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It’s surprising when you introduce a feature on a blog and then forget about it yourself. Looking back for some content on the Brainzooming blog this weekend, I came upon the “Pictures (of Creativity) Are Worth a 1,000 Words” posts from Fall 2011 and realized the structure was great to feature these pictures of downtown creativity.

Downtown Pictures of Creativity

E.T. in Plastic Pipe

I was in Nebraska City, NE last week for a board meeting with Nature Explore. For the first time, I actually had an opportunity to do some exploring in Nebraska City. One morning I came across this plastic plumbing pipe sculpture in the window at Bohl Plumbing and Heating. After looking closely at this plastic plumbing pipe sculpture, I think it’s actually E.T., the extraterrestrial. It was important to get a picture of the pluming pipe E.T. at Bohl Plumbing and Heating because it demonstrates, as I so often point out:

Dilbert and Charlie Brown in Post-it Notes

This example of downtown creativity comes from the downtown headquarters of Andrews McMeel Universal, the Kansas City-based published and features syndicate. Andrews McMeel Universal syndicates both Peanuts and Dilbert, and earlier this year, it adorned the windows of its downtown headquarters with sticky note representations of Charlie Brown and Dilbert. Once again, these are great examples that you can have fun and creativity take place at work and still be completely consistent with your brand messaging.

 

Verzion and Guerrilla Marketing its Fastest 4G Network

This final instance of downtown creativity, also from Kansas City, derives its creativity from a guerrilla marketing strategy. While the photo was taken from the H.R. Block headquarters when I was there for the iKC Sparking Innovation Conference, the huge Verizon advertisement on the side of the building has to be fully visible from the top floors of the nearby Sprint Center in the Kansas City Power & Light District.

The Verizon Fastest 4G Network building is a wonderful guerrilla marketing strategy: if your competitor has a specific territory locked up (i.e., a sports stadium and a retail store), why not use a big, non-traditional sponsorship strategy to both reach your competitor’s customers while making yourself an irritant. All this non-traditional sponsorship strategy takes is a creative perspective to identify sponsorship assets (i.e. the side of a building) that others would walk right past.

 

What types of downtown creativity do you see where you live?

Mike Brown

 

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Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic ideas! 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 info@brainzooming.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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Here is the Sunday Dilbert comic strip, with yet another futile attempt by Dilbert’s boss to lead his team in brainstorming for creative new product ideas. As with any recent Dilbert comic strip on coming up with creative new product ideas, it presents a dismal view of creativity at the company where Dilbert works.

Dilbert.com

By way of contrast, here are two items that can help you think about and enhance creativity in your organization. One of them is even targeted at boosting your creativity when you are working alone!

One Analogy for Boosting Creativity with a Group

I have been thinking about how creative teams or any team you are working with on brainstorming is like a basketball team. Sometimes the five players on the court are great and performing well together as a basketball team. Other times, the five players playing are clearly not the right five, and a basketball coach needs to do something differently whether it is a different combination of players or different types of offensive or defensive strategies. Still other times, the basketball coach needs the team to get the basketball to one particular player and let them make the play by themselves.

If you are going to perform well at basketball or coming up with new creative ideas, you need to have a deep bench, versatile players, a variety of plays, and the right go-to person.

That is why we write about creativity so frequently. There is a lot of work to do have all those options available. To simplify your creative challenges very tremendous efficiency and effectiveness, email us, and we will make it happen for you!

A New Tool for Personal Creativity

There is a new tool for personal creativity from our friend and guest Brainzooming blogger Tanner Christensen who has released the Oflow app for iPhone. The Oflow app offers more than one hundred approaches for boosting your creativity, allowing users to highlight their most productive creativity methods and capture ideas for themselves and to share with others.

You can download Oflow from the iTunes App Store, so check out what Tanner Christensen has brought to the market!

So go out, get creative, and don’t put up with crappy creativity in your workplace like they have to where Dilbert works! – Mike Brown

 

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

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic ideas! 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 info@brainzooming.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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I’ve had multiple social media-oriented conversations with potential clients recently about how social media in general, and Facebook specifically, supports business-to-business (B2B) relationship marketing. In the midst of these conversations, a real-life B2B relationship marketing case study played out recently courtesy of a Facebook friend who is in B2B sales. Her business-to-business Facebook example demonstrated the strategic perspective we advocate with clients: you can create dynamic experiential marketing opportunities by integrating guerrilla marketing, event marketing, and social media in a B2B setting.

One note: I asked my friend who was behind this experiential marketing case study about using photos and actual Facebook screen shots to better illustrate the content marketing side of her strategy. Because of privacy concerns, however, I can’t. As a result, this overview is generalized – to protect those who had the fun.

