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I’ve been following Scott Ginsberg (aka @NameTagScott) on Twitter for quite some time. I’d  read a story in the newspaper about this guy that wears a nametag all the time ( in order to make connections with people), and it’s been a blast to read his daily, kick you in the rear, admonitions on Twitter.

In terms of an official bio, Scott Ginsberg is the World Record Holder of Wearing Nametags. He’s the author of twelve books, an award-winning blogger, professional speaker and creator of NametagTV.com. He specializes in approachability, identity and execution. If you like what you see from Scott and want to learn more about his books, speaking engagements, customized online training programs or want to rent Scott’s brain for a one-on-one session, you can email him at scott@hellomynameisscott.com.

When he offered to do a marketing-oriented guest blog on Twitter last week, I was all over getting a DM to Scott to see if he’d guest post for Brainzooming. I’m so excited that you all get to enjoy his perspective today on these things most marketers overlook:

 

1. Be memorable for the right reasons.

What are you known for? What are you know as? And what are you known for knowing? Those are the keys to memorability. However, if your intention to become memorable is misguided, malicious or so focused on profitability that you disrespect people, you lose. Being memorable for the wrong reasons is worse than being forgotten. Remember the 2006 World Cup? When the captain of France head butted a player from Italy? That was the last thing he was remember for prior to his retirement. Not smart marketing. Why do you want to become memorable?

 

2. Save feedback from the people who matter most.

The number of positive stories that are circulating about you, your brand, your organization and your product is the measure of marketing success. So, a huge part of marketing is managing your impressions in the marketplace. Now, notice I said, “managing,” not “controlling.” You can participate in and keep track of your online reputation – but you can’t control it. That’s why you have to listen. Listening gives you the chance clarify misconceptions, stereotypes and false accusations.  And it doesn’t matter how you do it; it only matters that you do it. Are you listening to other people’s ideas about who you are?

3. Decide what you’re going to brand.

 Branding is committing to being the best, highest version of yourself. So it’s not just about your products. Smart companies brand their service, brand their honesty and brand their language. And here’s why: Branding is no longer a novelty – it’s a necessity – the price of admission for playing the game. Your challenge is to think about what you’re committed to. The emotion that’s under your fingernails. Brand that and people won’t just pay attention – they’ll pay dividends. What has your organization branded that nobody else has?

4. Increase your digital equity.

That comes from a variety of sources: Interviews. Blog posts. Tagged photos. Search engine optimization. Articles. Presentations. Status updates. Tweets. The list goes on and on. And the key element behind it is simple: The Internet is forever. Forever. Everything matters. Everybody’s watching. And everything’s a performance. Which isn’t that hard to do if the character you’re playing is you. And if you want to build real equity, start by building your platform. That’s the entire marketing engine that does the heavy lifting when you’re on vacation.

 

5. Focus on income generating activities only.

 I once read a business book that said the typical entrepreneur spends 43 minutes a day on marketing. That’s it? What the hell are they doing for the other 557 minutes? Playing on Farmville? I don’t care what industry you work in, here’s the naked truth: Everything you do is marketing. Everything. All day. Every day. From phone calls to client meetings to conversations to tweets to attending networking events. It’s all marketing. And once you realize that, you find a way to leverage everything you do to get the word out about why you rock. How much time do you spend on marketing each day?

6. Interaction trumps interruption.

Remember phone books? Remember brochures and direct mail? Those aren’t marketing tools – they’re artifacts. And smart companies don’t waste their money on them. Here’s the reality: The only place your grandchildren will ever see paper marketing is in the history museum. Instead, stop interrupting and start interacting. Because every time a customer hears about you means less money spent making them hear from you. You don’t need more direct mail – you need more friends. How many trees are you killing just to be ignored by your customers?

 

7. Fire up your findability.

Marketing is simple: Create a product that customers can stumble upon, obsess over, fall in love with, become addicted to and tell their friends about. There. I just saved you $80,000 in business school tuition. You’re welcome. But the secret is: If you want customers to stumble upon you, you need to become more findable. One suggestion is to ask them. A helpful question I ask my readers every time they write in is, “What helped you find me this time?” You might be surprised by their answers. How do you demonstrate to people that you’re worth being found?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…

Are you the arrow or the bulls-eye?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…

For the list called, “8 Ways to Out Question the Competition,” send an email to me at scott@hellomynameisscott.com, and you win the list for free!

