0

This last trip has been one of not getting to see anything from the plane. The windows have been shut on every flight, it seems. Good for air conditioning, bad for sightseeing . . . They never hold a plane for me when my inbound flight is late . . . If you’re going to read mommy porn on a plane on your digital reader, MAYBE you want to put it at less than a 60-point font? Just thinking on that. Just thinking . . . I got on an earlier flight late last week, but the co-pilot, who was coming in on another flight (and aren’t all co-pilots coming in on some other flight) had no idea about his next assignment. So, despite what he said over the intercom, he was DAWDLING his way through Midway. Short trip, long? Most of the hour advantage I picked up on leaving early was pissed away by his big-time pokey walk.

I was trying to get the Wi-Fi to work on a plane the other day so I could register for the HubSpot Inbound conference. My computer and my phone both failed to connect. It was at that point that the guy sitting next to me (you know, the guy that kept opening and closing the window shade every 30 seconds during the flight) leaned over to inform me that his Wi-Fi was working fine. Grrrrrrrrr . . . Note to self: Build time into EVERY trip in Chicago to take photos for the Brainzooming stock photo library. There are amazing photos EVERYWHERE in the city with the big Instagram shoulders.

I need a random topic generator for this weekly article I write for another publication. The dread of coming up with a good topic is so great, we have a disease-sounding name for my weekly mid-week malady . . . You may not like puns, but they are a sound form of humor. Plus, homonyms are gaining broader recognition all the time . . . Sometimes when I’ve been flying early in the week, all I can write during a flight delay is one of these Larry King posts. #SorryNotSorry . . . Note to Apple: Nice manners with your auto-correct, but not every use of the word windows is capitalized . . . Twice on this trip it was a big decision while running down the terminal to catch a flight: go to the bathroom or get food. The bathroom always won. That may speak volumes.

From the HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT FOR THIS ROOM???? Department: I booked a room on Hotwire at a slightly cool hotel off of Michigan Avenue. It was nearly $400, and in true, we don’t give a shit about Hotwire buyers so we’ll give them the worst experience possible stories, it was a handicapped room. And the front desk attendant hardly informed me of anything at the hotel. All this for $400. My question: HOW MUCH DID YOU WANT ME TO PAY TO TREAT ME LIKE A REAL GUEST? . . . Speaking of not informing people, I flew Comfort+ on Delta this week, and feel like I missed out on the incredible benefits it’s supposed to offer. That is because if you don’t ask, Delta won’t offer them. Grrrrrrrrr.

Here’s something I can’t explain: in the midst of trying not to fritz out about the event manager’s lack of attention to detail, the absolutely right person shows up after a couple of year absence to help, be a great cheerleader, and provide a huge sense of calm . . . “You’re sort of okay, so this will probably be okay,” is NOT a life’s motto . . . I wish people came with screens that would show you their real intentions when they behave unusually . . . Why do smart people have to be so good at decoding what little sense of intrigue I can spin? Sheesh, WORK WITH ME HERE PEOPLE! Please, and thank you. – Mike Brown

Order Idea Magnets

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

Continue Reading

0

Typical writer conundrum: Better to sleep on the flight and write when I get home, or try to write on the plane and sleep when I get home? Never an easy answer . . . The writing is easy on this flight because it’s completely the wrong topic . . . It’s easy to sluff off creating great brand messages. But the thing is, it’s not THAT much harder to create incredible brand messages. Do everyone a favor, and put in that little extra effort . . . Yeah, I over-share what’s going on in my life. I’m working on curbing that, though . . . When you’re a bottom feeder, you always want someone just a little more bottom than you. Thank you, Orioles, who are, in the words of our client, the “best of the worst.”

Hoping this book makes it to 22 states

I would definitely do “twenty-two states and half a mile” . . . Roll with the changes, as best you can . . . Sleep would be highly prized right now . . . You see, I’m on a losing streak . . . Being in the middle of a shit show of a job ain’t no fun for nobody . . . I forgot what the one cat’s name is. Been gone a long time, I am clearly a bad cat dad. BAD cat dad.

It’s Salvy. His name is Salvy.

