8

Here are a few of the topics I was tweeting about this week:

The Rapture didn’t happen last weekend. The lesson? When the boss tells you NOBODY knows the answer to a question, don’t be a brown-noser and try to answer the question anyway.

The labels YOU place on yourself can either free you or close off opportunities. Be careful which, if any, you pick!

There’s no policy that says you have to let everything that happens in your life define you. Be a Teflon person and protect yourself.

When you’re getting ready for a difficult conversation with someone, think about the challenging points you’re going to need to make. How many of them apply to you also?

Whenever and whatever you edit, leave lots of white space.

It’s easy to be busy. It’s hard to be productive.

Trust me – it’s not always advisable to pick the first words that show up at your mouth.

If you’ve dealt with a challenging client, write down what was challenging. Re-read it next time they call you about working with them.

Sometimes the project you’re working on is trying to tell you it’s done. You’re simply not listening.

Watching the first Oprah shows I’ve seen in something like a 150 years this week, “Oprah Behind the Scenes” was a lot more engaging than her regular show. The “how do they do that” element really got me interested.

Having said that, Oprah shared some decent life lessons in her wrap-up show (paraquoted here) – Get yourself-perceptions out of the way to be able to see your blessings. Every single person you meet is looking for validation. Every person wants to be heard. God’s voice is with all of us. We decide whether we ignore it or do something about it.

Remember – a platitude gets tweeted halfway around the world before something of substance has a chance to be ignored.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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7

This list of warning signs your organization’s culture isn’t ready for social media isn’t comprehensive, and I’m not offering a model today for organizing these issues or a prescription for solving them. But based on challenges we’re seeing in developing and implementing social media strategy (let alone getting social media to take hold), seeing any of these warning signs (or “red flags” as we call them) in your organization, indicates you’re in for a struggle to make real, meaningful progress on implementing social media.

How many of these warning signs sound familiar in your organization?

  • A secretive culture that doesn’t readily share information
  • Senior executives talking about social media in generalities with great urgency
  • A general fear of customers and the power they potentially hold over the brand
  • An overly concentrated business with relatively few customers
  • A distrust of employees and the judgment they use
  • Complete confidence in senior managers and the judgment they use
  • Disconnected customer interaction points (in plain English – customer service has no idea what sales is doing with a customer and vice versa)
  • Inaccessible (or uninterested, uncooperative, etc.) content owners (i.e., subject matter experts)
  • Slow and unpredictable approval times for traditional communications materials
  • Multiple layers of approval for most communications materials
  • Regulatory pressures which threaten open interactions with customers
  • No one on the internal legal team assigned permanently to marketing who “gets” how marketing is trying to help move the business forward
  • The internal legal department is a black hole where documents go in, but are nearly impossible to get back out

How did you organization do?

If you found a number of these warning signs in your business and you’re trying to get social media incorporated into your organization, call us. We’re using the strategic Brainzooming approach in helping organizations successfully deal with all these types of red flags! 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 help your organization make a successful first step into social media.

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

When we do strategic creative sessions, similes are tremendously powerful tools to allow session participants to make strategic connections between familiar and potentially less familiar concepts. These strategic connections quickly open up new thinking and lead to significant innovations. Here are similes addressing aspects of social media. Some of these similes have surfaced already as Brainzooming blog posts. Others will likely find their way into future blog posts to potentially unlock new strategic thinking possibilities. Some may send younger readers to Wikipedia since the intent is to make connections more tenured business executives will remember!

What other similes would you add to the list? What’s social media like for you? Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help your organization make a successful first step into social media.

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

Working in a large corporation, even one with a relatively small marketing investment, there was typically a wide range of marketing strategies and tools at our disposal. It was a strategic advantage that, quite frankly, became easy to overlook. Moving back to a much smaller organization, as with The Brainzooming Group, makes me appreciate the range of marketing assets I used to have available.

Last year The Brainzooming Group made some marketing moves which were conventional given what we do, and it forced us to hone our messaging, refine our short story on what we offer, and caused us to put visuals and copy to several service offerings. Without committing to something new and different, we’d still likely have each of these on our to-do list (it really is true about whatever version of the cobbler’s children story you choose).

We pushed ourselves again through participating in the launch issue of “The Social Media Monthly,” “the first print magazine devoted to the exploration and review of social media.” Edited by Bob Fine, who you may remember from a recent post about his “The Big Book of Social Media,” this was a great opportunity to contribute an article (“Brand Advocacy in a Socially Networked World”) and to run the first ad The Brainzooming Group has placed in a print magazine. While our primary marketing efforts to date have been through social media-based content marketing and personal outreach, actually creating a print advertisement prompted progress on several fronts that have been easy to neglect:

  • Incorporating QR codes in our marketing
  • Introducing a landing page on Brainzooming.com
  • Designing and creating a longer-form free article on social media metrics as part of the offer in the advertisement

Right now, you can get your hands on the launch issue of The Social Media Monthly by ordering directly from the Cool Blue Company or getting access to the online edition. Additionally, if you’re attending some of the upcoming social media conferences around the country, you’ll be getting a copy of the launch issue as an attendee. Later this summer, The Social Media Monthly magazine should be available on newsstands as well.

