Implementation | The Brainzooming Group - Part 116 – page 116
3

As I’ve mentioned, an increasing number of Brainzooming workshops I do use a presentation strategy where audience members select specific topics we cover live. This allows audience members to customize the presentation to topics they find most relevant. Based on reactions to this presentation strategy, people appreciate this relatively rare opportunity to design a speaker’s presentation to maximize the value for their own needs.

One downside to the presentation strategy is preparing so much content that doesn’t get shared.

For example, during the recent PR Consultants Group workshop on new product launch challenges, the group didn’t select an intriguing strategic thinking exercise to identify or enhance the product benefit statements supporting a new product or service. The strategic thinking exercise (called “That’s What You Say”) is a variation of the “What’s It Like” exercise and another we use to identify less-obvious potential competitive threats for brands.

How the “That’s What You Say” Strategic Thinking Exercise Works

For the new product or service you’re addressing, identify as many potential product benefits as possible. If a product is being re-launched, include both product benefits you’ve highlighted previously plus others that have been ignored, for whatever reason.

After you’ve exhausted the full list of potential benefits, generalize each of the product benefits, as necessary, to more broadly describe them. Then, for each benefit, identify various non-competitive products, brands, and companies making comparable brand benefit appeals – whether they are being made to your target audience or not.

After developing this expanded list of brands, look at how they tackle communicating comparable brand benefits in ways that are new or more distinct than those currently used in your market.

An Example of “That’s What You Say” in the Toothpaste Market

Toothpaste-BenefitsSuppose you’re launching a new product in the toothpaste market. Competitive brands talk about delivering a variety of product benefits, including:

  • Whiter teeth
  • Brighter teeth
  • Fewer Cavities
  • Pain Relief

Most of these brand benefits are toothpaste-focused, so they need some generalization to effectively use them in this strategic thinking exercise.

The list below shows these typical toothpaste product benefits generalized (bolded words) to be more broadly applicable. Additionally, for each benefit in the list, there are one or more other brand categories making comparable product benefit claims.

  • Whiter – Laundry Detergent
  • Brighter – Light Bulbs, Laundry Detergent
  • Lower Treatment / Repair Costs – Preventive Medicine, Auto Preventive Maintenance
  • Pain Relief – Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Ointments

Armed with this list of seven other product categories, marketers can look for new strategic inspiration outside their brand category and consider how they could adapt how other brands are addressing comparably positioned product benefits. – Mike Brown

 

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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.

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careerThere’s no better time than this week to revisit where you are in your career strategy and determine where you are on track and where you aren’t.

Here are five pieces of career strategy thinking to consider:

  1. The more focused you can be with your career strategy, the easier it is to network and sell what you do. While it’s noble to resist labels, resisting labels can also cripple you.
  2. Make sure you have ways to remind yourself of your goals – both obvious ways and surprising ways that will keep  your career strategy goals in front of you when they are the furthest thing from your mind.
  3. Persistence can get you far in your career, even if your talents aren’t that strong. Unless you up your talents though, you won’t be in a position to beat persistence plus strong talent. Be persistent about honing your skills and consistently over-investing your time and mental energy on what will allow you to become what you most want to be.
  4. Many people choose to take the maximum amount of time to come up with the minimum number of ideas. Be different and take a minimum amount of time (using creative thinking tools) to come up with the maximum number of ideas.
  5. There are some people who will contact you and need to network and talk because it’s urgent and important. You talk and there’s never anything that happens afterward. Fall for it twice, but not three times. And never introduce them to anyone in your close circle. – Mike Brown

 

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If you’re struggling to create or sustain innovation and growth, The Brainzooming Group can be the strategic catalyst you need. We will apply our  strategic thinking, brainstorming, and implementation tools to help you create greater innovation success. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call  816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you figure out how to work around innovation and implementation challenges.


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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It’s easy to abandon fundamental practices we all know are the right thing to do when there are too many time pressures, too much work to get done, and too few options to cope. Those situations are when cutting corners often leads to eliminating practices to save time initially, only to pay for it with more time and problems later on in your process.

One easily abandoned tool is using a strategic creative brief to launch communications projects.

Asking both clients and attendees at recent presentations, too many people either admitted they used to use strategic creative briefs but don’t much anymore or had never heard of using them.

What’s a Strategic Creative Brief?

