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Last month interactive fitness platform Peloton went public. ‘Peloton, who?’, a lot of my friends in Europe and here in Israel might ask. It is not a company that is widely known outside of the US, and that’s a real shame because it has been able to almost single-handedly reshape the world of at-home fitness. Their one-year retention rate of 96% tops even that of Netflix, who gets stuck at ‘only’ 93%. This is even more impressive when you consider their offering: a spinning bike or treadmill that will set you back a modest $2,300 or $4,300, respectively. …


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In his book The Content Trap, Harvard professor Bharat Anand states that every company should behave like a media company. No B2C company can afford to only be selling goods through their store (be that online or offline). I’d add to that by saying a brand nowadays can’t afford to only be a retailer or service provider anymore, they should be “slashing” — publisher/fashion brand/event organiser/home decor manufacturer/full-on media producer.

Those are only a few of the slashes I’d use to describe Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand. Goop has been winning over the trust and wallets of its (mainly female) audience and has succeeded to build a wellness empire that people either seem to adore or despise. Whichever camp you belong to, the company has been pioneering the modern landscape of eCommerce and can be taken as a classroom example of brand building. What is the special formula that makes Goop the trailblazing success it is today? …


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With only 29 products in their catalogue they managed to generously cross the $100M revenue mark in 2018. The VC-backed company with $86M funding in the bank employs 200 full-time employees, across three offices and can proudly claim 70% of their workforce to be female (and an even more impressive 60% of their board). And they only have 2 physical stores.

I came across the name Glossier through a few girlfriends that specifically asked me to pick up some of the brand’s products while I was in New York. They warned me about the long queue outside the showroom — which I endured semi-patiently — and once I set foot in the sanctuary I was intrigued. Sales reps in dusty pink overalls holding iPads to take your order. No cash register to be seen, only large tables with carefully displayed cosmetics, large mirrors with just the right lighting and wooden benches for the boyfriends. It was like entering an Apple store for Beauty. Only minus the humongous marketing budgets to hook consumers into their story. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, they have 1.7M followers on Instagram and can count on tens of thousands of likes for each post. …


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It’s been almost half a year since I started my position as a marketing manager at a promising cyber security startup — my first real marketing job. And like anything in a startup it feels like time is passing in dog years! When I started the job, I already had some experience in social media and offline marketing, mainly focused on positioning, and looking back on 6 months I can honestly say I learned a ton.

With our main marketing KPI being lead generation I was thrown into in an unknown sea of skills, platforms and strategies I had only vaguely heard about before. And on top of that I had to learn a totally new industry — information security, that is — that couldn’t have been further from what I knew. …


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In today’s world we can know everything — from anyone’s location, your exact ETA, to the genetic mapping of the cells in your body. Companies like 23andMe and MyHeritage cleverly turned this in a commercial success, making genetic testing more accessible and common. Couples that are planning to conceive are increasingly turning to genetic tests to get all the stats on their chances of a sick child. If the technology is available, why not use it, right?

When discussing this with my parents they immediately painted a scary future of custom made ‘designer babies’: where we get to choose the eye and hair color of our unborn children — and ideally intelligence as well. Of course this is a stark difference from prenatal genetic testing when there’s not even an embryo conceived, but the technology to edit our genes does already exist. …


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This blog is based on the session ‘Data Journalism and Hacking PR’ by Blue Seedling’s Netta Kivilis for Microsoft ScaleUp Tel Aviv.

**Scroll down for your TL;DR**

In 2013 a small, 11-person startup from New York that provides a CRM Activation software solution, was hosted on Bloomberg’s TV show ‘Bottom Line’. Not to announce any jaw-dropping new product or exceptional IPO, but to talk about Cyber Monday. How did such a small company, where the marketing team was a woman “who likes to read” with minor content and PR experience, manage to make it on the silver screen in front of a national audience and create such a splash of exposure for themselves? …


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The summer is in full force and this means an overflowing Instagram feed of barely-there bikinis and worried thoughts about having to fit in one myself. When I was a teenager the magazines I read layed out their ‘Get Your Body Ready for the Beach’ plans already in February with a precise schedule of military-esque workout routines, a lettuce-diet and multiple tanning sprays. And they all made me hyper-aware of the fact that my body did not look like the accompanying pictures, AT ALL. As early as I can remember I’ve had a certain discontent with my body and have always strived to look better (a.k.a. different). The thought of having to showcase the result barely naked on a beach made me very worried and try all kinds of extreme dieting methods. The result? Even today I can’t confidently say I’m happy with my (bikini) body. And I have a feeling I’m not the only one. So why the hell did someone come up with this concept and why are we still talking about the Bikini Body?

The bikini body started as a genius marketing strategy: the term was coined in 1961 by a chain of diet salons, Slenderella. Creating an ideal to keep people unhappy, hungry (pun intended) for something they cannot reach: that was the goal. And magazines eagerly jumped on the opportunity, merciless judging the softer edges of our bodies and preaching a rigorous diet to reach that glorified Bikini Body.
Baywatch was a good advertisement for this — with Pamela Anderson’s body only moving in the right places (allegedly Pam was supposed to stay a meager 50 kilo for the series) and putting high-cut red bathing suits on the global map. The nineties also introduced Kate Moss whom women all over the globe adored with her grunge-look and motto: Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. Lovely. And let’s not forget the introduction of the Supermodel with her legs for days and effortlessly flaunting them in tiny swimwear.

