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A solid social media strategy can do many things for your brand’s results.

Social-network-icons

At the same time, there are many things social media won’t do for a brand.

Social media WON’T:

  • Deliver business results if you can’t articulate a business objective you expect it to support
  • Fix a brand problem – in fact it will call attention to a brand problem
  • Make your brand suddenly intriguing to its audiences
  • Stop talking negatively about your brand if you decide to retreat and not participate in the conversations
  • Let you get away with the same poor customer treatment your brand could get away with twenty years ago
  • Give you more points for the quantity of content than it will take away for poor quality content
  • Tell you what content topics to address . . . but it will give you all kinds of hints
  • Make sense if you can’t stop talking about yourself all the time
  • Ever completely ignore the things you hope it will ignore
  • Automatically make the things you want to go viral go viral
  • Change the world as we know it . . . even though it will shake up a lot of things beyond recognition

If your brand is still on the social media strategy sidelines (or is in the game without a strategy), these are all reason it is better to create a solid social media strategy first before just starting and seeing what happens. – Mike Brown

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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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Solo-Social-Media-Cover2Speaking at content marketing and social media strategy conferences, I meet many individuals in social media specialist roles handling social and content marketing duties for their companies as one-person departments.

What amazes me is that these are not just people from smaller companies. Even many big brands place all the responsibility for their social and content marketing on a single social media specialist. One study reported, in fact, that 42% of individuals with full-time social media strategy and implementation responsibilities are flying solo.

When you ask a solo social media specialist about the job’s issues, they report a variety of challenges, including:

  • Trying to manage strategy and tactics
  • Being pulled between competing priorities
  • Creating social campaigns that produce business results
  • Lack of time
  • Producing enough content
  • Lack of budget

For a solo social media specialist to work effectively, it’s important to know ways to save time, increase focus, improve performance, boost efficiency, and create more productive content.

If your time, attention, and dollars are stretched thin carrying out your brand’s social media strategy by yourself, you need to download the new eBook from The Brainzooming Group, “3 Principles for a Thriving One-Person Social Team.”

Download Your FREE eBook! 3 Keys to Thriving as a Solo Social Media Professional

We’ve partnered with The Social Media Strategy Summit to make this FREE eBook available to all our Brainzooming readers. Within the eBook, you will learn actionable ideas to:

  • Use your company’s business strategy to better focus and streamline your content creation
  • Take advantage of “whole brain metrics” to more thoroughly document how your work contributes to success
  • Develop a simple, action-oriented content planner
  • Smart ways to produce and distribute more of the right content in less time
  • Extend your team to motivated, knowledgeable “volunteers” within your organization

If these sound like ideas that will let you do more with greater effectiveness and in much less time, we invite you to download our new eBook TODAY to boost your success and results as a solo social media professional! – Mike Brown

Download Your FREE eBook! 3 Keys to Thriving as a Solo Social Media Professional

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 brand can be completely careless about its branding strategy and brand messages. If it is, it runs the risk of confusing itself, its employees, and the marketplace.

Really smart brands, however, employ a coordinated branding strategy across values, employees, products and services, messages, and all the cues that reinforce the brand. They take advantage of every opportunity (or at least as many as they possibly can) to reinforce brand messages, even on what might seem to be throwaway situations.

On several road trips, we passed Chick-fil-A logos on multi-restaurant highway signs. These highway signs are the ones where several restaurants buy small placements to highlight a presence at an upcoming exit.

Each of the Chick-fil-A placements on these restaurant signs featured the brand’s logo and the message, “Closed Sunday.”

Chick-fil-a-Sign2

It might initially seem to be an odd, negative branding message. Why tell someone when you AREN’T open when you could convey a positive message such as, “Open Mon-Sat.”

Yet, while “Open Mon-Sat” is a message, it does nothing for the Chick-fil-A brand. “Closed Sunday,” on the other hand, sends a big brand message about Chick-fil-A and the values its brand represents. Importantly, it also resonates strongly with an important target audience for the brand.

That’s a tiny lesson, but suggests a big question for any organization’s branding strategy: How many meaningless brand messages are you putting out into the marketplace, and what are you going to do (SOON) to give them real brand value? – Mike Brown

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Create Improved Results

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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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A Note on these Creative Clicks by Gal Friday, Marianne Carr: Click on the Headlines to Get to the Creative Thinking Original Post. 

Marianne-Carr-Photo

 

Bounce Forward and Telling Not Showing from Seth Godin

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Short and sweet creative thinking from Seth Godin about how to make ideas more powerful.

