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If you’re seeing this video as the blog post on Friday, June 4, 2010, it means things have been hectic at the Business Marketing Association Engage conference and there wasn’t any time to do an update blog. if that’s the case, we’ll get you caught up next week on the last week happenings.

In the mean time, enjoy this cool stop-motion post-it note video. Got to love those post-it notes! - 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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5

I’m excited to see “Trust Agents” co-author Chris Brogan present in person for the second time this year at the BMA Engage conference tomorrow. Having seen him earlier at the Kansas City IABC Business Communications Summit in February, his innovative presentation style is one unlike I’ve never seen, and I really can’t imagine anyone else pulling it off successfully.

Speaking from what seemed to be a handwritten “set list” on a folded up piece of paper, Brogan spent an hour sharing his strategic perspective on how people behave, interact, and expect to be treated. Quite frankly, he struck me like the smart, quiet guy you see in a corporation who observes everything, sees the strategy gaps the big business so obviously misses, and figures out all the answers while hardly ever getting the chance to share them.

Through a patient strategy of freely sharing insights and perspectives from his innovative viewpoint, Brogan has created the opportunity to share his strategic wisdom in increasingly rarified venues. For all the “GET MASSIVE FOLLOWERS, BE A SOCIAL MEDIA ROCK STAR QUICK ” scams floating around the web, Chris Brogan has transferred a consistently, strategically constructed online platform to an IRL business where he routinely gets the chance to share his much sought-after answers.

Among the great strategic insights at his Kansas City presentation about better cultivating and growing customers with the help of social media:

  • A company can best help its people understand what it means to represent the brand by providing some level of media relations training to every employee.
  • The best social media people come from customer service. They’re used to talking with customers and representing the business across many situations.
  • The first steps in social media strategy should focus on prepping for crisis communication, marketing at the time of need, better addressing customer service, and conducting research on customer needs.
  • Don’t spend so much time on yourself. Brogan tries to communicate 12 times more about others than about his own stuff (a remarkable strategy considering some of the authors who pound relentless tweets and Facebook updates all about themselves).
  • A brand lives or dies by its database and how the company cultivates it between the times it is marketing to people.

His most important statement? The importance to Brogan of keeping people who matter to you when you don’t need anything at all from them. It’s an important life lesson, irrespective of whether you use social media or not.  – 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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After 2009’s Business Marketing Association conference I posted an article admitting my initial skepticism about the event’s “Unlearn” theme. It never seemed like the right message to attract people to what should ideally be an incredible learning environment, particularly in the decimated conference marketplace last year.

The conference’s content, however, changed my mind about “Unlearn.” The presenters were so on-target in communicating the critical need to walk away from tired old marketing strategies and re-orienting ourselves as innovative marketers, the event’s theme suddenly made all the strategic sense in the world!

Because of last year’s experience, I’m eagerly anticipating the rich texture unfolding around this year’s “Engagement” theme for the BMA conference. While customer and employee engagement s a critically important concept, it teeters on the edge of becoming so over-used as to be rendered nearly meaningless.

Going in to this year’s BMA conference, “Engagement” speaks to me about a customer or employee’s emotional connection with a brand. It’s affiliation. It’s the preference that drives one to not just seek a brand out, but to want to expend additional personal resources (time, money, advocacy, etc.) on the brand.

That’s what I’m thinking today, before “BMA Engage” begins. My strategy is expand and re-shape this definition throughout the conference. Through the benefits of social media, you can challenge your perceptions on engagement too, even if you can’t be at the conference. So join us, and see what we all think about engagement at the conference’s conclusion on Friday! 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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First day back from a long weekend, no one needs anything too heavy dumped in their lap. So here’s an easy strategic assignment.

Look at the list below. On the left side are typical left-brained, analytical skills. The right side includes the more classic right-brained, creative talents.

Review the list and pick out the skills you possess. For each one you don’t have, identify which close friend or team member you can easily reach out to for help who possesses the characteristic. For each item still without a name by it, set out to find someone over the next weeks and months to bring into your formal or informal strategic thinking (and doing) team to fill the gap.

Why should you do this? Because if you have a gap within your personal strategic team on any of these vital roles, you have real challenges ahead of you, if not already.  – 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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For the second year in a row, The Brainzooming Group will be producing the social media content effort for the national Business Marketing Association Conference in Chicago which starts Wednesday afternoon, June 2 and runs through mid-day Friday, June 4.

The lineup of presenters includes:

You can download a copy of the conference brochure to get a better sense of what happens when throughout the three-day event.

Under the conference’s “Engage” theme, we’ll lead a team of great business marketing, communications, and social media professionals covering the conference through live tweeting, blogging, video, photography, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Foursquare, among other things!

A wide array of social media efforts will provide a content-rich experience to both attendees and those who can only attend the BMA conference virtually. Our team will be adding to the conference by allowing you to:

  • Track Presenters and Presentations: All social media feeds from this stellar B2B learning event can be found at the conference’s Engage aggregator site. You can also track tweeting activity here or on the main Brainzooming page. The conference Twitter hashtag is #BMAEngage. We’ll also be using codes for specific sessions to focus the broad content.
  • Spread the Learnings: When you see information that resonates with you, share it with your own network through retweets and other social bookmarking.
  • Participate in LinkedIn Discussions in the BMAEngage Group: LinkedIn members are invited to join the BMAEngage group on LinkedIn. You’ll be able to participate in extended discussions with presenters and other group members on the B2B marketing topics addressed throughout the event.
  • Share Your Own Perspective on B2B Topics: We’ll be linking from the main site to B2B and other relevant marketing topics on the web. If you’d like to share your perspectives, leave a link to your blog post in the comments section here, and we’ll get related links shared on the conference website. You can also leave comments on the BMAEngage Facebook wall, in addition to checking out other attendees, discussions, events, and content about the conference.
  • Follow the Business Marketers Tweeting about the Conference: Through an online application called BlastFollow, you can follow everyone tweeting with the #BMAEngage hashtag. Simply go to the Blastfollow website, enter the conference hashtag (#BMAEngage), your twitter id and password, and BlastFollow does the rest.
  • Get the Full Conference Twitter Transcript: Visit What the Hashtag? to download a pdf file of tweets for the entire conference or any date range.

For those who are able to attend in person, there are even more ways to get engaged with social media effort:

  • Tweet with Us - Do your own live tweeting during the event using the #BMAEngage hashtag. When you do, there’s a great chance you’ll see your tweets on screens throughout the venue. We’ll be using the Wiffiti application from LocaModa to post tweets and share them with conference attendees.
  • Shoot Your Own Videos and Photos to Document the Conference – Just as with blog posts, we’re eager to have attendees share videos and images of presenters, other attendees, and the event. You can stop by the Engage Social Media Station to upload your videos and photos or send links to BMAEngage@gmail.com.
  • Check in on Foursquare (and Let’s All Get a Swarm Badge) - We’ve set up a FourSquare location specifically for BMAEngage at the Swissotel. Be sure to check-in daily, to let everyone (including your boss) know you’re present and accounted for with all the great sessions at BMAEngage.
  • Learn and Share Your Knowledge with the Social Media Team - The social media team is comprised of some great marketing, communications, and social media professionals. The conference provides a great opportunity to network, share best practices, and talk about new ideas on various topics. You’ll be able to pick out the social media team with our black “Engage” shirts throughout the conference.
  • Let Others Know You’re Engaged in Social Media – The social media team will have “Engage” buttons for anyone who’s tweeting, blogging, or creating other attendee-generated content. Simply stop by the Engage Social Media Station or hit up one of the social media team members for your button…once you engage in social media!
  • Join Us for a Pre-Conference Tweetup Tuesday Night – For anyone at the conference or in Chicago on Tuesday, just us for a Pre-Conference Social Media Tweetup at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 2. It will be at the Palm Restaurant in the Swissotel. Anyone at the conference and friends of the Brainzooming blog are welcome to join us!

Remember you can track the live tweeting activity below or on Twitter with the conference hashtag #BMAEngage and find all the conference’s social media feeds at the main website.  Get Engaged! – 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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Last week, I attended a Kansas City Media Mix luncheon featuring Scott Jones, the CEO of ChaCha. ChaCha is a free, text-based question answering application; simply text a question to 242242, and you’ll receive an “answer” to your question, along with some type of targeted ad integrated into the text-based response.

Jones shared that the predominant audience for ChaCha is 17 to 23 years of age, reflecting the intense texting activity in this age segment. He cited a recent study showing 68% of teens identified texting as their preferred communication channel. In fact, based on the age distribution chart Jones showed, I might be the oldest known ChaCha user as it has become my trial application for a couple of weeks.

After asking several questions of ChaCha, you get a four-question text-based survey to understand your age, location, gender, and phone configuration. This set of questions allows ChaCha to start profiling you, and along with your question history, provide targeted advertising opportunities. This is where it appears ChaCha is generating its revenue, since competitor KGB charges 99 cents per question. Interestingly, Jones reported that ChaCha had a large spike in usage about 5 minutes after the Super Bowl ad KGB ran. He attributed this to people trying KGB while teens in the room suggested using the free ChaCha service.

Texting is obviously an area of interest for marketers, especially those trying to reach a young audience. Of 280 million mobile phone subscribers, 233 million have text capabilities, and 70% of marketers are currently using or plan to use mobile within marketing campaigns.

It’s a long holiday weekend, so if a question comes up and you’re stumped, text a question to ChaCha and see what you get. The answers I’ve received so far have been in the ballpark, but often miss the mark relative to the desired level of detail. But, hey, it’s free.

And just in case ChaCha doesn’t know when Brainzooming will publish a new post again, it will be Tuesday. See you then! – 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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15

You’ll occasionally see an article or blog post questioning the value of brainstorming as a tool to generate and improve the quality of innovative business ideas. One criticism about the value of brainstorming usually stems from the “poor” efficiency of brainstorming techniques, since many ideas are generated which never get developed.

This misperception is fostered by “rules” shared at the start of most group brainstorming exercises stating “every idea is a good idea.” This guideline creates a false expectation that every idea shared in the brainstorming session is ultimately good or even implementable.

More accurately, this brainstorming rule sets up a period of divergent thinking. That’s when strong facilitators ensure a focus on generating the maximum number of ideas with minimal explanation and judging.

Ultimately though, judgment isn’t thrown out in brainstorming or innovation processes. It’s only suspended during a good divergent thinking session. The switch has to then be made to convergent thinking where ideas most certainly need to be judged. In practice, maybe 10% of the ideas survive for further consideration, and still fewer for implementation.

Sure the process can seem unruly and unproductive, but for anyone who’s tried to sit at a desk by themselves and think up innovative ideas, the value of brainstorming is clear, and it’s a tremendously beneficial processto use. – Mike Brown

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Is your organization challenged with new thinking and ideas that lead to successful business results? The Brainzooming Group and our tested approach to generating concepts you can act on successfully will quickly move you toward success. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call 816-509-5320 for a free consultation on how to get started.

 

 


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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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