9

There’s a slide in my standard social media strategy presentation showing a young couple looking lovingly at one another. Okay, actually only the girl is looking lovingly. The boy’s face looks as if he’s brimming with ulterior motives!

The image is there to remind organizations considering social media that their strategies can’t resemble the teenage boy’s apparent dating strategy if they expect to build strong, lasting relationships.

The striking similarities between dating’s early stages and the first phases of implementing a successful social media strategy are a convenient way to gauge whether your organization’s social media strategy is likely be appropriate and successful.

With several Brainzooming presentations on social media strategy coming up, I wanted to share the specifics behind the slide’s message in more detail.

Here are 26 pieces of dating advice as valuable in trying to form a personal relationship as they are in creating successful social media-based relationships:

Preparing for Potential Relationships

As You Begin Pursuing Potential Relationships

In the Early Stages of a Relationship

  • Allow time to find out what’s interesting about the other person. What’s intriguing about someone else may not be readily apparent after a first meeting.
  • Make reasonable promises that you expect to keep on a timely basis.
  • Don’t place a lot of expectations on the relationship early on. Forget about demanding commitments right away or making someone change their behaviors as a precursor to continuing the relationship.
  • Don’t try to suffocate the person with too much communication.
  • Work to create positive, enjoyable time together without pressure to consummate the relationship right away.
  • Be available when the other person is interested. That means you have to commit to devoting the time to make a relationship work.
  • Small gestures are important and appropriate early on to show you’re interested in a relationship.

Follow all this advice faithfully, and your popularity and attractiveness is sure to rise both online and IRL. – 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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7

It’s the time of year when companies turn attention to strategic and annual business planning. Several times while giving strategic thinking and innovation training presentations the past few weeks on “Taking the NO Out of Business InNOvation,” I’ve been asked:

“Who should participate in successful strategic thinking and planning efforts?”

My answer is always the same:

You need to have three types of people involved for successful strategic thinking and planning. Getting diverse perspectives involved is of primary importance in business success.

The three types of critical thinking perspectives vital to great strategic thinking, planning, and implementation are:

  • People with Frontline Business Experience – This includes operations, sales, customer service, and any other areas with P&L responsibility or close customer interaction. They provide a solid view of what’s going on in the business, what the business issues and opportunities are with customers and competitors, and what important strategy areas require attention.
  • People with Functional Expertise – Leaders in support areas of the business should bring insights into strengths, weaknesses, and key opportunities for important business processes including marketing, human resources, information technology, accounting, finance, etc.
  • People with a Creative / Innovative Orientation – These people, regardless of foreknowledge of a strategy effort’s focus or experience inside a company, are adept at looking at business, industry, and organizational situations in unconventional ways.

These three groups are all important to include because they tend to see and react to situations from very different perspectives. This intermingling of viewpoints is vital to the best strategic plans.

So what happens if you involve only people with one of these perspectives?

  • Frontline business people, left to their own in planning, tend to come up with more conventional and incremental strategies. Because they’re so close to a company’s operations, there can be a real reluctance to stretch capabilities adequately to address emerging marketplace issues.
  • If only functional experts are involved, you’re liable to get great process ideas and strategies which improve the internal workings of a business but may not have the necessary impact on the organization’s business results.
  • And involving only creative people in planning?  Trust me, you’ll generate really cool, incredible ideas, but too often, there is no way to actually bring them to the market successfully.

The net of all this is for the strongest strategic plan, you need to find ways to include people with each of these perspectives. The challenge is it’s very often difficult for these three groups to work together successfully and productively. That’s where we’ve designed and use The Brainzooming Group strategy development approach which allows people with each of these points of view to actively and quickly build on the ideas of others to create strong, implementable plans. - 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

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

Monday’s post was about the importance of paying enough attention to customers that you talk to them when they’re already thinking about your brand. That very day, I had a first-time airline-related customer service situation which highlighted another basic and important service concept: thinking about service delivery in a strategic way from the customer’s point of view.

On a Continental Express plane (the jets so small there’s only one flight attendant), pre-flight instructions are recorded. This allows the flight attendant to demonstrate the various instructions without having to bounce back and forth between the intercom and the demonstration. Since I actually do try and pay attention, I noticed the flight attendant was mouthing the pre-recorded instructions’ words. Given how gregarious she had been on an earlier announcement, I laughed, thinking she had to be a former Southwest employee who was mocking the pre-recorded voice.

When she came by later for the beverage service, I mentioned noticing she was having fun with the recording. She surprised me by saying the reason she mouthed the words was for hearing-impaired passengers. By her reckoning, maybe if they couldn’t hear the recording, they might at least be able to read her lips to get the safety instructions.

I’ve been on a lot of other Continental Express flights (including one the day before) and have never seen this happen. I can only credit the great insight and modification to the standard process to her strategic thinking ability and mentally observing service delivery from the customer’s perspective to modify it for a minority audience segment’s benefit.

We should all be that perceptive and adept at strategic thinking! –  Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategy 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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10

I’ll admit to being a very pre-meditated traveler. The night before a trip where I’m speaking to a conference or facilitating a Brainzooming strategy session, I spend time visualizing key events during the trip, thinking through what needs to be packed and what unusual situations to prepare for, just in case. Part of the pre-trip strategy involves identifying what absolutely has to be addressed before leaving and what can be handled while traveling.

