Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lebanese Malls Compete For... A Slogan

This Christmas was as tiring as any other when it comes to advertising clutter.

Ok, maybe a bit more. The fact of the matter is, the Lebanese economy has been slowing down lately. Just look at the discounts launched before Christmas; even worse, check those initiated on the 26th. It's a little bit funny. It's like saying "lucky is he, whomever did not buy from us" and to your customer .... ok, so I would rather not put this into words!

Traffic has been hectic, just not hectic enough for Christmas, especially not in malls... and competing for the public, two malls in Lebanon, CityMall and Le Mall decide to launch... well, ...the same slogan!
lebanon citymalllebanon mall marketing

It gets even worse, they're using the same medium and launching at the same time! We are talking outdoor advertising, billboards, to be more precise. As you cruise the streets of Lebanon, you get to enjoy two identical messages from two competing malls. Ouch, so much for advertising creativity.
mall marketing

Now, if anyone can explain to me the genius behind this idea... because I am left feeling like an ignorant fool; especially that CityMall and Le Mall are being catered to by two huge advertising agencies : JWT and Impact BBDO, or so I have heard. I hope I am wrong, because that is too childish a game.
Talk about lack of creativity: Le Mall are actually using the same graphic theme as last year, that, without the sought after slogan. Had it been a great slogan, or a useful campaign I would understand that they would end up fighting over it.

What is so awesome in "Make A Wish Come True"?
A bit dull and very much cliche, if you ask me.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Youmna Zod on "Doing Business in Lebanon"

This was part of a presentation done at the University of Toledo, Ohio, on "doing business in the Middle East" presented by the Second Young Entrepreneurship Program's delegation, a business exchange program sponsored by the US department of States Bureau of educational and cultural affairs.

I had covered the cultural aspect of doing business in Lebanon.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Barcode Marketing in Lebanon!

For the first time in Lebanon, barcode marketing gets adopted.

Granted, Lebanon is not the typical location where you would walk down the streets and get access to outdoor advertising, as is the case in the European metro stations where barcode marketing was most witnessed.

barcode lebanon

Yet, Captain and Captain found it adequate to use it on the "opening soon" poster on their new retail shop in City Mall- to be inaugurated on December 1st, 2010. "Scan barcodes with your mobile phone to find out more!" Linking to their Facebook and Twitter Accounts.

QR code marketing

Save your Christmas shopping list, you are about to be dazzled!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lebanon: ICT and Entrepreneurship

Beirut, Lebanon -
The American Embassy in Lebanon is hosting the US-Lebanon ICT Forum on Oct 14-15, 2010 at BIEL, Lebanon. The forum will showcase 60 ICT companies, and will feature a series of seminars about trends in the technology and communications sector.
lebanon ICT
If you happen to be an entrepreneur, you might be interested to know that the event will include a free entrepreneurship workshop by ArabNet called "Speed Up Your Startup".
The entrepreneurship workshop will feature speakers from Tandem (Consultants), Kobeissi & Frangie (Law Firm), Middle East Venture Partners, Element^N and Yahoo! (interesting, don't you think? )
...Don't miss out!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Google Instant's Effect on Google's SEO

Google Instant was launched on September 8th, 2010. Aside from saving the Google Instant searches that had already appeared and disabling them from reappearing in subsequent Google results, the algorithm itself that enables Google to index websites has not changed much per se:

Google's "Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide" was last updated on November 13th, 2008.

Google Instant does not leave SEO indifferent though. Google SEO professionals are on their guards, as they realize how versatile Google can be. The fear should stem from somewhere else; from the way users will interact with Google thereon. Something, I am certain, not even Google, can predict.

Had the users remained indifferent to Google Instant's suggestions, and the results parading on their screens as they typed, Google Instant would eventually have no effect on SEO. Yet the conflict lies here. Are people likely to change their intended keywords or get distracted with given results before finishing their search terms? I would say yes. Google users behavior shift with Google Instant.

What would change in SEO?

Not much when it comes to ranking high for given keywords. Yet, it would greatly affect users' keyword choice, as keyword suggestions, are bound to offer Google results... instantly. Giving shorter keywords an advantage as to appearing more often than not on the screen before users get distracted with suggestions.

Instead of basing your keyword choice on Google Adword's measures, from now on, you need to consider the probability of another relevant keyword showing up before your terms are typed.

Leaving aside Google's personalized search results, which I would assume only apply to a few search terms of interest, results will be based on general Google probabilies. I am, thus, lead to believe that Google Instant would eventually have a sociological effect, converging search results to the same keywords, and consequently to the same websites... to the same information displayed.

An opportunity for SEO professionals to gain traffic exponentially by optimizing keyword choice?

Retail Sales Mental Cues

After a few months in retail, you start categorizing clients judging on first impressions and generating mental cues to better approach each customer. Of course, those mental cues get refined as you find yourself mistaken and adjust your guidelines with time.

lebanon retail
Appearance-based cues: Appearance is often treacherous. Neither trust the luxury car, nor the branded clothes when it comes to a client's potential. Look rather at his language skills, culture and environment's feel to measure his purchasing power.

Conversation-based cues: The client who comes in giving endless information, will exhaust you, and end up buying nothing. Likewise, someone who ends up asking questions about each and every product, just enjoys gaining knowledge. Finally, the person who asks useless information irrelevant of his product use, holds no better potential.

