Eugène Schoen

Kickstarting a New Year of Timelines

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“Bigger does not mean better, but better is how we get bigger.”
Simon Sinek

Hi folks,

It’s a been a while since my last post. More than a year in fact. That’s a long time without giving news. As you may recall I blog for Alp ICT, Western Switzerland’s ICT Cluster. On the event front, last year was a pretty busy with Alp ICT Venture Night at Lift Conference in February, and the Swiss Pavilion at Mobile World Congress shortly after. Many quality events followed during the year on subjects such as wearable tech (smartwatches), 3D Printing, the Internet of Things and Information Security.

I was also given in 2014 the opportunity to write regularly for, the Swiss Startup News Channel based in Lucern. This has led me to interview entrepreneurs doing an amazing job. I also discovered innovative startups and learned more about the fast evolving swiss innovation ecosystem in areas such as life sciences (medtech, biotech).

Changing the focus 

My growing interest in the innovation ecosystem made me meet swiss entrepreneurs and write about their stories. This was humanly very enriching. I also learned a lot in terms of content management and had the opportunity to support some promising projects that are starting to get the attention they deserve.

This change in focus made me also reconsider my collaboration with the Swiss Marketing in Lausanne which ended in February 2014. This decision was also motivated by the fact that the club merged with Swiss Marketing Léman to form a bigger organization. Considering the growth of Lausanne’s famed marketing club,  the top quality networking experience it provided to its members and its healthy financial condition, this merger is still difficult to understand today. Ultimately the members (and the community) will decide if this move was relevant. I wish good luck to the new team.

Promoting Swiss Marketing Lausanne helped me showcase my ability to develop engaged communities, online and in real life. It was also an opportunity to organize interesting events on topics ranging from community management, to the contribution of women in marketing and the increasing importance of digital marketing for entrepreneurs (for example: crowdfunding). All my gratitude goes to their former President Mr. Philippe Kunz and his board, many of who have become good friends.

Enter 2015

Now you might be wondering how this blog will evolve in the future. Will I continue to refer to my “Loyalty & New Media” project? So far experience has showed me that the basics learned with this project should continue to be valuable in the future. Whether you are working for a startup or a bigger company, developing vibrant communities and nurturing long-lasting relationships will continue to be of strategic importance for your brands. I will therefore continue to share stories and ressources in content management, hopefully in a more regular way. Besides some exciting events are coming in 2015. So stay tuned!

In the meantime, I’d like to wish to all my readers an inspiring, creative and happy new year! I hope you all walk the talk, focus on quality to grow better and look forward to discover your feedbacks and comments. You can follow me on Twitter and join the discussion.

Create, Tell and Experience

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. Albert Einstein

Hi Folks,

In today’s connection economy storytelling is pretty much everywhere. Entrepreneurs use storytelling techniques to promote their businesses, prepare pitches and convince investors. Students use similar techniques to present their projects. Storytelling  also plays a major role in Personal Marketing. Whether you are looking for a job or promoting your services as a small business, knowing how to tell your story is a valuable skill.

Storytelling is a fascinating subject. It reflects the times we live in, the people we meet, the way they communicate, the stories that inspire them. And techniques are evolving at a crazy pace with all the opportunities offered by smartphones, tablets and new technology.

If you read my posts on storytelling, follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you can imagine how excited I was to participate on September 27th to X|Media|Lab Switzerland’s Transmedia Pro Day Conference at the ECAL in Lausanne. During this event I had the opportunity to assist to the keynotes of some of the biggest names of transmedia in the world. Here is a short glimpse of the speaker list:

  • Jeff Gomez, Transmedia producer of Avatar and Pirates of the Caribean
  • Eric Huang, Interactive Publishing Pioneer
  • Ingrid Kopp, Director of Digital Initiatives, Tribeca Film Institute
  • Gianfranco Cordara, Publisher – Global Magazines, Comics and Partworks, Disney Publishing Worldwide
  • Karine Halpern, Founder of Transmedia Ready and Transmedia Alliance – Paris

So what is Transmedia Storytelling?

First things first. Let’s start with a theoretical definition found on Wikipedia:

“Transmedia storytelling (also known as transmedia narrative or multiplatform storytelling) is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies. It is not to be confused with traditional cross-platform media franchises, sequels or adaptations”

In other words, transmedia storytelling is a technique that leverages current digital technologies to turn stories into experiences that can be delivered to different publics.

