2

It might seem that if you don’t know everything you need to know to get started on a strategic initiative that it’s smart to wait until you know everything . . . or at least know more.

Maybe it’s smart to wait.

But if you’re intent on creating strategic impact, waiting can kill you later on if the timing for the initiative you’re trying to implement doesn’t shift to account for the delays in knowing everything you should know to get started.

Plus, you’re never going to know EVERYTHING you want to know to get going with a major strategic initiative.

Start-Now-Dont-Wait

Creating Strategic Impact by Starting Now

In light of all this, what can you do to move forward with an initiative, even if there are significant gaps in knowing what the strategy is, the details are, or what you’re ultimately expected to deliver?

Even in these situations, you could be creating strategic impact by:

  1. Going all out to figure out and solve what you don’t know.
  2. Doing things that can be readily undone if necessary when you learn everything.
  3. Doing things that CAN’T be readily undone later to help force a particular strategic direction.
  4. Getting everything ready for when you know everything, whether that’s planning, securing resources, training, etc.
  5. Working on other things so you can pay less attention to them and go all out on the delayed initiative when it starts.
  6. Tackling the broad brush strokes of the initiative and save the details for when you know more information.
  7. Diving in to the little details that will get less attention at the end once you put the big picture parts of the initiative in place later.
  8. Developing the parts of the initiative that have the most flexibility and room for change later.

What else would you add to this list? When you don’t know everything you would like, what do you do to start now and quit waiting? – Mike Brown

 

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

 

Download: FREE Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization.

This new ebook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.

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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Writing a newsletter article, it struck me that for as much as we discuss the importance of diverse strategic perspectives on better strategic thinking, we don’t seem to have a compilation of our articles on the topic.

Let’s fix that!

Workplace Diversity – The Why, Who, and How of Strategic Thinking

These Brainzooming articles are arranged based on why you should seek workplace diversity to benefit strategy, who holds the important perspectives, and how you can take best advantage of them to improve your organization’s strategy.

Dilbert-ThinkerWhy Workplace Diversity Benefits Strategy

Who Holds the Strategic Perspectives You Need on Your Team

How to Manage Workplace Diversity and Varied Strategic Perspectives Working Together

 

Making Workplace Diversity Work for Your Strategy

This list of articles is a start to thinking about the value of having people with different thinking styles, perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds on your teams.

If you’d like to discuss how to put this all together for your organization’s benefit, let us know. We’d love to customize a strategy that delivers the best results for you! – Mike Brown

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

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Learn all about how Mike Brown’s workshops on creating strategic impact can boost your success!

 

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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Today’s post is a hybrid. It started life as an “Inside the Executive Suite” weekly feature from Armada Corporate Intelligence on the demise of the SkyMall brand. Seeing a variety of tweets and Facebook updates last weekend from friends flying for the first time without a SkyMall catalog in the seat pocket on their flights, the SkyMall story still has some legs.

We got the go ahead to adapt the original article and link the strategy questions they identified for companies to avoid “SkyMalling” their brands to Brainzooming strategic thinking exercises. These will help you explore the questions in greater depth. 

4 Questions to Help Avoid SkyMalling Your Brand

Xhibit Corporation, the parent company of the SkyMall magazine typically found in most airplane seat pockets, filed bankruptcy in mid-January 2015. With a significant sales decline during 2014 and a subsequent cash crunch, it suspended retail as several airlines were already discontinuing the familiar catalog.

Reasons cited for the shutdown include strong retail competition along with more prolonged use of personal electronics on airplanes, reducing passenger viewing of the SkyMall catalog.

Yeti-Statues

Strategic Thinking Exercises

Perusing stories of the implosion of the SkyMall business model suggests at least four strategic thinking questions organizations should address to anticipate similar business model challenges.

1. What business are we in?

One analyst asserted SkyMall had no compelling market position or brand identity. As evidence, its business could be described as unusual products, expensive products, specialty retailing, catalog retailing, or some combination of these.

Its post-bankruptcy statement suggests, however, what SkyMall historically thought its business was, and what it discovered its business really was.

Scott Wiley, the company’s CEO, issued a statement saying the squeeze on the company’s sales was due to “additional competition from e-commerce retailers” because of the increasing availability of Wi-Fi on airplanes. This suggests SkyMall was in the retail business and e-commerce retailers were (the new) competitors.

Wiley’s statement also mentioned another factor: “additional competition for the ATTENTION (our emphasis) of passengers.”

Attention?

