I’ve been following Scott Ginsberg (aka @NameTagScott) on Twitter for quite some time. I’d  read a story in the newspaper about this guy that wears a nametag all the time ( in order to make connections with people), and it’s been a blast to read his daily, kick you in the rear, admonitions on Twitter.

In terms of an official bio, Scott Ginsberg is the World Record Holder of Wearing Nametags. He’s the author of twelve books, an award-winning blogger, professional speaker and creator of NametagTV.com. He specializes in approachability, identity and execution. If you like what you see from Scott and want to learn more about his books, speaking engagements, customized online training programs or want to rent Scott’s brain for a one-on-one session, you can email him at scott@hellomynameisscott.com.

When he offered to do a marketing-oriented guest blog on Twitter last week, I was all over getting a DM to Scott to see if he’d guest post for Brainzooming. I’m so excited that you all get to enjoy his perspective today on these things most marketers overlook:


1. Be memorable for the right reasons.

What are you known for? What are you know as? And what are you known for knowing? Those are the keys to memorability. However, if your intention to become memorable is misguided, malicious or so focused on profitability that you disrespect people, you lose. Being memorable for the wrong reasons is worse than being forgotten. Remember the 2006 World Cup? When the captain of France head butted a player from Italy? That was the last thing he was remember for prior to his retirement. Not smart marketing. Why do you want to become memorable?


2. Save feedback from the people who matter most.

The number of positive stories that are circulating about you, your brand, your organization and your product is the measure of marketing success. So, a huge part of marketing is managing your impressions in the marketplace. Now, notice I said, “managing,” not “controlling.” You can participate in and keep track of your online reputation – but you can’t control it. That’s why you have to listen. Listening gives you the chance clarify misconceptions, stereotypes and false accusations.  And it doesn’t matter how you do it; it only matters that you do it. Are you listening to other people’s ideas about who you are?

3. Decide what you’re going to brand.

 Branding is committing to being the best, highest version of yourself. So it’s not just about your products. Smart companies brand their service, brand their honesty and brand their language. And here’s why: Branding is no longer a novelty – it’s a necessity – the price of admission for playing the game. Your challenge is to think about what you’re committed to. The emotion that’s under your fingernails. Brand that and people won’t just pay attention – they’ll pay dividends. What has your organization branded that nobody else has?

4. Increase your digital equity.

That comes from a variety of sources: Interviews. Blog posts. Tagged photos. Search engine optimization. Articles. Presentations. Status updates. Tweets. The list goes on and on. And the key element behind it is simple: The Internet is forever. Forever. Everything matters. Everybody’s watching. And everything’s a performance. Which isn’t that hard to do if the character you’re playing is you. And if you want to build real equity, start by building your platform. That’s the entire marketing engine that does the heavy lifting when you’re on vacation.


5. Focus on income generating activities only.

 I once read a business book that said the typical entrepreneur spends 43 minutes a day on marketing. That’s it? What the hell are they doing for the other 557 minutes? Playing on Farmville? I don’t care what industry you work in, here’s the naked truth: Everything you do is marketing. Everything. All day. Every day. From phone calls to client meetings to conversations to tweets to attending networking events. It’s all marketing. And once you realize that, you find a way to leverage everything you do to get the word out about why you rock. How much time do you spend on marketing each day?

6. Interaction trumps interruption.

Remember phone books? Remember brochures and direct mail? Those aren’t marketing tools – they’re artifacts. And smart companies don’t waste their money on them. Here’s the reality: The only place your grandchildren will ever see paper marketing is in the history museum. Instead, stop interrupting and start interacting. Because every time a customer hears about you means less money spent making them hear from you. You don’t need more direct mail – you need more friends. How many trees are you killing just to be ignored by your customers?


