0

Here are two recent examples of opportunities for more effective audience-driven branding, if one is paying attention and thinking from the audience’s perspective.

A New Audience Member Doesn’t See Your Ho-Hum

Schanee-AndersonAt the Kansas Green Schools and Environmental Education Conference, I attended a discussion group on “Thinking Outside the Box about Community Partners & Resources,” facilitated by Schanee’ Anderson of the Sedgwick County Zoo. Schanee’ covered the importance of not presupposing what your audience will find intriguing about your brand experience based solely on what YOU find intriguing.

Just one of her great insights on audience-driven branding was to take people unfamiliar with your organization on a tour of your operation. When an unfamiliar audience member “oohs” and “ahhs,” take note: that is an audience-driven branding element that is special. It is something to feature, no matter how long ago you started taking it for granted.

Other audience-driven branding insights Schanee’ shared included:

  • Not just asking the usual suspects to participate in your non-profit’s activities. Look for people with no apparent ties to your cause who might have intense interests in your cause that are not readily apparent.
  • Continually provide your audience members with the inside scoop on your organization. This builds relationships through giving them he inside scoop even when you do not have a specific ask to make of them.
  • If the people in your organization need training, identify an organization whose people would grow by educating your organization on relevant topics.

Question: What kinds of opportunities could a more audience-driven look at your brand experience create for your organization?

Not Jumping the Gun on the Ask

I was talking with a fund raising executive about his organization’s newsletter. The top section of the newsletter, filled with links to news about the organization, its people, and their activities drives significant website traffic whenever they distribute the email. The newsletter section immediately following the newsy/personal links is a very direct ask about finding out more about wills, trusts, and estate planning. Not surprisingly, the number of clicks on the features in the estate and wills section is much lower.

We discussed the awkward shift between news and estate planning that makes it seem as if the organization is jumping the gun on its ask. As an alternative, we discussed developing a persona to represent his target audience: people in their 40s and 50s who are creating wills who rarely change their wills and trusts after they are completed.

Since his audience is connected to its youthful days as part of the organization, I suggested instead of featuring articles on estate planning, his more in-depth section should recap memories of his organization when his target audience was directly involved. These stories of yesteryear would actually engage the target audience. The associated links for these stories would focus on familiar people to the target audience who have actually engaged in planned giving. So now instead of jumping the gun to the ask, the organization uses two sets of stories of personal interest to the target audience to create engagement.

Question: How would more audience-driven stories open up possibilities to engage audience members wary of a direct ask? - Mike Brown

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

 

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

2

Same-Old-IdeasThere’s always value in creating the greatest impact from the resources most readily available to us in organizations (which I learned just yesterday can be described with the much more impressive phrase: physical eolithism).

This is especially true when the people, financial, and other resources we need to get things done aren’t what they used to be or that we would want them to be. Talking about this with a client the other day for an upcoming creative thinking and innovation workshop I’m presenting, I blurted out, “It’s all about doing new with less.”

If you feel as if you’ve wrung everything possible from what’s available to you to produce creative and innovative programs, yet you still need to keep going or even do more, what are your creative thinking options for doing new with less?

Doing New with Less – Creative Thinking and Innovative Programs on a Shoestring

Here’s a collection of Brainzooming resources to help you in doing new with less through being more strategic, simplifying things, and sprucing up experiences on the cheap:

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Your Current Creative Ideas

Coming Up with New Ideas

Throwing Away What You’ve Done Before

Change Expectations

Shifting Roles Around

New Ways to Implement

Have fun diving into this list of creative thinking resources for improving your programs – even if you have to do it on a shoestring. - Mike Brown

Mike-Brown-Gets-Brainzoomin

Learn all about what Mike Brown’s creativity, strategic thinking and innovation presentations can add to your business meeting!

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

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

2

Tear-Down-The-WallWhen it comes to social media strategy, we’ve been busy creating lots of content over the past two years since we first published a compilation of our social media strategy framework. In conjunction with a half-day workshop I’m leading today at the 14th annual Marketing World sponsored by Frost and Sullivan (#FrostMAR).

As a resource for both the workshop participants and all the Brainzooming readers, this updated social media strategy framework contains seventy-one links to both Brainzooming content and other key resources to help maximize your brand’s social networking impact, with a particular emphasis on its application to B2B brands.