Photo by: fkey | Source: Photocase.com

The Experience Creator

My friend  is a senior business development leader for a marketing services company. She’s an incredible networker who will tell you everybody she does business with is a friend. Looking through her nearly thousand Facebook friends, you see a mix of marketers on both the client and provider side. Ultimately, she’s looking to her network and relationship marketing to grow her company’s revenues through helping more clients in more ways. That’s a pretty classic business-to-business objective.

Strengthening B2B Relationships Through Experiential Marketing

My friend created a couples-oriented, weekend experience for several decision makers and influencers at a current client. The weekend involved a few meals – one at a steakhouse Esquire magazine recognized as a top US restaurant and another at a restaurant with a striking view of a natural landmark.

The big event for the weekend was attending one of the “dinosaurs of rock” concerts rumbling across the countryside this summer. Not coincidentally, my friend’s husband knows a musician in one of the well-known bands. This afforded her client group seats close to the stage plus the opportunity to go backstage and meet and greet with performers from several bands.

Nobody can deny that this had to be a memorable experience for the three business-to-business clients who participated since the experience took full advantage of the formula The Brainzooming Group recommends for designing memorable experiences:

  • High Personal Interest: The invitees were of an age where these bands would have been all over the radio during those formative teenage years
  • Strong Emotional Intensity: Being able to experience the concert up-close, go backstage, and meet the stars (made possible by using an important guerrilla marketing tactic: using all the relationships you have to improve your marketing assets)
  • A Clear Enabling Brand: My friend who created the experience was there the whole time

Combining personal interest, emotional intensity, with clarity about how a brand fits into that and made the experience happen is a proven formula for creating a memorable business-to-business experience.

Using Social Media and Content Marketing to Enhance Experiential Marketing

If my friend had done nothing more than creating this memorable event experience, she’d have further solidified relationships and likely identified new business opportunities with three key clients. And that’s a lot. But she also turned the experience into a content marketing bonanza (again, just as we advocate). At each venue, she checked in on Facebook, plus had photos taken of:

  • Her and her clients
  • Her and her clients and their spouses
  • The performers onstage from their upfront seats
  • The entire group with the performers backstage

Importantly, she made the effort to tag herself, her clients, and even the performers they met in more than thirty photos she shared (with “public” status) on Facebook. Of course, her clients were able to like and re-share these photos with their Facebook friends too.

By turning the experiential marketing event into a content marketing opportunity, the weekend experience supported her relationship marketing objectives five ways,

  • A longer-lasting memory for her clients through documented moments on their Facebook timelines
  • A Facebook Edgerank strengthening situation as her clients engaged with her content multiple times, in multiple ways (Liking, Commenting, Sharing)
  • An opportunity for her clients to look like rock stars to their Facebook friends (many of whom are likely “professional” Facebook friends who also buy the types of marketing services my friend sells)
  • A signal to my friend’s other current and prospective Facebook friend clients that great clients get an opportunity to have memorable experiences
  • A shot over the bow to my friend’s competitors that they had better spend some time figuring out how to step up their own client relationships

In talking with my friend a week afterward, she told me she importantly secured an okay from each client invitee to share content on Facebook – a smart content marketing move since people can have very different privacy and comfort levels with social media sharing.

Combining Experiential Marketing and Content Marketing as Part of B2b Relationship Marketing

If you’re still on the fence about how social media supports the business-to-business sales / business development process, this example should ideally start to push you off the fence. It’s not an example that will work for every business-to-business situation, but it does demonstrate how you can use fundamental event marketing and social media principles to design customer experiences which grow, solidify, and drive results from business-to-business relationships. – Mike Brown

 

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

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 customer service in a smart way without seeming as if you’re micro-managing the customer experience.

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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Other than a nasty case of New York-quality booing for Robinson Cano not selecting Billy Butler for the Home Run Derby, Kansas City (where The Brainzooming Group is based) seems to be receiving largely strong marks as host of the 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Talking with the Social Media Club of Kansas City crew running the Social Media Command Center Monday night, they had hardly seen any negative social media sentiment for Kansas City among the #KC (and #ASG) tweets they’d been monitoring and responding to for days.

I saw one visitor on the local news remark about how Kansas City, in contrast to larger cities hosting the All-Star Game, really provided a sense that the All-Star Game is the only show in town. That reaction is similar to ones often heard whenever Kansas City is fortunate enough to host a major event.

The strong positive sentiment for Kansas City may be surprising to the rest of the world, because Kansas City is easy to overlook.

Yet, when circumstances bring people to Kansas City as residents, they tend to stay here longer than they ever would have imagined.  I think this dramatically different attitude from visitors once they are actually here is because Kansas City is an underdog type of town.

