Ice Bucket Challenge but with donation (of course)

Ice Bucket Challenge
@carolinaribalta challenged us to participate in the #icebucketchallenge and we could of course not fail such a good cause that right now is being viralized in the world. But there is one thing that we would like to comment: in this challenge you donate (too many people doing the water thing without donating). 
If you don’t know where to donate (this relates to Spain only, each country has its own setup), find these two options. 
  1. Fundación Española para el Fomento de la Investigación de la Esclerosis Lateral Amiotrófica. (
  2. Asociación Española de ELA (
If you don’t know what ELA is, I leave you with a video of a person that can explain what it is – from the top of his heart
It affects only a few – 4.000 in Spain and about 30.000 in US, so few that nobody wants to spend a dollar on investigation. But it is needed because this disease is…there are no words. 
We have accepted the challenge, done the donation and got wet, now we challenge other people that we are sure will take on the challenge.
Valentí Sanjuan (@valentisanjuan)
Merce Sanjuan (@merceyellow)
Esteban Loiácono (@estebanloiacono)
Cecilia Olocco (@ceciliaolocco)
Equipo de Wow Reus  (@wowinreus)
Martin Varsavsky (@martinvars)
Maribel y Jordi Gumbau

3 concerns that worries when setting up a Volunteer Program

Patricia Polvora speaker at IESE about volunteer program

Video of Patricia Polvora speaking at IESE about Corporate Responsibility and Volunteer Programs – in Spanish

Lately, I have been talking at several workshops, had meetings and coffee-shop discussions around the subject Corporate Social Responsibility and Volunteer Programs. An area that is continuously growing, in every companies Steering Group agenda and in the minds of its workers. There are a few questions that pop-up now and then when the words “Corporate Social Responsibility and volunteering is on the table. I few “worries”. I would like to reflect on three of them and contribute with my thoughts related to these question.

What is the value of a Volunteer Program?

Everybody want it, everybody would like to “have it” but not as many have integrated it in their business, values and vision. Depending on who you ask in an organization, you may get a different answer, but if you think of this question from a corporate perspective, a Corporate Social Responsibility point of view, the value must be very much linked to the core of the business, the pure existence of a company, the history and soul of an enterprise. In most cases, you will find that the volunteer program, the possibilities to provide employees a platform where to evolve competencies and where to realize themselves, makes the company tangible. It makes it human and you would say, it gives it “soul”. Everybody can relate to and feel for a solidarity action, being the one executing it, or being the one seeing it happen. Human actions are closer to our hearts than boxes, services and KPIs. The value of a Volunteer Program may therefore be, that it brings the company closer to the customer, to the providers and to the employees. Making them feel part of something, creating value, being human.

This is the reason for why a volunteer program can not “live by itself” isolated from the business. It has to be incorporated, embedded in the vision, the mission and the values of the company. The whole culture. With that as a start, a company can take any step and know that its employees will make the out most to comply with expectations and they feel that they work for a more “human” company that cares.

Isn’t it only “a cost” to set up a Volunteer Program?

It depends. It depends on how you value a Volunteer Program. It depends on how strong your Corporate Social Responsibility work is integrated with your business. The Financial Department may tag it as “overhead costs”, but most companies should see it as an investment. As a long-term investment, where the invested money give return in intangibles such as loyal employees, engagement, soul-driven organization, teamwork, cooperation, empty…Could this be calculated in terms of return? Probably, but it is needed? Or can an organization just “see” and “feel” in the atmosphere that what they do in this area, has a value. I think so. I think this value can be transmitted from person to person, from company to organization and in the brand itself.

How do you set up a Volunteer Program?

To set up a Volunteer Program is as time-consuming, complex and structured as setting un any type of organization or business line. You have to start by defining the reason for why you will set up the organization, what needs are you covering, who is your audience, how much will it cost and how will you communicate and measure your results. This part may be very administrative, bureaucratic and static. Far away from the dynamism of a Volunteer Program, but totally needed. If a volunteer activity is far away from, or even contradicting the pure purpose of the business itself, it will just result in confusing messaging. If a Volunteer Program is not accepted or understood by its employee, it has failed in its purpose. Therefore, we must avoid a very common mistake, the mistake of deciding what activities we want to do (because it is easier) before knowing why we will do it and for whom.

