Category Archives: Articles

Social Media for Publishing companies


As I read the UnME Jeans Case I was wondering whether all companies can use social media to advertise their products. A category of companies that came quickly into my mind was publishing companies.

Is it therefore wisely for publishing companies to advertise their books through social media?

Many will think that the target group for a publishing company consists of people of old ages that are not interested in social media, as a result the idea of advertising through social media will seem a joke. However, in such a competitive market where companies Continue reading Social Media for Publishing companies

Spotify helps to discover


After seeing different examples of customer interactions with firms, I just noticed an article about a new Spotify service in ‘de consumentenbond’, a dutch comparison company that focuses on consumers.*

The article called ‘Spotify helps to discover’ indicates that Spotify will test a new discover-function in the upcoming weeks. User can discover new music that fits the already listened collection (roughly similar to the discussed examples in class). Another service is to combine different playlists and ‘follow’ music artists.

So for those who use spotify (I don’t use it myself), try and discover it!

* (feb 2013) “Consumentengids”, nr. 2, page 53.

Where to outsource customer service to next?

Customer service is something that many companies think of as very important. Especially for premium brand products and services a good customer service is one of the differentiation points. Yet, in practice the customer service is always worse then companies would make you believe. I don’t recall the last time that I was actually surprised by the high quality of service I received. When I look online the complaints about customer service seem endless, which made me wonder: How can something that is perceived as important for many companies be so bad and what can be done about it?

A trend that is currently going on in the industry is outsourcing. Outsourcing production, outsourcing administration, and yes, outsourcing customer service. Highly trained Indian Continue reading Where to outsource customer service to next?

“Use waiting time as shopping time” (Individual blog – Rachelle Leukel)

Nowadays, we are living in an extremely fast-paced world. Somehow it seems like many people are always in a rush. Everyday activities and necessities may even seem to become burdens. One example of this is doing groceries.

But, do not worry! The solution might not be far. Actually, in South Korea it already exists. South Korea is one of the most hard working countries and many do not have the time to go to the supermarket. Tesco has been working on an innovative way to engage the consumer in order to make grocery shopping more convenient.

After an initial trial in July of 2011, Tesco Homeplus opened the “world’s first virtual store” in the subway in Seoul, South Korea. The walls, pillars and screen doors of the subway are Continue reading “Use waiting time as shopping time” (Individual blog – Rachelle Leukel)

The Secret behind Zara’s success

The demands of consumers is changing rapidly and the access to information and communication technologies are transforming the supply chain into a network of partnerships. Nowadays most of the companies innovate due to information of consumers through fashion magazines, fashion shows, blogs, social media and forums. Consumers are constantly talking about the newest fashions and are longing to have the new collection of the fashion designers. However, these products of fashion designers are too expansive for most consumers. Zara is doing it differently. Zara segments its market into a set of customers who share the same or similar set of needs and wants, which are customers who are aware of fashion. Instead of asking consumers what they want, Zara goes to fashion shows or meets with the designers to decide where there is a trend.  After identifying a promising fashion, Zara simply goes into action.

zara beginning

Continue reading The Secret behind Zara’s success

Motivations for crowdsourcing


Looking at the best examples of crowsourcing campaings ( I started to wonder about users‘ behavior. Some users are active for a long period of time whereas others stop participating after a few submissions. There is not a lot of research done to analyse this behavior, therefore I would like to summarise two research papers/ articles which found some interesting conclusions and tips for companies using crowdsourcing platforms which want to increase the participation rates. Also, I include the practical examples which help to understand the theory. Continue reading Motivations for crowdsourcing

“Open source – Mass bespoke”

Hi guys,

After reading many articles about today’s class about mass customization, i read an interesting article in the site of ” The Economist” ( . Designers are beginning to go “open source”, allowing users to download  templates for everyday objects like furniture. In the article some websites are mentioned MakeMe

MakeMe is an online platform for design creators, brands, manufacturers and consumers offering an easy way to download, design, make and share digital design. During SXSW MakeMe will encourage you to try out the website to preview and customize designs and give feedback that will help shape MakeMe into the design platform of the future. We will Continue reading “Open source – Mass bespoke”

Creating Shared Value

“In recent years business increasingly has been viewed as a major cause of social,
environmental, and economic problems. Companies are widely perceived to be prospering at the expense of the broader community.”

Michael Porter (professor at Harvard University) has come up with this ‘Shared value’ concept. It’s about creating more value, by invloving the consumers more, by not only looking at pure economical value-creation, but also Social value creation.

“….companies remain stuck in a “social responsibility” mind-set in which societal issues are at the periphery, not the core.”

