A lot of you may have been on business trips but I bet your trip wasn’t as exciting (and tragic) as this gentlemen’s trip was.
What was also surprising was that his employer was found liable for his death as it was classified as an industrial accident.
The exact cause of death was a cardiac arrest whilst he was having sex with a stranger he had met on the business trip.
Now, whilst having a heart attack during sex with a stranger probably wouldn’t meet most people’s definition of an “industrial accident” a French court found otherwise. The court stated that the employer was responsible for any accident occurring during a business trip and ruled that his family were entitled to compensation.
The man who died on the job, named as Xavier X, was working as an engineer for TSO, a railway services company based near Paris and his employer had perhaps quite reasonably argued that he was not carrying out professional duties when he got into an extra marital relationship with a total stranger in his hotel room.
This opinion though wasn’t accepted by the court and they upheld the view that sexual activity was normal, “like taking a shower or a meal”.
As a result of it being classified as a normal activity on a business trip, the death was considered to be an industrial accident and under French law, partners or children of industrial accident victims receive up to 80 per cent of their salary until what would have been the person’s retirement age, with pension contributions paid from then on.
The German carmaker Volkswagen said “we regret if it appeared to some that we overshot the mark of this campaign.”
The campaign involved announcing that it would change its name in North America from Volkswagen to “Voltswagen” as a reflection of its commitment to an electric car future.
The market was impressed by the news and the share price of the company shot up by 5%.
One of the leading newspapers in the UK, the Guardian wrote that “For 65 years, Volkswagen has been one of the most popular names in American motoring, its VW Beetle snaring generations of enthusiasts and selling millions of vehicles. But now, in North America at least, the Volkswagen brand is no more.”
Wall Street analysts provided guidance about the company’s strategic direction. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives was reported as saying to investors that the name change “underscores VW’s clear commitment to its EV [Electric Vehicle] brand”
The problem with the announcement though was that it was a joke.
An April Fool’s joke to be exact.
A lot of people were unhappy about the announcement.
After all, April Fool’s jokes tend to have a short life span being announced on the morning of 1 April and then revealed as a joke later that day.
Volkswagen took it a step further though.
They ran the news for several days in the run up to 1 April.
The campaign could get the company into trouble with the US Securities and Exchange Commission who are likely to look as the stunt in case it is seen as an attempt to manipulate the company’s stock price.
Volkswagen said in a statement to CNN that “It is a publicity measure in the context of the market launch of the ID.4 and the e-mobility push in the USA.”
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/VW_electric.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-04-07 14:19:332021-04-07 14:21:56Is the joke on Volkswagen?
Working from home has become a fact of life for a lot of people due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Synonymous with working from home are the video conferencing facilities such as Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams.
The growth in use of these technologies has been phenomenal. Back in December 2019 for example there were on average 10 million daily meeting participants on zoom. Fast forward to 2021 and the daily averages are around 300 million.
The technologies have been incredibly useful for keeping teams together and maintaining working practices but with back-to-back zoom meetings sometimes going on for hours some people are suffering from “zoom fatigue”.
There’s also the issue of what happens if you are desperate for a cup of coffee or a call of nature during a particularly long and boring meeting?
It’s pretty obvious on the screen if you try and sneak out for a couple of minutes and taking your laptop with you to the kitchen or toilet is best avoided.
Enter the recently released freezingcam.com which as the name suggests enables you to simply click a button on screen and your webcam will freeze and give the impression that you are having internet connection issues.
After quickly popping out of the room to do whatever you wanted to do, you can get back to your desk, click the unfreeze button and lo and behold you are back at the meeting and everyone thinks you were having internet issues rather than looking for those chocolate digestive biscuits in the kitchen…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/zoom_call.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-03-23 14:41:492021-03-23 14:50:34Enjoy the freeze…
112 years ago Theodor Tobler and Emil Baumann invented the chocolate bar Toblerone. The name is a play on the names “Tobler” and “Torrone”, the Italian word for honey and almond nougat.
It is one of the most recognizable brands in the world and anyone that has travelled through a major airport will almost certainly have seen the famous chocolate bar produced by Kraft Foods for sale in one of the duty free outlets.
One of the most important aspects of a successful brand is the logo.
The Toblerone logo is well known but do you see an animal hidden inside it?
Toblerone originated in Bern, Switzerland – a city whose name is rumored to mean, “City of bears”. Look at the logo again closely and you will find a bear facing to the right and stood on its hind legs.
Although I’m biased I love the ExP logo. According to the designers it is fresh, sharp, simple and easy to remember. Also, the “ExP Man” in the middle emphasises the people aspect of the business.