Guy in front of me waiting to get on a Southwest flight: “Are you 33?” Me: “Yeah, at least for the next few minutes” . . . I hate closed windows on planes. Wait. Let me clarify: I hate closed window shades on planes. I’m just fine with the windows all sealed up tight . . . I legitimately wish there were a training school for sitting in the exit row where you could practice everything you are supposed to do under realistic, albeit simulated, conditions. I think we would all sleep better at night . . . Sat in the exit row over the weekend with two California soccer mom chaperones. Had to clue them in on everything in the Wizard of Oz that ISN’T accurate about Kansas. So, that occupied the entire trip from LA . . .We NEVER anticipate a drop in oxygen. To clarify: They don’t, but I wanna be ready. Do you know how hard you can pull on those masks? I expect to be pulling pretty hard.

Why would ANYONE schedule a bunch of meetings and calls the day you return from 10 days away from home? Duh . . . Sometimes, it’s the heat AND the humidity . . . Growing up, my uncle used to talk about One-Eyed Mildred, who ran a bar in his hometown. When we went to visit, he took us there, and she legitimately had only one eye. He said it was because she was so mean, a rooster pecked it out. That last part may be a rural myth . . . Professional photo bombers are SOOOOOO annoying. Why you gotta always get in my photos?

From a Walmart in LA. This is obviously where the aliens are expected to land.

A client told her team that they found Brainzooming because they Googled, Strategic planning” and “fun.” We’ll take those searches EVERY day of the week . . . Some people REALLY don’t like the people of Walmart. I, however, am one of those people. You take me, you take my retail choices . . . Last few weeks, I was, perpetually, half the way home . . . Oh, that’s who that is! I should have figured that out sooner . . . Many happy hours aren’t, so much. That’s just a cruel joke, I think. Others, are oh, so happy . . . Does anybody know what any of this means?

Laurel & Hardy, right?

Knowing where something is eventually going to go is half the battle . . . The other half of the battle is figuring out what order these one-liners should go in . . . If I had more money than I knew what to do with, I’d have a new t-shirt every day . . . I can’t wait to stop flying blind. It’s killing me . . . Stop me when you’ve had enough. Wait! Quit scrolling back up the page . . . Crab cakes and fried pickles. Who knew? – Mike Brown

New Call-to-action

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

Continue Reading

0

The day the IHOP/IHOb story broke, Emma messaged me that her son, Luke, wanted to discuss branding strategy with me. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Twelve-year-old Luke Gibson’s insight on the dangers of brand extensions was intriguing. We had quite the conversation about when brand extensions do or don’t make sense. Luke clearly saw fewer opportunities for smart brand extensions than I did.

His strong perspective on what would likely be a family restaurant decision underscores how consumers outside the intended target are forming opinions and influencing purchase decisions. And, since Luke and I didn’t exactly agree on brand extensions, I asked him to share his thoughts with Brainzooming readers. – Mike Brown

Luke Gibson on Branding Strategy: Change is Good. Greed is Not.

If you’re good at one thing, then most likely the right thing to do is stick to that one thing. For example, if you’re really amazing at pottery, you do that as your job, and people know you for your pottery business, then why would you suddenly switch to supply chain and logistics, with little to no experience in that? Don’t be selfish.

So yes, what I’m hinting at is IHOP, or should I say, “IHOb.” I’m sure that all of you knew IHOP, or “IHOb,” for their pancakes, and have gone to eat their pancakes at least once. Most likely you ate them during the day.

In an article for Business Insider, Darren Rebelez, president of IHOP, said, “We had to make a bold move to get people to be willing to talk about us for something other than breakfast food.”

Why? Your brand name is still about breakfast food. Might I add, what’s wrong with this picture?

Sam and Pam were walking to the International House of Pancakes. Sam asked, “What are you going to get at the the International House of Pancakes, Pam? Pam said, “I am going to get a hamburger from the the International House of Pancakes, Sam.” Sam said, “That is a good idea, Pam. I think I will have a hamburger, too,” said Sam.

Exactly. And yes, while the burgers at IHOb might be okay, you know what would taste even better? Their pancakes.

I’ve noticed that California-based Foster’s Freeze has done this as well. They have added burgers to their menu. What’s more is that it’s one little burger poster among thousands of ice cream stickers, so it’s also kind of hard to notice. And yes, hamburgers and ice cream are delicious together, but I would like to assume that the better place to get that would be at your local greasy spoon. It’s probable that most people don’t even order the hamburger! As many times as I’ve driven past, there is not one person holding a hamburger! (That Foster’s Freeze happens to be located across the street from a grocery store and surrounded with hot food places, so…) Yes, while their burgers probably taste okay, you know what would taste even better? Their ice cream.