Share your experience! What reflections do you have in this area?

Volunteering or not – what’s the point?

ImageIn a few hours I will have the pleasure to meet about 30 persons and talk about Corporate Responsibility and volunteering. But not the standard “how do you do it”, no, that is said a million of times. I will focus on what you generate, what you manage to create by running a volunteer program in your organization. About “the soul”, about the tangible part of volunteering to make words such as “vision”, “mission” and “values” understood – more tangible. 

These are the initial questions I will place (and try to answer). How would you answer them? In a few hours I let you know what the response was

Question that questions the action of volunteering within Corporate Responsibility

  1. What is the value of a volunteer program?
  2. Isn’t it only “a cost”?
  3. How do you do this whole thing?

5 tips to avoid dying out of nervousness in a radio interview


And they call you up. And it sounds so easy. “We will just ask you a few questions, that’s it”. And you sit there waiting for the call (wondering if your mobile phone will die, if the line will be bad and if that specific moment will be the one when your operator decides to change from 3G to 4G – leaving you without line). And “it” comes. Anonymous number. You have prepared, or not. But still, you hear the voice, the music, it is you next and it happens – you go blank. Black-out. Blank-out or whatever you want to call it, but it happens. You know nothing and the question comes, faaaar faaar away, you hear your name, you hear the subject, you hear the question and you hear your silence. And then the “hello, are you there”?

Hopefully, you wake up from this nightmare (it was just a dream, the D-day is today) and can enjoy the interview instead – as you will prepare for it, right?

Here are a few tips on how you can kill that nervousness (you never kill it totally, it wouldn’t be human not to feel anything), to be able to enjoy the ride.

5 tips to prepare for your radio interview

  1. Think like this: “I have been assigned to becomes somebodies 5-minute-teacher in a subject that I know more about than this person”: You are lucky! You will be talking to this person that gets up 5 am, loving his work, and knowing a h-l lot about everything and now – you will teach him some new stuff! What do you want him to remember? Have you checked his profile? Listened to his talks? What do you think he will be interested in? 
  2. Think like this: “Not everybody have the guts to sit here in this situation, people may even admire somebody for doing this, and nobody expect you to be a robot, you are human”: You don’t know the questions at forehand, you just have to live with it and if you don’t know the answer, don’t “make something up”. Be human, how would you answer if you sat with this same guy over a cup of coffee? Those that listen are also human. Their first intention is probably not to laugher at you – they listen to that radio channel because they like “what is played there”, so chances are that they will have a friendly approach to what you say…
  3. Think like this: “I don’t have to say everything I had planned for, I’m not a total failure if I miss out on some points, people don’t remember everything anyway, they remember the feeling”: Take it easy. Calm and relax. I tend to “rush away”, like if somebody was hunting me. Not so good because it does not leave space to think or follow up questions. Pauses are not bad, they create space (even if stress tends to kill them).
  4. Think like this: “They are like me”. If you doubt, undress them, in your mind of course. And if you think really really hard, you will see – they are like you. Bones and stuff.
  5. Think like this: “If I can’t see them, they can’t see me”. I know, it’s over the phone, you can’t see each other, but if you take off your glasses while you talk, you feel even more hidden (it is the same trick that kids use when they cover their face with their hands). Sometimes, this gives me the feeling that I am more “protected”. Cocooned, in some way.

Nerves can be good and they can be bad, but the point is that we should enjoy these moments instead of suffer through them,  and killing a bit of the edge of those nerves, will leave space for enjoyment. 

On top of this, standard tips such as, speak-up, prepare, be friendly, let people talk etc etc

Ah, by the way an example without having an opinion on it: yesterday-me in Spanish radio talking about tea.

Share your experience!


Betahaus in Barcelona – the beginning of something big?

