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After my Brainzooming workshop on creating fantastic content at the Social Media Strategies Summit, one attendee took exception to it. His point of contention was the model we use that suggests brands think about content creation as if they were television networks. The point is television networks have been successfully creating and curating content for years; they have also historically found a balance between entertainment and commercial messages that still attracts audiences.

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In our view, for brands struggling with creating a significant amount of audience-focused content, thinking about a television network is helpful. Nearly everyone is familiar with and sees comparable television network examples that stimulate new ideas and strategies.

He told me later (both in conversation and on the workshop review) that I’m the only speaker on content marketing or social media strategy he’s EVER heard make this case. I personally think that’s good considering all the me-too crap you hear at conferences.

The challenge to this apparently unique perspective on content marketing strategy focused on two areas:

  1. TV is losing viewership so what television networks do isn’t solid advice
  2. Social media held the promise of completely new ways of interacting with audiences, and the TV model is inconsistent with that promise

It’s true that television viewership is declining. It’s also true that social media is / was supposed to be different. Despite this, I still stand behind our recommendation for thinking about creating content as a TV network would.

Why?

TV networks have always had to:

  • Consider the audience and what it likes in making content decisions
  • Wade through many more content ideas than the audience will ever see just to fill its content calendar
  • Use entertainment value as a major factor in getting an audience to stick around for commercial messages (whether paid commercials or product placements)
  • Promote their programming to help build an audience
  • Package and repackage content in multiple places to attempt to cost-effectively reach targeted audiences

While these five point don’t account for an entire content marketing strategy (which is why we share other models in the workshop), most brands struggling with WHAT content to create and curate would be so much further ahead if they did just these five things better.

While I understand where the audience member was coming from and will acknowledge his perspective in future workshops, I’ll stand with our model for now as a big jump start for brands that simply don’t currently understand content marketing strategy. – Mike Brown

 

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“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social business strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social  Strategy.”

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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What do you do if there are multiple, separate audiences your brand needs to reach, but you don’t have the time or resources to deliver content in multiple, separate social media streams?

This social media strategy question surfaced more than once the first day of the Social Media Strategies Summit in Las Vegas.

SMSSummit-Banner

The first instance was an agency trying to reach client prospects who are CMOs in addition to marketing talent as potential employees. In another case, it was a startup organization without the existing content or current bandwidth for multi-channel social media. In a third case, it was a national travel and tourism organization catering to potential travelers in multiple countries speaking multiple languages.

Each is currently handling this social media strategy situation in varied ways.

Are my tweets bothering you?

Based on responses across all these discussions, here are ideas for how to approach this social media strategy challenge.

Step 1 – Have you determined if the audiences are complementary?

The days of thinking you can communicate in different ways to different audiences and keep the messages and audiences segregated are gone. If your brand is saying one thing in one place, you can figure you’re saying the one thing in multiple places, whether you like it or not.

A first step then is determining whether the messages targeted at one audience are going to be appropriate, complementary, or miss the mark with other audiences.

In the digital agency’s case, the separately targeted messages seem complementary. A CMO hiring an agency wants to know the agency is hiring smart, talented, and highly skilled people. A potential new hire for a digital agency wants to know he or she will have the opportunity to work with cool clients having innovative projects. Looking at this case in a simplified manner, the brand message to one audience is a complementary brand cue to the other audience. There doesn’t seem to be a downside to each audience seeing messages more directly targeted at another audience.

Step 2 – Can you test how similar the audiences are?

The situation with the travel and tourism organization is more complex. They address content in at least four languages (Spanish and English are primary) and audiences on multiple continents.

The current strategy involves repeating the same posts in different languages, typically on each social media channel. They appear to have duplicate content on each social platform much of the time, especially because of the heavy use of photos, which DO translate across languages. They suspect / know, however, that various country populations respond to different aspects of their country’s culture and seek out different content accordingly. One downside of the current approach (same content on each channel) is they train their audience to only follow them on one channel.