To tie it up, brands should stick to the one thing that they are good at, and can branch off into other related areas. Leave the completely different opportunities for other brands. Your customers see you as greedy when you do this.  – Luke Gibson

Social-First Content to Make Your Customer the Star of Your Content

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

Continue Reading

0

Is your brand continually delivering ho-hum content to your audiences?

We’re talking about the kind of content that leads people to view once and avoid twice (now and forever). The type of content that is ALL ABOUT the brand and NOTHING about the audience. Content whose most obvious message is that your brand is BORING, 24/7, 365.

If any of those descriptions feel uncomfortably familiar, there’s HELP and HOPE for engaging, social-first content on the way!

Thursday, June 28, I’ll be presenting a live webinar with actionable recommendations called Make Your Customer the Star of Your Content: How to Stop Boring Your Audience with Same Self-Serving Shtick.

Register Today! Make Your Customer the Star of Your Content

Presented in partnership with Powerpost, we’ll discuss how brands – small and large – can expand their range of topics to go beyond talking about their own brands, and heavy up on engaging, social-first content that speaks to your customers’ strongest interests.

Register today for the FREE webinar to ensure your spot, even if you can’t join us live. Registration opens your access to the webinar on-demand after we deliver it.

That’s Make Your Customer the Star of Your Content, Thursday, June 26, 2018 at 12 noon CDT. Join us and start delivering social-first content the leaves your audience wanting more!

Social-First Content to Make Your Customer the Star of Your Content

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

Continue Reading

0

Everyone who speaks or has attempted to speak more than one language has truly excellent stories of times when their linguistic wires got crossed. I find these types of stories incredibly charming; in our efforts to understand one another, we often create a delightful kind of chaos–or at least a hilarious kind. For instance, one woman I know proudly introduced herself to someone in Rome by saying that she was “a happy milk” rather than “happy to meet you.” As a second-generation American child, having learned English and Spanish simultaneously, I was eager to make sense of both languages, and particularly colloquialisms. At some point I discovered that TV commercials were an easy way to learn about American English as well as American behavior at large. Mainly, I learned that there were very specific ways of doing everything, and my family was doing all of them wrong — but they were useful, nonetheless.

It wasn’t until much later that I learned I wasn’t alone in having gone the commercial route to becoming American. My mother, as it turned out, had blazed that trail before me, and as today’s guest blogger, she’s here to share her first-generation American childhood experiences with the worlds contained in 1960s American television commercials. Welcome, Mom!  Emma Alvarez Gibson

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor – Sarah Andrade

I cannot recall exactly when I became Brahtti, or rather a part of Brahtti. I know I was too young to find the word in the dictionary, although it would have been futile to try.

Prior to becoming one of (the?) Brahtti, I had lived in a very small town in Mexico where evening entertainment consisted of playing in the street with the neighborhood children — roughly fifty or sixty of us — until our parents had shouted to us to come in at least ten times and we had shouted back “Just a little while longer!” at least eleven.

This changed when the wealthy family of the neighborhood bought a black-and-white television set and those of us who had a centavo could sit on the floor of their living room and watch a show. There were so many of us, and the TV was so small, that it was difficult to see. It was doubly difficult to hear, given all our excitement and the munching of our pumpkin seeds from newspaper cones, but we were all awed to be taking part in this new thing called television.

A year later, when I was five, my family moved to the United States, and wonder of wonders, we soon had our own television set in our very own living room! We did not have to pay a centavo to watch it, and there were a lot more shows. Everyone spoke English on this new set, but my sister and I were learning the language quickly. What’s more, this television actually addressed its audience, which is how I came to discover that I was part of Brahtti.

At first I thought Brahtti was a particular person, but soon I realized it was the name given to us, the collective audience. Prior to each show, there were things that we were asked to buy: shaving cream, cereal, soap, cigarettes, etc. They would say something like, “And now we present Dobie Gillis! Brahtti, YOU buy Tide detergent.” [You might want to say this out loud a couple of times for best results. “Brahtti” rhymes with “hot tea.”] I noticed that they always emphasized the “you,” and I was unsure if they were being a little too demanding, or just trying to make each one of us Brahtti feel special.

Because I was trying to learn the culture as well as the language, I took my cues from the people that would show Brahtti how to do things such as spread peanut butter (huge amounts, followed with a flourished S, as in Skippy), apply shampoo (LOTS of suds) and conditioner (toss my head s-l-o-w-l-y back and forth to show how rich and manageable my hair was) and even relate to the boys (wink, smile, and walk away).