Guest Author

The Brainzooming blog has a wonderful group of guest authors who regularly contribute their perspectives on strategy, creativity, and innovation. You can view guest author posts by clicking on the link below.

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I may be ending one of the longest relationships of my life. It pains me to say this, but the other party in the relationship hasn’t been loyal and they are taking the easy way out. It is not my wife or other family member. It is not a friend or client or someone I work with. It is a customer relationship with our local daily newspaper. I’ve read The Kansas City Star since about the third grade. At this moment I am not a subscriber, and I’m not sure I ever will be again. And lack of innovation and strategic thinking is playing a big role in ending this customer relationship.

I put up with it when the paper declined in size and quality–and the price remained the same. I put up with it when they couldn’t find my house for three weeks in the fall of 2009. I put up with getting a successful delivery about six days out of seven since then.

What I am not sure I can put up with is their roving eye. Shortly after I received my annual renewal notice, I got an offer in the mail to subscribe for about half of what I had been paying. When a Star subscription rep called to see if I was going to renew, I said I would like that much lower price. “No,” she said, “that offer is only good for new subscribers.”

Apparently our relationship isn’t as important to The Star as it is to me. They are looking for someone new and they are willing to do things for them that they won’t do for me. And to think, a little innovation and more strategic, rather than tactical, thinking might have saved this customer relationship.

Newspapers face enormous business model issues. Easy, short-term, tactical thinking, e.g. cut prices for new subscribers, isn’t going to solve the problem. It is going to make their current customer base mad and put that at risk.

We see this response in lots of businesses that have enjoyed monopoly or duopoly market positions that have been undercut by changes in technology or regulation or in consumer preference. Think cable TV or cell phones.

It could be the printed daily newspapers can’t be saved. Maybe they are like carriage makers at the dawn of the 20th century, about to be overwhelmed by the automobile. But The Star has produced a highly valued and highly profitable product for more than 125 years. Cutting quality, cutting service, and cutting relationships is a way to guarantee they will be the 21st century’s carriage makers. – Barrett Sydnor

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 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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13

Starbucks is rebranding, with a new brand logo dropping “Starbucks Coffee” from its mark. Author Jim Joseph wrote about it yesterday and invited me on Twitter to weigh in. One of Jim’s contentions is Starbucks is reaching for the same “we don’t need no stinkin’ name” status as McDonald’s, Nike, Target, and Apple.

Starbucks Brand Identity ChangesThat may be true, but there are fundamental differences in the market strategy for Starbucks and the other brands:

1. How They’ve Built Brand Identity

McDonald’s, Target, Apple, and Nike have all been significant investors in brand advertising and/or identity-building  vehicles (i.e., sponsorships). Starbucks hasn’t followed the same marketing strategy. It’s earned its brand identity recognition with daily, right-in-front­-of-your-eyeballs signage on what seems like on nearly every block in the country. Not saying one or the other is better, but they’ve clearly gotten there in different ways, setting the stage for different strategic contexts for this decision.

2. Simplicity and Strategic Brand Connections

The Apple and Target brand identity marks are memes – the brand symbol is the company name. The McDonald’s arches represent the first letter of its name. Granted, the Nike swoosh doesn’t hold the same connection to its name, but it does have simplicity going for it.

The Starbucks mark however, has a much more obscure connection to its name. It makes the audience work really hard to get it. For me (not a huge customer), I didn’t know it was supposed to be a Siren until reading Jim Joseph’s post yesterday. A Siren? Doesn’t make me think Starbucks. In addition, it’s still not simple visually, even with the changes being made to the logo.

3. Too Few Strategic Steps?

I’ll admit to not going back for the due diligence on this topic, but I don’t think the other brands made a two-step move in one step, i.e., dropping both name (Apple) and category (Computer) in one change. Starbucks is yanking both at the same time.

Was This Order Ready?

As a marketing strategy move, I think simplifying its logo makes sense for Starbucks. The brand identity change provides more category flexibility and makes a smart push for more iconic brand status.