Mike-Strategic-Comm-BriefThe strategic creative brief is a great tool to achieve various benefits. Developing and using a strategic communication brief to launch a new effort:

  • Stimulates initial strategic conversations and expectation setting
  • Documents expectations for the communications effort
  • Permits those developing the communications piece(s) to perform better and apply their creativity within the guidelines laid out
  • Allows you to more objectively judge whether the communication piece is delivering on expectations

One other related advantage from having a strategic creative brief prepared in advance is it helps minimize “I like / I don’t like” conversations when evaluating a creative piece. Without upfront documentation on what the piece is trying to do, assessing its quality typically devolves into who can win the personal preference wrestling match. Avoiding this is especially important when the people sharing personal preferences aren’t part of the target audience for the creative piece anyway.

We use strategic creative briefs with clients on both traditional marketing communications efforts and on social media content efforts. The brief may be developed for a single communications piece, or it can serve as the foundation for a campaign or series of communications pieces (such as for a collaborative blog with many posts from multiple contributors).

What should be included in the strategic creative brief?

We vary each one we develop for clients based on the particular types of communications efforts they’ll be addressing most frequently. Generally, you can think about three categories of information to include on the strategic creative brief:

  • Objectives – Details where you want to go with the project (goals; audience definition, preferences, and call to action; metrics, etc.)
  • Preferences – Details what you want it to be (brand standards; messaging; creative elements, etc.)
  • Guidelines – Details what you don’t want the project to be (Acceptable tone and look; mandatory elements, etc.)

Using this more general description (objective, preferences, and guidelines) opens up the concept to how a strategic brief can be used to launch non-communications efforts with greater clarity and better input for project teams.

Is your organization using a strategic creative brief for communications efforts?

What types of additional benefits do you find if your organization is using them? And if you’ve stopped using them, how do you view reintroducing them into your communications process?  – Mike Brown

 

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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.

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Brands can struggle getting beyond communicating the features they provide – which are often identical to their competitors’ features. This limitation means they never create compelling demonstrations of the benefits and brand value they can deliver.

In contrast, while developing my presentation on “New Product Launch Failures” for the PR Consultants Group conference recently, I rediscovered this FedEx advertisement from the late 1990s in a previous presentation. While we used the FedEx advertisement internally to communicate the importance of performance for our transportation company, the ad is also a fantastic example of a B2B brand making its brand value very clear AND very personal.

FedEx-Value-Ad

Turning Your Brand Value into Real Terms

Rather than name a competitor and point out features where FedEx is better or discuss defects in the competitor’s features, the FedEx advertisement took a different approach. The FedEx advertisement paints a stark, memorable contrast between the implications of choosing a less reliable and (an implied) less costly option than FedEx. The advertisement conveys a deep, damning view of the personal implications (in a B2B brand situation) when a shipping company fails to deliver the necessary and expected brand benefits a business seeks when shipping its goods. The prospect of saving a few dollars by not selecting FedEx and thus risking any or all of the thirty bad things that could happen (as listed in the advertisement) doesn’t seem like an attractive trade-off at all.

Price Isn’t the Only Item in the Brand Value Equation

Value-Equation-FormulaWe faced this talking to a potential client who countered our proposal by saying the organization had a local university professor prepare its previous strategic plan. The university professor didn’t charge anything, so the organization’s leadership believes it shouldn’t cost very much to develop a strategic plan.

Of course, this was quickly followed by admitting the plan didn’t work in moving the organization forward. I pointed out price isn’t the only factor in the value equation, and, as this organization experienced, even “free” can be a bad value since they wound up “paying” in lost opportunity and strategic disarray.

What Benefits and Brand Value Would Be Lost if Your Brand Weren’t Around?

If your brand is struggling with justifying a higher price than a competitor, use this FedEx advertisement as inspiration for a strategic thinking exercise.

Can you identify thirty bad things that could personally happen to the decision maker (and organization) that chooses your cheaper competitor? If so, you are well on your way to more effectively being able to communicate your brand value story. – Mike Brown

 

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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.

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2

Brainzooming regular contributor and retail marketing sage, Woody Bendle bring a fantastic quantitative perspective to his analysis of Super Bowl Advertising. Woody used a rating scale exploring relationship and creative strengths to assess this year’s crop of Super Bowl advertising entries. Check out Woody’s methodology and see how your favorites fared with his analysis:

 

woody-bendleMike reached out the weekend before the Super Bowl and asked if I’d be interested in writing a blog post about this year’s Super Bowl advertising.  I had no idea what I would write but I’ve always found the pressure of a deadline invigorating so without even giving it much thought, I immediately said yes!

OK… so now what?