No matter what, the best cues remain the client's interest and attitude, and you might always gain from helping a client regardless, as the best marketing tool will always be word-of-mouth.

Monday, August 30, 2010

e-mail FWD: a Marketing Medium

As a kid, I was obsessed with being "productive", in an odd way. For instance, I was more likely to cross the street diagonally, as it allowed me to reach my destination faster. Needless to say, later as a teen, I was amazed at the power the internet was offering and was eager to exploit it. Soon, a medium came to my attention. The most prominent digital word-of-mouth at the time, e-mail forwarding spread information exponentially through the receiver's own connections. A dream!

I wasn't yet sure what information "virus" I would throw out there, but I was already keeping a close eye on the e-mails forwarded, and what it took for them to get re-sent. 

At the time, I was going through a phase where I was obsessed with Lebanon. I had a habit of going through the books in the library, scanning them roughly and I had spotted a collection of 32 books about Lebanon at home. The material was there.
  • My public: the Lebanese - extremely patriotic.
  • My subject: Lebanon - shocking facts.
  • My content: bullet points, with numbers or short sentences (easier to be scanned).
Filled with English mistakes, and "z" replacing "s" (spare me, I was young!). By the time I had finished writing the e-mail, I knew it would be a success, and it was. "Factz about Lebanon" was sent.


Please take into consideration the tiny dimension of
this country while reading the following...


1--17 religious communities

2--40 daily newspapers

3--42 universities

4--over 100 banks

5--70% of the students are in private schools

6--40% of the Lebanese people are Christians (this is the highest % in all the Arab countries)

7--there's 1doctor/10ppl (in Europe & America there's 1doctor/100ppl)

8--the name LEBANOON appears 75 times in the Old Testament

9--the name CEDAR appears 75 times too in the Old Testament!!

10--Beirut was destroyed and rebuilt 7 times (this is why it is compared to the phoenix)

11--there's 4.000.000 Lebanese in Lebanon

12--there's 18.000.000 Lebanese outside Lebanon!!


1-- the country was occupied by over 16 countries :(Egyptians-Hittites-Assyrians-Babylonians-Persians-Alexander the great-The Roman Empire-Byzantine-The arabian Peninsula--the Crusaders-the Ottoman Empire-Britain-France- Israel - Syria)

2--///Byblos is the oldest city in the world

3--///Lebanon's name has been around for 4.000 years non-stop (it's the oldest nation's name in the world!)

4--///Lebanon is the only Asian-African country that doesn't have a desert

5--///There are 15 rivers in Lebanon (all of them coming from it's mountains)

6--///Lebanon is one of the most populated countries in its archeological sites in the world

7--///The 1st alphabet was created by Cadmus in Byblos (Lebanon)

8--///The only temple of Jupiter (the main Greek god) is in Baal beck (the city of the sun)

9--///The name of the BIBLE comes from the name of our city BYBLOS

10--///Lebanon is the country that has the most books written about it

11--///Lebanon is the only non-dictatorial country in the Arab world

12--///Jesus Christ made his 1st miracle in Lebanon

13--///The Phoenicians created the 1st boat ever

14--///Phoenicians reached America long before Christopher Columbus

15--///The 1st law school was built in Lebanon

16--///People say that the cedars (the symbol of Lebanon) were planted by God's own hands (this is y they're called god's trees)


Have you read it before?

At age 23, a Lebanese friend from Paris was happily narrating an event. He had met a guy in the metro who told him "you know why I love Lebanon?" and enumerated about 4 of the facts I had gathered in that e-mail, including the fact that "Lebanon was the country that had the most books written about it". 
Well, guess what: all of the facts I listed in this e-mail came from the 32 books we had at home... All, except this one. I smiled, as I realized the amplitude and consequences of my e-mail. I smiled, as among all the facts, it was the one I had made up.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lebanon: SEO | The Importance of SEO | Website SEO in Lebanon

SEO, Lebanon - Memo to the Website Developers:
Please work with SEO in mind. You might be building your website using the latest technology, most advanced graphics and talented developers, copywriters and website artists out there... But if you cannot do website SEO, I don't want to hear about it. At the end of the day, a website without traffic is utterly pointless, SEO is a must.
This is a point I had to clarify while discussing developing a website with a developer. Of course, he had his arguments, and all that was coming out of his mouth about the website was translated into the word "useless" in my head. I soon realized, my SEO knowledge was a joke to him, as at least 20 years separated us. I created 5 seconds of silence, and then firmly cried "what's a theater without an audience!".
Not that he took me any more seriously, he laughed and replied "is that what they taught you at school"? I knew I had a point focusing on SEO, and he finally saw it, yet refused to give me credit...
Well, you know what? I kind of like this quote, it perfectly defines the importance of SEO and I would like to copywrite that! What's a theater without an audience ©youmny

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Black Hat SEO | SEO Black Hats | SEO Black Hat Companies

SEO black hat are the words that define Stilton SEO services BLACK HAT (sorry I had to use those words to link to this SEO company). After managing to rank 9th for SEO Lebanon, I get kicked out, only to realize that my content had been duplicated / stolen by an SEO firm. It is now posted by username "Admin" on SEO BLACK HAT's site: my stolen post

Stilton appropriate to themselves other SEO professionals' good SEO web content (those that are stuffed with their SEO keywords) to gain better SEO rankings.

