Marketing | The Brainzooming Group - Part 26 – page 26
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Business branding (and by business branding we mean the entire brand promise and experience, not just a name and a logo) is an undercurrent throughout Brainzooming blog content.  Brand strategy is central to our treatment of social media, marketing, communications, business innovation, and competitive strategy.

Since business branding is not a part of Brainzooming blog’s standard content line (strategy, creativity, innovation, and social media) though, it can feel as if brand strategy gets short shrift here. In fact, a blog visitor asking about our coverage of business branding prompted today’s compilation post of selected brand strategy content.

These sixteen articles on brand strategy provide an overview of our business branding thinking on various topics.

Defining Brand Strategy

Adjusting Your Brand Strategy

  • Bad Strategy and Economies of Scale – It can seem like the right move to remove small elements of the brand experience when you have a scale-driven cost savings opportunity, but what’s the brand loyalty impact when customers notice?
  • Creative Thinking for Brand Extension Ideas – Brand extensions can be tricky, but this simple strategic thinking exercise can help in thinking through how other brands’ extension strategies can prompt new directions for your brand.
  • Untangling Your Brand Attributes for Greater Value – Over time, brand attributes can become too bundled and undermine customer value perceptions. When that happens, it is time to rethink ways to deliver branding benefits and value.
  • Strategy in a Full House of Brands – When you have acquired a whole array of brands through M&A activity, making them all fit into one house of brands can become crowded.

Updated-Boom-Ad

Addressing Brand Challenges

Incorporating Lessons from Others

What Other Branding Topics Are of Interest to You?

Are there branding topics you’re interested in learning more about here on the Brainzooming blog? Let us know, and based on the broad branding experience on our team, we’ll tackle your questions! – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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2

I love seeing an integrated marketing communications effort (or any type of integrated program planning) play out successfully. When a program displays strategic integration, it makes it easier on the audience to get the message let alone its efficiency for the message sender in delivering the message successfully.

There’s a recent case in point, as newly ordained fashionista Jessica Simpson made an appearance on the NBC program “The Biggest Loser” last night, doing makeovers for a couple of contestants. “The Biggest Loser” episode was right before the new Jessica Simpson fashion-oriented NBC competition TV show, “Fashion Star.” While I didn’t get to see TBL, I heard a lot about it Monday night when Cyndi was watching “The Voice” and “Smash,” also on NBC. And on “Fashion Star,” the integration continued with Macys, Saks, and H&M buyers bidding on designs that are magically available in their stores today for the public to buy.

What an example of great strategic integration.

But how do you make sure you’re planning for all the steps you need to address to successfully integrate a marketing effort?

A 15-Step Checklist for Integrated Program Planning Success

Considering what might have had to happen to make sure Jessica Simpson appeared on “The Biggest Loser” as a lead in to her new “Fashion Star” reality TV show provides a great checklist any of us can use when developing an integrated plan. Here are fifteen steps for successful integrated program planning the people behind “Fashion Star” would have had to consider:

  • Evaluate the need for and benefits of an integrated effort.
  • Develop a preliminary plan with the flexibility to incorporate integration opportunities.
  • Sell-in integration’s value to stakeholders who may have to be convinced.
  • Develop a timeline so you can look for and plan seemingly far off integration opportunities.
  • Research what other efforts provide adjacencies (timing, geography, process, etc.) to your effort, in addition to thinking through other intriguing strategic integration possibilities.
  • Act with enough time to modify plans already in place within your own organization or with potential integration partners.
  • Reach out and build relationships with parties responsible for potential integration opportunities.
  • Secure agreement to integration activities with other partners.
  • Anticipate external situations and the context when the integrated program will roll out.
  • Create story lines to make the integration make sense to audiences.
  • Coordinate resources across all involved parties.
  • Take necessary steps with all partners to prepare to implement the integrated effort.
  • Manage the coordinated activities so any unforeseen challenges to the integration effort won’t derail it.
  • Promote the integrated program so all target audiences are aware of and understand it.
  • Implement the integration and perform any follow-up.