If you’d like to talk more about how we can help you apply solid business strategy to your social media efforts, we’d be happy to help in applying our Brainzooming methodology to build a solid strategy and maximize the social networking impact of your investment.  - Mike Brown

OVERVIEW

STRATEGY

1. Integration

 2. ROI

3. Guidelines

SOCIAL NETWORKING

4. Listening

5. Building Relationships

6. Getting Noticed

INFRASTRUCTURE

7. Platforms

8. Time and Talent

9. Minimizing Risk

SOCIAL BUSINESS

10. Content Marketing

11. Customer Engagement

12. Innovation

B2B Social Media Case Studies

 Regulated Industries

Other Group Topics

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

 

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

0

In yesterday’s Brainzooming article about Dilbert and the misperception of finding the new magic answer in a new business book, I talked about the idea of creating your own, unique personal strategic tapestry.

The idea is you should continually add to your strategic leadership perspective with snippets all the news ideas you encounter. You should develop and challenge your cumulative perspective all the time, but never throw out your entire personal strategic tapestry based on what you read in the latest new business book.

Writing that post got me thinking about what threads are in my own personal strategic tapestry. My threads include both bigger and smaller learnings as you can tell from this list: the first eighteen personal learnings I wrote down off the top of my head. These are all in my personal strategic tapestry, pulled from some names you’ll recognize and others you won’t.

18 Strategic Leadership Learnings in My Personal Strategic Tapestry

080405 Mike Brown & Author Jim CollinsWeddings are optional, funerals are mandatory. – Rudy Giuliani

Ultimately, you can only control the integrity of your effort. – Jim Collins

Form reinforces function.Dave Wessling

A leader should say what he or she thinks only after the people who work for the leader share what they think. – Greg Reid

Don’t do anything stupid. – Bill Zollars

White space sells.Cyndi Brown

The best social media people will have a customer service background. - Chris Brogan

Great content will work in any order. – Greg Reid

Don’t decide for another person why you think they will say, “No.” – Bernie Brown

When you reach a certain age, never pass up a bathroom on the way to the elevator. – Newton Graves

It takes at least nine repetitions for a future customer to recognize and potentially act on your message. – Jay Conrad Levinson

Everything is invented. – Benjamin Zander

Don’t start your day listening to negative news. – Ed Foreman

You’ll come back tomorrow. – Fr. Earl Meyer

Make assumptions, share them, and keep going with your analysis and strategic conclusions.Gary Singer

Think of processes and even a whole business as the assets you can take apart and rearrange.Joe Batista

Don’t meet me there, beat me there. – Tony Vannicola

Treat people nicely. You never know what private hell someone is going through. – Susan Ayotte

Adding New Learnings to Your Own Personal Strategic Tapestry

These are all valuable learnings. Maybe you’d like to add one or two of them to your own personal strategic tapestry?  – Mike Brown

If you enjoyed this article on strategic leadership, subscribe to free Brainzooming 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

0

Brainzooming blog reader, Randall Rozin, Global Director, brand management and marketing communications at Dow Corning is back with a guest post on lead management system success. Randall’s exploration of the topic is a great reminder of the interconnected nature and vital need for follow-up throughout to achieve the results from the investment in a lead management system. Here’s Randall:

Randall-RozinLead Management System Success

Generating a lead and following it to closure is a pretty simple concept. You define your target audience, develop a compelling offer, communicate the offer to your target, they respond, you follow up, and Voilà: a sale happens.

5 Key Phases from Exposure to Closure

As you can imagine, in the real world of business to business marketing it quickly becomes more complex. Whether you choose to develop your own process or outsource it to others, you’ll need to consider these five key phases for lead management system success.

1. Exposure

The “exposure” in this model can be thought of as the stimulus that you’re putting out into your market in search of a given type of response. In this phase, your marketing and sales teams have predetermined what an ideal lead looks like based on attributes, buying readiness, position, and timing. You’ve designed your offer to attract maximum customer response and fulfillment pieces are in place to properly respond to inquiries generated. Marketing campaign information is loaded into your CRM system to assist with funnel management reporting and downstream marketing ROI calculations. Internal teams and channel partners are pre-informed of exposure campaign objectives, available collateral and sales aids, and the timing of promotions. Your digital properties are also on the ready to help reposit materials and to serve as additional messaging outlets and lead source

2. Capture

Leveraging a common pre-qualification form to help screen for ideal leads based on upfront criteria makes the capture process more efficient. This allows the most valuable leads to proceed on to sales while less qualified leads are closed out immediately or returned to a nurture stream for future marketing actions. It is important to have a well thought out capture mechanism to catalog inquires coming from multiple marketing exposure campaign tactics. Being organized upfront is important for quick fulfillment of customer inquiries, and in being able to track marketing effectiveness and ROI.

