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I’m not a frequent plane talker.

My mother says I have a look that says, “Don’t talk to me.” If that’s true, it’s not because I consciously TRY to display that kind of look. I will admit, though, that small talk isn’t one of my favorite activities.

And on a quiet plane flight, I typically get a ton of writing done.

When someone starts airplane talking though, I’m going to listen, especially when the person is a riot.

That’s what was happening on the first leg of the flight home from Content Marketing World in Cleveland late yesterday afternoon.

Rolling in the Aisles

Blogging away while the plane was boarding, I watched with interest as a woman was rearranging luggage in the overhead bin. She grabbed a small bag and asked the owner to stow it under her seat so more luggage (specifically her own carry-on bag) would fit.

She sat down in the middle seat between me and a guy having a particularly loud phone conversation.

I think OUR conversation started with, “What’s the matter with people who think they should have loud conversations wherever they are?”

We quickly discovered we’d both spoken at Content Marketing World. Her name is Ahava Leibtag, author of “The Digital Crown: Winning at Content on the Web,” (affiliate link) and the niece of the late U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (who was from Russell, Kansas, just 30 miles from where I grew up).

SHUT UP . . . or not!

I can’t begin to replay all the hilarious ground we covered. Suffice it to say Ahava should be a stand up comedian. And during the flight, she developed her go-to, comedic catch phrase, complete with 37 different inflections of it based on the situation. I can’t reveal the comedic catch phrase, though, until she secures the URL.

Brand Strategy

Amid the laughs, Ahava also weighed in (repeatedly) on the Brainzooming brand strategy, insisting we re-brand immediately as ZoomyZoome (with two long e sounds after the zooms).

ZoomieZoomeSueme

Based on the name alone, we should be able to raise millions in venture capital, since it sounds as if it would be a hyper-hyped app! And if we want to extend the brand strategy to become a shady ambulance-chasing law firm, THAT name would be ZoomyZoome and Sue Me. You can see the results of this early brand strategy exploration for yourself.

Airplane Talk

You may ask about this post, “What is happening to the Brainzooming blog?”

I know, sue me. (See what I just did there?)

After The Beatles tribute band post the other day, I promised the very next post would be serious.

Sorry.

The NEXT post will be serious.

But this was the funniest airplane talk ever. And after a long week, you just can’t keep that to yourself.

So, what is your funniest airplane talk ever? Wanna talk about it? – Mike Brown

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Mike-Brown-Gets-Brainzoomin

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Today’s post is simply silly. Even sillier than anything we’ve ever done before.

If you want serious, come back tomorrow.

Last night, as the close to the first day of Content Marketing World, there was a fun party at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica.

COntent-Marketing-World-FLo

I wasn’t exactly sure if Nautica was the aquarium, a marina, or simply the orange clothing sponsor of Content Marketing World. Nevertheless, it was several hundred attendees at Content Marketing World noshing from local Cleveland food trucks, drinking adult beverages (the Smurf vodka-based drink was especially good), and enjoying a Beatles tribute band.

Beatles-Tribte

Speaking of Beatles tribute bands, here are the top ten things to enjoy and watch for whenever you see a Beatles tribute band (I warned you this was a silly post):

  1. The age range of the people drawn to a Beatles tribute band is remarkable. There were young women in their twenties who knew the lyrics to every song.
  2. For as long as I was there, this group never really moved beyond the first few years of The Beatles. And that was perfectly okay, except I’d hoped they’d do “Long Tall Sally.” And “Kansas City” would have been a nice touch.
  3. The quote of the night came from Elton Mayfield of ER Marketing: “If the Paul isn’t left handed (in a Beatles tribute band), you just have a guy in a costume.”
  4. Ringo didn’t sing a lot of songs, but at least the early songs Ringo sang were pretty rocking.
  5. Elton Mayfield saw Paul McCartney in Kansas City earlier this year and reported Paul is 72. I think the Paul in the Beatles tribute band with the young looking wig was close to 72 as well.
  6. I’m one (two at the most) degrees of separation away from the real Paul McCartney. It hasn’t translated into any business or personal benefits, however.
  7. This particular Beatles tribute band has been on tour for 31 years. I’m hard pressed to think of any other example of replacement parts lasting more than three times the original.
  8. You can’t go wrong with donuts covered in powdered sugar, even if they weren’t hot. Definitely, you should always go for the powdered sugar donuts. (Not technically about The Beatles cover band, but it was an important part of the evening.)
  9. When a Beatles tribute band play a George song, that’s when everyone goes to the bathroom.
  10. I can sway to a Beatles song, but that’s about it. I definitely can’t dance, even to The Beatles, but if someone asks me, I’ll try.

And that’s the dispatch from the first evening of Content Marketing World! – Mike Brown

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Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative thinking and ideas! For an organizational innovation and strategic thinking success 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 info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

 

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It may simply be my reading habits, or the sources where I see articles on business and strategic thinking, but it seems so much business content you read touts “do this, do that, never do that thing.”

Reader-Cleveland-Library

While knowing dos and don’ts is helpful, articles written in that manner need to come with a huge red disclaimer reading:

“Remember your situation could be entirely different than the ones we’re talking about. You might need to do the things we say not to, and don’t do the things we recommend. Without knowing you and your situation, we really have no business thinking we can do your strategic thinking for you or saying what to do or don’t do as emphatically as this article implies.”

Hardly any dos and don’ts article EVER comes packaged with any such disclaimer, though.

In fact, most business articles that seem to get big attention from readers are the most strident in asserting that things are always or never a certain way the author addresses.

But it’s ridiculous to think an author, especially one whose experience and qualifications are sketchy, has any basis to speak as definitively as they do on what will and won’t work in your business.

