2

Product-Launches-FailWhat role do public relations efforts play when new product launches fail? Can public relations be the sole cause?

How significant a role can the public relations strategy for a new product launch play in mitigating other launch-related issues?

And what can a public relations professional do to play a more active, strategic role to contribute toward new product launch success even if problems surface in other support areas?

These questions are all part of a talk I’m presenting at the PR Consultants Group annual conference in Kansas City. Chaired by good friend, Alex Greenwood, of AlexG PR, the session will focus on how public relations professionals can hone their strategic, creative, and innovation-oriented skill sets to be more effective with product launches.

You Tell Me the Strategic Thinking Exercises to Cover!

Mike-Brown-SpeakingAnd in what has become a typical presentation technique for me, the strategic thinking exercises for PR consultants we’ll cover during the session will ALL be chosen by the group as the presentation progresses.

Yes, that means when the presentation starts, I’ll have no idea what specific topics we’ll cover!

I’ve been using this presentation technique more frequently since a “you decide what matters to you and we’ll go there” presentation strategy tracks with the Brainzooming brand promise of being highly flexible and interactive when developing successful market strategies.

The presentation draws on ideas about why product launches fail from a Harvard Business Review article titled, naturally enough, “Why Most Product Launches Fail.” I’ve reshaped the article’s list of forty reasons for why most product launches fail to a manageable list of twelve reasons with ties to public relations. Even though the audience is comprised of all public relations consultants, the presentation topics will be valuable to anyone involved in developing successful product launches.

In that spirit, here are links to numerous Brainzooming articles on how being more strategic, creative, and innovative can help address the reasons for why new product launches fail.

Developing a Strategic Business Perspective

Being More Strategic

Being More Creative

Being More Innovative

How PR Can Address Reasons Product Launches Fail

Unclear or Wrong Audience / Market

Little Market Research or Unclear Differentiation

Product Is Too New or Too Different

Bad or Weak Product Claims & Advertising

Product Priced too High

Crisis Issues: Product / Quality Supply / Regulatory

Not Enough $ for PR, Marketing, Launch and/or Sustaining Sales

Everything Depends on PR

Too Much or Little Social Media

The In-house Marketing Campaign Isn’t Objective

Spokesperson Issues

Sales Buy-in or Knowledge Lacking

Lack of Influencers Supporting Launch

Mike Brown

 

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If you’re facing a challenging organizational situation and are struggling to maintain forward progress because of it, The Brainzooming Group can provide a strategic sounding-board for you. We will apply our strategic thinking and implementation tools on a one-on-one basis to help you create greater organizational success. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you figure out how to work around your organizational challenges.


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

Final-ReportPreparing the final report for a long-term client engagement, I revisited our project management techniques relative to what goes into the document. Certainly The Brainzooming Group has nuances regarding how we conduct and create the final report for a strategy session we facilitate. Our new and reconfirmed project management techniques for closing out big projects, however, will be valuable to you when you are on the hook to prepare a final report of your own.

5 Final Report Success Tips

1. A final report is about the valuable output, not all the inputs

The important part of a final report is the set of recommendations from the project effort. While individual ideas generated along the way may have been interesting, their value as standalone ideas is secondary if they were not incorporated into the recommendations. While this is not surprising, there is still a part of me that struggles with not including all the ideas we had along the way into the final report for whatever value they may have in the future. Slowly, however, I am getting over this.

2. Do not waste too much time working out of sequence on the final report

Preparing the final report of a project that is complex will not necessarily happen in sequential order. If you are stuck trying to work on the beginning of the report, your inclination may be to start skipping around between sections to make at least some forward progress. As a project management technique, that is worth a try, but resist the inclination to skip around too much. Instead, settle on the section you think you have the best chance of advancing and focus on pushing that section of the final report forward for an extended time. Doing this lets you build momentum in a way that skipping around will not.

3. Print the final report draft and spread it out

When you have a big final report document underway, it is possible you will only be able to go so far organizing it onscreen. This is especially true if you need to make significant changes to move the final report of the project toward completion. If you find yourself staring at the screen for more than ten minutes unable to make a move to rearrange it, print the document (or at least a section of it) and use a paper copy you can spread out, reorder, and discover a better way to organize it.