7. Fire up your findability.

Marketing is simple: Create a product that customers can stumble upon, obsess over, fall in love with, become addicted to and tell their friends about. There. I just saved you $80,000 in business school tuition. You’re welcome. But the secret is: If you want customers to stumble upon you, you need to become more findable. One suggestion is to ask them. A helpful question I ask my readers every time they write in is, “What helped you find me this time?” You might be surprised by their answers. How do you demonstrate to people that you’re worth being found?


Are you the arrow or the bulls-eye?


For the list called, “8 Ways to Out Question the Competition,” send an email to me at scott@hellomynameisscott.com, and you win the list for free!

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To people who still think Twitter is a waste or don’t see value in it, I describe it as an incredible social networking soup made from a phenomenal array of ingredients. These social networking ingredients, originating from all over the world, could have never been brought together before. But now, all of them are available in a single soup pot, cooked, and ready for anyone to dish out a bowl of this unique Twitter soup mixture.

But here’s a catch.

What you’ll taste in this social networking soup is completely dependent on how good the ladle is you use to scoop the soup!

Use a great ladle, and you’ll experience with Twitter an incredible combination of tastes you’ve never experienced before.

Use a crappy one – one with holes; one that’s too small (or too big); one that’s too cumbersome to handle properly – and it won’t just be the soup isn’t any good. It will be the foulest tasting soup you’ve ever had. If you’re in polite company, you may choke it down. If you aren’t, you won’t hesitate for an instant to spit out.

How to make sure your ladle is absolutely the right one?

Think back to all the how-to’s you’ve seen on cultivating the right audience on Twitter, engaging with others (to keep your “ingredients” fresh), using the right social media monitoring tools in the right ways for you and your organization. All of those things help make sure your ladle is the best one it can be.

If you have the right one, Twitter isn’t difficult to understand and benefit from in multiple dimensions. With the wrong one, however, Twitter (and much of social media), IS a waste!

How is your social networking ladle working? 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.

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The Golden Globes award show hosted by Ricky Gervais last night holds a couple of important creative lessons worth calling out. In case you haven’t seen the show the last two years, in 2010, new Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais was brought in to make the show edgier, which he certainly did. Gervais is hilarious with his humor coming through sarcasm, cynicism, and his willingness to skewer anyone with an inflated ego (himself excluded though). His 2010 Golden Globes performance was funny and edgy as promised, going after all the big celebrities including Paul McCartney (who everybody seems to like) with a dig about his divorce settlement with Heather Mills. Ouch! As a viewer, you walked away with the sense that this was a different type of awards show and were able to put the awkward moments in the background.

Last night, Gervais returned as Golden Globes host, with the obvious creative challenges that presents: you have to top what you’ve done before creatively. This is a fairly typical creative conundrum, and how you choose to address it strategically means everything for whether you’re a creative success or failure the second time around.

Gervais went with the easy answer: do MORE of what you did before, which in this case was going after the celebrities attending even harder than he did in 2010.

This year’s results were a lot less favorable, with noticeable boos during his opening monologue from the audience, his obvious absence during the second half of the Golden Globes, and prompting everybody’s nice guy Tom Hanks (who had been spared any barbs) to go after Gervais when presenting an award late in the show.

The three creative lessons:

1. Think long and hard before returning to previous creative triumphs.

It may seem like the simple answer to keep coming back, but the right answer could very well be to move on and keep finding successes in new places.

2. If you do return creatively, doing more of what you did isn’t always the right creative answer.

Novelty is an important part of an audience’s reaction to creativity. The second time around, you have to maintain the novelty. Doing more of what you’ve done creatively is an easy creative answer. But when you work the creative edges (as Gervais does), more can get old quickly. Gervais would have been advised to go against his strengths and used subtlety or even some self-deprecation to shoot for some comedic novelty.

3. Watch yourself when dividing your target audiences and pitting them against one another.

Gervais wound up upping the ante in insulting the celebrities. For me as an at-home audience member, there were awkward moments that were potentially even funnier than last year. But then again, the in-room celebrity audience is an even more important target audience and helps set the tone of the show through their reactions. If it’s not a creative success with them, it makes it harder to seem like a creative success on the broadcast.