Active Audiences want experiences

When it comes to transmedia storytelling, it all started with evolution of audiences and the development of digital technologies. As Disney’s Gianfranco Cordara stated during his keynote: audiences have evolved. Not so long ago, people just watched movies or series, read books. They were “passive”.

Technology and social media have changed all that nowadays. Audiences want to interact with their smartphones , tablets or laptops. They want to be part of a story or a community. They want to engage with their favorite characters on Twitter. Active audiences want to live a unique experience they can relate to and share with their friends.

For Gianfranco Cordara the real challenge for creatives and marketers will be delivering one-to-one experiences based on engaging stories. To achieve this, transmedia producers must work today with teams of specialists coming from very different horizons (writers, publishers, marketers, web developpers) that have the skills to conceive stories and their experiences.

Keep on making great stories

Knowing how storytelling is evolving, a question comes to mind. Will technology prevail in the future over a good story? In my opinion, nothing beats a good story. Making a story so good people will talk about it, is still the best marketing. Just ask J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. Now If you also have the technical and human ressources to reach your communities and deliver the experiences, just imagine what could be done. Time to create, tell and experience!

Don’t hesitate to check regularly this blog for more posts coming soon. Should you have any comments, do not hesitate to post them. I look forward to read them and join the discussion. See you soon 🙂

Attention, stories and a good product

“Interesting & Interested … it helps to be both. These are the two ways you earn attention.”
Seth Godin

Hi folks,

Whether you are managing a small business as an entrepreneur, working on a project for a bigger company or growing online communities for brands, there has always been a lot to learn from Seth Godin, the marketing expert and author of influential books such as Purple Cow, Permission Marketing and Linchpin.

In an interview to American Express Forum, Seth Godin speaks on how small business entrepreneurs should market their companies. In my experience managing social media platforms for organizations and companies active in innovation, three valuable learnings stand out: attention, stories and good product. Let’s review these points:

No one owes you their attention

No one owes you their attention. No one does at the beginning. This is a basic principle that people easily forget in marketing and business. Attention must be earned. The question of course is how? Seth Godin has a good answer: “Interesting & Interested … it helps to be both. These are the two ways you earn attention”.

Based on my own experience managing social media timelines and blogs for Alp ICT and Swiss Marketing, if you show no interest for your community members, chances are you’ll have difficulties sharing interesting and valuable content for them.

Earning attention requires humility as you start often from scratch and have a lot to learn from a community. It will also require curiosity and generosity as you will have to take the initiative and launch conversations first to get attention in return.

When it comes to assessing your brand’s digital communication, two important questions come to mind: What are you doing to earn the attention of your community? How are you showing your interest?

People want stories, not slogans

People want stories, not slogans or plain facts about your brand or project. This is a fact as Seth Godin puts it in his interview. So what is your story? What are you telling your consumers about your product or solution?  Why should they care about it? What does Your brand stand for?

Stories define the context of social media communication and give a meaning to your tweets, posts and pins. When the storytelling is relevant and the context is set, every new element of your timeline starts making sense and strengthens your message.

If you want to earn the attention of your readers or your audience, make your stories as interesting and meaningful for them as possible.

The product becomes the marketing

If you want to succeed on today’s market you need a remarkable product, a product that stands out, a product that people will talk about. Good marketing isn’t enough anymore. If you have that product, social media will help you spread the word, keep the conversations going and making a difference.

Whenever you think about successful ventures such as Google, BMW or Nespresso you realize that it all started with a product remarkable enough to make people talk about it. As an entrepreneur in startup or a small medium business you should definitely ask yourself if you are offering a product that your audience will talk about. If it’s not yet case, you might want to continue working on what you offer, to make your product special enough.

Attention, stories and good products. These three points seem particularly relevant for entrepreneurs. They also make sense when it comes to online community management. Don’t hesitate to check regularly this blog for more posts coming soon. Should you have any comments, do not hesitate to post them. I look forward to read them and join the discussion. See you soon 🙂

Focus on Doing, Keep on Listening

Hi folks,

You can be a brilliant cook at home for your friends and not have what it takes to run a professional kitchen. Delighting customers day in, day out in a restaurant despite the stressful conditions requires solid professional skills and passion.