3. Make Sure

To ensure your lead is sales ready, based on your qualification criteria, scoring systems are helpful to quickly communicate the sales readiness of a given lead before passing it on to sales or returning it to the nurture stream. Automating your scoring system in your CRM tool is valuable as it allows you to process more leads at a much faster pace. A fully qualified lead should be converted to an active opportunity.

4. Nurture

In many business-to-business firms, it is less common for marketing to generate an immediate sale. Team procurement processes, need for testing, specification writing and many other factors make for long sales cycles in business-to-business. With longer sales cycles comes the real need to keep in contact with a targeted customer to cultivate your relationship, to provide additional reasons why your solution is differentiated, to make additional offers, or simply to remind the customer that you are still interested in their business. Thinking proactively about your nurture streams and content requirements helps you avoid ‘dead air’ in between exposure and closure phases and enables your interim communications to be more strategic, integrated, and driven to a specific, desired outcome.

5. Closure

In this final phase you will either convert your opportunity into a sale or you won’t. Either way you need to connect the dots in your CRM system, ensure feedback to marketing is in place to measure ROI and inform future campaign strategies. If the closure phase results in a ‘no sale’ capture the reasons why. If the closure phase results in a sale, well done! But your work is not complete as you still have the opening to include your customer in future nurture streams designed to cross-sell and up-sell additional offers.

Bottlenecks in lead and opportunity management processes involve not having the proper key performance indicators in place with clear roles and responsibilities for your sales and marketing organizations – including channel. Additionally, having multiple repositories for customer and campaign data is nearly as dilutive to your enterprise efforts as having no repository at all as it limits your real pipeline view and forces many manual processes to aggregate information for management review and investment decision making. A central CRM system (customer relationship management) is paramount to orchestrating your overall process and in delivering the visibility of your overall sales funnel and helping you connect marketing ROI back to specific lead generation activities.

With KPIs (key performance indicators) and CRM systems in hand, you’ll be on your way to having a more accurate sales funnel with increased sales effectiveness and higher quality sales leads. As a result, your sales force will be more motivated with the leads they receive and your marketing teams will have improved insight on marketing effectiveness and improved creative direction for ongoing marketing nurturing programs. – Randall Rozin

 

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


Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative thinking and ideas! For an organizational innovation success boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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.

More Posts

Continue Reading

2

Today, we have a second installment in our Brainzooming series on strategic thinking questions inspired by the Fast Company list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business 2013.

Today’s strategic thinking questions focus on creativity, social media, and content marketing.

As we mentioned in yesterday’s post, these strategic thinking questions don’t appear in the Fast Company most creative people in business profiles. They were created by reviewing the profiles and asking ourselves what questions those profile may have asked themselves while working on their creative achievements.

The reason we’re emphatic this is because of what happened with Fast Company after publishing our post covering the 2012 list. We noticed late one morning the main Fast Company account shared our tweet about the blog post. Noting the hundreds of thousands of followers they have, I quickly inserted a Brainzooming ad in the post, and waited for the blog traffic explosion. Then, as a double check, I went to the Fast Company RT to see what it would be like to wind up at our blog from a Fast Company link.

Guess what?

Fast Company swapped out our link to Brainzooming in my original tweet, substituting one to the list on its website. If we’d ripped off their copy, I would completely understand. But our content is unique AND featured more than 100 links to the magazine’s website. That’s a social media foul, in my book, but what are you going to do?

Here are today’s UNIQUE strategic thinking questions. You can click to get to the underlying profiles, but don’t expect to find these creativity, social media, and content marketing questions there!

