Author: Maria Angella Capasso

Let’s start for the very beginning: who belongs this blog to? I am Maria Angella Capasso, known by friends, relatives and lovers as Angella. Because of a serendipitous afternoon, I decided to jump from Sociology and Social Science Methodology to Digital Marketing. So now I am studying a MSc in Digital Marketing in Scotland. So why not to combine digital skills with one of the best ‘things’ I am good at such as reading complicated books, AKA non - fiction books?
asitreallyhappened#6 Looking back your childhood.

asitreallyhappened#6 Looking back your childhood.

How to develop emotional Health

By Oliver James, MacMillan, 2014

Pp. 141. £10.00. ISBN 978-0-230-77171-0

How can we face the complex process in our adult life? How can we live the present and get insight from our own actions? Or most importantly, how can we understand our emotions? These questions could be solved reading Oliver James’ book which is an useful tool to start putting in order our vague “black box”. Oliver James is a clinical psychologist and author of several titles in the field. He has his own website – the official one and by the way, he has been criticized for his peers due to some assumptions which are not central point in here. In this review, you will find some reasons to read the book, because by the end of the day, it is always important to have a different perspective about emotional health, so essential in this complex western society.

For James, emotional health has to do with living the present, the ability to get insights from our own individual actions which allow us to get more information about ourselves. From time to time, we experience all kind of “negative emotions”, that is depression, rages, phobias and so on, but as matter of emotional health, we are able to overcome them and still have the “value of our existence” (James, p. 2) Most importantly, James states that nobody has a fully emotional health in this way. However, it doesn’t make impossible to achieve it.

Achieving a decent emotional health is simple: just look back your childhood background in terms how our parents took care of us. Yes, that is exactly what the book says. Using clinical examples which convey all kind of degrees of emotional health, James tell us the features of our onw emotionality – how we react in front of the complex scenarios, have to do with how we grew up in our first years as a child. In simple terms, our parents were the source to develop our actual emotional health. A way to understand ourselves would be to understand how our parents educated us: were they tenderness? Did they listen to us? How did they teach us when we made a mistake? It is not about to criticize our parents, but to get a better picture of how our childhood was. This is the central point of the book and that is the reason why another title would be much better. Readers cannot expect steps, or so much practical exercises, but a simple explanation about why our development at home is important to understand why we are now and measure our degree of emotionality.

Whatever the reason is, this book is a good starting point to understand the origins of our actual emotional health. This book will give the readers the theory and few exercises to make big changes in how we can see the world from other perspective and be more joyful, but do not expect steps and recipes.

asitreallyhappened# 5. A copywriting week for marketers

asitreallyhappened# 5. A copywriting week for marketers

A copywriting week for marketers

Discover here a good book to read if you are copywriter and you need to improve your style and technique for your next digital display advertising or digital marketing plan.

Copywriting in a week.

By Robert Ashton. John Murray Learning, 2016.

Pp. 124. £7.00. ISBN 978 1473 609419

If you are a (digital) copywrite and you need to improve your style and technique for a marketing project but you don’t have enough time (and budget for training), you will find this book easy to read and follow. In only seven chapters, which geniously matches with the seven days of the week, Robert Ashton exposures all the elements that a good (persuasive) copy should have, in particular for whom are in the (digital) marketing sector. Find below what I mean.

It’s Sunday. What does Robert bring us today? The reader will learn how to make the copy effective. In here, the rule is: know (making the audience aware your specific message), think (what they need to think) & do (purely and merely call to action). On a comfy Sunday, readers will learn how to make the copy a pleasurable reading, how to capture audience’s attention (call to action, again). After clarifying the goals of the copy, Ashton will teach us the structure of the copy, jargons and what they means. The day closes on how to hook the reader through some words selected.