A few weeks back I paid a visit to Betahaus in Barcelona. Curiosity created a need to find out more about this “place” or philosophy? @ivanruiz read about the initiative and contacted one of the drivers to see if we could “come by”. Come by is exactly what you should do if you are in Barcelona. To see what a few hands can set up, despite rules, legislation, money issue and anything in-between that can cause a total stop to a project.

A dream.

Why do I still think about it, several weeks after? Why do I recommend people to go there? Questions I have asked me and this is my answer. It is a place packed with soul and entrepreneurship. With future. With “space” for those that look for something else than just the big investment or the big success (of course they want it, just that the road there may be different). There are hundreds of projects, ideas and places in Barcelona for start-ups to ground, for entrepreneurs to explore, but one that has this human-share-knowledge-grow-naturally type of “soul” built-in, naturally, in these industrial walls? Not sure I have experiences this before (would love to do though) I would love to pay a visit to other places that feel the soul is there as well. We need more places with soul to grow our businesses along with our hearts!

How does that “soul” feel? It feels on the inside. The person that received us, the talk we have about initiatives, the people sitting there on chairs that may not be in total color-sync with each other, in the industrial-building halls (several floors of space, bar, launch areas, meeting areas…). Right there. The spirit, the soul and I concluded. Betahaus is a philosophy that want people to grow with their projects, investors to meet the creators, creators to get investment, but without the “stiff” structure normally surrounding these “entrepreneurship” environments. “It happens anyway”, he tells us, our host “we do the same thing as any incubator, just that it happens by itself – by its own energy”.

If you are in Barcelona, yes, pay a visit to Sagrada Familia, but don`t forget to visit the Betahaus bar to get some energy, some inspiration and while the world outside is collapsed with crisis, this many-thousands-square-meters-building breaths hope and future. Just generated in a more natural way – in-between people.

Oh, what Betahaus is? I encourage you to find out yourself, but if it would be a one-liner I would say “a working-environment where art, thinking, creativity meet business, success and happiness with the purpose to let people grow along with their start-ups and projects. The rest you need to find out yourself.  


Why Corporate Social Responsibility and volunteer programs that make a difference

Corporate Social Responsibility Patricia Polvora speaking

Image taken from the program of this event

Sitting on the train (AVE) in-between Madrid and Barcelona, I reflect on the speech about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and corporate volunteer programs I just held at IESE Business School invited by Kellogg’s. Beside being grateful for the invitation and hoping that my contribution lived up to the expectations of the host and the audience, other thoughts pop-up.

What is the value of having a volunteer organization as part of the activities a company does under the umbrella of “Corporate Responsibility”? Is volunteering a contribution to the total scope of Corporate Responsibility or is it a pure internal employee program? The intention of my short speech was to exemplify how some companies with Corporate Social Responsibility programs also may have a volunteer program with the purpose of giving the employees of the companies the possibility to “make a difference”. Present were several of the most important companies in the country and their stories were “wow” and really making a difference. Some of them had the volunteer program incorporate in the communication organization, others had it under the umbrella Corporate Social Responsibility and some, as my company, as a separate unit.

My key words were:

  • soul
  • vision
  • corporate values

I chose not to enter the debate of if it is or isn´t Corporate Social Responsibility to have a volunteer program, and decided that I would spend my 20 minutes  to convey a message about the core of a volunteer organization, seen from a employee´s point of view and the point of view of the Management Team. I talked about the importance of understanding the volunteer organization as the “soul” of a company and as part of the company´s investment in their employees and/or Corporate Social Responsibility. To make something un-tangible such as the “soul” of a company to something much more tangible. I talked about the importance of linking these activities to the vision, to the mission, to the objectives of the company, to tie it all together so that the employees would understand the fluffy words from a power point presentation at any internal meeting, and make them real through volunteer activities, be able to touch the vision, feel the mission and breath its all essence. I talked about corporate values in its pure state, and how they become understood in the tasks an employee as a volunteer makes out in the field. How they understand, to the very deep of its meaning, the core values of its company just by acting “in the name of” that company. How you, as a volunteer, become the company in the eyes of others out in the field, because when you stand there, on the ground and have been assigned to solve a problem, you are the company and you feel like it. How these words (core values), taken from the same power point slide at an internal meeting, is what you hold tight to when somebody see you as Miss Companyname.

