5
Kate-Jackson

Me and Kate Jackson

You know how they put a disclaimer at the end of movies and television shows as a CYA for any story, character, or animal issues?

Those disclaimers are meant to provide legal protection or at least try to ward off potential lawsuits.

It occurred to me, after reading years of blog posts, tweets, and Facebook updates that there should probably be a comparable social media disclaimer!

While there are social media policies, and rather bland Twitter profiles stating someone’s tweets don’t represent an employer’s point of view, they don’t go far enough. They don’t really protect a reader and help them understand the significant level of fiction, hype, and misinformation to which they are being exposed.

A Social Media Disclaimer Recommendation

As a result, here’s my suggested social media disclaimer to provide more accurate context for most self-serving social media content that’s out there. Try this on for size:

“Implied relationships with social media rock stars may be further away than they appear to be. Opinions are mine only, and not just as in they aren’t held by my employer. They aren’t held by ANYONE else either . . . unless I copied them directly from a social media rock star. All assessments of events, food, and social interactions are highly subjective and generally over-stated. Although pictures of me with celebrities, visiting glorious vacation destinations, and consuming fabulous food and drinks account for 99% of my photos on Facebook and Instagram, they represent only 1% of my otherwise boring life. By me sharing your content, don’t think it implies endorsement. It doesn’t even imply I read it before sharing it. Client projects mentioned in Facebook updates should not be assumed to be paying engagements. Some clients mentioned in updates are purely fictional and do not represent any real clients living or dead.”

This won’t help you beat any FTC issues on disclosing freebies you receive for review in your blog. But if people had to attach this social media disclaimer to every over-the-top, humble brag, or arrogant Facebook update they make, social networks would be a lot more tolerable.

Coming Clean on Humble Brag Social Sharing

What do you think? Would this help make the humble brag social media content you’ve seen the past week more tolerable? –  Mike Brown

Enjoy this article? Subscribe to the free Brainzooming email updates.

 

“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

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.”

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

FASTTRACI’m at Ft. Leavenworth today speaking to a group in the Kauffman FastTrac® NewVenture™ program.

The participants are active duty military personnel exploring business ideas for when they transition out of the Army over the next year.

The session topic is marketing strategy and implementation, addressing planning and implementation challenges, cost-effective marketing strategies, maximizing social media for a new business, and entrepreneurship lessons.

The four related marketing strategy question are included below along with links to Brainzooming blog articles containing more detail on each.

1. What are common challenges planning or implementing marketing strategy?

2. What are creative, cost-effective marketing activities?

3. What are the best uses of social media?

4. Based on your start up experience, what are your marketing strategy lessons?

These links are a good starting point for anyone exploring entrepreneurship and the marketing capabilities they need to address upfront.

What other suggestions would you add for these individuals who are serving our country as they prepare to transition to the next phases of their careers? Mike Brown

 

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

Mike-Brown-Gets-Brainzoomin

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

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

2

Cool-Product-Names-BrainzooSome time back, Jorma Lehtinen (@Notium) reached out on Twitter about software he uses to visualize data, sharing a visualization of a Brainzooming blog list post as an example. We also tweeted about the importance of underlying information design when it comes to how to make an infographic.

Jorma’s outreach along with Woody Bendle’s article on visual thinking about calorie data prompted publishing this post on problems (and opportunities) associated with infographics.

Infographics are all the rage in social media.

So many of them, however, don’t deliver very much.

They are simply “pretty” pictures over-loaded with all the descriptive text that would be there even without the visual treatment. At the same time, they often obscure or eliminate details needed to make sound assessments on the validity of the underlying data and the conclusions the infographic suggests.

How to Make an Infographic Deliver Visual Thinking Value

Here are eight ways strong visualizations and infographics can deliver value by providing a richer data and analysis experience than the prose they are (or should be) replacing. Not all eight have to be in place, but at least a number of them should be.

Strong visualizations and infographics should:

1. Allow you to convey information more simply

The visual should deliver information at a minimum rate of 500 words per image. It would be great, however, if an infographic were legitimately worth a thousand words. If your image requires too many labels text for explanation, there is more work to do.

2. Make processing information quicker and more efficient

Any visuals should allow the audience to take in, understand, analyze, and draw conclusions with greater efficiency. There shouldn’t be so much detail that it becomes even more cumbersome for a reader to look at an infographic instead of reading prose.

3. Reveal new relationships

Visuals should really shine in highlighting relationships between data that would be lost with prose alone. As a shining example, consider the graphic of Napoleon’s army Edward Tufte has popularized. The visual depicts multiple time, geography, resource, and strategy relationships words alone could never convey.

4. Balance space efficiency and effectiveness

Having attended an Edward Tufte class, a big takeaway was paying attention to information density. Strong visualizations and infographics should pack a disproportionate amount of information into the space occupied. There is a balance though – with too much detail, key points are obscured; with too little detail, the audience doesn’t get the impact of text alone.

5. Offer greater clarity and accuracy

It can be difficult with only words to reveal subtle differences in data. A visual can work much harder to suggest patterns, similarities, and differences with a precision words can’t attain. But as the book How to Lie with Charts (affiliate link) screams out, it’s also easy to mislead your audience with visuals. Caveat audience AND the caveat designer.

6. Generate more possibilities

A rich visual triggers audience members to envision even more new ideas, solutions, or relationships to examine. If a viewer can look at a visual and quickly move on without new thinking taking place, there’s either a problem with the visual or the underlying information.

7. Lead to faster prototyping of ideas, concepts, strategies

Especially with abstract areas, strong visualization should convey a less than completely formed concept more rapidly than explaining it or taking time to physically construct the concept, if that’s even possible. Being able to quickly sketch an abstract concept allows it to move forward and develop with greater speed.

8. Do a better job of making information palatable to consume

Call this the “Spoonful of Sugar” phenomenon. If you hit a reader with a long, convoluted prose description of data or tabular information, you may never convey key insights, conclusions, or recommendations. A visual, especially with challenging information, should be an open door to initially bring a reader into the data, with a suggested path to explore even deeper levels.

What do you think is important when it comes to how to make an infographic ?

Perhaps not surprisingly, many of these criteria for how to make an infographic deliver visual thinking value relate closely to the old maxim about a picture being worth a thousand words. So since this post is over 700 words, I’m looking for an infographic operating at about 75% to blow it out of the water. Any takers? – Mike Brown

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

                                                                             (Affiliate Links)

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

Social-Media-SummitPrepping for a social media content marketing workshop I am delivering at the Social Media Strategies Summit in Las Vegas in February, I was going back through questions raised at recent workshops.

Three Great Social Media Strategy Tips

These three social media strategy questions stood out because they were not only raised by workshop attendees, but other attendees provided wonderful answers for them.

Challenge 1. Should a sub-brand in your organization get its own social media presence?

This question came up in a social media strategy workshop with the Nebraska Healthcare Marketers. Our answer is to take an outside-in look at the organization to determine if a social media audience cares to affiliate with a sub-brand independent of its affiliation to an overall brand. No matter how much a brand or product manager thinks a sub-brand needs its own social media presence, whether the audience wants to “like” or “follow” it is the critical question.

One attendee went further to suggest agreeing to an expected content update frequency with the sub-brand’s leadership. If they can deliver the expected content to the brand’s main page consistently, they then get a shot at having a sub-brand social media presence.

Challenge 2. How can you get a compliance group on board with a social media strategy?

A marketing communications director at the Frost and Sullivan Marketing World social media strategy workshop in Boston asked about getting a compliance group on board with social media in a risk-averse environment.

Another participant let us know her company put the compliance person in charge of social media. She reported that in this rather unusual role, the compliance person suddenly started “getting” social media strategy. She did a fantastic job balancing the firm’s risk aversion with a new understanding of the need to participate actively on social networks.

Challenge 3. How do you respond more quickly to customer service questions on social media when you cannot be at it full time?

One social media strategy challenge for risk-averse organizations (and even ones that are not THAT risk averse) is the timely handling of customer service issues on social media channels. While the preference may be to check and double-check responses coming from customer service, that means the response won’t happen with the speed customers expect.

An attendee at the Frost and Sullivan session shared that her company drafted responses to typical customer service questions to enable faster responses. Instead of running the risk of someone getting the same answer on multiple occasions, however, they drafted multiple variations of answers to their typical questions. In this way, they paired up speedy response and a sense of message variation consistent with a more personal response.

What are your social media challenges with multiple brand presences, compliance, and customer service?

These are familiar social media challenges for organizations. What questions do you have in these areas? Or alternatively, what answers have you found for them? – Mike Brown

Enjoy this article? Subscribe to the free Brainzooming email updates.

 

“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

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.”

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

1

looking-for-answersThe easy answer to finding an answer for a question you have is “Googling it.”

While Googling is a ubiquitous way to find and process possible answers from global sources on the web, there’s more to getting solid answers you can confidently use.

Getting to solid answers that are either exactly or directionally accurate requires applying several strategic thinking skills involved beyond just Googling your question and grabbing a fast answer.

6 Search Tips beyond Googling Your Question

To improve not only your online search results, but the real results from answering your question, develop and use these six strategic thinking skills:

1. Imagine your search results before you start Googling

Before you start Googling, develop a sense of what types of answers you might find or at least the forms your answers may take. With this backdrop, you’re in a much better position to quickly evaluate whether you are on the right path with your search results.

2. Push outside your social network for answers

Increasingly, results served up to you online represent a small circle of what Google or other platforms think / believe / know will be most valuable to you. I’m too skeptical to depend exclusively on an algorithm to shape my search. Log out of Google and other applications as best you can to search a wider range of possibilities outside your social network.

3. Don’t read too extensively as you search

Grab as much information as you can as fast as you can without reading everything. Particularly if the answer is important, don’t settle for what might seem like the exact answer right away. Even if it appears you have a solid answer, do more looking to confirm or refute your apparently quick solution.

4. Compare possible answers to your initial expectations

As you begin scanning the initial search results, compare them to what you initially expected as an answer. This is vital since so much of the information you’ll get by Googling your question has never been properly vetted and fact checked. These days, fact checking sits squarely on the searcher’s shoulders. Be skeptical but also be open to having your initial perceptions of what you’ll find challenged or overturned.

5. Look for important disagreements in data

If every source is reporting the same thing, chances are it all came from a single source. When you don’t find a healthy amount of disagreement or variation from multiple information sources, you have a problem. To get a sense of being on the right path toward an answer to your question, go digging for greater information diversity.

6. Keep a running list of insights

As you review search results, jot down initial impressions, major points of agreement or disagreement, supporting points for your answer, ideas from your review, and clues to other places or resources to search. This list is your summarized recap of what your search yielded.

Strategic Thinking Skills Deliver the Best Answers

These six strategic thinking skills will serve you well so you do not just seize the first, and potentially wrong, answers from Googling your question blindly. Mike Brown

 

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

Continue Reading

0

2014-QuestionsWhat are your most significant opportunities and challenges in 2014? And where do you gather ideas and input on developing the best strategies to address them?

Only you can answer those questions to help shape our Brainzooming editorial content calendar for 2014.

We are asking you and all of our Brainzooming readers around the world to share a few perspectives via a brief online survey. While we talk, email, and tweet with readers regularly about topic ideas, this is the first time we have developed a survey to collect broad input at one time.

Share your perspectives on 2014 starting right here!

Please take a moment to share your perspectives to give us a better sense of where our editorial direction and content should be directed this year. You can access the survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2014Opportunities_TBG.

Please feel free to share this post or the survey link with other business associates who might benefit from the content on Brainzooming.

As an added reason to participate in the survey, everyone completing the survey can access a free copy of The SmallBusinessTalent.com® LinkedIn* Power Checklist by Stephen Lahey, a Brainzooming reader and producer of the tremendously beneficial SmallBusinessTalent.com podcast.

I’ve been both a guest and a host of the podcast, and I’d encourage you to subscribe to the SmallBusinessTalent.com podcast. Stephen has been gracious enough to provide a free copy of the LinkedIn Power Checklist for everyone completing the 2014 opportunities and challenges survey to help each of us improve our LinkedIn profiles this year.

Share your perspectives on 2014 starting right here!

Thanks for your readership and sharing your perspectives. And here’s to an outstanding and successful 2014! 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

1

Grand-Canyon-SkywalkSuppose you have brand strategy responsibility to showcase an industrial brand’s identity.

What can you do to create stronger identity and a cool factor for a brand that may be a component of another product or brand?

Showcase Industrial Brand Identity and Coolness in B2B Brand Strategy

Here are three paths any industrial, business-to-business, or ingredient brand marketer should consider. All were highlighted at the Content Marketing World Manufacturing Summit where I spoke on creativity and content marketing in September.

1. Bringing the Consumer Feel to Industrial Brand Strategy

One theme throughout the Manufacturing Summit was “people” are making decisions in B2B markets. That means there is no reason to automatically walk away from brand strategy tools consumer marketers use, including (as spelled out by Kathy Button Bell, CMO at Emerson Electric):

  • Bright colors
  • Lights
  • Sounds
  • Fresh faces
  • Smiles
  • Vibrant culture

These all make industrial companies more interesting to the PEOPLE. And as a tweet during the conference noted, there are no regulations within any industry mandating boring, self-centered, overly-formal, or stuffy content.

One idea this created for me was plotting industrial brands based on how ubiquitous they are vs. how “sexy” they are. Would any brands be in the upper right quadrant? And if not, how could and would an industrial brand benefit from moving there?

2. Finding the Cool in an Industrial Brand Identity

If you’re directing social media strategy for an industrial brand, how do you get to the “cool” factor in your brand?

At Lincoln Electric, Craig Coffey, U.S. Marketing Communications Manager at the welding equipment brand found the brand’s cool in realizing it “joins metal with fire. That’s cool!”

It’s easy, however, in an experienced B2B company to lose a sense of coolness and simply think about what the brand does to perform daily as devoid of any “cool” factor. Yet finding the “cool” in a B2B brand is the primary hope for generating audience interest. In discussing content successes at Lincoln Electric, Coffey pointed to several success factors helping to tell a cool story:

  • A rich brand history
  • Ambitious goals to reach audiences in new, meaningful ways
  • Open-minded leadership
  • A willingness to invest in marketing

An exercise The Brainzooming Group developed based on this conversation is a set of strategic thinking questions to help experienced people reimagine the “coolness” in a B2B brand they long ago stopped seeing as intriguing.

3. Showcase an Industrial Brand through Its Customers

To generalize one of Craig Coffey’s comments, “No one will ever care more about what your product does than you do.” The goal then becomes getting people to care about what your product enables them to do. But how do you build brand identity and awareness for an industrial brand that is better known based on the customers who use it than for what it does?

These situations create an opportunity to put customers front and center in brand stories, letting happy customers talk about what the brand enables them to do.

For Lincoln Electric, this thinking led to telling customers’ stories that are positioned not as “by” Lincoln Electric, but where the brand is instead “with” customers.

For a great story where the product is in the background yet its importance is unquestioned, check out this Lincoln Electric video. As I tweeted during Crag’s presentation, when you’re 4,000 feet over the Grand Canyon walking on a glass bridge, you want your welds to be DAMN good!

Ultimately brands can find it challenging to downplay their own products in the interests of playing up other engaging elements, but Lincoln Electric shows it can be a smart brand strategy to do so. Mike Brown

 

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

Mike-Brown-Gets-Brainzoomin

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

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading