Branding | The Brainzooming Group - Part 50 – page 50
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We wrapped up the AMA Marketing Research Conference last week to very kind words from a number of participants about the different nature of the conference experience.

The secret of great, meaningful brand events lies in a simple formula. Look for the strongest possible alignment on these 3 dimensions:
  • Attendees’ personal interests
  • An event’s emotional intensity
  • A brand’s visibility as the event’s enabler

The formula works across many venues and event types. Recognize the enabling brand can be for business (i.e., an event sponsor), or it may be a personal brand (you and your spouse throwing a holiday party).

No matter what the event, consider and deliver on these three variables to see a difference in your audience’s experience and reactions. 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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2

I presented on “Getting Ready for This” at the Fort Hays State University Business and Leadership Symposium. The talk focused on six strategic success skills vital  in today’s workplace amid a dramatically changing business world. The premise is it’s fundamental to possess strategic success skills in co-creating, contorting, and abandoning ideas and strategies based on what’s relevant at any time. It’s not so much “what” you know, as “how” to continually deconstruct and reassemble your  knowledge in dramatically new and relevant ways throughout your career.

It starts with several amazing factoids from the video “Do You Know 3.0?” recounting dramatic demographic, technology, and information-based changes worldwide. It’s been viewed millions of times, and in the event you haven’t seen it, take a few minutes to watch it.

As a brief overview and reference for the presentation, here are the six strategic success skills to more concertedly embrace:

1. Knowing Answers Is Good – Knowing How to Find Answers Is Vital

Since facts change and information deteriorates, it’s vital to be able to know how to seek and vet potential answers since no one can be expected to have a full command of all available knowledge.

2. Balanced Thinking Allows You to Be More Strategic

USA Today featured an article in July on retraining a left brained orientation to a right brained one in order to cope with a changing job environment. We talk plenty about the importance of knowing your thinking orientation, surrounding yourself with a complementary team, and the strategic impact of being able to work with contradictory points of view.

3. Possibilities and Emotion are Important in Business

From someone whose more natural orientation centers on facts and logic, this has been the most challenging of the 6 areas to retrain my own view. The best place to go on this topic is Benjamin Zander, who has been mentioned frequently here. As a homework assignment for attendees at the FHSU presentation, I asked them to watch these two Zander videos and get a genuine sense of the importance of emotion and possibilities thinking:

4. You Have to Be Able to Communicate in Multiple Ways

Communication is in the top 10 topics addressed on Brainzooming so far because it’s so critical to successful creativity, innovation, and strategic thinking. Students need to be pushed to go beyond the typical team presentation that summarizes a semester-long project. They need to be adept at using formats of varying lengths (simple recommendations, elevator speeches, tweets, etc.) and mediums (songs, video, acting, etc.).

5. Leadership Starts Day One on the Job

Leadership is about service, not titles. That means day one is the time for new graduates to start leading on the job. Taking on a strategic leadership role can be simple. You just have to be willing to do something about it!

6. People All Around You Are Making Decisions Based on Personal Branding

Personal branding isn’t a meaningless concept authors dreamed up to sell more books. It’s truly the driver behind why anyone gets hired, advances, and has intriguing opportunities develop. Step one is understanding your talents and exploiting them. Here are two great books to read on how to further develop and sustain a personal brand:

I look forward to comments from those in attendance (and non-attendees as well) with thoughts on the topic since it applies to all of us as dizzying changes occur around us. Stay close to the Brainzooming blog for more on change and dealing with it in the near future!  – 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 get your 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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Never underestimate predictability as an innovative and very attractive brand benefit.

For example, I stay at a particular hotel regularly where I have gold status. Frequently an upgrade’s offered for the stay. Often it’s a “preferred guest” floor room with slightly more plentiful amenities and free in-room bottles of water. As an all-suites property, there’s a microwave, a small fridge, and two place settings – all great for fixing a 5 a.m. breakfast.

During slow periods, I’ve been upgraded to a multi-level room on the top floor with a wonderful view, meeting space, and a full kitchen. Many times though, even with gold status, I’m in a regular room with few amenities and $4 bottled water.