Now, we are on Monday. This is an unusual Monday. Ashton shows us how the people read, because it will be important when preparing the layout of the piece of copy. Actually, the author will make us to be focused on the features of the copy (from the texture to the visual elements of it –  like pictures). Also, he introduces techniques to influence on the readers by the visual ways to present the piece of copy. For whom want to write copies for branding projects, the ending of this part is essential as the author shows us how to make words memorables, simply telling how it really is.

Finally, Tuesday. This chapter is about email and written letters. Starting from the differences between them, Ashton explains when to write business letters; how to combine familiarity with formality and how it is possible to build business relationships by using written letters. No more, no less.

Just in the middle: Wednesday. Ashton start preparing us how to stimulate responses by creating copies for advertising. Although you ‘know about your personas’, it is important to be careful of the copy you will advertise. Therefore, the guidelines are focused on persuasive actions, because at the end, we really don’t know who they are. Also, the author tell us about types and language of advertising, and most importantly for whom is new in the sector: how to construct effective display advertising, including posters which is an opportunity.

Almost there: Thursday. Ashton talks about how to deal with the media. He teaches us on how to build relationship with journalists, how the material are selected by them, how to become media commentator and how to become a good one. By the end of the chapter, a good reminder has been taught: blog is not the space to advertise, but to comment.

Glorious Friday. In here, Ashton tell us how to write piece of copy for promotional print (leaflets, brochures, catalogues, etc). But also, he opens the world of the print copies to show us how it works. Most importantly, in the customization’s era, Ashton teaches us how to personalize a promotional copy: simply, as if it is a cover letter and how to to generate a response.

And before the night comes: Saturday. The social entrepreneur ends the book telling us how to structure a proposal, as a final step just after having done the sales letters and brochures. Also, it is important for a copywriter how to presentate the sales proposal and how to use PowerPoint in favor of the copy. Nonetheless, the author closes the chapter talking about how to create signage, by using the humour.

In one week, the reader will have a clear picture about the art of building copies and how to be persuasive through the words. However, in the digital era where every detail is shown in a small touchable screen, is there a room for words?

I recommend the book for people who are interesting in marketing and in particular, in digital marketing sector in any industry. If you like this review, leave a comment or fill the form to receive updates.


asitreallyhappened# 4: The Past, the present and future of branding.

asitreallyhappened# 4: The Past, the present and future of branding.

The Past, the present and future of branding

Basic knowledge people from the sector should know while building their brands. Discover here what Robert Jones says about it.

Branding. A very Short Story.

Robert Jones. Oxford University Press, 2017.

Pp 136. £7.00. ISBN 978 – 0 – 19 – 874991 – 2

Could it be possible to think the daily life without any reference to the brand we consume every day? Somehow Robert Jones has an answer which is mostly negative. Every decision we make while choosing what to wear becmarketing brand brandingause of the company’s Christmas party or what device to buy, brands impact on our “point references”. On his book “Branding: A very short story” is a kind of resumé from which is possible to approach what branding and brand are. So next lines will be a short exposition about what readers will find in the book in case the main question is what the book is all about.

The author is a strategist who offers workshops and consultancies. He has worked for many big firms in different industries. His book, “Branding…”, is an expression of all his years working for them, plus some more strong experience interpreting the evidences from market researches. As a good practitioner, every sentence is supported by good evidence in the real life: brands all we already know. So exemplification would be a key point to make clear what he is trying to communicate.

The book is a compilation of basic knowledge we should bear in mind to understand the “branding world”. In eight simple chapters, Jones exposes the explicit and implicit characteristics which make a brand part of our daily lives. In the first chapters, he tries set off the thesis that brand is more a simple idea, in fact it is bigger than that. It is images, colours, letters, package which connect us to do thing but think one or another direction. Brands like Coke – Cola or Disneyland are “over there” not just because they want us to buy them, but to engage with throughout meanings which indirectly guide our actions and point of view to judge the world. Moreover, Jones explains to us in simple sentences how brands have helped and still do to build identities and affinity, when he says: “They use brands  to help construct their identity, their sense of who they are.” (p. 12).

