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Gary North-Y2K Guru – Reflections 2 Decades Later

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It’s been almost two decades now but New York Times Magazine referred to him in those days as “Gary North-Y2K guru.” ABC featured him in a prime-time head-for-the-hills news story and Wired called him “a historian and early leader in the Y2K preparedness movement.”

His name is Gary North and the media had anointed him as their official Year 2000-survival poster boy. But who was spinning whom then? Let’s take a closer look and learn from the mistakes made some two decades ago:

“My concern about Gary North was that there were a lot of innocent citizens out there who were taking his information as the unadulterated truth,” gripes Steve Davis, co-author of Y2K Risk Management: Contingency Planning, Business Continuity, and Avoiding Litigation (John Wiley&Sons). “Y2K just came along and fit his agenda perfectly. While Y2K was considered a real problem with real consequences, it’s uncertainty provided the perfect cover for a whole slew of millennial panic profiteers.”

Unfortunately, the details of North’s agenda were not revealed because reporters were too busy lapping up his end-of-the-world sales pitch when they should have been checking his background. If they would, they’d discovered that North was using the Y2K problem to promote his larger agenda of Christian Reconstructionism. (more…)

Corporate Branding at Akzo Nobel – Interview with Nathalie Quéré

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Let’s take a close look at Corporate Branding at Akzo Nobel – Interview with Nathalie Quéré.

Can you introduce yourself, Nathalie? What’s your background? What are the most important tasks you have as the head of corporate communication?

Nathalie Quéré – Akzo Nobel

My name is Nathalie Quéré and I have been of Head of Corporate Branding at AkzoNobel since March 2012. I am essentially responsible for all aspects of the AkzoNobel brand, which includes raising global awareness and ensuring that our businesses all over the world use and promote the brand in the right way.

Some time ago, AkzoNobel went through a rebranding process, what were the reasons for this transformation? How does it affect your corporate communication?

Following the sale of the company’s pharma activities and the subsequent acquisition of ICI, AkzoNobel wanted to express its new strategic direction by developing a new brand positioning and identity.

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Scott White, VP Sales at Rackspace

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Scott White, VP Sales at Rackspace, RealCo Seed Fund Program Mentor, is a San Antonian who has spent the majority of his career at Rackspace. He grew up in different roles within the company including sales, marketing, and service delivery. His career has taken him to London where he ran international sales.

He spent a short time at a healthcare cloud startup but remained in touch with Rackspace and eventually decided to return. He is currently responsible for sales in the Americas as well as operations, marketing, customer care, and service delivery. Scott shares his deep content knowledge as a distinguished mentor for the RealCo Seed Fund Program.

What was your greatest life accomplishment and what did it teach you?

I played a significant role in the growth of Rackspace, taking the company from 10 million to several billion. I started there when I was 20 years old, and watched the company grow from a tiny company to a company of thousands of people.  In hindsight, you can not remember all that you learned but you know that you are a much different person at the end.

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What is Network Inference

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Here at Network Inference, we aim to provide clear, practical advice from experts who succeeded in their job as top marketing professionals.  Whether you’re looking to find a new job, advance at your current position, or explore new paths, our interviews will help you find a path, often an unusual path.

We carefully select only the most skilled professionals to share their wisdom with our readers. Each person interviewed by us is a recognized expert in the field of marketing and advertising.
In addition, most of them speak on marketing issues at conferences and meetings.

How come Holland has so many strong brands?

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The Netherlands, or Holland, is a relatively small country but it has so many successful international brands that it makes you wonder what the reasons are for this phenomenon. So let’s see how come Holland has so many strong brands?

Well, it is generally known that the economy of The Netherlands strongly depends on foreign trade and that it is a European transportation hub, just think of the Port of Rotterdam. But there is more to it. The Dutch companies extend their presence abroad, they greatly contribute to the European and American economy. Many Dutch businesses have made their impact on education, insurance and innovative, niche products. High school students learn about Dutch explorers in social studies classes, says Chris from Best GED Classes.

And there are many Dutch innovations included in our educational practice tests, continues Chris.

The Netherlands also is the home of many high tech and innovative companies. Highly sophisticated marketing allows many Dutch companies to take leadership roles in their fields.
Add to this the openness and pragmatism of the Dutch and you will have the answer to the title question, but let’s take a closer look at the key factors:

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Brand Preference – Joost Augusteijn, Rabobank, on How to Enhance it

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Joost Augusteijn Rabobank

Joost Augusteijn Rabobank

Joost Augusteijn is a Brand Strategist at Rabobank, the Dutch bank that has the highest credit rating in the world of all privately owned banks, awarded by the rating agencies Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, Fitch and DMRS. So here we’ll take a closer look at Brand Preference – Joost Augusteijn, Rabobank on How to Enhance it.