Rather than gold status, I feel as if I have “Forrest Gump” status in their rewards program because I never know what I’m going to get.

While the preferred guest rooms have better amenities, the hotel remodeled those rooms last. So for nearly two years, the non-preferred rooms were much nicer, with better work space and lighting. The large multi-level room (considered the upgrade pinnacle) was the worst in the property, with water stains, peeling wallpaper, and a full flight of stairs to drag your luggage up once in the room. And invariably, when the room has great meeting space, I’m not traveling with a co-worker where our project would benefit from a place to work after hours.

During one stay the upgrade was to a lower floor multi-level room. This alleviated hauling luggage up the stairs. The meeting space was great with a huge TV, but it went completely unused. The water was still $4 and for the first time, there were no plates, silverware, or napkins. So eating an early breakfast required going outside to buy plastic utensils and paper towels!

Thus while appreciating the upgrade effort, the impact generally creates more challenges or wasted benefits than positives. If they ever asked about my brand experience, I’d say it’s “nice but unpredictable,” since there’s no opportunity to plan ahead to take advantage of a potential upgrade.

What could they do? Three simple steps:

    1. Ask upfront about my particular situation and what would be of greatest benefit.

    More room? Better work space? A nicer view? A particular room location? All of these are available, but depending on the trip, which upgrade provides real benefit changes.

    2. Realize that an upgrade can be about the experience and not the actual room.

    Why not be creative and have upgrade kits with amenities and free water no matter what room I’m offered.

    3. Ask specifically at the end of the stay about how things were and consider the comments.

    This is something they never do.

      Three simple steps. If they did them, they’d discover an opportunity to do less for me (either in actual expense or opportunity cost) and get credit for greater value, simply by asking first and delivering a predictable experience that reflects an understanding of my needs.


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      Mike Brown

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      A January post highlighted the plan to broaden Brainzooming through social media. Specific tactics included Twitter, capturing story ideas with Flip video, and participating elsewhere online.

      Since many readers have asked, here’s a progress update: the opportunities, connections, and possibilities from implementing the plan have been beyond my expectations. For those considering using social media in your personal brand efforts, here are some highlights:

      One learning has been that taking a strategic approach to social media for me means concentrating efforts on only a few sites. That’s why there’s little presence from me on Facebook or Plaxo. I will be trying though to make a concerted attempt to get back to some high impact sites and explore new ones. One is Bulbstorm.com – a crowdsourcing beta site allowing individuals and businesses to solicit input on ideas while still protecting fundamental, proprietary elements of the ideas through varying access levels.

      What a partial year so far of learning, meeting new people, and discovering new opportunities! Email or DM me with questions on your social media effort or suggestions for mine. Mike Brown


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      The Business Marketing Association national conference was a tremendous learning opportunity, and not only because of its presentations. A small group of us were afforded the opportunity to live tweet, blog, and video the conference to produce content for the BMA website during the conference. It’s worth taking a look at the posts written by the social media team for overview of the range of content.

      In the interim, here are tweets from three of the stand out presentations:

      David Meerman Scott

      • amylillard: Old rules – beg, buy, bug for attention. New rule – earn attention by publishing your way in. Power to the people!
      • PaladinStaff: “on the web you are what you publish”
      • BlueSilverInc: Great example of viral video. Happy Birthday Sarbanes Oxley. YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/4xwkeq
      • EvaEKeiser: Be cool in social media… Don’t do anything your mom wouldn’t like.
      • johndigles: :The web, social media isn’t about tech or products, it’s about people. Why fear it? Play fair. “Word of mouse” marketing.
      • simasays: Stock photos = Visual gobbledygook. Those sleek multicultural peeps are so not your customers.
      • BzoomingLive: Learn to get comfortable w/ losing control of ur content. Challenging for marketers! Grateful Dead did it!
      • BzoomingLive: German B2B Marketing Company: CWS – Example frm @dmscott Created World Wide Rave http://bit.ly/11QZoY
      • BzoomingLive: Web very efficient for reaching targeted group – allows you to reach tiny audience, no matter where, if understand them.

