Guillaume Rigal

life of a digital agency director

Category: Uncategorized

Hate is only taught. And what a horrible teaching.


It’s way past midnight in Paris. A couple hours past that horrible Friday 13th.

And I keep wondering how you can decide to end a hundred lives in a evening, lives of people out for a drink, a dinner, a concert, a game. 104 lives.

And the only thing that pops in mind is that hate. That hate that those who did this must have felt to believe such acts are justified.

112 lives. The numbers keep on coming on the TV that I can’t keep watching, but can’t shut down.

And I don’t feel any hate. Anger, Sadness, Fear, Disgust. Maybe Joy for all my friends and family members who are safe. But no hate.

You see people being wronged in life in any kind of way. Wronged by circumstances, wronged by other human beings. And they don’t hate. You see victims of the shoah talking about the horrors they lived through, the people they lost. And I can’t recall one hating. I have read interviews of Hiroshima survivors. No hate. I am not implying this must have been easy. But they moved on.

Hate is taught. Hate is not part of the normal feelings of a human being. Hate is fomented, provoked, fueled.

And what a horrible horrible teaching.

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Think Different? Not this time Pepsi.

When Pepsi launched a new category with Pepsi Next in 2012, it was light blue. Then Coca-Cola Life launched in 2014 in green. Now in 2015, Pepsi Next has turned green too. Think Different? Not this time Pepsi.

Think Different Pepsi Next

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O Google, I’m so in awe

Credit: Mobstr through

Credit: Mobstr through

O Google, I’m so in awe.

O Google, I’m so in awe
That you have several copies of most content produced by Mankind (online, books and videos).

O Google, I’m so in awe
That, on that note, you’ve grown a video business partly on copyright infringement grounds (more here).

O Google, I’m so in awe
That you have managed to get hundreds of millions of people (me included) to entrust you with our email accounts and messages, hence giving you (and at least one government agency) access to many of our plans and confidences.

O Google, I’m so in awe
That in the meantime you block or filter so many companies’ emails while taking their money to promote them in the inbox through “Gmail Ads” (a trick worthy of Houdini)

O Google, I’m so in awe
That you’re able to freely track billions of people’s online behaviors on virtually any site on the web through Google Analytics codes, YouTube embeds, Adsense & Google Display Network banners, Chrome usage and… of course search queries and clics (OK, that one’s fair).

O Google, I’m so in awe
That you benefit from many companies consciously or unconsciously letting you collect and store their website data (including sales and turnover) through Google Analytics.

O Google, I’m so in awe
That you can convince thousands of companies to let you handle their emails, agendas and documents through Google Apps for Work, some of these companies being potential or actual competitors (the case of the Twitter breach comes to mind*).

O Google, I’m so in awe
That you could just “penalize” (screw?) comparison services when launching your own comparison engine. While again taking money from advertisers and not being transparent with your search engine users.

O Google, I’m so in awe
That you did all that while your corporate motto once was “don’t be evil”.

That you did all that and yet have evaded antitrust regulation for so long.

That even when the FTC started a probe, you managed to avoid the tiniest scratch.

So, yes Google, I’m so in awe.
Now, let’s see what happens next.

To discuss this, engage on twitter: @guillaumerigal

Further reading on the topic:


* Note on the Twitter breach. This happened in 2009. From Arrington’s post on TechCrunch:

It’s not our fault that Google has a ridiculously easy way to get access to accounts via their password recovery question. It’s not our fault that Twitter stored all of these documents and sensitive information in the cloud and had easy-to-guess passwords and recovery questions.

And hopefully this situation will encourage Google and Google users to consider more robust data security policies in the future.

From Twitter’s own response:

This attack had nothing to do with any vulnerability in Google Apps which we continue to use.

I say WOW.

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Fifteen Quotes for your 2015 Marketing Plan and Strategy

Marketing has been undergoing tectonic changes and challenges at a very quick pace.

Some key evolutions are underway: content marketing, story telling, micro-targeting, benefit/user pain focus, authenticity in products and processes. These are but a few. And of course, with the tidal wave of Digital and Social in the background (with Interstellar wave proportions).