What do you think? What type of checklist do you use when developing and implementing an integrated marketing communications effort or managing other integrated program planning?

Fifteen steps might seem like a lot, but I’d invite you to use this checklist when you’re in the planning phase to make sure you maximize any integrated program planning opportunity. – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding the strategy options they consider as we create innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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2

I’m back at the Enterprise Center of Johnson County covering Blogging for Business with a particular focus on creating fantastic blog content during the sold-out two-hour presentation. We had a great time at the October blogging for business presentation at Enterprise Center of Johnson County, and we’re covering comparable social media content today.

For all the time we spend talking about creating fantastic blog content, maybe it’s also worthwhile to point out that not every organization needs a blog as part of its business strategy today.

Surprised I’d say that?

Well, it’s true, and here’s the list.

Top 10 reasons your organization DOESN’T need a blog . . . TODAY

10. You have as much business as you need or want.

9. You really have nothing intriguing to say to customers, prospects, or other audiences you are trying to reach.

8. Your customers, despite the fact they’re patrons of your organization, don’t care about anything you have to say.

7. You suspect your target audiences aren’t reading blogs.

6. Your website isn’t part of your lead generation strategy.

5. You’re not planning to integrate blogging into your overall online and business strategy.

4. You’re not willing to produce regular content.

3. You can’t stop yourself from writing only about your company.

2. Your senior team doesn’t support a blog and/or will demand edits compromising the value of your blog content.

1. You’re going to delegate primary social media content creation responsibilities to an intern.

Still Think You Don’t Need a Blog?

If you can go through this list and still think your organization would not benefit from blogging, you’re either:

  • Passing up great potential opportunities today (if you were agreeing with numbers 5 through 10) AND/OR
  • Not taking full advantage of your organization’s ability to develop and share fantastic blog content (if you were agreeing with numbers 1 through 4)

In either case, even if you still think you don’t need one TODAY, it’s highly likely you’ll not want to pass up these opportunities much longer.

So maybe you should get started on creating a fantastic blog today, after all! – 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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9

In the comments to last Friday’s post about deciding whether to ditch a blogging schedule, Jeffrey Henning asked what factors I’d considered in leading to the conclusion that a daily blog strategy still makes sense for the Brainzooming blog. It’s a very valid question, although one of a strategic nature about our business that I typically wouldn’t address here. However, since Jeffrey asked, here’s a sampling of the factors we considered with our daily blog strategy and our conclusions on each of them.

5 Reasons to Not Ditch Our Daily Blog Strategy

1. Strategic Brand Messaging

We’ve incorporated versions of a phrase referencing we “blog daily on strategy, creativity, innovation, and social media” in a variety of business descriptions personally and about The Brainzooming Group. The phrase says where we focus (both in content and as a business) and how actively we are engaged in these areas. Since we have made a daily blog strategy part of The Brainzooming Group promise and our strategic brand messaging, it is important to live out the promise.

2. Proof Point to the Brainzooming Process

We don’t sell the idea of “creativity when you feel like it.” We sell the Brainzooming process and our creativity exercises and techniques as the way to be creative when feeling creative is the last thing on your mind, but the first thing on your to do list. If we were to only blog when we feel like it, there would be a major disconnect and no credibility to a fundamental proof point for our brand.

3. A Point of Differentiation

There are many organizations claiming to do aspects of what we do in helping companies develop more innovative strategies. Consistently publishing Brainzooming with a daily blog strategy demonstrates our tenure, experience, plus our focus on continually creating and expanding our strategic innovation techniques. When another firm throws up an online site with a few pages and a “check back here” message on a blog, I like our advantage in winning a potential client as they compare who really specializes in strategic innovation.

4. We’re Doing What We Recommend

While The Brainzooming Group isn’t focused exclusively on social media strategy for clients, social media strategy development and implementation has become a significant part of what we do.  If we recommend being a consistent social media presence as a key to success, it’s important we carry out what we recommend, gaining new strategic learnings to benefit our social media strategy clients.

