Implementation | The Brainzooming Group - Part 118 – page 118
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Borrowing Creative InspirationI’ll readily admit I’m a proponent for borrowing creative inspiration. Not anything illegal or unethical, mind you. But borrowing creative inspiration in the sense of always being on the lookout for inspiration in everything you encounter. Unless you simply ooze creativity, this idea of borrowing creative inspiration is vital to having new ideas when you need them.

6 Areas for Borrowing Creative Inspiration

Here are six areas where I most frequently look for creative inspiration to borrow:

Advertising-Layout1. Design Layouts

I can do basic design (as evidenced by an advertising layout award in a long-ago state high school journalism contest), but it’s not my forte. If I need to design an ad flier or white paper, I comb through magazines looking for patterns and spatial relationships to mimic. In fact, the structure for our advertisement in The Social Media Monthly is based on the advertising my previous company did that was very effective.

2. Stock Photos

For the past couple of years, I’ve been using Photocase.com as our main source for stock photos after a Twitter-based recommendation from Sally Hogshead. While Photocase.com definitely has some intriguing and novel photos, its European roots leave it lacking for photos representing some particularly US-oriented images and idioms. As a result, I’ll sometimes use an image on Photocase that’s close, but misses the mark as inspiration to draw or photograph something on my own that more closely fits the need for a blog image.

Headlines3. Blog Titles

Magazine headlines, especially for self-help publications, are great inspiration for borrowing engaging headline structures for blog titles. Again, as with design, headlines are not my strongest suit, so any inspiration for catchy blog titles is beneficial.

4. Social Media Content Sharing Patterns

I’m always on the lookout to see how people who seem to know what they are doing are approaching social media content sharing. It’s particularly intriguing when they change how and when they are sharing social media content. I adapted our Twitter sharing pattern from a prominent social media specialist who was sharing content more regularly and frequently than I would have imagined. When I saw Brainzooming had developed a sizable global audience, it made sense to move to a 24/7 social media content sharing cycle on Twitter, with planned tweets every 60 minutes.

5. Speaking Styles and Patterns

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve mimicked how those around me speak. For whatever reason, if I’m around someone enough, I start picking up words, phrases, and speech patterns they use. As a result, when I hear speakers in person or repeatedly via recordings, I unconsciously pick up vocal mannerisms. These often pop up in presentations that I only catch when I listen to my own presentations later.

6. Creative Thinking Models

Whenever I read about or become exposed to a cool business strategy success story, I ask the question, “How could you get to that same result again?” This question is the basis for many of the creative thinking exercises The Brainzooming Group uses in our work. Whether or not a company actually used the questions or steps we envision is irrelevant. We try to create a solid, strategic structure that would plausibly lead an organization down the same successful path.

Where are you most frequently borrowing creative inspiration to boost creative thinking?

In what situations do you borrow creative inspiration? How have you incorporated borrowing into your creativity? And importantly, do you share your creative ideas in a way that others can borrow from them for their creative pursuits? – Mike Brown

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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.

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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18

Creativity-formulaSome people are explosively creative. They don’t need creativity exercises or structure to sustain their voluminous creative output.

Then there’s the rest of us.

If pure creativity eludes you, then having the right structures, exercises, and tools helps you get more from your natural creative thinking skills. For the rest of us trying to figure out how to be more creative, having a personal creative thinking skills formula can be an incredible help.

How to Be Creative through a Personal Creative Thinking Skills Formula

What might you include in your creative thinking skills formula? Consider these elements to boost your creativity:

1. Volume of Creative Output

Creativity CAN be viewed largely as a numbers game: create enough of whatever you create, and you can play the percentages. Some portion of your creative output will rise above the creative expectations in place. The rest of your creative output can be swept under the creative rug.

2. Creative Perspectives

Your perspective about a particular creative challenge or opportunity makes a dramatic impact on what you do with it. This idea is the basis of lateral thinking, in that a different perspective than you usually take helps you see and create new things. Sometimes a new perspective happens by accident or instinct. But far better to be armed with standard moves you can make to change perspective when you need it to trigger creativity.

3. Creative Combinations

Similar to structure, there are combinations and formulations of inputs to enhance creativity. Standard color combinations, musical scales, and geometric patterns work because they put together, constrain, and keep separate the right elements to strengthen creative output.

4. Creative Structures

Across creative disciplines, there are typically standard structures shaping creative output. Three-panel cartoons, 12-bar blues, sonnets, list-based blog posts, ‘high concept pitches” etc. are all examples. These all represent accepted creative structures. If you can fill in the blanks, you’re at least some (if not most of the way) toward creative output.

5. Tools

The tools you use for creativity do make a difference. When I got a great guitar, I was a better guitarist automatically, even though my skills hadn’t changed. Simply having a guitar that played well enhanced my very humble abilities. The plethora of apps and software available now for creativity are all examples. But whether online or offline, the right tools can make you (or make you appear) more creative.

