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.  


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Setting up the Marketing Plan – some basics

A Marketing Plan is the document that will describe what you will do in the next year, years or future.

When you set up a plan you must have secure the hygienic factors first:

  • Technical Viability
  • Commercial Viability
  • Economic Viability 

But the most important thing is:

  • how do you guarantee that this project is giving return
  • how much will the return be
  • when do I get the return on the investment

Therefore you need to think about “how to generate entrance barriers” to exclude potential competitors from the market. For this you need to:

  • Competitive Advantages
  • Differentiation

What is a Marketing Plan (1 year)

  • A marketing plan is a “working document”
  • Actions specific to marketing
  • Oriented towards an objective (measurable)
  • A goal is what you are trying to reach
  • An objective is measurable and you have to reach
  • Takes place on a specific scenery
  • Tools to take a decision

Your plan must include:

  1. Identified business opportunities
  2. Describe how to penetrate the market
  3. Defined objectives, strategies
  4. Marketing Mix

The document must be:

  • realistic
  • flexible
  • include the important things
  • participated
  • adapted to the company
  • annual


When we talk about positioning, we have to be aware of the fact that you position related to something (a competitor, a product etc).

In order to understand “positioning” you have to understand the areas of Marketing.

There are 3 types of areas in marketing

  1. The era of the product: the demand is more important than the product (no competition)
  2. The era of the image (some competition)
  3. The era of the positioning (a lot of competition). The struggle her is to “mean something” for your customers.

The consumer has more possibilities than ever in their selection but less time to select.

What is positioning?

Position a product, a brand, a company, yourself an idea in the minds of the consumer. It’s all about to utilize what already is in the mind of the consumer and “reorder” the connections already existing.

Example: If you can’t stat that you are number, one make clear that you are number 2. AVIS: “As we are no 2 we make more effort”. It’s about looking for the strengths of the others and find the weaknesses of their leadership (a war strategy).

In Marketing, the important thing is the perception (may not always be the reality of the product). You have to focus on the way you are “perceived”. It’s a war about perception of the concept, not about the product. Example iphone 5 versus other smart phones that are better in quality, but the perception is what counts.

How to position

It is done in 2 phases:

  1. Identify what is your brands (the synthesis of the brand)
  2. Identify strategies in communication

How to identify the brand values

1)    Brand identity

  1. Core brand value (essential value/benefits)
  2. Extended value (product + organization +personality+ symbols)

2)    what offers the brand

  1. functional benefits
  2. emotional
  3. projective

3)    The positioning: is the mix between brand identity and what the brand offers

Identify which word is “your word”. That is your core (and in relation to others).

The positioning of the brand is the key benefit expressed in one word and you must make sure that the differentiator is included.

Identify strategies in communication

  1. Work through the “identity map” (placing all the words that you relate to your brand) you need to look at what the strengths and weaknesses are of your competition
  2. Develop the “word/line” to position

It is important to be the first (nobody remembers whom was the second on the moon, the second pilot to cross the Atlantic, the second longest river etc…). The main brand removes in the minds of the consumers all information about the second brand. There is little space for 2nd and 3rd.

The first brand, idea, company that has gained the position in the minds of the consumers, it is hard to change. To get the first position you must be sure to:

  1. Have a perfect concept AND
  2. Have an excellent execution (it is common that the second one executes better takes the no 1 position in the minds of the consumer). I.e. LCI of Nestlé versus Actimel of Danone.

You must position something in a mind you need a mind that does not have an already positioning idea; the hard thing is to enter a mind where there is always a predefined idea.

The slogan

You must be able to take away the brand and just by the rest you should understand what brand you are talking about. E.g. “XX, takes care of your cloths like your mother”. It has to be right on target to your main target word. A word that is differentiating you from your competition. It could be emotional, it could be related to a benefit you get or just a “concept”.

It is very important to set a word that people relates to the brand. Positioning is to create a new category. A category that affect the mental stairs.

About mental stairs

  1. You create your own reference maps.
  2. The mind has learned to order the ideas in mental stairs.

The goal is to get the highest position in that stairs.

There 4 characteristics of a “category”

  1. There is a  need to be satisfied
  2. There must be users
  3. There must be user-situations
  4. The product or service must satisfy these needs

How to create a new category (example of category Safe Cars)

You should have as an objective to take the first position within that category. The interest is to be the leader of “things”. If you are second in a category it’s very often better to create a new category, but of course, to create a new category you must work hard to create it.