In the interim, we certainly invite everyone to download the updated article on “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” from the Brainzooming website. Targeted at one of the most common challenges business and marketing executives are challenged by with social media, it’s based on the most-viewed Brainzooming article we’ve written.

And if you need help in rapidly expanding your organization’s strategic options and creating an innovative plan you can efficiently implement, give The Brainzooming Group a call or email us. We’d love to catalyze your innovative business success! 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 help your organization make a successful first step into social media.

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

Based on frustrating business networking practices at events, I wanted to share a few little secrets of more giving business networking:

1. When you re-meet someone, give them your full name again by saying it aloud.

This is an especially helpful little business networking secret when:

  • How you look has changed even slightly (heavier/thinner, more/less hair, different makeup or hair color, etc.) since you last met
  • They might struggle to recognize/place you because you’re meeting in a different setting than you usually meet
  • It’s been such a long time since your last meeting they may not remember your name right away
  • You interact via social media and your avatar might not translate to in-person recognition
  • There’s even a 10% change they’ve forgotten your name since you met initially (and BTW – Don’t bust them on not remembering you. Instead, react with a faux question, “I think we may have met before? Am I remembering that correctly?”)

2. Carry business cards.

I know business cards get dumped on by certain social media folks, but they ARE helpful for memorability – at least for some people. As a visual learner, I can look at a business card well after the fact and trigger a memory of meeting that specific person. I can’t imagine I’m alone in that. Create business cards, have them with you, and use them, i.e., give them to other people.

3. When you meet someone, attempt to carry on a simple, brief conversation.

It doesn’t have to be overly complicated (“What do you think about the opportunities to leverage social media for customer acquisition in a B2B market?”), and it’s wonderful if it’s not inane (“Hey, what about that weather?”). Have a few targeted, relevant QUESTIONS ready to go, and ask them! Doing this will give the person you’re meeting an opportunity to share what THEY think.

4. Don’t look around the room as you’re trying to carry on a simple, brief conversation.

Give someone your full attention – really. Don’t just try to make it seem like they’re getting your full attention. I’m not sure there’s anything more off-putting than when someone you’re meeting is constantly scanning the room to see if there’s someone better than you at the event they could be hunting down.

5. Smile!

Smiling really helps to compensate if you can’t remember to do numbers 1 through 4.

By now, you must have realized this post title is a lie. These aren’t really little SECRETS about more giving business networking. But they might as well be little secrets based on how few times people genuinely seem to follow them when networking. Get started putting these “secrets” into practice and you’ll definitely stand out from almost all the rest of the crowd.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

Everybody wants economies of scale. They signal you’ve achieved a sufficient size so you can do things, deliver benefits, reach markets – all sorts of good things – with a disproportional level of operational and financial efficiency smaller competitors can’t match. That’s what economies of scale are all about. That’s why they’re really great.

But economies of scale can also be really detrimental and lead to bad strategy when your strategic view is flipped around. They become problematic when you start thinking about how they allow small cost reductions to be multiplied into large absolute cost savings.

When you start your analysis this way, you wind up with:

  • Orange juice which shaves several ounces off of how big a half gallon is.
  • Quick service restaurants which stop providing napkins in to-go orders.
  • A hotel with only 1 wastebasket in a very large room.

All these changes seem subtle. But they’re really annoying when you run out of orange juice, don’t have a napkin to wipe your hands, or spend 5 minutes trying to find where to throw something away.

In all those cases, scale-oriented savings make brands seem really cheap . . . and not cheap in a good way.

Coupling economies of scale with a “They’ll Never Notice” attitude leads to bad strategy.

Why?

Because when your grocery store turns out half its lights, you notice. – 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 see how we can help you devise a successful innovation strategy for your organization.

Mike Brown

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

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4

This 2009 video shows what was happening in our suburban Kansas City neighborhood last night as people scoured the streets for creative treasures amid what Prairie Village residents consider trash. Our annual “Big Item Pickup” event is both a great way to get rid of large things people no longer need and an opportunity to redistribute those items to people who do see creative possibilities in them.

Having been one of the scavengers in the past (I actually found matching dining room chairs at two different houses and walked them home), my wife put a stop to my active participation in the creative possibilities-identifying side of Big Item Pickup many years ago. Now, I’m left to live vicariously through the creative scavenging successes of those with the biggest trailers and the most spacious pickup trucks!

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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