Qualitative Research and Innovation

150717-2-QualResearch

The most important question is usually WHY?

Throw Back Thursday — on Friday: Strategy defined in 1996

150717-3-WhatIsStrategy

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Four Trends to Learn More About Now

  1. Sympathetic Pricing
  2. Post-Demographic Consumerism
  3. Currencies of Change
  4. No Interface

An interesting creative thinking exercise would be to ideate, “In what ways do these trends impact our current offerings?” and “How might these offerings need to change to continue our current level of success?”

Considering Holacracy? Watch Out for These 6 Red Flags

  1. Top leaders may be the most resistant.
  2. Don’t discount the value of leadership.
  3. Power can’t stand a vacuum.
  4. Give it time to work.
  5. Walk the walk.
  6. Study the history.

Zappo’s is exploring Holacracy. Time will tell if it is a fad or will become Standard Operating Procedure.  My hope is that it encourages creative thinking and creativity at work.

Quotes Worth Sharing

150717-4-Tom-Peters

Internal customers are any stakeholder you deliver a product or service to in exchange for some kind of social/professional currency. We all have internal customers.

Nine Powerful Books of Elon Musk

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In this article you will also find links to books recommended by  Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. I am going to explore all three lists and learn something this summer.

Content Marketing Infographic of Infographics

150717-6-Infographic

This is kind of Meta – a map of maps. I am still trying to wrap my head around what really makes a good Infographic. This one is too big to fit on my computer screen all at once mainly because it is vertical and my computer screen is horizontal. On my mobile device, which is vertical, it’s just too darn small to be useful. So if I print it out, there goes the convenience of the links. Sigh.

Design Thinking in Your Next Project

150717-7-Design-Thinking

My favorite quote: “Design thinking” is really just another way of saying “problem-solving.”  But this IS a good primer for Design Thinking. Most important step is Define the Problem. Most important aspect of defining the problem is Empathy. – Marianne Carr

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Whenever readers or workshop audience members initiate conversations and ask questions, it is so much easier to write blog content.

I doubt that is a unique situation.

If you are looking to find more ideas for your content marketing strategy, have you tried mining your organization’s daily customer conversations?

Tap into open-ended customer conversations already taking place with sales, customer service, executives, technical staff, drivers, retail associates, e-commerce and social media staff, market researchers, and any other employees interacting with customers whether in-person or virtually.

Photo by: Seleneos | Source: Photocase.com

Photo by: Seleneos | Source: Photocase.com

Additionally, create new opportunities to capture customer conversations through listening posts you create. These are specific interactions you create to capture additional inputs from customers about your brand and its products and services. It could be as simple as actually capturing the feedback from questions you are already having your employees ask customers during routine interactions. It might extend, however, to doing something completely new to find out what customers are asking or saying about your brand.

4 Customer Conversations and Content Marketing Strategy Ideas

How do you turn these conversations into content marketing possibilities?

One way is to think about the conversations based on their nature (statements vs. questions) and tone (positive to negative). Categorizing customer conversations along these two dimensions is a first step toward turning them into content using the matrix below.

  • Positive statements can suggest ways to highlight brand value.
  • Positive questions turn into education opportunities
  • Negative comments are opportunities to anticipate objectives and challenges other customers are facing but not voicing.
  • Negative questions open the door to both process changes to address pain points and update opportunities for what your brand is doing in these areas.

Customer-Convo-Med

Effectively mining customer conversations sets you up to expand content you can be better assured is relevant to customers and prospects because THEY are generating the topics!  – Mike Brown

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When was the last time you invested 45 minutes to check your 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 media 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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I compare how we approach creating Brainzooming strategic thinking workshops to how a band develops a live music set list for a concert. For example, I read somewhere that when Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band go out on tour, they have more than two hundred songs ready to slot into any one concert. They play some songs nearly all the time; other songs might only appear once.

That’s comparable to how we select specific strategic thinking questions and exercises from among our large (and always growing) repertoire for a client session. We include some exercises (in one form or another) in nearly every workshop. These are supplemented by less frequently used strategic thinking exercises serving a particular role to address a client’s needs.

Similarly, we select specific exercises to teach at conference workshops to best address a particular conference topic or learning objective. For the Brand Strategy Conference in San Francisco, we used the Outside-In Innovation Fake Book of Strategic Thinking Exercises as the basis for a brand innovation workshop. We concentrated on how companies can use customer, market, competitor, and other external, outside-in looks for brand innovation.