For them, social media strategy step two involves various “tests” of their suspicions about the need for multiple channels:

  1. Look at the audience demographic information available on each group (country and language) to see how they compare based on what is known about them.
  2. To the extent possible, examine quantitatively how each group engages with content.
  3. Set up and implement trials over several months where each group receives the same content at the same time. The objective is to compare the results and see how similarly or differently each group engages with identical updates.
  4. If emails are available for a representative cross-section of the audience, test their reactions in a more controlled setting (with an online survey) to various types of content.

While there is no one formula to answer the questions about how many channels they need in these situations, this social media strategy development approach should provide a basis to understand how complementary or disaffecting content intended for another group is when another group receives it.

Then they’ll have a better sense of the answer to the question, “Are my tweets bothering you?”  – Mike Brown

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“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social business strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social  Strategy.”

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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Is your brand STILL struggling with the right approach to deliver business results from its content marketing and social media strategy?

If so, today is a perfect day to download our free eBook, “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

If you have direct or indirect responsibility for social media strategy in your organization (or even simply question whether your brand is maximizing every opportunity it can with social business), download “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.” You’ll get answers on what to do next in less than an hour.

Really.

Social Media Strategy – 20 Reasons to Download “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy”

In case you need more convincing, here are twenty reasons why you should download this free eBook and take advantage of its quick, thorough assessments of your brand’s social media strategy effectiveness.

  1. It’s free.
  2. There are Brainzooming diagnostics that appear exclusively in the 9 Diagnostics eBook.
  3. You can complete the exercises within an hour and have a strong strategic sense of your overall social media strategy effectiveness.
  4. You can match your current approach to proven social media opportunities organizations adopt and find successful. (page 2)
  5. Your potential opportunities to adapt your social media strategy to better address important business objectives will be clear. (page 2)
  6. Each exercise features a related strategic objective and suggested uses to ensure you’re applying the social media strategy diagnostic correctly.
  7. There is a next step associated with each diagnostic so the actions you can take with the results are evident.
  8. If social business hasn’t taken hold in your organization as it should, you can assess which of a dozen potential roadblocks could be at work. (page 3)
  9. It will become quickly apparent whether your current social media metrics are robust enough to support and shape social business success. (page 4)
  10. Going deeper into the value of developing whole brain metrics is as easy as downloading another free Brainzooming eBook.
  11. You can determine whether your multi-author content marketing strategy is taking advantage of all the opportunities available to be truly collaborative. (page 5)
  12. There is a fast way to assess whether you should trust the members of your social media team to manage the “corporate microphone” social media represents. (page 6)
  13. Your can assign a letter grade to how well your brand’s personality translates to social media channels. (page 7)
  14. You’ll get a sense of how your brand stacks up on creating and sharing content relative to how a wide variety of B2B and B2C brands are them. (page 8)
  15. The lists associated with each social media strategy diagnostic ensure you are exploring the appropriate range of strategic variables.
  16. In an age when brands have the opportunity and need to become outstanding content creators, you can test your performance against an industry built around delivering engaging content for audiences. (page 9)
  17. The eBook includes a link to the Brainzooming social media strategy framework that organizes tons of content on your best strategic options for content marketing and social business. (page 10)
  18. By exploring your most recent status updates, you can see whether your brand is delivering a beneficial mix of content for your audience. (page 10)
  19. You can prioritize the diagnostics based on whether your brand is just introducing a social media strategy or has had one in place for some time.
  20. These nine social media strategy diagnostics can be applied collectively or individually depending upon where your brand places strategic priority.

9-diagnostics-download-butt

Convinced that taking a moment to download the “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy” book is something you need to do today?

If not, here’s just one example of how quickly it will help you. One content marketing workshop participant took just two minutes to complete diagnostic number 5 on whether the right people are managing your social media sharing. As soon as he completed it, he blurted out, “I knew we had the wrong people doing handling this, but I never knew why until now!”

That’s a great insight in just two minutes.

Start growing our social media strategy insights today!

And if you’d like more help with developing your social media and content strategy, let us know. We’re here to help! – Mike Brown

 

 

“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social business strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social  Strategy.”

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 post is a hybrid. It started life as an “Inside the Executive Suite” weekly feature from Armada Corporate Intelligence on the demise of the SkyMall brand. Seeing a variety of tweets and Facebook updates last weekend from friends flying for the first time without a SkyMall catalog in the seat pocket on their flights, the SkyMall story still has some legs.

We got the go ahead to adapt the original article and link the strategy questions they identified for companies to avoid “SkyMalling” their brands to Brainzooming strategic thinking exercises. These will help you explore the questions in greater depth. 

4 Questions to Help Avoid SkyMalling Your Brand

Xhibit Corporation, the parent company of the SkyMall magazine typically found in most airplane seat pockets, filed bankruptcy in mid-January 2015. With a significant sales decline during 2014 and a subsequent cash crunch, it suspended retail as several airlines were already discontinuing the familiar catalog.

Reasons cited for the shutdown include strong retail competition along with more prolonged use of personal electronics on airplanes, reducing passenger viewing of the SkyMall catalog.

Yeti-Statues

Strategic Thinking Exercises

Perusing stories of the implosion of the SkyMall business model suggests at least four strategic thinking questions organizations should address to anticipate similar business model challenges.

1. What business are we in?

One analyst asserted SkyMall had no compelling market position or brand identity. As evidence, its business could be described as unusual products, expensive products, specialty retailing, catalog retailing, or some combination of these.

Its post-bankruptcy statement suggests, however, what SkyMall historically thought its business was, and what it discovered its business really was.

Scott Wiley, the company’s CEO, issued a statement saying the squeeze on the company’s sales was due to “additional competition from e-commerce retailers” because of the increasing availability of Wi-Fi on airplanes. This suggests SkyMall was in the retail business and e-commerce retailers were (the new) competitors.

Wiley’s statement also mentioned another factor: “additional competition for the ATTENTION (our emphasis) of passengers.”

Attention?

Yes, SkyMall was in the attention business. With a nearly exclusive hold on the flying public’s attention it was okay. Losing that, its business model didn’t work anymore.

Suggested Strategic Thinking Exercise: Using a Brand Benefits Approach to Identify Your Brand’s Business

2. What are our non-traditional threats?

If SkyMall defined its business as retailing, it’s likely it viewed its major competitive threat as another retailer developing a catalog and striking more attractive deals with airlines. Competitive success would revolve around securing long-term deals with air carriers to keep competitive catalogs off airplanes.

Clearly another catalog didn’t disrupt SkyMall.

Other retailers secured access and passenger attention through the availability of inflight online access. This threat was evident in 2009, with 500 planes already equipped with Wi-Fi. With the 2013 FAA ruling allowing personal electronic device use from takeoff to landing, the other piece of the customer attention threat fell into place.

These two events, neither of which involved competitive printed catalogs on airplanes, dramatically compromised the SkyMall hold on passenger attention.

As you look at your business, are you identifying potential non-traditional and unexpected competitive threats that could unseat your brand from its real business?

Strategic Thinking Exercises:  Identifying Left Field Competitors, Competitors May Be Different than Your Brand 

3. What’s in our name?

Some brand names are obvious (i.e., Dollar General). Others are abstract, with no ties to what the brand does – at least until the marketplace associates the name with a brand promise and then can’t imagine it ever being different (i.e., Target).

The more abstract the brand name, the more leeway for what a brand does. A relatively literal name makes it challenging to make necessary changes to keep the brand and business model thriving.

When the name is SkyMall, it clearly implies it offers multi-brand shopping in the sky, even if the way you’ve been delivering the brand promise isn’t working anymore.

Thinking about your own situation, how strongly does your organization’s name support its business model? To what extent does it limit the opportunity your brand needs to maneuver and adapt (or even transform) the business model to stay ahead of forces that could disrupt success?

Strategic Thinking Exercises: Coming Up with Cool Product Names,  7 Types of Brand Language You Should Use, Anticipating Future Issues with Names

4. Are you listening to the smart perspectives about your business?

A self-reported former SkyMall employee left a comment on an online USA Today article about the bankruptcy. He claimed writing a massive email to his supervisor shortly after joining the company outlining the brand’s threats and strategic options. His supervisor allegedly showed him recommendations going back ten years addressing shifts to the business model – all reportedly ignored by management.

If true, this underscores that much of smart strategic management is listening to those with credible input, no matter where they stand – or don’t – in the corporate hierarchy. Employees, customers, industry observers and other parties might be very willing to supply a major portion of the answer for your next business model, if you ask them and LISTEN.

Strategic Thinking Exercises: Using a Huge Focus Group, Who Are Your Strategic Thinkers?

Stay ahead of your brand SkyMalling with these FREE strategic thinking exercises!

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth for your brand? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization (see point number 4 above).

This new eBook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.

 141104 Download EBook

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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There were many themes apparent in the Super Bowl advertising portfolio.

  • There was dad-dom (Nissan, Dove Men+Care).
  • There was overcoming-disability-dom (Microsoft, Nissan).
  • There was scantily-clad-dom (T-Mobile. Victoria’s Secret).
  • There was borrowing celebrity-dom. (Kia. Snickers. Wix).

Plenty of “doms” to go around.

The Crowd’s Creative Comes Out on Top in Super Bowl Advertising

Crash-The-Crowd-eBook

Download “Crash Course” at http://boomideanet.com/crash-the-crowd/

But the intriguing results from the night belong to Doritos and the creative crowd. According to Ace Metrix research “America voted for #WhenPigsFly from Doritos to be this year’s #TopSpot2015 #SB49 by scoring it higher than any of the other 2015 Doritos ads.”

Additionally, Doritos ranked in the top 5 a short time after the Super Bowl advertising wrapped up Sunday evening.

When all the Super Bowl advertising rankings are in, there may be another winner. The interesting thing here is that the spot crowdsourced by Doritos is in the running. Yes, it’s fan-based creative.

What Do You Know about Crowdsourcing Advertising?

While not every company is in a position to turn its brand over to its consumers, the Doritos fan crowd demonstrates there is bona fide creative power in the crowd.

In light of this, if your CEO is asking you, “Should we be doing this crowdsourcing thing?” you’ll want answers.

We can help you with answers.

We can help you decide if a crowd can work for your brand. And suggest how you can test the crowdsourcing waters.

Visit this link and download our free eBook about “Everything You Need To Know About Crowdsourcing Before Your CEO Asks.”

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It might just come in handy!  – Steve Wood, Boom Ideanet

 

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, in support of KC Digital Drive, is in the midst of wrapping up producing the Gigabit City Summit today.

Talking with attendees throughout the event, it’s exciting to hear them talk about how smooth, fun, engaging, and meaningful the Gigabit City Summit event experience has been. These sentiments were accentuated during Wednesday afternoon’s general session when we interrupted the regularly scheduled Gigabit City Summit to feature a live webcast of President Barack Obama’s address from Cedar Falls, IA on the plan for accelerating broadband availability in the United States.

Gigabit-City-Summit-Interruption

When it comes to events, here are 10 of my hip pocket tips for designing and implementing a fantastic event experience design. They apply to big meetings, and also to most little meetings. Most of them even apply if you’re only getting a few people together for a meeting.

10 Tips for a Compelling Event Experience Design

  1. When in doubt, incorporate more emotion into your event experience design. Emotion isn’t used enough in professional settings, so you’ll stand out with genuine emotion.
  2. Start with your second biggest thing; end with the biggest thing you have going.
  3. Capture all the TYPES and AMOUNT of content you can during the event, even if you’re not sure what you’ll do with it later.
  4. Restrict yourself (as much as possible) to speakers that someone on the planning group has previously seen. If you’re interested in someone you haven’t seen, figure out a way to see them speak before deciding.
  5. Make sure the technical and audio visual people who are working the show have full visibility to what you’re trying to accomplish with the event experience design. This allows them to support you in ways you might not have thought about.
  6. There are two kinds of people in the world: event people (who understand the mix of strategy and detail to implement a successful event experience design) and everyone else. Make sure you surround yourself with event people.
  7. Be ready to fix things for attendees and know who the people are on your event team that are great at fixing things for attendees. Always know where these people are at the event.
  8. Manage the time aggressively to keep the event on schedule. Know, however, when a slight deviation from the time schedule is important for creating a better event experience (such as when the President delivers an address on your topic during your conference). Also know how much of the extra time you’ll be able to make up during the rest of the event and where it’s going to take place.
  9. Create the schedule so there are multiple compelling reasons in the event experience for attendees to stick around throughout the entire event.
  10. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS be looking out for the completely unexpected things that WILL happen that reinforce your event experience while the event is going on. Those unexpected events led to stopping our show for the President, how we opened the first two days of the conference with particular music and video selections, and me trying (at 2 a. m. Thursday morning) to get a last-minute guest into our breakfast and Kansas City tech tour this morning. Those unexpected things are God’s gift to those who are paying attention to them! – Mike Brown

 

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Download: FREE Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization.

This new ebook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.

 

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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Your plan is completed, and you have your brand building strategies for 2015 in front of you. The big question remains – are these brand building strategies going to deliver dramatically better business results this year?

Better-Business-Results

These strategies SHOULD lead to better business results. You know you invested the time and effort to develop what seemed to be the right set of brand building strategies.

You know too, however, your actual strategic plan and tactics often sit on the shelf and do not fundamentally deliver better business results.

Why is that?

It could be your strategic plan is disconnected from what moves the business on a daily basis. Another possibility is that despite all the hope you have to focus on implementing the strategic plan in January, unexpected opportunities and challenges develop, and they gain more attention.

No matter what factors are at work to derail your strategic plan from developing better business results, keep the following list handy. These 15 articles each target specific business issues that could get in the way of using your strategic plan implementation creating better business results this year.

If your organization easily loses focus, if your brand benefits aren’t clear, if your competitors are getting the best of you, these are places to go here for immediate, implementable ideas to avoid getting derailed and actually using your planned brand building strategies for all they are worth to create a stronger year with dramatically better business results.

  1. Creating a Stronger Strategic Focus on What Matters
  2. Better Defining and Articulating Your Brand Benefits
  3. Strengthening the Brand Language You Use
  4. Heading Off Critical Issues in Your Brand Strategy
  5. Bolstering Your Brand’s Value Proposition
  6. Asking Better Questions to Identify Business Opportunities
  7. Uncovering New Opportunities with Existing Clients
  8. Improving Your Strategic Response to Competitors
  9. Developing Proactive Strategies to Disrupt Your Market Before Someone Else Does
  10. Anticipating Unexpected Potential Disruptions and Growth Opportunities Before They Happen
  11. Increasing the Diversity of Employees Involved in Strategy for Your Company
  12. Better Integrating New Product Development with Your Business Strategy
  13. Creating Strategic, Cool Products Name for Your New Offerings
  14. Developing a Better Strategy for How Social Networks Support Business Building
  15. Moving from Talking about Great Ideas to Implementing Great Ideas

If you want to go deeper on any of these issues, email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320. We would be happy to talk through the opportunities for your organization to improve its success this year and beyond.  – Mike Brown

 

Enjoy this article? Subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

 

Download: FREE Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization.

This new ebook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.

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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