Super Bowl Advertising by the Numbers

It is estimated that there were approximately 120 million viewers for the Super Bowl this year.  Come Monday morning, these viewers talk not only about the game, but also the Super Bowl advertising.  This conversation happens from the water cooler to the boardroom.  Everyone watching instantly becomes an armchair Creative Director with a lot of advertising opinions, some favorable, and some…. well, not so much.  What do they know anyway!?  Oh yeah, they’re actually potential customers!  That’s right, the folks who Super Bowl advertising was, in theory, created for in the first place!

This year, the average 30 second spot in the Super Bowl cost about $4 million to air.  This is up a staggering 14% from last year!  Talk about inflation!!!  Four Million Dollars for 30 seconds.  Man, that ad better work!  OK… maybe there’s a little pressure associated with creating an impactful advertisement for the Super Bowl.

So let’s pretend for a moment, that you had a spare $4 million lying around.  And for some CRAZY reason, you decided to run a commercial during the Super Bowl.  I already noted that you’re going to have 120 million people judging you, and they’re going to be comparing you with some advertising heavyweights such Budweiser, Doritos, Volkswagen, E*Trade and probably every car manufacturer on the planet.

Still feeling up to the challenge?

Oh, and remember that some of those 120 million watching the Super Bowl are potential and current customers (see above)!  And, last but not least, some of those 120 million people are your bosses, shareholders, and board members – and they’re going to want to know if your Super Bowl advertising “worked.”

Are you prepared to answer that question?

Measuring Potential Advertising Effectiveness

In my opinion, the goal of TV advertising should be to create (or build upon) a profitable relationship between your brand and your consumers, and to clearly register a memorable (preferably favorable) impression that can build upon your brands equity over time.

In television advertising, there is usually a very STRONG relationship between creative execution (that is aligned with the brand’s personality and promise) and the ad’s ability to create (or further build upon) a relationship with your brand.  And, being the geek that I am, I decided to perform a highly unscientific quantitative evaluation of the Super Bowl advertising this year with an extremely unrepresentative sample (13 people made up of my family and some friends – with a slight sample bias towards high school students).  Well, maybe we’re not all that unrepresentative.  We do live smack-dab in the geographic middle of the United States, and I suppose that make us the “average” in some way, shape, or form.

OK, so the objective of my little Super Bowl advertising research project was simply to demonstrate the relationship between creative execution and relationship potential.  To do this, we rated each ad that ran from the kickoff through the end of the Super Bowl.  And, each ad was rated on five simple measures (that’s over 3,000 scores I had to crunch).

Relationship Potential was measured through:

1)     Consideration – “The ad made me interested in buying from this company (or buying this product)”

2)     Connection – “The ad made me like this company or product”

Creative Impact Potential was measured through:

3)     Message Clarity – “I clearly knew who the ad was for and what this ad was trying to tell me”

4)     Likability – “How much I liked this ad (or not)”

5)     Buzz Worthy – “Is this ad worth sharing online with my (Facebook) friends”

Let’s see how your ad did!

Super-Bowl-Ad-Ratings-2013-

By plotting Super Bowl advertising based on its Relationship Potential score vs. its Creative Impact score, we end up with a 2 x 2 grid that helps us quickly see who the Super Bowl ad winners and losers were (at least according to my family and friends) this year.  And, as we hypothesized earlier, there is a VERY STRONG relationship between an Ad’s Creative Impact and its Relationship Potential!

The top marks for this year’s ads goes to Best Buy, Doritos (goat ad), Budweiser and Taco Bell.  These ads scored well for both their ability to build a relationship with the audience, and their strong creative execution.

The bottom marks go to Cars.com, MiO Fit, Bud Light (Voo-Doo Dolls), GoDaddy.com (Walter), Gildan T-Shirts and Mercedes Benz (although I gotta give them props for the Stones tune!).  These ads were rated poorly for both Creative Impact and their Relationship Building Potential.

And by the way, the Calvin Klein ad in the Super Bowl did very well with the High School girls (I’m expecting that to be “shared” and “liked” a lot of Facebook over the coming days by teenage girls).

So how did my family and friends do?  Do our ratings reflect your opinions? – Woody Bendle

 

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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.

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4

HarbaughsHere is my Super Bowl advertising recap from watching the game and the Twitter activity on the live #SBExp Twitter chat. This year, I hosted my own solo Super Bowl party, which is pathetic, but at least I got as many chicken wings as I wanted.

Amazingly, after a start where it looked like the 49ers couldn’t cover a Ravens player within five yards, the game got competitive after the lights went out (more about that later). The game ultimately came down to the last play of the game, making the football better than the advertising, in my opinion.

