7

Model/Actress Brooklyn Decker’s photo is on the cover of this month’s Esquire, in case you hadn’t noticed. I didn’t didn’t notice it right away, since the arrival of the February Esquire with its rather sexually provocative cover was strategically obscured. Someone other than me (and there’s only me and my wife in the house) placed it under the current Bloomberg Business Week with its rather textually provocative cover, “Apple without Jobs.”

The Challenge

Perusing the table of contents, Esquire features a special flap on how to “read” the issue, including a blurb for fans of scavenger hunts. The paragraph describes the interactive strategy Esquire has concocted to allow readers to find more Brooklyn Decker photos beyond those in the physical magazine. The interactive steps involve:

  • Downloading a free app from iTunes
  • Going to a Barnes & Noble store
  • Locating the magazine aisles
  • Triggering the app, and
  • Pointing the phone around the store until additional Brooklyn Decker images (suitable for taking your picture with) appear on-screen, where they can be easily shared and tweeted.

In print, it seems like a lot to do, and very counter to earlier Brainzooming posts on not creating an interactive strategy that places undue burdens on your audience to engage with your brand and the how attractive simple interactive strategy can be. Five steps, including one step each in visiting both virtual and physical stores, seems onerous, even to interact with photos of Brooklyn Decker.

Is It Worth It?

Interestingly enough though, when you convert the instructions to video, as Esquire did on the video below showing the scavenger hunt in action, it just doesn’t seem like as big of a deal to clear five hurdles for a personal Brooklyn Decker photo to show your friends.

The number of hurdles aside, this interactive strategy from Esquire has several things going for it:

From what you’ve seen, what do you think about this? Would you jump over five hurdles to get your picture taken with a virtual Brooklyn Decker? Maybe you’ve gotten your photo taken with Brooklyn Decker already, so how was 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 see how we can help you define a brand strategy firmly tied to business yet recognizing the impact of social networking on your customers.

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

The second annual #BZBowl is a Twitter-based chat The Brainzooming Group is sponsoring Super Bowl Sunday, February 6, 2011, and you’re invited to join us! Featuring cool marketers, branding experts, creative instigators, authors, and pop culture mavens (i.e., YOU and all the other Brainzooming blog readers) #BZBowl will be a running commentary on how brands are using what has become the biggest advertising and marketing event of the year.

Based on the strong response to last year’s #BZBowl, you can expect great branding insights, a little bit of snark, lively conversations, and no spammers (in contrast to other Super Bowl chats)!

Planned #BZBowl Activities

Here’s How You Can Participate in #BZBowl

  • Let us know if you’ll be joining us by replying to @Brainzooming on Twitter with #BZBowl in your tweet. Be sure to share the link with others as well. In fact, you can copy and tweet this to do both:

I’ll be tweeting on #SuperBowlAds w/ the #BZBowl sponsored by @Brainzooming. Join us Feb 6th! Info: http://bit.ly/hDNlBI

We’re up for ideas, so let us know what you think, and please plan to join us, Sunday, February 6 for #BZBowl! – Mike Brown

 

For a creative boost, download the free Brainzooming ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to enhance your creative perspective! For an organizational 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 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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2

Strong interactive marketing can involve lots of design, complexity, and technology to make sure it works and engages the audience. Or interactive marketing can be done very simply and smartly, letting your ingenuity and creativity carry the day. That’s the route Houlihan’s took with this “interactive” email I received Friday. No places to click. No videos to set up the promotion. Just an engaging graphic drawing audience members in to figure out where they stand among the Super Bowl party invite crowd.

The only way it could have been improved?

It should include the #BZBowl as a great Super Bowl option for everyone!

Super Bowl Sunday, February 6, 2011 will mark the second annual #BZBowl, a Twitter-based chat sponsored by The Brainzooming Group, featuring folks from a whole variety of marketing, branding, social media, customer service, and other creative perspectives tweeting about they think works and doesn’t work in this year’s Super Bowl advertising and marketing camapigns.

Look for introductory details in Monday’s Brainzooming blog, when we’ll finally know what teams will be playing!  

Note: Houlihan’s isn’t a client, and there’s no direct payment for this shout out, but I have partaken multiple times in Houlihan’s Fourquare check-in deal for Free Frites! Love those Free Frites!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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14

Blogging challenges change over time. Friday night into Saturday morning used to be my blogging marathon time while in the corporate world. Blogging was my fun creative outlet, and I knew there wouldn’t be time during the week to write. What a motivator! Now, knowing a Thursday post can get written Wednesday afternoon, the motivation to stay up until 3 a.m. writing isn’t there, presenting a challenge to Friday night blogging now.

When blogging, every idea has to get past the “Do I care enough about this to write 300 words on it” filter. Sometimes, the filter seems pretty high. That’s when it becomes a challenge to write and you have to adjust the settings.

Sometimes adjusting the filter means throwing out every idea you’re struggling with (because they all seem like crap) and starting over. Other times, it may take hanging on to a crap idea, forcing yourself to write to some level of completion, then stepping back to see what you have.

Some people get around writing challenges completely by stealing content. Just now a pingback appeared on a social media productivity blog post from December. A real estate person in Dallas copied it word-for-word, running it as one of the first 6 posts on her blog. Pathetic. But at least she kept all the links to the post in place. Not all plagiarizers do that.

Copying isn’t creating though. You have to be willing to push away from the side of the intellectual capital pool & shape your own ideas.

Scared you’ll need a writer’s lifeline though when going into the deep water? One lifeline somebody mentioned recently is that blog posts should only be 80% complete so they’ll generate more comments. Wow, if 80% done is the standard, I might have enough potential posts in my blogging sketchbook right now for the rest of the year!

Another variation on the settling for 80% mantra is writing 140 characters instead of 140 words, then generating enough related tweets to build to 140 words. With a good run, you may get to 280 words.

Need evidence this idea works?

HELLO! How do you think this blog post started life?

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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1

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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1

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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9

Chuck Frey, through his Innovation Tools website, asked readers to submit brief descriptions of their most important innovation lessons from 2010. Chuck’s request generated more than 40 responses covering innovation lessons from a variety of innovation.

My innovation lesson focused on how social networks have become important vehicles for me to meet and cultivate relationships with the varied talents necessary for driving innovation. So many years in one corporation led to assembling a very tight personal creative team over time.

After leaving, it was necessary to dramatically change the composition of the talented, in-person team that had kept me sharp and creating innovative strategies in a B2B environment.

Most of my corporate creative team members weren’t aggressive social media users. As a result, I wound up meeting an array of new global talents who have formed a very different type of extended creative team.

From these connections, I’ve developed relationships with new business partners, teachers, clients, potential clients, readers, friends, experts, confidants, and collaborators. Essential roles within my creative team to help sustain my personal creative well-being are now accounted for in very new ways. Absent social networking’s capability to establish and sustain relationships along different dimensions, I shudder to think where my personal innovation perspective would be!

A related recognition of this phenomenon came from Chris Reaburn (@Reaburn on Twitter). Chris made the jump from my corporately-based creative team to the Brainzooming one, taking on an even more significant role now. Over the holidays, Chris tweeted (and subsequently blogged about) a list of 100 people on Twitter that had enriched his life during 2010. He used the Twitter hashtag #100PeopleImGratefulFor. What a great idea and recognition that there are many people we may never meet in real life who can have profound creative and other influences in our lives! – Mike Brown

For a personal creativity boost, download the free Brainzooming ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” as a gift for your creative perspective! For an organizational creativity 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 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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