... and then they have the nerve to add on every stolen SEO text:

"Amazingly, you have managed to find our web page in a very competitive sea of Search Engine Optimization consultants. There's a reason you found us."

yes, there IS a reason, and we all know what it is, BLACK HAT!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lebanon SEO-Search Engine Optimization

Lebanon -The SEO fanatic that I am, has come to realize that my SEO obsession has blossomed with results, ranking top 10 in Google for all my targeted SEO keywords. Amazingly enough, a year ago, my blog failed to even get indexed in Google. Needless to say, my Search Engine Optimization skills have come a long way since then.

Lebanon - On August 24, 2010, SEO results:

SEO keywords Marketing Lebanon:
Under Google "everything" - SEO ranking 9th, and featured 4th.
Under Google "blogs" - in "related blogs" SEO ranking both 1st with Marketing in Lebanon and 2nd with youmny. In the same results, SEO ranking 6th and 7th with Marketing in Lebanon posts.

SEO keywords advertising Lebanon:
Google "blog" - SEO ranking 4th.

SEO keywords advertising in Lebanon:
Google "blog" - SEO ranking 5th.

Google's blogs - SEO ranking 1st in related blogs and 7th in the blog post results.
Google's "Everything" - SEO ranking 6th and 7th.

SEO keywords internet marketing Lebanon:
Google's "Everything" - SEO ranking 9th
Google's "blog' - SEO ranking 10th

SEO keywords marketing concept Lebanon:
ranking 2nd in all SEO search rsults.

SEO keywords marketing strategy lebanon:
ranking 4th and 9th in all SEO search rsults.

SEO keywords marketing communications lebanon:
ranking 8th in all SEO search rsults.

More SEO results:
  • ranking first in the related blogs for marketing business lebanon
  • ranking in the related blogs for business Lebanon
  • ranking 1st in both blog SEO results and related blogs for entrepreneurship Lebanon and 7th in all Google's SEO results.
  • ranking first in related blogs for twitter Lebanon.
I guess all that's left is to follow my SEO progress from here on... maybe even rank for SEO Lebanon with this post?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Entrepreneurship Lebanon

The entrepreneurship field in Lebanon lacks the proper care. Our weak Lebanese economy translates in poorly paid jobs. The solution currently available for our aspiring Lebanese generation lies in either resorting to work in the Arab world, or, in entrepreneurial initiatives in Lebanon. Of course, no one with his right mind would invest in an entrepreneurship endeavor in Lebanon, as it entails a lot of risks. No one, but the Lebanese. Multi-national companies are very rare to find. The Lebanese economy relies on Lebanese SMEs, mainly, entrepreneurial family businesses; and that, "despite" our government's policies.
Lebanon is far from being friendly to entrepreneurs. A quick look at the list of programs presented on the Lebanese Ministry of Economy website Entrepreneurship programs in Lebanon, might fool you into thinking that effort is being invested. Looking closer, you would realize that most websites are outdated, unheard of, and some even benefiting an elite few.
In 2010, Lebanon ranks 108 in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business , and 108, as well, for the ease of starting a business; also noteworthy, is that these rankings are based on the "official" needs, and do not include bribes and theft. More details can be found on Lebanon's country profile. The Lebanese government hampers its own economy. Instead of fostering entrepreneurs, it sucks the life out of the companies thriving and I am not just talking about taxes and unconventional bureaucratic procedures.
The backbones of a strong business ecosystem can only exist with a strong local infrastructure. Should I address our transportation deficiencies: the improper roads, lack of public transportation,the laws that are never applied, and the crazy driving? How about the phone bills: the local duopoly of Alfa and MTC touch and the exhilarating costs attached? Not to mention the weak internet connection... and most importantly the ever unchanging electricity issues!
All this in mind, wouldn't you think that Lebanon is better off with no government? I do. At least thieves would not be protected at the port, and in governmental positions. Our leaders need to look past their personal interests. Yes, I am sure the world would be a better place if they're in charge, but that's no excuse to build a community of direct beneficiaries based on theft.
Lebanese like to think that they have built the Arab economic hub, as they tend to occupy leading positions in the Arab world, but the truth is, they are but pawns "used" to benefit lands that are not their own. It might just be in everyone else's advantage that Lebanon fails to create a business-friendly environment, as their highly qualified individuals remains available for excavation.
I would like to think that it was out of ignorance that the Lebanese government failed to create this business ecosystem rather than an international political ploy.
The whole basis of hiring employees in the government based on leaders' relations and the associated high-paying positions and unjustified benefits offered to the government employees while most of them would wind up not even showing up at their job, is outrageous. What if all this money currently going to waste was channeled into creating an entrepreneurial hub?
The Lebanese government might think that they need to suck money out of the Lebanese population to survive. What if instead they helped new companies grow? What if they supported instead of destroying the Lebanese economy? Doesn't anyone see the benefit of investing in an entrepreneurship tomorrow? The government itself would gain more money had it done so.
Ok, so I started with the problem, now let's talk solutions. To start with I would like to bring to your attention Taiwan's use of its diaspora and immigrant labor force and knowledge to create several entrepreneurship programs in 1980. This dramatically changed its local entrepreneurial scope, thanks to which many immigrants, consequently returned. Lebanon has a huge diaspora of highly capable individuals, why not benefit from their expertise to revive the country?
I have recently been selected for the Young Entrepreneurship Program (YEP), a fully financed initiative by the US Department of States entailing a one month trip to the USA to gain from their business knowledge.
While I am benefiting from US financing, I am driven to ask myself "what has my country done for me", that said, I would like to turn the question around, tell me:

