0

If it’s Wednesday, it must be Chicago.

I’m in Chicago today at the request of my wonderful friend, Denny Grim to speak at the Raising the Bar Symposium for the Traffic Club of Chicago. It’s always wonderful to have another opportunity to return to my transportation and logistics roots.

I’ll be presenting on social media super models, followed by a VERY QUICK creative thinking exercises for sales presentation.

I-am-creative

The creative thinking exercises for sales content is a different take on both familiar and some new creative thinking topics. Part of the new in this presentation comes via hearing Daniel Pink at Inbound 15. His presentation was based on his book, “To Sell Is Human.” In the book, Daniel Pink suggests a different version of the traditional ABC sales mantra. While ABC has typically meant Always Be Closing, Pink offers an alternative for successful sales in this era when we’re all selling SOMETHING.

His new ABC is:

  • Attunement – Taking on the Buyer’s Perspective
  • Buoyancy – Reframing and Self-questioning Apparent Defeats
  • Clarity – Curating Information and Problem-FINDING

While Daniel Pink never came out and associated the skills enabling the new ABC with “creative thinking,” they screamed creative thinking to me. Nevertheless, Pink’s structure provides a convenient way to organize the rapid fire sharing of creative thinking exercises for the Traffic Club of Chicago.

Even if you aren’t in Chicago today, here are links to the creative thinking exercises from my presentation, arranged according to Pink’s ABC structure:

Attunement

Buoyancy

Clarity

That’s a bunch of creative thinking exercises for thirty minutes. We’ll definitely be going through it quickly, so I’m guessing even attendees will find value in these links. And look for more creative thinking for sales content as we ramp up for a half-day client-specific workshop right back in Chicago before the end of the year. – Mike Brown

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

 

ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Download Your Free

 

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

We haven’t talked about stealing (or copying) ideas as a creative strategy for some time. There’s a fun example, however, of what might be considered a double idea steal in the marketplace via Snickers wrappers.

Translated into a creative strategy formula, it’s an example of “Lead, Copy (1 and 2), Swerve, Integrate, Go.” Here’s how this creative strategy formula plays out between two well-known consumer brands.

The Lead, Copy, Swerve, Integrate, and Go Creative Strategy Formula

Lead

In 2006, Snickers switched its logo out in an advertising campaign. It replaced the Snickers brand name inside its parallelogram logo with hunger-related words. The key to making it work was depending on the familiarity of shape, color, and type to suggest “Snickers” despite its missing brand name.

Copy 1

In 2011, Diet Coke switched its logo placement on cans, expanding the primary logo beyond the can’s surface, resulting in a partial representation of the logo. Fast forward to 2014, and the Coca-Cola brands introduce the “Summer of Sharing” packaging promotion.  Coca-Cola replaced multiple logos on its packaging with two hundred-fifty first names of individuals or more general descriptors of how one person might feel about another person with whom they are sharing a beverage (i.e., Superstar, BFF, Sweetie, etc.). The campaign continued in 2015.

New-Diet-Coke-Can

Copy 2, Swerve, Integrate and Go

In September 2015, Snickers introduced new packaging, replacing its brand name on candy bar wrappers. Instead of using names, however, Snickers replaced its logo with various phrases describing ways people behave negatively when hungry. Highlighting ways people are not themselves integrates with the multi-year Snickers ad campaign featuring unlikely celebrities playing Snickers eaters before eating a Snickers turns someone back into themselves.

Snickers-Messages

Turning this Example into a Creative Strategy Formula

Whether copying ideas was consciously part of what actually happened in this scenario is irrelevant. When translated into a simplified creative strategy formula, you can consider ways your brand could use a comparable formula to develop a new creative strategy:

  • Is there a creative idea out in a market comparable to yours that is gaining attention and buzz that you could copy?
  • How can you swerve the idea in a way that makes it unique to your brand?
  • Once you swerve the idea, how can you further integrate it into strategies you already have in place to make it truly your own?
  • How can fast can you get ready and go with this newly swerved and integrated idea?

That’s an outside-in approach you can apply as inspiration for new ideas.

BTW, A Word about Personalization

In a recent creative thinking workshop, we spent significant time discussing how to enable consumers to customize and personalize a product. In the product category in which we were working it’s a capability consumers say they want, it’s difficult to do, and the brand suspects consumers say they want to customize much more emphatically than they are actually willing to do.

The Snickers example, however, is a great example of simple customization.

With twenty-one different phrases to choose from, it is easy to find a choice that fits you . . . or the person for whom you are buying the Snickers. I know I’ve taken great delight in personalizing the messages for my wife, who LOVES Snickers. Although as I posted on Facebook, my “snickers” at giving her truth-laden Snickers makes me feel as if I’m living on borrowed time until this promotion is completed. – Mike Brown

 

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

Looking for Ways to Develop a Successful
Innovation Strategy to Grow Your Business?
Brainzooming Has an Answer!