As a result, it was a welcome surprise the night before my recent trip to speak to the Milwaukee Business Marketing Association when the following email arrived from Southwest Airlines.

Just as I was trying to anticipate what emails could get sent prior to leaving, the Southwest notification provided an alert that the next day’s flight would have Wi-Fi. How great to be able to incorporate this foreknowledge into planning for what could get accomplished while on the early flight the next morning.

Southwest Airlines successfully nailed what’s typically a big challenge for brands: knowing its customers well enough to understand when they’ll already be thinking about its brand. By anticipating this situation, Southwest increased receptiveness to its message since I already had its brand on my mind.

The challenge? While this is an ideal situation for a brand (talking to customers when they’re already focused on you), there’s no easy formula for doing it well. It really does take intense understanding of your marketplace, perhaps through ethnographic research where you have an opportunity to observe how your customers function and interact with your brand even when your brand isn’t formally present.  – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategy 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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15

It’s been about 1 year since I left corporate life to pursue The Brainzooming Group full-time. Here are some of the strategic lessons I understand now that I didn’t understand nearly as well 1 year ago.

  • You’re better off to not think someone else in business shares your same performance standards.
  • You’re definitely better off to not openly assess your own performance in light of your overly-high standards. Give yourself a break.
  • A lot of the same problems exist in lots of companies, so don’t think your crap is so special.
  • Despite preparing as much as you think you can to get ready to do something new, you’ll discover things you didn’t prepare for the minute you actually commit to doing it.
  • All that stuff they tell you about the importance of networking (especially when you don’t really need the network)? It’s all true. And then some.
  • It’s possible to get by without caffeine, but you better get some more sleep if you’re going cold turkey.
  • Slow pay is the first step in slow death. Cash is (and always will be) king.
  • Business development is more rewarding than I ever imagined.
  • Most things happen about when they should happen.
  • The corporate hierarchy doesn’t necessarily flush out sociopaths. They can get, and apparently hang on to, really good jobs. And even if they get fired, somebody else seems ready to hire them again.
  • There are great, trustworthy people all over that are wonderful to do business with.
  • People don’t necessarily know or even have a remote idea of the major impact they’ve had on others.
  • Sometimes, you do have to jump.
  • Too many people don’t seem to look for the learning opportunities in uncomfortable or apparently bad situations. Do yourself a favor…shut up and go to school right away.
  • It’s easy to give away what you do for free. Some of that’s okay. Some of it isn’t. Figure out which is which in a hurry.
  • The good results from taking a chance aren’t necessarily going to happen right away. It may take months. Or longer. If it was important enough to do in the first place, it’s important enough to be patient about it.
  • Sometimes telling you, “No” is the biggest favor someone can do for you. Quit trying to convince them to tell you, “Yes.”
  • Short naps during the work day really help you be better at what you do. We’d all be better off if we admitted that.
  • When things are going really well for a prolonged period of time, you need to think about walking away and letting somebody else have their shot at new-found success.
  • There are projects portrayed as “sure things” which are very important and have very tight timelines that have no chance of happening.
  • “Does this really matter?” and “Will this ever matter?” are two of the three best questions you can ask.
  • “What are we trying to achieve?” is the other one.
  • If you’re not able to portray yourself as successful at something, you’re not defining “success” in the right way.
  • Getting up to go to mass each weekday at 6:30 a.m. provides the most important reason in the world to get up along with creativity and tremendous structure to the day.
  • People (and pets) will step up and try to fill voids when they exist. What’s really cool is they’ll probably fill them in very unexpected ways. Sit back and see what happens.  – 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.  To learn how we can structure a strategy to keep you ahead of your customers, email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320.

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

Websites, content, and registration forms are all part of a great business building strategy. Through them, businesses have the opportunity to capture information on people, particularly when website visitors are compelled to register to download information. That strategy creates leads and follow up phone calls (if a phone number has been required) to say they registered on the website and to check to see if the content marketer could find out a little more and share some additional information.

That’s all great.

Except for the fact a website visitor’s recollection of being on a website is often much, much dimmer than the impression created by all the information captured behind the scenes.

I had a voice mail last week from David (he of one name – kind of like Madonna – since he didn’t leave a last name) from a 2 or 3 word named company (although I could only understand the first word, “PR,” because he slurred the rest of the company’s name) about my recent registration on their website (for a download that I have no recollection of and no hints about from David to provide any context about it), wondering if I’d do him the pleasure of calling him back to get more information.

I guess David, as awkward as this may be, my answer is, “NO,” because a call back will require me to say, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Obviously you have my phone number, so there must have been some kind of contact. Based on your rushed and slurred message without any reference to what I may have been doing on your website (which I bet you, or somebody in your company knows), however, I have no clue what you’re talking about.

So here’s my advice to all you cool web-based content marketers immersed in your strategies of collecting information on whoever trips across your information-rich web presence:

  • Speak slowly if you’re leaving me a phone message
  • Give me your full name
  • More importantly, repeat the full name of your company, s-l-o-w-l-y
  • Remind me what I downloaded (because chances are I don’t remember, since I’m kind of a serial downloader)
  • When you tell me about how much you’d appreciate a call back, give me a compelling reason for why returning your call will be a BIG benefit to me too!

That’s my content marketing strategy advice for today. – 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.  To learn how we can structure a strategy to keep you ahead of your customers, email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320.

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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