My prediction – Ricky Gervais won’t get a chance to employ the Rule of 3 to try going even further, or even in another creative direction next year. His last Golden Globes moment will likely be the one Sunday evening where the cameras had already left him alone on the stage as he skewered God, the ultimate big guy. – Mike Brown

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I may be ending one of the longest relationships of my life. It pains me to say this, but the other party in the relationship hasn’t been loyal and they are taking the easy way out. It is not my wife or other family member. It is not a friend or client or someone I work with. It is a customer relationship with our local daily newspaper. I’ve read The Kansas City Star since about the third grade. At this moment I am not a subscriber, and I’m not sure I ever will be again. And lack of innovation and strategic thinking is playing a big role in ending this customer relationship.

I put up with it when the paper declined in size and quality–and the price remained the same. I put up with it when they couldn’t find my house for three weeks in the fall of 2009. I put up with getting a successful delivery about six days out of seven since then.

What I am not sure I can put up with is their roving eye. Shortly after I received my annual renewal notice, I got an offer in the mail to subscribe for about half of what I had been paying. When a Star subscription rep called to see if I was going to renew, I said I would like that much lower price. “No,” she said, “that offer is only good for new subscribers.”

Apparently our relationship isn’t as important to The Star as it is to me. They are looking for someone new and they are willing to do things for them that they won’t do for me. And to think, a little innovation and more strategic, rather than tactical, thinking might have saved this customer relationship.

Newspapers face enormous business model issues. Easy, short-term, tactical thinking, e.g. cut prices for new subscribers, isn’t going to solve the problem. It is going to make their current customer base mad and put that at risk.

We see this response in lots of businesses that have enjoyed monopoly or duopoly market positions that have been undercut by changes in technology or regulation or in consumer preference. Think cable TV or cell phones.

It could be the printed daily newspapers can’t be saved. Maybe they are like carriage makers at the dawn of the 20th century, about to be overwhelmed by the automobile. But The Star has produced a highly valued and highly profitable product for more than 125 years. Cutting quality, cutting service, and cutting relationships is a way to guarantee they will be the 21st century’s carriage makers. – 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.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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Chuck Frey, through his Innovation Tools website, asked readers to submit brief descriptions of their most important innovation lessons from 2010. Chuck’s request generated more than 40 responses covering innovation lessons from a variety of innovation.

My innovation lesson focused on how social networks have become important vehicles for me to meet and cultivate relationships with the varied talents necessary for driving innovation. So many years in one corporation led to assembling a very tight personal creative team over time.

After leaving, it was necessary to dramatically change the composition of the talented, in-person team that had kept me sharp and creating innovative strategies in a B2B environment.

Most of my corporate creative team members weren’t aggressive social media users. As a result, I wound up meeting an array of new global talents who have formed a very different type of extended creative team.

From these connections, I’ve developed relationships with new business partners, teachers, clients, potential clients, readers, friends, experts, confidants, and collaborators. Essential roles within my creative team to help sustain my personal creative well-being are now accounted for in very new ways. Absent social networking’s capability to establish and sustain relationships along different dimensions, I shudder to think where my personal innovation perspective would be!

A related recognition of this phenomenon came from Chris Reaburn (@Reaburn on Twitter). Chris made the jump from my corporately-based creative team to the Brainzooming one, taking on an even more significant role now. Over the holidays, Chris tweeted (and subsequently blogged about) a list of 100 people on Twitter that had enriched his life during 2010. He used the Twitter hashtag #100PeopleImGratefulFor. What a great idea and recognition that there are many people we may never meet in real life who can have profound creative and other influences in our lives! – Mike Brown

For a personal creativity boost, download the free Brainzooming ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” as a gift for your creative perspective! For an organizational creativity boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to 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.