That’s my creative thinking formula – what’s yours?

What are the parts and pieces of your creative thinking formula? I’d love to hear them, because I’m always looking for new ideas for how to be creative that I can borrow, as you’ll learn more about in tomorrow’s Brainzooming post.  – Mike Brown

 

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Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic new 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 innovation 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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Most of the time the Brainzooming blog shares strategy, innovation, and creativity ideas while consciously trying not to tout what we do at The Brainzooming Group. Our hope is by sharing intriguing and insightful content on strategy, innovation, and creativity, you will want to explore more deeply how The Brainzooming Group can improve your organization’s performance. Suffice it to say, we do not toot our own horn too much. (Did you like the way I got both “tout” and “toot” into the same paragraph? That will make the SEO grading apps crazy.)

Why Change Is Hard and 3 Ideas for Making Change Easy

Recently I was reading (okay, listening) to, Switch (affiliate link), the book on change by Chip and Dan Heath. I was struck by how The Brainzooming Group successfully addresses what Chip and Dan Heath identify as three of the main points from Switch addressing why change is hard:

Why Change Is Hard #1: Organizations resist planning for change because it is too complex or too hard

Group-Strategic-ConnectionOur Approach for Making Change Easy: At The Brainzooming Group, we refer to this challenge of planning for change as the “can’t get over the hump” problem. We see it repeatedly. Smart organizations with solid people get only so far with developing implementing strategy, but cannot get any further.  Sometimes the answer is strategic thinking tools; sometimes it is resources; sometimes it is strategic focus.

In the Brainzooming process, we analyze what the sticking point is and apply the correct “lubricant” to move the process forward. When you have built up the arsenal of strategic thinking tools and successful creativity approaches we have over the years, finding the answer to move a strategy toward implementation is quick.

Why Change Is Hard #2: People have a fear of failure, so they won’t even try to think about what should be changed, much less make the effort to change it

Our Approach for Making Change Easy: We account for the probability of failure as we design our strategy thinking process. As a result, we inoculate you against being afraid of change. The Brainzooming Group helps you generate a significant number of ideas and concepts as we temper the natural inclination to censor or needlessly debate whether ideas or concepts are good during the early stages of strategic thinking.

We don’t leave you with a pile of uncategorized and unusable ideas, though. We have tested strategic thinking tools to help organize, categorize, and evaluate the new you generate. Knowing the chaff is going to be thrown away helps people not be afraid to generate the kernels of wheat (or nuggets of gold) that lead to successful change.

Why Change Is Hard #3: There is too little attention paid to building upon success and too much attention placed on solving problems

Our Approach for Making Change Easy: The Brainzooming process helps you solve problems. Just as important though, we also help organizations better recognize what they are doing right and provide them the structure and options for building upon that success.

Would You Like to Make Change Easy? At Least Easier than It Has Been?

Thank for indulging this exploration on how the Brainzooming process accomplishes relative to making change easy. We’d love to talk with you about the opportunities and issues in your organization where you are finding change is hard. We’ll return tomorrow to our usual focus on less self-referential issues of strategy, innovation and creativity. Today though, I wanted to point out specific ways we help smart organization make successful change easy. – 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 strategy and implementation efforts.

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Here are three recent branding strategy situations I’ve come upon. Have you experienced any of these three branding situations? If so, how did you react? Or if not, what’s your reaction to them here?

FedEx Office and an Ingredient Branding Strategy

As a Kinko’s customer since grad school and watching FedEx grow its brand portfolio from the a competitor’s vantage point, it was understandable, but sad, when FedEx rolled over the beloved Kinko’s brand, turning it into FedEx Office after its acquisition. FedEx was notorious for a strong master brand strategy (i.e., all its transportation and logistics offerings were FedEx something or other), and the Kinko’s brand fell to its tightly implemented approach. WhileFedEx CHANGED the brand name, its master brand strategy wasn’t successful in getting customers to QUIT SAYING Kinko’s or some hybrid version of the old and new names.

 

FedEx-Kinkos

Just this past week, I noticed FedEx Office has addressed the naming issue in the classic Intel way, going the ingredient branding strategy route. An ingredient branding strategy highlights a brand that lives inside another one even though it might not be visible to customers. In this instance, FedEx Office is once again acknowledging the Kinko’s brand as an ingredient of the overall brand experience by recognizing it is “Kinko’s Copying Inside.” It may be a late move (it’s not completely clear when the change first took place or if it’s happened uniformly), but it shows the importance of the willingness to change a brand strategy that’s not working as expected.

Southwest Airlines and Off Brand Advertising

I’m an unabashed Southwest Airlines fan and have written (and tweeted) about the brand several times on Brainzooming, including profiling the Southwest Airlines social media strategy. During the NCAA tournament this weekend, I saw the new Southwest Airlines brand advertising campaign.