I mentioned what I see happens when you, as a volunteer, return to that company after haven had your experience as volunteer. How you have learned things hard to learn in an office just by living them. Things like teamwork, cooperation, leadership, problem-solving, respect, professionalism and how all this you have learned, now incorporated into your blood, is conveyed in coffee areas, in work-processes, in your day-to-day work. Conveyed, to the extent that it is “contagious” so your colleagues, their families and those that are told the story live the corporate values of your company. And it creates value. Vale for the individual that got the experience, value for the company that gained a motivated, engaged and highly competent worker, value for the society that benefited from your actions. Value that has no price (does somebody dare to put a price on this)? Value that must be appreciated from “the top” to “the bottom”, because in doing so, in creating volunteer organizations that have “soul” that are connected with vision and core values, a company makes their business human, tangible and understood by visualizing all this through their volunteer organization.

And many of the other speakers said the same. Told stories that showed the essence of Corporate Social Responsibility. This gives hope. Social Responsibility is entering the space of a company in a natural way, creating conscious Corporate Social Responsibility organizations and/or volunteer organization and that is extremely important for the future of any worker, company and country.

Do you share this view?

How to work with customer relationship – The role of the Key Account Manager

Who is the person behind the role of Key Account Manager? Who is facing your customer? What characteristics are important to take into account?

A Key Account Manager is the key person in contact with the customer. The person that faces all the good moments, the bad moments, the negotiations…The person behind this role needs to have a set of characteristic. A few of the top (in importance are)

  1. business mind
  2. business attitude
  3. negotiation skills
  4. Feeling

To make sure that this “role” adds value to your customer, to the business to the closure of the contract, you need to make sure that this person is:

  1. knowledge about the service (or well supported)
  2. knowledge about the client
  3. knowledge about the customer needs (how do we help the customer and in what way are we different)

When negotiating price the Key Account manager need to work with “the value” of the product. Arguments such as “I can’t give you a lower price because my costs are too high” are not going to be effective. If the customers know that a competitor of yours gives him lower price, he would know that you have not been able to negotiate with your providers to lower the price (and prices are easy to find out).

It is therefore important to work with “value”. The value is what the customers decide is the value for them (not always what we decide is the value). The price is therefore the “agreement” in-between
a) what you are able to take according to your cost levels
b) your margins
c) but most important, how much the customer wants to pay (what is the value for the customer).

  • When you work with loyalty/retention it is all about satisfaction plus retention
  • When you work with satisfaction it is all about perception minus expectation

A Key Account Manager needs to manage these aspects in order to know how the product or service is valued. Added to this, he/she needs to keep in mind the emotional association related to the product that the customer may have (so you must know your customer!). To the extent that the customer may value more a product when associating to something with high value.

There are many parameters that impact the value:

  1. the brand
  2. the commodity/or incommodity
  3. the professionalism/expertise
  4. Insecurity (can it be replaced, is it possible to return it, doubts…). The Key Account Manager needs to minimize the insecurity

Different types of behavior

  1. Reactive behavior = a person that is not proactive. Not a good profile for a Key Account Manager (for sales, for retention)
  2. Normative behavior = the norms are important for this person. A good characteristic if you work with accounting, if you work with planning, but not as good if you require quick changes as it generates stiffness
  3. Relation driven behavior = persons that are good in creating contacts (very good if the sales person is one-time-shopping) but there is a version of this that relates to retaining the relationship (good characteristic if you are Key Account Manager where the relationship is important)
  4. Result driven behavior = important for any sales person

Three concepts in a negotiation to have in mind

  • Space: Where does the negotiation take place (starting point and breaking point in a negotiation)
  • Frame: What is the framework where the negotiation takes place? (the break through point that the customers doesn’t know and the customers breaking point that I don’t know)
  • Strategy/Tactic: What would be your strategy (there are competitive strategies and collaborative strategies. Competitive is: I win and you lose or we both lose but you lose more. Collaborative is about I lose to make you win or win-win)