I’ve always been one to love an underdog, whether it is a city, sports team, brand, or even an employee I’ve hired. I love the person who is going to come in and surprise everyone by doing incredible things no one would have ever expected.

9 Reasons to Love an Underdog

Why do I love an underdog so much? Well, here are nine reasons to love an underdog since it:

1. Is motivated by knowing failure can bring disproportionate negative consequences.

2. Survives by exploiting the smaller opportunities it typically receives for all they are worth.

3. Lives and breathes trying to figure out how to rise above the expectations everyone has.

4. Is familiar with making low resource-high impact strategies work.

5. Displays the genuine humility that comes from knowing what it’s like to have your head handed to you by a strong competitor.

6. Is better at taking advice and counsel because it’s needed to continually learn and improve.

7. Has to try harder than other competitors do to succeed.

8. Isn’t beyond bending the rules or playing a little rough to win.

9. Is going to be fiercely loyal to whoever believes in them.

What are your reasons to love an underdog?

Am I alone on this, or do you have a soft spot for underdogs as well? Are there other reasons to love an underdog you would add? Are there certain types of underdogs you like, or do you like all underdogs? I’d love to hear about your favorites! – Mike Brown

 

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

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic ideas! 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 info@brainzooming.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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As last week’s post about showing appreciation on Twitter started, “social media is about being social, whether you are an individual or are representing a brand.” And in response to a status update on Facebook about the Twitter appreciation post, a grade school friend I’ve become reacquainted with on Facebook over the past year, Carrie Sparkman, essentially said it would be nice to see how the Twitter etiquette rules I shared would translate to Facebook.

That was an intriguing request since I spend a lot more time on Twitter. But since Carrie is particularly wonderful at Number 1 below, I was compelled to try and address her request.

These nine etiquette ideas for showing appreciation to Facebook friends are some suggestions to make your shout out really count:

Showing Appreciation

1. Make It Personal

Write a personal, heartfelt, and encouraging comment for a Facebook friend who has made a difference for you and post it on their wall. Or even better, write an encouraging comment for someone who needs YOU to make a difference for them.

2. Don’t Just Like Them

Go beyond liking another person’s Facebook status update and actually share their content with your friends as well. Include your comment about your appreciation for the person, their accomplishment, or their content. You can also share photos or video of the person you want to celebrate.

Calling Attention to Your Appreciation for Your Facebook Friend

3. Tag, They’re It

Actually tag the person you are showing appreciation for in your update. You can tag a person by first typing the “@” symbol and then the person’s name. People whose names match what you’re typing will start appearing on screen; hit enter on the correct person to enter a link to their profile. If you want to only use the person’s first name in the update link, backspace over the last name to erase it while still keeping the link to the individual.

4. Let the Public See It

When you’re showing your appreciation for a Facebook friend, change the sharing criteria (from the drop down toward the lower left of the message) on the status so that it is “Public.” That way, the widest possible audience can see what you have to say. Be sure to change the sharing status back to what you typically use before you make your next update, however.

5. Linking of Others

Provide a link to where people can learn more about the person you appreciate, i.e. to a blog or website. In this way, people can connect with them on places other than Facebook.

Be Both Predictable and Surprising

6. Happy Birthday

Take advantage of the Facebook Happy Birthday notifications to share a few words of celebration and a birthday greeting with Facebook friends. If you’re in touch with them on other social networking platforms (especially email), consider sharing Happy Birthday greetings there.

7. I Wanna Like You All Over

When you see great content from a Facebook friend somewhere else on the web, click the Facebook Like button associated with the content to show your appreciation.

8. Surprise Someone

Don’t just show appreciation for those you interact with frequently. Show appreciation to your Facebook friends for no apparent reason, especially if you haven’t interacted with someone for an extended period of time.

Don’t Call Undue Attention to Yourself

9. Cool It on Facebook Apps

Another way to show appreciation? Be purposeful about what you share with your Facebook friends. Don’t use Facebook:

  • To invite people to events they have no hope of ever attending
  • To send them Facebook app requests that clog their Facebook notifications
  • As a repository for other websites to post your activity on their sites while filling your Facebook status updates with low value information.

What are your etiquette ideas when you show appreciation on Facebook?

What are you doing to show appreciation to Facebook friends? What do you find works best for you, or even better, what encouraging messages do you appreciate seeing show up for you? – 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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Kansas City was blessed with two significant architectural design innovation breakthrough project in the last third of the 20th century, with both coming from the same architectural tree—the firm of Kivett and Myers.

One design innovation was Kauffman Stadium (nee Royals Stadium) and its fraternal twin at the Truman Sports Complex, Arrowhead Stadium, set the standard for modern sports design. The Kansas City firms attached to Kauffman Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium made Kansas City ground zero for architectural design innovation in sports stadiums, ballparks, and arenas. Hardly a major sports stadium or arena gets built globally without a Kansas City architecture firm being involved or being the benchmark against which other firms are judged.

