Shameless plug

My publication pace has dropped in the past week, as I was fully busy working on my company rebranding, not a single day off in the past 11 days and 2 hours of sleep last night. Yet another interesting challenge in my corporate life. So far I've refrained from writing too much about my employer, especially because this is my personal site and not a corporate weblog, but today is a bit special and I'm going to do a shameless plug.

I joined Cap Gemini in 1998. In May 2000, we acquired the consulting practice of Ernst & Young and became Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. Today, we become Capgemini.

Involved in both events, I learned a great deal about mergers, reorganizations, transformations and branding. Being a change agent in the soul helped me a lot and I will gladly let my memory discard the hard moments in favor of the fun and the positive side of things.

What's special about our present rebranding is that it's not yet another bullet-thinking consultantese sugarcoated with a fancy name (ah! Monday is already taken, what about Friday?). It's a (re)discovery of our brand, i.e. what our clients, former clients and prospects think about us. The amount and depth of work that we've conduced to find out how we are perceived in their eyes, our strengths and weaknesses confronted without complaisance to their expectations, is impressive and has led to us to a reformulation of our brand with the Collaborative Business Experience (here's the shameless plug along with some free PageRank ;-). Check our TV ad featuring Daren Cahill, André Agassi's coach, who presents himself as a simple guy who likes to do things well and helps the champion get even better. I can't help but think that this is a great counter example of a certain company picturing itself and its clients elliptically with an eagle diving to catch a fish -- I let you guess who's the client.

Here is what I learned from this project:

- collaboration is good but requires strong team players

- you definitely cannot work as easily and quickly on a PC than with a Mac when dealing with creative materials, notably digital video. I've done tons of small videos with a DVCAM, iMovie and iDVD in no time. Plus it took me literally five minutes to train other colleagues to do the same. And no need to tell me you can do the same on a PC, I can watch my colleagues fail miserably all day long and the looks of envy they give to my Mac

- the bigger the agency, the heavier the HTML code. Project managers are clueless on web standards. Best question: "what XHTML DOCTYPE do you want with this 99-vintage-nested-tables-transparent-gif design?" More on this in due time

- the DNS is your enemy, as are caches and people who keep phoning you that "the site does not work" but are incapable of sending an email with a URL

- if you're only having two hours of sleep, you're probably better staying up (especially if it means being woken up by the same morons starting their daily phone spamming)

- intranet weblogs will make a hit

- pick your suppliers carefully. In difficult times, the best ones will shine and you will be wondering how you could have done it without them

- if your logo hasn't been designed for the web, live with it and enjoy it on other media...