A story of you, me and our modus operandi*

No, this is not about praising storytelling (not that I’m denying the value of the process and its merits for being praised). I want to tell you about persuasion. Have I lost you with that word? It sounds heavy, patronising and maybe even boring to some, but bare with me and I promise you’ll take something new from it, even if it’s just the video.

As a student for Marketing for almost 4 years now, persuasion has always been at the heart of the study as elements such as advertising, personal selling, direct marketing and so on as they have as objective to persuade a specific audience of something they have to buy, believe, act on, or just persuade them to listen. 

Put like that, marketing sounds like the evil trying to give you something you don’t need, but I like to assume that audiences are smart enough to think for themselves whether they believe an argument or not.

But I promised you a story so let’s go on. In my journey through university, I “met” Aristotel who talked about ethos, pathos and logos as appeals that construct persuasion.

  1. Ethos – the credibility of the speaker
  2. Pathos – the appeal to the emotions of the audience
  3. Logos – the appeal to reason by providing facts

All fair and square, but what does it have to do with you? It’s useful if you want to know how to capture an audience for your own presentation or product promotion, but also to reflect on what works for yourself. I’m the fairy godmother in the story so I’ll give you some examples to help.

First there is the 100 year old technique within marketing of showing someone not only how much work a product took to invent, but also how much care goes into the process of making each product. This is what Apple does and next time you’ll see one of their promotional launches think about it. By this method, they appeal to facts, your reason – they tell you how resistant is that glass that they use on the iPhone screen – but also to the credibility that the different speakers in the presentation have – when Jony Ive, one of the most renowned designers in the world and Apple’s Vice-President, unravels the story of how special the design of each product is, you (almost) fall victim to his spell. No? That didn’t work?

Than take a look at this video. He uses pathos to tell his story and a very original, if I may say, tagline: No arms, no legs, no worries.

So what is it that persuades you? Let me know.

p.s.: You can find a longer but if I might say amusing version of his speech here.

*modus operandi = method of working, or in other words how we operate


Forget Google glasses, this is the “new” future


It depends how you think when you use design thinking. Here is an example: if you observe that people are limited by their environment in what they want to do, you might be tempted to believe that a product like this might be the solution.

At this stage, this is just a concept (I hope) rather than a product. Living in an almost completely digitised world where the food in your fridge is tagged, where you share in your social networks by simply thinking of it, where you access information in your eyes about the person you’re on a date with does not make me think this is the solution to a problem. I don’t even consider it a problem, but yet again, it might just be me. As Bruce Nussbaum, a design thinking advocate argues, this type of thinking was adopted and utilised in a faulty manner by turning it into a process that could only deliver incremental innovation (see full article here). So design thinking was used to argue for something, rather than as the basis for innovation and creation. Which I think is the case here. We don’t actually need to be so digitised, do we? Let me know, I must just be the odd one out.

Viral marketing gone wrong

Buyral is a company who has understood the idea of viral marketing in the worst way possible. You can pay them for clicks to your video/campaign/idea/website which is not at all what viral marketing is about. Following the Design Thinking class on Friday and our discussions about the importance of co-creation, online presence and the role of the Internet in business models, I want to draw attention to this particular company so take a look at their presentation video.

The term viral marketing is used to describe a communication effort in the form of advertising, guerrilla marketing, sponsorship and so on, that gains popularity in the online environment through the spreading of the effort with the help of users, thus gaining popularity. What this company does (and you can check their website here) is make a video, for instance, seem popular through a big number of views. What they don’t realise is that viral marketing is about gaining popularity by spreading the word, not by a number of likes or views.

HOWEVER,¬†you can easily notice that there is something fake about the video, the sarcasm with which they promote the service is rather dubious. Which makes me think that what they were actually trying to achieve is making their own company viral through spreading this video through people like me who blog about it. In this case hooorah! Congratulations on a creative idea. If it’s not a joke, than it’s really sad.

What do you think?

Challenges of start-up challenges

When people hear the word start-up, different reactions arouse:

1) Not another one! what’s happening today with everyone starting a business?

2) So exciting! This is going to be great and we’ll make a lot of money!

3) Oh no! Not the “s” word. I’m too scared to do that.

As part of my course in Creative Economy, I am taking part in a start-up challenge channeled by Young Enterprise with the short-term aim of practicing what I learn in the Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship course, and the long-term goal of learning how to run a business – as a future endeavour or simply an insight.

If you want to learn more about what the company I am part of does, stay tuned and look for my future posts. For now, I want to tell you about the process that goes on before having the Eureka moment when you’ve found a business direction. You see, in a normal context you have a group of friends with a business idea and boom! start-up step 1 is accelerated. In the Young Enterprise context, you have to work towards that step of becoming friends and figuring who’s good at what. And then you have to agree on a business direction. Sounds easy-peasy right? Not.

I must say my fellow business owners are a lovely group of people and the chemistry was very good from the start. We joke and mess around when it is the case, we’re serious and kill our brains when we have to. But the business direction is a bit harder to figure out. Not because of lack of ideas, but because we are so eager to get it right. And here comes the first lesson of design thinking: FAIL OFTEN AND FAST. It still sounds easy-peasy? I warmly invite you to experience it. And I’m not being sarcastic. Even if the process seems slow, there are so many lessons from all the kicks in the…posterior part of our body, that I’ve never felt more knowledge coming at me at once.

It all ends with getting an idea, getting followers for it, getting customers for it, that provide more customers, and before you know, you’ve created something and helped others on your way. Much like these leadership lessons from a dancing guy. I’ll guarantee you won’t have wasted 3 minutes of your time by watching this. It won’t get clearer than this.

Scary cat – Halloween challenge

Ever since I moved to the UK I’ve been living with two cats in the house and I’ve learned to cultivate the hate that my teachers have for them. I apologise to all the cat owners and lovers out there, but cats are scary, hairy and annoying. They are only cute and cuddly in pictures, do not be deceived!

Anyway, so my halloween pumpkin was a cat. No animals have been hurt for this production.