      Scott Davis

      • glenslens: I’m thinking CMO stands for Chief Masochist Officer…tenure is shorter than some Euro vacations.
      • Brainzooming: “Horizontal POV” – Key for marketers to see across business. Have to have P&L mindset, even if don’t own P&L
      • Brainzooming: If u haven’t had P&L responsibility, then spend 1st 6 months as CMO in the field, making sales calls, ringing cash registers. Scott Davis.
      • Brainzooming “Brand dropping” – Defn: Mentioning the well-known brands that u’ve consulted with in the last month.

      Andy Sernovitz

      • amylillard: “Now is the time to build an army of fans who will advertise you for free” @sernovitz
      • Brainzooming: Point at dinner last night – key is to integrate social media activities w/ underlying strategy to drive sales.
      • glenslens: Marketing is what you do, not say, says Andy. Well said. @sernovitz
      • johndigles: :Word-of-Mouth topics are portable, repeatable, emotional. If it works in a news release, it probably won’t be WOM. @sernovitz
      • amylillard: Your customers are not necessarily your talkers. Think about who influences them, and focus there. (Ex – taxi drivers for Wynn)
        glenslens: Advertising is the cost of being boring. (Being remarkable is more than page deep.) @sernovitz
      • tkincolorado: Quite simply, happy customers are your best ads. – @sernovitz
      • amylillard: Final thought @sernovitz – Better companies that are nice to people make more money.


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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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      This originally appeared on the Funny Eye for the Corporate Guy blog and is from an actual photograph of a Holiday Inn that was in the midst of changing its brand affilitation. Somewhere a brand manager should be dying a slow death.

      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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      This Thursday’s guest post is a first in that it was unsolicited, and it introduces an international perspective since its author is from the UK. It’s been cool how many people globally have been following Brainzooming, particularly because of Twitter. Next week’s guest post will originate from Australia.

      Relative to the topic, we haven’t spent too much time on Brainzooming discussing branding and specifically how logos fit into marketing efforts. We’ll address some of that gap today with this guest post from Ben Johnson of Logoinn, a custom logo design service provider based in the UK. Here’s Ben’s take on integrating logos into branding efforts:

      Branding is an early step in developing a company or product. Naturally, you want potential customers to recognize your brand from among the competition by showing you have something not being offered by anyone else. Yet, among all the introductory activities business leaders face, they may consider logo design a secondary matter. That’s not sound strategic thinking though if you’re trying to mount a successful marketing and branding effort.

      For example, think of Nike. The “Swoosh” first comes to mind. What if there were no Swoosh? Would you as quickly recall the perceptions you have associated with the Nike brand? Most likely not.

      Hence, before moving ahead with a marketing and branding effort, a well-designed, attractive logo is vital. A strong logo is necessary to directly impact the customers’ minds and convey your brand attitude and benefits to the target market.

      Other reasons to place a deliberate emphasis on establishing an innovative, strategic logo design? Doing so:

      Gives your brand a unique identity
      One of the most important functions of a strong business logo is establishing a brand identity that’s easily recognized and remembered by customers. A person may not remember your business by name alone, so integrating a logo into your identity system makes it easier to create customer recognition of your business at a glance.

      Shows stability, reliability, and credibility
      If you don’t have a logo or have one that doesn’t accurately portray your business message, it can undermine customer confidence and desire to do business with you. A logo that accurately represents your business, however, contributes to leaving a lasting impression of stability, reliability, and credibility.

      Can make your brand a personality
      Think again about Nike and the brand impact it would lose without the Swoosh. Would its brand be as strong today if that image weren’t known by customers? Would the name work as well by itself? A unique logo gives a brand personality that can dramatically improve memorability over the long term.

      Provides more polish for your brand
      Having a logo is important, and having a professionally-designed one is vital. If a logo doesn’t look professional or is not well designed, it will reflect poorly on your business image. Customers may get the impression you don’t care about the way your business presents itself, which might signal you also don’t care about the quality of products or services you provide.

      You can start the design process by brainstorming images you want to represent your business, engaging a logo design company for help, and ultimately working through the entire design process. Obviously, developing an appropriate logo takes time and effort, but getting a strategically sound logo in place is a crucial initial investment that will open the door to successful marketing and branding, which should contribute to your company’s long run success. – Ben Johnson

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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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