In those days there were door-to-door salespeople, which took my Brahtti status to a whole new level: face-to-face contact. Mama would ask me to interpret for her when these folks would come around, and I would have to explain that no, we could not purchase anything. Sometimes, however, they would leave samples for us. One such sample was the beautiful little bottle with a liquid that smelled of violets. The sales representative asked me to tell Mama that it was toilet water. We both stared at the little bottle in amazement. What a country! Even the toilet was supposed to smell lovely after every use. I proudly placed it on the commode and used it. Every time. After all, I was BRAHTTI. Sarah Andrade

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

Continue Reading

0

There’s a meme — perhaps you know it — in which two stick figures are trying very hard to make plans to get together. Reviewing their calendars, they trade offers and counteroffers until finally they embrace, tearfully, saying, “It was so nice knowing you!” and “I’ll never forget you!”

Adult friendships, it turns out, require a different level of care and persistence. They can be overwrought with complexity.  We’re not often completely sure about its boundaries or rules. We wonder, we worry. And yet we don’t talk about it much.

Enter Randi Buckley and Dyana Valentine.

Last Saturday, I joined forces with these two inimitable women to record episode 3 of their podcast series, The Challenges of Adult Friendships. It’s an ongoing conversation that explores “the terrain, confusion, gravity, importance, grieving, and nuances of adult friendships,” a topic I think about often, and one I was excited to discuss with these two fascinating and brilliant women. We talked about some of the things that happen around the question of, “What if they don’t want to be friends with me?” We also laughed. A lot.

We haven’t yet figured out how to solve the challenges inherent in adult friendships, but there’s something intensely freeing, and–I hope–helpful about this type of discussion. You can listen in to the podcast here — click on episode 3, far right. I’d love to hear your thoughts about the Challenges of Adult Friendships! Emma Alvarez Gibson

Continue Reading

0

We have a call with a client about an upcoming Brainzooming innovation workshop. One question (which we think MAY have been included by mistake on the list of topics they sent us) is what we do when energy is diminishing during a workshop.

Photo via Shutterstock

Seeing the question about how to boost an audience’s energy level ahead of time (and knowing they’ll want specifics), prompted this list of thirty things I’ve done during my career of designing and delivering interactive presentations and workshops.

Perhaps the most important way to boost an audience’s energy level is number thirty: we make every attempt to design any Brainzooming workshop to re-energize the group throughout the time together. In that way, we plan for doing the best mix of activities in 1 through 29 to keep the energy levels up throughout the workshop!

  1. Tell funny stories
  2. Use self-deprecating humor
  3. Be very silent (uncomfortably silent) until the audience notices and re-engages
  4. Present while walking throughout the room / audience
  5. Stand on a chair and present
  6. Do more activities where everyone must play an active role
  7. Move to the Shrimp creative thinking exercise
  8. Ask questions of the audience
  9. Take a seat at a table and start voicing a person’s internal thoughts about the presentation
  10. Have everyone stand up and stretch
  11. Have everyone stand up and scream (or jump around)
  12. Make the audience the stars of the show
  13. Start doing improv with the audience
  14. Take a break and let everyone refresh
  15. Rearrange things at the break so they return to a new room
  16. Invite someone else to tell a story to the group
  17. Go to the quiet part of the room and present from there
  18. Run around the room (or at least down an aisle) to increase your own energy
  19. Introduce an ice breaker exercise – even in the middle of the presentation (and do funny riffs on peoples’ answers)
  20. Get people to talk and then have fun with them
  21. Call on the people I met before the presentation
  22. Call on someone that is making faces
  23. Call on the person with bright eyes and engage with them
  24. Create a contest right on the spot and give a pair of orange I am Creative socks to the winner
  25. Have people change something to freshen up what has already become familiar, comfortable, and routine (even within this temporary group)
  26. Move people from one table or group to another
  27. Take everyone outside
  28. Speed things up
  29. Use an exercise where everyone can participate simultaneously
  30. Pre-plan (by watching the experience in my mind) so the audience won’t enter a low-energy state

Need a strategy, creativity, innovation or other learning and motivational boost for your audience?

Contact us, and let’s figure out the right topics, format, and activities to design and deliver an interactive presentation or workshop to energize your team during the workshop and beyond! – Mike Brown

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

Download Disrupting Thinking

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

Continue Reading