Implementation | The Brainzooming Group - Part 118 – page 118
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Here is the first 2013 blog post from Woody Bendle. It’s a fun personal, yet still very economically sound blog post that’s worth its salt when it comes to . . . creative innovation with salt! Here’s Woody:

 

Think You’ve Got Creative Challenges?

Ideas for new articles on creative innovation sometimes come at the strangest times and in the oddest ways.

As I was mixing up a batch of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for the holidays, I went into the pantry to get the various ingredients and did a double take as I grabbed for the salt.  I had to choose from four different types of salt.  I mean come on. . . do we really have four different types of salt in this house?  Salt is salt . . . right?  Well, yes . . . and no.

Morton-SaltWe have the standard Morton’s salt (95¢) and then we had the Morton’s light salt ($2.39) and then we had the Morton’s coarse sea salt ($2.50) and then we had this special rock salt that you grind in a “salt mill.”  Yep… a salt mill (priceless).

As someone who is nearly always thinking about creative innovation, I had to chuckle.  Just look at all of these different salts.  They’ve literally innovated SALT!  Of all things . . . SALT!  Good old NaCl!

Not as amused as I was?

OK, I have to let you in on this inside joke.  I’m also an economist; and table salt is often used as a classic example of a commodity that has nearly perfectly elastic demand.  That means there isn’t much you can do through pricing and promotion to change the amount of ordinary table salt purchased by consumers.  Think about it this way; if your neighborhood grocery store ran a 1¢ special on salt tomorrow, would you rush out and fill up a grocery cart with it?  No?  Why not?  It’s nearly free! Who wouldn’t want tons of nearly free table salt?

Thing is, one can only use so much salt, and there in lies the rub (pun intended).  The demand for your ordinary, run of the mill, table salt is pretty stable and fairly finite.

So, if you find yourself in this type of a situation – meaning you are finding it increasingly difficult to affect demand through pricing and promotions – what can you do through creative innovation to grow your business?

Let me provide you with the perspective of another economist:

“The fundamental impulse that sets and keeps the capitalist engine in motion comes from the new consumers’ goods, the new methods of production or transportation, the new markets, the new forms of industrial organization that capitalist enterprise creates.”  – Joseph A. Schumpeter

In economics, what Schumpeter is talking about is considered non-price determinants of demand.  The rest of the world calls this innovation(which sounds a whole lot better than “non-price demand determinants”).

Let’s Try Creative Innovation with Salt!

CommodityLet’s assume that your business is actually making and selling salt.  What the heck can you do to innovate salt? It’s just salt!  Right?

For starters, let’s step back and think about what it is that we as an organization do, and what we might be able to innovate.

Innovation isn’t just about making a new product; far from it.  In fact, an innovation will have a greater chance of succeeding if you adopt a broader notion of what can be innovated.  Aside from innovating the product (i.e., lower sodium, coarse sea salt, etc.), we might be able develop a creative innovation on:

  • Some of our core manufacturing processes.
  • Our packaging or salt storage / delivery devices.
  • A new mutually beneficial alliance with Oscar Mayer (new apple wood smoked bacon flavored salt).
  • Our business model (i.e., online subscription to our gourmet salt connoisseur’s club – a new artisanal salt each month from some exotic locale on our planet – or maybe even other planets!)

The point being that when you find growth has stalled, perhaps as a result of your market maturing, you have to do something very different in order to create growth.    You have to innovate.  And, this something different doesn’t always have to be all about the product itself.

Look, if they can successfully come up with a creative innovation for salt, what’s your excuse!?

Get innovating! – 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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The Brainzooming blog has a wonderful group of guest authors who regularly contribute their perspectives on strategy, creativity, and innovation. You can view guest author posts by clicking on the link below.

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Photo by: zettberlin | Source:  photocase.com

Photo by: zettberlin | Source: photocase.com

If you are suffering a creative block (or even creative apathy), try a different type of idea to combat it: Figure out another task, topic, or need that creates such a large sense of avoidance for you that it dwarfs your creative block. Then watch your creativity flow!

Yes, one answer to conquering your creative block is to find an even bigger block related to something you REALLY can’t or don’t want to tackle right now even more!

For me, if I’m struggling with writing a blog post, any type of involved administrative task can prompt a new rush of creativity. For example, now that it’s time to start focusing on preparing documentation for income taxes, I expect to have a rush of blogging ideas and legitimate interest in writing and finishing them.

If you can identify your bigger creative avoidance area, don’t be surprised to find you suddenly have renewed creative inspiration for what was previously your biggest creative block.

How’s that for a creative quickie? – 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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Happy New YearIf you are making New Year’s resolutions, additional inspiration can always be a help to achieve what you resolve to accomplish. While the Brainzooming blog does not address all the New Year’s resolutions you might make, we featured a number of blog posts during 2012 to help provide inspiration for many

If you’ve signed up to improve productivity, career prospects, or stress levels with your New Year’s resolutions, these twenty-two articles should help you achieve what you resolve. of the most common ones.

Get Organized and Improve Productivity

Improve our Career

Managing Stress Levels

Best wishes in 2013 with your New Year’s resolutions!  – Mike Brown

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative 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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2012-favoritesHere is my list of personal top ten favorite Brainzooming blog posts from 2012, along with a few notes on the origins or outcomes of each post. Stay tuned Monday for the list of the most viewed new Brainzooming blog posts from 2012. And as has become a pattern, my list and your list are pretty different!

Father’s Day and Some Parental Advice You Should Heed – June 15

I’m always surprised reviewing every blog post for this annual feature about the range of topics covered on the Brainzooming blog. This post – of a personal nature – is without a doubt the most important post in 2012, though. So much business stuff can get fixed later. If you ignore this post’s advice, however, there’s no going back to fix it.

Brand Experience, Glass Houses, and Naked Shower Guy – November 2

This was an easy choice as a 2012 favorite post. I’d been seeing Naked Shower Guy for several years, but wasn’t going to write about this bizarre situation without an underlying connection to Brainzooming content. Ultimately, a user experience research project we were doing for a client this year became the angle. Trying to get our local online “paper” to cover the story ANONYMOUSLY – hoping to let Naked Shower Guy know what was going on – didn’t work quite as planned though!

Research – 7 Ways to Lie with Focus Groups – October 3

This post seemed to strike a nerve among some members of the market research community. One market research celeb claimed it was because the “7 Ways to Lie with Focus Groups” said things nobody will say about market research reporting. The post was inspired by sitting through a poorly-designed focus group and the report out which made it all seem as if the market research supported quantitative conclusions. My favorite part is the someecards graphic desperately created the night before the post ran because it COULDN’T have a stock photo!

Just Thinkin’ – Musings from Twitter (Apologies to Larry King) – December 13

I’ve been a Larry King fan since my first job where I listened to his radio show during all- nighters. His open phone hour had some real wacko callers, which WAS a bit unnerving when you’re the only person in a nine-story office building at midnight! His run-on writing style has been parodied frequently, but this post was my first shot at trying the Larry King, ellipsis-heavy format. But you know what? The Larry King-style column is golden for compiling old tweets and random ideas. Expect to see this format again . . . I promise.

Strategic Thinking Exercise – Black Swan Events in Your Plan – October 25

This post is a favorite for various reasons. The post was inspired by a client question. It demonstrates how we apply the Brainzooming methodology to translate a client’s desired strategic outcome into a strategic thinking exercise to deliver it. There was a way to work a scene from Ghostbusters into it. And one of my strategic mentors, Chuck Dymer, said very kind things about the post in the comments. It doesn’t get any more favorite than that!

B2B Relationship Marketing – 5 Ways Facebook Helps B2B Relationships – July 12

This post recapping a friend’s weekend-long, B2B-oriented entertainment adventure with her clients is a favorite because of the masterful integration of experience marketing and Facebook social sharing. In fact, the Facebook social sharing took a memorable weekend for a couple of clients to a broader marketing effort aimed at potential clients and a challenge to competitors.

11 Strategic Questions for Disruptive Innovation in Markets – May 9

I personally liked walking away from the KCKCC Innovation Summit to be able to devise these questions (based on the presentations) to trigger ideas for disruptive innovation. Interestingly, the post sparked one of the blog’s first troll-like responses: an “innovation” guy who objected to the post’s headline as misleading. Despite his comments on the post, I stand by it. I could have shared very narrow stories from the presenters. Instead, you get very usable strategic questions to create your own potential disruptive innovation.

Gigabit City Summit Idea: When Everything Is in the Cloud, What Does “Place” Mean? – July 25

Great questions resonate for a long time. The question in the title from Josep Piqué during a Gigabit City Summit during the summer still resonates: “When everything is in the cloud, what does ‘place’ mean?” While it’s intriguing to speculate about the answer, it will be even more intriguing to see how the question is answered over the next twenty-five years.

Listening for Blog Content Is an Art within Your Grasp – January 27

This post is a personal favorite because it came directly from going to a networking event (generally not my favorite thing to do), the topic originated within 90 minutes of it becoming a blog post, it underscores how blog topics are all over the place, and it’s one in a series of Brainzooming blog posts inspired by Jason Harper. All that, plus the main part of the post is written in Sharpie marker on the back of my 2012 goals. Unfortunately, I probably did a better job with remembering Jason’s comment than remembering my 2012 goals.

