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If you’ve read the Brainzooming blog for any length of time, you’ve seen Chuck Dymer’s name multiple times. Chuck has been an incredible influence on my career, especially as it comes to creative thinking skills. As someone said to me at one point, “You’ve changed your job into Chuck’s job.”

That was definitely true.

Chuck was the first person I heard deliver an in-depth presentation on creative thinking skills. He captivated me with his message. We worked with Chuck multiple times, and started to adopt many of his ideas and approaches into our strategic planning methodology.

Suffice it to say, there wouldn’t be a Brainzooming if I hadn’t met Chuck Dymer.

Creative Thinking Skills and Place with Chuck Dymer

shapes-creative-thinking

Chuck is closing his ideation space, The IdeaLoft.

I visited him for lunch yesterday, and we recorded the Facebook live video here. I asked Chuck to talk about the IdeaLoft and how place and creativity relate to one another. The relationship between them was integral to the design and layout of the Idealoft.

Enjoy the video and Chuck’s insights and expertise on how place influences creative thinking skills!

Mike Brown

 

fun-ideas-strategic-planningLooking for Ideas to Make Strategy Planning More Fun?

Yes, developing strategy can be fun . . . if you know the right ways to liven it up while still developing solid strategies! If you’re intrigued by the possibilities, download our FREE eBook, “11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning.”


Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning

 

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

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 as much as we share about the Brainzooming approach to strategy, creativity, and innovation, I still frequently get the question, “What is it The Brainzooming group does?”

I am always surprised when that question comes from someone I interact with frequently or that sees Brainzooming social media content about our work. Probably both intentionally and unintentionally, we are vague in describing a specific set of services and products The Brainzooming Group delivers.

As I explained to a CEO the other day, our lack of specificity results from the fact we ADAPT what we do to a client’s situation and needs. Rather than having one method that clients need to conform to when working with us, we modify our approach to what will be most beneficial for the client. That key difference relative to most (maybe nearly all?) companies that do what we do is one of the most important ways The Brainzooming Group provides tremendous value for the right organizations and C-level executives.

“I’m an executive that needs a new strategy. Can you help?”

If you aren’t sure what we do and whether we should be working together, here are several pain points we’ve addressed for clients in the last year:

My organization needs a new or updated strategic plan, and we don’t want it to be as painful as last time.

We can bring you a quicker, more effective strategic planning process than you’ve likely ever experienced.

I’m a C-level executive and need to move a big initiative ahead, but my key staff members don’t have the wherewithal to make it happen (plus I don’t have the time to mentor them through it).

We can both teach and mentor them while delivering a strategy and implementation plan to bring the initiative to fruition.

I am taking over an organization and want to engage our employees more directly in culture change and moving forward.

We can bring you a multi-dimensional approach to involve all of your employees in sharing their perspectives and aspirations in a way that you can do something with the ideas AND meaningfully engage your people.

My organization is making a push to embrace innovation; we need training, strategies, and a way to make sure innovation is creating the expected impact.

We can design and implement an overall and initiative-specific process to foster and cultivate innovation across your organization.

My sales force is stuck in old ways of selling, and I have to change how we do things.

We can deliver strategic and creative thinking-based training that gives salespeople a structure to approach business development and solutions selling dramatically differently.

Do you see your organization in any of these situations?

brainzooming-ad

If so, we should talk sooner than later. No expectations, no obligation, no endless phone calls asking for follow up.

Talking for thirty minutes, we’ll both have a good idea if we should work together. When both our brains are zooming, that’s a great sign we’ve clicked.

If not, no problem. We’ll probably both be better off taking a different approach.

Do you have thirty minutes to talk?

So is it worth thirty minutes of your time to see how we can help move your strategies and success ahead?

If so, contact us, and let’s make it happen! – Mike Brown

 

Need Fresh Insights to Drive Your Strategy?

Download our FREE eBook: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis

swot-alternatives-cover

“Strategic Thinking Exercises: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” features eleven ideas for adapting, stretching, and reinvigorating how you see your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Whether you are just starting your strategy or think you are well down the path, you can use this eBook to:

  • Engage your team
  • Stimulate fresh thinking
  • Make sure your strategy is addressing typically overlooked opportunities and threats

Written simply and directly with a focus on enlivening one of the most familiar strategic thinking exercises, “Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” will be a go-to resource for stronger strategic insights!

Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Ways to Reimagine Your SWOT Analysis

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 are basic brand strategy moves to quickly take an older brand into today’s market?

An “Inside the Executive Suite” article from Armada Corporate Intelligence looked at this brand strategy question last month. They evaluated the options for the band Depeche Mode. The group is making a “comeback” and incorporated a variety of brand strategy approaches to freshen its brand.

