Emirates Airline Reborn

Just got a tweet yesterday about the new Emirates work rolling out.

It’s always exciting to see something you had a hand in come to life. In this case it is the longest project I’ve ever worked on. If you haven’t seen any of the work, here’s the anthemic spot.

And some press.

It’s difficult with global brands to avoid the generic. I’ve talked to several people who had pitched the line “Hello Tomorrow” to their clients too. There are about 20 words that are easily translatable around the world so that’s inevitable.

This work isn’t easy to articulate just by the line though. What’s unique about Emirates is how international and cosmopolitan of an experience it is. On any flight they will announce “we speak 12 languages on the flight today: English, Arabic, Portuguese, Dutch…” And it’s not simply the cabin crew who represent a pick and mix of cultures. At every meeting I had in the corporate offices, it was like a model United Nations meeting.

Only 30% of passengers stop in Dubai. That means they are transferring over 21 million people from one side of the world to the other. They are quite literally the circulatory system passing these oxygenated red blood cells of ideas, serendipity, and possibility around the earth. Think of the problems we face today. It’s going to take the ingenuity and creativity of individuals interacting to solve them.

The world is no longer lead by the west. Why is this map any less right?

With international travel on the rise in Brazil, Russia, India, China and the increasing need to have a global purview to succeed in business, connecting these global individuals and bringing new ideas will change the world for the better.

Yes, I drank the kool-aid. My own global project is a direct result from thinking about this brand for a year and a half. It’s a result of seeing evidence that international travel makes people smarter and more creative. It’s a belief that we are all on this journey and it’s worth the effort to be endlessly curious and explore the world and the people in it.

There is still more to come including a digital platform for globalistas to share their favorite places on World Streets and short multi-lingual greetings you can share with your friends from the multi-lingual cabin crew. If you’d like to know when these launch, get on the mailing list by clicking on the bottom right of this page. I’m excited to see what Emirates can accomplish because this is only the beginning.

Getting started in London

For the past 6 weeks I’ve been spending quite a lot of time in London. My business officially existed on February 15th and I found myself flying over to work with an agency called More. I’ve been coming over most weeks to work a few days with them on a mix of current clients, new business and their agency approach and processes. I did a quick project for Razorfish.

I’ve had inspiring chats with Mark Sng of Saint, Simon Law of Fabric, Martin Bailie of Glue, Jonathan Trimble of 18 Feet and Rising, Trevor Cook of TDA, Olivier Legris of Grand Union, Mike Laurie of Made by Many, Kasia Zaniewska a freelance planner, Ben Milligan and Will Hodge of Karmarama, and Phil Adams of Blonde. They’ve suggested people to contact for the book, other books I should read, and valuable feedback on where we’re taking the survey this year (will write more on that soon.)

I spent 3 days in Ascot as a mentor at IMM (International Media Management Training) where I met Nick Vale of Maxus who is absolutely brilliant and told me about a couple of books I quickly added to my reading list: Space Race and Rigorous Magic.

I’ve met two bright young things who you should hire immediately. If you’re in need of a junior planner in London, have a chat with Jasiek Gajda. If you need a project manager, send me a message or leave your contact info in the comments and I’ll point someone smart in your direction. (They are currently working somewhere else and looking to make a move.)

I’ve been staying in the lovely neighborhood called Primrose Hill and though I haven’t run into Gwyneth Paltrow, I have seen some of the beauty this town often tries to hide while keeping you underground for hours.

I’m going to be in London another few weeks, so if we only know each other via twitter or linked in it would be lovely to meet.

Trying something new

I’ve resigned from my fairly awesome job because I have a new dream now that I’d like to share with you. I alluded to it briefly at the end of the planning survey but now it is taking shape and becoming real.

I’m going to travel the world, work for brilliant people, live with them so I get to know who they really are and write about all the things I learn. I have 4 people who have agreed to let me learn from them while I stalk them: Rob Campbell in Shanghai, Simon Kemp in Singapore, Jason Oke in Hong Kong and Saher Sidhom in London.