What is a category: e.g. “safe cars”. 

You target must be VERY specific. If you just target that kind of people you should target that type of people. If you start to try to focus on other targets, you will not be able to strengthen your brand (with the values you have given it or the positioning you are holding).

First you ask yourself:

  1. what is the use you try to reach
  2. what is the audience that have this need
  3. what is the need you try to cover

Based on this, you develop a product/service that meets that need

How to know if a “category” is working?

The two magic R, is “repetition” and “recommendation”. This is a way to know if your category is working.

Due to this you need to start with a specific target, you can not try to target them all at the same time. When you are strong within one user, you can target others (e.g. Nintendo. First for children, l when it was strong, the Brain training was invented).

The category is “if you want for example refreshing drinking you order Coca-Cola”, if you want an energetic drink you order Red-Bull”. If the benefit you are satisfying is what you are, it is perfect.

Types of positioning

There are different types of positioning. These are some of them

    • The second. If you can’t be number 1, make it clear that you are number 2


  • The “without”. Make sure that you do something “without” something
  • By “size”. If everybody goes for big, you go for small. E.g.
  • By “price”.
  • High price (If you say that you are “the most expensive” you give the image of having the best quality)
  • Low price (You position your brand for being the cheapest e.g. DIA)
  • By gender. E.g. Malboro
  • By age. E.g. Cola-Cao = young, Nesquick = the youngster (pepsi for the young)
  • By the authentic, the genuine (“the real thing”)


You have to think “to be something to somebody”. You have to take a position. You must focus on one use, one user and one need.

How to reposition a brand

8000 words are what a student has in its mind. 12 000 brands is what a supermarket has in terms of brand. There is no space for these brands. What you need to do, is to “kick out” an existing brand to take that position. You have to find “the true”, “the differentiation” “the why not the others but this one”.

Putting a name to the brand

It should help you to position your brand. Therefore, you must think about the name in relation to what it is that you want to say with your brand. 

One way to create a positioning and brand could be to associate to an already existing known brand or knowledge.

What is your experience of positioning?

Creating a Strategic Marketing Plan from scratch

It is time to refresh some knowledge, pick up the books, study some new stuff and apply what you learn, in reality. I’m talking about the phenomena: study. A high percentage of my time-off-work will be spent on a Master in Marketing for the coming months  and my plan is to reflect the steps I’m will be taking, but applied on my project to make it more «down-to-earth».

For every step taken in this process I will add a link to the post here:

Steps to take when setting up a Marketing Plan 

Three different phases will take us through these steps 


1) Analysis of the External environment (see intro)
2) Analysis of the Internal environment (see intro)
3) Diagnostic of the situation (SWOT etc)


4) Taking strategic decisions
–          Setting mission, vision, values, corporate culture
–          Corporate strategies
Defining the business
Defining the portfolio of products or services
Defining competitive strategies
Defining strategies for growth
–          Functional strategies


5) Taking operational decisions
–          Action plans
–          Prioritization of activities
–          Budgeting and financials

The project

The project I have chosen is the one I launched with Ivan Ruiz Sevilla in September. We are still making changes and listening a lot to our customers for the pilot market – Spain –  we decided to go for.

This is the perfect project to work with as it’s a Start-Up project based on a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) strategy with a limited time of test time to detect the market demand.

Have you worked with a Marketing Plan lately that you would like to share? More than happy to share experiences

10 min non-profits should spend on Title optimization for visibility in search

bolded search result example

Example of "bolded" text in search result

Have you noticed when you do your Google searches that some of the words in the result are bold? Isn’t this text more visible to you than any other on the page? Probably, people would click there in first place I guess.

The search engine displays results based on the (key)words you enter in the search box.

Search in google

Once the result is displayed, if it contains web pages, the TITLE of a page is what you see as blue text in the search result and the bolded words are those that “matches” the (key)words you used in your search. Google consider the title of a page to be the single most important description of a page and is therefore the most important place where to use keywords to gain a higher ranking position (quote: SEOMOZ). This means that your “keywords” need to be there, unless you have such a strong brand that your audience would search for your name to find you (because then your keyword should be your brand name). Most of us don’t and we must therefore try to understand how our audience would find us if they were searching for something that we could provide and satisfy their need. What is it that they are looking for that we would be able to help them with? Donation?
Nonprofit work? Support?

