3

Websites, content, and registration forms are all part of a great business building strategy. Through them, businesses have the opportunity to capture information on people, particularly when website visitors are compelled to register to download information. That strategy creates leads and follow up phone calls (if a phone number has been required) to say they registered on the website and to check to see if the content marketer could find out a little more and share some additional information.

That’s all great.

Except for the fact a website visitor’s recollection of being on a website is often much, much dimmer than the impression created by all the information captured behind the scenes.

I had a voice mail last week from David (he of one name – kind of like Madonna – since he didn’t leave a last name) from a 2 or 3 word named company (although I could only understand the first word, “PR,” because he slurred the rest of the company’s name) about my recent registration on their website (for a download that I have no recollection of and no hints about from David to provide any context about it), wondering if I’d do him the pleasure of calling him back to get more information.

I guess David, as awkward as this may be, my answer is, “NO,” because a call back will require me to say, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Obviously you have my phone number, so there must have been some kind of contact. Based on your rushed and slurred message without any reference to what I may have been doing on your website (which I bet you, or somebody in your company knows), however, I have no clue what you’re talking about.

So here’s my advice to all you cool web-based content marketers immersed in your strategies of collecting information on whoever trips across your information-rich web presence:

  • Speak slowly if you’re leaving me a phone message
  • Give me your full name
  • More importantly, repeat the full name of your company, s-l-o-w-l-y
  • Remind me what I downloaded (because chances are I don’t remember, since I’m kind of a serial downloader)
  • When you tell me about how much you’d appreciate a call back, give me a compelling reason for why returning your call will be a BIG benefit to me too!

That’s my content marketing strategy advice for today. – 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.  To learn how we can structure a strategy to keep you ahead of your customers, email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320.

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

Last Monday, I spoke on social media strategy for long-time reader Becky Johnston’s graduate level marketing class at UMKC. There were approximately 25 smart, early-career students in her marketing class.

We were talking about social media’s pervasiveness across customer service touchpoints in a business. I shared Chris Brogan’s opinion on providing front line customer contact employees some mini-version of media relations to better prepare them to deal with customers using social media to broadcast the customer experience. I asked, as I frequently do, who had heard of Chris Brogan. And as frequently happens, not one student raised a hand.

Yes, nobody knew who Chris Brogan was.

For many of us heavily into social media, and Twitter especially, we could better tell you Chris Brogan’s strategic perspective on the topics of the day than we could those of a relatively close relative. I rarely interact with most of my cousins, but I’m checking in multiple times weekly, if not daily, to see what Chris is tweeting and writing about on social media, marketing, strategy, and any other topic he decides to cover.

But kids, we aren’t normal.

So beyond Chris Brogan, who is legitimately a social media rock star, there are lots of other lesser-known great thinkers whose strategic ideas may not be seeing the light of day among important business contacts you have.

There are a lot of people we do business with (peers, bosses, employees, clients) who never see the great strategic insights being shared online in what are common social media channels to some, but not common at all for many very intelligent, active, successful business people.

Which brings us to the question: Are you retweeting IRL?

By that I mean, beyond simply RTing great content you’re seeing via social media, are you:

  • Referring to it in business conversations?
  • Sharing it in staff meetings?
  • Printing articles and posting them on bulletin boards or sending them to others?
  • Emailing links to business associates?
  • Incorporating these perspectives into presentations you’re doing?

Because while a retweet (or a Digg or a Like) is easy and provides the sense you’ve shared what you think is relevant with the world, there are many people who’d benefit from the content that are never seeing it.

So do them a favor, after you RT it online, RT it IRL too! 

BTW, in case you’re interested, you can take a look at the Prezi of the social media strategy overview below. – 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 develop an integrated social media strategy for your brand.

 

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

Our pastor, Fr. Don Cullen, was teaching an adult religious education class recently, talking about lessons learned in more than three decades of religious life.

One lesson was when a child hands you a picture he or she has made, starts to tell you about it, and then looks for your reaction, the correct thing to say is, “Tell me more.”

Not only does “tell me more” work in this instance, it got me thinking about all the other business and life situations in which it’s the best thing to say such as when:

  • Somebody is telling you about a confusing situation and is looking for a reaction
  • You’re stumped for an answer when someone asks you a question
  • Another person is on the verge of figuring out a dilemma they’re struggling with
  • You’re learning valuable new information from someone

Since it seems like at least one of these situations crops up daily, I’m trying to say, “Tell me more,” much more frequently. – 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.  To learn how we can bring out the best innovative thinking in your team email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320.

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

We were working with a client who is very quality-focused in all aspects of its product strategy. One of its brand elements is engineering products for extensive longevity, equating quality and durability in its brand promise.

While this strategy is part of supporting a premium price point for its product line, our interviews suggested the brand was not getting full credit in the market for its quality/durability combo. Beyond that, it was in fact being hurt in some segments where the durability it provides isn’t necessary, and potential customers are unwilling to pay the premium. The result is very low share in some potentially attractive segments.