In the following pages, Jones goes into a deeper idea about what brand is. Across the chapter, Jones gives a group of clues which helps the readers to understand then what he means for “brand”: a bigger idea? Colours, meanings, signs, letters, package, strategies? For him, brand is more deeper than those elements, in fact it is a set of ideas, which says and does something, but recognizable by a remarkable style, in other words what a company ‘stand for’. Another great distinction makes the chapter valuable, that is the difference between “brand” and “branding”. While brand is what a company stands for, branding is the technique through the company stands for. While brand is the result, branding is the method.

From this concept, Jones arrives to the history of branding. It is how companies and smart business people have got into people’s minds to stand for products or/and services. Branding is not a modern phenomenon. It was born since the humans have created distinctive symbols, such as egyptian and romans with their symbols to identify dynasties or status into a tribe. From those techniques, the nineteenth century was the period in which the boom of production serves itself through branding, in terms of generating meanings related to a product or services. What we have now is a sophisticated developments in the technique and definition: brand is not a result to show outside of the four walls of the office, but something to be venerate into the organisation itself. Brand and employees have a parallelism if a business want to stand for, be remarkable and of course, unforgettable.

From the past, Jones stops into the present of the brand, highlighting how it works. How is it possible that people can recognise the brand and the ideas and feelings it express? A neurological explanation is given by the author. Looking at how the brain works to remember, feel and associate ideas and images is directly given to the readers in simple words, so as if it would be a sort of dialogue between readers and authors, it is possible to murmur: “Ok, now I understand.” However, the dialogue becomes complex when Jones does not have a proper answer to the fact that modern researchers have not discovered yet the very motivations for which people compulsively buy things, even if the brand is powerful and the branding is extremely successful. From Eric From, Jean Baudrillard to other modern psychologists – still alive – would say: it is the postmodernist human loneliness fault.

The rest of the chapters are a revision about the present of the brandings nowadays. How brands are built in more structured organisations, how art is helping on further developments, and how organisations tries to get the best experts for branding matters in this competitive world where the production of meanings and remarkable signs accelerate the demand and the offer. So Jones discusses the ethics behind the brand and the branding which is widely arguable as per the explosion of what we mean and think about ethics.

Finally, Jones concludes the book going into the future of branding: Will it be alive after all? The end appears as a matter of reassurance for marketers: “Branding, in other words, will live on”.

asitreallyhappened# 3: How to find love – only for single marketers

asitreallyhappened# 3: How to find love – only for single marketers

How to find Love

School of Life, 2017. Pp. 80. £10.00 ISBN 978-0-9955736-9-7


other marketing book review

With a precious company of a couples beers, two girls were talking about how difficult is to find a real partner. The reasons were clear: boys and girls have their complicated way to communicate with potential lovers. Moreover, how easy is to fail in the choice or the vagueness of the “right one”. Don’t worry, there is a promising book: How to find love by School of Life. It is a 80 pages of deep philosophical/psychological approach about how to refine our search of love. So here, some lines to motivate you to get the book.


School of Life is a global organisation dedicated to develop emotional intelligence. The global organization has a psychological and philosophical background. They simply take those knowledge to provide a different way to see the world and in particular, the human beings’ complexity.

This mess started with arriving of the Romanticism. The introduction of the book is a revision about where the current idea of love comes from: Romanticism. All details point out how Western societies have taught us about what love is and how to choose our partners. Explicitly, we choose using three instincts: completion, endorsement and familiarity. So the next pages are about how those instincts play a huge role in the process of feeling in love with someone.

The game of the instincts. The second part of the book reveals how those three instincts play a game in the relationships or in the searching for love. This part uncovers some (essential) concepts which help the readers to understand what it is actually happening during a date or during a normal afternoon with our partners. The instincts of completion – the things are missing in ourselves but they are in our partners or potential lovers; the instincts of endorsement – the ability of other to understand what it is happening inside us; and most interesting, the instincts of familiarity – the qualities of others we see as a result of a sort of legacy or the qualities we reject because they are similar to our parents.