It seems though that Starbucks has made a strategy move with more strategic risk than it had to take. Time will tell if there’s a Venti payoff for Starbucks, but it certainly won’t find itself iced over this change. – Mike Brown

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

The Brainzooming Group, in a recent client strategic development session, had to start early and keep the strategic conversations moving rapidly throughout the day to maximize the input from the group we assembled, many of whom were from out of town.

To make sure that we kept the intellectual output going, we provided caloric input for participants by having both breakfast and lunch catered.

We used a catering service that I had seen and heard ads for, but had never used before. Ordering was easy, prices were good, and delivery was efficient and on time. The group seemed to enjoy the food and, if the results of the session were any indication, the food helped fuel the ideas.

I am a big believer in the value of companies moving from the Four P’s of Marketing (Product, Place, Price and Promotion) to an approach that embraces the Four C’s of Marketing (Customer solution, Convenience, Cost, and Communication). I think that is one of the major steps toward true, successful integrated marketing communications. I also believe that thinking about the fourth C as not just Communication, but Conversation, is a logical and effective next step.

My guess is the catering service thinks the same thing.

Two days later I got a call saying that they had found an error in our order. They said they had inadvertently delivered small yogurt containers when we had ordered regular. To make up for that they offered to send over a couple of orders of cinnamon rolls the next day. I regretfully declined the offer (at The Brainzooming Group we do try to limit our pastry intake, at least sometimes).

But I appreciated the proactive attempt at service recovery. I also knew that we were a first time client and as much as anything, this was likely an attempt to extend the conversation. (The yogurts were a bit on the small side, but I thought it was just to leave room for more cinnamon rolls.)

While I wouldn’t suggest businesses purposely make mistakes in order fulfillment delivery, I would suggest that finding ways to extend the client conversation is an excellent marketing strategy. – Barrett Sydnor

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can ask the right questions to get the answers and strategies you’re looking for to improve your business success.

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

At its core, The Brainzooming Group helps organizations become more successful by rapidly expanding the range of strategic options they consider. We then help them prioritize and plan for implementing the strongest alternative. Since many organizations are challenged right now in determining what social networking means for them, we’re doing lots of work on social media strategy.

We apply our strategy development methodology to social media to help clients get a quick handle on smart moves into social business. How quick? One client, after a full-day, multi-organization planning session said, “What we did today would have taken us six months on our own.”

That’s what we want to hear!

Adapting the Brainzooming methodology more specifically to social media strategy has triggered a lot of development and writing in this area. To make our strategic thinking more accessible and valuable to you, here are 50 Brainzooming articles on multiple aspects of social media strategy. These posts will help you better address it from a broad, organizational perspective.

You won’t find an article on “How Do I Set up a Facebook Page” for my business.

What you will discover are very adaptable principles on how social media can work (or work harder and better) for your organization and its audiences. If you’d like to discuss specifics on what these ideas mean for your organization, let us know. We’d love to work with you! – Mike Brown

Core Strategy

Social Media Metrics and ROI

Social Media Listening

Building Relationships with an Audience

Content Marketing

Improving the Productivity and Impact of Your Social Media Implementation

Customer Interaction in the Age of Social Media

Social Media Policy and Guidelines

Using Social Media to Drive Innovation

Incorporating Social Media into Event Marketing

Rants – Don’t Believe the Social Media Hype

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.


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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4

Back home over Thanksgiving, my mother and I talked about coming up with creative ideas for dealing with the collection of books I bought during high school that are still left at their house. The books include both great literature and big coffee table art books. Quite honestly, we have no room for them at our house or any interest in lugging them back to Kansas City.

Beyond my books, there are also hundreds of old books my dad bought to fill the newly installed shelves of the remodeled home when we first moved in years ago.

My best creative thinking was to sell all of them together and hope to get $15 for the whole lot. It’s sad, especially given how much money I spent on them originally, but they are, after all, simply old, used books.

Obviously though, I wasn’t being very creative with my idea.

A few days later, Cyndi and I visited C.S. Post, an intriguing store located in downtown Hays, KS that you wouldn’t be surprised to find in NYC. Started more than 10 years ago in conjunction with a restoration of downtown Hays, its owner designs furniture featured in popular design magazines and sold around the world. Go figure that this creative vision springs from a small Northwest Kansas town.