Source: Kansas City Aviation Department

The other architectural design innovation breakthrough was Kansas City International Airport (KCI). After it opened (also in the early ‘70s), it became the model for airports from Dallas to Germany to France to South America. Kansas City International Airport was designed on a “drive to your gate” concept that allowed departing local passengers to have as little as a 75 foot walk from the vehicle depositing them on the terminal curb to the entrance to the airport jet way.

As a result, if you live in Kansas City, you love Kansas City International Airport. If, on the other hand, you have connected through Kansas City, you probably hate it. With the advent of enhanced security, what was once an architectural design innovation is now a struggle if you have to change planes—much less, airlines–or to find any amenities if you have to layover.

When Innovation Outlives Itself

In the case of the sports stadiums, when they began to show their age and fell behind the amenities offered at newer sports stadiums, the voters and the Kansas City sports teams decided to invest more than $500 million and update. But they stayed true to the original design innovation breakthrough concept.

Kansas City International Airport, however, faces a more difficult decision. Many Kansas City locals still love it, but it has too many buildings (and too many gates), an increasingly outmoded security system for passengers and baggage, significant environmental issues, and a challenge to offer the conveniences out-of-town flyers expect.

What KCI does have is the visionaries who built it in the first place being willing to call for another architectural design innovation, saying, “Do something different.”

At a roundtable discussion on KCI, Past, Present and Future, Bob Berkebile lead designer for KCI, and Hanan Kivett, nephew of Clarence Kivett and a former architect with Kivett and Myers during the construction of KCI, both said it was time for the city to move on.

Berkebile challenged the architects of the city to come up with something even better, even more innovative, “It’s a new opportunity to celebrate Kansas City.”

Looking Ahead for Another Innovation Breakthrough

That is likely the mark of a true innovator, someone who does not live in the past, but recognizes when it is necessary to search for the next defining innovation. – Barrett Sydnor


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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 customer service in a smart way without seeming as if you’re micro-managing the customer experience.

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Plenty of people have created lists of desert island discs, but this is different. Suppose you’re stuck on a desert island with just enough supplies to sustain your existence, PLUS a phone, a charger, a strong mobile signal, and your favorite Twitter app that will only let you follow 10 tweeters.

I know, this is a pretty wacked-out desert island scenario, but stick with me.

Now that you can only have 10 people to follow on Twitter, who would be your dessert island tweeters? Who has demonstrated in the past that they’re so intriguing to follow on Twitter they warrant a precious space on your list? Or who, based on what they might be able to do for you, could earn a spot among your top 10 Twitter friends?

Choosing Desert Island Tweeters

For whatever reason, the question of a desert island tweeters list struck me the other night as I had Tweetdeck open and was looking to engage in some fun, creativity-inspiring conversations on Twitter.

I could imagine a whole variety of criteria to consider when choosing desert island tweeters:

  • A person who you can always depend on to tweet with you
  • Someone who always rewteets you?
  • Someone who has a lot of followers who might retweet you once in a while and would hopefully retweet your requests for help
  • Someone who is a “fan” of yours
  • The person who is ALWAYS cheerful and has an encouraging tweet to share
  • Somebody who shares Triberr tweets 24/7
  • Big brands that tweet links to press releases
  • People who tell you about how great they are and tweet photos of the incredible things they’re doing right now
  • Foursquare addicts
  • A non-responder who never has a tweet for you when you tweet them
  • The old friend you rarely hear from, but will pop up on Twitter when you least expect it
  • The person who you KNOW will be on Twitter daily, even if they’re not tweeting with YOU
  • An IRL friend who you also happen to know online
  • A famous person who shares his or her life
  • The social media rock star who has lots of links to new stuff, but not so much conversation
  • Only people who also follow you
  • Tweeters who tweet about topics of interest to you
  • The people who tweet ALL the time
  • The attractive person who frequently tweets pictures of him/herself
  • #FollowFriday devotees who recognize you every week
  • Someone who tweets old quote from guys who have been dead for thousands of years

The list of criteria could go on and on for who to follow on Twitter if you could only have your  top 10 Twitter friends as your desert island tweeters.

So who WOULD BE your desert island tweeters?

Do any of these criteria help you come up with your desert island tweeters? Are the other criteria you would use?

And maybe most importantly, if there are people you wouldn’t add to your desert island tweeter list because they do some of the things listed here, why do you put up with them on Twitter every day?

Oh, and if you want to share your list of desert island tweeters (or even your list of desert island discs), you’re more than welcome to do so in the comments section below! – Mike Brown

 

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

 

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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