What can I do for my country?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Twitter- Lebanese Online Community Shines

Beirut, Lebanon - As Lebanon faced some security issues on its Southern borders with Israel, I happily noted a strong pro-Lebanese presence online. Israel might have been the first to spot the importance of internet marketing in this evolving world. However, August 3rd, 2010 witnessed a change in the scope of the digital world. It seems that Lebanon, with its dedicated individuals, need not an online army to counter the Israeli propaganda.

While the words "Lebanese" and "Israel" were trending on Twitter, (with an increased effort by the Lebanese tweeps to make "Lebanese" rank higher), I was surprised to see that the absolute majority of tweets were pro-Lebanon, but the best surprise was yet to come.
The top tweet for both words was by one of our own, shining with wit @sdarine, an awesome Lebanese marketeer, tweeted: " Israel should publish a guidebook “How to start a war and blame others 101″ #lebanese " and ended up with more than 100 retweets. (Check out her post on her top tweet )

Lebanese countered online Israeli spam with patriotic creativity.... and all I have to say is this: I am proud to be Lebanese.

..and finally to prove my point, I get tweeted at by a certain @idiplomats : "Israel Web Diplomats @idiplomats @BTRIsrael @carmelxp @mackrad @youmny Let's get the party started!"

Talk about spamming and organized crime!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Google - Google Fun Tools

Google addicts - here's some interesting Google tools:

Google - Google Addicts

Google search might be part of most internet users' life, but Google's impact on mine is not limited to Google search. Google is an intrinsic part of my life, my online life that is. I am addicted to a few Google websites and a few more Google tools.

My daily chores:
Let's start with the basics. iGoogle is step 1 of my computer visits.
Then comes Google News, an awesome personalized collection of my daily news interests *total addiction*. 
Of course, I have to pass by my Blogspot, and just recently been checking Blogspot Stats in my Draft Dashboard. Ok, so the info is very minimal there.
So, Google Analytics is my next destination, irrevocably the traffic analytical tool I trust the most on the web (well, you have to make a decision, when the statistics differ from one tool to the other). There's also the Google Webmaster Tool, but my visits there are more of a weekly habit.
Not to forget Google Reader, my RSS reader of choice, oh, and I use Google's Feedburner.
I get a few daily e-mails from Google Alerts, amazing for brand management.
I do resort to Google images from time to time, and who doesn't use Google Translate, Google Map or Google Earth? You will also find me on Gmail, on Google Talk, on Google Adwords and Adsense... 

...And after all, aren't we all Google addicts?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Diagnosis: Online Existencial Crisis

The digital world - I recall when we used to look up definitions and conduct research in big dusty encyclopedia's, scanning the letters, and trying to figure out the spelling. Not long afterward, we had the Encarta's CD encyclopedia, then came Wikipedia, the open-source encyclopedia. What's left for tomorrow?

Undergoing a course in customer behavior, the instructor asked us to look up a certain product. While, a few years ago, we would have used Google, the teacher was stunned as most students resorted to Youtube instead. I wonder what tools students are using today. Statistics show that Twitter has most recently become the top Search Engine in the world in terms of growth. What does that place all the SEO professionals who were used to channel all their efforts on Google?

The World Wide Web exonerates change, fast and irrevocable change.

No one can let his guards down. Everyone and anyone is "producing", "creating", "informing", can we keep up and "listen" to everything we HAVE to hear? I am loving Google Alerts at this point. However, how long can I keep this trend up? I am not sure.

I keep getting the feeling I am outdated, like a laggard. The reality of it all? Time, already a scarce resource, is becoming harder to find than ever. The real-time effect of technology is a killer, you get so many details in real-time feeds, that are bound to change tomorrow, it is overwhelming to track down all the progress, even of elements of interest. We are getting engulfed in minor details. We are looking at the world through a microscope and categorizing the findings in lists, favorites, bookmarks, as well as on pages like Stumbleupon and Delicious...

How many social profiles are you managing today? Personally, I can count at least 10. The day is already here when they are getting combined in one dashboard, thanks to social management tools made easier with API. What exactly does that mean? To me, it simply means that my privacy is dead, it was already in agony with watchers, followers and friends around on all those social websites.

Today, I, feel the need to take a break and set my eyes on the bigger picture, a vision of the lasting future... Forgive my agony.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Twitter: What If God Was One of Us?

Dearest tweeps (twitter people, yes, I am learning), thanks to Twitter, now everyone has "Followers".

Monday, July 19, 2010

You might think I am on to them... But...

I hate hate hate politics... seriously!
However, I can't help but mention this. Israel's use of digital media is becoming dangerously ridiculous! Have a look at what appeared on my Facebook page today (July 19, 2010).

israrl digital marketing
I mean... Seriously?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Twilight - Eclipse: Is Twilight Harmful to Teens?

So far I had been a fanatic of the Twilight Saga. I love the romanticism and the whole idea of vampires fighting against their own nature to be good. Normally, Twilight exhibits the dreamy "soul mates" love belief. Normally, Twilight displays a world of idealism.

