, they all seem to have the same recurrent words: paid; non-personal; communications; influence/ persuade/ raise awareness; target audience; products/ goods/ services/ persons/ entities. It is fairly hard to define such an evolving term. I mean things have changed since the first adverts aired in the 19th century. Interactivity – that “red button” for instance – has massively changed the way advertising works (name a print ad without a website address, a QR code, an SMS number or a social network link). Yes, technology has changed the way adverts act on us but is this the only massive evolution we could see in advertising?

Rory Sutherland is a brilliant adman. He couldn’t have thought of an easier way to put it across: “advertising is all about intangible values”. Of all the definitions I could find on the net, none was putting the accent on the brand, that intangible asset that supports these products/ goods/ services/ persons and entities advertising is supposed to have an effect on. Take the fragrances market, which is both interesting and challenging for 2 reasons: you can hardly differentiate a product from another since they are all subjective (be it for the liquid itself); and there are countless new product launches every year further cluttering the market. So how would you create that USP that will give you the edge over your competitors? You act on aspects that are peripheral to the product e.g. the packaging, the price (and promotions), the distribution and, the most important asset of all, the brand (selling more than a smelly, you actually sell a mood or a lifestyle endorsed by a brand or a celebrity). Nowadays, consumers don’t say beer but “Carling” or “Stella”; they don’t ask you for your MP3 player but for your “iPod”; just as no one seems to have a mobile phone anymore but a “Nokia” or an “iPhone”. Some brands managed it better than others (have you ever used the word “cola” in a sentence?), but overall, they all understood the new use of advertising in a market cluttered with look-alike products and politicians.

When butter brand Lupark challenged W+K to increase the sales of their product, never the agency would have thought of changing the product, or even its packaging or its price for that matter. They went for a far smarter and cost effective solution, and changed the one thing the competition wouldn’t be able to imitate later on: they’ve altered its brand perception by telling consumers it was “the natural choice to enhance good food”. The activation that followed is genius and I recommend the read.

lupark

Whether it is Sutherland’s hilarious Diamond Shreddies anecdote, or Belgian beer Stella Artois positioning itself as being French, advertising allows to change a product perception without even touching it the slightest. But as every magic power should not be abused, a brand needs to remain credible and consistent in its claims and positioning so as not to confuse or, worst, lose its audience. I mean why would everyone be so pissed off about Robert De Niro now playing in cheap comedies eh?

shreddies

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