Marketing | The Brainzooming Group - Part 26 – page 26
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Today’s Brainzooming article comes from San Diego where I’m speaking to the Virtual Edge Summit (#VES12) this afternoon on using “Social Media Strategy to Drive Virtual Events.” This presentation combines two of my favorite strategy topics – events and social media strategy – with content covering how creating a meaningful social media strategy for an event starts when designing the entire event experience – whether virtual or face-to-face.

Since we have a lot to cover in the one-hour presentation at the Virtual Edge Summit, the links below which follow the presentation structure provide additional support information – whether from the Brainzooming website or other reference pieces.

While created for #VES12 attendees, the list is beneficial for anyone who is trying to get the benefits of incorporating social media as a part of an event strategy – whether that’s for a large organization, a small business, nonprofits, or even for your local church, school, or professional group.

Social Media Strategy Basics

Creating Fantastic Content Before, During, and After Your Event

Getting Your Event and Content Noticed

Social Media ROI

Other Resources

– 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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It is beneficial to save ideas you brainstormed but did not use since they may work for someone else or at a later time for you. Today’s post is a great example of this principle where you can save ideas to offer them to someone else later.

I chaired a global market research virtual event for the American Marketing Association in 2010. As part of our virtual event planning, we did a Brainzooming creativity session and brainstormed ideas to take best advantage of our virtual event opportunity. We brainstormed several hundred ideas, many of which were specific social media ideas for how to drive virtual event success.

Flash forward two years, and I will be speaking Monday afternoon at the Virtual Edge Institute 2012 conference on using social media ideas to drive virtual events by growing attendance and creating greater engagement.

Recently, I went back through our final Brainzooming report document from the 2010 American Marketing Association virtual event and identified out this list of 51 social media ideas to drive virtual events.

Many of the social media ideas could apply to any type of event or even other marketing programs. But since it does not make much sense to go through a list of 51 ideas during a presentation, the list is shared for you and all the attendees at the Monday Virtual Edge Institute session (4 pm PDT on Monday, January 9). Please feel free to borrow any of these ideas and adapt them to suit your organization’s purposes. And if you would like to follow along during Monday’s session, be sure to track the Twitter hashtag #VES12!

Attendance Building

1. Create a micro-site for the conference – drive members there via email campaigns

2. Create themed web badges for speakers/sponsors/exhibitors to put on their sites

3. Crowd source a “10 Ways to Sell Your Attendance to Your Boss” list

4. Offer a free association membership for life as a contest give-away

5. Do a weekly give away on social media channels leading up to the conference

6. Extend offers at special times of the day

7. Extend offers for the event on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

8. Offer a dramatic prize for the 500th registrant for the digital event

9. Sponsor a scholarship program for out of work attendees to participate

10. Provide an offer to digital event attendees to attend future in-person events at a reduced rate

11. Give previous attendees a discount for referrals, plus free attendance for the person who gets the most referrals over some target number

Interactivity

12. Actively build the Twitter following for the event’s Twitter account well in advance of the event

13. Develop a conference / event app

14. Host a monthly, industry-oriented Twitter chat leading up to or kicking off with the digital event

15. Create an event word cloud that evolves over the day

16. Crowd source a “What the future of the industry looks like” video or article

17. Crowd source nominations for annual awards via social networks

18. Crowd source the theme for the next digital event

19. Conduct a pre-event session on how to get more out of the conference through social media

20. Hold a webinar for attendees before the conference on maximizing the value of the digital event experience

21. Have a live viewing session for the digital event in high-density membership areas

22. Have an online interaction area for attendees and speakers

23. Invite industry professionals to share content for the event community website

24. Monitor the event Twitter feed and introduce people to each other

25. Produce the social media content at the event with a team approach

26. Offer an incentive for attendees to blog or live tweet about the conference

27. Provide exclusive digital interactions with speakers at the event

Networking

28. Allow attendees to post resumes and job opportunities in the virtual event

29. Create a buddy / mentoring system for senior and junior people in the industry to reach out to each other, network, and schedule time together at the event

30. Do a virtual speed-networking event

31. Pair people up with similar interests at the conference through a community matching approach

32. Provide different avatar backgrounds for attendees to indicate their interest areas, experience, event objectives, etc.