Needless to say, I was disappointed with Twilight Eclipse, the third of the Twilight movies:
1- Bella disregards marriage as an old outdated "constitution".
2- She also seems to be bothered by Edward's gentleman manners and labels them "old fashioned".
3- Bella being lost between two men, and sending out mixed confusing messages to both, not only wastes the beautiful "ideal" love image Twilight used to portray in the first two sequences, but makes her attitude almost bitchy.
twilight fans
All in all, she sets a bad example. I wouldn't want my kids being subjected to such values as though they were the standards of the modern world. Thus, it got me thinking of the effect of their lady hero acting/perceiving things as such on the teenage fans filling out the theater. I might be over doing it, looking beyond the story unto its effects on the human brains, but I kind of truely believe that movies end up affecting our perceptions of right and wrong at a young age... and it scares me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Flattr -, My Review

Flattr - After reading Is Flattr the new Facebook Like, but this time with real money? on TechCrunch, I got excited about the concept and thought it was revolutionary. I @youmny tweeted about it. My tweet consisted of the following characters: "#Flattr a new social media that allows you to share funds, the same way you #digg... Interesting concept!" It took @flattr_e (yes, I liked the username too) less than 12 hours to respond with a Beta invite.
I was flattered by Flattr_e and happily accepted the invite to Kudos for an amazingly well monitored environment, you might think. Those people impressed me too.
As I took a closer look at the offerings, I was repulsed by the Flattr terms of use, as they wer subject to change without notice. Was I to put money on a site with such terms?
Investigating a bit further, I found out Flattr was not much of a benevolent website. They took 10% of all transactions! Moreover, considering that revenues cannot be withdrawn unless they reach a certain threshold, the only real winners at the end of the day are Flattr.

I took a step back before posting this on my blog, as I thought how grateful I should be to have received a Beta invite. It did get me excited at first, but then again, looking at it objectively, every single additional user is equal to additional money for them, as each is required to pay a minimum of 2 euros per month. (yes, it's in Euros so far, I wonder how long that would last)

This got me thinking that the Beta invites might be just a smart way to make people feel special, give an exclusive feel. At the end of the day, you can even request an invite on the Flattr home page. Kind of smart, I agree. (Wasn't exclusivity at the beginning, reason behind Facebook's success?)

My last thought before leaving the site: This Flattr can turn out to be as profitable as a casino.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Paul the Psychic Octopus: Marketing Lessons

Germany - Paul the Psychic Octopus' first World Cup appearance I had witnessed was on EuroNews. It was on the 25th of June 2010, a 1 minute report, told the world that the best World Cup fortune teller was, so far, an octopus, in  the Sea Life Aquarium of Ovberhausen, Germany. Paul, the Octopus had apparently already predicted 4 German games correctly, (including Germany's loss to Serbia!) and was predicting Germany's win over England. 
octopus marketing

Google News history shows an AOL article on Paul the Octopus dating back to the 22nd of June, predicting Ghana's defeat to Germany, saying "If Paul gets any better at this, he could have an incredible career as a telephone psychic -- able to handle eight lines at once."

...So what's in it for marketeers? Lessons on how to effectively benefit from the World Cup hype! Thanks to the World Cup's popularity, the free (and international) publicity Paul got to the Sea Life Aquarium is unmatched. Want to bet how much additional visits they got thanks to Paul and his World Cup induced fame? 

Then, you get to think of all the brands who paid huge amounts of money to associate their names to the World Cup. What a shame...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Google Search Insights: "Marketing" in Lebanon, VS "Marketing" Worldwide

Google has an interesting little tool, called Google Insights for Search. Aside from allowing Googlers to spot Google Search trends, it sorts keywords out by location, category and time.
Being obsessed with Marketing, I thought why not spot the trends... "Marketing" was my keyword, and here were my findings:

Google Search Term: "Marketing"
Filter: Worldwide, 2004-present

Google Search Term: "Marketing"
Filter: Lebanon, 2004-present

Why am I posting this? I thought the difference was staggering.
Worldwide, "Internet Marketing" and "Marketing Online" were common searches. In Lebanon? Not quite so... There were no sign of the digital marketing era in our top 10 searches.
Moreover, the fact that people were looking up "Marketing Mix" showed a basic knowledge of marketing on the global front. What about Lebanon? Well, the "what is Marketing" search is certainly not reassuring.
Yet, I am glad to see "marketing in Lebanon" is in number 7...

Monday, June 28, 2010

World Cup: Lebanon World Cup

Beirut, Lebanon- It's all about the World Cup, World Cup matches, World Cup teams, World Cup news. It's World Cup Fever in Lebanon.

Foreign flags in Lebanon signal the beginning of the World Cup. Restaurants and pubs display the World Cup games on big screens, and it's all over your friends' Facebook and Blackberry statuses.

You cannot really escape the World Cup. I even found a tv screen displaying a World Cup match in a Gemmayzeh parking lot! At work, people would take days off when their favorite World Cup team is playing, and otherwise the internet is put to good use to stay up-to-date with the World Cup results. It's nothing new in Lebanon, really. It's been said on ABC News that factions stopped fighting in Lebanon to watch the World Cup in 1990.

