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What an intense time last week! Even though the 2011 TED simulcast was only one day, sitting in the Nelson-Atkins Museum auditorium March 2nd while absorbing and live tweeting presentations was, without question, the week’s all-consuming event.  I have to thank the folks at VML who sponsored the TEDxKC event and provided a designated seat, ample Wi-Fi, and a nearby power outlet throughout the TED Day 2 simulcast:

  • Organizers Mike Lundgren and Frank Jurden
  • Blair Vance, Assistant Account Manager at VML
  • John Mulvhill (Communications Director) and Ryan Carrothers

Speaking of Blair, here is her pre-simulcast overview on the TEDxKC event:

As a starter in mentally processing the TED simulcast experience, here are some insights about how the simulcast played out vs. watching individual TED videos online:

  • Although the live TED presentations were taking place half a continent away, there was clearly a buzz even at the simulcast, particularly as the doors opened and the crowd began to flow into the Nelson-Atkins Museum.
  • Watching individual TED videos online doesn’t reveal the subtle interplay among presentations within a specific session. It’s not as if presenters are in a position to point out themes, however, since they stick tightly to their pre-determined remarks. This makes seeing presentations in sequence, along with what happens in between, an important and different experience than watching isolated videos.
  • The 18 minute format creates very tight, passionate presentations. The focused big thinking and passion of the TED speakers feels genuine, however, in nearly all cases.
  • Despite the cool vibe and great online videos, the live simulcast made it clear: TED presentations aren’t all seamless and perfect. The Bubbli coming-out demonstration was marred by an obvious lack of forethought on how to choreograph it and by comical technical challenges. At one point, its inventor said the technology (which revolves around the camera on your smart phone) would work much better if everyone shut off their phones and if they were using the next generation iPad being introduced that day.
  • It’s interesting to see what people do and don’t applaud during a simulcast when it’s clear the target of the applause will never hear it. One simulcast incident which probably didn’t happen at the in-person TED event was a mass exodus during the performance of “Cripple and the Starfish” by Antony and the Johnsons at the end of the day. Antony nearly cleared the auditorium before the song (which you must hear to truly appreciate) was complete.

The amount of TED content was overwhelming in the one-day simulcast at TEDxKC. I can’t imagine (both mentally and financially)experiencing it onsite across multiple days. As with the 2010 TEDxKC in-person event though, the simulcast is triggering several Brainzooming blog posts this week:

  • Tuesday and Thursday posts will recap specific TED talks during the simulcast
  • Friday’s post will highlight take-aways from the the TED simulcast

Hang on! – 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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Where do you fit in the Intellectual Capital Hierarchy?

  • Those who can, do.

  • Those who can’t do, go around the country talking about case studies of those who do.

  • Those who can neither do nor share case studies, like to pay to hear stories of those who do.

Mike Brown

I “do” and also “talk,” for the most part, about stuff I’ve actually “done” instead of reading about stuff others have done and talking about it. It would be great to participate in your event or training session to share an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on strategy, innovation, branding, social media or a variety of other topics. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to see how we 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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Last Friday, Barrett Sydnor and I attended the Freelance Exchange of Kansas City luncheon where Kansas City’s inimitable Shelly Kramer shared her ideas on social media, ROI, and how individuals in small, freelance businesses can benefit from smartly used social media strategies. Shelly voiced a number of fundamental points relevant for both those just getting started on social media and for businesses who have been at it for several years:

Nothing’s more important than your website.

Your website is your “online business home,” and before diving out into social media, it’s fundamental to make sure your website is ready for visitors.

Easy to find websites are critical to successful marketing efforts.

As Shelly puts it, you need to view Google and Facebook as clients. Just as you want clients to know where you are, these two powerful forces in search / inbound marketing need to be regularly updated on where your business is online. You do that with a well-implemented website and a strong search engine optimization strategy.

“Websites need to be fed like you feed your kids.”

Part of making your website findable is keeping it replenished with new content, or in Shelly’s words, “Fresh content makes search engines happy.”  What’s the best excuse for introducing new social media content to a website? You guessed it, blogging, thus Shelly’s frequently repeated exhortation for attendees to suck it up, make the time, and start blogging.

Most web visitors are lurkers – remember the silent majority.

Shelly reminded everyone that 90% of the people visiting your blog are lurkers, i.e. they’re watching you but not participating in the online conversation. Nevertheless, they may be potential buyers even before they’re commenting on your blog. Create content that helps expand their perspectives and understanding of what your business can offer.

Attention needs to be paid to LinkedIn.

As the biggest business site, Shelly said one of her objectives for 2011 is to spend more time with LinkedIn. She encouraged the group to make sure personal and business profiles are current. Additionally, the Groups and LinkedIn Questions and Answers functions provide strong networking opportunities for businesses.

“Nobody cares about your business more than you do.”

It’s up to small business owners to invest the effort and dollars to grow their businesses.You don’t really have any excuses if you fail to step up to the challenge.

Shelly Kramer provided a valuable, fast-paced hour of content sure to energize attendees’ marketing efforts and to get them to say, “Hello” to blogging for their businesses! – 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.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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Typically when you’re asked questions, others are looking for answers. At times, answers aren’t the best answers, though.

I updated a recent blog post on how a mid-career professional can create a social media presence with a post-presentation video explaining the 11 steps covered at the live session. The video’s addition changed the nature of the post, and I tweeted it with an updated title.  Sharon Corasaro (@GrowingGold on Twitter) answered the tweet with several great tweets about the post, followed by a detailed comment on the post itself.