Here is the problem. How those instincts impact on our searching or on our current relationship is the central point of the third part. In here, SOL reveals how the instinct of completion plays a role against our own self – improvement, or how the instinct of endorsement affects our self – knowledge of feelings and emotions and communication with our partners/potential lovers, troubling the opportunities of fulfilment, or how instincts of familiarity makes us to choose the “wrong one”. Readers can find in this part common and practical scenarios in our ordinary lives.

But there is a solution. No doubts that every issue has a simple solution. It is because we can take those instincts and make them play a favorable role. The point in here is not going against them or change the partner, or change the types or remove them from our complex nature. It is about how to use them in a way we can take the opportunities we have in front of, not improving our choices but our abilities to make the relationship more pleasurable or see in others the land of emotional developing.

In overall. The book does not pretend to be a self – help guide or manual to find love but a way to see from other perspective, the situations we have to face in our ordinary lives. In particular for singletons, the book is a promise of mature love research, a “place” where the real cards are on the table. It explains to us that how to find love starts looking at yourself in a compassionate and smart way, highlighting how complex we are, why we should give chances to others to show us those hilarious things they have to bring up and moreover, how foolish we could (and must be) in front of our potential lovers.

In 80 pages, the book tries to let the readers know that it is a myth that we do not have options. Yes, there are, over there, walking on the street. It is a matter to go out from our solitude, understand that nobody is perfect and we are complex human beings, capable to love and be loved.

As it really happened #2: Shh. Don’t tell how to make people talk about your brand

As it really happened #2: Shh. Don’t tell how to make people talk about your brand

Marketing book review

Contagious. How to build word of mouth in the digital age

By Jonah Berger

Simon & Schuster UK LTD, 2014. P. 244. £11.00 ISBN: 978-1-47111-170-9


Published in 2014, Contagious is more than 200 pages where it is developed the STEPPS. It stands for Social currency, Trigger, Emotion, Public, Practical Value and Story, elements which help to build the word of mouth for products, ideas, brands, etc. Word of Mouth is simply when people talk about it.

He makes justice his word – of – mouth strategy. As stated on his website, John Berger is a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with more than decade investigating how products, ideas and brands can be successful using word of mouth but in particular, looking at social influences in this matter. Contagious is an evidence of it.

Social currency. Points to how to make remarkable a product, idea or brand. Remarkable the unique selling points. Mystery, secrets, surprise and social recognition are at the core of the social currency. People want to share opinions and ideas, people listen to other for recommendations, people follow what looks “cool” and worthy to be commented.

Trigger. Why people talk about the product or brand more than others? One word: stimuli. The key is to make the people relate the brand or product to sights, smells, sounds. The senses play a huge role as they “can trigger related to thoughts” (p. 70) and place the product or brand on top of their minds. It is “inducted transference”, that is to make people associate the brand or product with a sense and/or meaning.

Emotion. It is about the benefits of playing with psychological arousal. Awe and happiness, as well as anger and anxiety impact on people’s sensitivities and make the audience remember the brand/product. Somehow, it is the rule “when we care, we share” (p. 96).

Public. A viral content should be visible and easy to be imitated by the unknowable collective. Berger assumes that people do what others do, due to the lack of information and uncertainty. It is a matter of what he calls “social proof”, that is people tend to imitate other’s behaviour because “People assume that the longer the line, the better the food must be.” (p. 131). It is easy when the brand and product are immediately visible to the people, but what about the brands, ideas or products that are private? Simple, make them public.

Practical Value. As fifth element to build the word – of – mouth strategy is to make the content useful, because it carries practical information. It is the how to do it tactic. Undoubtedly, Berger shows one of his best cards: the “prospect theory” which points out how people make decisions, their subjective point reference and expectations. It is about to take advantage of these point reference and show the deals as valuable as possible. The point reference is about how discounts are the best deal, even if the margin is insignificant.

