0

This commercial which debuted earlier this week from AT&T as part of its “Rethink Possible” campaign is a great visualization of an idea we’ve talked about before: a big part of creativity is being able to return to how you viewed the world as a child when everything was new to you.

Having seen it on the Talladega NASCAR race today (not sure how it fit with the demographic), I wanted to get it posted for both its message and visual treatment. – 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

1

As the Tuesday post highlighted, we participated in the Freelance Exchange of Kansas City Portfolio Showcase yesterday. It was an experiment with some clear positives and a lot of “we’ll sees” based on recapping our strategy and implementation during the drive home.

One of the “interesting” items in our Plus-Minus-Interesting-Recommendation review was the number of people familiar with Brainzooming through Twitter. For a brand that was a part-time effort until late last year, it’s evidence of the impact social media channels can have in building awareness and creating a perception of what a brand stands for in its initial stages. It certainly helps get an in person conversation started when someone has a sense that Brainzooming is focused on helping organizations be more successful through more innovative approaches to their strategy and its implementation.

This opportunity to create familiarity through social media underscores the importance of thinking about what you tweet or post, and its consistency with your brand – be it a personal or business one. Ample reason to ask before you hit enter, “What might a current or potential client read into or think about my brand based on this message?”

And while you’re at it, if you’re representing yourself directly in social media, ask the same question relative to your mother, spouse, children, current employer, future employer, and anyone else who’ll make a decision about you in the future.

Yes, it’s social media. Yes, it can be fun. But be sure you’re strategically tweeting, blogging, and sharing out there! People ARE listening. – 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

1

We started the week talking about keeping a creative and innovative perspective going amid dramatic change. The seven lessons below, originally shared in an abbreviated form on Twitter, were written across several days of thinking strategically about how Brainzooming is progressing and how to move it ahead even more dramatically.

If you’re in a situation where you’re contemplating making a dramatic change, consider these ideas and how you can get a head start now, before the change takes place:

  • Flexibility is freeing. Design your life strategically to create future options for yourself. You never know when you’ll need them.
  • Create situations where you can make as many of your learning mistakes as possible before it really matters. While the intensity will naturally be less, you’ll be that much more ready when everything counts.
  • It’s one thing to build a network. It’s quite another to effectively use it to benefit others and yourself. Beyond simply helping others in your network, work on how you can and will ask others for their mutual assistance as well.
  • Never depend on any one thing as a “sure” thing. Always be prepared for what you’ll do “just in case.”
  • You may not have your elevator speech down pat the first time you get on the elevator. It may take a lot of elevator rides to refine it. Start the process now.
  • Borrow liberally and tweak ideas. But be sure to extend credit even MORE liberally than you’re borrowing!
  • Don’t be crippled by someone telling you, “It’s the worst time in the world,” to do what your attempting to do. In reality, it’s the worst time in the world to tell someone it’s the “worst time in the world” to pursue their dreams. – 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

2

We had two Brainzooming articles and great comments last week on personal branding strategy. The subject reminded me of a recent exchange underscoring the memorability a great personal brand can create.

Last month, Cyndi and I were having her second free birthday dinner at Houlihan’s (and BTW, although they messed up the first dinner, Houlihan’s performed outstanding service recovery, really overcompensating for the servce failures taking place initially). Both nights, the same two women were eating nearby. One looked so familiar, I was sure I knew her.

At the end of the second dinner, my curiosity took over. I approached the table and asked if she were Evelyn Young. Yes, she replied, wondering why I asked. I told her I’d bought several pieces of jewelry from her years before. She asked with a twinkle in her eye if they’d been for my wife or a mistress. I assured her they’d been for my wife, as Cyndi showed her one of the rings, which Evelyn examined, commenting on its beauty.

She then asked if she made me spend more money than I’d wanted. I told her she had; Evelyn smiled and noted I had looked familiar to her as well. A variety of pleasantries and stories ensured, including one about getting a husband planning to spend a total of $100 on a 25th anniversary chain to spend $100 PER YEAR (or $2500) instead.

Evelyn reminded us that she is now 86 years old and gave me a business card, which she admitted wasn’t any good since the jewelry store where she worked had closed and the mall torn down.

She may not have ever heard of the term “personal branding,” yet Evelyn is a great example of everything you want to do in terms of personality and engagement to create incredible memorability and loyalty.  I always returned to Evelyn for jewelry purchases when she was working, and if I needed to buy something now, she’d get a call to see if she’d go shopping with me. And since she told us she and her friend eat at the neighborhood Houlihan’s every Sunday night, we’ll even try to schedule our return visits to coincide with seeing Evelyn.

