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Regularly walking outside is great exercise and a wonderful start toward living a healthier lifestyle and losing weight.

Walking around a gym (even with all the available tools), hanging out, and talking with people, however, doesn’t do a lot for one’s health or weight loss.

Yet it’s pretty common to see people who desperately need aggressive exercise simply putting in their time with minimal effort in using the tools available for them to accomplish a significant objective.

The same principle applies to work.

You can embrace the activities and resources necessary to progress significantly on the opportunities in front of you. Or are you can simply hang out, wander around, and avoid doing the hard stuff you know you need to be doing.

So what’s your strategy for approaching your career?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.

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The Brainzooming™ Group was meeting with the relatively new CEO of a client recently to analyze the company’s marketing strategy. Discussing an area where our client has used one strategy and its primary competitor has taken completely the opposite strategy, the CEO said he’s skeptical of any business value his company thinks it’s getting from the effort.

The reason? Because the competitor ISN’T being forced to follow his brand.

He expressed his desire to control a competitor’s marketing strategy and budget by beating them to great innovative opportunities it feels compelled to follow.

That’s not necessarily a common angle on marketing strategy, but it’s an intriguing strategic perspective nonetheless. While flying in the face of owning and differentiating your brand based on what you do that competitors don’t, it does align with one advantage of being a first mover.

It’s also made me rethink a situation where my former company got into NASCAR when no one else in our industry had. Once we demonstrated the success of the strategy (and won an industry award for the NASCAR program’s ROI), every major competitor jumped into racing within 2 years. While it angered me then, looking back in this new light, it was great to force our major competitors to make significant business investments because of the effects they felt from our strategy.

Which leads to the question – what have you forced your competitors to do lately?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.

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Always watch out for the quick, “just go with it” ideas presented to you. While it’s really cool when the first (often “obvious”) idea works, at least ask the question, “What about the idea might not make sense?” In asking the question, force yourself to explore all aspects of the customer experience which might readily not fit with the idea. Doing this helps eliminate the awkwardness of moving ahead with a first idea which doesn’t really make sense.

I’ll share an example close to home illustrating the point.

We have a great offer $100 discount offer for the American Marketing Association Marketing Research Conference in Atlanta. It’s available to anyone attending last week’s virtual conference, “Unveiling Marketing Research’s Future Online.” Since I’m chairing the in-person conference, Brainzooming readers can also use the $100 discount if you register by July 2. The September conference is an outstanding learning and networking opportunity featuring presenters with strong points of view and a few surprises thrown in, all in keeping with its “Unfiltered Perspectives, Unexpected Opportunities” theme.

Back to that great $100 discount off for VIRTUAL event attendees. How do you take advantage of it?

By CALLING 800-262-1150 and using the reference code “VIRTUAL.”

Just CALL and use the code “VIRTUAL.”

Something about that doesn’t make sense does it?

When I asked about having to call to get the discount, it’s because of technical limitations with the registration system. Whatever. The “first idea” of making the discount code “VIRTUAL” makes sense if people can register directly within the virtual environment (or at least online). When you have to make a phone call though, it doesn’t make sense any more. At that point, it makes much more sense to pick something related the in-person event, such as “UNEXPECTED” or “ATLANTA” neither of which point right at our registration limitations.

Certainly not the end of the world, but all preventable by asking, “What about the idea might not make sense?”

Irrespective of the registration code, though, check out the lineup for the event and take advantage of $100 discount offer. It truly is the best value in a market research conferences you’re going to find.

And remember, just mention “VIRTUAL” when you call. – 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.

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  • Arriving early for a meeting and taking a moment to relax and get set.
  • Doing more than you said you would.
  • Taking a break from your busy schedule to spend time with a mentor.
  • Taking a break from your busy schedule to mentor someone else.
  • Sharing some secrets of your success.
  • Creating great opportunities for deserving people.
  • Shutting up when your advice is falling on deaf ears.
  • Catching up on your sleep.
  • Stopping to give thanks for all the advantages you’ve had.  – 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.

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Back in the day, before cable, satellite, HD and giant screens, watching TV wasn’t the same experience. It was subject to poor picture quality, interference from outside signals, and frequent static all viewed on small screens and requiring an antenna to get decent reception even from a local TV station.

For as much as we’ve advanced in technology, consider the challenges we face today. Our cell phone calls are susceptible to dropped coverage and poor sound on PDAs with small screens (which we now love). We’re limited on what we can see and communicate because of tiny, poorly rendered avatars and text character limitations.

While the static early TV viewers grew up with is a thing of the past, it has been replaced with new types of interference thwarting clear communication.

Just a few recent examples:

  • I met someone I’d been following on Twitter. This person’s avatar is a very full facial picture, making it appear he’s a pretty big guy. He may have noticed my look of surprise when in person, he was actually very tiny, and I towered over him.
  • There was an opportunity to see a speaker I follow on Twitter in real life. While his narcissism is particularly obnoxious on Twitter, it was much less so in person. His relentless self-focus was still present, but in real life, it was more comical than it comes across online.
  • The other day someone thanked me for a retweet about leadership. Since he didn’t include the link in the message, and I’d tweeted several things on leadership, there was no context to effectively respond to his comment and start a dialogue.
  • Recently, someone I follow in California checked into Fousquare from a hospital at 4 a.m. Obviously, something serious must have been going on. Yet right above her tweet was a Foursquare announcement that she’d unlocked the “School Night” badge for checking in so “late” on a work night.

In each of these cases, modern day social media interference led to incomplete or difficult to discern “pictures” of others and their actions.

Sure, I love new technology that allows us to communicate and share information in novel ways. Just remember each of them still comes with its own unique static. – 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.

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Today’s the day for the American Marketing Association Virtual Event – “Unveiling Marketing Research’s Future Online.” You can still register for this great event today, and the content will be available online through September 23, 2010.

If you’re a tweeter, you can follow the event at #AMAMRC. If you aren’t a tweeter, you can watch the reactions to the event right here throughout the entire day. As for me, I’ll be introducing several sessions and spending the day focused on the event, so join us for great learning and networking!

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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Before leaving home one day last week, it was apparent the skies were getting stormy as the house became quite dark. Starting to head down the street, there were clouds but no rain yet.

Suddenly, 3 blocks south of my house, torrential rains began. Going a few blocks further south, however, despite rain making it very difficult to see, you could spot clear blue skies and sunshine in the distance. By the time I crossed the intersection 8 blocks south of where the storm had started, the rain abruptly ended and the gorgeous day was back in all its glory.

Here’s a thought: when the skies of your life look stormy, and it’s tough to see in front of you, keep peering into the distance. There may be blue skies and sun right ahead. Don’t ever overlook the possibility your life storm is only 8 blocks long. – 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.

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