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

Are you prepared to take better advantage of your brand’s customer and market insights to generate innovative product ideas? The right combination of outside perspectives and productive strategic thinking exercises enables your brand to ideate, prioritize, and propel innovative growth.

Download this free, concise eBook to:

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

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





Download Your Free  Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book




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

(This is another in a week-long series on forming oneself as a Catholic business person.)

While social media and content marketing strategy ideas benefit from new thinking and approaches, you can also incorporate offline best practices that make sense, even if they may seem old.

For example, one client expressed challenges in refreshing and featuring seasonally-based story ideas year after year. In answer to this challenge related to content marketing strategy, I realized something from my spiritual life demonstrates a great lesson applicable to developing an editorial calendar to take advantage of recurring content opportunities.

An Offline Way to Plan Online Content Marketing Strategy

Lectionary

Attending mass on a daily basis has helped reveal the underlying calendar that plans which Bible passages are read at each Catholic mass. An approved lectionary (in essence, an editorial calendar) sets the direction. For weekdays, some readings are assigned to annual cycles and other to biennial ones. During special liturgical seasons, all daily readings are the same each year. For Sunday services, readings rotate every three years. Specific feasts and holidays during the year may cause the replacement of that day’s passages with other related Bible readings instead.

The end result, beyond emphasizing different messages with varied frequencies, is simple: over the course of the daily and Sunday calendars, approximately 95% of the Bible’s books are included through at least some passages.

If your organization has many stories to tell and needs to reinforce key messages at different times (with varying rates of repetition), adopting a comparable editorial calendar approach could make sense for you. Employing a similar strategy for content marketing strategy requires answering critical questions. These include:

  • What’s the full range of content we want to cover for the organization and target audiences?
  • What content priorities need more frequent reinforcement, and which can be addressed less regularly?
  • What are special events that need coverage and should rightfully interrupt the editorial calendar?
  • What options can be provided to content creators (either in topics, style, etc.) to allow creative flexibility?
  • What strategic links exist between content areas and associated SEO and keyword strategies?

The questions may seem daunting. There is incredible upside in the content marketing strategy opportunities generated from implementing a strategic editorial calendar that reflects both repetitive topics and new twists on old stories.

If the prospect of creating an editorial calendar and collaborative blogging plan seems overwhelming, let us know. We’d love to help streamline developing and implementing your social media and collaborative blogging strategies.

Has your organization done anything like this? Have you tried a similar approach for a smaller organization? How has it worked, and where, if anywhere, have you struggled?  – Mike Brown

Solo-Social-Media-Cover2Looking to Improve the Efficiency and Productivity of Your Social Media?  
Our Newest Social Media eBook Is for You! Download it Today!

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

Mike Brown

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

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

0

Marianne-Carr-PhotoI am crazy for podcasts. Maybe I am not an early adopter. I don’t care. I love them.

I have always been a big believer that radio advertising – great radio advertising- was the most creative, and most difficult of the traditional advertising formats. Unfortunately there is also a tradition of really bad radio advertising. That’s because it’s hard to do. When done well, audio storytelling uses the theater of the mind, making the strongest audience connection.  When imagining your own pictures, you are engaged and probably emotionally committed. When audio storytelling is good, it works the head and the heart, which is the essence of great advertising.

Which leads me to Content Marketing. In what ways are Podcasts the ultimate Content Marketing tactic? It is a one-way conversation, at first, but the podcasts I listen to suck me in so deeply that I then seek out blogs, Twitter, and Facebook forums to see what others are saying.  I even join the conversation.

However, right now, none of the podcasts I listen to is associated with a brand or some other organization that wants to separate me from my money, or even build its position as an influencer in my professional life.

Could there be a podcast interesting enough to drive this behavior from me? We will see. I hope so. In the meantime, here are my top podcast recommendations.

As always, you can get to the creative clicks via the headlines. Enjoy!Marianne Carr

Creative Clicks for Podcast Listening

The Timbre.com Postmortem XIX Best Podcasts of the Week

This week’s Review of Podcasts on Timbre featured a Freakonomics episode. Not surprising. These guys are clearly masters at creating content. A podcast provides the perfect opportunity to extend a book’s premise, eliminating the wait for creating and publishing a follow up book to keep the message alive.  A comment at the end of this week’s reviews complimented the reviewer and exclaimed that he was not surprised NPR listenership was declining. The commenter couldn’t fathom why ANYONE would listen to Radio anymore.

I know why I still listen to radio. It takes a special talent to curate programming really well. What killed radio was the commercialized programming of music based only on promotion. We, as listeners, fell victim to a B2B model.  Thus we got bored and left as soon as we could. I listen to The Bridge a local radio station that provides unexpected delight through music I would never find on my own all because the DJs are very talented curators.

