2

A routine criticism of Twitter I hear during social media strategy presentations is it moves by so quickly it’s impossible to follow all the tweets. That may be true, but there are ways around the apparent speed at which Twitter flies by on screen. This analogy on how to slow it down came to me while helping a friend who has gone back to school with her physics homework. Trying to dust the cobwebs off from memories of long ago physics classes, I recalled strobe light experiments we conducted in high school physics class. When you flash a strobe light at the right speed in front of a moving object, you can effectively make the object look like it has slowed down or stopped. You can see an example in the video below. (There’s another example from MIT that’s worth watching as well).


Well-defined search columns in application such as Tweetdeck of Hootsuite do the same thing as the strobe light does with the water flow. They slow down the information stream by only allowing you to see tweets which meet certain characteristics you want based on who they’re from or what the topic is. Using Twitter search capabilities, you can even look backward into the Twitter stream to find tweets of value to you.

With these searches in place, you can slow down how Twitter looks to you in order to have time to track, process, and respond to the people and subjects which are important to you. For those who feel overwhelmed, that should help get it under control. –Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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3

We’ve been discussing creative job titles around here.  And by creative job titles, I’m talking about job titles that:

  • Are descriptive
  • Stand out
  • Aren‘t so trendy or cutesy they are embarrassing

When starting The Brainzooming Group, creating job titles wasn’t a priority. That being said, I’ve always thought the word “catalyst” (something which prompts or hastens an important event without being caught up in the event) perfectly describes what The Brainzooming Group does. I acknowledge though, you may have to know too much about chemistry for “catalyst” to work. As a result, my business card still has no title on it.

As we’re growing and making additions you’ll learn about soon, titles have been a topic. When we work on coming up with creative job titles, here are some of the creativity- instigating questions we’ll be asking ourselves to generate new ideas:

  • What words describe the cool outcomes of our work or the experience of working with us?
  • What other jobs are like this? What words are used to describe those professions which could result in a cool job title?
  • If this job required super powers, what would they be?
  • What words would you use to describe this job if you were trying to impress your mom, a spouse / girlfriend / boyfriend, or someone who would hire you for your next job?
  • What words would add emotional impact to the title?
  • What worlds describe HOW the person will do the job?
  • What words would be more exciting, powerful, fun, surprising, or memorable?

In case you’re looking to come up with creative job titles, give these questions a go. We’ll let you know what creative job titles they yield for us when we get something dreamed up! – Mike Brown

If you’d like to add an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on strategy, innovation, branding, social media or a variety of other topics to your event, Mike Brown is the answer. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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4

Groupon’s controversial Super Bowl ads poking fun at various causes and the celebrities who promote them—endangered whales, the destruction of the Brazilian rainforest, and the plight of the people of Tibetreceived much criticism and wrung an apology out of its CEO. But there was a point of view that any press is good press and some evidence that the buzz on Groupon was long, loud, and trending positive in social media circles.

 
The Groupon case was a point of some disagreement when The Brainzooming Group and various other contributors discussed what lessons smaller businesses could learn from the hits and misses of the mega advertisers on the February 11, 2011 edition of Smart Companies Radio.

It now appears that while people may have been talking about Groupon, what they weren’t doing was going to the Groupon website and registering for its service.

Fast Company reports that according to Nielsen, Groupon’s web traffic increased only 3% in the week following the Super Bowl compared to the week before. Other Super Bowl advertisers fared much better. GoDaddy.com was up 41%, Volkswagen 27%, Homeaway.com 27%, and Mercedes Benz 9%.

There is a certain paradox here. Few would argue that the Groupon ads are that much more repulsive than the GoDaddy spots. Yet the GoDaddy ads generated little controversy and produced outstanding results. I can think of two reasons the GoDaddy ads work and the Groupon ones do not. First, we have come to expect a certain level of sophomoric humor and sexist leering from the GoDaddy brand. The ads may not be laudable, but they fulfill our brand expectations. Making fun of downtrodden peoples is not what we expect from Groupon.

Secondly the GoDaddy ads have a clear call to action. “Go to our website to see what we couldn’t show you here.” Groupon’s say you can save money, but they never even go so far as to show you the full web address. – Barrett Sydnor

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.comor call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help enhance your marketing strategy and implementation efforts.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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25

Kelli Schmith (@MarketingVeep on Twitter) posed a question via Twitter recently about what project management techniques people use on marketing communications efforts to bring them to closure when running out of time. That’s an intriguing question, and it caused me to list (in no particular order) project management techniques I employ when time is running down to complete a project:

  • Figure out what we’re delivering that hasn’t been promised and stop spending time on these things.
  • Cut out clear “nice to haves.”
  • Eliminate unexpected things whose absence won’t be missed.
  • Remove things whose presence just makes the overall project look more incomplete.
  • Work with an explicit “better done than perfect” mentality.
  • Go with “high-probability” answers (vs. waiting around for “certain” answers).
  • Identify things with longer lead times or that someone else still needs to work on, and get them done first.
  • Force making decisions (and then not revisiting them any further).
  • Check if there are alternative organizational approaches for the project that move it to completion more rapidly.
  • Ask for help from incredibly dependable team members (if they haven’t been involved in the effort already).
  • Create a new to do list with color coding to make important tasks stand out.
  • Start assembling physical elements of the project in an open space (when working with computer files, create a new empty folder of final deliverables so it’s clear what’s done).
  • Develop a negotiating strategy if it appears trade-offs will need to be made with the end client.
  • Make a short list of things easily addressed or fixed “later than sooner.”
  • Think more, talk less, and do – like crazy!

That’s what I came up with trying to think about situations when time has been running down on projects previously.