An Old Brand Is Just an Old Brand – Until to You Do Something New with It – via Armada Corporate Intelligence

Depeche Mode, a 1980s and 90s alternative band, is discussing a new record and tour. The group, known for hits such as, “People Are People,”  “Personal Jesus,” and “Enjoy the Silence,” announced its newest record, “Spirit,” six months in advance along with a twenty-one country tour during mid-2017.

Depeche Mode has remained active since its biggest hits decades ago. This week’s announcement, however, seems to represent a new push to return to greater prominence.

What makes an old product new again?

We raised the question yesterday of how brands rekindle, dust off, improve, innovate upon, and reintroduce themselves to the market. The Depeche Mode update involves multiple brand strategies:

  • Involving a new producer and tech music luminaries
  • Putting the brand into new formats
  • Ramping up promotional elements
  • Playing up pure nostalgia

If you have a long-standing brand needing a boost to reach its previous heights, what are your options for bringing it back to the market in a way that attracts attention, engages existing and new audiences, and delivers improved business results?

Evaluating Your Brand Update Options

Using possibilities suggested in the Depeche Mode story plus a few others, we identified (and labeled) six potential brand update strategies for long-standing brands to undertake enhancements. These include:

Pure Nostalgia – In this strategy, everything essentially remains the same with the original brand. The brand’s promise (what it delivers to customers), elements (what makes up the brand), and experience (what happens for customers as they use the brand) to remain relatively unchanged. The brand attraction is dependent on audiences having positive (and likely intense) memories of the brand from an earlier, more prominent time. There may be a significant marketing push for the brand, but it constitutes the main effort to return the brand to earlier prominence. (Example – A cereal or candy brand marketing itself as a brand you remember from childhood)

Reintroduction – This strategic option involves updating the brand promise, elements, and experience to reflect current capabilities, knowledge, and market realities. Elements of the old brand may be eliminated and replaced with different aspects than the brand originally possessed. While certain brand elements are distinctly different and reflect today’s situation, a strong connection remains to the brand’s earlier days to create clear linkage. (Example – Bringing back current actors to play Colonel Sanders for KFC)

Refresh – Within a brand refresh strategy, the objective is to focus on a brand’s strongest elements – the things making it most distinctive and valuable to the primary audience – and preserve them. Any brand aspects that are outdated or lacking in some way are replaced with distinctly new elements reflecting a contemporary look, feel, and sensibilities. (Example – Pokémon GO, moving a familiar brand into mobile gaming and augmented reality)

Reformulation – In this brand update scenario, a brand retains its name and perhaps a few very important core elements. Everything else is completely redesigned and modernized. The underlying expectation is to call to mind the old brand among loyal audience members while relying on modern features to fuel new growth and success. (Example – The “new” Yankee Stadium replacing the old, historic ballpark)

Promotional Reintroduction – Even when a brand promise is largely intact and all aspects of the brand are strong, it may need an extra something to maximize its impact in a new way. That is when a promotion-based brand update strategy comes into play. The objective here is using a short-term change in the brand (or attaching something new to the brand) to generate interest and attention. After some finite period, the brand change or addition is reversed.  (Example – Coca-Cola adding personal names to its cans and bottles for the summer)

161102-mummy-pops

(Re)Launch – This brand update strategy involves keeping the brand largely intact as it has always been. The major change involves inserting the brand into new channels, locations, or markets. It could also involve returning to current channels, locations, or markets where the brand was previously active but withdrew or minimized its presence. (Example – A restaurant chain that enters and exits a particular market, only to re-enter the market at a future time)

A couple of notes about these strategies:

  • These options are not mutually exclusive. They likely benefit, in fact, from smart, strategic combinations.
  • We selected the labels based on how we’ve seen these described and deployed, so you may see them labeled differently elsewhere

Against this backdrop of potential strategies, we recommend conducting an exercise to identify a comprehensive list of everything closely associated with your brand. Beyond listing anything tied to the brand promise, elements, and experience, include language, customer perceptions (positive and negative, quantitative and qualitative), images, and any other sensory cues related to the brand.

After identifying a robust list of brand-related aspects, assemble a group of people from throughout your organization with strong insights into the brand. Have the group individually and collectively make their best assessments of whether each brand item is:

  • Critical to defining the brand
  • Important to the brand, but open to modification or significant change
  • No longer relevant for the brand

While it is ideal to have quantitative market research to incorporate into this type of brand assessment, a diverse group can generally make a strong first pass evaluation of where you have room to modify your brand. As you develop a point of view on where your brand is ripe for change, review the brand update strategy options list. Choose one or multiple strategies that might make sense for updating your brand.

Does your brand need a refresh?

Beyond this article, let us know if you want to talk further about updating a brand. With many organizations currently preparing next year’s strategies, it is a great time to perform a brand check to determine if it is time for something new.

