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Looking for a dramatic creativity boost when you’re in the midst of editing a document for the umpteenth time? Try working from memory.

Instead of tweaking yet another iteration of what has become a too-familiar blur of words, force yourself to update parts of the document without consulting the most recent version you’ve been staring at for too long anyway.

Surprised a guy who loves the efficiency of working from pre-existing content would recommend working from memory? Don’t be!

I had to work from memory recently while traveling, and the document I needed to update wasn’t easily accessible. Much to my creative delight, because of all the time I’d spent with the original content, working from memory to recreate several strategic concepts spurred a fresh creative approach. The better results were much better (in hardly more time) than if I had tweaked the latest version in a fairly incremental fashion.

It’s the holidays. It’s the time for great holiday memories. So try putting your memory to work this holiday season and see what type of new creativity boost you’ll receive as a gift!  – Mike Brown

For an additional creativity boost this holiday season, 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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6

What are wiggle words?

  • Draft

  • Interim

  • Current Version

  • High-Level

  • Rough

  • Illustrative

  • Mock-up

  • Prototype

  • Simulation

  • Rough Draft

  • Possible

  • Top-line

  • Peek

  • Early Look

  • Preview

  • Highlights

  • Working Draft

  • Summary

  • Advanced Copy

  • Potential

These are all “wiggle words.”

They’re words which get used when what you’re supposed to have delivered isn’t quite there yet. That may be intentional, i.e. you really are providing an early peek in advance of a deadline, or it may mean you’ve fallen short of the agreed to timing or content expectations.

In either case, “wiggle words” can be very powerful, creating important positive or negative results. It’s all in how you use them strategically relative to the expectations you’re facing. So be smart, and be careful. And use them prudently. – 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

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

A creative block can happen when you’re handed a project or report and asked to work within a structure someone else has designed. Often when you haven’t helped create the project structure, it can lead to spending more time trying to figure out the format than making progress toward the effort’s objective, making it seem like a creative block.

When you find yourself facing a creative block in this type of situation, remember:

  • Don’t let arbitrary structures stop you from doing what makes sense.
  • Don’t let thinking you can’t get everything done stop you from doing something.
  • Don’t let a poorly conceived format stand in the way of you (or others) being able to see the progress you’re making.
  • Don’t let a situation spiral into over-complication when stopping and beginning anew would be much simpler.
  • Don’t let overly aggressive expectations preclude you from negotiating for a humbler objective which delivers a disproportionately large impact.

If you can employ these admonitions, you’ll minimize the possibility of a creative block, save yourself huge frustrations and create much better results. – 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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10

Feel like it’s tough to generate consistent social media content to share through your outlets?

Or maybe at times it seems as if you have a whole bunch of social media content lined up? In either situation, here’s my best strategic advice: Space out sharing the content you have!

  • Content-SpreadIf you get a really good run at writing blog posts, don’t publish the two or three blog posts you’ve written at one time or even in one day. Hold the additional one(s) for a time when you need something fresh.
  • If you have a bunch of pictures from an event, don’t upload them all at once. Share a few at a time over a week.
  • Have an extra long blog post in the hopper? Divide it into two or three shorter blog posts and create a series that fills up a whole week. You can use the same strategy with long videos as well by editing them into multiple, shorter segments.

Taking this social media strategy advice means you can extend your content, give your readers something more manageable to digest, and save yourself some content creation time to focus on other social media listening and participation opportunities, or heck, even to live your life! – Mike Brown

 

“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social media strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

Mike Brown

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

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3

A question at my recent social media strategy for non-profits training presentation at the Topeka Community Foundation was what steps one, two, and three should be when just starting developing a social media strategy. Interestingly, the person asking the question speculated on the answer and was absolutely correct:

  • Start by making sure your home base, your own website, is fantastic before you focus on establishing cool outposts on popular social networks where your target audience spends time.

This idea about fixing up your home was highlighted in the recent post on similarities in dating advice and social media strategy. You want to make sure you spruce up your home so that as a relationship which started someplace else advances, you have an attractive, welcoming place to invite someone to get to know each other better.

There are some who say that with the prevalence of Facebook, an organization’s Facebook page will supersede (or even replace) its home page on the web.

Maybe.

But even still, while you may want to meet your target audience where they’re hanging out, a place like Facebook won’t let you share your full story.

It’s far better to have a much more compelling online option under your control where someone can learn about you, and importantly, derive more value from the relationship than they can when interacting with you on neutral ground.

If you buy that, what does it mean for your social media strategy?

1. Make sure your online home provides the richest experience possible, delivering valuable content and interactions for your target audience. That means it isn’t just a brochure or reads like the typical corporate b.s. Figure out what potential or current customers want to know about or do, and put it in place. If they want to conduct business without lots of extras, get core business functions up and running which are quick to load, perform well, and create a rich user experience.

2. Be present and participatory where your audience is today and extend invitations to your online home. Ask for permission to keep talking to them whether they’re interacting with you on Facebook, Twitter, or some other social network. Target securing an email address to open up the possibility for richer conversations on a schedule you’re more involved in establishing.

3. Once someone’s interested in your website, don’t spend all your time trying to get them to go to your Facebook page. Invest greater effort and website geography on providing a whole variety of ways to interact: a blog, distinct RSS feeds, sign-ups for newsletters, multi-media options (video, podcasts), etc.

It’s the holidays, so while you think about being home with the ones you love, give some time over to thinking about your online home and making it a great place for the customers (and potential customers) you love to want to return to in the future. – 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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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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4

The question came up during a recent Brainzooming innovation training session on “Taking the NO Out of Business InNOvation” about how to deal with the fear of change which can cripple efforts to introduce innovative business ideas into an organization.

One of the best ways to conquer this innovation roadblock is the widespread understanding and belief that an organization’s current path will be much worse without innovation. Think an organization’s impending financial collapse. As I paraquoted Butthead in a recent tweet, “For creating change, financial crises kick ass.”

If you don’t have a financial crisis to throw into the change mix, however, coupling an emotional appeal with legitimate customer and marketplace insights is a next best option to counteract the fear of change.

Which emotional appeals are best to use in pushing innovation? Here are five to consider:

  • Excitement – What about a potential innovation-centered future is much more compelling personally and organizationally than the current state?
  • Wonder – Are there elements of the future state which will make today’s reality pale in comparison?
  • Safety – Can a new situation deliver levels of comfort and peace of mind unimaginable without substantial change?
  • Hopefulness – Will knowing more about what is to come create a motivating sense of anticipation for the results which follow near-term change?
  • Ambition – Is there a brighter financial future awaiting those who make it through impending change and whatever pain it may bring?

Each of these emotional appeals can help drive successful organizational change strategy, but the important question is what strategies have worked for you to make change more palatable? 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 create and implement positive change in your organization.

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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