33. Provide a means to network and pre-schedule meetings with suppliers or clients through a social media platform

Presentations / Content

34. Best rated / most popular breakout sessions (as identified through social media channels) are repeated in a general session

35. Crowd source a final recap presentation by soliciting ideas throughout the meeting via Twitter and other social networks

36. Crowd source session ideas from among social networks

37. Crowd source virtual event word of the day ideas from attendees

38. Host a global panel with Skype/video participation from all over the world

39. Do a session based on crowd sourcing a list of industry predictions that did/didn’t come true

40. Have attendees submit their own 1-2 minute videos that are compiled and shown

41. Have featured presenters doing a running commentary on social networks throughout the event

42. Host a virtual unconference – select a topic during the day of the digital event and discuss it live on Twitter or in an online chat room

43. Let attendees submit “new” content before the conference and the top 3 people get to present for 20 minutes

44. Create an online group to submit conference ideas

45. Post short teaser videos from presenters covering their topics

46. Solicit questions for presenters via social media

47. Win a video camera for the best ideas on how you will use it to create content for the event

Trade Show / Exhibitors

48. Allow exhibitors to put videos of best practices on a conference community site

49. Provide a coaching session for exhibitors on interactive and social media elements of the conference to maximize their business building experience

50. Solicit and provide e-opinions on suppliers

51. Video 2-minute pitches / interviews with exhibitors on the cool things they are doing. Show videos around presentations at general session & prompt attendees to visit the exhibitors

And what other social media ideas do you have?

What other social media ideas would you add to the list to driver virtual events? Please share them in the comments! If you’re at the Virtual Edge Institute (#VES12) in San Diego next week, please stop by and attend my Monday afternoon session!  – 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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Ever since the marcus evans B2B Summit in Colorado Springs in early November, I have been carrying around the list of all my tweets from the B2B Summit in my blogging notebook. Beyond the 20 strategic planning questions post the tweets prompted, there were a variety of brand experience, customer, and content marketing challenges issued worth sharing as we all think through what is ahead for 2012. The marketing challenges came from B2B Summit speakers:

Here are 10 marketing challenges to review where you stand now and where you want to prioritize your efforts for 2012.

Brand Experience

  • Great brands put every single employee through brand training. They build an almost religious fervor over the delivering the brand experience flawlessly. (Atul Vohra)
  • The brand should be the filter for every decision an organization makes. You have to invest enough time on your brand, because with advances in every other part of the world, branding is the only advantage Western countries still have. (Atul Vohra)
  • You have to rethink the purchase experience for your brand in light of Amazon setting the bar with its one-fee, unlimited two-day shipping and no-hassle product return policy. Amazon has made every purchase an impulse buy, with ripple implications you can’t ignore. (Mitch Joel)

Customer Targeting

  • If you’re in B2B, you have to make sure you’re paying attention to the fact human beings are at the heart of B2B. A warm body signs the contract. (Atul Vohra)
  • Target your messages to the right audience. Wasting your message on people who don’t care simply damages your credibility. (Michael P. Guillory)
  • In a world with young children growing up without keyboards and mice, you have to re-imagine the entire use experience for the youngest consumers. (Mitch Joel)

Content Marketing

  • Re-think every page of your website as if it were your homepage, because since Google is where people are going to find you, that’s exactly what every website page effectively is. (Mitch Joel)
  • Content marketing can’t be an afterthought if it’s going to be effective in growing your business. It has to be process-based, include clear next steps on every piece of content, and include metrics throughout. (Curt Porritt)
  • Don’t satisfy yourself with generalized content for your audiences. The best content marketers are using personas and creating content for each one – or even creating content platforms targeted at each persona. (Joe Pulizzi)
  • For each piece of content you create, look for 10 ways to repackage and market it. Start with individual blog posts and grow them into a book. (Joe Pulizzi)
There are several of those marketing challenges we’re thinking about how we’re addressing in 2012, especially on content marketing.  We’re looking at website changes and more effective delivery of content from The Brainzooming Group to you and other new audiences.
What are the top marketing challenges you’re facing for 2012? There’s a comment space below to share them, if you’d like some input on them! – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This innovative 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 an innovative 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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Here’s another Blogapalooza post from one of Max Utsler’s students, D. Mark Dunn. He’s a broadcast journalist and communications professional who is current working on his MS, Journalism / Marketing Communications at the University of Kansas. Today’s he’s tackling a couple of improvement ideas for a much maligned networking and marketing tool – the business card!

 

Despite increasing communication online, many professionals still use a business card more than any other single marketing tool.  Obviously, a business card features the essentials including your name, organization and contact information.  In addition to the basics, you may see a pretty logo, fancy graphic design or colors.  Beyond that, it seems rare to come across a business card worth keeping outside the value of “easy” access to that person when needed.  Well, I guess a business card could have staying power if you’re in need of a bookmark or a fridge magnet—possibly featuring the schedule of a local sports team.  The other day though, I came across a pretty creative idea for a business card while helping my wife do some car shopping.  At least it’s something I’ve never seen done with this marketing tool.

One of the car salesmen handed us a business card, similar in look and feel to a credit card.  The front provided contact basics, but the back of the card contained discount coupons to a dozen different local businesses.  It drew my interest and led me to examine each discount offer individually.  It seems like a pretty good idea to include discount coupons, but I do think the cross-promotion strategy could use improvement.

Eight of the 12 discount coupons offered specials at restaurants or food specialty places.  The other four were for a liquor store, a family entertainment venue, a bowling alley, and a rental car company.  All of the deals appear to provide a fairly good value.  But it seems that only one of the 12 businesses effectively targets car shoppers.

The shotgun approach may relate to the wide-ranging demographics and psychographics of car shoppers.  Lob a variety of discount coupons up there and hope something sticks.  And one may also argue that restaurants are a catchall.

In this case though, I can quickly think of several other discount options that seem more attractive to someone in the market to buy a car:  A car wash (to clean up the car you’re trading in), a bank or lending institution (with special car loan rates), auto insurance company, or an auto specialty business that installs stereos, GPS devices, DVD players, etc.  In addition, car dealers, for example, could customize and more effectively match the businesses offering a discount with potential customers based on the type of car they’re selling.  It seems likely that Mercedes-Benz dealerships interact with people who are significantly different than those in the market for a used Hyundai.

I doubt my wife and I will ever take advantage of any of the discount offers or coupons on the car salesman’s business card.  But I still have his card and each business on the back did gain a quality impression.  In the end, this seems to show how the execution of a good idea is the difference between creativity and innovation. D. Mark Dunn

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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We recently reviewed a client’s employee-created videos. The videos were destined for social media distribution via YouTube and other sites. There were some very effective employee videos in the mix where associates delivered personal accounts of their interests related to the client’s products. The successful employee videos were genuine and unscripted, and while the client’s product was clearly a part of each video, the product was way in the background.

Challenges with Employee-Created Videos

Beyond the relatively small number of effective employee videos, the majority were poorly executed. Why were these other employee videos off the mark? In nearly every case, it was because what was portrayed as an employee-generated, personal video veered off into trying to be a commercial (with extensive product references and information) or worse, a character-oriented video (with the self-identified employee taking on the role of a character in a fictional setting).

As we pointed out to our client, it’s bad form to foster social media audience confusion by making them think they’ll be watching personal video accounts from employees when the videos are no such thing. What makes it even worse, however, is commercial and character videos prompt higher viewer expectations for better production and talent standards than our client’s employee videos delivered. As a result, the videos not only seemed disingenuous, they also emphasized production shortfalls (bad lighting, uneven sound, etc.) even more than if they solely focused on an employee telling a personal story in a simple fashion.

An Employee-Created Video that Works

Contrast our client’s situation with this video from the Kansas City Missouri Public Library shared on Facebook earlier this week. It’s produced by Jason Harper, who handles social media for the library. Rather than screaming, “Employee video,” this character-oriented video unfolds with subtle humor, scripting and costumes true to its Hemingway theme, and just enough production value to effectively convey its ultimate message: there’s an easy-to-use app that allows you to extend the period for books patrons have checked out from the Kansas City Missouri Public Library.

Jason is never identified as an employee because his employment status has no bearing on the video. As a result, an insignificant point of information doesn’t serve to confuse a cleverly-conceived and produced character video.

Because this video is true to viewer expectations of a character-oriented video’s intent, tone, production value, and talent level, we think it it really works! We should all be using employee-created videos as effectively as this one! And if you are using employee-created videos effectively, care to share the links in the comments section? – Mike Brown


How can ultra high-speed internet speeds drive innovation? “Building the Gigabit City: Brainzooming a Google Fiber Roadmap,” a free 120-page report, shares 60 business opportunities for driving innovation and hundreds of ideas for education, healthcare, jobs, community activities, and more.  Download this exclusive Google Fiber report sponsored by Social Media Club of Kansas City and The Brainzooming Group addressing how ultra high-speed internet can spur economic development, growth, and improved lifestyles globally. 