Need Fresh Insights to Drive Your Strategy?

Download our FREE eBook: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis

swot-alternatives-cover

“Strategic Thinking Exercises: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” features eleven ideas for adapting, stretching, and reinvigorating how you see your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Whether you are just starting your strategy or think you are well down the path, you can use this eBook to:

  • Engage your team
  • Stimulate fresh thinking
  • Make sure your strategy is addressing typically overlooked opportunities and threats

Written simply and directly with a focus on enlivening one of the most familiar strategic thinking exercises, “Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” will be a go-to resource for stronger strategic insights!

Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Ways to Reimagine Your SWOT Analysis

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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Is your strategy team tired of the same old strategic thinking exercises?

Is your leadership team expressing its frustration with the inability to generate new insights about your brand’s strongest market opportunities?

Are you searching for ways to quickly and effectively engage brand leaders to anticipate and address emerging threats you face?

If you face these situations, The Brainzooming Group has a new eBook you need. It offers fresh ideas for using one of the most common strategic thinking exercises . . . and it’s FREE!

“Strategic Thinking Exercises: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” features eleven ideas for adapting, stretching, and reinvigorating how you see your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. With simple, actionable adaptations, you can take your leadership team through a variety of fresh SWOT analysis approaches that:

  • Put your customers front and center with every look you take at your marketplace
  • Challenge your thinking about what parts of your strategy are obsolete, opinion-based, and open to serious objections
  • Push you to go deeper and bolder in your SWOT analysis

strategic-thinking-exercises-swot-analysis

Written simply and directly with a focus on enlivening one of the most familiar strategic thinking exercises, we designed “Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” as a go-to resource throughout strategic planning. Whether you are just starting your strategy or think you are well down the path, you can use this eBook to:

  • Engage your team
  • Stimulate fresh thinking
  • Make sure your strategy is addressing typically overlooked opportunities and threats

Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Ways to Reimagine Your SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis alternatives include:

  • Creating a SWOT from multiple pieces
  • Using a SWOOT analysis to create a twist
  • Employing a bolder SWOT analysis than ANYONE expects
  • Going deeper with a Four x 4 approach
  • Triggering richer insights by varying participants, focus areas, and perspectives

All that in one handy, FREE Brainzooming eBook!

Download your copy of “Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” today!Mike Brown

Need Fresh Insights to Drive Your Strategy?

Download our FREE eBook: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis

swot-alternatives-cover

“Strategic Thinking Exercises: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” features eleven ideas for adapting, stretching, and reinvigorating how you see your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Whether you are just starting your strategy or think you are well down the path, you can use this eBook to:

  • Engage your team
  • Stimulate fresh thinking
  • Make sure your strategy is addressing typically overlooked opportunities and threats

Written simply and directly with a focus on enlivening one of the most familiar strategic thinking exercises, “Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” will be a go-to resource for stronger strategic insights!

Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Ways to Reimagine Your SWOT Analysis

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

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Fun Strategic Planning Activities?

You may wonder if we are nuts talking about the idea of fun strategic planning.

Any skepticism you may have is certainly understandable. The more typical adjectives that come to mind when you think about strategy planning in your organization likely include:

  • Tedious
  • Cumbersome
  • Too detailed
  • Pointless
  • Disconnected (from the business)
  • Boring
  • Awkward

Do those words sound more like familiar adjectives for the strategy planning you have participated in previously?

We are confident they probably do based on how many of you are searching our website at this time of year for fun strategic planning activities to introduce to your companies. That is why we developed a new strategy planning resource just for you!

Download Our FREE eBook – 11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning

If you are trying to figure out how to spice up strategic planning activities at your company, you need to download our new FREE eBook, “11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning.”

fun-ideas-strategic-planning-ebook

Within just a few pages, this new eBook offers a handy list of things you can do before and during strategy planning meetings to create a more engaging, mentally stimulating, and fun environment!

You will learn ideas for:

  • Handling the not-fun parts of strategic planning
  • Turning people who aren’t strategists into strategic thinkers
  • Encouraging breakthrough ideas
  • Increasing the pace and variety of strategy planning meetings


Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning

As you look to your next strategy planning meetings, you owe it to yourself and all the participants to download “11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning.” Regardless of the ideas you choose to implement from the eBook, you will create an environment where people are interested and eager to engage and actively share ideas to move your organization ahead!

Sound too good to be true?

Well, it isn’t!

Fun Strategic Planning Ideas are within reach! Download your FREE eBook today!


Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning


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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When I have a TOUGH time coming up with blogging topics, I scour my blogging notebooks for junk ideas to turn into blog post treasures. I also push my creative thinking skills and look through newspaper or magazine articles to inspire ideas.