So, please, please be careful with what your read and do your own strategic thinking.

Consider the ideas, but apply them with caution and depend on yourself for all the strategic thinking and decisions you need to make! – Mike Brown

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.


Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative thinking and ideas! For an organizational innovation and strategic thinking success 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 info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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Give someone an incredible creative idea, and you’ve solved a problem or opportunity for the day. Give someone incredible creative thinking questions, and you’ve prepared them to capitalize on opportunities for a lifetime!

Creative-Thinking-Question

Since we want you to have a lifetime of ideas and success, here are all kinds of Brainzooming creative thinking questions waiting to be used on problems or opportunities you’re confronting today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life.

Fundamental Creativity Questions

Extreme Creativity

Naming

Mike Brown

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.


Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative thinking and ideas! For an organizational innovation success 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 info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

 

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The ever-growing Content Marketing World is next week in Cleveland. I’ll be co-presenting a session with global content marketing expert and author, Pam Didner, on Maximizing Content Opportunities at Events.

It’s always great to get back to Northeast Ohio. The experience will be enhanced by presenting with Pam Didner as her new book on Global Content Marketing launches (affiliate link).

Pam will be quick to tell you, however, that she won’t be talking about any book material in our presentation!

Maximizing Content and Experience Strategy at Content Marketing World

CMWorld-PresentationWhat we WILL be discussing is something we’ve characterized as a two-part case study on a transformational business event.

Pam participated in the most recent C2 conference, a very different type of event that bills itself as a “business conference somewhere between genius and insanity.” Pam will open our session with the perspective that at an event such as C2, content and experience are identical. She’ll back that up from an experiential perspective and interviews with C2 organizers.

In my portion of the case study presentation, we’ll look at C2 in the same way Brainzooming evaluates many strategies. We’ll reverse engineer the experience to identify the types of models, concepts, and strategic thinking questions that would allow another organization to replicate the same type of feel and success in their own situation. In fact, I’m in the midst of developing a download with (by current count) 250 models, concepts, ideas, and strategic thinking questions attendees can use to design their own experiences and events to maximize content creation.

Join Us at Content Marketing World

If you are attending Content Marketing World, we’d love to have you our Wednesday, September 10th session (11:30 a.m. EDT). If you are there, message me and let’s try to meet up amid the sea of orange at Content Marketing World.

Look for updates on Twitter and here on the blog during the event next week! – Mike Brown

 

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“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social media strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social  Strategy.”

           (Affiliate Link)

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woody-bendleThe last few days, I’ve been enjoying some incredible BBQ ribs from customer experience strategy and innovation expert Woody Bendle.

And let me tell you: as smart as Woody is about branding and innovation, he’s just as great making ribs! I paired Woody’s ribs with barbeque sauce my wife makes from the recipe at the restaurant my parents used to own, and WOW!

Even though I can’t share the ribs with all of you, they inspired me to put together a retrospective of Woody’s blog posts on Brainzooming. He’s always a popular guest author, and since he hasn’t been able to write as much for the Brainzooming blog this year, I wanted to make sure our newest readers knew about all of Woody’s great content.

So without delay, dive in to Woody’s great strategic thinking, while I have one more meal of diving into Woody’s great barbeque!

Brand Strategy

Customer Focus and Customer Experience

Innovation

Strategic Thinking and Creative Thinking

Business Rants

Potpourri

 

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Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative thinking and ideas! For an organizational innovation success 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 info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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Talk to B2B service or product providers and you’ll likely hear about solution selling.

Fair enough. You don’t want to buy something and still have the problem afterward. You want your problem to go away and never come back another day.

The challenge is there are often multiple problems and multiple solutions. If it’s unclear which problem and which solution the potential client and provider are trying to address, the provider’s proposed solution can be way off the mark. If multiple providers are competing for the opportunity, they may be trying to solve different problems. That further adds to the likelihood of problem-solution mismatches.

We had one recently.

A potential client had already identified a time window for a strategic thinking session, the senior management group to participate, and the expectation of having a productive conversation leading to greater brand strategy clarity.

The company had contacted another firm to facilitate the discussion. Due to schedule conflicts, the other potential provider referred the company to us at the last minute. With no actual direct conversation with the potential client, we created a strategic thinking session plan for answering the brand strategy questions and issues we identified based on skeletal information.

Brainzooming Strategic Thinking Session

A Brainzooming strategic thinking session. Photo courtesy of Jason Harper.

After multiple emails, we finally talked with the client two days before the planned discussion time. Everything was going well as we discussed our approach and the proposed end deliverable: a definitive, consensus-oriented, strategic roadmap for the company to address its brand situation.

Then we got to the price.

Our price was five times higher than what the other potential provider proposed.

Doh!

Discussing this with the potential client, the difference was clear.

The other provider’s solution was showing up to be a neutral, albeit knowledgeable party, who would “host” a discussion.

That was a solution, but only to a VERY narrow interpretation of the problem, i.e., managing the allotted time for a discussion with a little follow up.

We were addressing delivering the answer they needed to move forward with a brand strategy and implementation in the few months their management group is expecting. We’d proposed addressing the bigger problem the potential client was admittedly facing. The other provider had proposed (and set a price expectation) for a small solution to a much narrower problem.

The big learning was even though I don’t use the term, we are solution selling. We don’t just show up and facilitate. We identify, plan, manage, and deliver a strategic outcome. In other words, our focus is creating strategic impact. That’s why we ensure all the planning and meeting conditions lead to a real result. That’s why we create a definitive series of exercises leading to the desired strategic outcome.

That’s why we don’t simply stand in front of a whiteboard, ask a few questions, and capture some notes.

It’s all part of the difference between facilitating a meeting and creating strategic impact. – Mike Brown

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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 you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.

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