4. Some final report sections may not fit and aren’t worth any more time

If a project is strategic, creative, and/or developmental in nature, by the time you get close to completion, you may have sections of the final report in both varying stages of completion and applicability. Some sections may seem less applicable the further along you get in preparing the report. Do not be reluctant to yank those sections from the final report if you cannot reasonably fix or complete them efficiently or on a timely basis.

5. Finishing can involve taking things away, not doing more

Looking at this project at one point, my comment was, “It’s too much and too little at the same time.” Sounds like Goldilocks when you read it here. The point is for as much as completing the final report of a project “seems” to be about adding more things, if you’re getting lost in how to complete it, smartly removing things may be the fastest way to get a project done.

What project management techniques help you finish the final report of a project?

We have many readers who have project management responsibilities, so what works for you in completing a significant final report document? Or what have you tried and found to not work – even though you would think it would? Getting projects closed out is a valuable skill, so we’d appreciate hearing your successes. – Mike Brown

 

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Does your organization have good ideas, but lacks the wherewithal to bring them to reality? The Brainzooming Group and our collaborative, implementation-oriented project management techniques 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.

 

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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1

I listened in on Dan Rockwell (aka “Leadership Freak”) and his “Writing Blogs that Get Read” webinar. Dan has built a very successful blog and social media presence with a large audience in a few years. “Writing Blogs that Get Read” was his first webinar and targeted at sharing his blogging success ideas.

Do-This-ThatWhile Dan Rockwell certainly shared many familiar ideas during the webinar, I kept a running list of ideas we haven’t pursued with the Brainzooming blog. Sometimes it has been because of priorities; sometimes is has been because of conscious decisions we haven’t adopted a particular strategy.

Regardless of the reason, since we share social media lessons from our experience, the page full of alternative blogging success ideas I captured makes sense to feature since it’s new to Brainzooming readers.

18 Blogging Success Ideas You Haven’t Read on Brainzooming

Here are eighteen blogging success ideas Dan Rockwell is using for content development, engagement, audience building:

  1. Write each day’s blog post that day to increase the sense of immediacy.
  2. Write in a “you” voice, not “I” or “me.”
  3. Don’t ever go over 300 words in a blog post. If the topic could be longer, either don’t write everything or break it up into multiple posts.
  4. Display your picture prominently on the blog.
  5. Don’t feature guest blog posts. Readers want to hear the primary blog author’s perspectives and voice.
  6. Contact industry leaders, business experts, and authors to connect and pave the way for interview posts. This strategy makes them part of your audience building effort as they point their networks to your blog when the interview blog post publishes.
  7. Aggressively first follow on Twitter (i.e., follow many people first, and more people than are following you) – even after you’ve built a social media audience.
  8. Reach out to book publishers to request author interviews. This also increases the range of connections and content opportunities you have.
  9. Create awards you develop and sponsor. These grow the number of people engaged with the blog at multiple points in the awards process.
  10. Incorporate excerpts from your blog posts into the tweets promoting the blog post link.
  11. Keep extensive lists of how your blog promotion tweets perform and repeat the tweets creating the greatest engagement.
  12. You can build an audience without paying much, if any attention, to SEO – if you use other social media audience building tactics.
  13. Give away incentives for readers leaving comments.
  14. Email contributors who leave comments to extend the discussion.
  15. Have a specific set of needs you are asking readers and your extended network for help with on a regular basis.
  16. Invest time to leave comments on high traffic sites, such as Harvard Business Review.
  17. Avoid shifting the URL for your blog as it develops (we’re on our third URL).
  18. Have a spouse who reads your blog (mine doesn’t…ever) to provide another perspective.

Blogging Success Ideas You HAVE Read on Brainzooming and Can Now HEAR!

Relative to blogging success ideas you have seen on the Brainzooming blog, you now have a chance to HEAR them as well. I was very excited to be a guest for the first SmallBusinessTalent.com podcast episode. During an interview with the host (and loyal Brainzooming fan) Stephen Lahey, we discussed a variety of ways to make sure a blog makes sense and produces results. It was a very fast paced discussion, and I invite you to listen to the podcast on Stephen’s website, SmallBusinessTalent.com.

