5

When seeing a music superstar in concert you hope for a greatest hits performance covering their best recordings. You really hope the hits sound something like the original songs. You realize some songs you wanted to hear won’t get played. And nobody’s surprised when the artist beats a hasty retreat for the door at the performance’s conclusion.

Why should it be any different when you see a superstar blogger/author such as Seth Godin? Yet there were grumblings about him simply going over topics straight from his books and questions about why he departed so quickly from his Business Marketing Association Unleash luncheon keynote last week.

If you ask me, Seth Godin put on a veteran rock star performance.

I’ll admit to thinking Seth Godin is a lot better blogger than book author. His blogs are focused and insightful. His books, however, seem like under-edited compilations of blog posts with focus replaced by redundancy. In person, he equaled his blogging performance – a few big ideas, lots of pithy quotes, and stories (both old and modern) to set it all up smartly.

Rather than try and play back all of his remarks, here are paraquotes from six themes Seth Godin touched upon which resonated with me:

NOW

Seth Godin admitted he can’t really address what’s next since change is so rapid and dramatic. The best he can do is talk about what’s now. And now, in the digital age, everyone has access to the means of production – a laptop and a high-speed internet connection. While making things was difficult in the past, it’s now relatively easy. The digital revolution has created opportunities which go against our instincts; the act of giving freely is one of them. Ideas that spread are ideas that win.

ART

Your job is not figuring out how to show up one more day at work and still get paid. Your job is to figure out how to use what you do as a platform for art. And what’s art? Art is a human being solving a problem in a way it’s never been solved before.

VALUE

If you want to reap the rewards of value, realize we give all the value to people who are solving problems in new ways. The second person to solve the problem isn’t getting the value anymore. In solving problems, you have to consider the experience. We pay for the way an experience addresses our needs because there is value in the experience.

FEAR

There’s a difference between being fearless and reckless. Strong entrepreneurs are calculated and fearless, not reckless. We spend a lot of time building our fears by imagining problems in advance. This happens because of our inner voice which tries to protect us from danger. As soon as you can talk back to your internal voice, you’ll know you’re working on the right things when it (“The Resistance,” as Seth calls it) surfaces. That’s when to keep going.

ADVANTAGE

It’s your job to invent the new product which sells itself. Don’t base your business on your customers not having a lot of knowledge, because they can find things out elsewhere. Competence alone doesn’t cut it either; competence isn’t scarce. If you can write down how to do something, it can be done more cheaply by someone else.

PERFORMANCE

Avoid models that work like bowling, where perfection is the best you can do. In bowling there is no reward or even possibility of over-the-top performance. Instead, find work you can do that’s off the charts. – 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 you enhance your brand strategy and implementation efforts.

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.

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2

The underlying green principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle aren’t just for environmental matters. You can also apply these green principles to your blogging. For those of us who create a lot of content, blog sustainability is a matter of creative survival.

Reduce

1. The number of words

Writing fewer words can save blogging time, if you start with that objective. Writing long posts and editing them to be short, however, can take a disproportionately long time. When you set out to write a shorter post (i.e. in the 100 – 200 word range), going in with a brief outline can make reducing words a real time saver.

2. Time spent writing

Get a kitchen timer, and set a limit on how long you’ll spend writing a blog post. Forcing yourself to write for only 20 minutes on a single post gets you in great practice for writing quickly AND shortly.

3. Posting frequency

If you’re struggling with the posting schedule you have, consider reducing how often you post. You don’t HAVE to write every day. Pick a less frequent schedule, communicate it to your readers, and stay consistent with the new schedule as you enjoy your new free time.

Reuse

4. Your links

Face it: not everybody is reading everything you’re posting. Plus (fingers crossed), you’re picking up new readers all the time. If you have major subject in your blog, link back to earlier pieces that expand on the points you’re making in a current post.

5. Popular posts

Look at your Google Analytics and see what readers have been reading the most. Create posts which highlight popular posts built around specific topic areas your readers enjoy.

6. Images

Just because you’ve used an image once doesn’t mean it can’t be used again. Get proficient on basic editing software – crop a picture to focus on specific, different elements within it. Add effects to it as a way to use an image for multiple posts.

Recycle

7. Popular post themes

Update popular topics or combine them into longer, more comprehensive articles. You could also build on comments readers shared and turn those into related posts.

8. List posts

List posts are often more about the list and less about the explanatory text associated with each item. Pull out a single item from a list post and expand it into a more fully-developed blog post.

9. Multiple posts

Take multiple posts on a specific subject and aggregate them into an article or ebook you can offer as a download on your blog.

How Creatively Green Is Your Blog?

Try these 9 ideas and you’ll be doing your part for blog sustainability. What other ways do you reduce, reuse, or recycle with your blog? 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 can help your organization make a successful first step into social media.

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.

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0

We’ve talked about guerrilla marketing before on the Brainzooming blog. One reason? We use a strategic thinking exercise in strategy sessions to quickly expand an organization’s understanding of the hundreds of marketing assets available to communicate its strategic messages to important audiences.