Beyond how-to’s on personal brand strategy, what matters is the positive impact you make on others. Boy, has Evelyn done that! The question for all of us: are we doing as well as Evelyn? – 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

2

Here’s an idea that works well when you’re trying to uncover how to be more creative: force yourself (or your business brand) into completely new strategic situations.

The Brainzooming Group will be doing that this Thursday. Barrett Sydnor and I will be participating in the Freelance Exchange of Kansas City’s 2010 Portfolio Showcase, along with a talented group of creative talent – designers, writers, web developers, and artists. We’ll be there showcasing how Brainzooming helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement.

Barrett identified this opportunity, and while it may seem a stretch for Brainzooming to hang with the creative Freelance Exchange organization, the preparation alone has had a strategic and creative  impact. The opportunity to meet prospective Brainzooming clients in a very different situation (i.e., event marketing) forced positive refinements in our marketing message and creative delivery.

This event has made us think strategically beyond the one-page capabilities piece we’ve been using. In this venue, we need to provide visually eye-catching creative material to capture attention during a quick walk by our table. This new situation led to more case study-oriented pieces, such as those shown here.

Thinking about our strategic messaging from the perspective of the solutions and benefits Brainzooming provides, selecting images can be a challenge. Typically, our tangible output is a concise, actionable plan that’s tremendously valuable, but not all that visually intriguing. Changing our messaging focus to a potential client’s business challenges offered many more creative opportunities to place images with our message. It’s been much easier to depict business people challenged by too much data (without relevant insights), too few strategic options, or being left out of conversations about their brands in social media.

The point is this: presenting at the Freelance Exchange 2010 Portfolio Showcase was so different, it forced both a new look at our marketing and moved an important to-do higher up on our list. Whether you’re on your own or inside a company, look for brand experiments to force re-examining and innovatively approaching what you do from a new strategic perspective.

If you’re in Kansas City Thursday afternoon, April 22 from 3 to 6 p.m., stop by the Terrace on Grand (1520 Grand St., KCMO). We’d be eager to talk with you about how the proven Brainzooming process can help address your strategic challenges and catalyze innovative success for your organization! – 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

0

We’re in the middle of World Innovation and Creativity Week which started April 15 (the anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s birth) and runs through April 21 (my half-birthday).

As usual, we extend the week to April 22 around Brainzooming since it’s the birthday of the original creative instigator, Jan Harness.  And today, I’m really looking forward to getting together with Jan for her early birthday lunch! It’s amazing to think that this will be the first time we’ve seen each other since January 2nd. Having gone from working together in-person multiple times weekly, it’s been a creative shock to talk or email only every few weeks.

In fact, with Brainzooming as a full-time strategy and innovation catalyst for organizations needing help in these areas there have been different and typically less-frequent interactions with all my previous creative team members. It has created opportunities to meet other new creative people (which have been wonderful), and interact with some former ones in new venues, absent some of the restrictions working in a big corporation can pose. Interestingly, through much of this same time, I was cutting out many of my usual non-human creative instigators (including caffeine) for Lent. Since then, I’ve tried to continue staying away from them.

Taking the NO out of InNOvation

Talk about changing a lot of strategic elements all at once (remember an early 2010 post that referenced embracing dramatic change)! While I’d hoped radically changing my creative surroundings would awaken a whole different set of creative instigators I’d previously overlooked, it hasn’t been the case so far, at least as far as I can see. It’s simply been hard work to continually refresh my creative perspective. No innovation epiphany yet, but I’m still seeking it. When it comes, I’ll let you know what strategic combination of new creative instigators is working the best!

P.S. This week is a great time to download “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” as a way to refresh your personal creative perspective. I’ve certainly been using these eight perspectives to help refresh my creativity! I think you’ll enjoy and benefit from them as well!  – 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

18

Someone remarked recently about how well the Brainzooming process identifies strategic connections among apparently disparate items. Taking the best advantage of possibilities and strategic themes is central to the efficiency of what we do.  Our ability to do this creates stronger integration for strategic business initiatives. Finding connections between more things that could make sense together catalyzes the planning process by allowing us to dramatically expand the range of strategic possibilities a client is able to consider.

To improve your own skills at making strategic connections, here are some strategic thinking tips:

  • When your strategic thinking is focused on multiple ideas, use techniques such as mind mapping which help you to innovatively think through other possibilities the ideas suggest.
  • As you consider multiple dimensions to your ideas, look for strategic relationships (i.e. things that matter) among them.
  • The more relationships you can consider, the more options you have to find meaningful connections which are compelling relative to your business objective.

It takes practice, but these three strategic thinking tips will help you innovatively make more strategic sense of many (often seemingly unrelated) business events.   - 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 see how we can help you devise a successful innovation strategy for your organization.

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading