Blog | The Brainzooming Group - Part 2 – page 2

We were working with a client’s C-level team to develop its strategic plan. To help them articulate the organization’s strategic direction, we used several branding exercises. These branding exercises focused on identifying:

The combination of branding exercises effectively identified new language to describe its strategic direction and supporting strategies.

During the exercises and conversations to develop its big strategy statement, we discussed the role that expertise plays in the organization’s brand. Because expertise is central to the organization’s products, it has only considered a very strict definition for the attribute. That can be okay, but in a fast-changing market, ensuring everything is 100% proven slows solutions customers need. It also allows new, more nimble competitors to set the ground rules for important product features.

When we questioned the narrow use of expertise, they played back the attributes on the left as the defining characteristics for what expertise means.

We then added all the attributes on the right.

Our point was that the organization’s unquestioned expertise allows it to extend this attribute to work harder. Expertise COULD involve exploration and prototyping, where customers actively test and help develop new solutions. It’s unlikely that any long-term customer invited to test a product in development would see a potential glitch as evidence that the brand lacks expertise.

One meeting participant said this type of strategic thinking was a breakthrough for them. It opens up a whole new array of potential options.

Is your organization laboring under similarly narrow perspectives about your brand attributes?

If that seems to be the case, rethink your narrow definitions of brand attributes. Look at your brand attributes as platforms to innovate, expand, and introduce broader meanings that deliver greater value for your customers.

Or better yet, contact us, and let The Brainzooming Group take you through the business and brand strategy exercises to open your organization to a wide variety of growth opportunities!  – Mike Brown

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Create the Vision to Align and Engage Your Team!

Big strategy statements shaping your organization needn’t be complicated. They should use simple, understandable, and straightforward language to invite and excite your team to be part of the vision.

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I see many business people conditioned to take what another individual asks or tells them at face value, accepting it as an order to fulfill.

That’s natural, I suppose.

Someone tells you they want something done, and maybe most of us are pre-conditioned to attempt to make it happen. That used to be me ALL the time. It’s still me SOME of the time.

5 Strategic Thinking Questions to Stop Undermining Your Success

Alternatively, when someone tells you what they want – whether it’s a boss, an associate, or a customer doing the telling – don’t immediately accept the comment as an order.

Instead, consider what the individual asked for as a suggestion.

Via Shutterstock

With that perspective, reconnect with the granddaddy of all strategic thinking questions: What are we trying to achieve?

Grounded in recalling what YOU want to achieve, ask yourself various strategic thinking questions to consider potential responses to the suggestion:

  • What other possibilities are broader or narrower that benefit the requester and enhance what we are trying to achieve?
  • What are other approaches that could add value for everyone involved?
  • How can we mock up something as an example to demonstrate the value of alternative approaches?
  • If delivering as requested isn’t the best situation for us, what can we suggest to complement the situation and increase the benefit for us?
  • If your first round of possibilities doesn’t resonate with the requester, what second round of ideas can you generate as possibilities?

When you run through these strategic thinking questions, you’ll be much better positioned to respond with ideas for mutually-advantageous alternatives instead of simply doing everything as ordered. – Mike Brown

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I was talking with an executive about the dramatic changes going on in her organization. Everything is maxed out: expectations, pressure, stress, timelines. The whole nine.

In the midst of it, two leaders who experienced a serious professional rift a number of years ago are simultaneously thrust into the center of today’s crisis. They are readjusting their roles, as they’re now required to always be on the same page publicly. They also have to have a keen sense of what the other one is thinking, saying, and doing.

Hearing this, I wondered aloud: will today’s crisis heal the professional rift and reset the relationship?

via Shutterstock

I’ve experienced the impact of using a crisis to push forward with change. I’ve experienced the team-building and affiliating impacts of a group of professionals banding together to accomplish a major initiative. I hadn’t put the two together to think about embracing a crisis situation to reset a professional relationship.

Which prompts me to wonder: when today’s crisis emerges, what is the potential impact of reaching out to people that you aren’t as close to anymore? What are the potential benefits to involving them in facing a common, critical challenge? When you let a professional crisis go by without doing so, what is the missed opportunity?  – Mike Brown


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Facing Innovation Barriers? Here Is Help!


Are you facing organizational innovation barriers related to:

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Idea Magnets display a creative leadership mindset that incorporates acting in ways that help others become high performers in their own tasks.

As you consider the people you interact with, ask what you can do and how you can do things to enable their strong performance in their own activities.

Want to learn more about Idea Magnets?

Find out more about how you can better embody a creative leadership style that sets you and your team apart for collaboration, imagination, implementation, and success! – Mike Brown


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Is your business-to-business brand looking for new product ideas, stronger innovation strategy opportunities, and a bigger impact?

If so, look for ways to shape the customer experience of your product’s end users.

That doesn’t mean the intermediaries your organization may view as its customers: the distributors, wholesalers, or others that sell or bundle your product. Look to the customer experience as delivered to actual organizations and/or individuals that are USING your product on a daily basis.

What do you know about the people who are touching, interacting with, and determining whether your product makes their days better or worse? (Or perhaps your product is so seamless or invisible that it doesn’t even register with them.)

You know those people are out there, but how much time do you devote to thinking about the impact your product has on them?

If it’s slim to none, it’s time to dramatically increase the amount of consideration you give to end users – right away!

We took that approach when developing an innovation strategy workshop for a B2B manufacturer. While the organization has extensive insights into its intermediaries, we oriented many of the innovation strategy exercises toward the ways the people using their product experience (or don’t) what the company manufactures. One participant noted at the end of the workshop that focusing on the experience was new and valuable for them when it came to identifying new opportunities.

If you’re in the same situation, look to the individuals that are the last ones to interact with your product. How can you orient your innovation strategy to the experiences THEY have? – Mike Brown

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Need a Stronger Innovation Strategy to Grow Your Brand? Brainzooming Has an Answer!

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You’re working on an important new employee or customer communication to further your branding strategy. You’re trying to say things succinctly. Perfectly. But as you’re looking for just the right word that will have just the right impact, it’s not coming to you.

What do you do?

The answer is obvious: you go to an online thesaurus and look up synonyms for the tired old word you would typically use. Or maybe you will settle for a little inspiration to imagine what the right new word could be.

Either way, I have a request to make.

STOP loving those generic words in the thesaurus.

I mean, if you REALLY think communication supporting your branding strategy will be fine with just any old generic word, than I suppose you can go ahead and do it.

On the other hand, if you want to use language that sounds like your intended audience and resonates with them, don’t make the online thesaurus your first stop for ideas.

Instead, explore previously-well received communications you’ve delivered to your audience. While you may be looking for new ways to communicate key elements of your branding strategy, chances are what works with your audience has more to do with building up consistent language that means something to them than it does with constantly throwing new terms at them.

Another great source to draw from?

Revisit comments and language that your audience already uses to talk about your brand. Those can come via documentation from online surveys, online collaborations, customer service calls, emails, testimonials, or content they have shared through social media.

If you have some time and/or the means to do it, reach out to your audience with questions that allow them to talk about the area of interest to you.

In our experience, any of these options are better, more on-target sources for meaningful language than an online thesaurus.


It’s because these words come directly from the audience. That makes the language more likely to score on its simplicity, understandability, and resonance.

So, yeah, I know it can be tough, but do yourself a favor: step away from that thesaurus.

Your audience will thank you, and so will your ROI.  – Mike Brown

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Sometimes, we get to design a creative thinking exercise that seems like so much fun during its development that it causes me to continually smile and giggle.

We have a new one of those that we debuted yesterday.

In its new form, it’s called Surf-to-Turf. It combines the Shrimp creative thinking exercise, the ultra-popular-at-Brainzooming mad face emoji, the extreme creativity and celebratory slogan (“Winner, winner chicken dinner”) of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and one of our favorite products: orange, “I Am Creative,” notes to self socks.

All that in the poster shown here.

How can you see all those mad emoji faces and NOT giggle?

This design came about specifically for this client. Our objective was to provide the innovation strategy workshop participants a chance to vary their activities, work with new people, self-manage their performance on a creative thinking exercise, and have a chance to win a prize (the orange socks).

Do you like the idea of working with a partner that designs what it does all around what makes sense for your brand and the innovators you have on your team?

If you do, then contact us. Let’s figure out how we can customize and develop the right strategic thinking and creativity tools to make you giggle, smile, and come up with winning strategies! – Mike Brown

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