It was definitely a surprise to see guerrilla marketing talked about in a recent episode of Parks and Recreation. I’d never seen the show until very recently, but now I’m completely hooked on it. And I’m not hooked on it because they talked about guerrilla marketing . . . because the treatment of it in the Parks and Recreation is really about how NOT to do it!

Enjoy the video (and the whole episode is hilarious as well) anyway, and if you want to get real understanding on guerrilla marketing, check out these links:

– 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.

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1

During yesterday’s TMSA social media strategy presentation, we wound up talking about 4 of the 12 business-to-business social media strategy topics the audience could choose from to discuss. Interestingly, they picked one topic each in the four overall categories – strategy, social networking, infrastructure, and social business. As I’d promised them, here are links for the overview in the presentation plus  links with more detail on each of the 4 specific topics they selected:

Social Media Overview

Strategy – Measuring ROI

Social Networking – Getting Noticed

Infrastructure – Time and Talent

Social Business – Content Marketing

The group had a number of questions throughout which should provide additional blog topics in the weeks to come. – 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 define a strategy firmly tied to business yet recognizing the impact of social networking on your market opportunities.

 

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.

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17

I’m doing a social media strategy presentation at the Transportation Marketing and Sales Association in San Diego today. Today’s talk is a major revamp of  my social media strategy presentation, incorporating learnings from all the social media work we’ve done the past year. With much more social media content to share, I’ve prepared 12 social media topics for the audience to choose from in customizing the presentation to the issues most relevant for them. They get value from picking what’s covered, and it keeps me on my toes since no two presentations are the same!

We’ll also be highlighting social media strategy best practices from among attendees to make the talk more industry-specific and recognize smart work in the transportation and logistics industry. While looking for best practices, I found a number of social media mistakes as well. Instead of calling them out in the presentation, however, today’s post highlights seven of the (unattributed) mistakes any business-to-business (or even business-to-consumer) company shouldn’t be making:

1. Making your product/service the hero in every blog post.

In transportation industry blogs, the companies doing the blogging have their services providing heroic solutions in WAY too many posts. Using the problem-solution-result format to occasionally highlight your brand’s products and services is okay. If every blog post involves your brand coming to the rescue, however, it’s repetitive and will disaffect readers. The alternative is delivering content on what customers are:

  • Seeking information about
  • Focused on in their professional (and personal) lives
  • Challenged to accomplish in their businesses

With this approach, incorporating the Think-Know-Do perspective we’ve recommended will help you to create much greater content value for readers.

2. Only following and fanning business-to-business customers.

For business-to-business brands (and business-to-consumer ones too), deciding who to follow and fan can be challenging. While there are a variety of strategies which may be right, at least one strategy is clearly wrong: only following your customers. When you only follow customers in a business-to-business market, your customer list becomes visible to anyone checking your profile.

3. Creating an industry platform with lots of fanfare and very little planning.

One company introduced an issue-oriented portal to tackle a big, meaty industry issue. The introduction included lots of fanfare and promises of frequent updates, community, and vibrant conversations. On launch day, the company debuted several “executive” blog posts to frame its thought leadership position and then . . . wait for it . . . nothing. What does it make your brand look like when months pass and nothing’s happening on the site? If makes it look as if your brand doesn’t keep promises. When executives become hell-bent to launch this type of site, invest some of the development money into creating a legitimately implementable content plan to keep it updated and build a robust dialogue. Not sure how? Call us!

4. Featuring sharing buttons but nothing worth sharing.

Definitely make social media content spreadable by installing plug-ins to allow readers to share your content within their own social networks. Putting sharing buttons on a web page is only one part of the sharing equation. The content has to be valuable and worth taking time to let others know about it. Going through several TMSA attendees’ social media sites, sharing shows up on many pages no one would ever share no matter how easy it is to do.

5. You create all the Twitter and Facebook content you share.

Social networking is about conversation and sharing relevant content from multiple pertinent sources. The Twitter and Facebook presences for many TMSA attendees do nothing but push their own content, making it seem like just a bunch of mini press releases. You can check how you’re doing on this by looking at your last 20 tweets or Facebook status updates. In how many are you “talking” vs. answering questions, engaging in conversations with other users or sharing content from others? Target less than 20% of the content being your material and 80% from some form of interaction.

6. Ignoring social media when your company is being challenged.

When a brand is under attack, it’s discouraging, but pulling back and not communicating in every social channel where your brand is getting bad talked isn’t the way to go. With the ability for anyone to essentially broadcast very creative content about your brand, you can’t afford silence. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be the most compelling communicator of your story. If you’re getting pounded in blog posts, comment and move the conversation to positive topics. If a YouTube video search shows nothing but mocking videos and doomsayers about your brand, get busy and share lots of brief, rich stories about what your company and its employees are doing to provide value.

7. Having multiple accounts and one avatar.

It can be smart to have multiple identities for your brand set up in relevant channels with content targeted to interest areas your customers have. Every presence shouldn’t have exactly the same corporate logo though. Not providing visual differentiation undermines the value of the diverse, focused content you’re sharing. When designing multiple avatars, make sure they carry a comparable feel so people know they’re all from your brand, but reflect the distinct content and perspective each is presenting.