5. Our Readership Is Growing at Triple Digit Rates

We’ve just reached two years for the Brainzooming blog on a single WordPress platform, so we now have stable year-over-year comparisons in Google Analytics (another reason in itself to maintain our schedule). The original article on why you should ditch a blogging schedule suggested a regular schedule “sucks the life force out of your blog.” To the contrary, the Google Analytics metrics show unique visitors nearly doubled in the second year on WordPress while visits from search were up more than 650% in the same period. We reached readers in 179 countries last year. Those metrics don’t even consider audience growth from email subscriptions and the RSS feed. If the audience is continuing to grow at those rates, it’s important to continue fueling it with regular content.

The Only Significant Challenge to Our Daily Blog Strategy: Time

The time demands along with it becoming more challenging to remember what I have and haven’t already addressed in the Brainzooming blog makes it seem like I’m ready for a new creative adventure apart from the blog. Since the Brainzooming blog started, I’ve hardly ever picked up the guitar, painted a picture, or even drawn much. Four years concentrating on a single creative outlet is a long time for me to stick with one form. That frustration does have me considering a variety of other alternatives. So far though, none of the alternatives considered delivers the same advantages as regular, daily publishing.

You Have to Make Your Own Decisions

As I wrote Friday, you have to answer your own question about regular or even daily blogging. The answer that’s right for you or your organization has to make sense with what you’re trying to achieve. What are you thinking about publishing to a regular schedule? Does it make sense for you?  – 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

YouTube is ruining Super Bowl advertising!

I wrote that statement during the 2011 Super Bowl along with a few reasons why, but never turned it into a complete blog post. After taking part in Max Utsler’s sports media class at The University of Kansas last week as Max discussed his ongoing research on Super Bowl advertising and after watching this year’s Super Bowl advertising, the pieces I needed to fill out the blog post fell into place.

So let me say it again: “YouTube is ruining Super Bowl advertising.”

What do I mean by that?

As my dad, who spent nearly all his career selling television advertising at a TV station in Hays, KS, is quick to remind me, a good television advertisement has:

  • A simple, understandable message
  • Creative that supports the message
  • Repetition of the message in some manner, either within the ad or through repeated airings
  • Clear information on how to take action on the message

In the days when the only place to see a television ad was on television, advertisers strayed from this formula at their own peril. Successful television advertising routinely delivered on all four – even very memorable Super Bowl ads.

What’s Happening to Super Bowl Advertisements?

Fast forward to the dramatic changes taking place with Super Bowl advertising in the age of big dollars for TV spots and free space on YouTube and other social media channels. Here’s what’s happening:

  • Super Bowl advertisements need to be seen many times online (i.e. on YouTube) after the Super Bowl (and increasingly before) to justify the upfront investment.
  • There’s a presumption (largely true) that people will only invest time to watch Super Bowl ads online that are entertaining.
  • It’s easier to craft a potentially entertaining Super Bowl ad which minimizes the advertiser’s message in favor of heavying up on cinematic storytelling, visual engagement, emotional triggers (humor, lust, drama, etc.), and suspense.
  • The frequent result is a crop of Super Bowl advertising with only tenuous connections to simple, understandable, repeated messages and clear calls to action for Super Bowl advertisers.

Because of these dynamics, we now have a slew of poorly done “television ads” for the Super Bowl that:

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Brainzooming blog post, I received a true appreciation for these disconnects when viewing 2012 Super Bowl advertising with a group of people in a home party setting. Super Bowl advertising which depended on subtlety to carry the day didn’t. That’s why the H&M ad with David Beckham worked; it got its simple message (H&M, David Beckham, Bodywear) across clearly and multiple times in 30 seconds.

But here’s the flipside of YouTube ruining Super Bowl television ads.

The good part of these dynamics is that advertisers are now taking a sponsorship strategy to their Super Bowl investments. This sponsorship strategy link is what clicked for me in Max Utsler’s class the other day at The University of Kansas. Max discussed all the things advertisers are doing to showcase Super Bowl creative as they try to activate their “sponsorships” through multiple channels to maximize the ROI from Super Bowl advertisements.

