Branding | The Brainzooming Group - Part 50 – page 50
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This is the last planned post from The Market Research Event (TMRE) – 4 intense days with so many learning and insight opportunities to share!

  • TMRE runs its conference with 5 minutes breaks – never seen anything like it. Hats off to them for making it work since it adds at least three more educational sessions in a 3-day conference. That translates directly into increased value for participants.
  • Interesting how many research companies include orange in their color pallets. Like that a lot! Every research company describes itself as a “full service market research company.” Doubt that a whole lot!
  • Disneyland isn’t Disney World. Granted, I was last at Disney World more than a decade ago. At the time though, it appeared to be the epitome of smart marketing, managing all conceivable elements of customer experience. Disneyland clearly doesn’t. (Quick examples – no mention of going to the park at check-in, the early-order breakfast door hanger was never replaced after using it the first day, and a bag’s worth of crushed pretzels remained on the floor overnight without being cleaned up). So, what’s not happening?
  • Disneyland note pads feature Mickey ears and the phrases
    “Ideapad” and “Inspire. Innovate. Dream.” at the top. COOL! And it has meeting rooms called “Adventure” and “Fantasy.” COOL!! But when you put the pads in basement level rooms with low ceilings, poor lighting, and no windows, it’s a little more challenging to inspire, innovate, and dream.
  • Despite my mini-rants above, how much happier would your workplace be if the background music played “Zippity Do Dah,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” and “The Mickey Mouse Club Theme” in heavy rotation?

And if you haven’t gotten enough about TMRE yet, go over to my Schmoozii post from yesterday about the concept of “creative consumers.” It’s the snarkiest post I’ve done yet, although I do realize Barrett that it isn’t all that snarky…but I’m working on it!

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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Heading home from Denver on Sunday morning, I stopped for a to-go sandwich and wound up choosing an “Angus Beef and Cheddar Cheese” sandwich. Interestingly, back at home Sunday afternoon, I saw a Sonic ad for its new Angus bacon cheeseburgers.

It would have been just as easy to say “roast beef and cheese” and “bacon cheeseburger,” but in both cases the specificity of mentioning “Angus” beef made these two random messages much more memorable.

There’s your Friday marketing lesson – don’t overlook opportunities to provide even marginally more specificity in your customer communications to stand out and improve memorability.

And as a bonus, here’s your weekend nutrition lesson: If you’re watching your weight, stay away from the Angus bacon cheeseburgers – 760 calories? Eeeeeek!!!

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 Saturday, my niece Valerie treated us to roller coaster riding at Elitch Gardens amusement park in Denver. The afternoon provided great branding lessons on aligning naming and customer experience implementation.

A ticket booth sign promoted Rapid Ride passes – $14.99 add-ons permitting, as the materials stated, time savings by moving to the front of the line for rides. It was touted as improving your customer experience by providing more family time together at the Elitch Gardens as you enjoyed the park.

We decided to get three Rapid Ride passes. When Valerie bought the tickets, she received a receipt for one pass, but nothing we could actually use. The ticket taker told us to check with Guest Relations. The Guest Relations worker said the receipt was an internal stub, and that although she could sell the Rapid Ride passes, none had been delivered to Guest Relations yet. She sent Valerie back to the ticket booth to wait in line. After redoing the transaction for three Rapid Ride passes, they didn’t have the passes either. By the time a manager brought them over, we’d blown thirty minutes getting passes to speed up our park experience. Needless to say, we were seeing a disconnect in the Rapid Ride pass naming and customer experience we were enduring.

So think about these three branding lessons related to defects in aligning naming and customer experience:

  • A brand really is more than the name; it’s a customer’s experience with a product or service. When something’s called “Rapid,” everything about the customer experience better be “rapid.” It shouldn’t take thirty minutes for anything whose promise is based on rapidity.
  • Don’t get focused on narrow brand attributes during naming. While Elitch Gardens emphasizes speed in the name, we also got to select our seats before anyone else. For roller coaster lovers, riding at the front or back every time is nearly as good as cutting in line. But the name obscured this attractive customer experience feature.
  • Provide honest information about the customer experience people are purchasing. At the first coaster, it was unclear how to use the passes – there were no signs. Turns out there wasn’t a special line Saturday; we had to walk up a ride’s exit line. And only after checking the passes did we learn they were good only five times and only on certain rides at Elitch Gardens.

All three of these misaligned elements on naming and customer experience are important mistakes to avoid in reconciling what’s important to customers, the brand promise, and actual experiences! – 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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SPECIAL OFFER! Don’t forget – there’s still time to WIN a book by helping build the audience for this blog. Check out how right here!

“If you invent your own instrument, you’re automatically one of the top three musicians in the world on that instrument.” – Matt Goldman, Co-Founder of the Blue Man Group (August 2008 “Inc.”)

That quote is how we started the week working through creating a personal category to set yourself apart. And if you’ve been playing along at home all week, you should have a wide variety of potential possibilities as input into your category.

So what are some steps to dramatically narrow the list of ideas? Here’s a flashback to some previous posts you can use to narrow your possibilities:

Try to narrow to 10-15% of your original ideas, and then begin looking for elements that you can put together to create a new category with which to describe your talents. Ideally the category should be distinctive and defined in a way that you become the only answer to, “Who are the best people who can do this?”

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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Yet another way to ideate on a strong “personal” category is to use your current personal strengths and deliberately transform them to identify new and distinctive possibilities. Here’s a relatively quick approach:

  1. State your objective as “Building a distinct personal category to define and differentiate my value to others.”
  2. List 8-10 of your distinctive talents (Tuesday) and areas of incredible value (Wednesday) as Attributes in the left column in the grid below.
  3. Using the objective from Step 1, take each talent and value area in Step 2 and transform them in the various ways suggested below, always asking: “To create a new personal category how can I (INSERT TRANSFORMER FROM BELOW) to / of (INSERT STRENGTH OR TALENT)?

Potential Transformers include Make It Bigger / Do More of It, Make It Smaller / Do Less of It, Replace It, Turn It Around, Remove It, Standardize It, Customize It, Make It More Complex, Simplify It, Eliminate It

Run through as many combinations as you can, trying to generate 2 or 3 new ideas form each pairing. Don’t settle for fewer than 60 possibilities that could fit into the category definition we’ve been working on all week.
Next, we’ll narrow all the possibilities to get close to defining your category.

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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A 360 degree survey can be scary, but it’s a great tool to get a sense of how others perceive you. It can be tremendously instructive and beneficial. I did one through a leadership class several years ago that really helped me redefine some of my behaviors. There are various ones available online.

Another fast way to get some sense of potential areas you can use to define “your category” is to ask yourself and others three value-related questions:

  • What are the TOP 3 things I do that ADD INCREDIBLE VALUE for others?
  • What are the TOP 3 things I do that DON’T DELIVER INCREDIBLE VALUE for others because we can’t/don’t focus enough time, attention, and/or resources on them?
  • What are the TOP 3 things I do that ADD LITTLE OR NO VALUE for others?

Look for themes among the answers and consider using areas of incredible value as potential category definers. Areas where you could deliver value but don’t are potential opportunities for more concentrated effort. Areas where you’re delivering little value could be areas to attempt to eliminate from your routine.

Soliciting reactions about yourself from others may feel intimidating, but assessing and using the responses wisely gives you an advantage most people are unwilling to pursue.

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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Distinctive talents are skills closely associated with you where you continually improve as you do them, you benefit others, and you create a spark that attracts people to be a part of the energy you’re radiating. Building your list of distinctive talents begins with answering these questions openly & honestly:

  • What things motivate you to get up every morning?
  • How are you of the greatest service to others?
  • What activities bring you the most happiness and contentment?
  • What functions, talents, and skills do you (or have you) used that give you the most fulfillment in your professional life, family relationships / duties, spiritual life, and personal interests / hobbies?
  • How would you spend your time, talents, and attention if you didn’t have to work?

Hint – Stumped for answers in some areas? Ask a few acquaintances what they think your distinctive talents are.

After answering all the questions, go back and circle the 5 or 10 or 15 answers that truly fit the distinctive talents definition. Since these areas are likely to be the most intuitive for you, you think less about the mechanics of doing them and simply perform them really well. This makes them ideal to incorporate into creating a new “category” where you’ll be the best in the world.

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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