In what ways might we improve our curation skills to surprise and delight our audience to be better content marketers?

The Secret of the Mystery Show

“It must be quite a trip, to go about the world with this kind of head on. If every person you see is a treasure-chest of stories just waiting for the right question to open up, then you are never more than seconds away from a glittering, life-changing revelation. But of course, they are, and we’re all just too busy power-walking between pointless appointments, listening to podcasts, to notice.

“I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to be so moved by an eighty-year-old Swiss man I have never met, in a town I will probably never visit, rediscovering a long-lost gift. But unexpectedly, I’m welling up. Empathy, like God, moves in mysterious ways.” – Richard Obrien

This review of the Podcast the Mystery Show, by Obrien, is spot on.

How might your target audience member (also known as a person) be a treasure chest of stories you can tap into for your content marketing?

The Art of Storytelling

I just started listening to Lore, a podcast featuring short, dramatic essays about folklore and other mythical longstanding beliefs. It’s a lot of fun. One sponsor is The Great Courses. This organization sponsors several of my regular podcasts; I must be the perfect target audience member. The Great Course featured is always relevant to the podcast’s topic. Sooo smart. I may never want to take a course about The Law as featured on Undisclosed (yes, I am still riding this trend, can’t help it), but I will take this course on Storytelling, particularly since I am offered a listener’s discount.  One missing cross marketing tactic is that of mentions on the websites of each organization. Why not? Integrate!

Content Marketing Institute Podcast List

It wouldn’t be right to discuss podcasts and content marketing without listing a few podcasts featuring content marketing!  Here are several. I have not had the opportunity to listen to them yet, so I would love to hear your critiques. All are produced in conjunction with The Content Marketing Institute.

Podcasts-Bubble

Creative Clicks for Reading about Podcasting

If you’re intrigued by podcasting, here are several articles addressing the fundamentals.

The Power of Podcasts for Content Marketing

This article by the Digital Agency, Koozai, from Across-The-Pond (The UK if you are not one of our US readers), is a KEEPER! Written by John Waghorn, it outlines all the basics of Podcasting for your organization. The section about Creating Your Own Podcast. Makes it seem doable. Dispels some myths. It is further fuel for the fire to create a Brainzooming Podcast. Stay tuned.

Plan the Work, Work the Plan

This article by Sark e-Media gives a great set of questions to ask yourself when deciding to launch a podcast. I am a big believer in strategy, go figure.

Facing the Blank White Page of Podcasting

Wishpond highlights content types and tips for creating a podcast.  The tip to interact with other podcasts is most intriguing. When podcasts I follow mention hosts of others – or topics from other episodes – it makes me feel like part of a very special community. I am in “the Know.” This concept of exclusivity, or being a member of something, is very powerful in marketing, especially content marketing.

So if Brainzooming starts a podcast, what do you want to hear?

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

 

ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Download Your Free

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

1

These (para)quotes on innovation, digital marketing, and life were the most memorable ones I took away from Inbound15.

Innovation

  • “Commit to a highly experimental process. Don’t just follow best practices. Experiment to learn.” – Anum Hussain of Hubspot
  • “I don’t know what the question is, but the answer is, ‘Yes!'” – Leonard Bernstein (via Seth Godin)
  • “The only guarantee in living a brave life is you WILL get your ass kicked. If you innovate, you WILL fall down.” – Brené Brown
  • “Bob Dylan wasn’t The Beatles. He reinvents himself every seven years and gets booed off the stage.” – Seth Godin
  • “Every great writer starts with an SFD – shitty first draft.” – Brené Brown

INbound15-Pink

Digital Marketing

  • “SEO (search engine optimization) is anything you can do to influence your score. That involves solving for SEO AND improving the user experience.” – Bill King and Tyler Richer of Hubspot
  • “Great content is topically focused. If you are writing about a topic, other related words should show up as well. It’s about the main topic and all the supporting ‘cast members.'” – Bill King and Tyler Richer of Hubspot
  • “For Slideshare, come up with an AMAZING cover slide.” – Arpit Dhariwal and Taylor Greason of LinkedIn SlideShare
  • “Don’t say ‘Free’ in the email subject line. Please. Ever.” – Tom Monaghan of Hubspot
  • “With the abundance of similar content, it makes you think when you see something new, ‘I think I’ve forgotten this before.'” – Dr. Carmen Simon
  • “If your brand sucks offline, you’ll suck more online.” – Jill Rowley, Social Selling

Life

  • “Nine a.m. is VERY early for an Aziz event.” – Aziz Ansari
  • “Can we start by acknowledging that golf is a really bad spectator sport. Nothing good ever happens, and when it does, you have to clap in such a wimpy way.” – Seth Godin
  • “If people know their problems, they don’t need sales. Salespeople should identify latent and hidden problems; they need to anticipate problems.” – Daniel Pink
  • “Once you give the brain a reward, it habituates and wants a newer, bigger reward.” – Dr. Carmen Simon
  • “We are all we have today.” – Brené Brown
  • “Sarcasm . . . it’s not just for relationships anymore.” – Tim Washer

Mike Brown

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

 

ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Download Your Free

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

Suppose you are a marketing professional or a non-marketing leader wanting to go deep in learning about what digital marketing should be doing for your organization’s success. Further, suppose that with fourth quarter coming, professional development budgets are tight – or maybe non-existent.