With a sponsor’s view of the Super Bowl, smart brands are getting the full advantage from their investments. YouTube viewing is an important foundation to these increasingly integrated marketing communications and brand strategies.

As was discussed on #SocialChat last night, there are still many integration opportunities brands aren’t seizing in social media. If H&M had featured a Twitter chat with David Beckham as a follow-on to its commercial, I have a feeling my laptop computer would have been ripped from my hands by some of the women in attendance!

This represents a huge integration opportunity for Super Bowl advertisers next year to go beyond simply asking people to watch their Super Bowl ads online. – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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6

You’re all invited join us Super Bowl Sunday for a fun, intimate Twitter chat all about the Super Bowl advertising and everything else going on with the game. By including the hashtag #SBExp in your tweets, you’ll be a part of a great group of marketers and pop culture fans, curated by Jim Joseph, author of “The Experience Effect” and “The Experience Effect for Small Business,” just released this week. While The Brainzooming Group hosted #BZBowl during the past two Super Bowls, we’re putting our energy behind the #SBExp chat for Super Bowl XLVI.

While there are a LOT of Twitter chats, tweeting during a live TV event provides a unique twist since you have a large audience focused on and reacting to the same content. And as almost a sub-chat of the bigger Super Bowl XLVI ad tweeting, #SBExp provides an opportunity to both MEET new people and to actually INTERACT with one another.

Since we hope to attract some new tweeters for Sunday’s #SBExp chat, here are 11 live event Twitter chat tips to make #SBExp more fun and exciting for you (and btw, Jim Joseph, there are some curation tips I’ve learned in here that could be helpful for you too).

11 Tips for a Great #SBExp Chat Experience

1. A Twitter chat isn’t about making pronouncements or simply blasting messages. In a discussion-based Twitter chat, there is typically a moderator asking questions for the the group to react to individually. When you’re chatting about an event, there are probably not going to be planned questions posed. In these cases, watch what other participants are tweeting, answering and responding to others, even if there isn’t a question involved.

2. When it comes to what Twitter platform to use, try Twitterchat.com. Since Twitterchat.com automatically inserts the hashtag for you, it offsets the effects of Number 5 on this list. Tweetdeck (at least the old Tweetdeck) is faster than Hootsuite, and refresh speed is really important if you don’t want to be 5 minutes behind (although expect tweets to be running slowly on Super Bowl Sunday).

3. Keep some tweeting energy in reserve. If you’re really into a live event Twitter chat, you’ll be surprised at how draining tweeting can be. Pace yourself and still be there at the end.

4. Think of a live event Twitter chat as your chance to be a character on MST3K. Find your inner Tom Servo. Be profound, be insightful, be fun, be snarky – and use multiple tweets to be all these things if you need to!

5. Alcohol helps during a Twitter chat. Nuff said.

6. Since so many people are watching the event, it’s more fun to turn your tweets into a running commentary. People aren’t looking for news reporting about what’s going on at the event; they want to hear your ideas.

7. If you’re ever going to be outrageous on Twitter, a live TV event is the time to do it. Outrageousness earns retweets and followers.

8. Think about your spelling, but don’t agonize over your spelling. Get your ideas out there fast. People will usually figure out minor spelling mistakes with no problem.

9. If you’re in a sub-chat (i.e. a focused chat within a bigger event) such as #SBExp, include the hashtag for the bigger event (i.e., #BrandBowl, #SuperBowlAds) in your best tweets. It can attract new people to your group and grow the audience.

10. Follow the people you’re tweeting with during the event. And it’s fine to carry one side conversations while the event is going on. It’s about the event, but it’s also about meeting new people you’ll enjoy tweeting with in the future as well.

11. Even though Twitter chats are silent, they’re actually incredibly loud. Don’t believe it? If you’re really into an event-related chat, try to “hear” people talking around you and process what they’re saying. It sounds odd, but if you experience deafening tweet loudness, you’re not alone.

