Implementation | The Brainzooming Group - Part 254 – page 254
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Here’s the second part of the recap from The CMO Summit based on my notes and “ideas” list:

Those were among the highlights. I’ll also post on some related questions and comments from the strategic thinking session.

Here’s one last recommendation – when attending a conference, don’t check voice mail continually; try to stay in the moment. QTM: Do you give your team the latitude to keep things going when you’re away so that they’re not having to call you all the time? If not, figure out how you can start to do this!

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 spoke recently on “Cultivating a Strategic Perspective” at The CMO Summit sponsored by marcus evans. I spent most of my time on the B2B side, and there were a number of valuable sessions.

From my notes and “ideas” list, here are the first five stand out ideas along with related QTM’s (questions to marketers) from various presentations; we’ll have a second five from the conference tomorrow:
  • Kevin Young from LandAmerica delivered a kick-in-the-head on solid business fundamentals that Jay Conrad Levinson introduced as “Guerrilla Marketing.” In developing leads, look at all the available free and low-cost tools you have at your disposal (click here for a set of questions to help target tools for your business). QTM: When was the last time you did a 6-degrees of separation exercise to identify how you can easily get to your hard-to-reach decision makers through a contact you both know?
  • Stewart Stockdale from Simon Property Group shared a fascinating case study on how the company has turned marketing into a profit center, looking at its shopping center assets and visitors as media outlets and audiences, respectively. QTM: When is the next time (hopefully SOON) you’ll look at turning your business model on its head to find new growth opportunities?
  • Marketing legend Dr. Phil Kotler made the point that a CMO’s chief role includes seeding strong marketing people and processes throughout the organization. QTM: Are we all investing enough time and effort on this and the related area of team development?
  • My good friend, Nicholas de Wolff from Thomson used an intriguing audience participation exercise. He had one person try to name nearly 30 brands based only on their logos (he missed just two). Nicholas then challenged all of us to think about whether our brands could be recognized based only on our logos. QTM: Well, could they?
  • Keith Pigues from PlyGem shared results of a new B2B trend study from the Institute for the Study of Business Marketing. Keith heads the national Business Marketing Association; I was just selected for the national board. If Keith is representative of the passion, intellect, and drive of the other members, I’m even more excited about this opportunity. QTM: How are you giving back to our profession?

Check back tomorrow for another 5 take aways from The CMO Summit.

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 talk all the time about the value of doing a PMIR. It’s an Edward de Bono-based exercise to look at the Plusses, Minuses, Interestings, and Recommendations for an event or project.

Its benefits were underscored the other day. Stuart Fedt from the local BMA chapter was checking up to see what had come out of speaking to the group in March. My first reaction was, “Not much.” Then I started thinking about it for the first time, because I hadn’t done a PMIR after the luncheon, prompting the realization that the appearance had created:

So despite the first reaction, this event prompted perhaps more good things than any speaking engagement in a long time. Something I’d have realized much sooner if I’d have just done what I tell everybody else: create a PMIR. Lesson learned.

Speaking of the BMA, check out the May 15 Kansas City BMA program. It should be a great one as Tom McEvoy, president of Business Markets for EMBARQ will talk about the challenges of creating a dynamic new brand almost overnight from a company that’s 106 years old. For full details, check out the BMA website.

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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For this Wednesday’s Change Your Character exercise, let’s look at exercise and doing it successfully. Specifically, someone exercising usually works with a trainer trying to trim their waist.

So let’s think about how we can apply a successful exerciser’s approach to trimming wastein a business setting. A successful exerciser:

  • Sets a realistic, aggressive goal
  • Works with a trainer to increase their knowledge, accountability, and results
  • Exercises regularly
  • Varies the workout to stay motivated
  • Pushes to achieve better performance all the time
  • Tracks and records their activity
  • Consumes less food
  • Monitors food intake by counting calories
  • Measures progress toward the goal

Next time you’re charged with reducing something at work (costs, unnecessary process, re-work, etc.) generate at least three potential new ideas for each of the steps above to help you improve your odds of successfully trimming fat.

Note #1 – Today’s post is dedicated to Jenn Oxler, my trainer for the past two years. With her help (and her repeated questions about my food intake), I’ve lost nearly 30 pounds and have gotten into the best physical shape of my life. Thanks Jenn!

Check out a compilation of “Change Your Character” creative thinking exercises and information on its use.  – Mike Brown

 

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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.

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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Amid too much jargon, the state of business communication isn’t stellar. We could all benefit from delegating a writing assignment to a great reporter to see how they’d approach it to ensure it’s as clear, concise, and memorable as possible. Here are some of the things a good reporter is going to concentrate on during a writing assignment:

  • Interview people directly involved in the story
  • Use multiple sources of information
  • Write in order to gain attention right away
  • Put the most important things at the start of the story, followed by supporting material, then background information
  • Address fundamental questions – who, what, where, when, why, and how
  • Use specific, concrete examples
  • Have an editor who reviews it and makes changes

In addition to identifying at least three new ways to incorporate each of a reporter’s approaches to improve your writing, here’s a bonus book recommendation – do yourself a favor and track down a copy of “How to Take the Fog Out of Business Writing” by Robert Gunning and Richard A. Kallan. It’s a precursor to “Why Business People Speak Like Idiots: A Bullfighter’s Guide” and is a short, straight-forward guide to dramatically simplifying your business writing.

Check out a compilation of “Change Your Character” creative thinking exercises and information on its use.  – 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 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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In business, people typically spend time thinking about arguing and defending their own points of view. It’s rare though when someone spends time thinking about how they’d argue against themselves.

So next time you’re advocating a particularly contentious position, grab somebody who is less tied to your positions and swap sides – have them argue for your position while you challenge their pro arguments smartly and strongly. Seeing what new logic they develop to defend the position you really hold can help unlock new perspectives you can use later.

Debating against yourself (or at least your viewpoint) is a fantastic way to challenge and shore up your thinking before somebody else forces you to do it on the spot.

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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The title may seem harsh, but it’s a safe premise: NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOU.

There are probably some exceptions (your parents, a loved one, a few altruistic souls), but unless you’ve EARNED the opportunity for someone’s sustained interest, NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOU! This reality is important because most brands have not created important enough relationships with customers for them to be more interested in the brand than themselves.

The questions to ask for any brand communication are:

  • How does this information benefit our audience? AND
  • Why should they care about it?

A brochure draft recently came to me for review. Technically it was written fine, but it contained mind-numbing details about the brand’s history, awards, and operational statistics. The questions above obviously weren’t considered. It was only about what WE wanted to say. There was no recognition of the utter lack of benefit for our customers, and the near certainty that they wouldn’t care about a history lesson on us.

Recently, I’ve received the other end of this treatment as well. A service provider repeatedly leaves me voice mails about his “concerns” about us. Remember, we’re paying his company money to provide us a service. Quite frankly, his concerns aren’t at the top of my list, i.e. I DON’T CARE ABOUT HIM! At least not until after he expresses interest in what benefits us.

Use these two questions liberally when providing information and building relationships. Think and act outside in, seeking first to understand and benefit others. In this way you can hope to win the coveted position in the minds and hearts of customers where they might genuinely care about 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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