This latter method uncovered a Wall Street Journal story featuring Ki Nassauer, junker and author of “Junk Beautiful: Room by Room Makeovers” (affiliate link). It followed her as she pursued junk at a rural South Dakota hoarders house to look for ideas to fit into her twice-yearly magazine, “Flea Market Style,” and annual “Junk Bonanza flea market festival.”

15 Creative Thinking Skills to Turn Junk Ideas into Treasures

Within the story, there were fifteen creative thinking skills demonstrating how KI Nassauer turns “junk ideas” into treasures with potential.

creative-thinking-skills-diane-bleck

Infographic by and courtesy of Diane Bleck – DoodleInstitute.com

Combing through the story and looking to generalize what she does, here are fifteen ways any of us can turn junk ideas into treasures when we need a creative kick start:

1.  Space out the deadline for when you need to come up with an idea to give yourself more time

2.  Take care of your rich idea sources

3.  Take advantage of high probability idea sources

4.  Spend more time looking for other ideas

5.  Have a creative partner to stimulate ideas

6.  Always say “Yes” to new ideas initially

7.  Go where others won’t to look for additional junk ideas

8.  Change the angle from which you’re considering the idea

9.  Look at just part of  junk ideas and throw out the rest

10. Turn the junk idea upside down

11. Stack or put junk ideas together

12, Consider outlandish ideas you’d typically overlook

13, Turn the idea around to its opposite

14, Apply different support or resources to the idea

15. Pretty up marginal ideas any way you can

What creative thinking skills do you use when you’re stuck creatively?

These 15 creative thinking skills to turn junk ideas into treasures are definitely worth considering, in my view, to help get you unstuck creatively. – Mike Brown

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

 

Find New Resources to Innovate!

NEW FREE Download: 16 Keys for Finding Resources to Accelerate Your Innovation Strategy

Accelerate-CoverYou know it’s important for your organization to innovate. One challenge, however, is finding and dedicating the resources necessary to develop an innovation strategy and begin innovating.

This Brainzooming eBook will help identify additional possibilities for people, funding, and resources to jump start your innovation strategy. You can employ the strategic thinking exercises in Accelerate to:

  • Facilitate a collaborative approach to identifying innovation resources
  • Identify alternative internal strategies to secure support
  • Reach out to external partners with shared interests in innovation

Download your FREE copy of Accelerate Your Innovation Strategy today! 

Download Your FREE Brainzooming eBook! Accelerate - 16 Keys to Finding Innovation Resources

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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Going into a strategy meeting today that is sure to be a snoozer?

Even if you are going into the meeting with the same old people, the same old topics, and the same old expectations to just get a strategy done and put into a notebook on a shelf so you can go back to doing what you’ve always been doing, there is hope!

Here is a way you can turn a typical strategic thinking exercise into something new and fun that both adds variety to your strategy meeting AND could trigger some new ideas to get our strategy out of a rut!

You have no doubt heard of a SWOT analysis. It highlights your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

In many companies, the list of items on the SWOT analysis does not change all that much from one year to the next.

Are you up for changing that?

Use a New SWOT Strategic Thinking Exercise Nobody Expects

Go into your next strategy meeting with a different spin on this important, yet tired old strategic thinking exercise.

Strategic-Planning-Fun

Split your group into two or four groups if it is large enough. If not, then let the entire group work on the four questions within this different SWOT strategic thinking exercise.

Once you have everyone situated, here are your four new SWOT questions:

  • What are important things we avoid doing (that we should do) because they are Scary for our brand?
  • What are Wild and creative ideas our competitors or other relevant companies are doing that we need to consider?
  • What can we do next year that would be Outrageous and bold?
  • What can we do in the marketplace that will be the most Threatening to our competitors?

Yes, try a SWOT strategic thinking exercise looking for ideas that are:

  • Scary
  • Wild
  • Outrageous
  • Threatening

This new type of SWOT analysis is good for at least twenty minutes of new thinking at your strategy meeting to get people out of the humdrum of strategic planning.

And be on the lookout for crazy ideas. You can always adjust those ideas and harvest them for great new strategies you might have never generated if you had not been looking for ideas that at first seemed ridiculous!

Contact us, and let’s customize a strategy process specific to your organization. – Mike Brown

Looking for Fresh Insights to Drive Strategy?

Download our FREE eBook: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis

swot-alternatives-cover

“Strategic Thinking Exercises: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” features eleven ideas for adapting, stretching, and reinvigorating how you see your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Whether you are just starting your strategy or think you are well down the path, you can use this eBook to:

  • Engage your team
  • Stimulate fresh thinking
  • Make sure your strategy is addressing typically overlooked opportunities and threats

Written simply and directly with a focus on enlivening one of the most familiar strategic thinking exercises, “Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” will be a go-to resource for stronger strategic insights!

Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Ways to Reimagine Your SWOT Analysis

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

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

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