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A creative THINKING exercise that boosts a team’s energy levels?

Yes, it’s true. And very often needed, because it’s pretty typical to see energy levels wane during a strategic planning session. One of the best approaches to deal with this phenomenon is a creative thinking exercise that you can use to get everyone thumbing their noses at an authority figure they answer to on a regular basis.

At a recent client session working with Nate Riggs on a collaborative blogging strategy, we used the Brainzooming creative thinking exercise called “Shrimp” to generate new ideas and revive the group’s energy.

  • We took a blog topic idea with the potential to create concern among one of the company’s clients.
  • We exaggerated the idea into eight possibilities which would go beyond triggering mild outrage into nearly guaranteeing our client’s client would sue them if they ever blogged on these topics. During this stage, there was a lot of enthusiasm for what might annoy clients, one of the most critical authority figures for the group.
  • From this list, we selected several of these outrageous ideas and then snapped them back to more realistic ideas suggested by the outrageous ideas.

The result was a stronger energy level and some great new blog series ideas.

If you’re in a brainstorming session where the energy is low and you want to get brains zooming, try the Shrimp creative thinking exercise for yourself. – 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.  To learn how we can structure a strategy to keep you ahead of your customers, email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320.

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Social media productivity is an important topic based on the reaction to a recent Brainzooming article on a strategy for efficiently integrating social media listening, participation, and content creation activities. The article prompted sharing these 13 additional social media productivity-enhancing tips for a strategy to integrate “in real life” and online activities to develop new content sources and ideas.

Your Daily Activities

1. As you anticipate blog topics, develop a related question to ask people you interact with, expanding your point of view and gathering material for the post. Even better, use video to capture answers to your question for a video post.

2. Capture intriguing video or photo opportunities that present themselves in the course of your daily activities.

3. After reading a new book or magazine (or even an older one) in your audience’s area of interest, write a brief review with your point of view on the concepts.

4. Review each day’s activities before bed and create a list of 3 to 5 potential blog topics. Capture intriguing ideas, lessons, and information that could benefit your audience. Write down ideas in a notebook or online so you can review them when seeking content ideas in the future.

Friends and Family

5. Host a tweetup and invite your local blog or Twitter followers to get together and network with each other. One advantage is it will spur ideas for new content and help identify potential guest bloggers.

6. Strengthen your blog content creation efforts by using a person you know (who is within your target audience) as the basis for a target persona to orient your social media content. One current persona for Brainzooming is based off a former co-worker who I still meet with regularly. Because he’s also active with Twitter and blogging, I can keep track even more frequently of his hot button issues and identify content relevant to his interests.

Attending Presentations

7. Customize your nametag at event to include your Twitter name as a conversation starter. Alternatively, if you don’t look like your Twitter avatar (i.e., you use a cartoon instead of your picture), create your own social media-oriented name tag to make your Twitter identity more recognizable.

8. Live tweet event content that’s relevant for your audience. You can also incorporate the tweets post-event, expanding on ideas to create blog content.

Making a Presentation

9. When refreshing or creating a presentation, consider already published blog posts as a ready source of new presentation content.

10. Setup a mini tripod and Flip camera before a presentation you do and record your presentation. You can look for and use 60 to 90 second presentation snippets as video blog posts.

11. Capture questions you receive during presentations as triggers for blog posts to recap or expand on your answers.

12. Actively solicit questions when you present or interact with audiences, using the questions as potential social media content. I hand out my own evaluation form at presentations to ask attendees for questions which remain unanswered for them.

13. Incorporate content you’ve created for presentations as starter ideas for social media content (a 16 ways to build an audience via social media post I did originated as two slides in a “how to tweet” presentation).

Like so many things with creating consistent, on-target social media content, it’s all about taking the best advantage of day-to-day content-related opportunities. You simply have to follow through with diligence and an innovative eye as you learn and develop additional ways to more efficiently create content. – 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.

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