Well?

If you’re a TMSA attendee, were any of these written about your social media presence? If you didn’t attend TMSA, do any of the problems sound familiar anyway? 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 define a strategy firmly tied to business yet recognizing the impact of social networking on your market opportunities.

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.

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5

Shaq’s Twitter-based retirement announcement plus getting ready for my social media strategy presentation next week to the Transportation Marketing and Sales Association triggered today’s post. One day on Twitter Chris Brogan tweeted a request for a link to Shaq’s post about Twitteronia. I jumped on the request and found the link for this tweet of Shaq’s I’d never seen before:

“To all twitterers, if u c me n public come say hi, we r not the same we r from twitteronia, we connect”

(February 19, 2009, 3:37 pm) from @THE_REAL_SHAQ

Having found it, Shaq’s Twitteronia tweet immediately went into all my social media strategy presentations. It was only this week, however, when updating the presentation that it occurred to me that in one tweet, Shaq summed up just about everything we use in defining the characteristics a social channel has:

  • He’s overtly seeking interaction and collaboration – a dramatic, new change for a celebrity who’d you’d expect to avoid in person encounters with those outside his close circle.
  • He acknowledges the common bonds of Twitter users.
  • His network members are encouraged to identify themselves.
  • And it’s clear that minimal technical (and grammatical) expertise is needed to participate in Twitteronia.

Talk about brevity! THAT’s Twitteronia! 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 you enhance your social media strategy and implementation efforts.

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.

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3

Opening the BMA Unleash conference on Thursday, Jim Lecinski, Managing Director at Google, addressed the work Google is doing on the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) which was covered here last fall based on a Kansas City Business Marketing Association luncheon talk. Lecinski positioned ZMOT as a new marketing thought model, introducing an equally, if not more important, moment of truth which happens between an initial stimulus (an ad, billboard, article, WOM, etc. – all still important as initial stimuli) and the first interaction a potential consumer actually has with a brand. The zero moment of truth is marked by online activity through search and reaching out to social networks to address the types of questions first-time buyers have (Will it work? What else do I need to know? Is this the best choice for me?).

Lecinski provided background information to support the zero moment of truth phenomenon in B2B settings, pointing toward 1x to 3x increases in search activity in prime B2B categories while budgets and spending were flat or being reduced dramatically. More uncertainty and fewer financial resources all support the need to eliminate risk in buying decisions, spurring the move to gather more and more reliably-perceived information.

Acknowledging that ZMOT is a new concept and still evolving, Lecinski offered these 7 keys to taking better advantage of the ZMOT for a brand:

ZMOT 1. Put someone in charge of the zero moment of truth.

Identify an individual who gets the concept and is close to the customer (maybe someone in customer service already) and have them take on responsibility for how your brand is planning for and capitalizing on ZMOT.

ZMOT 2.  Find zero moments in your category.

It’s possible to use the Google autofill function to put in your brand or category and see what the suggested autofills are. These start to help you understand how people are searching for your brand or category. Important tip – make sure you’re logged off of Google before you do this so your own history isn’t skewing the results.

ZMOT 3.  Answer the questions people are asking.

After understanding where and how people are searching about you and your category in the ZMOT, make sure you’re showing up on these searches and providing the answers that people are looking for during the ZMOT. The Google keyword tool will help you understand the volume of the searches that appear. Google has made changes in it search algorithm to rank reviews (especially from within your social network) high along with adding the +1 function to indicate valuable information.

ZMOT 4. Optimize your ZMOT.

It’s important to know where the ZMOT is taking place. Lecinski stated that less than 25% of B2B websites are optimized for mobile devices, yet even for B2B buyers, mobile may very well be where the search is taking place.

ZMOT 5.  Be Fast.

Potential buyers will react to wildcard stimuli (i.e., a mention on a TV show or an online article) which can trigger the ZMOT search. Even though a brand can’t often plan for these stimuli, you have to be ready when it happens to make sure people get the answers. Additionally, Lecinski advised calls to action in offline communications to point potential buyers to where they can find the types of answers they’re looking for in the ZMOT online.

ZMOT 6. Don’t forget video.

There are lots of people talking about the increasing importance of video in buying decisions. With relatively greater ease than in the past, a brand can deliver answers to a whole variety of questions via YouTube and video placed on its own website. Encourage and incent real-life testimonials and case studies to add to the video mix as well.

ZMOT 7. Jump In.

ZMOT is a new concept and there aren’t best practices yet. The right strategies are being defined and understood on a daily basis, so it’s critical to get started and learn your way into what practices work.

Get the Zero Moment of Truth Ebook

For more information, sign up to download the Google ebook published on June 20, 2011 with greater detail on its ZMOT work:  www.zeromomentoftruth.com.

Seth Godin at Lunch

Seth Godin delivered the Thursday lunch keynot at BMA Unleash. Look for a post on his session later next week. – 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 you enhance your brand strategy and implementation efforts.

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.

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