I am still looking for several more people and could use your help identifying them. I’m interested in planners, managing directors, creative directors, clients, digital, traditional, innovation and more. I want to essentially put together the PhD program that I could never find in a university. And I really want to go to India, Japan, Australia, South Africa and Argentina. But I’m sure there are some smarties who are willing to go along with the scheme in other places too and I’m open to that. Who do you think I should ask to be my coach?

I’ve saved some money to pull this off but I am opening my own business in Holland so I can keep Amsterdam as my base. I’ve named it I’ve Got the Fever – too corny? Well, it does what it says on the tin. This means that I will have to do some freelance in order to keep my visa. If you have any projects you might consider me for, I would love to hear about them. I’m hklefevre at gmail. Since I’m a company, I don’t need a work permit and can go anywhere. Please don’t make me go back to America! Give me a gig!

It will probably take me a year and a half to finish the book. Maybe two? I’m just really excited to see more of the world and meet as many planners as possible. If you aren’t already, consider following me on Twitter so you know where I am and we can connect.

@h+klefevre and the Quest for Klout

Maybe you noticed and maybe you didn’t, but last week I was a social media fiend. There’s a reason. A little over a week ago, a comment was made by a client responsible for social media that they would expect someone offering advice on social media to have a higher Klout score than themselves. I wasn’t in the meeting, but one of our art directors made the comment “Wait until you meet our head of planning. She’ll give you a run for your money.”

When my colleagues return and tell me about the meeting we go online and compare Klout scores. Mine is 40. The client’s is 51. I’ve never paid any attention to Klout before this but they insisted I try to do so and get mine up. So I connect my Facebook account. Then Foursquare, Instagram, Google+ that I never use, and LinkedIn (that ought to take care of this competition). And then I simply put attention into all of these networks. After 24 hours my score had gone up 6 points. By the end of the week I was at 53 and it seems to have leveled off there. But that’s still 2 points higher than the client’s.

What did I learn from my experiment?

1. We are not our Klout scores. Klout cannot measure the latent goodwill that your networks have for you. If I start communicating openly through social networks, then I get a bump in my numbers. But it doesn’t see the fact that I have many side conversations over DM or Facebook messages. I can call people and they will answer the phone. If I go to other countries, there are friendly people willing to meet for coffee.

2. Klout, though an imperfect algorithm, measures something. It measures the fact that I am creating more content than I was a week ago and it is being spread because the content is interesting in some way and I have said latent good will. No algorithm is perfect anyway. No computer can measure human interaction perfectly. Have you had a conversation with Siri?

3. Keeping score inspires competitive spirit and action. This is why a dashboard and select KPI’s isn’t just something to do for fun. It gives you or a brand a sense of progression. And comparing your results with others’ given different approaches can certainly help in that quest. Have a look at this picture comparing airlines. What can we learn simply by the number of followers, the number of tweets and what we know about each of these brands. They are certainly yielding very different results. KLM is up to their elbows in tweets, but JetBlue has so many more followers with far fewer tweets.

4. Scheduling consistent posts reminds the world that you are alive. I have never scheduled my posts before, so I dip in and out when it is convenient for me. But I know a few people with very high scores who do schedule their posts so I gave it a go. I set up Buffer on my browser and now when I read something interesting the tweet goes in a queue that I can control. I’ve set it to post 3 times a day at times I’m generally not tweeting. That way I can still post whatever I come across and I hopefully won’t get spammy.

5. You’re presence can mess with your perceived value. One of my planners says that seeing me in his feed all the time makes him less likely to click on links and pay attention to what I’m saying. It’s perceptual supply and demand. Most brands forget this I think. Exclusivity with great content is often better than a deluge of great content.

6. There is not a huge amount of cross-over between my Twitter network and my Facebook network. I stopped posting all my Tweets to Facebook shortly after trying it out a few years back. But what I tried this week was taking some of my most popular Facebook posts and tweeting them. Such as “I just saw a wireless network called ‘prettyflyforawifi.'” It got a lot of play on Twitter just as it had 4 weeks ago on Facebook, just among different people. Funny is funny so cross-pollination is a good tactic.

7. Digital memory is short. Perhaps even flea-esque. There are a lot of great things I have read and a few I have written that many people haven’t seen. Or with the planner survey I figure a lot of people are considering new positions and may want to refer back to it. Something from a few years back even may still be very relevant today. Greatest hits are definitely good sources for posts.

8. Klout can be gamed. Klout has their own currency called +K. There are topics of influence that you need 5 +K’s in order to add to your own profile or another person’s. Then once the topic is added you can spend 1 +K to agree that a person is in fact influential on a subject. As I was looking for people to spend my +K’s on, I was rewarded with more +K’s for visiting more profiles. Then more for visiting It is reminiscent of Farmville. Lots of clicking.

9. The quest for Klout is not sustainable. I have a lot going on at work, personal projects, friends, etc. Writing and thinking about my brands usually has to trump tweeting my ass off. That’s why brands need a team of people focused on creating content and communicating with customers. It’s a full-time gig.

I’m curious to know what you think of my little experiment. And the competitor in me will gladly accept any +K’s, RTs and @replies you’d like to give me for Christmas.

First APG NL event November 17th

Strategists are a curious bunch. What often makes great communications strategies are the connections that strategists make. It’s often about bringing our interests from outside of our job, into our thinking.

We thought it would be fun/ inspiring/ mildly embarrassing for us to share the random connections that we have made to come up with the strategies that we are most proud of.

We’ll be inviting everyone to step up to present for 6 minutes. The event will be at the StrawberryFrog Amsterdam office and begins at 7pm. Let me know if you’d like to reserve a presentation slot.

And make sure to join our group on LinkedIn.

The Planner Survey 2011

I’ve been quiet most of the summer working on this year’s planner survey. And the release day has finally arrived!

It’s a huge effort, not just for me, but my team and the group of planners who I inflict the non-sensical early drafts upon. Please know that your contributions are appreciated.

Now it’s time to download and have a little read. We all love to know your thoughts and comments so please leave some here. They often inspire additional analysis and future posts and discussion. You can also email us your questions and comments.

So I’ll get out of the way and let the report do the talking. As always, thank you for playing.

And the appendices:


I wanted to share a new business with you all that my dear friend Heather Sullivan has started. Heather is a producer (full disclosure: I worked with her at Tribal and then made her come work at the pond with me again because she’s excellent) so it’s inspiring to see how she’s put her know-how from what we do day to day into starting her own business.

I think it’s an example of a business that was formed from a simple insight: people buy Groupons and the like and then don’t redeem them. And on the flip side, when the deals come out, they are only available for 24 hours so sometimes you let them slip by because you aren’t sure if you’ll use them.

DealSellers is a really user-friendly site that has created a marketplace for daily deals. You can unload those pole dancing lessons that you’re too scared to use. Or you can buy a deal for a restaurant and use it tonight.

Buying and posting deals is free. When you sell a deal, they charge a small fee of the sale price to keep the lights on.

It’s only available in the Netherlands for now, but the plan is to roll it out in different countries soon.

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers, but most of all the world needs dreamers who do.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

Hire this guy: Jared Adler

I haven’t done this in a while, but I feel compelled to share with you the latest initiate to the planning tribe: Jared Adler. Jared came recommended to me by a former managing director of mine who had him as a student. I spoke with him on skype and now am cursing the labor laws in Holland because there is no way I can hire him without an EU passport.

So my loss is your gain. He’s visiting Boston and New York at the moment, so contact him for that junior planner spot you need to fill. He’s @jaredadler on the twitter. And here’s his perfectly written cover note and CV.