Creativity, Content Marketing, and Social Media Questions Inspired by the Fast Company 100 Most Creative People in Business 2013

Creativity Questions

How many scary and risky things do you say “Yes” to in the course of a year? How many do you say “No” to? What’s the impact of your answers on your creative output? (13. Connie Britton - ACTRESS, NASHVILLE)

What are new ways to expand your global influences without having to leave your office? (2. Dong-Hoon Chang - EVP, HEAD OF DESIGN STRATEGY, SAMSUNG)

What’s the longest your organization has ever brainstormed, and are you ready to brainstorm 10x longer at one stretch? (27. Maria Mujica - LATIN AMERICAN MARKETING DIRECTOR, GUMS AND CANDY, MONDELĒZ INTERNATIONAL)

How can you deliberately create more white space to experiment, try stuff, learn, change, and do it better? (32.Hosain Rahman - FOUNDER, CEO, JAWBONE)

Why would it be interesting to hear you vent about what’s gone wrong or has failed in your life? (34. Marc Maron - COMEDIAN, WTF WITH MARC MARON)

If you were required to triple the number of new creative ideas you generate on any given day, what would you do differently to boost your creative output? (37. Darrin Crescenzi - SENIOR DESIGNER, PROPHET)

What creative residue do you leave yourself at the end of the day to fuel a quick creative start tomorrow? (47. Simon Rich – WRITER)

How can you grow the number of self-described “creatives” you talk to weekly to boost your new ideas? (6. Max Levchin - CEO, AFFIRM; BOARD MEMBER, YAHOO)

How would it change your creative perspective if, as a TV show’s creator is called a “showrunner,” your title were whatever you produce + “runner”? (77-83. TV’S Head of the Class – A GROUP OF SIX TV SHOW CREATORS)

If you typically have a plan in place for your creativity, how would just starting and seeing what happens feel more refreshing and creative? (77-83. TV’S Head of the Class – A GROUP OF SIX TV SHOW CREATORS)

How can you bring together young, experienced people and older, inexperienced people to reverse the typical learning environment of the older teaching the young? (84. Michelle Rowley - FOUNDER, CODE SCOUTS)

What happens when you flip your typical creative process around completely? (90. Pendleton Ward – ANIMATOR)

What’s stopping you from asking for favors and help from people you have no business trying to talk to? (96. Ruzwana Bashir - COFOUNDER, CEO, PEEK)

Lots of risk can thwart addressing lots of societal need, unless someone is bold enough to do something – how bold are you? (98. Wendell Pierce - COFOUNDER, STERLING FARMS FRESH FOODS)

Content Marketing and Social Media Questions

How can you collect and share more real-life stories of people your company has helped in meaningful, personal ways? (10. Scott Harrison - FOUNDER, CHARITY: WATER)

What would happen if you tried to come up with and select a year’s worth of content marketing ideas before you published your first piece of content? (18. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele - COCREATORS AND STARS, KEY & PEELE)

If you covered only one topic, how would the narrow topic free you for incredible diversity in how you deliver content on the topic? (20. Lara Setrakian- FOUNDER, SYRIA DEEPLY)

What are all the ways you are and aren’t making it easy for your fans to create and share content about their experiences with your brand? (40. Kate Phelan and Justin Cooke - CREATIVE DIRECTOR, TOPSHOP; CMO, TOPSHOP)

How are you getting ready to have your brand catch and do something with the content your audience throws back at you? (21. Jaime Robinson - VP, EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, PEREIRA & O’DELL)

If you’re giving new content away, what and when will you get paid for it? (28. Diplo - DJ, FOUNDER, MAD DECENT)

What are new ways to serve up your best content and not just your most recent content to readers? (45. Kate Lee - DIRECTOR OF CONTENT, MEDIUM)

What will it take for your brand to process external inputs and do / say something about them in real-time via social media? (7. Jill Applebaum and Megan Sheehan - CREATIVE DIRECTOR, JWT; ART DIRECTOR AND DESIGNER)

Would a prank via social media potentially help draw attention to a cause you care about deeply? (76. Rebecca Nagle and Hannah Brancato - FEMINIST ACTIVISTS)

When it comes to content, what more could you do with your content to create attention for your brand or another brand that needs attention? (88. Sscott Borchetta - CEO, BIG MACHINE RECORDS)

How can you create a place for smart, opinionated, and even snarky customers to hang out and share their knowledge about what they love (which might not be your brand)? (91. Mahbod Moghadam - COFOUNDER, RAP GENIUS)