You Have to Find What Blogging Success Ideas Work for Your Organization

Ultimately, determining your own content strategy and audience building efforts must make sense for you and your organization’s overall objectives. That’s why there are so many different blogs and so many varied ways of approaching them. – Mike Brown

 

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If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

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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1

A Windmill Networking blog post highlighted fifteen social media activities and mindsets professionals need to address toward improving their 2013 marketability. The social media activities list provided a solid overview of fundamental social media strategy thinking and expertise areas.

For many Brainzooming readers, you’ve already absorbed the fundamentals of social media strategy and live them out on a daily basis. Yet I know for many others, especially mid-career professionals, social media is something you’re barely and only begrudgingly embracing – and then often only sporadically.

Fifteen Social Media Strategy Thinking and Expertise Areas

For all of you, here is a recap of the fifteen social media fundamentals list, along with a link to a previous Brainzooming post for each topic. While you definitely need to explore other sources, these Brainzooming articles on social media fundamentals provide initial ideas if you’ve been resisting social media as a more important part of your professional skill repertoire.

Here are the fifteen social media thinking and expertise areas for you to address:

  1. Having an Active Personal Social Presence
  2. Understanding the Importance of Engagement
  3. Knowing the Role Social Media Listening Plays
  4. Being Flexible and Open to New Approaches
  5. Getting a Handle on Understanding Social Media on an Ongoing Basis
  6. Diligent in Social Media Monitoring
  7. Actively Connect with Customers
  8. Regular Analysis to Monitor Performance
  9. Strong Content Creation
  10. Tie Social Media to Business-Related Goals
  11. Possess a Long-Term Orientation
  12. Integrating Traditional and Social Media Strategy
  13. Having at Least a Cursory Understanding of SEO
  14. Reaching Out to Collaborate Across Departments within the Organization
  15. Know who the Top Influencers Are in Your Industry

How are you stacking up on these social media strategy activities and mindset recommendations?

Do you have a long or short list to improve your 2013 marketability? If you’re in good shape, is there someone else you know who could benefit from this list? Maybe you can share it with them. That would be a great demonstration of #2!  – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download 6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!

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

At some point, the common fortune cookie seems to have turned into an “advice” cookie, which is probably just as well. Posting this photo from my fortune cookie / advice cookie the other evening generated some interesting comments on Facebook about asking honest questions.

Is there any harm in asking honest questions?

A current teacher that I went to grade school with said she has to work hard to get her students to feel comfortable asking questions without concern for being laughed at for not knowing something. A college friend pointed out that “never is a long time” and that there a variety of situations where even honest questions can be too honest or sensitive and indeed cause harm.

What do you think? Is there ever any harm in asking honest questions? – Mike Brown

Honest-Ques-High

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Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic ideas! For an organizational creativity boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.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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NMX-WebsiteIt’s fantastic that live event social media coverage of an incredible conference allows you to experience an event live from afar along with the blogs, presentations, and videos recapping the content afterward.

The only downside is you get to start kicking yourself while the event is still underway for not having ponied up the bucks to attend.

That was my sentiment with the New Media Expo (#NMX).

The Sunday afternoon tweets clearly confirmed the great content coming out of the Las Vegas event. By Monday, any remaining doubts were erased that the investment to attend the New Media Expo would have been a great one.

So while I wasn’t at #NMX, here are a sampling of tweets from the event. Again, this wasn’t my original content. These tweets are simply a sampling of great content I monitored and retweeted. Thanks to all the live tweeters for their efforts to share these ideas with the outside world!

This first link is to a Slideshare eBook with highlights from a broad range of #NMX presentations.

Audience Growth and “Viral” Content

These New Media Expo tweets underscore that it’s a different ballgame for bloggers than for traditional journalists. This point is lost on many traditional media outlets trying to look like social media sites, often with silly results. Social media content creators, however, would do well to consider adopting the ethics professional journalists operate under daily basis. And speaking of “daily,” there is value in writing more – even publishing daily.