Well this is also true in social media. You can post funny stuff on Facebook for your friends and get lots of likes, read plenty of posts by renowned experts, assist to conferences. All that won’t make you an expert, but you will certainly learn a lot. If you want to be of any value to your customers and communities as a professional in social media, nothing will replace real day-to-day community management practice.

Experience drives value in community management

For this new post, I wanted to stress the importance of daily experience when it comes to growing communities online. As I’ve discovered using Swiss Marketing  Twitter acccount & Facebook page, building an active community online and IRL is the result of a lot of work, posts, listening and patience.

From what I’ve come to learn more recently running different social media platforms for Alp ICT, Western Switzerland’s High Tech ICT Cluster, you learn everyday something new about the content you publish, the way you do it, the platforms you want to use and the communities you are engaging. But to get there, there’s no secret, you have to do it for yourself and learn to listen.

Advice should be based on experience

When looking for good strategic advice on social media, entrepreneurs and managers should definitely look for professionals with day-to-day experience engaging communities.

What matters most is not the number of followers (or fans) of the managed communities, but the quality of the interactions generated.

– Are followers engaged in conversations or just getting information?
– Are fans commenting and discussing with other members of the community?
– Is the community manager listening, paying attention, showing interest?

To answer theses questions a simple advice: check the social media timelines  & content produced by the professionals you are interested to work with.

Start doing and keep on listening

Using Social media platforms has never been easier. Anybody can open an account on Facebook, Google +, Twitter and start right away. Passing messages to your online communities, listening to their needs, giving a sense to your tweets and posts is more difficult.

If you want to use social media professionally, make sure you get involved in real projects. There are lots of real opportunities out there in startups, clubs, companies and projects to get started, so start doing and keep on listening.

Want to share your thoughts about this post? Don’t hesitate to post your comments. I’ll be glad to read them. See you soon 🙂

Spreading the Word of Excellence

  • Why is social media a real opportunity for the hospitality business?
  • How can social media influence customer service and loyalty?
  • What are the risks related to social media and why will community management be so important in the future for brands active in the hospitality and tourism industries?

Hi folks,

For this new post I wanted to share with you an article I was asked to write for the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne EHLITE Magazine on the opportunities and challenges of social media as a way to develop brands, connect with the new generation of consumers and build loyalty in the hospitality industry.

Although a lot of things have been going on in word-of-mouth marketing since I wrote this article, the basics remain the same, when building engaged online communities around a brand on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, as my experience shows today.

Learn more on the key abilities necessary to build engaged online communities and spread the word of excellence in the hospitality and tourism industries with this article (click on the image to download the pdf) and do not hesitate to comment.

See you soon 🙂

Boosting New Experiences with Innovation

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious” Albert Einstein

Hi folks,

A lot has been going on since my last post for this blog, one year ago. Changes that have affected the way we engage on social media, changes that are influencing the way we should consider innovation as a way to develop more engaging consumer experiences, online as well as in the real world.

Engaging goes visual, at last!

We have seen a whole new generation of social media platforms appear in the last months. The much acclaimed and praised Google + was launched taking the Google experience to a new level. In the meantime,  Instagram and Pinterest developed in an unprecedented way showing all the potential of picture marketing engaging. Finally, we have also seen the appearance of Facebook’s Timeline as a more visual approach to online engagement.

For those looking for an interesting use of Instagram by a brand, don’t hesitate to check the campaign by Swatch on Facebook.

A year full of learnings, for me too

On a personal level a lot has been going this past year as I’ve been writing posts and managing the social media platforms of Alp ICT, the Lake of Geneva High Tech Cluster, promoting startups such as inZair (next generation mobile messaging), Poken (NFC based social networking) and Ecowizz (energy saving technology) as well as some of Switzerland’s most innovative research institutes such as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, the EPFL.

In the last year, I also had the opportunity to give a few conferences on Community Management & Online Loyalty to Swiss Tourism Professionals and entrepreneurs for Swiss Marketing Association. Speaking at those venues and confronting my ideas to the public was very inspiring and has shown me how important but challenging the development of quality content is.

All this adds to a year full of learnings that I wish to share in my future posts. The situation might have changed in many ways but some vital challenges remain for companies and organizations such as creating engaging customer experiences for the new generations of consumers.

Remember: As the Loyalty Marketer’s Association quoted in a their top 12 Trends for 2012 post: “Customer loyalty , versus acquisition, is critical for driving sustainable growth”. This has never been more true as some markets enter a period of uncertainty.

A new series of posts coming, stay tuned!