Public places and football stadiums are filled with big screens to offer Lebanon a spectacular World Cup feel... and as the big theatres in Lebanon anticipate the lack of spectators, they decided to participate in the World Cup craze: broadcasting all 64 games of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Lebanon's 3 Grand Cinemas (ABC Ashrafieh, Concorde Verdun and Las Salinas Enfeh)!

Not to mention all the World Cup themed advertising in Lebanon...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Digital Marketing, Israel's Internet Marketing

This is as fun as internet marketing can get at messing with people's heads! I have been avid to write about Israel's government marketing for a while now. I know it's kind of an old story in Internet Marketing history, but it's still as interesting as digital marketing ever was. Here we go!

israel marketingThere's someone I would love for you to meet on mySpace: "The State of Israel". Israel is 62 years old (born in 1948, following the war with Palestine. Yep, makes sense, but I am not sure it helps their cause!).... 62 years old Israel, puts profile pictures of beautiful young people, from both genders (although the profile info points that it is female!... yes, yes Israel is a woman), the mySpace account holds all the specs of a fake account. Yet, it's far from the truth, it is an official account for Israel, created by a man called David Saranga, the head behind the Israeli internet campaign.

Operating from the Consulate General of Israel in New York, the Israeli mySpace account has friends. Check out the isrealli blog "the first official blog to ever be started by a government" according to wikipedia's isrealli page. Not enough? Check out the Israeli twitter account: israelconsulate which ridiculously held an official twitter Israeli press conference.... and I am not done! There's even a Youtube Israeli channel.

It all sure does serve the digital brainwashing initiative!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gift Shop - Lebanon | Gifts Lebanon | Gadgets Lebanon

gift lebanonBeirut, Lebanon- Look out for the Captain and Captain gift shop in Lebanon advertising, currently running in Lebanon: radio ads on light FM, an sms campaign, e-mail shots, Facebook ads... You just have to check out their gift shop in Lebanon concept!!

The gift shop store located in Lebanon is divided by personality types to make your shopping lebanongift lebanon
gift lebanongift lebanongift lebanon

With five amazing men personality categories, you are bound to fall in love with their original gifts offerings.
You will also find a personality type quiz to help you pick the most suiting gifts for men section for the men in your life: personality quiz. Enjoy!

Friday, June 11, 2010

MTV lebanon - Internet Marketing

OK, ok, I need to write this to reprimand one of our local TV stations *takes a deep breath to calm down* I feel offended and cheated by MTV Lebanon.

I apologize had it not been done on purpose, but I think the chances are scarce, given the beneficial marketing results to MTV and traffic this drives to their site. Here's my issue, let me lay it down:

Lebanese are devoted patriots, and I am pissed off, as I feel MTV Lebanon is trying to take advantage of this patriotic feeling to market its newly designed website. Let me explain.

A new group is raging on facebook, quickly gaining popularity among Lebanese, the Save Qadisha Valley group, one that requests the signature of a petition hosted on regarding Qadisha Valley's heritage.
However, instead of linking directly to the petition, the facebook group links to MTV Lebanon's website, which there on, posts a bunch of advertisements of their new offerings and beta version of their website, asking for feedback, with a small link at the bottom to the petition.

So, yes I am annoyed. I am Sorry, but I am angry, as they appear to the ignorant visitors to have pledged their support to the cause, benefiting from the Corporate Social Responsibility effect in the eyes of the Lebanese. I am revolted, as while they appear as an angel of light, they are beneath it all, more like Lucifer, as they take advantage of the people and the otherwise humble cause to add traffic to their website.

While I am fanatic about good successful marketing, especially internet marketing, SEO and social networking, I feel cheated and cannot keep quiet. All my respect to MTV Lebanon for their offerings... but this is just too offensive... I really hope it was not done on purpose.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Timeliness of Profit

"Profit is a function of time" as simple as this phrase may sound, it holds inbound wisdom. Profit, like everything else in a business, is calculated periodically. While the balance sheet gives you a snapshot of your state of affairs, this image might be misguiding you.

Expenses, per say, are incurred directly, even if their benefits are to be depreciated over a long time. This does not appear in your "snapshot" as the costs will be directly registered and the income statement might display a loss for the period at hand.
Had you been talking about inventory, the "just-in-time" policy success might be credited to this profit and time relationship. Yet it only simplifies the process of monitoring losses. In reality, had you been a retailer, buying a bulk of items at once can significantly reduce costs. Yet it makes your balance sheet look like a total disaster, as expenses will certainly outweigh sales for that period of time.

Marketing is no different. Had you understood the advantage of investing at once to procure long-term sales as opposed to instant gratification, you would realize the advantages of big integrated marketing campaigns. Keep in mind that marketing goes under "expenses" in the income statement and that the profits will only be accrued in the future.

Buying inventory progressively, might well be a safe bet, but it makes you lose your bargaining edge and increases your costs. You would indeed be making profits, but you would not be operating with your full potential as initial costs of goods would be high. Likewise, investing in marketing progressively gets you "some" sales, yet you lose the crescendo effect of an integrated campaign.

My point? The same marketing expenses invested at once would generate much more sales than the same amount invested progressively. Take the plunge, even if in your periodical business management reasoning, it looks bad. In the long run, it will appear to be sound judgment.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Advertising Trends in Lebanon: Spring 2010

The advertising trends in Lebanon for spring 2010 are theme-centered: Spotted! Brands go where the consumers' consumption patterns are headed for the season... and where is the Lebanese consumer at?