Different negotiation styles

  • Direct: good to specify the deal and to close a deal
  • Evasive: good if  you need to put pressure but not too much (make somebody wait).
  • Consensus: trying to find a deal using “conditioning argument”. “I can reduce price if you can… “. This is good in very opened projects.
  • Transactional: good characteristic if you need to bargain
  • Integrator: this is the one than transmits the win-win feeling. This is a good characteristic if you need to create long-term customer relationship

How to create the elevator pitch – storytelling

How do you catch attention? How do you convince a customer about your fantastic product? How do you present “something” in one minute. These are some easy steps to set up your elevator pitch, your argumentation.

Structure of an elevator pitch

Who am I? Introduce yourself by name (this creates a feeling of talking person-to-person, proximity) and explain what you are expert on (why they should listen). You need to transmit that you talk with knowledge about the area, that you are a person worth listening to.
A good start: “Hi, my name is X and I’m expert in…”

What? You need to explain, clearly what you have discovered/found. What is the “news”?
A good start: We have discovered/detected…(what is the novelty) that makes it possible to…/changes/satisfies…

Why? The customers want this because they are tired of/they are not able to
A good start: We believe that the customer want this because…

Note that there is a difference in-between
– need = “I’m aware of what I lack, I`m shorte on but know that I am short on this”
– lack = “I`m not aware of what I lack”

The argumentation is different in these two different cases. What is your product covering?

Who? Companies/the customers is xx and will perceive this service/product as a way to…
A good start: Companies like yours/companies will perceive this as…

For what? What will the customer use this for, in what cases, in what situation, for what.
A good start: The users will use this to ….

What makes us different? the difference of this service/product (compared with the competitors) is that it…Don’t forget to put emphasis (again if needed) on the key benefits of this product/service
A good start: We believe that the customer will perceive this service as better because it…

Steps when talking about your project

When you present a new project/sell your service/product:

  • The first 3 minutes are “why, what, for whom for what reason”. Make sure that the issue/problem of the opportunity is mentioned, who is the target etc). This is to catch attention and to set the scene. 55% of the introduction and catching of the attention is the gesticulation, 38% is tone of voice, speed etc.  (10-15%)
  • How will you do this. First you need to present the conclusion (the goodies), the result. Then you explain how  you came to this conclusion. (75%)
  • For what (the benefit) what can I gain, what you will do (10-15%). The “closure” repeat the conclusion for why and the benefits.


Recommending a new blog

My friend and professional in the area of Digital Marketing has launched his new blog: It is one of those places I recommend you to visit (yes, I know it is in Spanish but use Chrome translator and your problem is solved). It will be interesting tho see the development of this blog as it talks about areas related to Digital Marketing: a continuously developing area with new techniques but based on the Marketing basics.

Jose starts to talk about applications and how to create loyal customers with help of apps to trigger impulsive shopping behavior.


Digital Marketing

Before internet, it was enough with “something to say” and “the right moment” through the “optimal channel” and people would listen and react. Now it is about the customer forming part of the creation of your message or campaign or product and therefore it has been more importance than ever to listen and interact with your audience.

This post is about marketing, Digital Marketing and reflexions on how to work with content. If you want to follow a person that knows a lot about this, don’t miss @pineti .

First some basics on publicity good to have in the back when talking about digital marketing


  1. support (the technology)
  2. format (in what way you communicate)
  3. the audience (for whom we do it)
  4. measurement (report)

What has changed from the 20th century and the 21st century?