Your title is shown in search results

Lets see what you can do to support a better display in the search results of your webpage or blog. There are many other parameters that take you web page to a first-page ranking, but this is one of the simplest one you can definitely implement in less than 10 minutes.

1. Identify your “keywords” and select the most important for you. For what search would you like your donors, support, volunteers to find your site as the top result?

2. Revise the titles of all your webpages, do they include your keywords? Are the titles of the pages different one from the other or have you called them all the same? Adapt the titles of your pages to what the pages contain and the keywords you believe is entered by the users in their search that would take them here. E.g. if your page is about donation to children education and you believe that people may search for those words, compose a title base on this.

3. Compose a title for your webpages that is descriptive (remember Google wants the users to be satisfied with their search so the page must contain what you state it will show in order to avoid high bounce rates).Therefore your pages’ titles are slightly different as the content of the pages varies. Try to think what your audience would write in the search and build that question or sentence into your Title. Piling up keywords will give no good result, so focus on making a proper sentence.

4. Update the TITLE data of your webpage(s).

Meta data Title

Update your title information in the Header code

 A recommendation is to place your most important keyword close to the start of the title as it would potentially ranks better and drives higher click-through, your brand may then probably be part of the ending (unless you want to be found by brand).

Note that there is a limitation; keep the title to less than 70 characters in order for Google to display it fully, if longer Google will add three dots.

Once this work is done, your title will be displayed in 3 places:
a) in the browser as a title of the tab
b ) in the search result
c) as title on external websites (e.g. social media sites)

What titles have you seen when searching that you think are descriptive and optimized?

Connect with me on Google+

3 reasons why non-profits should consider “Rel=Author” and Google+

As a marketing and communication professional, passionate about my volunteer work for a non-profit organization and a true beginner in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, I’m continuously searching for functionality that can support in visualizing the online content created by non-profit agencies and volunteers. I have been reflecting on quality of content and how Google’s latest changes emphasizes the importance of bringing content of greater quality to the search results to better serve its users. How many times haven’t you clicked to realize that the page displayed had nothing to do with your search? On top of that, the non-profit community is affected by discontentment generated by a few fundraising “fake” non-profit organizations that with their illegal methods have created suspiciousness for our kind of activity resulting in potential donors being more careful than ever when trusting a non-profit organization online. Considering these reflections, in what way could I support in providing these searchers, supporters and readers a feeling of trust and authority for the online content created by my organization and have Google to help me in that labor? A first step would be to visualize, already in the search result, the identity of the writers of the blog posts – to make it easier for the readers if they want to do some research – and make clear what organization is behind the web pages, articles and blogs. To help Google understand what type of content is published would also help the search engine robots to better know how to categorize it in order to display it correctly. Wouldn’t that trigger a proper ranking in the SERP? I did some reading about Google+ profiles related to authority that I would like to share in case it’s useful for communicators of non-profit organizations. Google appreciate content that is “tagged” correctly as it gives the reader a better picture of what the result is about. The way of tagging your online content is called Snippets. Google would potentially reward this by improving the ranking of your content in the search result and display a) the name of the author b) other content of the same c) the snippet description d) display the amount of circles we are in (if it’s a Google+ piece of content) I would pay special attention to these Google+ related areas now, in time when the term AuthorRank is in the air; algorithm that will value the quality of your content and rank higher those that generate most engagement. Content where the authorship has not been taken into consideration will probably rank lower in the SERP. So it’s a perfect moment to start working on these snippets before Google turns on improved ranking algorithm. Non-profit organizations must keep an eye on upcoming changes and updates as they are impacting on the way your digital content is displayed in the search results and maybe future changes. I have specially focused on the snippets called Rel=Author andRel=publisher (author for content pages, publisher verifies your site) for this post, but there is more in the pipe. My conclusion is that leveraging on your or your organization’s Google+ profile along with these snippets to show Google who the author is of this content and who the owner is of the site would give more benefits. The benefits would be: a) Correctly tagged content which “certifies” for the reader who the source is b) Improve visibility in Google search results to increase click through c) Support the “viralization” of my message thanks to Google Social Search This would only be visible in the Google+ search and Google organic search if you link your Google+ profile to your blogs and web pages and activating these snippets Rel=Author and Rel=publisher. This is how: Rel=AuthorRel=publisher. It is said (I have not tested) that it requires as well that your Google+ profile exists in more than 1000 circles or have more than 1000 “likes” and verified in order to have this information display in the SERP. This solution of Google secures that it is only you that can add the code to the web page and associate this web page/article/post to your Google+ profile. It’s a way to make sure that “you are you”. Create trust by certifying who you are – tag your content People don’t have time to investigate the legal aspects of your organization. But they get to read about non-profit organizations that act in a non-ethic way, are illegal or don’t do what they promise to do with the gathered founds. It becomes more important than ever to secure that our readers trust us. I think that a good way is to tell them “that we are those we say we are” already in the search. If displayed, we would simplify the research, they would see what else we have written, know that the pages are ours and even see that other trust us by the number of Google+ circles we are in. By making use of this functionality prepared by Google to say that “you are you”, we can show our readers that we stand behind the words we write. Therefore, tag your content with: Rel=Author and your sites with Rel=publisher and hopefully Google takes this into consideration in the search results of your donors and supporters. Be more visible in the Google search results – create qualitative content There are tons of posts written about the new Search Plus Your World algorithm implemented by Google not long ago. Working within the non-profit community it is hard to ignore this increasing importance of the Google+ profile and it is probably the right moment to start (if not already implemented) the discussion about how to integrate this area of dialog to your strategies. This new search result content means that it’s more important than ever that our “posts” are shared via Google+ to qualify as result in the organic Google search as Google gives Google+ content a lot more play. It is as well important that the +1 is available on our websites and clicked on for our posts in the organic search so that they become sharable and commented items in Google+. This will impact their ranking in the SERP. The reason why these are important actions is the fact that the content could show up as a result in our ambassadors’, donors’ and followers’ search result. Imagine what that could mean for your visibility and click-through rates. Leveraging on the sharing possibilities of the Google+ profile to be part of the Google search results of our readers that now integrates the social part of your Google+ circles dialogs and applying the previously mentioned snippets are two actions worth testing as SEO techniques to increase your visibility in the SERP. Support the “viralization” of your message – share via Google+ Don’t you agree that the link with the image and the reference to the amount of circles as well as name drags your attention?It would probably generate more direct clicks, +1 leading to better ranking. If those that support you, believe in you, are in your Google+ circles, their search will be populated with links to results from people and profiles of organizations they have circled to go along with other standard organic search. You can turn the social-related functionality off, but we are probably moving towards a more social world, so I guess people will not turn it off. What if the result shows other organizations the have circled but not yours? Is that a lost of potential awareness creation and clicks? It takes the first part of the search results and we are more likely to see that first and click, wherefore the content plan for our Google+ voice must be reinforced and viewed from a search point of view, as well. I think it means that we must put more focus on what we share through our Google+ profiles. We must think what it is that our donors, followers and supporters are interested in and solve their need for information, because we may pop up in their search and they may +1 or share with their networks – being our ambassadors. Before they came to us if they thought the answer was with us, now we may “pop up” (or be absent) where they are in the moment they may need us. Creative content, content that engage and solving the information need is more important than ever. Google’s way of supporting us via snippets in certifying our content and the way the organic search results plays with the social content from Google+ just gives us an opportunity to re-think our communication plans, content plans and channel mix. I believe it forces us to become more focused in understanding who our followers are and secure that we are visible online. A perfect way to use online functionality for a good purpose. Have you been able to draw these or other benefits by potentiating your Google+ profile?

Patricia Polvora is a Marketing & Communication Professional on a multinational company with a passion for the non-profit World. She mixes her knowledge and experiences from these two worlds to suggest how non-profit organizations can benefit from new technology, methodology and online strategies. Contact her to share you experiences!

Connect with me on Google+

6 ways non-profit organizations could trigger dialog with the app Friendthem

FriendthemQuestion to you: of those you met at your last event or conference, how many did you remember the day after? Hard to remember names? How sure were you of who-is-who from your business cards? Unless you have a very good memory or note-strategy, this may be the point where you start to loose potential network opportunities and friends. “Facebook me” has started to become the way of saying – get-in-contact-with-me which presents a problem, as it starts to get hard to find the right profile of a person among similar names. As a non-profit organization it’s more important than ever to network – offline and online – and we spend a lot of time at events and conferences to interact with people, talk about our cause or share our successes opening up for future dialog.

The application Friendthem, founded by Richard Passer, may be one of your supporting tools in that labor. Friendthem is the app that helps in converting people near you into Facebook friendsFriendthem is the app that secures that you find the right “Juan Perez” among many similar Facebook profiles, helping you with the “Facebook me” issue.

But Friendthem could also be used to trigger and enhance your post-event dialog. Some ideas on how this app can be useful.

  1. Offer a fast-track for interaction with your experts
  2. Add value to your Facebook friend requests
  3. VIP your audience
  4. Facilitate your participants ‘networking’
  5. Encourage your listener to participate actively
  6. Teach your audience about your organization

Offer a fast-track for interaction with your experts: If you are the speaker at a conference, bring members of your team, introduce them and ask the audience to Friendthem so that they can chat their questions and comments to your colleagues via Facebook during the speech. As a listener, most of the questions pop-up during the presentation and you seldom get the opportunity to ask them right away. As a speaker you add value to the speech by offering a parallel track of direct dialog, a dialog the audience will have with your organization and where your expertise is visualized and experienced. It also opens up a door for continued dialog after the speech by sending e.g. the presentation and answers to all other questions and arranging follow up meetings.

Add value to your Facebook friend requests: Once you have “tagged” your in-the-break-discussion-contact via Friendthem, use the functionality offered of postponing the Facebook friend request to make sure that you provide relevant information as a follow-up to the discussion you had. Add links to the presentation you held, to the webpage you would like them to visit and to the survey or other info you want to convey. Don’t forget the personal touch (“thanks for the coffee!”) in your request.  I.e. use this functionality to add value to the dialog with your new contact triggering future conversation and making the friend request more relevant to what you talked about at the break.

VIP your audience: VIP your audience, make them feel special.If you are the organizer, ask your participants to connect via Friendthem with an assigned profile so that you can provide them with the links to the light version of the next speaker’s presentation, the “trigger” or bio 10 min before the speech. As a listener you like to be prepared and being “VIPed” the material would be perceived as an added value also giving the listener the opportunities to take notes directly on the slides. Once having this door open to those that have shown interest, you can follow up with material or dialog.

Facilitate your participants ‘networking’: If you are the event organizer make it easier for your participants to identify each other. Encourage them to download Friendthem for easier identification of who participates (make sure the nametags go along with the Facebook profile names). It would save them the hassle of finding out if the other person has “bump”, Bluetooth, scanner, paper&pen etc. You add value by giving everybody the same process to connect offering you the opportunity to introduce team members that could be key in the dialog with the participants for specific areas you want to trigger.

Encourage your listener to participate actively: Make your presentation more interactive and learn more about your listeners in order to continue the dialog at later stage based on their interests. Ask your participants to Friendthem your profile if they want to participate in the polls that you refer to in your presentation or feedback on your content, their input would come via the Facebook chat. Analyze the responses  and as you already have them as friends, continue the dialog based on their feedback.

Teach your audience about your organization: Encourage participants to play with your brand. Playing is a way to learn.Set up a contest, game, competition at an event you arrange or attend asking the participants to download Friendthem and “search for” a specific person (you could even create a profile just for this occasion). This profile can deliver tricky questions, ask for check-in at Facebook places which would “teach” the participants about your organization. You can trigger participation with prices, discounts, support a donation or other creative ideas you may come up with.

Can this be done directly in Facebook? Yes of course, but Friendthem would work as a bridge to identify who really wants to connect with you, to give them a feeling of being part of a group with common interests. You have better control of who wants to be part of your initiatives and don’t have to bother all the others with information they haven’t asked for- You learn about your new friends or co-participants. On top of that it gives us, as listener, the possibility to choose how active or passive we want to be.

In a follow up article I will ask Friendthem developers their thoughts around how this app can help non-profit in their communication – what would you like to ask them?

Patricia Polvora is a Marketing & Communication Professional on a multinational company with a passion for the non-profit World. She mixes her knowledge and experiences from these two worlds to suggest how non-profit organizations can benefit from new technology, methodology and online strategies. Contact her to share you experiences!

Connect with me on Google+