Nonetheless, let’s get to the ads:

The Super Bowl Advertising Winners

The first half Amy Poehler appearance for Best Buy was a satisfying change of pace – the brand was clear, Amy Poehler was funny as always, and she said the word “dongle” . . . The second half Tide ad for the Montana Miracle was product, benefit, and game-specific, plus it incorporated surprise and emotion. That’s a hard working ad from a familiar brand . . . Before everything got started on the Super Bowl braodcast, there was a pre-game ad for Buffalo Wheat Thins that played on everyone’s fears of Yetis and neighbors breaking in to steal snack foods that was amusing, and kind of made me remember the brand.

Several brands pursued sponsor bombs and got into the Super Bowl advertising mix without paying the premium rates on CBS by using promoted Twitter messages carrying strong strategic tie-ins. The Society of Human Resources Management took advantage of an NFL Network draft ad for its promoted Twitter ad, while Outback Steakhouse twisted its Bloomin’ Onion promotion to encourage patrons say “Super Bloom” for a freebie order the Monday after the Super Bowl. When you’re on a limited budget, sponsor bombs are a smart strategy to pursue.

Amy Poehler for Best Buy

Tide – The Montana Miracle

Really?

Bud-Calvin-KleinDoritos apparently used up all the good amateur advertising people in the world in previous years with its earlier crowdsourced Super Bowl advertising entries . . . I’m not sure any of the first half Budweiser ads (Bud Light or Bud Black Crown) worked. Calvin Klein on the other hand? It’s underwear ad featuring a guy with incredible abs (which was a complete rip-off  of the H&M – Beckham ad from 2012)? Budweiser only wishes it could sell six packs that well . . . Audi’s ad with a young man taking Dad’s car solo to the prom and all of a sudden becoming an apparent rebel seemed off brand until the tag line explained it was all about “Brave engineering.” Brave engineering? Can you say, “Reach!”

The chasing Coke ad gave me no reason to care about voting or who would win the chase, even if it meant deciding which pre-shot ending would be chosen. The other Coke ad with the security cameras shooting pictures of people was supposed to be representative of shared moments. Feeling like you’re being spied on with your every move is a connection we all share, I guess . . . Both Jeep announcing Oprah and Dodge RAM announcing Paul Harvey as voice overs is like an editorial cartoon labeling all the characters – you just shouldn’t have to do that. Both of these ads are getting attention as among the best. They stood out because of lower production values (photo montages in the Dodge ad) and heart-tugging messages, but the format is getting tiresome – especially when Chrysler does it in exactly the same place two years in a row.

The first Hyundai Santa Fe ad included pancakes, The Flaming Lips, bikers, and bubble boys, with nary a mention of Hyundai. A later Hyundai ad for their turbo-charge capability actually worked, i.e. it mentioned a feature (turbo charged engine) and visualized a related benefit (staying in front of bad vehicles to follow).

Calvin Klein

 Hyundai Turbo Charged Engine

And the Movie Ads

Movie ads just don’t work for me in the Super Bowl. Since nearly every ad looks like a movie with some attempt at a surprising twist at the end (such as finally mentioning the advertiser), the movie ads look like everything else except with no surprises.

The Skin

In a local pre-game break, Hardees tried to out-skin GoDaddy, but then GoDaddy changed things up with an international angle – couples worldwide and French kissing. How about if we all agree to buy a GoDaddy url if they stop Super Bowl advertising? I missed the 2 Broke Girls ad that supposedly put GoDaddy to shame, I can’t imagine what it featured.

Oreo-InstagramInstagram and Oreos

In what you’d have to think was its first featured Super Bowl appearance, Instagram was at the heart of the call to action for Oreos and its Crème vs. Cookie debate. By half time, the Oreos Instagram presence had grown to more than 25,000. While the TV-social media integration was being applauded, others questioned the cost per follower Oreos had invested. The BIG question: Will Oreos continue to activate its Instagram presence throughout the year?

Lights Out!

Beyonce was in a pre-game commercial explaining that her skin is a unique story. Apparently there’s a recorded story about her lips, which she avoided by not even pretending to sing on Single Ladies. But right after Beyonce was done . . . there was a blackout? Did she cause it? As @rsarver shared on Twitter, “BREAKING: During the Twitter, Superbowl goes down” . . . Given the change in momentum in favor of the 49ers afterward, we now know which Harbaugh brother is the better Catholic whose prayers get answered. My main concern though was people would start blaming FEMA and the other Mike Brown all over again . . . They said during the blackout the coaches were busy organizing the players to help them deal with the delay. Really? I never had one boss who had to come help me cope with a meeting that didn’t start on time.