  1. we went from running a monologue to “everybody talks”
  2. we went  from working with temporal campaigns to “the consumer decides”
  3. we went from territorial thinking to universal focus
  4. we went from restricted communication (we decided) to accessible (by everybody)
  5. we went from static to viral
  6. we went from we control to we don`t control
  7. we went from a need to a “will” (the need is not forced, it generates the will to do something)

All this requires that we change our ways of working with marketing, online and offline. The line in-between these two becomes more and more blurred. The brands have to “propose” their offering and messages and the consumer “has the decision”, the “will” to buy in to the messages. The proposal is done via content (e.g.Coca-Cola giving happiness in physical places in such way that it viralizes). If the audience start to “like” what they see they will be the ones to “move” the brand.

When working with digital marketing (online marketing), it is more important than ever to build up an attribute record around your brand. There are different ways of doing this but it is clearly the experience around your brand that will make it visible, that will make it viralize, that will make the buyers to “buy in to” your brand values and offering.

The buyer, the audience is changing behavior. Recent research talk about 66% consulting internet before making a purchase. Why do people watch a spot to its full length on internet but not on tv? Because they decide when to see it and it comes as recommended (by somebody you know). The decision is no longer the brands, they can just “propose”, it is the consumer that decides when and what. Rubius is an example. People decide what they want to interact with. You must therefore understand what the persons want, before you create the content. It is about enriching the experience

Steps to take when working with digital marketing

  1. You need to change your process – you need to make all the players (agency, production etc) to work towards the need of the customer 
  2. You have to risk to re-create and innovate and it can go wrong
  3. You have to visualize special if you work with targets that are ” attitude focused”. The target has changed it is not demographic anymore is based on attitude
  4. Captive impact (you “see something but you don´t observe it). Today, you work with multiple devices. Before you only worked with one or few). Now you work 24h with captive impacts
  5. Unite to simplify – you must gather in order to simplify (example google search box)
  6. Be able to import and export info
  7. Change in scale. You must be able to adapt your content, your product to a small audience, to a big audience
  8. The content does not pass around the product. The product pass through the environment/the attribute around the product.
  9. Connect networks. You need to identify them but then you need to connect them.
  10. Search for the “strange thing”
  11. Go against the flow. You will get something if you go against the flow. Something different.
  12. Work with opposite sides. You need to find the balance.
  13. Add yourself to the future – you don’t have to be first but you must touch the future (mobile etc)
  14. Recycle
  15. Be persistent
  16. Imagine the digital world. There is always something in the future – but you must imagine it
  17. Re-invent yourself
  18. Search for the coherent of your brand (intelligent marketing, the stupid marketing, the evil marketing…) dear to search for other areas not always the intelligent marketing


  1. The qualitative flow (you give what you say, not replicate the offline world online, you need qualitative content, a memorable experience and if it is information only what is of utility!
  2. Functionality (short, concise and important for the user. Don`t overdoing it)
  3. Usability
  4. Persuability (AIDA – attention, interest, desire, action is the standard direct marketing matrix but now we talk about AAIADA – attention / action, interest/action, decision/action)
  5. Feedback (search the dialog). There are many ways of doing this.
  6. Loyal customers (the persons want to have variation. Changes, news) but if there is a routine that works, you can’t break it.

the fatal errors

  1. Technology is now a commodity – don`t think it is an easy thing
  2. Be careful with the environment – search for the sensorial part, the emotions not always the rational
  3. Not everybody will understand you – you must believe in what you do but not everybody will

if you are into displays how TO WORK WITH DISPLAY (BANNERS)

There are tools that identify how much you invest in internet display  to see how much the investment is in a country. One example is

It is important to engage. Let the visitor engage with your content but basing it on the fact that “if he wants”. That what he does impacts on his experience. (a banner that is interactive based on what you do with it).

Internet helps you segment your audience – they come to you based on the content you make (compared with television for example). Before the audience was not fragmented. Now it is. Which is good because you reach your audience with better quality. But branded content becomes more and more important.

When you work with brand on internet or TV, you need to think of what content adds value for the user. Example (artist creates arts and refers to a webpage where you find more related content. The brand is not visible until the visitors really wants). Work more as a “facilitator” without being a brand, or being so obvious.

This forces that your strategies “pivot” with your consumer in mind and not the other way around. That you know your audience.

We are able to decide on the perceptions. So let’s do it, but let’s do it right!