Assistance Unwanted – 5 Management Style Signs Helping Is Futile – August 1

I’ll admit a decent number of Brainzooming blog posts are written about things I’m pissed off about in some way. But rather than blister someone, I try to generalize my frustration so it’s helpful for you and protects the object of my frustration. This frustration-inspired post is a favorite since it uses frustration from six years ago to obscure a 2012 situation that was frustrating me to no end. Venting your frustrations through generalized blog posts works. Add that to the reasons for why you should start a blog! – 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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Colby-SunriseAs we have been every year since graduate school, we took a Western Kansas holiday road trip with plenty of Christmas reflections from the road – some more creative than others:

Every holiday road trip requires a fantastic magazine; I bought the Vanity Fair Special All-Star Comedy Issue, and it did NOT disappoint – you should go out and get one . . . The best blessing of the holiday season CAN BE when everyone takes their mood altering meds before Christmas Eve dinner . . . Speaking of dinner, when you haven’t had any kids at Christmas Eve dinner for ten years, and the highlight of the dinner conversation is who had the best death in the past year, you know it’s time to freshen up your Christmas traditions . . . Every holiday dinner needs a historian, and my cousin seems to be ours; he knows who won how much on lottery ticket scratch offs going back fifteen years . . . Did you put “ongoing remarks questioning your judgment” on your Christmas list? Me neither . . . My grandpa made his annual visit to dinner by dimming the lights repeatedly, just as he’s done every year since he passed away in 1988.

CorkscrewLife lesson: I have found a corkscrew (affiliate link) is as important as a sleigh and reindeer for a happy holiday with the family . . . My parents give everyone cash to buy their own presents so no one is ever surprised by what they get. Since I gave up buying presents, I’m still surprised by everything; just my little spin on maintaining the spirit of the season . . . We open presents one at a time, so nobody’s happy I learned to unwrap presents like my grandfather – slooooooooooowly . . . Who would have thought a Santa Claus salt dough ornament would last twenty-one years? Maybe we should use salt dough for highway bridges.

Christmas reflections past – getting in trouble with the priest at my grandmother’s funeral for telling the, “How I learned about Santa Claus from Grandma’s encyclopedia” story during the eulogy in front of altar servers who had not learned about Santa Claus yet . . . The truest act of love you can show someone during the holiday season is making a run to Walmart to buy something completely unnecessary they forgot earlier.

Gangnam-Scratch-OffMy cousins gave me “rustic wood” candles; I think it was some kind of getting old joke – with maybe some other kind of joke thrown in there too . . . Know when you’re getting old though? When the rules on scratch off lottery tickets are too small to read so you scratch them anyway and try to figure out afterward if you won. Seriously, I think I won a free viewing of Gangnam Style on this scratch off card . . . BTW, is ear wax cleaning the newest “big thing”? TV commercials, news stories, Christmas dinner convos . . . all about cleaning ear wax.

I don’t subscribe to the idea of adults being bored, especially at the holidays. Forget the #HoHoHum. That’s what iPads, notebooks, and computers are for – they’re like coloring books for adults . . . If we would have had more than one bottle of wine in the house though, we’d have been drinking by 10:30 a.m.Christmas morning . . . When you go where Trader Joe’s hasn’t arrived, you can pass off Charles Shaw as a wine that set you back quite a few dollars.

Santa-Claus-Dough-OrnamentFacebook was great for seeing who, on Christmas Eve, is (a) Not celebrating, (b) Over sharing about their celebration, (c) Deathly bored, (d) All of the above – I think you know who you are. Facebook also worked for setting up impromptu get togethers with family and friends throughout the Christmas holiday – thank you Zucky for your contribution to our Christmas cheer . . . And thank goodness despite the predictions, Euclid didn’t have much impact on us. Kind of like high school geometry in that regard, so it was a well-named winter storm. Come to think of it, I don’t even remember now how we traveled before the Weather Channel and smart phones – do you? – 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 creative 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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GiftsFor past Christmas blog posts, I have shared lists of things bloggers and readers could give one another for Christmas. This year, let’s take a different spin on social media giving!

7 Social Media Christmas Gift Ideas

Here are seven social media Christmas gift ideas anyone active on social networks can give to others. Having received many of these gifts from friends on Twitter and Facebook this year, they are all true blessings.

1. Show up regularly

If you have spent time on social networks and made strong connections, show up regularly to maintain relationships. Various people I’ve known have made huge social media debuts on Twitter, talked frequently across multiple platforms, and then completely disappeared. When you create social network-based friendships, don’t suddenly disappear without saying a word any more than you would disappear unannounced from an in real life friendship.

2. Share a “truer” picture of your life

Everybody uses social networks to try putting the best spins on their lives and successes; Facebook and Twitter are definitely “share success to impress” territory. Give everybody a break and present a truer picture of yourself. It’s fine to share your successes, but don’t share all of them. Also share insight into your challenges, too. Both you and your friends will be more human for you having shared a truer picture of your life.

3. Listen (and not just in a “social media listening” kind of way)

Social media listening is important for social media success. But in this case, the gift of listening is going beyond simply having bunches of social media feeds you monitor. Really LISTEN to people you interact with on social networks. Read between the lines and spot people experiencing difficulties they won’t fully disclose or joys at which they only hint. Reading between the tweets and updates is a gift that is always appreciated.

4. Respond to questions

One of my least favorite things on a social network is when someone asks a question, people follow-up with answers and perspectives, then the person asking the question never responds – to anyone. Maybe they can’t get to everyone, but try to interact with those who offer responses. And if you see someone asking a question – particularly one where they’re looking for information or ideas – respond. . .unless the questioner has burned you before by never answering previously asked questions.

5. Offer your help and your perspective when someone needs it

There are definitely times I share Twitter or Facebook updates with oblique references to things going on in my work or personal life. It’s such a joy when a close social media friend (only a few of whom are in real life close friends) messages to see what’s happening. Sometimes it’s nothing but venting. Other times, it is a bigger deal, and I don’t have anyone to talk with about it in person. It’s wonderful when a close friend reaches out to offer their advice and words of encouragement.

6. Start a conversation with a lurker

Start conversations with people, especially those who need someone to talk with them. Reach out to the people who leave great comments or like your content occasionally, but don’t seem to interact when you see them pop up in your stream. Give the gift of trying to bring lurkers in your midst into conversations.

7. Fewer food pictures, unless the food is really beautiful or really unusual

There’s no need to share pictures on social media of everything you eat. If a dish is exceptionally beautiful, share it. If a dish is very unusual (i.e., it is extreme, surprising, or nostalgic), go ahead and share it. If it’s microwave mac and cheese and you’re simply pissed off about it being the only thing in the house to eat when you’re too tired to go get food, give your friends a break and keep the picture to yourself! – 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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Happy-Holiday

Repetition is vital to creating memorability for an organization’s marketing message. You can’t expect an audience member to see your marketing once and remember it. Repetition provides ample opportunities to get a marketing message across.

Within marketing messages, repetition can also be used to set up creative twists to create memorability. But it’s tricky to do it right.

Samsung Uses White Space in Marketing to Create Memorability

Samsung debuted a provocative commercial this fall to feature the video sharing capabilities of its Samsung Galaxy S III phones. At the time of this original post, the Samsung Galaxy S III commercial has more than 10.5 million views on YouTube. This strong reception is due, no doubt, to the sexual subtext of a young mother sharing a self-made video with her husband that she advises him to NOT look at on the plane when he watches the video his daughters made for him.

While there’s an easy answer to what the mother’s video might contain, comments on YouTube about the Samsung commercial demonstrate how open-ended it is for the audience to craft the backstory.  Beyond perhaps the first thing one imagines about the video she is sharing, comments on the Samsung commercial speculate that the video is a:

  • Revenge video of her cheating on him to get back at him for cheating on her
  • Video about her fear of 9/11 (which she wouldn’t want him to watch on the plane)
  • Video about her sending the kids to the Apple Store and then launching a jihad against Samsung

One recent comment suggested the woman is the baby sitter and not even his wife! Talk about leaving white space for the audience to complete the picture of what’s happening in the commercial!

Even that small range of answers suggests the Samsung commercial triggered active viewer engagement.

Rip Off Your Own Marketing to Achieve Repetition

Now, there’s a new version of the commercial featuring Mrs. Claus exchanging a video with Santa Claus before he heads off on his annual rounds. The script is nearly identical to the original Samsung commercial, but with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus playing the mom and dad roles, and two male elves filling in for the excited daughters. The plane is now Santa’s sleigh.

My reaction to the new Samsung commercial is it’s too much the same as the previous one.

Humor and intrigue can benefit from clever repetition. But the repetition needs to set up an unexpected twist to create memorability. The original commercial uses familiarity (a mom and kids saying goodbye to a traveling dad) to set up the twist where the mom’s admonition and her facial expression create the commercial’s memorability.

With the original Samsung S III commercial as a backdrop, the Santa and Mrs. Claus commercial uses repetition to create familiarity. It’s only twist, however, is the “plane” is now a “sleigh,” and even that isn’t much of a twist. You know what is coming 10 seconds away, especially if you’ve seen the previous commercial.

The Right Way to Use Repetition and White Space to Create Memorability

Ripping off your own marketing can work, but not if you’re ripping yourself off to be safe and get by using the same creative multiple times.

If, however, you’re willing to rip yourself off in the pursuit of upping the creative ante, then go for it! – 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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