In short, I guess you would describe it as an identity campaign trying to help us see how Southwest Airlines understands us or knows what its passengers are going through in their lives. You can watch the ad here and see what you make of it.

I tweeted immediately after seeing the new Southwest Airlines brand advertising campaign that it is off brand. The advertising isn’t fun, personal, or representative of any reasons I choose to fly Southwest Airlines. Perhaps as the brand has had to walk away from its peanut-loving, low-cost airline position it’s still looking for something else.

Interestingly, this was the first time Southwest Airlines has EVER responded to one of my tweets, as shown here.

My reply was it wasn’t really an issue of whether I was disappointed in the ad.

The point is this new Southwest Airlines brand advertising could have come from any other airline. When you look back at previous Southwest Airlines advertising, I cannot remember even once when that was the case. And that, my friends, is not the sign of a brand moving forward.

Making a Big Promise with Your Brand

Finally, how willing is your brand to feature a big brand promise right on your building (You’re Gonna Love This Place!) or in your name (Stellar Books)?

You're-Gonna-Love-this-Plac

Stellar-Brands

I’m not saying don’t put a big brand promise front and center to continually remind your customers you’re reaching for their highest expectations. But if you’re going to do it, you had better be ready to deliver on your big brand promise no matter what!

How Is Your Branding Strategy Doing?

If you’re new to the idea of branding or struggling to strengthen your brand, contact The Brainzooming Group. We can help you identify and take advantage of your best branding opportunities in new ways! – Mike Brown

 

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming 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 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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who-are-youWhat can you expect your social media experience to be if you want to be an anonymous online stalker who shares no identifiable information?

When you try to be anonymous and coy on Twitter, is it realistic to have any expectations about building a follower base?

I was having that discussion on Twitter with someone who has been engaging and asking great questions, but whose name, location, background, gender, and other web presences are all a mystery. My comment was if you’re not going to be real, you better be prepared to settle for whatever you get (but less than you want) from others on Twitter when it comes to conversation and ongoing engagement.

The Online Stalker Blues – 6 Reasons to Not Be Anonymous and Coy on Twitter

Here are six reasons I think someone who comes off as an online stalker will have a less than fulfilling social media experience while trying to remain anonymous and coy on Twitter:

1. You wind up breaking the Golden Rule of Twitter

When you try to mask your identity, location, gender, and everything else about yourself on Twitter, you’re in clear violation of  the Golden Rule of Twitter: “Honestly reveal as much about yourself as you’d hope others honestly reveal to you. “ If you’re not willing to share anything of substance about yourself or point to other places on the web where people can learn more about you, expect to get less than you might hope from your Twitter interactions.

2. You look like a bad social media experience waiting to (re)happen

Just about anyone on Twitter for some time has a story about being burned by someone trying to hide behind an anonymous Twitter account. Several years ago, a new person started tweeting at me a lot, even featuring me in a blog post about helpful Twitter people. I pushed the person to drop the anonymity and create a personal presence on Twitter. She (I’d thought it might be a guy) did that and became a real person. We even had a phone conversation about her career challenges and goals. Soon after establishing a presence, however, she completely disappeared. Since then, I’m increasingly skeptical of people who show up big, show up anonymous, and show up expecting you to invest time in them.

3. It’s going to slow your Twitter audience growth

For the reason above and the weirdness of interacting with someone who is hiding over a long period of time, if you’re going to stay anonymous, don’t have significant expectations on growing a sizable, lasting audience. In fact, the person who was singing The Online Stalker Blues with me recently was frustrated about his/her(?) slow path to growing a follower base. This person has done a great job of engaging, but without more sharing to build a relationship, the direct engagement will wear thin.

4. You seem as if you can’t be trusted

When you decide to remain completely anonymous (no name, no identifiable avatar, no website, no location, no personal clues in the bio), it raises questions about WHY you won’t share even one visible factoid about yourself and/or your identity. If you persist in hiding everything even from those who have made an effort to reach out and engage with you, prepare to be viewed with increasing levels of suspicion.

5. People won’t be as willing to put up with your social media crap

If you want to dive in and be mouthy online, sharing information about yourself gets you more latitude to do it. The more information you share about yourself in your Twitter profile, the more likely you are to get a sustained audience to listen to you mouthing off about what’s pissing you off so much. Recently, somebody with a donut for an avatar, a name which suggested he knew LOTS about social media, and twenty Twitter followers was tweeting frustration in my direction. When he didn’t like a #SXSW-related tweet from a panel I was listening to recapping the event, I really wanted to tell him to stick it. Instead, I tried to be nice and suggest why the tweet and others form the panel were helpful. When he kept it up his “superior to you” attitude (in tweets he subsequently deleted), he simply became pitiable. If he ever tweets me again, he won’t be getting any (positive) attention.