Here's the showdown: Weddings, swimwear and the FIFA world cup!

To kick off, it's weddings season soon! Pictures of expensive jewelery designs, fancy hair does and a whole lot of wedding dresses, ...uhm, where are we? ...oh right, the highway from Beirut to Jounieh.

advertising lebanonadvertising lebanonadvertising lebanonadvertising lebanonadvertising lebanonadvertising lebanon

Not to forget, summer is at the door too!... and how can we forget? It's sunny, and fighting off the heat, the roads are filled with ladies wearing bikinis, yes, I am talking about the likes of H&M and Diamony billboards. Oh, right and Vichy has figured it was good timing for its cellulite-free products. Good thinking.
advertising lebanon
But the best, is for the last! The Lebanese World Cup craze is ready to blow! You will find the weirdest combination of advertisers here, from the more rational shopping items like big flat TV screens (at least one logical match!), we have witnessed everything from Fransabank Credit Cards to Spinneys supermarket ads!

advertising lebanonadvertising lebanonadvertising lebanonadvertising lebanonadvertising lebanonadvertising lebanon

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Nivea "You WOW" Internet Marketing

Following the Crest White Pearl's internet campaign "My Crest Smile", Nivea launches yet another digital marketing campaign in Lebanon "You Wow" (more of a Middle-East campaign actually) targeting the superficial layer of the society.
Using the Middle East Nivea Facebook fan page, people are encouraged to upload pictures of themselves in order to be the new model for a Nivea promotion: Angel Star. The competition has 2 stages: the first, where a panel of judges picks 5 finalists, and the second where a voting among the finalists takes place.

internet marketing lebanon
This time, the implementation leaves me pondering.

First, the ads appear in Arabic on Facebook, which in Lebanon is often linked to the lower market segments. Not a smart choice, given that Facebook users in Lebanon are by default using the English interface and are rarely part of that segment.
Second, the campaign only relies on voting in the second part of the competition, not so bright. It looses the edge of word-of-mouth, social and viral marketing that the web 2.0 marketing campaigns tend to rely on. Moreover, no comments are enabled on the website, and there's very low interactivity.

All in all, "You WOW" might be a good casting tool, but quite a weak marketing one! ...I can guarantee that it is not operating with its full potential.

Garnier PureActive Internet Marketing

Garnier recently initiated a digital marketing campaign in Lebanon... And as the competition draws to an end, I am lead to congratulate Garnier for executing a successful, highly interactive internet marketing campaign in Lebanon. As Garnier adopts the Facebook social interface to promote the launching of their PureActive line of products in Lebanon, more than 6,000 fans join in...

internet marketing lebanon
Description: Using a Facebook Fan page, Garnier chooses themes for people to upload pictures, and thus, become candidates. Voting takes place on Garnier's Facebook Application. The candidate with the highest number of votes wins.
Target: teenagers in Lebanon
Promotion: internet ads
Execution: Facebook Application (voting interface)
Rewards: Mac & iPod
The beauty of it all is the high interaction taking place between the moderator of the group and the fans.
It is great to witness that brands are becoming so easily accessible to their customers...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Google Adds a Virtual Keyboard

Google lebanon
Google has launched a virtual keyboard (previously found under allowing you to type foreign characters into Google searches using a QWERTY keyboard... 35 languages are activated so far... Including Arabic. Check the for the Lebanese version. Cheers.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Internet Privacy: Google and Facebook

While Google protects its users, Facebook might not be as concerned with their privacy.

After all the issues Google has had with governments, it finally fights back! April 20th, Google presents the Government Requests tool : displaying the amount of requests for data or content removal received from government agencies. The data shown were gathered between July and December 2009 and will be updated every 6 months.

internet privacy
What about Facebook? Well the news are not as reassuring. The Electronic Frontiere Foundation has recently posted information on how law enforcement agencies use social networking sites to gain access to data.. and Facebook seems very cooperative. Check this out:

Lebanon: Internet Censorship?

Is Lebanon's internet subject to censorship practices? "The Middle East and North Africa is one of the most heavily censored regions in the world" states a report conducted by the OpenNet Initiative report on the MENA region.
What about Lebanon? Well, "Lebanon is one of very few countries in the Middle East where ONI found no evidence of technical filtering" - OpenNet's Lebanon Profile. also provides maps that display the countries censoring each of Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Orkut and Youtube. Interesting stuff, check it out: Filtering Mapsinternet censorship

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"My Crest Smile" Internet Marketing hits a home run. As Crest and Oral-B in partnership with Femme, manage to"place a finger" into the wound of our Lebanese society, shallowness caves in ...and ALTHOUGH what I feel like doing is mourn our superficial society, I am driven to congratulate them for understanding the population and conducting a great marketing campaign.

The internet marketing campaign relies on content generated by its visitors and their votes. It has gained monumental popularity by piggybacking on the power of Facebook (the number one website in Lebanon, according to Alexa). Thumbs-up to e-comLebanon for a phenomenal success.

crest advertising

"Become a Star", "get ready to be on the July cover of Femme" are what the website states to encourage female visitors to upload their pictures and ask their friends to vote for them.

While, the voting mechanism seems hard to hack, the terms and conditions of the contest only give voting the power to affect 40% of the results... Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't it make the votes kind of worthless?

Lucky for them, Lebanese tend to dive in without reading instructions.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Social Voting Marketing

Social Voting Marketing has taken off with websites like Digg and StumbleUpon and Reddit. However, Social Voting Marketing is not only about "link baiting" even Youtube with the 5 stars rating has a type of social voting established. The concept helps the visitors get worthy content, and gives them a say in the standing of the subject.

SVM might have started with bookmarking. Nonetheless, the digital marketing world has learnt a valuable lesson from this trend.

After the success of voting websites in driving traffic and getting visitors hooked to their "cause", the trend spread over the internet. One of the initial broad successes, the new 7 wonders of the world, stem traffic by capitalizing on the feeling of Patriotism.
social voting
It relied on its participants' marketing efforts in their respective countries, thanks to which, it got promoted in offline media around the world and its results were publicized on news-worthy channels. The success of their first campaign was so prominent that they soon introduced the new 7 wonders of nature allowing the visitors to nominate the participants first and go through the voting process next. Eventually, the concept evolved to a ridiculous "open source" contests, where the visitors contribute to the competition creation as well as the voting under "vote 7 campaigns".

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Social CRM, the Future of CRM

Social CRM is the future.

Social media and CRM combined, social CRM has a lot to offer.

While most CRM tools work on cross-tabbing the CRM data the company introduces to generate new CRM insights, the future of CRM will come once social media will start contributing data: Once the CRM systems will automatically excavate the web 2.0 social profiles to find additional profile data about our customers.

I am thinking something like Google Buzz or Rapportive, a profile that combines all online information, to be automatically added to the MIS customer entries and matched to the company's CRM entries to generate new marketing synthesis.

Maybe in the future everyone will have a single internet web 2.0 CRM page where CRM data can be updated online to include all information from governmental to personal on the internet. The stored social CRM data could serve everything from VISA applications to user verification and save precious form-filling time. CRM privacy settings can be applied by type of visitor. Then all we would have to do is give a CRM reference code. The OpenID initiative is already a good step to a web identity creation.

...Just a globalized digital vision of the future.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


be stupid
Diesel's new campaign boldly states " Be Stupid". 

I don't know what this speaks to you, but to me, there's no turnarounds to the very definition of the word Stupid, try as they may with their campaign. 
The only message that does get through is Diesel proudly boasting that its clients are STUPID! I don't know about you, but if I had a Diesel jeans, you won't see me wearing it anymore! 
Never have I seen communication sink so low.  Whoever created this campaign, must indeed be stupid.
Try as they may to make stupid sound good... Stupid will forever be..well, STUPID!

Signage Evolution

Internet marketing is creating change in all aspects of marketing. Even retail signage evolved! 

I spotted a change in retail signage that to this date is not yet present in Lebanon: internet marketing through the signage.
Just got back from a trip to France and Belgium. Nothing better than a change of environment to get inspired!

Check out the web addresses on the signage of the retail stores.

I will let the pictures do the talking...

internet signagesignage website

signage websignage web

Monday, March 15, 2010

Alice in Wonderland - The Feminist!

Alice in Wonderland... is a real feminist!
I just saw the movie. Against all odds, after watching a Disney movie, I left the theater with thoughts on feminism, society and rebellion. The parallelism drawn between the real world and wonderland is too striking.
feminist alice
Alice refuses to wear a corset and stockings: "who's to say what's proper?", she revolts against her mother: "if they told you to wear a morgue on your head would you wear it?", lends a deaf ear to her conventional sister's advice "you don't want to remain a load on our mum.." and stands up against what society expects her to do (get engaged). Furthermore, our dear Alice publicly says no to her potential fiance, (what others perceived as a unique opportunity as he was rich with a good social standing) and carelessly talks back to her potential fiance's mother. Moreover, Alice threatens her sister's husband (twice) when she sees him cheating, and aggressively gives her unconventional opinion in business matters (a field that was not perceived as proper for girls).
In the other realm, Wonderland, Alice takes matters into her own hands "ever since I got here I was being told what to do!" she complains, she defies what she has been told (recklessly goes to the red queen's castle to save her friend), and finally does what she was destined to do, be the "champion" who saves the realm from evil. The long awaited savior... is a woman!

...And have you noticed? All positions of power are actually held by women in the movie! The mother heads Alice's home and the Fiance's mother seems to rule in his house. Whereas,  in the second realm, both the good and the bad kingdoms are ruled by.... queens! Men only play secondary roles.

This is the trend of movies and stories we were raised to. The same story boards the new generations are brought up watching. 

When a woman becomes a president, people applaud. When a woman heads an organization, people talk of her accomplishments. When a woman gets married, people make it sound as though her life was over "she could have done so much". Wouldn't that be the source of my feminist nature? I can't help but wonder whether I was brainwashed into becoming so ambitious.
 On the other hand, when a man cooks, people compliment him. When he does the cleaning, people say "what a catch". When he takes care of the kids, all women want him.

What does the future have in store for us, in light of all these gender roles reversing positive incentives? Media can be so powerful in transmitting thoughts and ethical perceptions. If it can sell the tangible goods, why not the intangible thoughts? I think the time will come when the roles of women and men will be completely reversed.

A bit extreme?

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