At the end of my degree in New Media I applied for an internship at CoolBrands in Amsterdam. They told me that there was a place available on a project in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The aim of the project was to improve the image of the Brazilian food industry. A food design agency was developing food innovations with 14 companies including a coffee producer, a meat company and a cachaça producer.

CoolBrands was responsible for the project communications and creating ‘branded content’ in the form of a book and a website. So we started off on a storytelling expedition, during which we visited all the participating food companies, conducted video interviews with company CEOs, wrote stories and took photos.

My job was to come up with an online strategy in which we used augmented reality to link the book to online content.

We came up with a really cool feature that linked photos of our interviewees in the book to online videos of them discussing their work. Using an AR-app on a mobile device, readers would go a step further into the book as it were, and be able to get additional content online: photos would merge into video interviews and logos into Facebook pages.

The book tells the story of a trip through Brazil, of the people we met and the new foods we discovered. But at the same time it is an entry point to more online content.

During these five months in Brazil, I learned a lot, about Brazilian culture, work ethics and many other things. But there is one important thing I learned that has nothing to do with Brazil in particular: when you’re in a country where you don’t know anybody and you want to find out about someone you work with or get background information on the CEO of a coffee-producing company, what do you do?


Right, you Google them.


Google is the new background check: I check people out; they check me out!

And I found out that most people underestimate the importance of their online presence.

If you find no information on a person, or if the search results are irrelevant or outdated, your first impression will not be positive. But if, on the other hand, you immediately find multiple sources showing that person’s achievements and aspirations, it will have a Wingman effect. By the time I meet the person face to face, my first impression is already shaped: I know his achievements, Google told me all about it.

In the age of digital media and online social networks, people increasingly need to take care of their online presence. It increases the chance of a good first impression and increases the chances of people reaching out to them.

So, use Google as your Wingman.



© CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands

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