What project management techniques do you use when your preparation time is running down?Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help enhance your marketing strategy and implementation efforts.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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7

It’s known among performers that on-stage gestures and emotions need to be bigger and broader than those in filmed performances. Because a stage performer’s face cannot be seen as closely as a film actor’s can, bigger gestures help convey emotions which may be lost with subtle gestures. On film (and television) performances, viewers generally have a close view of a performer’s face in order to interpret the many emotional cues faces convey. If you buy the concept that less visibility to a performer’s face necessitates broader gestures to properly convey emotion, what does that say about communication and social networking when it comes to emotions?

In social networking, we’re usually presented static, small facial images (or in many cases, not even faces, but brand logos or obscure pictures). Given limitations in being able to see facial emotions at all through social networks, how broad should social media “gestures” be to properly communicate emotion?

The answer – PRETTY BROAD!

That’s probably why emoticons (and short-hands such as LOL) emerged as a means through typed characters to depict the unseen emotions on a communicator’s face. Emoticons can be subject to misinterpretation too, however, so they’re hardly foolproof.

The implication for social network communicators is to approximate “broad” online gestures to communicate the emotion behind what’s being said as best as possible. Beyond emoticons and LOLs, how do you do that? Here are a couple of thoughts:

  • Try to be largely consistent in your emotional state – If you’re usually upbeat, try and stay with that emotion in your online communication. If you’re typically in rant mode, rant away with persistence. It’s when you attempt to make sudden dramatic switches in emotion (i.e., a ranter suddenly becomes serious and reflective) that confusion occurs.
  • Avoid subtle emotions whenever possible – Sarcasm and irony both depend on subtlety for effectiveness. Twitter doesn’t do subtlety well, however, so use sarcasm, irony, and other less obvious tones VERY carefully and sparingly. They may play much better in a blog post than in a 140 character tweet.
  • Don’t get locked into one medium – Short-form social media channels are rarely appropriate or effective for difficult conversations. Despite this, I’ve witnessed people use Twitter to publicly end romantic relationships, verbally attack one another, and question another’s ethics or morals. In each case, participants would have been so much wiser to drop it, get on the phone, or meet in person to hash these issues out.

These three practices can help, but there aren’t necessarily pat answers when it comes to humor, even for professional communicators. Want proof? Ask comedian Gilbert Gottfried, whose attempts at humor after the Japanese earthquake and Tsunami, although completely consistent with his not very subtle sense of humor, got him fired as the voice of the Aflac duck. If you read the tweets and “heard” Gilbert Gottfried’s voice in your mind, there was probably a different reaction than from simply reading the words contained in the tweets. But you can’t depend on your audience to “hear” how you meant a tweet. So yes, even professionals blow it.

What are your thoughts about communicating emotions through social network channels? What do you do or have you seen done to try to more accurately communicate emotions? Or do you avoid sharing more emotional content because of the limitations? – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help enhance your marketing strategy and implementation efforts.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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4

Some Monday quick thinking on  strategic thinking, implementation, and several other frequently touched upon topics on the Brainzooming blog:

Strategic Thinking– It’s very difficult to ask yourself the tough questions. Reach out to someone who’ll boldly ask them of you and make you answer them as well.

Implementation – Something to consider: When you know you’re on the absolute path you’re supposed to be on, you’ll see other seemingly attractive options disappear. Let them go and keep moving..

Behavior – Lots of people look for someone to sanction their rudeness. If rudeness is your deal, you shouldn’t need affirmation. But here’s a request…get over yourself AND your online rudeness.

Success – What does success look like for you? Without anticipating how success will unfold, you may miss its landmarks.

Communication – Some basic advice: Don’t point to something on your computer screen when you’re presenting and expect the audience to “get” it.  – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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2

After nearly a week’s worth of 2011 TED Simulcast posts, here are seven takeaways that apply to strategy, creativity, and innovation from the various Day 2 TED Talks presented at TEDxKC:

  • Never underestimate the fragility and apparent simplicity of complex systems. If you’re struggling to see simplicity in seemingly complex everyday situations, don’t let yourself off the hook. Keep looking for simplicity.
  • It’s vital to continually alter your perspective to maintain creativity. Sometimes being too close makes situations look very diverse when they aren’t. This is a big challenge for experts when they try explaining things to those us who aren’t experts. Other times, proximity may obscure diversity. Innovative thinkers have to be able to be in multiple places at once mentally to be both great analysts and explorers.
  • When you need to figure out a different business strategy, look for adjacencies. What’s a more general way of describing your current strategic situation? Once you’ve figured that out, explore other situations which are different, yet right next to yours when viewed more generally.
  • Learning isn’t binary. We don’t move from not knowing to knowing something. Learning is iterative. Make as many learning steps (both forward and backward) as you can, as quickly as you can, to maximize your learning potential.
  • Imagination, the interplay between logic and intuition, and the ability to formulate a hypothetical world view are vital to discovery.
  • Aaron O’Connell pointed out we behave differently when we’re in an elevator by ourselves vs. when someone else is with us. We all know we get a lot crazier when nobody else is an elevator with us. But while we act differently when no one is watching, increasingly we’re subject to being watched much more of the time. To get creatively crazy, it’s important to figure out ways to avoid whatever “cameras” thwart your wild mental (and other types of) abandon.
  • It’s not just technical skills and determination which lead to discovery. It’s about creating and articulating a world view much bigger than you. This is a BIG personal improvement area for me.

And to paraphrase Forrest Gump, That all I have to say about 2011 TED.

Except that I’m looking forward to digital marketing agency VML and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art hosting TEDxKC in Kansas City this coming August! – Mike Brown

When it comes to conferences, high impact presentations, and live event social media content, The Brainzooming Group is expert at shaping the right strategy and implementation to create unique attendee experiences before, during, and after an event. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can do the same for your event!

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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