The success of Victoria’s Secret’s globally televised runway shows made it completely normal for women to show off their lack of body fat in underwear or a bathing suit. At least they appeared to be enjoying it despite their incredibly strict diet leading up to the show. The brand’s message about the ideal body put the bar way up there: skinny but with a hint of curves in the right places. Good luck to us women trying to fit into that mold. And in the meantime the fashion magazines would raise an eyebrow if you weren’t yet on some bikini-body regime by the time April came knocking. The world could not have been more fascinated by the curve-obsession that followed — introducing J.Lo and the famous Kardashians showing off what Mother Nature gave them. These women are the spokespeople of the sex goddess-indoctrination where they advocate for a female body that is sensual, available, moldable and shaped for the male gaze.

And these same Kardashians that once took the world by storm with their famous curvaceous bodies, now cranked it up a notch: you can’t be part of the game without your fair amount of gym hours, because having a goddess body alone doesn’t cut it: you need to be as fit as a professional athlete too. But not too bulky, or without curves, or with cellulite — I’m overwhelmed. And let’s not forget about the huge influence social media has had on our perception of the perfect body and the importance of the way we look. Everything is tangible now, literally in the palm of our hand and readily available. No need to wait every month for the newest edition of Cosmo to land on your door mat — our fascination with celebrities and their lifestyle is there for us to be satisfied 24/7, wherever we are. And they seem closer by than ever thanks to reality tv and the oversharing of very private moments. Who didn’t come across a bathroom mirror selfie on their IG feed of a super fit celebrity in underwear or bikini, looking super casual while making sure to snap from the most flattering angle to look as skinny as possible? #goals And because they’re so ‘nearby’ they become our standard to which we compare ourselves.

And it could have been so nice: social media with its democratization of content where the audience decides on what skyrockets in feed ranking. Where anybody with a decent camera can become a mega-star, anywhere on the planet, regardless of status or talent. It might have diversified the beauty standard and once and for all stop to put women in the same straitjacket. Despite the many movements against the thinspiration and fitspiration hashtags and spokespeople for a positive body image, it seems that the indoctrination of the perfectly shaped bikini body is still thriving. Because these influencers that are able to make a living off their social media feed also need to eat (or pay their gym membership) and will quickly cave for a lucrative deal to advertise anything the big brands want us to buy. Resulting in a lack of body-diversity on social media.

The belief of today’s generation is one of make-ability of one’s body: photo filters, surgery, workouts and diets. You have no excuse to just look your plain self, you need to improve! Already from the start of Spring the message is: get bikini-ready. And once you’re actually on a real beach you can’t just lie on your towel and have a good time: you got to snap that perfect shot of you casually hanging out as if this was not orchestrated or heavily filtered. The ideal bikini body might have changed over the years (from Pam’s bosem, Kate’s skinniness, Claudia’s legs and Kim’s curves, to today’s era of ‘Fit is the new Thin’) but the bottom line is the same: you have to change.

So how can one stay sane and clear from any bikini-body-obsession? A diet might help, a media- diet that is, in the hopes of becoming immune to this third party that has such a loud voice in the conversation around our own body image. Turns out that women that look at fitspiration- or thinspiration-images are only unhappier with their bodies, according to research from the Centre of Appearance Research. Those images don’t make them move more or eat less. It actually has the opposite effect: if you’re unhappy with your body it makes you not want to move or treat your body with love and respect. And if cutting out all social media is a bit too much, there’s also the lighter media-literate version: develop your own internal media filter that will allow you to spot these messages, ask yourself why these messages are being spread by companies and what they mean to you.

I think the ban of the term ‘Bikini Body’ could be a very good start towards a more forgiving and loving body image. Let’s start working on that routine once the summer is in sight. …


The Deal With Smart Cities — I’m Ready For an Urban Renaissance

I’m a city girl and don’t see myself move to the outskirts anytime soon. Only problem: cities are old. They were build many centuries ago for people that didn’t even know what a car was. Nowadays, our cities are slow-moving and unresponsive to change. It seems like they’re incapable of catering to the high demands of the millennial lifestyle despite a huge increase in urban population.

Luckily there are some very exciting technologies on the horizon or already in our pockets that can be the gatekeeper to making the city work for you. …


The Impostor Club — the syndrome, the cycle and the trophy generation

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It took me a very long time to post my first blog online. Not because I didn’t have any ideas written down but because I had nagging doubts about whether what I had to say would be good enough to be published and whether I had the credibility to write something and call it a ‘blog’. Afraid of what people might think — I was sure they’d read it and raise their eyebrows with the thought “who does she think she is??”. All the while carefully ignoring the encouragement and confirmation from friends and family around. The fear of being discovered as a total sham made me not write publicly for a very long time. …


We’re Not in Kansas Anymore — The Story of My Relocation

My relocation was not love at first sight. Even far from. I must admit I can be jealous of new immigrants arriving in Israel feeling comfortably at home from day 1, walking around with the confidence of a local without a trace of regret. I wish. Today I live happily in the beating heart of Tel Aviv, but it took me a good 4–5 years until I actually, voluntarily, chose to live in this country. …

About

Inge Lammertink

Marketing Manager at kick-ass cyber security startup | Startups, Design and Art | Now calls Tel Aviv home

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