In the race to create new experiences and inspire a new generation of loyal consumers, I am convinced that technology and innovation will play a major role and I really look forward to share with you my impressions in my forthcoming posts.

I’d like to thank all my loyal readers and welcome all the new ones discovering this blog. If the subjects of loyalty buidling, customer experience, innovation and new media interest you, don’t hesitate to follow me on Twitter and join the discussion!

See you soon et à bientôt 🙂

Walk the Talk

“The average estimate themselves by what they do, the above average by what they are.” Johann Friedrich Von Schiller

What makes your brand unique ?

Brand reputation is made nowadays as much online as in the real world, ask Nespresso or LeShop two successful and innovative Swiss brands.

In these very competitive markets, reaffirming your brands identity and core values is more important than ever and social media is a great opportunity to do that. What makes your brand special ? What makes it unique ? Is it innovative ? Is is the customer service ? Is it the way it interacts with its communities ?

Social media platforms such as Twitter have the unique ability to give a voice to a brand and to reaffirm its personality. When It comes to the way you tweet and build content on your timeline, many community manager quote Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself. Everybody else is taken.” This is the reason why any brand who wants to develop a presence online should really think about values it embodies before they start communicating on any platform.

Be more authentic

During a social media one-day seminar I held in February for Arventis (Association Romande de la Vente) in the Lake of Geneva Region, managers present were puzzled about Twitter, it’s ability to develop for brands a voice in 140 characters, communicate on projects in a more personal way and engage conversations.

Managing Swiss Marketing Lausanne‘s communities on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for more than a year, I discovered how important it is for members, fans and followers to engage online as well as in the real world, during conferences and events. But online engagement comes only if you can interest your communities with content that is valuable to them without being intrusive.

Asked by managers at my seminar what I would recommend If they started right away tweeting, my first advice was to Walk the Talk and to stay as real as possible to build trust, loyalty and engage in the best conditions.

Walk the talk and do what you say

In this changing world where many things are in the process of reinvention, successful brands pay particular attention to the way they build trust offline and online as this affects engagement, consumer participation and loyalty to their projects.

As managers active in hospitality and tourism have come to learn, it is increasingly difficult to promise and not deliver as the new generation of connected consumers have the means to inform their communities about failed experiences via Twitter, Facebook or TripAdvisor and generate negative brand buzz very quickly.

To rebuild trust and loyalty, successful brands will have to focus in social media on what makes them authentic and on what they do best.  In this context, brand community managers will play an increasingly not only as brand speakers but also to monitor brand buzz, good or bad.

What is your opinion ? Have you any experience about a brand on social media you would like to share ? Do not hesitate to post comments. I’ll be glad to read and interact.

The Loyalty Marketing Rethink

Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises. Demosthenes

A new year is starting

Happy New Year to all of my readers !

Let us start 2011 by remembering how important engaged customers are for businesses, specially in these times of economic uncertainty but also of great opportunities.

Proper engagement leads to customer participation, lasting relationships and affect brand affinity and customer loyalty. Unfortunately, these results cannot be obtained only by one-shot special promotions or loyalty programs. Proper engagement is the result of a more global Loyalty Building Strategy that focuses on improving continually the consumer experience at every customer touchpoint, online as well as in the real world.

Will 2011 be the Year of Customer Loyalty ?

The Loyalty Marketers Association predicted recently that 2011 will be the Year of Customer Loyalty.

Considering the increasing concern of managers I got to meet in November and December, the resolution to rebuild customer loyalty is becoming a priority for many businesses. In combination to the fantastic engagement potential of social media, this year could very well be a turning point in Customer Loyalty.

Promising is not enough any more

Engaging the rising mobile social consumer will certainly be one of the major challenges for some big brands in 2011.

As we discovered throughout some of my recent posts, a new generation is rising out of 2010’s social media revolution. Highly influenced by the digital natives, the mobile social consumers get their information via social media,  like to engage conversations with their favourite brands from which they expect reactivity, relevancy and value (service, usability, rewards …)

As Wired quotes in their very interesting article “How your networks are driving what you buy” to engage these consumers, businesses are increasingly turning products into conversation opportunities and launching innovative Social Commerce models as seen on Levi’s ad.

I’d like to thank all of my loyal readers for their comments on my blog and on Twitter. I really look forward to post even more articles on Loyalty and New Media in 2011 to see how social media, storytelling fit to make even more inspiring consumer experiences and engaged customers.