8 Strategic Thinking Exercises for Brand Innovation

Among the sixteen exercises in the Fake Book, we picked eight that were most relevant for brand innovators. Want to apply them to your own brand innovation needs? Here is the set list we used in the workshop (along with the Fake Book page numbers):

1. Looking at Your Brand as a Set of Benefits (Page 7)

This brand innovation exercise is central to most of the following benefits-based exercises that unlock innovation opportunities.

2. New Ways to Enhance Benefit Delivery (Page 8)

Using your audience’s needs, this exercise lets you imagine new ways to address them through the brand experience.

3. Innovating Brand Experience Proof Points (Page 12)

This exercise explores ways you currently deliver and could potentially strengthen your brand experience backstage and onstage.

Brand-Experience-Mapping

4. Determining Your Benefit-Based Competitors (Page 8)

Your competitive set looks dramatically different when you identify competitors based on brands delivering comparable benefits (instead of simply picking those that look like your brand).

5. Identifying New Markets (Page 10)

If your brand is seeking growth, where else can you deliver benefits central to your brand in new markets? This exercise yields the answers.

6. Messaging Benefits in New Ways (Page 9)

There may be many brands in diverse markets providing benefits comparable to yours. Go to school to discover new ways to sharpen and improve your messaging.

7. Deconstructing What Your Brand Does (Page 22)

One of our favorite exercises (What’s It Like?) provides multiple strategic and brand innovation ideas to change the game for your brand.

8. Disrupt or Be Disrupted (Page 20)

There’s no one way to disrupt your brand or others in the marketplace. These strategic thinking questions are a starting point, however, to imagine a range of potential disruptions.

 

If you have brand management responsibilities in your position, download the Outside-In Innovation Fake Book today (it’s still free to download!).

Then you can use this set of exercises to start thinking about your brand in a dramatically new way.

Chances are, there will be a million dollar idea in there for your brand too! – Mike Brown

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Looking for Brand Innovation to Grow Your Business? Brainzooming Has an Answer!

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookBusiness growth can depend on introducing new products and services that resonate more strongly with customers and deliver outstanding value.

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Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate market-based perspectives into your innovation strategy in successful ways

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


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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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Do you have many things you want your employees to understand about your corporate branding strategy, what they should be doing to carry it out, and how they should interact with customers to fulfill your brand promise?

Do you have lots to say about your corporate branding strategy, but no time or opportunity to say it all?

Try these four ideas to prioritize internal messages for employees to help them understand and carry out your corporate branding strategy.

1. Crafting Brief Internal Brand Messages

This idea is from a corporate branding consultant. Assemble all the internal brand messages you hope to share with employees and put them to this test:

“If you had 3 minutes, a megaphone, and all your employees in the parking lot, what would you say?”

Three minutes translates to approximately four hundred words – about this blog post’s length. With that limit, which internal brand messages will make the cut?

2. Even Shorter Internal Brand Messages

This puts your messages to the tougher elevator speech test:

“If you have a 30-second elevator ride, what internal brand message would you want your employees to be able to share with customers (knowing they also have to understand, explain, and carry out that message)?

In crafting the elevator speech, what elements of the brand promise, brand benefits, and points of differentiation are vital?

Elevator-Picture

3. Creating Instantaneous Brand Messages

At a long-ago workshop, author Jay Conrad Levinson challenged the marketers to develop brand memes. Levinson used “meme” to represent a symbol or icon instantly recognizable that conveys your brand and its promise to customers.

A text-based logo with a bland brand name doesn’t pass this test. In that case, what else could you depict to instantly allow customers to get your brand, what it stands for, and what it does?

101002 The Brainzooming Group Logo - No Tagline copy

Our Meme

4. First, Last, Only Corporate Branding Strategy Messages

This final idea is a variation on a reminder for getting the most from church: What would you want your first brand message to employees to be? What would you want your last brand message to employees to be? And if you could deliver only one brand message to employees, what would it include?

Have three individuals or groups answer this question separately. Look for the common messages among the three scenarios. Those are the ones to prioritize.

From Corporate Branding Strategy to Internal Brand Messages

Try these four ideas to prioritize your internal brand messages and fashion something employees can understand, remember, and carry out successfully.  – Mike Brown

10 Lessons to Engage Employees and Drive Improved Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Senior executives are looking for employees who are strong collaborators and communicators while being creative and flexible. In short they need strategic thinkers who can develop strategy and turn it into results.

This new Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons for senior executives to increase strategic collaboration, employee engagement, and grow revenues for their organizations.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
  • Increase focus for your team with productive strategy questions everyone can use
  • Actively engage more employees in strategy AND implementation success

Download Your FREE   Results!!!  Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

 

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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