Story. This is the last homework for marketers. A successful story when it is a narrative which leaves  a moral ending or a valuable/practical information or teaches something to the people, as if it is the Trojan horse story. The content has to make the people to talk about something because it is exchangle as a social currency, it is public, there is a transferable trigger and has an emotional connection.

In overall, Contagious is the result of a large data from conducted researches by Berger. It is a kind of informational guide to make the people talk about your brand or product. Not wondering if the book is simply viral.

As it really happened # 1: On the North of happiness, wealth and sauna

As it really happened # 1: On the North of happiness, wealth and sauna

The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
By Michael Booth / Vintage Publishing, February 2015. £7.99. ISBN: 9780099546078

Accompanied by a warm coffee, green tea, we were exchanging some impressions about The almost nearly perfect people by Michael Booth. It would be great to keep telling the story but the writer’s style and some general features of the book is the aim of the following lines.

Michael Booth is a British freelance Journalist and award – winning for his numerous non – fiction books. His field of interest: food and travel, Japan and France and most importantly, Nordic countries. The almost nearly perfect people is the writer’s ‘tentative’ of uncovering what it is behind of the imaginary of wealthy and happiness in the Nordic countries, using neologism, euphemism and sometimes, sarcasm.

In the introduction is possible to catch the sense of humour which will be present in the following pages. His own definition of ‘who Scandinavian are’ warns the readers of the writer’s confidence about the argument he will present to the audience, of course in the most hilarious way. In fact, how come he dare to add Finns and Icelanders in the closed/exclusive circle of wealthy people with fancy furniture?

Hygge, happiness & Wealth. The Danish section is a compilation of good connections between Gini’s index and happiness as variable. Connecting hypothetically wealth with happiness, he tried to discover the complexity behind of those associations in a way that let the readers formulate questions and amuse by extension. Is it possible to live in a very expensive country and smile 24/7? The country is ranked as one of the best countries to live as per quality of life index. Sarcastically, the cards are on the table: to reach the happiness, do we have to live as ordinary Danish? Maybe the happiness is a matter of personal definition.

Jumping up to the Norwegian land. The writer’s tone and the sense humour used to tell us about ‘Dubai of the North’ seems to be different. Starting with 17th of May parade seems to be the writer’s strategy to relax the audience for what he will tell us soon. In fact, the writer drives the audience’s attention towards two main points: Norwegians and immigrants and Norwegians and oil. Few past episodes are highlighted: the murder a young foreigner by radicals and how the oil shaped the society  and determined the protectionist, closedness and indifference norwegian behaviours. By the end of the part, the writer’s request of openness and grateful exposures the needs for truce: “It would be suit the Norwegians so much better to show a little more openness and generosity of spirit.” (p. 215)

Having a good time at the sauna. The writer’s creative skills has not limits while telling us about Finland. He opened the chapters using comical neologism which makes the reading more pleasurable: “If you ask me, they should just change the word ‘fantastic’ to ‘Finntastic’. Helsinki? Heavensinki more like” (p. 221). The hot climax is reached when the writer described his experience at the sauna, showing the controversy of the nakedness rule. It must be admitted that the historical connection between cultural factors and the obsession for alcohol is well structured and motivates the audience to understand taciturnity Finnishness.

As per Sweden and Iceland. Let’s say that the these parts of the book follow the same sense of humour to uncover the Elves’ belief and the defects of the democracy. As a matter of personal opinion, these part of the book do not follow the strength of the connections presented in the former chapters, despite of the allegorical resources to picture the iconic of each country, for instance Bjork.

The book is just a perspective from which is possible to understand those cultures. The book is just a good reading while commuting work or waiting for the hairdresser. It is unique selling point is the writer’s style but never take it as the bible to understand a whole culture.