What will it take to create as clear a group of dissenters for your content as you have created fans? (92. Leandra Medine - FOUNDER, MANREPELLER.COM)

If you provided 3 weeks of training to the content creators in your organization, how would you best use the time? (97. Stephanie Horbaczewski - PRESIDENT, CEO, STYLEHAUL) 

Mike Brown

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

 

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

3

Alex-Knapp-LunchIf you follow the @Brainzooming account on Twitter when I’m live tweeting a luncheon with someone incredibly tweetable, don’t be surprised to be inundated with forty or fifty tweets (sorry!).

That’s exactly what happened when Alex Knapp, Social Media Editor and staff writer at Forbes, headlined this month’s Social Media Club of Kansas City lunch talking about the intersection of publishing and social media strategy.

For those who don’t follow @Brainzooming on Twitter, here via reformatted tweets and paraquotes, are just a few of the social media strategy insights Alex Knapp shared.

Mistakes Publishers (and others) Make with Social Media Strategy

According to Knapp, the biggest mistake publishers make is thinking there is something new in social media. Publishing changes based on the platform, and the only thing that changes over time is the type of content you put on each one. The challenge (and opportunity) with social media is that it is communicating, engagement, and marketing all at once.

Social Media Talents

Social media requires multiple abilities from someone in a short time in a small space. Many publishers (and other types of companies) make the mistake of picking people with only one talent who then struggle. Among the many skills needed to be great at social media, headline writing is THE social media skill.

Alex Knapp proposed a thought experiment: You have two people, one of whom you can hire to do social media for a publication. Do you pick someone who is early in a business career and all over Twitter or someone more senior with lots of work experience and no clue about Twitter? Knapp advises picking the more experienced person since it’s possible to train someone on Twitter in an hour. Training someone who understands social media to write well, think better, and market more effectively? Well, that takes considerably longer than an hour.

Not Every Social Network Should Have Identical Content

When it comes to taking the best advantage of varied content across channels, Knapp pointed out a great example from the world of publishing to illustrate his point: The New York Times wouldn’t run an arts story on the sports page unless it had a very specific sports angle. Given that, why would an organization run the exact same story at the exact same time on very different social media platforms?

Similar to how we covered Mall of America featuring different content by social network, Knapp shared that at Forbes, Google+ is for tech news, LinkedIn is for startup news, and there are twelve different topic-oriented Twitter feeds, some of which have come and gone over time based on what’s working. Ultimately the goal for each platform (which may have much larger readership than a publication’s paid subscriber base) shapes how a brand approaches it.

When faced with too many social media options and not enough time to go around, Knapp recommends to start where a brand has its biggest audience and focus there. He also advises against the common idea of not putting resources toward social media because it’s free. He asked why a brand WOULDN’T want to put resources toward something that was free and worked vs. paying money for marketing efforts that cost a lot and are difficult to track.

Social Media Strategy Fundamentals

  • Social media is the industrialization of word of mouth, so it’s vital to make sure social content is easily shared.
  • If you have great content that’s working, run it again, adding variety to how you feature it. He suggested pulling out a quote (because people love quotes), trying an alternative headline, or featuring a specific item from a longer list.
  • Invite and reward engagement with personalities, content, and readers themselves (i.e., readers whose content and comments are featured will turn around and share it with others). It’s vital to show you are listening to social media exchanges and are able to engage your audience.
  • Data from multiple sources helps determine the effectiveness of social media efforts. Social data sources may disagree, so you have to compare and contrast them. Knapp points out that Google Analytics doesn’t provide accurate information on Facebook traffic.
  • Run analyses as often as possible (or as makes sense), measuring to the extent the results will drive change in what you are doing. While you’re measuring, look beyond the top clicks and shares. If you avoid going deeper or looking at alternative views, you’ll miss other valuable insights.
  • Don’t get caught up in your own preferences. If readers love something you do, even if you hate it, keep doing it anyway.

Social Media at Forbes

There is a 3-person core social media team at Forbes. Their efforts are complemented by many, many freelance bloggers who are paid (very well according to Alex) based on the hits on their blog posts. (Hey, Alex, where do I apply?)  - Mike Brown

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

 

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading