4

For a planning guy, it’s always time to be thinking about and planning for next year, and how it’s going to differ from this year. To help your business get started, here are five specific strategy questions you should be considering:

  • Are the same strategies going to be important for your business next year?
  • What external factors are surfacing to shape the rest of this year and next?
  • Which other developments may not be visible yet, but have the potential to impact our business?
  • What strategies will we want to continue doing?
  • What looks like it isn’t working and needs to be changed or dropped?

Beyond these five starter questions, here are eleven ways The Brainzooming Group can help you finish this year more successfully and pave the way for greater success next year:

  • If you’ve been repeatedly talking about starting a new initiative but can’t get it going, we’ll quickly create the plan to move you ahead.
  • If you need a quick strategic perspective and creative ideas, we’ll get on the phone with you for 60 minutes and figure out strategically sensible tactics.
  • If you suspect the market is moving away from your business model, we’ll challenge you and clarify where your organization’s future is.
  • If you don’t suspect the marketing is moving away from your business model, we’ll really challenge you and clarify where your organization’s future needs to be.
  • If you have lots of data that’s not leading to decisions, we’ll simplify and focus information into insights.
  • If the staff you have in place can’t keep up with expectations being placed on it, we’ll supply additional marketing horsepower.
  • If you don’t have time to think, we’ll dramatically shorten the time it takes to consider strategic options and do something about them.
  • If you have lots of ideas, but aren’t sure which ones are best to pursue, we’ll rapidly cut through wannabe concepts and zero in on clear winners.
  • If you’re budget is constrained, we’ll identify low and no-cost resources to ensure disproportionate positive market impact.
  • If you’re trying to get a handle on how social media really contributes to your business, we’ll identify which business objectives you can genuinely impact with a solid social media strategy.
  • If your growth and profits are stalled, we’ll help identify better plans to target growth in your major accounts.

Because of the innovative, interactive planning process The Brainzooming Group creates for your business, you get the benefits of solid planning in dramatically less time with the ability to anticipate market changes upfront.

That’s why smart organizations work with us to become more successful as we rapidly expand their strategic options and create innovative plans they can efficiently implement.

Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you. – 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

21

When thinking about your social media strategy, you should be planning for 6 important metrics. What are the six? There are 3 different levels of social media participation and 2 different types of measures. Put them in a 3 x 2 matrix, and you get six.

Here’s the rundown on the 3 social media engagement aspects to measure:

  • Activity – Any metrics relating to actions your organization is taking on social media: blogging, tweeting, posting, promoting, etc.
  • Interaction – This category’s measures focus on how your audience is engaging with your social media presence: followers, comments, likes, sharing, user created content, etc.
  • Returns – This group accounts for where your social media activities directly or indirectly support measures driving successful organizations: revenue creation (and the activities that lead up to it), cost minimization (along with activities to help achieve it), and other critical financial performance metrics.

Relative to the two different types of measures, use the “whole-brain metrics” strategy we’ve recommended before: capture both quantitative (left brain) and qualitative (right brain) elements. Using this metrics dashboard strategy accounts for both the “hard” numbers and softer perspectives (stories, images, buzz-related feedback) to provide the most complete evaluative picture of your social media strategy.

There’s a clear advantage to considering the metrics strategy when devising your overall social media strategy. The earlier you think through what you should be tracking in these six categories, the better you’ll be able to shape your innovative social media strategy to be ROI-oriented. – 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

Last Friday, July 9 was “Cow Appreciation Day” at Chick-fil-A. Customers dressing up as the company’s signature cow icon were rewarded with free meals (for a head-to-toe cow costume) and sandwiches (for any part of a cow costume). While there was a microsite set up for the day to allow customers to find locations and a Facebook page to upload photos, the interactive brand strategy was clearly geared toward a real life visit to a nearby Chick-fil-A restaurant.

We headed out for dinner on Cow Appreciation day and saw many customers more than happy to turn themselves into Chick-fil-A brand icons for a reward valued at less than $5.

What a brilliant interactive brand strategy to get your customers to jump through a pretty easy “brand” hoop in exchange for what a restaurant might give away on a typical “buy one get one free” coupon requiring no customer brand interaction other than showing up at the restaurant.

In this case, turning couponing into an interactive brand strategy delivering a memorable brand experience creates all kinds of residual brand value in stories, pictures, videos, and likely, increased people per ticket as we witnessed large groups routinely entering the restaurant we visited.

And what about my Cow Appreciation Day participation? We’ll I love free Chick-fil-A as much or more than the next person. I put on my Ben & Jerry cow socks and a cow beanie and collected my free sandwich as well!  – 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

3

If you’re blogging, are you getting together with your readers in person?

If you’re reading a blog, are you reaching out to the author to share ideas?

If you’re on either side of these questions and answered “no,” here are five reasons why a strategy of bloggers and readers meeting in person makes sense:

  • You learn what messages have registered with people – I’ve often said I’m singularly unable to predict what material people will respond to most strongly. Talking with actual live blog readers helps better understand how they’ve reacted to material – even if it doesn’t help in predicting what they’ll like in the future!
  • New blog ideas get triggered by the conversation – Talking recently with a reader led to discussion about his job, his role and title, and business development strategies. All aspects of the conversation were rich with future topic possibilities, including the inspiration for this post! For readers, it’s a great opportunity to shape and participate in content creation.
  • You can find out how people are reading the blog – I’ll admit….I don’t always look at the Brainzooming email or RSS blog feeds; I go to the website directly. Not everyone does that though. Talking with readers helps develop a better idea of the varied ways people are taking in the material, including getting a sense of how current readers are sharing it with new readers.
  • Guest post opportunities get considered – I haven’t been soliciting guest posts as aggressively as in the past, but I should be. Guest posts add variety to the blog, provide additional visibility for cool strategic thinkers, and help to extend the blog’s reach. While Twitter has been a fairly effective means to reach out to potential guest bloggers, asking a reader for a guest post (or shooting a video post) in person has much more impact.
  • You re-think what you’ve written lately – I used to write weeks in advance. Now it’s usually a week ahead. Even so, between client work for The Brainzooming Group, articles for the Brainzooming blog, and guest posts at other websites, it’s challenging to remember what’s being published where. Answering questions and discussing current (and past) blog posts about strategy, creativity, and innovation makes it come alive for me as well as for the reader.

So if you’re a Brainzooming blog reader in KC, get in touch, and let’s meetup! – 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

3

Thanks to an invitation from Seth Simonds, I’ve started contributing to Stepcase Lifehack, a top 100 Technorati blog featuring pieces on productivity, personal improvement, and other life “hacks” to improve yourself.

My first submission based on the creative and innovation strategy written about here at Brainzooming is “8 Ways to Bring Your Creative Passions to Work.” The response to the piece has been quite gratifying and demonstrates the benefit of getting articles in front of a very large audience. Look for new bi-weekly posts from Brainzooming over at Stepcase Lifehack.

This photo illustrates a great example of someone carrying out a strategy to be more creative at work. Shopping the deli case at our local Hen House Market for dinner, I came upon this ham salad, shaped and decorated as a pig. While I don’t usually want to dwell on what my food originally looked like, this represents a wonderful way to bring a passion for art to a deli counter job.

Yes, you truly can insert creativity into any job. You simply have to be creative in how you do it. Check out the piece on “8 Ways to Bring Your Creative Passions to Work” for ideas on how to get started!

And speaking of a taking a creative approach to an age-old experience, here’s a link to my advice on getting more creative pop out of your Fourth of July fireworks this year! Be safe!  – 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

2

There’s something in my immediate family’s genetics which precludes anyone from ever being party to a quick windfall.

For example, my dad’s funny but not particularly cantankerous. Plus it would never be in the cards for me to come up with @ShitMyDadSays. It’s just not in the DNA. We’ve never had any make or break moments. Just reasonable progress highly correlated with the level of effort, persistence, and determination.

And that’s probably pretty typical, although you’d never suspect this from what gets talked about in the media.

Overnight successes often labor a long time to improve and refine what they do, but that’s rarely mentioned. If it is a true overnight success story, the incredible rise usually averages out with a comparably rapid fall. As much as I wish the best for the guy who sold “Shit My Dad Says,” barely 100 tweets (most of which can’t be used on TV) feels like a TV show with a 13-week run, not one with a big finale several years from now that the whole country is watching.

We’d all like things to be faster and more lucrative than our relatively humble lives. That’s why “get whatever (riches, fame, book deals, etc.) quickly” ads, emails, and tweets drag people in like crazy. Despite the hype and glitz though, I guess I’m genetically pre-disposed to adopt a strategy of patience, characterized by longer term results and less drama in my life.

But how about you…are you working a quick or a patient 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

0

Back in the day, before cable, satellite, HD and giant screens, watching TV wasn’t the same experience. It was subject to poor picture quality, interference from outside signals, and frequent static all viewed on small screens and requiring an antenna to get decent reception even from a local TV station.

For as much as we’ve advanced in technology, consider the challenges we face today. Our cell phone calls are susceptible to dropped coverage and poor sound on PDAs with small screens (which we now love). We’re limited on what we can see and communicate because of tiny, poorly rendered avatars and text character limitations.

While the static early TV viewers grew up with is a thing of the past, it has been replaced with new types of interference thwarting clear communication.

Just a few recent examples:

  • I met someone I’d been following on Twitter. This person’s avatar is a very full facial picture, making it appear he’s a pretty big guy. He may have noticed my look of surprise when in person, he was actually very tiny, and I towered over him.
  • There was an opportunity to see a speaker I follow on Twitter in real life. While his narcissism is particularly obnoxious on Twitter, it was much less so in person. His relentless self-focus was still present, but in real life, it was more comical than it comes across online.
  • The other day someone thanked me for a retweet about leadership. Since he didn’t include the link in the message, and I’d tweeted several things on leadership, there was no context to effectively respond to his comment and start a dialogue.
  • Recently, someone I follow in California checked into Fousquare from a hospital at 4 a.m. Obviously, something serious must have been going on. Yet right above her tweet was a Foursquare announcement that she’d unlocked the “School Night” badge for checking in so “late” on a work night.

In each of these cases, modern day social media interference led to incomplete or difficult to discern “pictures” of others and their actions.

Sure, I love new technology that allows us to communicate and share information in novel ways. Just remember each of them still comes with its own unique static. – 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