14

The other day a Brainzooming reader told me I was the oldest person she knew creating social media content all the time.

Then she said it was a compliment.

Then we both laughed.

That was followed by an awkward pause.

While her statement clearly CAN’T BE TRUE, being relatively seasoned in business means I HAVE learned many valuable career lessons that would have been great to know when my business career started at Kansas City Infobank.

Going back through recent tweets, here are 9 career lessons for YOUNGER Brainzooming readers from further into a business career:

1. View your entire business career as a portfolio. Manage every element of the portfolio to create your “art.”

2. As a species, humans chase after lots of things we think will be glorious that will really make us miserable.

3. It’s okay to have a list of things you’ll never do and then to let them go without a second thought.

4. Don’t correct someone who has a better perception of you than you have of yourself.

5. Some things we demand answers for are completely insignificant. Keep moving forward.

6. If you read a business case study in a magazine, it’s likely a highly fictionalized work by that point.

7. The thing that pisses you off may just be what saves you. Next time you’re mad, look for what you should be learning.

8. Never underestimate the positive value of a fresh start. They’re incredible. Seek fresh starts out.

9. No amount of helpful advice can really outshine someone making a personal sacrifice to help another person.

Anybody else with a few years of experience have some lessons to add? Mike Brown


If you’d like to add an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on strategy, innovation, branding, social media or a variety of other topics to your event, Mike Brown is the answer. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!

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

Some Monday quick thinking on learning, initiative, and several other frequently touched upon topics on the Brainzooming blog:

Learning – To continue learning, make sure your sense of wonder is always greater than your sense of certainty.

Understated – You may have to be quite overt to be perceived as being subtle in how you conduct yourself.

Initiative – The fastest way to establish longevity at something new is to start working toward it today.

Praise – When someone with little experience says what you offer is the “best,” be both thankful & cautious.

Humility – If you think you’re the smartest person you know, you REALLY need to meet some new people . . . right away. 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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16

What do you spend time on when you’re stuck in an airport? While killing time in the San Diego airport for nearly 5 hours last week, I started thinking about things in life I don’t understand. Here are 21 things that I still don’t understand about social media. Most of them, I probably never will, but if you’ve got some ideas about any of them, please share your social media insights!

1. How Chris Brogan is such a rock star on Twitter (and in social media circles), but when you ask a large non-social media conference crowd if they’ve heard of Chris Brogan, two people raise their hands?

2. The reverence granted some people who have lots of followers, update all the time, and yet are clearly banal.

3. Spammers who use egg avatars along with every other clue signaling they are spammers. If you’re going to spam, maybe you could at least try and be a BIT mysterious about it.

4. Why people flock to narcissism and all other kinds of blatantly self-serving content?

5. The perennial popularity of stale quotes on Twitter.

6. Blog posts I care about intensely getting overlooked.

7. Blog posts that feel thrown together receiving lots of attention.

8. Companies who treat Twitter as if every tweet is a 140-character press release.

9. Why people think we care about the personal crap they share ALL the time?

10. Why most people tweeting “FTW” seem like “losers”?

11. The fascination with bacon and the term “douchebag.”

12. The need for people to describe themselves as “gurus,” “experts,” and “mavens.”

13. Who to friend and not on Facebook. (My list is a mishmash . . . I have to admit)?

14. Professional people over 40 who refuse to do anything with social media.

15. Unmitigated enthusiasm for all things social media.

16. Unmitigated antagonism for all things social media.

17. How the aggregation of people with scant, but disparate, knowledge results in exquisite insight?

18. People who dump 10 automated feed tweets in a minute and then go silent until their next dump.

19. The apparent willingness to let marketers have access to essentially all parts of your Facebook account.

20. The hatred, in general, for most of the “Mike Browns” mentioned on Twitter.

21. How behavior that could only be judged as “bitchy” in real life, is enough to attract and sustain a huge following online? – 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 can develop an integrated social media strategy for your brand.

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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43

We were on a call recently with an extended creative team generating ideas for client videos. During breaks, I found myself jotting down examples of important creative thinking skills the team was exhibiting. These seven creative thinking skills demonstrated during the call are ones which benefit both those who display them and those working with them too:

1. Suspending advocacy of your own idea to push for another person’s concept.

It’s helpful to be able to come into a creative situation and demonstrate your willingness to champion another person’s idea. It can open the way to getting others to support your thinking, as well.

2. Putting your own idea to the same test you apply to an idea from someone else.

When it comes to your own ideas, it’s easy to be a hypocrite and apply all kinds of hurdles to other ideas while letting your own thinking slide by unchallenged in your own mind. Just one thing to remember: don’t become somebody known for doing this!

3. Combining two different ideas and making them better (not muddled) as one idea.

Often (maybe “almost always”) compromising on creative ideas leads to something nobody likes, recognizes, or thinks satisfies the original objective. Being able to dissect ideas to pull out highlights and put them together as something new, however, is entirely different, and a great skill to have.