6. You’re wasting the full benefits of your social media effort

When you’re spending a lot of time on Twitter without identifying yourself, you’re wasting the positive outcomes of your time investment: creating stickiness with your profile (as people follow and attach to your presence on other social media channels) and pass along value to your content (where people you interact with are sharing your content and suggesting to others they seek you out as well). When there’s no way to know who are, who do you think is going to recommend that someone else seek you out?

Do you put up with people on social media singing The Online Stalker Blues?

Do you spend much time with people online who are anonymous and coy about sharing ANY information? If you do spend time with someone who comes off as an online stalker, what motivates you to do it?

If I’m missing something about why this strategy makes sense, I’d love to understand what it is. – 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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What to blog about and how to do it is a frequent search bringing people to the Brainzooming blog. This demand for ideas relative to blogging has prompted a considerable amount of blog-oriented content the past 18 months.

That much content on a particular topic always prompts requests for a post that pulls together and organizes the content in one place.

Since I’m conducting a blogging workshop on creating fantastic content for a business blog, we’re meeting two needs in one in this post with a compilation of blogging content that also serves as a primer for participants in the content class.

There are nearly forty articles organized, but if you feel as if you’re still struggling with how blogging can support your business strategy and where to get started, email (info@brainzooming.comor call us (816-509-5320). We’ll get your business-producing social media effort going in a smart, successful direction.

I-bloggedDeciding to Have a Blog and Objective Setting

Developing Your Content Marketing and Brand Personality

Blogging-ScheduleCreating a Regular Blogging Schedule and Editorial Calendar

What to Blog About

Structuring Your Blog Posts

Blogging for B2B and Larger Companies

Making a Decision - Quick DecisionMaking the Most of Your Blogging and Social Media Time

Getting Your Blog Content Seen

Idea-Cartoon-BalloonBlogging Tips and Tricks

Getting Help for Your Social Media Effort

 

Mike Brown

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Is your social media strategy missing the mark?

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question. Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social media strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.

 

 

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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Blog-Gravestone

http://www.tombstonebuilder.com

Suppose you used to be a blogger with a healthy blog, but because of some unforeseen accident, your site has suffered a blog heart attack. Your content production has collapsed and there are only faint indications your blog is still alive.  If that sounds familiar, here are five steps you can take as part of your blogging strategy to administer CPR and try resuscitating a near-death blog.

If it’s a personal blog, start at Step 1. If you’re evaluating what to do with a business blog, start at Step 2 – you simply need to get it going again!

Step 1. Evaluate whether you REALLY want to resuscitate your blog

There must be some reasons – good or not – why your blog needs resuscitating. As a result, it makes sense to see if your blog might not be dead already. Maybe the topic or format has run its course, and whether you realize it or not, there are “do not resuscitate” orders you should heed. Check your Google Analytics. Is the blog is still getting traffic? Is anyone asking what happened to the blog? If not, maybe it’s simply time to move on to another project.

Step 2. Move into action and re-establish some pattern of content flow

If you’re moving ahead to save your blog, start with some type of regular content, even if it’s once a month. It’s imperative to demonstrate – more to yourself than to anyone else – you can sustain a regular pace. One way to do this is to go with very short content, even if that’s a break with your past practices. At this point, consistency with whatever schedule you decide upon is an important step to re-establish life in your blog.

Step 3. Go light on the explanations at first

Rather than making a big production about your absence, simply restart publishing. Unless there’s been a significant brand promise you’ve breached with your audience by letting your blog flounder, just get started publishing again as if nothing happened. After you see some signs of life and decent vital signs, then perhaps go back and catch readers up on what was going on during the blog’s absence.

Step 4. Reinvigorate your content distribution channels

Unless your blog is deeply introspective and doesn’t depend on anyone ever seeing your content, you need to get your old audience back in the game. Get the word out on your typical social media channels (assuming you haven’t let those flounder too) and start the work of re-building your readership. Perhaps tweak the blog to ensure more than ever it’s easy to subscribe via email and simple to share your content on appropriate social media networks.

Step 5. Once you stabilize the blog, consider a re-launch as part of your blogging strategy

If you’ve kept up with your blogging lite schedule and starting to see reader interest once again, think about re-launching your blog. Is there a new design that better fits where you’re going now? Are there new types of content that fit better with your interests and schedule? Do opportunities exist to add new channels to your social media sharing that will help dramatically grow what you’re doing with the blog? If so, go ahead and dive in with a big splash and a dramatically different approach to what you’ve done before.

Do you have experience resuscitating a near-death blog?

If you have been successful at resuscitating a near-death blog, what worked for you? And I you’re thinking about the need to get a blog of your own going again, what’s been standing in your way? – 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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