It’s great but there is another logo which I think is extremely clever.
If you look at the Yoga Australia Logo what do you see?
At first glance the logo may look like a simple picture of a woman doing her yoga exercise but if you look at it carefully the body posture is creating the Australia Map.
A great design and thankfully I didn’t pose for it as the map would have looked like a crumpled mess.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/toblerone.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-02-11 05:54:062021-02-11 20:17:58Does your corporate logo cover a continent?
There are over 300 million twitter accounts and more than 500 million tweets are sent per day. That’s an impressive figure that works out at over 5,000 tweets per second.
It can be a useful tool for companies. They can use it to engage with their customers and potential customers by way of branding and promotional activities. They can also use it as a form of a helpdesk or customer support. The Dutch airline KLM for example uses Twitter and Facebook to enable customers to contact them and get a reply within an hour.
Most companies will use Twitter to promote items or get their message out but Twitter user @edgette22 has identified a secret the fast food giant KFC has been keeping within their Twitter account.
KFC is the world’s second-largest restaurant chain (as measured by sales) after McDonald’s, with nearly 20,000 locations globally in over 100 countries.
They also have over a million Twitter followers.
But they only follow 11 people.
And the 11 people they follow are a strange mix.
Geri Halliwell, Mel B, Emma Bunton, Mel C and Victoria Beckham (in other words the 5 ladies who made up the Spice Girls).
They also follow Herb Scribner, Herb J. Wesson Jr, Herb Waters, Herb Dean, Herb Sendek and Herb Alpert.
Or to put it another way, KFC follow five Spice Girls and 6 Herbs.
Five spices and six herbs?
That sounds familiar as the secret recipe for KFC chicken is 11 herbs and spices.
Either the social media department of KFC were having a quiet day and decided to play a few games or it was a deliberate move to get people talking about KFC when their followers were noticed.
Either way, congratulations are due to whoever was behind the idea.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/KFC_twitter.png10321834Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-01-27 09:36:082021-01-27 21:02:04Some spicy people to follow…
Picture the scene. It’s the first night of your honeymoon. You’ve just married a beautiful Italian Signorina called Marianna. You’re Italian and Italian men have a reputation for being some of the most romantic men in the world.
Now, even though some may say this reputation has largely been self created, there are still certain things you should do on your honeymoon and certain things you should definitely not do on your honeymoon.
Due to Italian privacy laws the individuals concerned can only be identified by their Christian names but what did Stefano do on his honeymoon that led to his new wife divorcing him one month into their marriage?
From a project management point of view there are various tools and techniques that can be used to ensure a project runs smoothly. One of these is to ensure that the team is made up of the right type of person as well as the appropriate number of people.
A well known theory behind what makes a good team is Belbin’s team role models.
In simple terms, Belbin’s theory says that people are born with certain characteristics. Belbin gave names to the different types of people. For example, a “plant” is a person that likes to come up with ideas and is usually quite creative. A “Monitor Evaluator” is somebody with a logical eye who can make impartial judgements.
Back to the one month marriage though and Stefano decided that rather than the traditional 2 person project team that goes on the majority of honeymoons he would make his a 3 person team.
To his wife’s understandable annoyance, Stefano’s 3 person honeymoon team included himself, his new wife and his mother.
The project team first started showing signs of a split when the mother-in-law turned up at the airport for the flight to the honeymoon destination of Paris.
A honeymoon in Paris sounds great until you realise that your mother-in-law is staying in an adjoining room at the hotel you’re staying at and accompanying you to every meal and romantic boat trip along the Seine.
One month after the wedding and Marianna left the marriage home they shared in Rome and returned to her home town of Naples leaving the 39 year old Stefano without a wife.
Maybe Marianna is more of a Belbin’s “Completer Finisher” than Stefan and his mum may have thought.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/belbins-role-models.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-01-20 09:24:282021-01-20 15:43:37The 3 person honeymoon and Belbin team roles…
Here’s a nice ethical question for you – have you lied recently?
My guess is that you have. Now before you get all righteous about it, I think that you probably did it without even thinking.
Wow, this is pretty worrying isn’t it? A lot of you are studying for professional exams and if I’m here saying that you have lied without thinking about it then what does that mean for your profession going forward?
Terms and conditions (or T&Cs) are essential for companies which are operating on the Internet or providing apps. For example, they clarify the relationship between the user and the supplier and make it clear what it provided. In reality, the chances are that they also limit the liability of the provider!
A recent report by thinkmoney identified the number of words in the T&Cs of some of the leading apps.
They found that the combined terms and conditions of 13 top apps including TikTok, WhatsApp and Zoom would take 17 hours and five minutes to read!