If this describes you, AND you are in and around Chicago, Kansas City, Austin, Miami, Raleigh, Atlanta, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, here is a fantastic learning opportunity.

Heck, if you are in Reykjavik, London, Paris, Berlin, or Amsterdam, the same opportunity is available to you, too!

Realtime-Marketing-Lab-Tour

Digital Learning and the Realtime Marketing Lab Tour

The Realtime Marketing Lab 2015 Fall Tour is an international touring digital-social-online marketing event where you can find the newest ideas to address your digital marketing challenges. Through a variety of brief, focused talks from award-winning industry experts, you’re go deeper into how C-Suite networking, social storytelling, social word of mouth marketing, lead generation bootstrapping, advanced digital marketing, and sophisticated LinkedIn B2B messaging secrets can deliver results for your business.

The format for the Realtime Marketing Lab 2015 Fall Tour involves a day’s worth of high quality, thirty-minute presentations delivered via an amazing team of award-winning industry experts from around the globe. Rather than sticking to coast cities, the Realtime Marketing Lab tour brings intimate learning and networking opportunities to multiple metro areas across North America and Europe. For a limited time, you and a business associate can both attend for what is the already incredibly low price of $99.

Kansas-City-Skyline

If you are in the heartland of the United States, I especially invite you to attend the September 23, 2015 Realtime Marketing Lab tour stop in Kansas City. I will be presenting that afternoon on “Making Social Strategy Understandable – Even for the C-suite.”

The Realtime Marketing Lab Tour in a City Close to You

Interested in learning more and registering for this exclusive offer?

You can use these links to see who is speaking at each of the Realtime Marketing Lab stops and register to attend.

With no large travel bills, exorbitant registration fees, or time away from home, you need to grab this digital learning opportunity as it rolls through your town in the weeks ahead! – Mike Brown

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

Mike Brown

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

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

1

Spending the week at the Hubspot Inbound15 conference was intense – for various reasons. The experience could yield a month’s worth of Brainzooming posts filled with content marketing strategy ideas from Inbound.

Inbound15-ClubInbound

Nine Time-Saving Content Marketing Strategy Tips from Inbound15

As a start, here are nine time-saving tips for content marketing strategy I took away from Inbound15.

Some are credited to specific speakers; others were general takeaways from the conference.

  1. When you have older, evergreen content that has more mileage left in it, take the opportunity to refresh and optimize the posts. Then, republish the posts as new content for those readers that haven’t seen these posts previously. (Pamela Vaughn of Hubspot)
  2. Instead of launching a brand new LinkedIn Group, explore taking over a LinkedIn Group that is in your topic area that has gone dormant. Even though it might not be as active as it once was, you’ll be starting with a built-in audience that you can re-engage. (Viveka Von Rosen, Linked Into Business)
  3. When you create an eBook, think through all the other content bits and pieces you can pull out of it. These include blog posts, short-form status updates, infographics, presentations, etc. (Amanda Sibley, Hubspot)
  4. Do more curation and less creation. Save time by turning your reading and learning time into curated content posts for your blog. (Ginny Soskey, Hubspot)
  5. If you’ve written multiple posts on a related topic, combine them into one comprehensive, be all and end all post on that particular topic. (Ginny Soskey again)
  6. Use humor more, even in business content, to make your communication crisper and to help it communicate more efficiently. (Tim Washer)
  7. Instead of creating highly specific and custom slides for presentations, create fewer slides with more general messages and images. You can use these for multiple presentations, telling multiple and different stories over the top of these slides. (From a conversation with author and speaker, Pam Didner)
  8. Make sure to stay current on all the integration opportunities across social networks that allow you to seamlessly feature one piece of content in multiple places, i.e., LinkedIn and LinkedIn Slideshare integration. (Arpit Dhariwal and Taylor Greason of LinkedIn Slideshare)
  9. Incent attendees at events to share their notes and photos of presentations in order to build a content archive. (What Hubspot did with Inbound.org)

Some of these content marketing strategy tips are new, and others are simply good reminders of great ways to get more done with your content in much less time! – Mike Brown

Solo-Social-Media-Cover2Looking to Improve the Efficiency and Productivity of Your Social Media?  
Our Newest Social Media eBook Is for You! Download it Today!

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

Mike Brown

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

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading