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What’s your strategy for starting meetings?

Here’s an innovative variation on the standard strategy of starting a meeting by re-stating an objective to ensure everyone present understands why they NEED to be present. One of our clients shared that their company expects each meeting to begin with a statement of what the meeting will mean for customers.

Especially in larger companies where it’s easy for staff members to go for extended periods without ever seeing a customer, this is an important strategic way to bring the customer into every group discussion.

While our client didn’t mention the practice, a valuable closing strategy for meetings would include a check at the end about the customer implications (and especially benefits for customers) resulting from the meeting and the collective time invested in the meeting by the participants.

What do you think about this meeting strategy? Do you do this or a similar strategy at your company? If not, do you use other mandatory meeting starters to keep the conversations focused and on strategy? Please share your thoughts in the comments. – 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 facilitate the best innovative strategic 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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13

For whatever reason, it seems that recent Brainzooming blog posts have gotten longer.

Sorry about that.

I made a commitment some time ago to keep the typical Brainzooming blog article length at 300-400 words, with efforts to write more blog posts in the 100-200 word range.

Your time is precious, and I sincerely appreciate the time you share to read as many of these daily posts as you do.

Let me know what you think. Is shorter better for you?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 and blogging 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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6

I was talking with BlogTalkRadio maven Tachelle Daniels about strategies to help identify innovative business ideas to stay in front of customers. The topic is intriguing and sent me back into the Brainzooming blog for these 6 strategies which contribute toward achieving a compelling, innovative marketplace edge:

1. Listening to Customers in New Places and Buying Stages with Social Media – Social media provides unprecedented access into customer thinking. Two examples:

  • Use social media monitoring to see where and how customers talk about your brand. Listen for challenges to help solve, issues with your own and competitive offerings, and customer-developed innovative adaptations.
  • Make it easy for customers to share perspectives through social media-based contests, incenting them to share ideas, register complaints, and react to new ideas.

2. Talk with Lead UsersThis Monday’s post discussed a market research strategy we use to talk in-depth with customers and industry experts on the forefront of strategic thinking and implementation. These discussions with people 3 to 5 years ahead of everyone else in an industry help identify what will keep you ahead of the rest of the market.

3. Small but Strategic Unconventional Moves – In many industries, leaders aren’t doing dramatically different things. Strategic insights into subtle (often unarticulated) customer needs and flawless execution in addressing them can be enough to stay ahead of customers and competitors. To generate strategic insights, establish listening posts to monitor customers requests no one is addressing along with both customer and employee-precipitated innovative workarounds in your product or service.

4. Think about Your Business in General Terms – One fundamental in strategic thinking is detaching from day-to-day details of your business to view it in abstract, general terms. Focusing on business models, the broad assets your company possesses, and where/how you create value, put you in a position to unlock innovative opportunities more literal thinkers won’t notice until too late.

5. Move into Adjacent Markets – Nobody has done this better than Apple, with its disruption of multiple markets (video stores, cell phones, record companies, CD players, broadcasting, etc.) that on the surface looked nothing like its traditional computer market.  Anticipate new value you can bring to customers through strategically examining the benefits your company delivers. Then ask which players in other markets could deliver those same benefits. Not only will this signal new potential competitors, it can also point out markets you can disrupt to create innovative value for your customers.

6. Protect and Prioritize Challenging Ideas – Even after identifying moves to keep you in front of what your customers are looking for, you’ll likely have a lot of work to keep decidedly non-status quo, uncomfortable ideas from getting killed inside your business! If your company is reluctant to move forward with game-changing ideas, work to understand potential issues and create a sense of comfort for ideas you’re valiantly working to keep dramatic in the market.

If you have time, click on the links for these six ideas to get a little more strategic background on how to adapt and implement them to better anticipate (and not simply react to) your customers’ needs with innovative business ideas. – 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 info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your 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

I’m always on the look out for people displaying creativity in work situations you wouldn’t expect.

This is a great example of this creative strategy from a Hilton Hotel in Minneapolis where we stayed several weeks ago while on client project. I was told later that this particular application of creativity is common on cruise ships, but I’ve never seen it in a business hotel. Because of that, Marcela from the housekeeping staff at the hotel gets a big Brainzooming shout out for making a routine business trip creative, fun, and interactive! What a great way to shape a customer experience for the better!

Here’s your question: Are the front line employees in your business also actively shaping customer experiences for interactivity and engagement? – Mike Brown

When it comes to strategy and innovation for customer experiences, The Brainzooming Group is expert at helping businesses shape the right strategy and implementation to create unique experiences that set them apart from competitors. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help your brand stand out through experience marketing!

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

Red Skelton ShowA lot of you are too young to remember comedian Red Skelton, but he’s on my mind whenever doing a presentation or lectoring at church Tuesday mornings.

Red Skelton explained once that he removed all his jewelry whenever he was in front of an audience. The reason for this strategy? He didn’t want to have anything on his hands which might distract from his performance.

His strategy has always stuck with me, and unless I need my watch to track the presentation time, I always take my watch and ring off before presenting.

Beyond jewelry, the idea of not distracting your audience from your “performance” is important for any presenter to consider. Maybe it’s not jewelry, but do you have vocal or physical mannerisms which divert your audience’s attention from what you’re communicating? Not sure? Here are four easy ways to find out:

  • Ask someone who has seen you present many times if there’s anything they’ve noticed.
  • Ask the same question of several people who’ve only seen you present once.
  • Audio record yourself to check for vocal distractions.
  • Video yourself to spot physical distractions you may be creating.

These simple steps are definitely worthwhile as part of a strategy to help make sure you aren’t your own worst enemy trying to find a creative way to make a presentation to an audience. – Mike Brown

If you’d like to add an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on strategy, creativity, innovation, branding, social media or a variety of other topics to your event, Mike Brown is the answer. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!

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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7

Want to accurately forecast what will happen in your business to business marketplace in the coming years?

The Brainzooming Groups uses a really effective business to business market research strategy to peer three to five years into the future with a high degree of accuracy: conduct structured strategic conversations directly with the most demanding, far-sighted customers in your market.

We do this by polling the sales force and industry experts to identify significant companies and influencers dramatically pushing supplier expectations with their forward-looking strategies and business models. To understand where the overall market will be several years from now, we then reach out to these influencers and talk with them about what strategies they see as importantTODAY!

Talking with future-focused customers, their needs, issues, opportunities, and strategies are likely the ones which will be on the minds of the rest of the market in three to five years. Since they’re already working through many opportunities and challenges of the future, it takes the discussion out of pure speculation.

Abstract future issues for others in the marketplace are very real to these companies RIGHT NOW, giving you a lot better read than talking with someone who’s merely speculating about what might happen to their business in a few years.

We call these companies “lead users,” and as you think about your strategic planning process, The Brainzooming Group can help you get a sense of what they can teach you about your market five years from now! –  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 lead user study to help guide your strategy decisions 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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0

Last week, we successfully introduced a strategic integrated marketing communications plan for a B2B client that had traditionally viewed marketing as the “brochure and trade show” department. Beyond delivering a plan stretching and updating its marketing strategy to drive better business results, The Brainzooming Group helped position the day-to-day marketing communications leader as a more strategic partner within marketing and the broader organization.

The strategic plan was the result of solid analytical work and an innovative look at how our client can more simply and effectively deliver its message to target audiences. Success with the plan’s ultimate delivery to both our client’s president and a 25-person audience also came from in-depth strategizing and implementation.

If you have a big presentation to deliver, here are 8 tactics in our presentation strategy you can use to be more successful as well:

  • Write down 3 to 5 objectives you want to achieve with each audience. We had strategic objectives identified for the large audience, the project sponsors, our day-to-day client, and the president. These lists helped ensure the right strategic information was communicated in each presentation.
  • Share what you’re going to cover with key audience members beforehand. You don’t want to surprise someone with a new strategy, causing them to react negatively and derail the overall strategy you’re trying to deliver.
  • Allow time for multiple iterations of the presentation. The actual Powerpoint itself was nothing dramatic creatively; there was maybe one build slide, and more text on the slides than any of us wanted. Still there were probably 15 different versions of the presentation in the past week as we made ongoing refinements to focus the message, leaving details for the written plan.
  • Be a ruthless editor. Two words: Fewer slides.
  • Have somebody with fresh eyes look at the presentation. When you’ve been through multiple versions, it’s really easy to start missing what should be apparent gaps. Have a team member more removed from the document’s preparation go through it in detail to spot issues.
  • Orchestrate how the meeting should end. Our client talked with the president and asked him to do the wrap-up for the presentation. We gave him notes which he modified to fit his strategic view, and he delivered a great message reinforcing the strategic role marketing communications should hold.
  • Test the set up the day before. Run through the AV setup the day before, when there are no time pressures. While you’re at it, identify the AV person who can be available well before your presentation to make sure everything works when it has to work the next day.
  • Work hard to end the presentation early. Even if you wind up booking a little more time than you expect you’ll need, make a deliberate attempt to end early, a strategy which always sends people off on a little more positive note.

Did you notice something? Seven, although arguably all eight, of these activities happen before the presentation. I didn’t create the list that way deliberately, but it underscores the strategic importance of preparing for a successful presentation. – 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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