Nonetheless, it’s clear the C.S. Post folks are very creative when it comes to boosting the price point on used books.

We discovered this bin in the store. As close as we could tell, it looked as if they took old books, cut them from their covers, and soaked them in some type of liquid (maybe starch?) to get the pages to curl and stick together. Each had a ribbon tied around it and a $6 price tag since they were now “Rustic Books.”

With that kind of creative approach, my parent’s books collection could be worth thousands of dollars. Talk about using creativity to add value to an asset…or at least making a bold attempt to do so!

I personally can’t wait to hit C.S. Post over Christmas and see if the Rustic Books are selling at a brisk pace.

Whether the books are selling or not though, the folks at C.S. Post have more than earned my respect for taking something worthless and using creativity to build value and a new cache around it! Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 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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21

This Thanksgiving-shortened week’s posts all spring from something I’m thankful for: two recent social media strategy training presentations for non-profit organizations. Based on incredible turnouts for both social media training presentations, non-profit social media strategy must be a hot topic! One question from both sessions was on social media tactics for building your non-profit organization’s audience. These 16 social media tactics across 3 different areas should aid non-profits in growing a social media audience as much as they do other types of businesses and individuals as well:

Be a Good Social Media Participant

1. Be human and socially intriguing – This tactic applies both visually (depict a person in your avatar) and in interactions (demonstrate personality and let people know WHO they’re interacting with online).

2. Interact with people – Engage with people on relevant topics. Talk, respond, and initiate conversations.

3. Regularly share strong, intriguing content, especially news & interesting links – It’s easy to say, “Don’t be boring.” Work hard to make sure it’s also easy for your audience to see you really follow the advice. And don’t think you can share content once and then stop! Be consistent in your presence and sharing.

4. Share content from intriguing people – If you struggle generating enough rich content on your own, at least share and link to rich content others are creating.

5. Don’t over-promote yourself – Nobody likes an aggressive salesperson in real life or online. Cool the sales pitch and attract followers at their pace.

6. Follow first & manage your list actively – It’s okay and advisable to follow other people in your audience groups first. It’s also okay to weed out people who aren’t active. It’s especially good for organizations to have written guidelines on how and why they’re making these decisions.

7. Have a place to point people for deeper understanding – That means a blog or website that’s “your property,” as opposed to a Facebook presence subject to what Facebook decides to do.

8. Publicize your social media identity – Include links to your social media presence wherever you are online, particularly links to your home page.

Individual and Topic-Based Opportunities

9. Ask for and incent connections – Request that people connect with you by liking, following, and linking to you – whichever is appropriate for the particular social network. Also ask your current followers who they think you should be linked to in their social networks.

10. Follow back relevant followers – If someone has taken time to seek you out and isn’t a spammer, follow them back if they fit your target profile (then engage them to solidify the potential relationship).

11. Identify strong people on topics of interest and follow who they follow – If there are key influencers or experts in your audience, it’s a good practice to follow the people they follow (i.e., the people influencing their content and thinking).

12. Run searches on relevant topics and follow tweetersAlways have searches running on people active in social media talking about the topics relevant to your organization and take the opportunity to follow them. For Twitter, you can run the searches inside Twitter, do them at www.search.twitter.com (whether you are on Twitter or not), or have them going in a program such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.

13. List your organization on popular directories under related topicsWefollow & similar directories are structured by informational topics so others active in the same topics can find you. Similarly follow others listed in relevant categories on these same directories.

Take Advantage of Live Interactions

14. Solicit social media identities from customers and prospects – Whenever your organization touches a target audience member, request other ways to stay in touch with them.

15. Follow all attendees at events or using your organization’s Twitter hashtags – If other people are involved in events you sponsor or share the content you create, be sure to follow them.

16. Participate in live tweeting to gain disproportionate attention – Participating in Twitter chats or live event social media efforts is a great way to grow your followers among others with similar interests and needs.

These are all diligent, steady ways to build a follower and fan base.

There are certainly automated, program-based ways to build followers as well, but quite frankly, I’m a “diligent, steady” kind of guy and like growing followers organically vs. through a purely automated online program.

But if you’ve seen success with these programs or other audience-building techniques, what’s been working for you? Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.


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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