As corporate social responsibility is seen as a  ‘cost post’ to profit maximalization, and it is only limited to the CSR budget, Shared Value is about mobilizing the entire budget of the corportation.

It could be described as a new way of doing business, which i think would be an improvement in the efficiency of the contemporary economic system.

“Capitalism is an unparalleled vehicle for meeting human needs, improving efficiency, creating jobs, and building wealth. But a narrow conception of capitalism has prevented business from harnessing its full potential to meet society’s broader challenges..”

It is further explained in the article. Pleas read (not long)

“The big Idea: creating shared value” – Michael Porter and Mark Kramer

Here you can see professor Porter explaining himself  the problem pretty enthusiasticly, and the solution!

Rihan Warraich

Word of Mouth

Unilever is switching down its social media activity. This to focus more on creating fans by word of mouth. Because the fans on facebook are not all real friends but often people that liked the page for competitions and other things like that.

Is this a smart move? I think they got a point. I also liked some pages in the past because I could win something there or just for something interesting. So shifting the focus more to word of mouth creation sounds good. But I don’t think they should stop with social media. Because it is important in creating the word of mouth that Unilever wants to create. So they should not stop with social media but shift their focus on the social media. It is a trend that will stay and otherwise Unilever will lose on a key playground for the future.

A fun example of good brand promotion is this:

It is in dutch, but basically what happened was that Heineken started with an ad of a heineken beer that looks like a coffee cup. And asked who wanted to drink, Douwe Egberts(coffee company) responded with: I will!. And so multiple companies started with reactions where they used their brands to suggest things related to the topic. I thought it was fun and a good way to raise brand awareness.

Cyriel de Bruijn

Mass customization in the Mobile Phone Industry and the four faces

Through this website people can customize their own iphone case. They use a interface most looking like the “dell” parameter-based interfase. Enabeling customers to upload their photo and making a case for their iphone out of it.

Interesting about this product is that for the mobile industry it’s almost retro. Everybody remembers nokia introducing a very simple form of customization for their customers by having replacable covers. The link* on the bottem of this post shows a picture of the mobile phone timeline of nokia. As you can see it was already in 1997 when they introduced the concept.

A Harvard business revieuw article published in the same year (1997) tells us about “The Four Faces of Mass Customization”.

Continue reading Mass customization in the Mobile Phone Industry and the four faces

Customer Loyalty and Long-Term Sales

Hi everyone, this article gives you the newest insights into loyalty programs reveal the best ways to engage customers, we know all about the classic ways in loyalty’s programs and here are the last insights by Kim T. Gordon, columnist at and President at National Marketing Federation in Miami.


Customer Loyalty Brings Long-Term Sales by 

Mass Customization in the Hospitality Industry

Mass production as a paradigm of management has dominated the world industrial production since World War II. With shifting demographics and changing consumer tastes and preferences, mass production far homogeneous markets is not enough to keep businesses going. This paper discusses the paradigm shift from mass production to mass customization, its conceptualization and applications in the hospitality industry.

Continue reading Mass Customization in the Hospitality Industry

Color Theory and Web Design

ImageColor theory is the practice of using the meaning behind colors to bring about a sensory experience. This practice can be applied to web design with some knowledge and thought. A carefully selected color scheme will create the mood of the website, evoke a certain emotion. That is why it is important that the color scheme used on a website is in line with the product itself, its target audience, and characteristics of a product.

Warm colors will bring about sunny emotions and are wisely used on sites that want to call to mind a feeling of happiness and joy. As a case in point, yellow became a popular color in web design in 2009 when the global economy wasn’t doing very well and companies wanted their customers to feel sunny and comfortable on their site. Cool colors are best used on professional and clean-cut sites to achieve a cool corporate look. Cool colors stir up emotions of authority, establishment, and trust.

In the end the colors used will evoke certain negative or positive emotions, and can ulteriorly affect the sales and popularity of the product you are selling on your website.

A personal example of mine are the websites of the low cost carrier airline and I mostly book EasyJet when it comes to low cost airlines. Why? Simply because EasyJet seems more trustworthy the website more work, and easy to navigate, while RyanAir is very strident, too bright, which in the end looks cheap, something you do not want to be associated with your flight. So Easy jet won me as a customer partly because of their color scheme. Soft, orange/yellow color, which makes it more safe and pleasant to navigate through.

So pick your color scheme wisely when choosing the personality of the products or service your are trying to promote on your website. It really makes a difference!

Here are some links to some nice articles about color schemes.


Crowdsourcing, the future of the big firms

A couple of posts ago, Dimitris raised the question if there were any more examples of crowdsourcing. Mostly because the examples he gave where small initiatives. The fortune 500 firms didn’t really embraced the idea of crowdsourcing on a large prominent scale.

I found some examples of two different companies that use the idea of crowdsourcing.

The first example is Walmart. They are using the crowdsourcing idea to raise the idea for small product designers to get their products on the shelf.

The second example is the AOL website. They had a problem with the quality content of the site so they stated that they wanted to use cheap labor to help them maintaining their quality. AOL asked crowd workers to determine whether Web pages contained a video and to identify both its source and location on the page. This would saveup time and money.

The article also stated the financial benefits for companies to use crowdsourcing.

I am convinced that crowdsourcing is the future! It is the new co-creation model. Users/ consumers generate value, they get paid and get a high customer involvement with the company.

Shrikesh Sheorajpanday

Customer Loyalty, the eight ingredients

Hi everyone,

I found an interesting (short) article about the (eight) ingredients to build customer loyalty.
Of course as we have read in the article of Werner Reinarts and V.Kumar (the mismanagement of customer loyalty), customer loyalty does not always means (customer) profitability. However building customer loyalty is very important for a company, especially if you want them to become ‘true friends’.

Next you can find eight essential ingredients according to R.Paul and D.Timm to build customer loyalty.

Continue reading Customer Loyalty, the eight ingredients

Eight realms of the multiverse

Dimitris already told us about the characteristics of experiences. You can divide an experience in two dimensions; participation and connection. Participation can be split in active and passive, and connection in immersion and absorption.

I find some additional information on this, Joseph Pine introduced the multiverse. This is a tool to gain insight about how we can use digital technology to create new en wonderous experiences that fuse together the real and virtual.

Reality is a trinity of time, space and matter. But there’s also a virtual based size, with no matter, no space and no time. Matter is about atoms, if there’s no atom it’s about bits. Space is about the real places we inhabit, but there’s also no space; the virtual world we explore.
Then we have time; the actual time that unspools in front of us. And you can have no time, it’s autonomous from the actual time.

We have time and no time, space and no space, and matter and no matter. This defines the eight different realms of the multiverse, it’s a more extensive model than the model we saw in class.

There are many examples to explain each realm, but I think this video provides good examples, it also summarizes the theory I discussed above.


Did you know about Pinterest??

Since we have discussed so much about social media I thought you may be interested in learning some things about Pinterest, a brand new idea in the field of social media.

Pinterest is more like Flickr or Tumblr and not so much as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

I suggest you should read the article below to get a clear idea of what exactly is Pinterest and why not request an invite at!

What I found most interesting about this new media is that only after less than two years in business, Pinterest is already one of the most popular social networks in the world, as measured by engagement (according to data from comScore).

As you can see, it is ranked just below Facebook and Tumblr as the most popular site to hang out on.
Hope you find it interesting!

Fay Panagopoulou


Involvement of fans or consumers – part 2:

As Boudewijn Tilman pointed out in his post: Involvement of fans or consumers, the involvement of fans in a football club can be enormous. He pointed out two examples: FC United of Manchester and a Mexican squad in which the fans decide about the starting eleven. These examples turned out to be a pretty good success.

But I want to point out another example: This example goes beyond letting the fans decide about who plays and who are on the bench. Actually “” gives his consumers the chance to become the owners of the club which is called: Ebbsfleet United for only 35 pounds.

This whole club is in the hands of their fans. All the major club functions are in the hands of their fans and all the members/fans worldwide get their votes in transfers, the starting eleven and also in deciding about the future of the club.

In the first year the club got over 32,000 members (which is I think pretty much for a 5th division team in England). But they ended up with only 3,500 members in september 2010, while the club previously stated that 15,000 members was the minimum required.

On December 23 2011, it was announced that the club needed to raise £50,000 by the end of the 2011/12 season or risk going out of business.

So what you can see is that involvement in sports can be a good thing, in the case of the Mexican team but it can also turn out into an disaster like the example above.

I think that it is too much yet to let your consumers or your fans fully decide about all the major business decisions. But I do still think that it was a cool idea which was really out of the box thinking when they started it in 2007.

Via this link you can see a short BBC documentary about the idea: 

Erwin Westveer

Youtube is thinking of a different ad strategy


I remember, some weeks ago,  there was a lot of discussion in class about advertising in social media. What are the types, how each type work and if these types are profitable. I found an article about youtube, which is redefining its advertisment strategy. It is a move to interest both audiences and businesses. As youtube’s Vice president of sales and marketing says:  “imagine if [the site] could help a company think through user behavior and create campaigns that leverage search, social capabilities and YouTube. . . . Everything will be more integrated.” I attach the link for the article and I hope you will find it interesting.,

George Panagos