Yes, SkyMall was in the attention business. With a nearly exclusive hold on the flying public’s attention it was okay. Losing that, its business model didn’t work anymore.

Suggested Strategic Thinking Exercise: Using a Brand Benefits Approach to Identify Your Brand’s Business

2. What are our non-traditional threats?

If SkyMall defined its business as retailing, it’s likely it viewed its major competitive threat as another retailer developing a catalog and striking more attractive deals with airlines. Competitive success would revolve around securing long-term deals with air carriers to keep competitive catalogs off airplanes.

Clearly another catalog didn’t disrupt SkyMall.

Other retailers secured access and passenger attention through the availability of inflight online access. This threat was evident in 2009, with 500 planes already equipped with Wi-Fi. With the 2013 FAA ruling allowing personal electronic device use from takeoff to landing, the other piece of the customer attention threat fell into place.

These two events, neither of which involved competitive printed catalogs on airplanes, dramatically compromised the SkyMall hold on passenger attention.

As you look at your business, are you identifying potential non-traditional and unexpected competitive threats that could unseat your brand from its real business?

Strategic Thinking Exercises:  Identifying Left Field Competitors, Competitors May Be Different than Your Brand 

3. What’s in our name?

Some brand names are obvious (i.e., Dollar General). Others are abstract, with no ties to what the brand does – at least until the marketplace associates the name with a brand promise and then can’t imagine it ever being different (i.e., Target).

The more abstract the brand name, the more leeway for what a brand does. A relatively literal name makes it challenging to make necessary changes to keep the brand and business model thriving.

When the name is SkyMall, it clearly implies it offers multi-brand shopping in the sky, even if the way you’ve been delivering the brand promise isn’t working anymore.

Thinking about your own situation, how strongly does your organization’s name support its business model? To what extent does it limit the opportunity your brand needs to maneuver and adapt (or even transform) the business model to stay ahead of forces that could disrupt success?

Strategic Thinking Exercises: Coming Up with Cool Product Names,  7 Types of Brand Language You Should Use, Anticipating Future Issues with Names

4. Are you listening to the smart perspectives about your business?

A self-reported former SkyMall employee left a comment on an online USA Today article about the bankruptcy. He claimed writing a massive email to his supervisor shortly after joining the company outlining the brand’s threats and strategic options. His supervisor allegedly showed him recommendations going back ten years addressing shifts to the business model – all reportedly ignored by management.

If true, this underscores that much of smart strategic management is listening to those with credible input, no matter where they stand – or don’t – in the corporate hierarchy. Employees, customers, industry observers and other parties might be very willing to supply a major portion of the answer for your next business model, if you ask them and LISTEN.

Strategic Thinking Exercises: Using a Huge Focus Group, Who Are Your Strategic Thinkers?

Stay ahead of your brand SkyMalling with these FREE strategic thinking exercises!

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth for your brand? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization (see point number 4 above).

This new eBook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.

 141104 Download EBook

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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At the 2015 Social Media Strategies Summit in Las Vegas, I am introducing a new Brainzooming workshop on “Staying Sane as a Solo Social Media Professional.”

By title, the workshop targets individuals who have to handle a brand’s social media strategy and implementation. In reality, the content is relevant for anyone responsible for social media and related content marketing that wants to:

  • Develop social strategies linked to business objectives more effectively in less time
  • Produce content that is easily repurposed in multiple ways
  • Speed up content creation
  • Better prioritize high-impact content
  • Do more and better social media marketing with small budgets

Much of the content is coming from previous Brainzooming posts with additions from the responses to the solo social media survey we featured recently.

Additionally, I am developing a new, simplified content calendar, a one-page strategy overview, and the “Content Marketing Formulas” list below.

These content marketing formulas came to life yesterday morning as I started playing around with different approaches to express handy reminders for how to repurpose content in timesaving ways.

Girl-Board-Formula16 Content Marketing Formulas

  1. Blog Post / 140 characters > 10 Tweets
  2. Tweet + Instagram = Facebook Post
  3. Blog Post – Words + Images = Infographic
  4. Blog Post + “On Camera Talent” + Camera = Video
  5. (Blog Post Links + Blog Title) * 10 = Compilation Blog Post
  6. Video / Capturing Individual Frames > 15 Images
  7. 1000 Word Blog Post / 3 = 3 Days of Digestible Blog Posts
  8. 1 Video Interview > 1 Podcast Segment + 1 Blog + 3 Images
  9. 1 Audio Recording of a Presentation = 2 Podcast Segments + 10 Graphics + 4 Blog Posts
  10. Website ImageSocial Sharing Button = Pinterest Post
  11. (Blog Post x 10) + Intro + Close + Call to Action = Downloadable Asset
  12. Infographic + Blog Post = Downloadable Asset
  13. (PowerPoint Presentation + “Voice Talent”)com = Video
  14. Live Webinarme = Video
  15. (Customer Event x Capturing Content) / Editing > Weeks of Social Media Content
  16. Rambling Blog Post that’s Not Working – Parts that Aren’t Working = Tighter, Working Blog Post