We suggested a strategy of unbundling quality and durability in its corporate mindset as a way to potentially open up new opportunities. We advanced the idea that quality be viewed as a predictable relationship between product age and expected performance. By opening up this strategic view, we tried to get the client to see possibilities in producing a very high quality product engineered for a shorter life cycle than its typical line. If it can take costs out as a result, it could still represent a strong margin possibility while creating new strategic market opportunities it doesn’t have a shot at currently.

You may want to take a look at your own product and service strategy to see if you’ve co-mingled attributes which might make sense for your business needs (i.e., we can charge more if our products last longer) but don’t deliver the greatest maximum value for customers (i.e., those with no intention of keeping your products for as long as they’ll last).

If your brand isn’t getting full credit for everything it delivers, explore strategic opportunities to pull apart co-mingled attributes to create growth and emerging strategic opportunities. – 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.

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

We met with a client to think through a strategy to protect its organization’s market research knowledge. Protecting its market understanding was especially important since its market research analysis staff shrunk dramatically the last few years with no replacements planned any time soon.

As with many companies, this one has undergone dramatic brand strategy changes: old brands have gone away, new brands have emerged, and significant alterations have taken place nearly everywhere else. The central question was what historical market research data to re-organize and retain along with what market research data to let go.

Our recommended strategy called for retaining and prioritizing four types of information from market research reports. If you’re also facing a situation of tremendous change and a proliferation of available data, this list will help in considering what market research to retain:

  • Methodology / Structural Background – Hang on to what you’ve learned about the right and wrong ways to use market research in talking with your marketplace. There’s never a good reason to re-learn the ins and outs of doing market research in your particular business, particularly when you don’t have as many people in place to do the actual market research. Another keeper? Market research surveys which allow you to reference specific survey questions that have been productive.
  • What’s Important to Customers – You want to preserve tracking information on what’s important to buyers, especially if it’s derived importance data (i.e., statistically determined insights on what predicts customer behaviors and perceptions).  If your market research budget is squeezed and you have to move to stated importance on surveys (where customers simply say what they think is important), it’s beneficial to have derived importance data as a reference point, even if it’s slightly dated.
  • Keep Inputs for Market Sizing and Forecasting – For many business markets, there are no readily available sources of syndicated or third party data to actively size a market, especially in specific niches. In those cases, primary business-to-business market research may be the only reliable source to gauge market trends. Make sure to keep elements which help estimate sizes and forecasts for the markets you serve. Even with change going on, you can adjust and modify when you start with a solid, even somewhat historical, knowledge base.
  • Work that Will Demonstrate Value – Even if dated, retain market research reports which demonstrate where research contributed value to the business previously – backing up positive business decisions, challenging what were (or would have been) poor strategic decisions, or forward-looking predictions that ultimately come to fruition. You always want the raw materials to demonstrate value you’ve provided when trying to make a case for greater customer understanding.

That’s our take on the subject. What types of historical market research data do you prioritize within your company? – 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.

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

Beginning this week, I’m launching a string of innovation training presentations and speaking appearances in the next six weeks, concentrated on two primary presentation topics from The Brainzooming Group: generating innovative business ideas and social media strategy.

Several presentations are around the Kansas City area plus I’ll also be in Milwaukee and Minneapolis for strategy presentations open to the public through the local Business Marketing Association chapters.

Here’s the current schedule along with links to registration and background information on the presentations. If you’re in the area, it would be great to see you!

Would your organization like to offer its employees or members greater understanding and actionable tools in business strategy, innovation, creativity, branding, and social media?

If so, call (816-509-5320) or email me (brainzooming@gmail.com) to see how we can bring the Brainzooming message and experience to your organization. – Mike Brown

When it comes to training, conferences, and high impact, actionable presentations, The Brainzooming Group is expert at shaping the right strategy and implementation to create unique attendee experiences before, during, and after an event. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can make your event more successful!

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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This is for all those business people who still operate under the mistaken belief brand strategy is simply about logos, colors, and design.

A recent court decision has to be a rude awakening – at least in the area covered by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals – where watching and participating in food being prepared in a restaurant is considered an integral part of the customer experience for a brand.

The ruling against Chipotle restaurants was based on a claim by Maurizio Antoninetti (who is confined to a wheelchair) that the Chipotle chain’s 45-inch dividing wall around its food prep counter prevented him from participating in the “full Chipotle experience” as his food was being prepared.

Chipotle offers a variety of accommodations to disabled patrons, including letting them view ingredients in cups, taste ingredients, and have their food prepared tableside. All of these, however, were found insufficient substitutes in presenting the full customer experience of the brand. As a result of the ruling, Chipotle has begun retrofitting the walls and changing future restaurant designs to comply with the ruling.

There you have it brand strategy fans.

A customer’s active co-creation role in selecting and guiding the preparer in how a food item is assembled is an integral part of the customer experience for a brand.

While some are raising questions about the plaintiff’s motives and whether the court decision makes sense, our brand strategy angle in covering the story here is there’s legal proof that even tangible products have customer experience and co-creation dimensions in their brands. That’s a strategic branding judgment you’ll find all kinds of support for here at Brainzooming! – 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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