The longest was Microsoft Teams which was 18,282 words long.
To put this into perspective, there are more words in the Microsoft T&Cs than there are in Shakespeare’s famous play Macbeth (if you’re interested, a mere 18,110 words).
For those of you that are fans of Shakespeare you may prefer Hamlet to Macbeth.
Instead of reading Hamlet you could read the T&Cs of TikTok (11,698 words), WhatsApp (9,920 words) and Facebook (8,588).
A combined number of words for these 3 of 30,206 words which is more than the 30,066 word count of Hamlet.
Back to my original point when I said that you are (probably) a liar.
So, have you ever clicked that you have read and agree to the T&Cs…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/length-of-terms.jpg9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-11-13 20:05:472020-11-13 20:05:47You are (probably) a liar…
At the start of the year zoom calls were relatively uncommon. Now though, with the global pandemic, they are a common feature of business life for most of us.
Whilst some people will creatively claim that their video isn’t working so that they can scroll through their phone whilst half listening to the meeting, most people will have their video on so that the rest of the people in the meeting can see them.
This has had a bit of an impact on fashion. After all, if the lower half of you isn’t being seen why worry too much about what shoes or trousers/skirt you’re wearing.
The London and Milan fashion weeks which took place last month had a definite “waist-up” focus.
For example, the leading fashion house Prada had its logo near the collars of its top. Prada reportedly said that this was not inspired by zoom but rather by the “contemporary human relationship with technology”.
As anyone who has met me will confirm, I’m clearly not an expert on fashion but the cynic in me feels that some people who spend a lot of money on designer clothes will want other people to know what brand of clothes they are wearing.
What better way of highlighting your expensive clothes on a zoom call than to have the logo just below the collar. A clever move by Prada
Other changes which have been reported in women’s fashion recently include an increase in the popularity of jewellery whilst sales of handbags and shoes have fallen.
In summary therefore, it’s important how you look on a zoom call but only if it’s visible…
New product innovation is vital for lots of organisations. Sometimes though the idea for a new product can come from unusual places.
VELCRO is a type of hook and loop fastener which we’ve all seen. It has that characteristic “rasping” sound when you pull it apart and will stick back together with the minimum of fuss. It’s commonly used in clothing and shoes to replace buttons, zips and laces.
So, who came up with the idea?
George de Mestral was a Swiss engineer and in 1941 he got the inspiration for VELCRO whilst out with his dog in the Alps.
He noticed that as his dog ran past Burdock plants, the burrs of the plant (a tiny seed covered in hundreds of microscopic ‘hooks’) would catch onto his dog’s fur.
That was his “eureka moment” and he spent the next 10 years investigating how he could get “hooks” like those found on the plant to engage with the “loops” found on materials.
The key thing was to be able to secure it together but then pull it apart (and then keep on repeating this without it breaking!)
Luckily, he had friends in the weaving industry who helped him work on prototypes and the end result was that in 1955 he filed his first patent for the hook and loop fasteners.
He also needed a distinctive name to go with his invention and he came up with VELCRO.
VELCRO is in fact a combination of the French words “velour” (velvet) and “crochet” (hook). VELCRO therefore in effect means “hooked velvet”.
Since it’s launch it has gone on to become one of the most used items in clothing and all of this came about as a result of a man walking with his dog in 1941.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Velcro_Blue.jpg9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-10-09 22:08:382020-10-09 22:08:38I’ll stick to that…
Getting professional photos taken for advertising can be expensive but this particular photo shoot for Estee Lauder is expensive.
Very expensive in fact.
4 hours of photography will cost USD 128,000.
That certainly is expensive for 4 hours of work but to be fair it’s a very unusual photoshoot as it will take place inside the International Space Station and the photographers will be the astronauts.
In what will be a first for advertising, Nasa is charging Estee Lauder USD128,000 for Nasa astronauts to take photos and to film some shots of Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair serum face cream in various locations around the space station.
The total fee includes the astronauts’ time at USD17,500 per hour (which is a pretty impressive charge out rate!).
A Nasa spokeswoman said that Estée Lauder was “paying for the astronauts to be the photographer, not to use the product, not to put the product on themselves, not even to open the product”.
Estee Lauder obviously think that the advertising will pay off but some people will no doubt argue that the cost of such photoshoots ultimately has to be recovered by the company and the way they do that is in the price of their products.
The counter argument to this though is that it’s more than just being about the photos in the adverts. The general publicity that Estee Lauder will get from being the first cosmetics business to have their products in space will also be valuable for the company.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/space_station_advertising.jpg6441142Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-09-23 15:40:592020-09-29 06:51:50Out of this world advertising…
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