Tide-OreoBut speaking of coping, both Oreo and Tide were able to respond with real-time content about the 30-plus minute blackout in the second half.  Allstate and its Mayhem character also got in on the blackout on Facebook, with Mayhem saying he’d planned to simply shut off the scoreboard. It goes to show that social media IS the most flexible, broadcast-oriented marketing communications tool a brand has – if it’s ready with the listening and smart content creation talent real-time activity requires.

What’s Up for Future Super Bowls?

What Eminem was to 2011, Rock was to 2013 – who will be the multi-ad person be for Super Bowl XLVIII? Future sponsorship opportunity? An international airline should sponsor all the kicks out of the end zone and 108 yard kickoff run backs . . . Somebody needs to develop the app to let you know which break has the weakest Super Bowl advertising so you know to go pee then . . . Maybe it’s just me, but simply throwing random characters, celebrities, and objects at your brand in for your Super Bowl advertising push (i.e., Coke, Bud Light, Mercedes, Taco Bell and others) isn’t all that effective. I’d recommend less of that in future Super Bowls. – Mike Brown

 

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If you’re struggling to create or sustain innovation and growth, The Brainzooming Group can be the strategic catalyst you need. We will apply our  strategic thinking, brainstorming, and implementation tools to help you create greater innovation success. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call  816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you figure out how to work around innovation and implementation challenges.


 

 

Mike Brown

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

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5

Spend enough time on social media channels and you’ll see some amazingly narcissistic tweets and Facebook updates from self-fashioned or mysteriously-ordained social media celebrities, all in the name of social media sharing.

While there are so many ways to write narcissistic tweets and Facebook updates, these eight formulas (all based on actual messages I’ve seen or received) provide a handy guide if you want to increase your insufferability factor on social media.

Want to try the formulas yourself?

Use the words in quotes and fill in your own specifics for the ALL CAPS PHRASES to make the eight formulas work to your best advantage.

8 Social Media Formulas for Narcissistic Tweets and Facebook Updates

Knock yourself out!

Social Media Formula 1: Not (You) in My Backyard

“Spent time in my”

+ HOUSE LOCATION FOLLOWERS WILL NEVER LIVE IN

+ “house by the”

+ BODY OF WATER FOLLOWERS WILL WE’LL NEVER LIVE BY.

+ “Wow!”

Social Media Formula 2: The “Hey, Retweet this for Me” Direct Message

A SELF-CONGRATULATORY STATEMENT (i.e., “One of my best articles”)

+ URL FOR THE ARTICLE

+ DEMAND FOR A RETWEET

+ MY NAME

+ “Plz”

Social Media Formula 3: The Miracles I Work Despite Jet Lag

“Have been on 10 planes in the last three days, but I’m touching”

+ HOW MANY LIVES YOU’RE TOUCHING

+ “lives. I’m so worn out.”

Social Media Formula 4: You Shouldn’t Be Here

“I’m with”

+ CELEBRITY NAME

+ “at”

+ NAME OF REALLY HIP LOCATION AND EVENT.

+ CELEBRITY NAME

+ “is real people!”

Social Media Formula 5: You Wanna Know a Secret?

“I’m going to”

+ INCREDIBLE PLACE FOLLOWERS WILL NEVER GET TO GO TO

+ “, but it’s a secret, so I can’t tell you any more about it!”

Social Media Formula 6: Rubbing Elbows (and Noses . . . but my nose isn’t anywhere near the elbow) with Rockstars

“Great meeting today with”

+ SOCIAL MEDIA ROCKSTAR NUMBER 1

+ “and”

+ SOCIAL MEDIA ROCKSTAR NUMBER 2.

+ “Glad I’m me.”

Social Media Formula 7: Oh, the Places I’ll Go

“In a”

+  INCREDIBLE CAR FOLLOWERS WILL NEVER BE IN

+ “on my way to”

+ ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME EVENT FOLLOWERS WILL NEVER GET TO GO TO

+ “to do a”

+ COOL THING FOLLOWERS WILL NEVER GET TO DO.

+ “Can’t wait for it to be over.”

Social Media Formula 8: Faux Self-Depreciation

“Don’t call me a Social Media Rockstar. I’m not one of those.”

+ MAKING IT CLEAR BY YOUR EVERY TWEET, UPDATE & ATTITUDE . . . YES YOU DO THINK YOU ARE ONE

Do you have some favorite formulas to add?

This blog post idea has been sitting around for more than a year. Looking back, that’s probably a very good thing since these messages will ideally have been long forgotten by the people who inspired them!

What types of tweets and updates do you find insufferable? Care to turn them into formulas and share them in the comments? And I will understand if you want to wait a bit to share them! – Mike Brown

 

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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.

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