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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If you have not started already, it is a great time to ask yourself and your organization innovative strategic planning questions to identify your best opportunities and prepare for implementation next year. Maybe it is because the new year is approaching quickly that conference presenters the past week prompted twenty innovative strategic planning questions – either directly or by me turning a statement into a creative question to answer.

Photo by; MMchen | Source: photocase.com

Presenters offering these strategic planning questions included Fast Company co-founder, Bill Taylor at the FastKC luncheon and several presenters at the marcus evans B2B Summit in Colorado Springs, including authors Mitch Joel, Joe Pulizzi, and business leaders Atul Vohra (Solera Holdings, Inc.), Michael P. Guillory (Texas Instruments), and Curt Porritt (Master Control Inc.) I spoke on Taking the NO Out of Business InNOvation at the marcus evans B2B Summit.

As you get ready for implementation next year, make sure you are considering these innovative strategic planning questions to boost next year’s results!

Strategy & Purpose Questions

  • In this age of disruption for businesses and markets, what do we stand for and strongly advocate as an organization that makes us special? (Bill Taylor)
  • Are we asking enough “why” questions, since they tie to our business plan? If we are not asking enough of them, why is that? (Mitch Joel)
  • What are we the “most of” in our field? (Bill Taylor)
  • Don’t ask, “What keeps us up at night?” Ask, “What gets us up in the morning?” (Bill Taylor)

Strategic Marketing Questions

  • What are we doing to reboot our marketing for the new realities of customers buying in dramatically different ways? (Mitch Joel)
  • What are our plans to introduce more sense-based cues into our product or service? (Bill Taylor – Umpqua Bank features local music in its branch offices)
  • How are we going to start our own media channels (by creating content) instead of renting them (through buying advertising)? (Joe Pulizzi)
  • Once we’ve created content, what are 10 ways we can re-imagine and package it in new ways? (Joe Pulizzi)
  • Are we putting lead forms and next steps options into all of the content our organization creates and shares? (Joe Pulizzi)
  • What metrics and strategic thinking exercises are we using to stay away from “marketing by what happened last” (i.e., you just had a good trade show so there’s a push to do more of those)? (Curtis Porritt)

Customer and Market Questions

  • What are we trying to do for our customers? (Atul Vohra)
  • When it comes to customers, how is our organization shifting from a “how many” to “who” focus? (Mitch Joel)
  • How will the growing BRIC and BOP markets fit in our market plans the next 3 years? (Atul Vohra)
  • If someone doesn’t interpret what we wrote as expected, what’s to say they’re wrong? What can we learn from the misinterpretation? (Interactive Session comment)

Learning Organization Questions

Marketing Metrics Questions

  • How many meaningless numbers are part of our marketing metrics? (Michael Guillory)
  • How many people are searching for our brand name or URL – spelled correctly? (Curtis Porritt)
  • If we’re using in-person events in our marketing plans, who were the new people and companies we met this year, and how are we turning them into customers? (Michael Guillory)

Number 20 – My New Favorite Strategic Planning Question

  • To identify potential value for a client in a B2B market, ask clients, “What do you never want to do again?” Then provide the means for them to never have to do what they don’t want to do again. (Unnamed B2B Summit participant)

Are You Ready for What’s Ahead?

If you’d like assistance in getting your annual planning for next year done faster than ever, call us at 816-509-5320 or email info@brainzooming.com. Our Brainzooming name means what it says: we’ll stretch your brains to consider new opportunities and quickly zoom them into a plan that’s ready for next year when next year starts! We’d love to help you hit next year zooming!   – 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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I was struggling this weekend to write a Halloween-oriented post linked to an architecture firm’s credo spotted during a trip to Columbus, OH last week. While a fantastic early thought about the phrase lent itself to a Halloween post (as I try to be more seasonal on the Brainzooming blog), I only had ONE other fantastic example instead of the five needed to do a whole post.

Trying to figure out what I could get written for Halloween, it struck me to run this Blogapalooza post from Sean Roark. When I first quickly scanned it after Max Utsler forwarded it to me, I wasn’t getting the whole Conan O’Brien pmpadour thing. But after re-reading the post, it was completely obvious that orange is my “relevant ridiculousness,”  as Sean describes it. Orange (and not just the color, but the orange socks, orange clothing, orange backpacks, orange office supplies, and yes, even our orange kitchen) not only suggest excitement and creativity, the ridiculousness of that much orange always provides an opening for somebody to ask, “Why the hell do you wear orange socks?”