To illustrate how I believe Marketing is shifting -and it’s a matter of HOW not IF, I have drawn from quotes by giant marketers which I have to admit I love collecting. And so I give you Marketing in 2015 in 15 quotes.

I hope it brings you inspiration, purpose and support as you embark on your path of marketing transformation.

Please share your quotes, follow, share on Twitter and Linkedin.


Don’t count the people that you reach; reach the people who count. -David Ogilvy


Make the customer the hero of your story. -Ann Handley, Marketing Profs


Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make. -Bill Bernbach


Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. But make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice. -Akio Morita


Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress. -Seth Godin


I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody. -Herbert Swope


If you’re going through hell, keep going. -Winston Churchill


The aim of marketing is to make selling unnecessary. -Peter Drucker


The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be.

If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.

-David Ogilvy


Make it simple but significant. -Don Draper


Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you. -Tony Hsieh


Building loyalty and trust with an audience over a long period opens up amazing opportunities to sell more, save costs, or create customers for a lifetime. -Joe Pulizzi


Don’t underestimate the value people place on authenticity. -Shelly Lazarus


A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business. -Henry Ford

And to conclude:

Take the leap: tell short, personalized and genuine stories to inspire your customer to engage and buy. -Guillaume Rigal

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Terrorists’ Small Victory in Paris

Following the attacks earlier this months, I believe the terrorists didn’t succeed in scaring Parisians. For a moment we were shocked. Struck by disbelief, worried. But not afraid.

People are still walking the streets, shopping, getting to work. Life goes on.

There is however a small victory for the lunatics behind these attacks. It is in that we have the army, our army, walking the streets.

Don’t get me wrong: our soldiers are doing a terrific and necessary job, a dangerous one and clearly not an easy one. I am 200% with them.

But the truth is that no civilized city should be walked by heavily armed soldiers. No harm meant but this is not a trading post in Afghan mountains we are talking about. This is Paris, the city of lights and a city of peace. The city of Droits de l’Homme and Freedom.

This morning I was walking alongside a platoon of 8 soldiers carrying their backpacks, holding machine guns in their hands, and wearing bulletproof jackets. In a quiet neighborhood. For me, born and raised in Paris, this is striking. I know other major cities live with that (Tel-Aviv springs to mind) and to some extent Parisians have been used to seeing teams of 3 armed soldiers in the subway since the attacks of 1995. But this morning, this gave me a totally different feeling and perspective.

Crédit : KrzysztofTe</a

Crédit : KrzysztofTe

To me this is death by a thousand cuts for our European/western democracy model. Because these soldiers are the tip of the iceberg, the visible part of our global fight against raving madmen who seem to have sworn their lives to destroy that model. Our loss of privacy, whether obvious (street cameras) or more subtle (telecommunications spying), is an even bigger dent in what I perceive is our model, our values and our way of life.

So, even if it’s not news, it feels, just three weeks after the attacks, like the jihadists have scored a small victory. Not the one they intended. I am not scared by them. But I am worried by the world we are shaping for us and our kids, starting on our very doorsteps.

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Marketer, do you work for Google? Yes, you do, and you pay for the privilege.

Everybody's working for Google? At least, most marketers...[tweet this]

I manage a digital agency and I’ve been in online marketing for years. A lot of my connections are in that line of work. Across many industries, blue chips or startups. And yet most marketers I talk to are de facto working for Google.

Google first

When I talk with clients and contacts about building blogs, or creating / redesigning a site, they don’t talk about the end user, the reader, the client or even their president or boss first. No, their first reaction is to mention Google. Will the site be indexed and how well? Which keywords, topics will Google like? How should it be built for SEO.

And then, there is Adwords. The 5 megaton gorilla in the room. The be-all end-all of any marketing budget.

Marketers at companies, big and small, feel compelled to be on Google

I sometimes work with startups who have solutions to a “latent” need. And there you struggle: what type of query will potential customers type into Google? What proxy can we find? Yet, the very fact that their prospects are without the shadow of a doubt on Google (probably to find Lolcats, animated gifs or pics of Jennifer Lawrence) and the fear of missing out make those poor souls worry sick about how to throw their seed money at Google.