Based on Sharon’s receptivity to the topic, I asked if she’d like a longer article on the 11 steps we’d been kicking around as a potential ebook from The Brainzooming Group.  She said she would, and I asked for her thoughts on the content’s value since we had varying perspectives about it.

Sharon’s email response, rather than being the simple “liked it / didn’t like it / and here’s why” answer I expected, was an incredibly thorough set of questions. She asked questions about the piece’s intent, what we hoped to accomplish with it as an ebook, and what the plan was for distributing it to the target audience.

I asked for answers, and Sharon gave me questions.

But you know what?

The questions provided exactly the answers I needed.

In replying to her email and thinking about the questions, a completely new idea for how the content could be used emerged. I hadn’t considered this strategy before, but it could well be a much higher impact way to distribute the content and benefit an important audience for us.

I wanted fast answers, and Sharon offered incredibly thought-provoking strategic questions.

There’s a big lesson there: the next time somebody’s looking to you to answer a question or solve a problem for them, the most beneficial thing you can do may very well be to answer with a question instead. – 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 helped brands get to great answers using just the right questions.

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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The TED conference (themed “The Rediscovery of Wonder”) is taking place this week in California. Thanks to Kansas City digital marketing agency VML and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, hundreds of people in Kansas City will be watching today’s TED sessions through a live video simulcast. And in the spirit of my post about live event tweeters and bloggers warranting “press passes”, the VML team is providing me access to outlets and Wi-Fi in order to actively document today’s TED simulcast.

While a strictly video TED event will obviously be a different experience than last summer’s in-person TEDxKC event (which spawned nearly a week’s worth of blog posts), I fully expect a creative burst from the four TED sessions simulcast today here in Kansas City! Here’s the day’s TED agenda, with session times (Central Standard Time):

Session 4: Deep Mystery – 10:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m. CST

Session 5: Worlds Imagined – 1–2:45 p.m. CST

Session 6: Knowledge Revolution – 4:15-6 p.m. CST

Session 7: Radical Collaboration – 7–8:45 p.m. CST

The setup available onsite will determine what the specific Brainzooming content creation plan will be. I’ll likely be live tweeting either on my regular @Brainzooming Twitter account and/or my live Twitter account at @BZLiveTweets. If you’re interested in following the activity during the day, look for the overall #TED hashtag on Twitter as well.

If you’re at The Nelson for today’s sessions, tweet or DM me! – Mike Brown

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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Following strong reception to the Brainzooming recap of January’s Kansas City American Marketing Association luncheon on Southwest Airlines social media strategy, I was compelled to attend the February panel on “Social Media for Marketing Communications Professionals.” The guest speakers were three well-known faces (and avatars) in the Kansas City social media community:

Five content areas stood out particularly for me, with one of them warranting a rant!

Social Media Coming and Going

Chris and Ramsey talked about the steps before and after your audience interacts with your social media sites. Chris discussed the importance of your offline marketing clearly (as in spell out your Twitter and Facebook ids) driving audience members to check out your social media presences. Ramsey reminded everyone that even super fans of your brand won’t hang around your website for kicks. They’re there for utility, then moving on to social networking sites to interact with people. His comments were a great reminder that you need to also be present online where your audiences are already spending time.

Influencer Marketing – Where Events and Social Media Intersect

The combination of social media and live event marketing Joe shared is really compelling (you can see his first-hand account in a video from the lunch). He discussed how both at Red Bull and now at the brands he represents, his field marketing strategy focuses on finding young, hip influencers targeted by beverage marketers. After identifying them, Joe asks about what their dream events are and then provides the connections, resources, and promotion to make them happen. His strategy creates the emotional impact which makes great events and compelling social media content. That’s why the approach is so much more successful and exciting for all concerned than conducting boring “blogger outreach” programs.

How Does All This Help Business?

Ramsey hit the “big question” in social media: How does your social media activity ladder up to overall business objectives? While the link doesn’t necessarily have to be one-step away, you have to be able to credibly connect how social media contributes to what your company actually does to serve customers and generate revenue. Since multiple steps are typically involved, The Brainzooming Group recommends a multi-level metrics strategy for social media to account for a variety of metrics.

What’s Next?

The panelists were asked, “What’s next in social media?” Here are the trends and platforms they mentioned:

Social Media Ain’t a Focus Group Folks

For the second consecutive month at the Kansas City AMA luncheon, a presenter said social media is “like a real-time focus group.” WRONG! Despite what people unfamiliar with research think, focus groups aren’t simply a bunch of people coming together and talking free form. Even though a focus group’s results are qualitative, a properly-done focus group has structure, carefully selected participants, and a scripted discussion guide behind it. Tweets and status messages don’t have any of those. Social media provides qualitative input, but unless you’ve created a much more structured environment, all you have is a bunch of comments.

Speaking of comments, what do you think about these highlights? Please share your thoughts about these points in the comment below! 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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Some Monday quick thinking on strategy, creativity, and several other frequently touched upon topics on the Brainzooming blog:

Strategy – Do the things people don’t expect. Don’t do the things people do expect. When that quits working, switch.

Creativity – When you spend too much time with something, you’re always in danger of losing any objectivity about it, which will compromise your creativity too.

Perspective – If you start the day looking to be pissed off, you will not be disappointed. Guaranteed.

Inspiration – It’s interesting how many people who tweet about having a creative block have fewer than 50 people they’re following. Inspiration comes from many more than 50 places.

Performance – The disturbing thing about someone selling you a standard success formula is everyone they truly reach is using the same formula. At least make the effort to modify the formula to fit you.

Social Media – If you’re going to get into Twitter, don’t be coy about it. Don’t tweet and delete. Tweet without retreat. Say something and stand behind what you say. – 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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