Moreover, the cooperative structure is an important asset and selling point for Rabobank. I talked with Joost Augusteijn about the bank’s sponsoring strategy, creating brand preference and internal branding. In the Netherlands and abroad, Rabobank became the “official sponsor” of three-sport disciplines cycling, field hockey, and equestrianism and has created long-term partnerships with top sports teams.

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Shared Value Examples – Jos van Haastrecht, DSM

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Creating Shared Value (CSV) is a recently developed corporate strategy that encourages leading companies to identify new areas of growth and profitability while building sustainable, scalable solutions for challenges such as access to healthcare, education, and nutrition, alleviating poverty, while simultaneously promoting environmental sustainability. In this article, we’ll look at Shared Value Examples – Jos van Haastrecht, DSM.

This strategy was introduced by Harvard strategy guru Michael Porter in cooperation with Mark Kramer in January 2011. Since then, this concept was widely discussed and some leading businesses are already implementing it.

One of these leading companies is DSM who recently rebranded itself and put sustainability and Creating Shared Value at the heart of its business strategy. I asked Jos van Haastrecht, DSM Branding Director to join me in writing this post so we can hear firsthand what CSV is all about and, more importantly, how DSM communicates this strategy to stakeholders and shareholders.

Bea Stanford: Why does DSM believe that its continued success will be driven by creating shared value; what are the most important projects (products) and innovations? (more…)

International Celebration of World Water Day (WWD)

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The Netherlands was host country for the international celebration of World Water Day (WWD). This year the event highlights water cooperation, and this theme was also the subject of the recent so-called Water Mission that resulted in signing up a collaboration agreement between the USA and The Netherlands.

Check also this video on 2018 World Water Day (March 18, 2018):

Shaun Donovan who chaired President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and Melanie Schultz, the former Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Environment, agreed to share knowledge and best practices. Donovan said. “The Dutch are no strangers to the forces of nature and I’m certain we can benefit from their experience in disaster mitigation, infrastructure management and a variety of approaches to sustainable community development and planning”.

Donovan is coordinating the rebuilding of areas in New York and New Jersey that were hit by Superstorm Sandy e few years way back and his task is hugely complex.

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Kasia Bialek About Advancing her Career by Moving Abroad

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Kasia Bialek works in a senior position for one of the most popular global brands and to get this job, she became an expat and relocated to Germany. Like many highly-skilled expats, she has a higher income as a result from that move and she definitely advanced her career. We talked with Kasia Bialek about challenges and rewards of moving abroad for a better career path.

Kasia Bialek

Kasia Bialek enjoys her life in Germany

Q. Kasia, 5 years ago you moved abroad to pursue your career. Since then you got promoted, increased your earnings, and improved your work-life balance.

Why did you decide to leave your country, Poland?

Well, I didn’t plan it; I was quite happy at my last position in Poland but realized that I had achieved everything that was possible in my last position within the company. I am the kind of person who needs and likes challenges and loves to learn new things. I was at the stage that I should start to look for a new job.

Then I got the possibility to move to our headquarters to Germany. It was a chance that life brought me. I could have chosen to start to look for a new job in Poland or use this opportunity, stay in touch with the people I knew, and start an international career. I chose the second option.

Q. People say, changing a job is stressful, and changing a job and a country seems like the most difficult challenge you can take in your work life. Is that so? (more…)

What is the main reason that Strategic Alliances fail? Interview with Jean-Marc Vogel

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Jean-Marc Vogel

Jean-Marc Vogel is a well-known sales executive who carries quite a few years of experiences specifically in the Strategic Alliances domain. He exerted his expertise successfully during the past decades BMC Software, Oracle, Mercury Interactive, CAST, and HP Software. In this interview, we talk with Jean-Marc Vogel about “What is the main reason that Strategic Alliances fail?” 

Jean-Marc received several awards in the categories Best Sales Results and Best Alliance Manager. Currently, he holds the position of Director of Strategic Partnerships at eNovance. He simultaneously is one of the founders and treasurer-honorary president Adalec (the French Association for Alliances & Channel Directors.

Jean-Marc shared his extensive work experiences in building partnerships and strategic alliances. He is a skillful sales executive and I have learned quite a deal from him working on many accounts for quite a while. Our chat was long so I will publish this in two sections. We conducted the following interview with Jean-Marc Vogel:

Q: What is Strategic Alliances all about? From your field experiences,  how can we make a partnership successful?

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