This list is VERY much a work-in-process even beyond the Social Media Strategies Summit. As a result, I am especially interested in whatever feedback and tweaks you might want to share.

Ultimately, I could see using content marketing formula number 3 and turning this blog post into an infographic.

Before that though, are there any formulas you use to improve your social media and content marketing productivity and impact you would like to share with the Social Media Strategies Summit audience? pronto!

Interested in diagnostics to assess your social and content marketing strategies?

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

If you are an executive with questions about whether  your organization’s social media and content marketing strategies are working as well as possible, you need this short cut. In less than 60 minutes with the FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have precise answers to your questions.

You can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of your social media and content marketing strategies with these easy-to-assess diagnostics. To get started right now, download your free copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social  Strategy.” – Mike Brown

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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There were many themes apparent in the Super Bowl advertising portfolio.

  • There was dad-dom (Nissan, Dove Men+Care).
  • There was overcoming-disability-dom (Microsoft, Nissan).
  • There was scantily-clad-dom (T-Mobile. Victoria’s Secret).
  • There was borrowing celebrity-dom. (Kia. Snickers. Wix).

Plenty of “doms” to go around.

The Crowd’s Creative Comes Out on Top in Super Bowl Advertising

Crash-The-Crowd-eBook

Download “Crash Course” at http://boomideanet.com/crash-the-crowd/

But the intriguing results from the night belong to Doritos and the creative crowd. According to Ace Metrix research “America voted for #WhenPigsFly from Doritos to be this year’s #TopSpot2015 #SB49 by scoring it higher than any of the other 2015 Doritos ads.”

Additionally, Doritos ranked in the top 5 a short time after the Super Bowl advertising wrapped up Sunday evening.

When all the Super Bowl advertising rankings are in, there may be another winner. The interesting thing here is that the spot crowdsourced by Doritos is in the running. Yes, it’s fan-based creative.

What Do You Know about Crowdsourcing Advertising?

While not every company is in a position to turn its brand over to its consumers, the Doritos fan crowd demonstrates there is bona fide creative power in the crowd.

In light of this, if your CEO is asking you, “Should we be doing this crowdsourcing thing?” you’ll want answers.

We can help you with answers.

We can help you decide if a crowd can work for your brand. And suggest how you can test the crowdsourcing waters.

Visit this link and download our free eBook about “Everything You Need To Know About Crowdsourcing Before Your CEO Asks.”

Boom-Ideanet-Download

It might just come in handy!  – Steve Wood, Boom Ideanet

 

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 many years, the Brainzooming blog has gone varying degrees of “all out” to preview and report on Super Bowl advertising, including tweeting like crazy, first at #BZBowl, and then the last few years at Jim Joseph’s #SuperBowlEXP.

This year, I personally went a lot less all out for the Super Bowl Advertising onslaught.

I hope that doesn’t Deflategate any of you!

XLIX-Winner-Patriots

10 Reasons for Not Going All Out on Super Bowl Advertising Coverage this Year

Why didn’t I go all out?

Well of course, there are ten reasons.

  1. There’s simply too much hype for advertising that typically doesn’t provide beneficial lessons most businesses should actually follow.
  2. I think Boom Ideanet, on the other hand, is doing some interesting work, and they had a natural and new voice to add to our Super Bowl coverage for the big game. This is especially true with the new Boom Ideanet eBook download on crowdsouring advertising, which you should grab here while you can.
  3. With the Seahawks and the Patriots, here wasn’t that much to get excited about beforehand, other than the Kansas City Chiefs already beating BOTH the Seahawks and the Patriots this year.
  4. I was invited to a Super Bowl party by a great friend and blog reader (hint, hint) and had decided upfront to behave more like an adult and less like a social media geek with my attention focused on monitoring and making #SuperBowlEXP tweets. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend, so I did wind up tweeting more of the game than I’d expected.
  5. The post-game posts we have run in the past haven’t been huge traffic magnets, which tells me you all are getting your coverage of the advertising addressed in other venues, which is fine.
  6. Staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning writing that day’s blog post isn’t great blogging practice. I still spotted a typo on one of the previous year’s Super Bowl advertising posts this week.
  7. Most of the Super Bowl advertising videos goes private within a fairly short time, so those previous Super Bowl advertising blog posts don’t hold up as evergreen content.
  8. In the midst of what seems like a lot of behind-the-scenes prep work for upcoming presentations and a new business initiative for us, creating a bunch of new Super Bowl content didn’t crack the top five on my to-do list.
  9. Even Katy Perry being the halftime show wasn’t that exciting for me. Other than the flying star thing (which I take it from the tweets is an NBC tie-in), I think the performance confirmed my initial ho-hum sense.
  10. A natural major Super Bowl advertising presence for X LIX should have been Ex-Lax (say it aloud if you don’t get it). THAT would have been funny enough to get me in the game!