While I still contend viral content is largely a game of numbers and chance, these tweets provide an underpinning to creating content that will be better received, even if it doesn’t become viral content. The theme of a micro focus inside a macro sentiment provides a basis for both generating and refining ideas that are near this intersection.

Social Business

This slide from the “War of Words: Myth-Busting Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing” presentation by Lee Odden is a wonderful illustration of how social content interacts with traditional marketing to address wherever a customer is in the buying cycle. You can find whole presentation from Lee Odden on Slideshare.

These additional #NMX tweets point to how adopting a social business perspective not only paves the way for a different way of creating a brand’s customer experience, it also opens up intriguing possibilities for ongoing content ideas.

Guy Kawasaki on Social Networking, Apple, and Marketing Success

Keynote presenter Guy Kawasaki was filled with tweetable one-liners – no surprise there. Here are several that prompted my retweets. The first one sums up his take on four social networking platforms:

I’ve tried to say what Guy Kawasaki says below in several posts about Steve Jobs and the fascination with doing what Steve Jobs did at Apple. There’s no modeling Steve Jobs because he didn’t have to operate with typical strategies because he was wired differently. In all those time of writing about it, however, I’ve never been able to describe the unique situation with Jobs so clearly:

Always a challenge to force yourself to accept when you want to do a variety of things:

Two Final Random Thoughts from the New Media Expo

This is one of those tweets that you sort of agree with, and sort of makes sense, but I would never have said it this way:

Definitely not the sexiest of the rewteets, but a tremendously beneficial idea, nonetheless. I’d throw in your attention and passion right in there with your time as the most valuable things you have:

I’ve got to find a way to get to #NMX in 2014!

Mike Brown

 

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If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

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 recent “Creating” column in the Saturday Wall Street Journal Review section contained a beneficial lesson on an age-old business issue: getting line and staff organizations working well in strong strategic alignment with one another.

And as often happens with the Creating column, the lesson came from an unlikely source: a college marching band.

arthur-bartnerThe profile focused on the director of the USC Trojan marching band for the past forty-two years, Arthur Bartner. Since starting at USC in 1970, Bartner’s strategy has been to build a strong connection between the USC football team (the line organization) and the USC marching band (a staff, or support, organization).  Through a variety of strategies, Bartner has attempted to create organizational, emotional, and performance connections between his marching band and the football team.

4 Lessons for Line and Staff Organizations Working Well

The Wall Street Journal article yielded four valuable lessons Arthur Bartner uses that any business with line and support organizations can also embrace to create better strategic alignment:

1. Structure the support organization similarly to the line organization

Create staff organization structures with natural links to the line organization, along with job titles and terminology in the staff organization to reflect how the line organization thinks and talks.

2. Ensure the support organization is in the same places as the line organization

Use joint meetings, frequent ongoing interactions, and strong reporting relationships to make sure the line and staff organizations are familiar with each other and clear on joint goals to support the entire organization.

3. Have the staff organization orient its support delivery toward how the line organization works

Line managers should have visible and meaningful involvement in shaping support organization strategies. Additionally, the staff organization needs to be working on the same objectives as the line organization. For the greatest strategic alignment, its activities should directly enhance what the line organization is doing.

4. Support organization leaders need a strong understanding of the line organization environment

Staff organization leaders need exposure to the line organization through job sharing, rotations, and/or project assignments. Ideally, at least some staff organization leaders should have come from the line organization earlier in their careers.

Strategic Alignment and Getting Line and Staff Organizations Working Well Can Be Elusive

Achieving strategic alignment between among line and staff organizations has the potential for incredible results, but it’s not necessarily easy to accomplish. Pursuing these four lessons from the USC marching band, however, can pave the way to making real progress . . . in less than forty-two years! – Mike Brown

 

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If you’re struggling to create or sustain innovation and growth, The Brainzooming Group can be the strategic catalyst you need. We will apply our  strategic thinking, brainstorming, and implementation tools to help you create greater innovation success. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call  816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you figure out how to work around innovation and implementation challenges.


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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