Interested in Loyalty Building & New Media trends & opportunities ? Don’t hesitate to join my group on LinkedIn for more content on these subjects in english & french.

Going for Epic Tourism

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Lao Tzu

Time for Tourism to engage

Destination promotion is changing at a very fast pace.

A new post-crisis consumer is appearing along the Millennials with new expectations and new consuming habits. On the crowded and very competitive global marketplace, loyalty building in the tourism sector has never been so challenging and important. As the Loyalty Marketers Association mentioned it in a recent 4Hoteliers post, engaging customers will be the top priority of many destinations and tourism promotion organizations in 2011.

Going for Epic Consumer Experience

How can destinations engage in this changing Word of Mouth (WOM) world ?

Delivering epic consumer experiences based on the best products & services and effective online promotion taking advantage of the latest information technology.

Providing the right content on demand is a good first step. Just consider MySwitzerland‘s recent successful Snow Report app. This awesome app gives for every Swiss ski resort the snow conditions and weather.

In this WOM world building an online community for a destination is crucial to communicate with its increasing number of connected fans. Crans-Montana, a famous Swiss ski and golfing resort in Valais, is particularly active this winter promoting its Facebook & Twitter communities with a comics-based storytelling & QR-code campaign in lifts.

Another very innovative way to engage customers is by playgrounding your destination, the way Vail Resort does it with its new Mountain Location Game EpicMix that promotes consumer participation by using social media and location based services to make an epic experience people can share with friends.

This engagement strategy is even more interesting if you consider that you can apply the same principles to all sorts of touristic activities and turn a destination into a giant playground. Conscious of this potential, brands like Nokia & Burton Snowboards are preparing similar services.

Don’t forget the Loyalty Building basics:

Matching product – service quality with customer expectations !

These three examples just show some of the many innovative possibilities available to promote destinations. Two elements are nevertheless crucial to the success of any action:

  • Post-crisis customers are looking for relevancy and meaning. Specially important also for the Millennial Generation, destinations must show social responsibility for the  global sustainability and other coming challenges.
  • Critical & connected customers are also looking for the real life quality and value they were promised online. Destinations and hospitality businesses must pay particular attention to ensure te best quality as new consumers have the means (Twitter , TripAdvisor, …) to report with great ease & speed to their related communities any “failed” experience. This stresses the increasingly important role of destinations community managers that must stay in touch and react.

For many destinations in Switzerland, Europe and America the journey has already begun although launching an app or managing a fan page on Facebook is just not enough. An integrated professional approach at every customer touchpoint (online and in the real world) is crucial to engage tourism consumers and build loyalty.

Do you have interesting examples you would like to share ? Don’t hesitate to comment. I’d be glad to have your comments !

Inspiring Momentum Y

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act but dream, not only plan but also believe.” Anatole France

Introducing the Ys

Born after 1977-1980, the Millennial Generation Y is set to become very important, arising major management, communication and loyalty building challenges & opportunities in the years to come.

At the top of the consumer influence pyramid, these new managers, employees and customers are already the largest in absolute numbers, as many studies show, with a buying power far more important than that of their parents. Having grown in mode 2.0, the Digital Natives value innovation, plurality, independence and working on projects that make sense to them and their communities. These citizens of the world are particularly aware of the forthcoming global sustainability challenges and are determined to change things.

The next Loyalty Building Challenge

After a very interesting conference held a few weeks ago in the Lake of Geneva Region by Rezonance on the challenges of Generation Y, I realized the future strategic importance for brands and companies to interest and retain this new generation of active, innovation dependent consumers motivated by new experiences and projects.

But how can companies inspire Momentum Y and build loyalty among these regular people doing amazing things ? How can businesses small or big get attention from this multi-tasking, always on the run generation ?

Inspiring Momentum Y to build Loyalty

Answering those questions will certainly require time and a specific study. Nevertheless, a new approach will be quickly necessary to start building loyalty with Millennials.

One of the keys elements of these future strategies will certainly be storytelling or storyplaying as brands like Nike, Vail or Nespresso inspire community momentum by telling stories on different media (online & in the real world) that appeal to a public used to follow information sources Twitter-style. Story based experiences will also have to bring real life value and interactivity.

How do you think businesses and corporations will have to proceed to build loyalty with the Millennials ? I’d be very glad to have your feedbacks and opinions !