Sean is a working marketing professional, graduate student at the University of Kansas, and a “Brand Master of the Universe.” To find out more about Sean’s title and how you can identify your relevant ridiculousness, dive in and enjoy:

Finding Your Conan O’Brien Pompadour

Pretty much everyone is certified in something. Some are certified in CPR. Others — certified notaries. Diplomas and GEDs are certifications. Few, however, are certified Brand Masters of the Universe.

I am.

Granted, it’s a relatively new certification, and as far as I know, it’s only offered once a year at the KU Edwards Campus. But hey, I did my time, I paid for it, and I can’t wait to put it on my business cards.

My brand sensei — Pasquale Trozzolo, trained me in the art of brand warfare. A notable chapter in our brand Shinto was to identify and exploit the relevant difference — the one main attribute that relevantly sets a product or service apart from its competition. Simple, seemingly obvious, but rarely mastered. After considerable practice and branditation, I have fully embraced the importance, and harnessed the chi of relevant difference. But like Plato to Socrates before me, I have developed a new philosophy citing certain instances that challenge the law of relevant difference. I call it the Art of Irrelevant Relevance AKA Relevant Ridiculousness AKA Finding your Pompadour.

What’s Conan Have that I Don’t Have?

Photo appears at: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v70/rushmoregirl/pumpkin07.jpg

Everyone knows Conan O’Brien. Well almost everyone – 74% of you according to a Marketing Evolutions study. What is it about Conan that makes him so memorable? Well it’s pretty safe to say that those 74% didn’t watch him on the Tonight Show on a regular basis or Jay Leno never would have gotten his job back. Here’s a hint. It’s red, it’s retro and it’s ridiculous. Yes, what makes Conan O’Brien so recognizable is that preposterous pompadour. The pompadour has no relevance to Conan’s comedy. If it did, his monologues would consist mainly of Abe Lincoln jabs. The relevance of the pompadour is its ridiculousness – ridiculousness that has stopped countless channel surfers dead in their tracks just to see what that giant red head with the weird haircut is all about.

A few years back VH1 aired The Pickup Artist. A collection of virgin nerds turned to an ex-nerd turned illusionist, philosopher and master pickup artist named Mystery to help them land beautiful women. Mystery had studied the courting habits of thousands of bar goers throughout his early 20s and developed the Mystery Method. A key component to Mystery’s opening was peacocking. Peacocking is donning an interesting (most often ridiculous) article of clothing or an accessory that gives women easy bait to start a conversation if they are interested. Peacocking sets pickup artists apart from the rest of the bar and (just like the pompadour) provides the relevant ridiculousness that is so useful in getting noticed.

So how does this have anything to do with marketing? Well by now, most of our products and services are contending in highly competitive industries with relevant differences that aren’t that different. In other words, our products and services are stuck in a loud, crowded nightclub filled with younger, more attractive products and services that only stop lifting weights to shave their chests and apply more cologne. How will our average looking products and services ever get the chance to speak to those hottie consumers? The answer is to whip out that hair gel, pile up a pompadour and get noticed.

The Relevant Ridiculousness that’s Right for You

Finding the relevant ridiculousness that’s right for you is going to take some good old-fashioned creativity — and most importantly, originality. First, pompadours are best suited for highly competitive industries. They’re clutter breakers so if there isn’t substantial clutter, your brand is just going to look weird. Irrelevant relevance is only relevant if it hasn’t been done before. Riding the coattails of someone else’s ridiculousness is only going to leave your image battered, your brand bruised and your career prospects left in the dust. Finally, keep your pompadour light-hearted and playful. There’s a fine line that separates creative and creepy – get close, but don’t cross it.

Great brand pompadours of the past include Ubu Productions — which paved the path for production company awareness nearly 30 years ago. Old Spice found its pompadour and, in turn, its way out of grandpa’s medicine cabinet. And don’t forget about the now defunct BK King who brought the Whopper back to the consideration set of drunks and burnouts nationwide.

So if your brand has become a wallflower in the crowded discotheque of commerce, take it from Conan O’Brien, Mystery and myself. Puff up that pompadour, spread those feathers, get a little ridiculous and give your brand some irrelevant relevance to separate it from the rest of the pack.  – Sean Roark

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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