4. Letting someone else take “ownership” of your idea in order to build support for it.

This skill really tests whether you believe so strongly in an idea you’re willing to let someone else step up and take it on as their own idea to see it prevail. The key to seeing your idea win out can be letting somebody else be the vocal proponent for it.

5. Displaying the patience to wait for someone else to say what needs to be said so all you have to do is agree.

It’s tempting to jump in right away and make all the points you feel necessary in a creative discussion before anyone else talks. At times though, patience and silence are called for when it becomes clear someone can and will express your perspective – and can do it more appropriately than you can.

6. Sticking to your guns amid challenges to a creative idea which makes solid strategic sense.

There are many creative ideas which, while being really cool, have nothing to do with what you’re trying to achieve and how you should be achieving it. When confronted with others who are passionately arguing for highly creative yet hardly strategic concepts, make and remake your case if the idea you’re advocating is on the mark strategically.

7. Always looking for new creative skills to develop in yourself and those around you.

Not only do you want to make yourself stronger creatively at every juncture, it’s in your best interests to help improve the creative performance of your overall team. Creative meetings are a great opportunity to spot gaps others labor under as well as seeing your own creative shortcomings. Inventory what you saw (or didn’t see) after a creative meeting and get to work filling the gaps.

How are you doing on these 7 creative thinking skills? How about your team?  – Mike Brown

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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

Can you successfully integrate creativity into analytical business functions? The answer, according to Keith Pigues, CMO of Plygem Industries and co-author of “Winning with Customers,” is a resounding, “Yes.” To prove the point, Keith recruited a stellar panel of business-to-business practitioners at the Business Marketing Association Unleash conference to provide a real world perspective on how creativity can flourish in business.

Keith Pigues, former president of the national BMA and a friend going back several years to a Marcus Evans CMO conference, pointed out how easy it is to leave creativity behind when you’re involved in analytical business work. He set the stage for the panel, however, with the oft-quoted 2010 IBM CEO study which supported the importance of creativity in business. The panel was the best I saw during the BMA conference, and here are 10 of the lessons shared by the panel for integrating creativity in business.

How Innovators Use Creativity

You can use creativity, within complex markets as a source of competitive advantage. Creative leaders can make their organizations stand out by implementing business model changes, inviting disruptive innovation, and being very comfortable with ambiguity. – Keith Pigues

What are 5 important skills for innovators? According to “The Innovator’s DNA” from the Harvard Business Review, the skills include being able to associate disparate elements, questioning what everyone knows, observing both inside and outside the business, experimenting, and networking across functions. Chris Chariton, Globalspec

Instigating Creativity

Building your creative intelligence skills requires practice and deliberately scheduling time to look at the bigger picture for your organization. – Chris Chariton, Globalspec

Forced constraints and unwavering expectations balanced with a strong code of conduct create enormous room for creative problem solving.” – Randall Rozin, Dow Corning

To build a stronger foundation for creativity, seek out more direct contact with customers and seeing how they use your products. Observing real customers interacting with products can open many avenues for creative possibilities. – Chris Chariton, Globalspec

Thinking Differently

“Don’t underestimate the value of starting from scratch and re-imagining your business. Burning platforms spark creativity.” – Randall Rozin, Dow Corning

Restating business issues provides an opportunity to improve your advantage. Customers don’t buy your product. They buy what your product does for them. An example? They don’t purchase a 1/4 inch drill bit. They’re purchasing a 1/4 inch hole. Adrian Joseph, Parker Hannifin

Project your business situation five years out and then look back to see what obstacles might have presented themselves within the time horizon. This technique can help make apparently insurmountable problems from today’s perspective appear much more manageable. – Randall Rozin, Dow Corning

The Value of Deadlines

Dow Corning runs 100-day projects to ensure the deadline enforces creativity and doesn’t allow the project to go on forever. – Randall Rozin, Dow Corning

“Creativity for creativity’s sake is artistry. Creativity with a defined purpose and a timeline is business.” – Randall Rozin, Dow Corning

Mike Brown

To tap into your own extreme creativity, download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to enhance 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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4

Bob Thacker, Chief Cubist at Cubit Consulting, closed out the Business Marketing Association conference with a presentation on “Unleash Your Creativity.” Thacker’s creativity comments were a fitting and fun (and by fun, I mean both “strategic” and “enjoyable”) close for the BMA Unleash conference. Here are three themes on creative possibilities I took away to apply to my own creative pursuits:

Challenges Unleash Creative Possibilities

For those who expect perfect conditions to be in place to trigger creativity, history is full of contra-examples where hard times have sent people looking for creative escape and hope:

  • Half of the world’s population died from the plague in the 15th century, yet it also yielded incredible thinkers and artists in the Renaissance.
  • Shakespeare’s artistry emerged from a religious bloodbath in England during the 16th century.
  • The economic failure of The Great Depression was the genesis for many prominent brands which shaped business and culture.

Creative Impact: Don’t look for smooth conditions as a prerequisite for creativity; look for sandpaper to rough things up.

Push for Big Creative Possibilities

As much as anything, Bob Thacker’s presentation was a greatest hits of creative projects he’s spearheaded while in senior marketing roles at Target and OfficeMax, including:

Creative Impact: These are all really smart strategic and creative efforts. How to be comparably successful strategically and creatively? Reading between the lines, asking questions such as, “What is this like?”, “What could this be like?”, and “How can we make this more extreme?” provide an underpinning to all of these Thacker-led efforts.

Creative Thackerisms You Can Use

Bob Thacker’s presentation included a variety of creative witticisms:

  • “If you don’t have a big budget, you have to have big ideas.”
  • “Serendipity can be a strategy, if your antennae are up.”
  • “Look before you leap, but then leap!”
  • “‘It can’t be done really means, ‘It hasn’t been done YET.'”
  • “Creativity is a group practice. Ideas need to be generated in a playful, fear-free environment.”
  • “Why just run a commercial when you can own the whole show?”
  • “Don’t make ads; make news!”
  • “If you can find a holiday tradition to create, do it.”

Creative Impact: A vital part of any creative team is having the instigator and cheerleader for others to fully exploit their creativity. The key creative action can be green lighting those on the team who have the most creative ideas.

Wrap-Up

Hope this provides some sense of the creative possibilities shared during Bob Thacker’s presentation. He packed so many ideas into the hour, providing a real creative treat to those BMA attendees sticking around for such a strong conference finish.

Want one last Thackerism to consider every time you start contemplating a marketing effort?

“If you’re going to crash the party (via your marketing) you’d better bring a bottle of wine (a tremendously rich audience experience).”

Mike Brown

To unleash your own extreme creative possibilities, download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to ignite 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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0

Can you find strategic marketing lessons at a transportation marketing conference applicable to a broader audience? It was definitely possible at last week’s Transportation Marketing & Sales Association conference. I was there to speak on social media for business-to-business marketers and was happy to see a lot of strategic marketing lessons directly relevant to Brainzooming topics. Here are snippets from 15 strategic marketing lessons shared at the TMSA conference:

Leadership

“If you think you’re more important than others, you’re starting in a hole.”Bill Butterworth

“Whatever you want, give it away.” Joe Calhoon

Teamwork

Teams are kept from effective working relationships through poor self-confidence, unhealthy competition, lack of communication, and an inability to change. Turning non-performing teams into strong ones depends on treating people with respect, celebrating diversity within the team, and instilling a sense of personal sacrifice for the team’s success. – Bill Butterworth

Strong Performance

There are four keys to organizational performance: Having and communicating a clear strategy, executing flawlessly, creating a strong sense of trust, and cultivating a high performance culture. – Joe Calhoon

For sales and marketing alignment: Collaboration + Cooperation = Peak Performance – Peter Ostrow

“Push for the best creative there is, fight for it, and then make somebody else dilute it. Don’t do that yourself.” – Dick Metzler

Marketing’s Role

“Marketing is about strategy, understanding, and building the business. Communication is the end of the process. Marketing communications is part of it, but marketing is about strategy.” Greg Reid

“Marketing is the manipulation of perceptions for the express purpose of creating brand preference.” – Dick Metzler

Marketing Opportunities

The best marketing strategy is to ask questions in order to really know a customer. Small players can use deep understanding to pursue real opportunities to address challenging, irregular, or unexpected situations customers face. – “TMSA Why Buyers Buy Panel”

“You have to know your customer better than anyone in the company if you’re in sales and marketing.” – Greg Reid

Public Relations

When pitching a story, customize the pitch through understanding the audience the publication is trying to reach. You can provide value to the person you’re pitching by being an expert on your topic (including your company, if that’s what you’re pitching) and providing opportunities for editors to experience the potential story, if at all possible. – “TMSA Editors Panel”

Social Media

According to the panel of editors, print isn’t dead; nothing is dead. Publications are responding to new media by trying to put content into as many channels as possible. One publication has found value in its 1,000+ member LinkedIn group providing real sources for content. With the availability of more content channels, companies can benefit themselves by cultivating more spokespeople within their companies. – “TMSA Editors Panel”

Prognostication

You can’t just sit behind your desk or your computer to understand the future of your marketplace. New ideas surface through conversations and at industry meetings before they reach publications. – “TMSA Why Buyers Buy Panel”

“Chance favors the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur (via Peter Ostrow)

Advice for Presenters

“Speakers should have a good opening, and a good finish, and keep them as close to each other as possible.” – Joe Calhoon

 

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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