As for established players, most often in undifferentiated commodity markets (e.g. retailers, financial institutions, telcos…), Adwords is a bloodbath of epic proportions. All on the same expensive queries. You know what I mean.
[tweet this]

“Are we on that goddamn first page?”

So there you go, dear marketer: you spend most of your time worrying about Google, and indeed working for Google. And yes, if you use Adwords, you pay for the privilege. [tweet this]

Now, has someone ever asked how to differentiate? “Let’s not use Google as the main source of traffic!” Or at least, just considered putting up a decent site and stopping there. Let it get indexed and so be it. Let’s move to more meaningful work. Maybe go talk to a client.

Why it’s not just about Google

Because the truth is Google is a destination for people who already know what they want. You, my marketing-inclined friend, aren’t shaping their desires, creating the spark or influencing their decisions with Google. You’re more like a hitchhiker on the side of the road, hoping someone will get you onboard (e.g. click your ad) and let you coast along (e.g. not bounce once on your page), and then maybe get you up to your destination (e.g. buy or sign up or contact you…).

Unlike Mars, there is life outside Google

Go explore. Build your brand. Surprise your clients and prospects. Delight them if you can. Put on a show. [tweet this]

Take your Google budget and spend it all on a tradeshow booth or blow it on a majestic party for your clients.

Just kidding.

Let’s turn the 20% rule on Google

You know how Google had this policy that their engineers could/must spend 20% of their time on projects outside their job description?

Why not do that with your Google budget and spend 20% on testing other marketing tactics? OK, OK, maybe not 20%. Take 5%. It’s not gonna hurt. Yet, given the size of Search budgets these days, this can amount to a nifty sum to play with.

And every month, try something new.
[tweet this]

Veer off the classics.

If short of inspiration, try the most incongruous or ridiculous thing you can imagine. After all, Volvo Trucks didn’t get to 75M views of their latest stunt with Jean-Claude Van Damme by investing on Adwords.

Street Marketing? Sampling? Staging a protest outside your industry main conference? Blendtec didn’t become an internet sensation by playing it safe! In their “Will it blend?” series, they have shredded, among others, every Apple device to dust and raked millions views and comments in the process.

And guess what? Blendtec doesn’t have to buy “will it blend” on Google.

So, you too fellow marketer, stop working for Google!
Be bold, imagine and experiment!

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My first 9 Marketing nuggets in one slideshare

I love reading from great marketers and collecting awesome marketing quotes.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I started sharing « marketing nuggets » on my Linkedin and Twitter. I have collected the first 9 quotes in this simple slideshare which I hope will give you plenty of inspiration.

I got a bit heavy on the madmen and women of the sixties like David Ogilvy, Bill Bernbarch, Mary Wells-Lawrence, Phyllis Robinson and Jerry Della Femina. Yet, I included industry pioneers Henry Ford and Akio Morita, as well as management guru Peter Drucker. And to tap into contemporary marketers: Olivier Francois from Chrysler, because getting Eminem and Clint Eastwood in your ads puts you in that league for me.

In just 9 quotes, we cover a lot of marketing ground: research, creativity, learning, testing…

I’m also trying to capture each marketer’s approach. What they are known for. Like Della Femina’s self-described  »street- corner wise guy » style.

So, without further ado, for a nice dose of marketing awesomeness by some of the best marketing, voilà!

And what’s your favorite quote?

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Still building

Ce site est encore en développement…

Dernière ligne droite.


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Sept ans de réflexion

Sept Ans de RéflexionMon premier blog, je l’ai lancé en 2003. J’avais même écrit une application en Java pour l’administrer (Dana) qui avait évolué en un service lancé début 2004 (

Plus tard je suis passé sur Blogger et en 2007, j’ai arrêté de blogguer.

Sept ans de réflexion et seven-year itch, nous sommes en 2014 et je relance ce blog avec wordpress.

Hello (again) World! :)

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