Boom-Ideanet-Download

Having seen and tweeted on the ads (none of which I’d sought out ahead of time), there were a few winners and some real losers, although a number of my assessments differed from most of the rest of the folks tweeting on #SuperBowlEXP. It was intriguing, however, how many people were tweeting that this year, the game was actually better than the commercials, at least until the fighting started in the last 20 seconds.

Look for a quick recap of Brainzooming video tweets on Tuesday, because on Sunday night, I got some sleep! – Mike Brown

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming email updates.

 

Download: FREE Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization.

This new ebook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.

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 the Super Bowl advertising hype, one theme receiving significant attention the past few years is the concept of crowdsourced advertising. At a surface level, crowdsourcing advertising seems to engage a broader audience, break the creative chokehold of advertising agencies, and cost less. The question is, are any of those presumptions about crowdsourcing advertising true?

With that question in mind, I’m excited to introduce Steve Wood of Boom Ideanet to the Brainzooming blog. Steve provides an insider’s perspective AND is introducing a new eBook on crowdsourcing advertising today. 

You can download the FREE eBook right here or at the bottom of Steve’s guest post and be ready with smart answers and strategies on crowdsourcing advertising when your CEO comes knocking with the idea to crowdsource your next advertising campaign.

Boom-Ideanet-Download

Crash Course – Everything You Need to Know About Crowdsourcing Advertising – Before Your CEO Asks by Steve Wood

Crash-The-Crowd-eBookThis weekend, it’s the Super Bowl® and The Ad Bowl, all wrapped up in one super-hyped package of anticipation. Regardless of how the game goes, the Super Bowl advertising will stir attention and conversation. Doritos®’ “Crash the SuperBowl” campaign will be part of the conversation, in particular because it is crowdsourced. And Doritos is not alone. Lincoln, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Pizza-Hut and others are spinning crowdsourcing, too.

So how does Doritos use a crowd to make its Super Bowl advertising?

Frito-Lay® invests a great deal of time, money and operational structure to mobilize its fan base.

Beginning in 2006, Doritos established a contest for a “fan-made” commercial. They used advertising and other channels to assemble the crowd, which is renewed each year. Crowd members are self-selected. Fans invest in an idea and a finished video. A secondary crowd of voters determines how far an idea goes in the contest.

In year nine, “Crash the Super Bowl” is far more a marketing strategy than a creative strategy. The brand likely spends as much assembling each contest’s crowd as they do airing the winning-spot. They  are promoting participation in 29 countries, hosting a website, polling and paying out prize money and benefits totaling over $1M for 30 finalists.

Is this the only way to approach crowdsourcing advertising?

Chances are your company doesn’t have those kinds of resources to apply to one advertising event. You think, “Our company will never do a Super Bowl spot. Maybe it works for Doritos, but how could it work for my brand, or retailers, even B2B companies?” Can crowdsourcing advertising really produce useful results? Is it more trouble than it’s worth? Why would I share my business challenges with a bunch of people we don’t even know? All good questions.

So on the Monday morning after the Super Bowl your CEO will likely ask, “What is this crowdsourcing thing?

Are you prepared to respond?

To get you ready to steer the CEO toward a smart strategy, we’re sharing “Everything You Need to Know About Crowdsourced Advertising Before Your CEO Asks.”

Boom-Ideanet-Download

While Doritos has been tapping the crowd one way for years, it’s still anyone’s game out there in crowdsourcing country.

Read the paper. Be the MVP. And at least be ready to play when your CEO asks, “Should we be using “the crowd?” We say Yes! – Steve Wood, Boom Ideanet

 

 

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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