I know there are more live event Twitter chat tips that should go on this list, so I’ll add to it as they occur to me on Super Bowl Sunday. Remember, get your Super Bowl XLVI advertising, marketing, and popular culture kicks with us Sunday on #SBExp!   – 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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3

Too often, an organization signs on for a sponsorship without a clear sponsorship strategy. Sponsorship marketing can produce attention and strong ROI impacts for companies of all sizes, but it takes clear strategy. While it’s easy to pay money to get your company name attached to a sponsorship, that doesn’t mean you have a solid sponsorship strategy to enhance attention and produce a positive ROI for your organization. With the “Building the Gigabit City” project to brainstorm ideas for Google Fiber in Kansas City, The Brainzooming Group employed a non-traditional sponsorship strategy, creating a sponsorship where one didn’t already exist by:

Since our sponsorship strategy was one any company could pursue under the right circumstances, here are five key sponsorship principles to consider in pursuing a similar path:

1. Stand near somebody else’s spotlight

Standing near another party’s spotlight is part of why NASCAR sponsorships work. Since a whole army of media cover the NASCAR racing world, a sponsor doesn’t have to try to get media to show up for the event. There has been considerable coverage for the Google Fiber move into Kansas City. Creating Gigabit City allowed us to stand near the Google Fiber spotlight for a credible reason, even though the event wasn’t an official Google Fiber program. The Google name drew strong media attention for Gigabit City, nevertheless.

2. Create your own sponsorship property

The traditional sponsorship strategy is to pay money to a sponsorable property’s owner (i.e., a sports team, an entertainment venue, a nonprofit event, etc.). With Building the Gigabit City, there was no property to sponsor. Working with Social Media Club of Kansas City (SMCKC), we created the sponsorship property. It takes more work, but it offers the opportunity to shape and mold what you’re investing in to best suit your business objectives.

3. Pursue a sponsorship built around what you do

The storyline for a sponsorship can be difficult to twist back to what your company does when you’re only investing dollars. Instead, look for a way to put what you do in your business at the heart of your sponsorship contribution. By donating our strategic brainstorming services to the Google Fiber in Kansas City event, The Brainzooming Group and our strategy and innovation services were at the heart of the story, providing the opportunity to integrate it more seamlessly into news stories.

4. Don’t ask for permission and don’t even worry about having to ask for forgiveness

Most of the Google Fiber attention in Kansas City appears to be forming with little attention boosting effort from Google. While a traditional move might have been to try doing something directly with Google, we instead created an event related to Google where the natural partner was almost incidental. Providing our brainstorming services pro bono allowed us to start, move quickly, and issue a comprehensive report free to anyone who wants it. Since Building the Gigabit City wasn’t authorized by Google though, we were careful to structure an event that would be neutral at worst to Google and ideally somewhat intriguing.

5. You have to activate a sponsorship to make it worthwhile

Even though our initial “investment” in Building the Gigabit City was in-kind (i.e., providing our services on a pro bono basis to design and implement the brainstorming session), to realize the full benefit we had to get behind the public relations effort. Another partner of The Brainzooming Group, Alex Greenwood, was fundamental in representing our awareness-building and messaging interests among the potential media opportunities to ensure we received attention. That translated into considerable television and radio time, shareable third-party stories, and greater recognition for The Brainzooming Group in Kansas City and within the category.

Learn More Today

We’re extending our Gigabit City sponsorship strategy through other media appearances. I’m on Kelly Scanlon’s radio show on 1510 KCTE AM at 9 am CST, Friday, January 13 to discuss Google Fiber and what it can mean for small businesses in Kansas City and elsewhere. You can listen live on 1510.com.

I also wrote a feature story in the January 2012 edition of The Social Media Monthly magazine on “The Social Side of Speed” about how Google Fiber might impact societal and cultural elements of Kansas City. You can get a printed copy at any Barnes & Noble store, plus check out one of the “Hottest Magazine Launches of 2011” with an online subscription at The Social Media Monthly magazine’s website.

What could you do with your sponsorship strategy?

Does our approach instigate any creative ideas for how you could develop more effective sponsorships? If not, give us a call. We can put our years of sponsorship strategy and implementation experience to work for you to realize your business objectives.  – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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