Blog | The Brainzooming Group - Part 196 – page 196
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Talking small business marketing with a business owner caught up in the idea of transparency, we got into a discussion about cues he regularly communicates which signal he has a very small business. While his point about absolute transparency is noble, my take was his small business marketing messages wind up over-communicating. They provide context that’s neither necessary nor relevant for his potential or current clients to make informed decisions about using his company.

His small business marketing effort represents a relatively common situation: inadvertently or deliberately marketing the parts and pieces of a business instead of the benefits and results a brand provides.

In this type of situation, sharing too much detail in small business marketing messages can provide information on the inner workings of business customers may not even care about knowing. It’s far better to focus on and secure agreement to the results a brand will deliver for a customer.

My advice for small business people marketing against larger competitors is to change the nature of your marketing messages to help de-emphasize size by:

  • Describing situations potential customers can easily relate to rather than naming specific clients – This allows a single client’s situation to potentially yield multiple case studies which demonstrate benefits you provide.
  • Talking percentages, not absolute numbers – Say “75% of our clients” vs. “3 of our clients.”
  • Not being overly precise about the company’s size – For example, share “there are two primary point people” vs. “there are two of us.” The latter says there are only two people involved; the former, which is just as accurate, discloses two “primary” people, but leaves room for the possibility others might be involved.
  • Talking about specific experiences only when absolutely necessary for clarity – Covering your capabilities with actual, generalized examples (vs. saying, “for client X, we did Y”) allows one client experience to be shared in multiple ways. Detailing particulars tied to an individual client gives you much less to talk about when it comes to your experience.

Using this strategy for your small business marketing messages allows much greater flexibility in how to best organize and deploy resources to create very satisfied customers.

Knowing there are many solopreneurs and small business owners reading the blog, I’d love to hear how you deal with the issue of appearing bigger than you are and marketing the benefits you provide. Is this a transparency-related issue for you? What strategies do you use for creating your small business marketing messages?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.

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Don’t walk away lightly from hidden strategic challenges to what you do and how you do it. When a client, whether internal or external, asks you to change something so it’s simpler, clearer, flows in an alternate sequence, looks differently, etc., make sure you’re taking advantage of the opportunities it creates! By lowering your pride of authorship and raising your excitement about an apparently simple request to make revisions, you can find incredible strategic challenges AND opportunities to force your thinking and processes into very different directions you may have never considered exploring otherwise.

An example?

We thought we’d finished a social media strategy write-up when the client asked us to move it from PowerPoint to a document format and add a few visuals. Lo and behold, what seemed initially like a couple of hours of simple revisions to the document wound up requiring several days of attention.

In the midst of the effort, we discovered the formatting change request was really a strategic challenge. To make the reformatted document work better, we wound up re-depicting one of our social media strategy models in a much clearer way. We also developed a new social media response model. Both of these creations will be tremendously valuable in further social media strategy client engagements.

Not every change request is a strategic challenge in disguise which will yield new and better work. Be sure though you’re open to finding the dramatically improved ways of doing things which could be lurking in that one last revision to your strategic work. – 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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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.

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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!

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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.

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This is the first visual  guest post for the Brainzooming blog. It initially appeared on Brandon Berry’s “Theory Drawn” blog, which he describes as “quick doodles of social patterns and harebrained ideas.”

Brandon and I came across each other on Twitter and exchanged a few DMs. Taken by the intriguing drawings on his blog, I asked him to guest post here.

Beyond today’s guest post, be sure to check out “Theory Drawn”. Brandon’s drawings can be dead on or mysterious, but are guaranteed to make you pause and think. And what more could you want from a blog!

Here’s his contribution to Brainzooming, which I share with no more explanation than Brandon provides. Enjoy!

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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.

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